Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Art Department Composite, Revealed

The art department needed a new group photo to go onto the school's website. So I began to develop an idea in my mind that eventually produced the final image that you see above.

I've been a fan of Annie Leibovitz's group portraits that she has done over the years for Vanity Fair. One photograph in particular, April 2001: Master Class, was one of my favorites that I thought I might be able to emulate for our department shot.

I had read once that for some of her group portraits that not everyone could make the scheduled shoot, so they had to photograph them on different days and then join them later in a composite image via Photoshop. Another aspect of her shoots is that she uses a specific light source for every little bit of lighting in the shot. I figured I could do the PS work, but the lighting might be a little tricky, considering I only had one good softbox for lighting. And after a little scouting on campus, I settled on the LRC fireside location that seemed to work out fine (aside from all our giggling and laughing while students were trying to study...sorry).

I had the final image in my mind, and in the end, everything came together...for the most part.

This is the finished PS file. It's pretty big, a little over 200 Mb with 14 layers. There are five layers with actual people on them and the rest are adjustment layers and other necessary effects to help blend the image together.

Karen and Elissa came about 30 min. earlier than everyone else due to schedule conflicts, etc. After individual head shots, I placed them together for the group shot. I had set up the chairs in front of the fireplace and a tripod from where I'd shoot. I already had the layout in mind before making the first shot. I wish I had a diagram drawn out to show you, but honestly it was all in my head (a dangerous place to be).

This is the only image that contains two people that ended up on the same layer.

A little bit later everyone else showed up. And again after headshots, I began to set up the group shot. Boris was first. If you'll notice, the lighting (my small softbox) moves for each shot, giving a unique Leibovitz-esque feel.

Then, by using a self time, I photographed Juilee, Daniel and myself. In the end I only used Juilee from this shot.

LinkI was happy with Daniel from the previous shot, but I had done another with the softbox in a different location. As a result the shadows on his face become more dramatic, which I liked. I was fortunate–I didn't realize how close Daniel would be to Karen, but it worked out in the end.

Then for safe measure, I did a couple more shots of myself (Daniel pushed the trigger for me). And again I was glad a took a couple extra shots because I liked one of the other shots of myself as well.

In the end, most of the entire image comes from the shots of Juilee and Boris. The rest was just filling in the other figures and fixing lighting problems to match the overall look. The big key to success was shooting with the camera on a tripod–as a result, all the images blended together pretty seamlessly.

Shot with a Nikon D200, SB-800 flash, small softbox.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What the Duck

If you like photography and enjoy a good laugh then you'll love What the Duck. I've seen the comic strip from time to time but just recently found them online. Check it out when you get a chance at What the Duck.

Not On Vacation

Wow, it's been too long since the last time I wrote. Sorry for the delay; school has taken over my life, but I think I'm about to get a handle on things again.

Thanks for hangin' in there with me!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Nikon Fires Back

Nikon announces two new flagship cameras, the D3 and D300.

"Nikon, you may move to the head of the class (although Canon will still be sitting in front of you)."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Canon Raises the Bar...Again

Today, Canon announced their latest flagship camera, the EOS-1Ds Mark III. I hate to be one to compare megapixels, but this camera is up there, weighing in at 21 megapixels. That's basically the quality of traditional medium-format cameras. However, that power comes at a high price tag of $7999 (body only).

For more information, you can see Digital Photography Review's preview by clicking here.

And if you're working on a slightly smaller budget, you might want to check out Canon's 40D, a very nice pro-sumer level camera. It seems to be the equivalent of Nikon's D200. You can find its preview at DPR by clicking here.

Alas, poor Nikon, always the bride's maid...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Film Lab Is Closing It's Doors

My heart sank when I head the news: the Film Lab is closing. I read the article in the Herald. You can view the article HERE. Mary and Vern hold a special place in my heart. I was an intern for Mary during grad school. They're the best and I'll certainly miss stopping by to see them at the shop.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Monitor Calibration

For anyone doing serious work on a computer, accurate color from your monitor is critical. If you are not aware, there are devices that can calibrate your display to a correct color standard. This process is called "monitor profiling." Sometimes the color correction is subtle, but other times it can cure a monitor that is completely out of whack. Either way, it is the FIRST step in accurate color.

