sunday photo art quote 5/24

What excites you?

Have you made, or at least tried, to make an image from it?

Today’s Photo/Art quote comes from Edward Weston

edward weston quote

“Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” Edward Weston

Even more important can you make the commonplace unusual? Who knew a green pepper could look so sexy?

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

dance of the ocotillo


That’s not a word you hear everyday… Even if you live in the Southwest where these very interesting cactus reside. Ocotillo are long stalks that most of the year look like they are a bit worse for wear and have moved on past the living stage.

BUT, when nature’s green paint brush, AKA rain, moves through the area at the right time of year these seemingly greyish brown sticks with thorns turn green and put on a show with bright crimson blooms.

Kinda gives you hope when you see this process. And that’s where a phrase you hear even less, the name of this post, Dance of the Ocotillo. Which I think is easier to say than Dance of the Fouquieria splendens which is it’s binomial name.

My model friend Pash Galbavy said she really enjoys these plants and wanted to be photographed with them when in bloom. “Was I game to get up and hike into the wild before the sun chose to make an appearance?” “Sure,” I said. “Always up for a challenge and creating some art.”

dance of the ocotillo

Pash made individual dance moves around the cactus. Camera was mounted on a tripod and multiple exposures were blended together using Layers and Masks in Adobe’s Photoshop.

dance of the ocotillo version two

This is an alternate version I enjoy even more created using multiple NIK filters. Included in the mix were Pro Contrast, Glamour Glow, Sepia Toning, Edge Efx and Film Noise.

I used the Lumix GH4 with the Vario 12-35mm f2.8 lens mounted on a tripod. I wanted to capture motion on each movement but I couldn’t get the shutter speed slow enough without some extra help. Camera settings 19mm, 2 sec, f22 ISO 200 manual mode.

Getting the shutter speed this slow required the help of a 2 stop neutral density filter. I had just received a set of very inexpensive filters from Neewer because I wanted to experiment with them for water effects. The kit is less than 25 bucks and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. I just happened to throw them in my kit before this shoot… Who knew??

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – If you want to talk about someone dedicated to her art here is a photo of Pash dressed in clothing more appropriate to the per-dawn temperature!

pash studying how to use the downed tree as a posing prop

Pash dressed for the 47 degree pre-dawn temps we were working in.

PPS – Making purchases on Amazon and through other links helps support the education on the Successful-Photographer web site… TIA.

springs a poppin article

Photography Marketing. There are lots of ways to be in your client’s face. (but gently)

Here’s one of the articles I wrote for the Villager in the Village of Oak Creek, Sedona. It’s a basic photography How-To for beginner photographers. This article featured information on how black and white conversions could change the look of an image depending on techniques and color filtration.

You can offer to do this for your local newspapers. There’s no pay but keeping you name in front of potential clients will hopefully cover the time to write and produce image examples.

photography how to article in villager newspaper

Villager article on how color filters change the look of black and white image.

Don’t make the mistake that I did in this article of not including my bio/contact information. This isn’t a paid gig and is to help people understand photography and remind folks I’m still around and know what I’m talking about.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

may flowers

Sedona has had a very wet (for us) spring and the result has been lots of flowers flourishing, in the wild and in the gardens. As you may remember I write a column for the local monthly paper, The Villager, to help keep my name out there. It’s called Photographer’s Corner and I offer tips on making better images. Usually the tips are pretty simple from a pro’s point of view but they are appreciated by the general public.

It was nice while on my Meals on Wheels route to have the Lumix FZ 1000 on hand to grab some flower photos as I saw them. Being able to zoom to 400mm made it possible to shoot from the car through an open window during the rain. (make sure you turn the car off to cut down the vibration) Here’s one of an Iris standing tall on an overcast day which gave good detail.

Iris in lavendar

Straight capture for the article illustrating the concept of ‘Filling the Frame’. Camera settings 1/320 sec F4.0 ISO 160

iris art image

Once I had the image in the computer I had to play just to see what I could see…

iris art

Here’s another version. Always try something new when I have time.

