Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Iphone

Spent today on Palenville, New York - Catskill Region of the Hudson Valley - in an IPhone workshop with Dan Burkholder. Dan has been in front of the IPhone curve for quite some time now and his workshops are always informative,  equal parts technical and IPhone fun.

The image above is from Iceland - it was done by stitching together 7 vertical images on the IPhone....The image below is me playing around with some new ways to use texture that I  learned today in Palenville.

Friday, July 30, 2010


 I was told by our hosts the Iceland has over 1000 waterfalls.....This is an image from the second day of the workshop....I am still experimenting with HDR and Nik filters.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More HDR

I have been having allot of fun with the HDR process this week.

Since being on the week long Iceland Workshop with Tony Sweet last week I have been experimenting with a more 'illustrative' HDR look. To this end I have been  using more Nik filters and pushing Photomatix more then I would normally.

As mentioned previously we had access almost anywhere in Iceland we wanted to shoot. The two images posted today are from an industrial site just outside of Reykjavik, our first stop of the week. It was nice to get up so close to these architectural structures rather then shooting them from the other side of a fence.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


High Dynamic Range Photography... I have not always been a fan of this particular HDR look but sometimes an image gets in your way that absolutely calls for this treatment...This, to me, is one of those images.

There was absolutely no light inside this old farm building in Iceland - only the light coming in the small door where the camera and tripod were set up - I had to get out of the way during exposure to let any light at all get into the space.

Another one of my favorites from the trip....Love the depth created by the process....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Iceland

A couple more images from Iceland.

The one above is from a town called Vík í Mýrdal located on the south coast of Iceland. The mountain on the right is called Reynisfjall and the three rocks in the distance are called Reynisdranger. It turns out that the leader of the workshop was born in this small town.

We had stopped for lunch in this town and after lunch I looked over and saw the three rocks in the ocean....the whole scene appeared very mystical to me.... surely there is a story that we do not know from a time gone by.

The iamge below is called  'Church with Red Roof'. It was captured out the bus window in the rain....we had been out shooting closer to the church when the rain started so we retreated back to cover and started making images out the window. Our workshop leader, Tony Sweet,  told us how to shoot this and make it work. I want to see this image layered with a texture which I wil lget to later this week.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Iceland - IPhone

Today is our last day of shooting in Iceland. The workshop has been all I expected and then some. I am posting a few of my iphone images today...enjoy...

I can't say enough about Tony Sweet - I had been trying to attend one of his workshops for quite some time and he did not disappoint. I enjoyed his approach to making images and the gentle way he delivered information - if you listened closely he imparted a great deal of valuable information -both mindful and technical. In general he mad for a fabulous workshop experience - I would highly recommend getting to one of his workshops.

Off to the last day of shooting now.....Stay Tuned..

Friday, July 23, 2010


It has been virtually non-stop since arriving into Iceland last Monday morning. The days have flown by - and there are no real nights as it never turns completely dark this time of year. The sun rise starts at around 130AM and lasts until 4AM - sunset starts at 11PM and runs until twilight at 130AM....perfect for our purpose.

I am trraveling with a group of photographers on a workshop  led by Tony Sweet which has been organized by Focus on Nature...We move around the countryside in a large 4 wheel drive bus which literally can go anywhere we might want to shoot.

The Focus on Nature staff, Einar, Asta, Ziggy and Gudmundur are very accommodating and there is virtually nothing they can not make happen. Hotels and food are not an issue and the coffee needs to be packaged for use at home - comes in handy after being out on the glacier until midnight and then have a wake up call for 2:45AM the next morning to catch a sunrise at Glacier Lagoon.

Iceland has a good deal to offer if you are a photographer - we have hardly touched the surface and have shot an industrial site, mountain range, glaciers, glacier lagoon, ocean and two farms one working and one from the a few centuries back. The first thing you notice about Iceland is the warmth of the people - at the farm above i was set up in the field shooting a waterfall and the farmer was driving back and forth in a tractor right in front of me. When it came to the part where he would either run me down or go around me, he went out of his way to drive around me with a smile and a wave - simply amazing!!!!!

You also find that there is access everywhere even at the industrial plant mentioned above. You can simply set up and shoot anywhere at any time. I am sure someone asked for permission but there are no fences, barbed wire or "Keep Out" postings unless it warns of impending danger or physical harm.

And did I mention the herring is to die for.......

Off to another sunrise now.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Furthur Festival

                                                            Mann Center for the Performing Arts

'If I can tell you what it meant,  there would be no need in dancing it'.....Isadora Duncan

Drove down to Fairmont Park in Philadelphia last Saturday to The Mann Center for the Performing Arts for the Furthur Festival - Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. This was the first time I have heard any of the 'Dead' music live since 1969 at The Filmore East. Back in those days the 'Grateful Dead' would play The Filmore East on a Friday and Saturday night - then the gear was loaded out and taken to the band shell in Central Park for a free concert on the Sunday. The load out, of course,  came with a free late night meal at Ratner's which was next door to the Filmore East on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street.

The images posted today are all from Saturday night in Philadelphia....seems like not much has changed in all these years.