The way they work is simple. You plug in the device to a USB port, attach it to your screen, and run the profiling software. What happens is that patches of color show beneath the device and it reads them and then corrects your monitor so that the colors are standardized.

I have my own device that I've been using for some time now. I use a "Spyder2" from ColorVision. It's very simple and easy to use. At Georgetown, we purchased an "eye-one display 2" from gretagmacbeth for the Mac lab. It's an excellent profiling system. (NOTE: the eye-one display 2 is part of MAC-On-Campus' student purchasing program!!!) A third option is a new, inexpensive one from Pantone called the hueyPRO. Imaging Resource just posted a review of the device (that's what got me writing this post).

So, if you're not calibrating your monitor, I STRONGLY suggest that you look into it. It can make a world of difference, and most importantly, it can give you confidence in knowing the images your see on your screen are accurate and correct!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Choosing A Digital Camera (Buying Guide)

Digital cameras have become the standard in the photographic industry. Many students are interested in purchasing one, but it can be a difficult decision. So here are some of my recommendations when considering which camera to buy.

DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)
If you can afford the plunge, I would recommend a DSLR. It gives you excellent image quality and the potential to have full control over your camera from exposure to focusing. And if you're used to film SLRs, it's a simple transition.

The Brand
I would either choose a Canon or Nikon. The reason is that these companies are two standards of the photographic industry with a large variety of lenses and accessories, all of which are typically high in quality.

Which Model?
Actual cameras can usually be placed into one of three catagories: consumer, pro-sumer, and professional; consumer being the least expensive, often easy to use but with the fewest custom functions and upgrades, while pro cameras are the most expensive with the highest quality, speed, and ability to customize.

What you need to figure out is (1)your purpose for this camera and (2)your budget. If you just want something to make good photographs and use as a hobby, look toward a consumer model. If you're more serious and are very interested in photography, look for a pro-sumer model. If you plan to do some jobs to make money with your camera and are on a budget, pro-sumer is good again. If you're going to make a living with the camera, look at pro models and high-end pro-sumers.

A note on megapixels: I've heard it said that a 6 megapixel camera is the equivilent of 35mm film. Thus, a 6 megapixel camera is a decent place to start. However, as cameras improve there has been another plateau near 10 megapixels. And then there are the pro cameras that move up to into the teens. 6-8 megapixels is good for normal shooting and consistent prints up to 8x10 and 11x14. With know-how, you can even print poster size with quality. My camera is 10 megapixels and has plenty of detail for 11x14 or 16x20 and larger with know-how.

Cost and Cameras
This is where the rubber meets the road: the price tag for a DSLR runs from about $500 - $5000 and up. Here are some current suggestions:

Consumer Level:
Canon: Rebel XSRebel XSi, Rebel XTi (400D)
Nikon: D60, D40, D40x

Pro-sumer Level:
Canon: 30D, 40D, 50D
Nikon: D80, D90D200, D300

Canon: 1Ds Mark III, 1D Mark III, 5D Mark II1D Mark II N
Nikon: D3, D700D2Xs, D2X, D2Hs, D2H

Buying Used?
You typically won't find DSLRs on sale or in student purchasing programs because they sell so quickly and easily. However, another option might be to buy a used camera. Often times people are upgrading to the next best thing and selling their "relatively old" cameras, which are still perfectly fine (especially for someone just starting out with a digital camera). Here are some older models that might be interesting:

Canon: Digital Rebel (300D), Digital Rebel XT (350D), 10D, 20D, 20Da, 1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II, 1Ds, 1D
Nikon: D50, D70, D70s, D100, D1X, D1H, D1

Don't Forget the Lens
Last, but definitely not least, choosing a good lens is a big part of how well your camera will perform. Most consumer level cameras and some pro-sumers come with a lens as a "kit." The lens works, but may not always be the best. Do a little homework and try to make a wise decision because ultimately the lens is a big part of image quality. Also, be aware of the focal length changes between SLRs and DLSRs. The sensor inside a DSLR is typically smaller than a 35mm negative. Therefore, the focal length of a lens appears differently. There is usually a multiplication factor of roughly 1.5x. That means a normal 50mm lens will look more like a 75mm lens on a DSLR. A 17mm-55mm zoom lens mimics the look of a traditional 28mm-80mm.

One last recommendation: do some research at Digital Photography Review. They typically have extremely in-depth reviews of cameras to help you make good decisions before buying.

Last Updated: November 27, 2008

Monday, June 18, 2007

Down...but not out!

My website is down, along with my email. I'm in the process of changing domain names to "darrellkincer.com." This wasn't exactly on purpose, but I think it's for the best in the long-run.

So, if you need to contact me, you can reach me by email at darrellkincer@earthlink.net.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Steve Jobs and Apple Are At It Again

Yesterday I noticed Apple has made some improvements. They've updated the interface of their entire website for one. But the big announcement is the upcoming release of Leopard. I guess that will be OS 10.5. If you have a little time, about 1.5 hours, you should check out Jobs' keynote speech at WWDC 2007 detailing the top 10 new improvements to Mac's latest operating system.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Only For the Hippest Cats

That's right, fine art belt buckles. Oh yeah. Click HERE only if you're super cool.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Student Purchasing Programs

If you're not aware of student purchasing programs you're missing out on some incredible opportunities to purchase professional equipment/applications at seriously discounted prices.

One program in particular is Adobe's. For example, they offer Lightroom for $99 instead of the regular $299. "$200 off, yes please."

I know it's difficult to pony up some extra money on top of all your other studio class expenses, but if there's something you might need, at least take a look and consider your options.

Oh yeah, and don't forget organizations such as SPE or CAA, and some publications offer discounts as well.

Pictureline.com is an interesting site with links to a list of programs, including Dyna-Lite, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Leaf, Toyo-View, Sekonic, Pocketwizard, Profoto, Induro, X-rite, Tenba, Skooba, Multicart, Manfrotto, and Speedotron.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Sign of the Times

I received a letter this week from my Alma Mater, SCAD. In it there was an update on the photography department that stated the following:

"The Photography department will be implementing a major change in the fall of 2007 to the undergraduate curriculum. First year students will now take photography foundations courses that emphasize camera vision, technique, aesthetics and creativity in an all-digital environment."

Did you notice that last part? They also went on to point out that "the department will maintain its commitment to a comprehensive program by continuing to teach all traditional and alternative photographic processes."

That sounds perfectly fine to me. In fact, I'm a bit surprised they hadn't changed already.

It leads me to seriously reexamine the direction of my own classes at Georgetown. For some time I've tried to begin implementing digital workflow within the courses I teach, or might have the opportunity to teach. And it looks like this coming fall, just like SCAD, I'll have my chance.

With my Intro Photo class I anticipate working in the traditional darkroom by creating photograms, building pinhole cameras and experimenting with mordançage. But as for shooting and post-production...I believe we'll be using a digital workflow. That means digital SLRs or a combination of film SLR and digital point and shoot.

An interesting side note is that I already have 4-5 students in an independent study, focusing exclusively on digital photography. There has been so much interest that it may be opened up as a special topics class.

I guess it's a sign of the times.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Get Up to Speed, in Louisville

There are a couple photography shows going on at the Speed Museum in Louisville. Currently there is a free show called "A Large Format Photography Primer." It displays twenty large format photographs in conjunction with the Large Format Photography Conference to be held in Louisville this summer. This show opened April 3 and runs through September 9. The large format conference will be June 28 - July 1 with key note speaker Shelby Lee Adams. (Some of you might have remembered seeing the poster in the UK photo lab.)

The other show is "The Best of Photography and Film from the George Eastman House Collection." It runs June 19 - September 16 with an opening reception on Tuesday, June 19. I believe the exhibit costs a meager $10, by comparison to the $20 I'll spend on gas just driving there. It looks to be a pretty great collection, from early daguerreotypes to the work of Adams, Arbus, Capa, Evans, Newman, Lange, and Weston, to name just a few.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

...and you thought your camera had a lot of megapixels

If you're interested, there's a 13 GIGAPIXEL photo of Harlem. To see a report at Rob Galbraith, click HERE. To see the actual image, click HERE.

I think some people have just a little too much free time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Microsoft Photo Contest

"Take Your Best Shot at a $20,000 Grand Prize and an amazing digital prize package!"

Microsoft is holding a FREE photo contest for student photographers. Click HERE for more details.

Extra Credit Gets Updated

Just a quick note: I've updated the blog a bit. Most of the changes have occurred on the right-hand side of the blog relating to links.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mordançage at Georgetown College

This past week we finished the semester at Georgetown College with a mordançage project. We worked with photograms and photographs produced earlier in the semester with this unique chemical process to create new and amazing works. Everyone had a great experience making one-of-a-kind art objects. The results were remarkable. To see more finished pieces, click HERE.

Flickr and Stobist in Latest Issue of PDN

An interesting read. If you're not a part of Flickr, maybe you should start to consider it! Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Strobist Lighting Kits @ MPEX

Are you freakin' kidding...this is AWESOME! If you're a photographer and need some off camera lighting, then you have just hit pay dirt. Midwest Photo Exchange in coordination with Strobist is now offering lighting kits at student prices with everything you need to get started. So pass the word around party people; and that goes double for all you UK lighting geeks! For more info click HERE.

And yes, you are welcome.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Art of the Street

A great photo essay on street art at Time online. Click HERE and check it out!

Feature above, the work of Michael De Foe.

Friday, April 27, 2007

28 millimetres Project

A great find forwarded to me from Eduardo Angel, former SCAD roommate and super-duper photo friend. Keepin' it real from Brooklyn, NY! Thanks Ed!

To find out more, visit 28millimetres.com.

Monday, April 23, 2007

End of Semester Reminders (@ UK)

We're almost finished. A couple things to keep in mind:

55 Series Report - Get it turned in by the end of the week if you haven't already!!!

Robert C. May Make-up Paper - If you need to do one, get it done and e-mail it to me ASAP!!!

ReSubmissions - Must be in by the last day of your class!!!

Lab Clean-up - This coming Friday and Saturday. 1) Take everything home by Thursday night!!! That means EVERYTHING!!! 2) I'll have a sign in sheet above the light table. Make sure you sign in by innitialing next to your name when you come in to help clean? Don't give me any reason to lower your grade.

Picking Up Your Work - All work will be placed on a bookshelf outside of my office by Tuesday, May 1, noon. Pick up your work as soon as you can. I will not be responsible or lost or damaged work.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Herald Leader Scrutinizes Reynolds Building

Last Sunday the Lexington Herald Leader ran a story on the "Dangerous Art Dungeon" we call the Reynolds Building. For more information, check out the story by clicking HERE.

Vote for me...PLEASE! a la American Idol

I just tried this new thing today. I found this magazine called JPG. It works a bit like Flickr, but they actually publish a magazine from the images people submit. So I'm giving it a shot. The way it works is that they post your image and then people can vote on it to perhaps give it an edge in making it to the magazine. Yes, it'scorny, but it's fun. So if you get a chance, go visit my pic and see if you can't vote me into super-stardom!!! You can start by simply clicking on this image of The Sizzler here. BIG THANKS! (I'll keep you posted.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Shots 96 (Call for Submissions)

In grad school I came across a unique magazine of eclectic photographs simply called "SHOTS." It's a quarterly periodical featuring black and white photography from ametures to professionals. The magazine struck me because its imagery seems to have a look and feel that parallels a great deal of the student work I see at school.

Each quarter SHOTS has a call for submissions to be featured in the coming issue. Typically there is a theme, but from time to time, it's open to any type of subject matter. There is a fee of $15 to non-subscribers to submit up to 12 images (8x10 prints or TIFF files), but it is free for those with a subscription (which is $25).

The next deadline for submissions is May 1 with no theme. I'm sending in 9 photographs to see what happens. Submitting work can be a humbling experience. I'll let you know how it turns out...if I make it in. Ha, ha!

It might be an interesting adventure to send in some work and see if your photographs might get published. It's pretty easy to do. For more info on submitting, click HERE. Remember, they must get your work by May 1. There's still plenty of time. Good luck!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Quelle heure est-il?

ART 120 (Photography) at Georgetown had its semi-annual lighting demo today. We explored the normal and perhaps "abnormal" uses of lighting with hot lights and flashes. If you’d like to see the results, click HERE to view the pics.

Printable photos are now ready to download HERE.

[Pictured above: Hannah in a "day for night" flash shot.]

Thursday, April 05, 2007

University Open (Show)

The University Open, "celebrating Kentucky's finest university art students," opens April 10 and runs through June 3 at ArtsPlace Gallery, 161 N. Mill St. The awards ceremony and reception will be Friday, April 13 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM. The show will also be featured/open during Lexington's Gallery Hop for a reception on Friday, April 20 from 5:00 - 8:00 PM.

Congratulations to all those who have work in the show!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

SMSC Student Show and Art Auction @ UK

A nice event if you can swing by...(especially during the Gallery Hop)...

"Work from UK facutly and students being auctioned to the public. Proceeds will go toward renovation of the Barnhart Gallery in the UK Reynolds Building, which houses the art classes and artists' studios for the university. Exhibit runs from 3/26/07 - 4/6/07. Student Center, 404 South Limestone."

The silent auction will occur at the Rasdall Gallery (located in the UK Student Center) during the Gallery Hop on April 6 from 5-8 PM. There will also be an award presentation at 7 PM. Regular gallery hours are Monday - Friday 11 AM - 5 PM.

To find out more about the SMSC (Studio Major Student Council) click HERE.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spring Break | The Matrix: Reprinted

So I bet you're all wondering, "What does Prof. D do for Spring Break?" Well, I'm glad you asked. First, I shot a wedding and then edited all the photos with Adobe's Lightroom. Then, I did my taxes. And finally, I got to do what I wanted for a few days: test digital printing papers!

Yes, I know I'm a photo geek, but I had a great time testing out new media on my Epson printer. It's been a while since I've done this and I had been in the routine of using 1 or 2 different papers. The interesting thing is that there are a huge number of digital printing papers these days, which seriously outnumber the variety of traditional black and white printing papers. (A very simple comparison at Calumet is that they have 257 choices of b&w paper from 7 different companies while they have 491 choices of digital paper from 21 different companies.)

In grad school I had to do a toning project to sample different papers, developers, and toners. My professor referred to it as a "Matrix." So, I reinvented the project, this time printing digitally. I still have work to do, but as of today, I have finished 40 different samples for digital b&w prints. I'll also end up with 40 tonal varations of those papers. I've also tested 13 papers for color images with some more work to be done. In the end, I've tried around 50 different papers from about 15 different companies.

Now, why would I do this? 1) So I can know what paper will produce the perfect nuance and finished print from my printer. 2)So I can keep up to date with today's media options. 3) So I can pass my knowledge on to you, to make recommendations (as well as develop future class projects, when I finally get the chance to teach a digital class).

The biggest danger in such an undertaking is to lose sight of the ultimate goal, great photography. Never let technology, gear, or toys sidetrack you from producing strong images. Afterall, that is the true endeavor of the photographer.

Oh yeah, and I watched a LOT of basketball.

DIY Lens Hood

Here's a great link to a site that shows you how to make your own lens hood, for FREE! There are dowloadable stencils that fit a myriad of different camera lenses. And why would you want a lens hood? To prevent lens flare, silly. They can be a very handy tool to cut out extra light coming in the front of your lens creating various exposure problems, especially when the brightest light in your shot is somewhere in front of your lens. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

LensWork @ Low Prices

Back issues of a select number of LensWork magazine are available for $5 a piece. It's a great price for an excellent publication. You can even look at excerpts of the issues as PDFs. If you're intetested, visit LensWork or just click HERE.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

University Open (2nd Annual)

The second annual University Open is right around the corner. It is a show held by the LexArts organization recognizing strong student artwork form Kentucky Colleges and Universities.

There is NO REASON why you shouldn't get involved. It's simple, and FREE! There are also cash prizes for the best work, not to mention bragging rights for the institution that puts all the others to shame.

This is how it works: by March 22, you must register your intentions to be involved in the show. By March 28, you must drop off your work, framed and ready to hang. The work will be jurried on March 30. Notice of acceptance comes April 2. Awards will be given on April 13. And the UO will be part of the Gallery Hop on April 20.

I am stopping just short of saying that participation in the UO is mandatory. This is an excellent opportunity with nothing to lose. Be involved!!! For more information, click HERE.

How True

Friday, February 23, 2007

Toners From Photo II Demo

Here is a listing of the toners we used in our Photo II toning project:

1. Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner, B&H SKU# KOTRSQ, $16.95 for 1 quart. I dilute this 1:10 in Fixer Remover, that is 100ml in 1L (although you can make it weaker or stronger depending on dilution). There's enough concentrate in the 1 quart bottle to make nearly 10L. Of all the toners, this is probably the best deal, especially if you're satisfied with the results of Selenium toning.

2. Fotospeed ST10 - Traditional Sepia Toner 10, B&H SKU# FOTST100ML, $11.99. One kit mixes to make 1L of Bleach and 1L of Re-developer.

3. Photographer's Formulary Copper Toner, B&H SKU# PHTC2L, $9.95, makes 2L. This kit has powders that are mixed together to create the Copper Toner.

4. Berg Color Toner (Yellow), B&H SKU# BETRY, $3.95, makes 1L. I guess you get what you pay for.

5. Berg Color Toner (Green), B&H SKU# BETRGR, $3.95, makes 1L. See #4 for description.

There are quite a few other toners that might be available to you, but sometimes they can be limited due to shipping constraints. Photographer's Formulary also has it's own site where you can buy all sorts of photographic chemistry, from toners, to developers, to non-silver and alternative process kits. Click on "Store" to see what they carry. Pretty interesting.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Fine Digital Print

In recent years digital printing has become a valid option for producing photographic prints. For many it has replaced the darkroom with a type of lightroom. The computer and inkjet printer have taken the place of the enlarger and chemistry. This transition happened to me out of sheer necessity. After I finished grad school I didn't have a darkroom in which to work. For a time I shot Polaroids to continue the photographic process. Eventually I began to research and test the waters of the digital world. That was 2003.

Thinking back, I had a professor in grad school named Craig Stevens who was a serious B&W guru. His knowledge and expertise of the silver based print was astounding. I thought he was B&W for life. But during my years at SCAD he had begun to experiment with digital printing and contemplated it’s future. The one thing I’ll never forget seeing was a For Sale sign in the grad darkroom with his name on it; it was a list of his entire wet darkroom, from Zone VI enlarger to plastic graduates.

I suppose that’s what gave me the urge to try digital printing as well, alongside the fact that a digital workspace was much more convenient in a one bedroom apartment at the time (not to mention portable for when I moved to a new home).

To begin, I looked into a specific type of printing called Piezography. This was a term coined by Jon Cone. He had created a system where you replace the inks in your printer with his pigmented inks: a gradation of tones from black to white for B&W printing. The system had incredible potential, although I had only mediocre results.

This is where a haunting realization hit me, as it may have hit many of you. Digital printing is not as easy as clicking the “Print” button. From that time until now I have experimented and tried all types of avenues to produce a high-quality fine print. Fortunately over the years I feel like I’ve arrived at the place where my digital prints can rival the quality of traditional darkroom prints. It’s taken a lot of practice. But now I’m in love with the capabilities of Photoshop and high-end printers.

One of the dangers I have encountered with the medium of digital printing is to compare it directly to traditional Silver or Chromogenic prints. They are not the same medium. It would be like comparing Silver to Platinum/Palladium. It’s not a fair comparison. All mediums have their own unique qualities and use should be considered for the unique assets of each. And if you are against the evolving technology of photography and want to remain "traditional," then I must ask "Why are you shooting film? Shouldn't you be making Daguerreotypes or Calotypes?" We must remember that Photography's history has always been linked to advancements in technology.

It bothers me when people disregard digital printing as a valid means of output. It bothers me in general when anyone becomes too legalistic about the practice of making art. It seems ridiculous to limit yourself. Now, I’m not saying that digital is the way for everyone to go, but it has definitely become a serious option that can expand the potential of your art making abilities as well as future marketability in the working world.

In conclusion, I’d like to mention a link to a guide I put together on Digital Printing in Photoshop. It is an eight-page guide with illustrations to get you started on the road to making better prints. There will probably be plenty of questions about options and how to refine the process, and those are things I’m definitely willing to discuss.

Maybe one day, many of you will step out of the dark and into the light like I did. (I just couldn’t resist one last jab.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Digital Gray Card

If you're shooting RAW, then you need a digital gray card. This is not for exposure; it's used for color balance. I've been using a WhiBal for about a year now. It is a LIFE SAVER!

Adobe Photoshop LIGHTROOM

Lightroom 1.0 has just been released for purchase for all you Digi Photo folks. It is $200 until April 30, then it goes to $300. It will ship out mid-February. I think this will be another benchmark for digital photography. Apple's Aperture is the only other competetor out there right now. And since Aperture doesn't run on a G4, I guess I'll be using Lightroom.

You can't tell this as I'm writing, but I'm actually drooling just a little bit.