The images were created blending a photo of a wall of small leaves and a photo of some dead leaves raked into a pile. Textures can come from a myriad of places and subjects. Thought I’d keep these textures organic in keeping with the flower.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

simple image

Having a camera with you all the time allows you to see a quick moment and record it. This enables you to learn how different objects look in different lighting situations. I do a fair amount of commercial photography and product and often clients are looking for a natural setting photograph that has the feel as if not set up for an ad. Making little studies like this keeps me sharp when figuring out details for future shoots.

 commercial photo

Captured with the Lumix GH4 and 35-100mm Vario f2.8 lens 1/15 sec f2.8 ISO 1600

I really enjoy the warmth of this image. Light was coming from the sky through sliding glass doors. The repeating orange light gives this a lot of depth. If I was photographing this for a client I would have added some more controlled light onto the wine bottle with very soft edged highlights and perhaps have added a glass of wine to the set-up.

But since I was there enjoying the music and having dinner with my wife I didn’t push it toooooo much.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

sunday photo/art quote 5/17

When I first started photography I never put a filter on my lens cause I thought it would be ‘cheating’.

When I started using a darkroom it was to create ‘realistic’ photos.

Enter Photoshop and it was just another way to get ‘real’ photos.

Now that I’ve been photographing for thirty-plus years with twenty-plus of them as a pro I listen in wonderment as some photographers belittle newer cameras or Photoshop techniques when creating images as ‘cheating’.

All of the things mentioned here are just tools. The tools help a photographer attain his or her vision to put a final image on a receptor for show. Whether that receptor is a print or a screen doesn’t matter. It is the final image not the journey to it that matters.

Many folks trot our Ansel Adams as the quintessential ‘straight photographer’. He couldn’t have been further from it than the distance between here and the moon. The Zone System, changing exposure, development times, ISO ratings, paper grade choices, enlarger bulb choices and many more techniques went into the final images created by Adams.

Today’s quote is from Pete Turner a wonderful photographer known for his rich ‘in your face’ color images.

pete turner photographer quote

“I am steadily surprised that there are so many photographers that reject manipulating reality, as if that was wrong. Change reality! if you don’t find it, invent it!”    Pete Turner

Turner used all the tools available to push his images to an art realm. Pushing color to it’s limits. Sharp focus? Not necessarily! Check out his work for some inspiration to be freer with your camera captures and how you see and share your world through photography.

pete turner

Front page from Pete’s web page of images. © Pete Turner

Nowadays I don’t give a rats butt about how I get the image. Camera, Photoshop, computer are all tools I use. Working hard to share the vision that only I have.

What’s in your head that you’ve been afraid, or unable, to let the world see because you didn’t use the tools available to their full capabilities?

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

butoh posing time lapse

A couple days ago I shared some images from working with Pash Galbavy when she was doing a model posing for a life drawing class. She was posing in the Butoh style, something I had never heard of before documenting this class. See the post here.

One of the great features of the Lumix cameras that doesn’t get spoken about too often is the ability to shoot time lapse sequences. I mounted the Lumix FZ-1000 on a tripod and set it to capture an image every 30 seconds. I was looking to tell the story of the life drawing class and how this particular session of Butoh posing was done.

Pash and the artists at work in the Life Drawing Class over a couple hour period.

These images were given a quick process to control color and contrast and saved to 600 pixel jpegs. For the time lapse 94 images were used at 7 frames a second giving a 13 second film output as an H.264 codec which produces a .MOV file. They were assembled using Time Lapse Assembler a free program for MAC or PC. One thing to remember when creating a time lapse movie that a normal playback speed is using 24 frames per second. which means you often need to capture images about every 1-3 seconds over a long period of time to have a longer final film.

pash galbavy art from butoh pose
Here is one of my working images from the shoot.
Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

butoh posing

Pretty amazing what we get to learn as photographers…

I was asked by a model friend, Pash Galbavy, (see her site and work with other artists here) to help document a life drawing modeling session she was doing utilizing Butoh posing.