As a side note the Mann Center is a fabulous place to see, and also hear a show, be it popular or classical music. The Mann is located in Fairmount Park just outside Center City Philadelphia and has been there for 75 years. Easy access, great food, and some awesome views of center city Philadelphia at sunset make it a perfect place to spend a evening listening to music.  Check out the Mann....

Thanks to my my friend Rico for sending me the Isadora Duncan quote......

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Everytime I sit down to write a blog I get flustered - much to critical of what I write. On the other hand posting images is never an issue for me - maybe it is true that 'one picture is worth a thousand words'. Certainly seems to be the case with me. One of these days I will get to 10,000 hours of writing and just maybe it will become slightly easier to accomplish. A creative writing class might prove helpful in putting together the books I have on my bucket list - if anyone knows of one in the New York area please make a comment.

Today's images are from March 2010 and August 2009 - They both caught my eye as I was shuffling through my Lightroom Library.

The capture at the top of the post is from Dante's Peak in Death Valley.  It was the last night of a week long shoot and I barely made it up to the peak in time for sunset - this was the absolute last bit of light that evening. I was lucky to get back to the hotel as I was running on fumes - no time to stop for gas on the way up to the peak.
The interior of the church above was captured last July at he Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Notre Dame,  South Bend,  Indiana. A friend was able to get me into the church for 10 minutes with my tripod. This is a re-processed image from summer 2009.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Why is so difficult to accept accept the IPhone for the camera it is. Do technical tools always need to be the highest this or the highest that. The IPhone is the IPhone simple as that -  resolution and image quality are what they are - at least at this point in time. Could be simply a cultural issue - not really know....

There is something organic about the images one can make with the phone, and, on a personal note, I like what the phone can capture. For one, many of Edward Steichen's images were not that technically resolved and he was considered a master. In sports they say "that's why they play the game", and, for photography this holds true - "that's why we capture an image'...we can talk forever about what if and why but the best thing any photographer can do is keep shooting no matter what camera and what resolution is in your hands. It was Chase Jarvis who said, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'.

For me the IPhone becomes a visual diary, artist proof and final image - all in my pocket. Additionally, having the ability to see an image in a larger format instantly is very helpful out in the field.  Use the tool for what it is - see what will be pleasantly surprised.

The IPhone has become the one camera that is always with me - 'don't go changing - we love you the way you are'.......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holiday Blues

The past few days I have had the holiday blues - after a fun long weekend it is difficult to get back to work. Add that to temperature of 104 degrees yesterday and it is simply to difficult to get moving.

This morning I was looking through older images and decided to post a few from what I call the stand-alone file... Those captures I consider outliers...not sure where they fit into my photographic life. From time to time I do go back over older images to see what pops off the page.

The field at the top of the page is 'Jills-field'. Located up in the Hudson Valley it bears the name of a friends wife - at the time I was unaware that  Jill would always talk about this field, and one day I showed up with this image, hence the title........

The waterfall above is located in Acadia National Park - if memory serves me well this is the only waterfall in Acadia. At the time I was going through grungy HDR phase and have been on the fence about this image since...some days I love this one and some days I can not figure it out. Had to hike one mile up a steep road to get to this waterfall...

Last summer while driving from Indiana to Chicago I spotted the steeple of this church from the freeway.  At the time I was being drawn to religious icons so I jumped off the highway and made this capture.
Caddo Lake Sunrise: My buddy Al Hernandez and I went to Caddo Lake and this was the first morning as we were boarding the boat to catch the sunrise. At the time I was quite caught up in technical perfection so this was relegated to a maybe status. For me the black in this image always distracted me - but I have now learned to accept images for their emotion and not so much their technical perfection.

I would highly recommend going back over older images from time to time. As you get closer to your 10,000 hours your process of looking at the work changes - you never know what you might find.

The image in the header is from East Hampton beach, August 2009...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

CS5 - Lightroom 3

So many new tools in LR3 and CS5.

I find myself going back to some favorite images and re-working with these new tools and coming up with better processing solutions.

The Santa Monica Pier has been a long time favorite of mine - been captured from IPhone to 60 Megapixels, single shot to multi-shot HDR.

Today I used the Lab Black and White Action that comes packaged with CS5 and added a bit of grain in LR3 - so many choices for expression within the same image.

Friday, July 2, 2010


                                                                                              Beach, Acadia National Park
After a long day in the field my eye drifts to familiar images, glossing over anything not in my comfort zone. A few days of being home after a road trip seems to relax the eyes enough to see something different in the work.
                                                                                 Dance, Acadia National Park 
The two Acadia beach images are ones that popped off the screen this morning - images quite different from the my usual captures.
                                                                                         Where are They, 2
The image of the tennis shoes seem to be part of the 'Childhood' series - the 'Where are They' statement.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monhegan Island

Since returning from Maine I can not seem to get Monhegan Island out of my mind. The island is approximately 12 nautical miles off the coast of Maine and in the 2000 cenus there were only 75 people who lived there full time. Names like Edward Hopper, Zero Mostel and Andrew Wyeth all lived full or part time on Monhegan.

There are no cars on the island and one must take the ferry from either Boothbay, Port Clyde or New Harbor to reach Monhegan. Definitely needs to be on everyone's bucket list...It is most definitely on my time I will bring my seasickness pills.

The images today are everyday scenes on the island.