Click HERE for more info about Lightroom.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Da Bidness

For those of you with a nose for news and an interest in making it as a professional photographer, check out John Harrington's blog for the inside scoop HERE. He also just released a pretty decent book called "Best Business Prectices for Photographers." However, the blog is free.

Here's a fun EXAMPLE that might hit home with some of us! I definitely have to agree with John on this one.

Eye Candy

I was at Joseph Beth over the weekend. They really have a nice selection of photographic periodicals (a.k.a., magazines), and not a bad collection of books either. (What I would especially recommend are the ones that deal more with the art of photography and the creative process, not just gear and techinical stuff.) They had a new magazine that caught my eye called JPG. Some really nice articles, such as how to retrofit your digital SLR with a Holga lens and a number of excellent photo essays.

So maybe next weekend, grab a friend, go to JB's, get a cup of coffee, and check out some of their great magazines.

(Within walking distance: Sqecial Media also has some excellent photo mags; just try not to get too distracted by all the awesome toys.)


For all of us shooting and printing with traditional black and white materials, there is an excellent opportunity brought to us by the folks at Ilford and Calumet. They are having there 2nd annual silver-print competition (a.k.a., a black and white photograph). The entry deadline is coming up in the next few months: between February 15 and March 16 to be exact. There will actually be a conference, although making it to Pasadena, CA during the last third of the semester might be a long shot. Entry fees are only $15 to submit 3 entrees for students! First prize for students is $1000!!! We should all seriously consider this opportunity. If you do it, I'll do it. Let's talk after class.

For more details click HERE.

The Nature of a Photograph

One of the things that seems most powerful about a photograph is its ability to capture the ephemeral. It reveals the essence of a certain place or person in a moment. That moment becomes an eternal pause, allowing our eyes and mind to contemplate a reality that might not have be visible without the camera or photographic medium.

And perhaps too, that is why it is so difficult to create the photograph that lasts. All things must come together at once: light, subject, composition, and the magic if a specific moment, frozen in time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Some Phaidon 55 Links

55's as seen in class at Calumet
Try this link at Amazon.
This is a Listmania link at Amazon.
Here is one at Barnes & Noble.

And if you hurry, they actually have a lot of these books at the Fine Arts Library up on the second floor in the TR section!!!

B&H Shopping List for UK

Here are some links to recommended materials at B&H:

Fiber Based Paper
Ilford Multigrade IV Variable Contrast Fiber Base Paper $62.39

Ilford HP5plus $3.49
Ilford Delta 400 $4.59
Kodak T-Max 400 $4.99
Kodak Tri-X $3.69

Negative Sleeves
Print File 35-7b $5.95

3 Ring Storage Box (Work Box)
Besfile Archival Binder $8.95

Delta Thermometer $4.95

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Back In The Saddle Again

Alright, 2007. The break is almost over and we're just about ready for the Spring semester. Time to actually wake up from hibernating and do something. How about making photographs!

My break was pretty nice. Santa was good to me this year. Apparently he stopped by Amazon.com and picked up a load of photo books for me. My favorite, Elliott Erwitts "Snaps." If any of you made it to see him at R.C. May Lecture last Fall, you got a taste of this book. This is a 540+ page book of excellent photography. You'll have to see it to believe it. #2, I got a beautiful book of Abelardo Morrell's work (pictured above). Phaidon Press, what else do I need to say? Some technical books I got: Michael Grecco's "Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait," (not bad at all) and "Designing a Digital Portfolio," by Cynthia Baron, an outstanding resource. Oh yeah, and John Harrington's book, "Best Business Practices for Photographers," (a serious business book, which is a bit over my head).

I also had a great treat yesterday. I went with Jeff Rogers and Matt Anderson to Louisville for a photo workshop with Michael Wilson. If you remember before, he was on my Hero list. It's pretty cool when you get to meet someone you admire, and Michael was really nice. He seems to be the "quiet waters that run deep" kind of guy. I also got to go out to lunch with him. If you'd like to see some of his work, check out his site here. He's well know for his portraiture of musicians, such as Over the Rhine, Lyle Lovett.

Sorry I haven't written in a while. Things get hectic after Thanksgiving and into finals, as if you didn't know already. Actually, I got stuck on the island of "Lost," trying to look cool...or was that a cemeteray in Louisville.