Butoh posing?? What the heck is that? And the continuing education of this photographer goes on…

Butohis a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, butoh arose in 1959 through collaborations between its two key founders Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo. The art form is known to “resist fixity” and be difficult to define. If you’d like to learn more check Wikipedia here.

model pash

Pash Galbavy of Sedona at Elephantine in an art rendition using textures and colors photographed at the same time.

fine art with pash galbavy

Pash wore clay and twined straw into her hair to enhance the Butoh look.

Pash galbavy art image

Pash is absolutely amazing as a model. She’s able to hold poses for a long period of time with no motion
yet still able to bring emotion forward.

Images were captured with the Lumix GH4 and the Lumix Vario 35-100mm f2.8 lens. ISO’s were from 1600 to 3200…

Images were then taken into Adobe Photoshop where I added layers of color textures from photos and used Blend Modes, Selections and Masks to create the final artwork. In working this way I have numerous renditions with different amounts of color. or lack thereof for each of these images. This is the technique I’ve dubbed ‘Photo-Synthesis’.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – If you are ever in the Sedona, Arizona area and need a life model who is incredibly talented make sure you see if Pash is available. She’s truly a work of art in her own right with her posing ability.

sunday photo/art quote 5/10

One of the most sincere, talented, giving and wonderful photographers I know is the author of today’s photo/art quote.

Woody Walters.

Woody does a weekly ‘Photoshop Tip of the Week’. You can check it out here

woody walters quote

“If sight is the function of the eyes then vision is the response of the heart.” Woody Walters

Woody is a visionary who has shared his techniques in Photoshop and has been an inspiration to me over the years.

Vision is way different than seeing.

woody walters art

Here’s some of Woody’s work… © Woody Walters These are samples of Lightening & Smoke Brushes he created. His set of smoke brushes are, “How should I say?” Smokin!

I wish for you the ability to see beyond what your eyes see and to respond to what is in your heart…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – If you want to upgrade from Woody’s free Photoshop Tip of the Week you can use the code ‘Coates15′ to save 15% off the bi-monthly subscription price which gives you access to new longer tutorials and access to download some of Woody’s brushes.

future seminar w AZPPA

I’m working on a video for a future seminar being hosted by the Arizona Professional Photographers Association (AZPPA) in the fall and here is an image of one of the character actors expected to join us in a western setting. Steve AKA the ‘Sheriff’ is a pleasure to work with as are all the  people who will be dressed in period costumes at the event.

'Sheriff' Steve photo

‘Sheriff’ Steve in costume.

Steve was captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Lumix Vario Lens. Natural light from a somewhat overcast but bright day coming through a doorway camera right and behind Steve so I could shoot into the shadow side of his face to add depth, dimension and drama to his features.1/15th sec f3.2 ISO 1600 in Aperture Priority with a slight bump in Exposure Compensation to open shadows just a bit.

Post processing often plays into the creation of my images. As Ansel Adams proclaimed, “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.” So here is the original digital capture with no adjustments.

photo of 'sheriff' steve

Straight Out of Camera (SOOC)

Top Image was processed in Silver FX Pro 2 to convert to Black and White.

Then some small retouching moves, mostly dodging and burning to control the contrast of the scene.

NIK Color FX Pro 4 Bleach Bypass Filter. Used a Layer Mask to bring back some detail that got whacked.

Back into NIK Color FX Pro 4 to use the Tonal Contrast Filter to highlight details and bump contrast.Layer Mask to control specific areas.

Added a Soft vingette.

Soft Light Blend Mode Layer added to retouch and add extra life to his eyes.

Then a conversion to Sepia Tone using a Hue Saturation Adjustment Layer with the settings Hue 30 Saturation 10 Lightness 0 and Colorize checked. (Got this recipe, or something very similar, about 15 years ago from longtime photographer friend Tom Cheswick)

Link to NIK Plugins

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob