Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Hello Fellow Artists-

I hike and photograph pretty regularly in Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park in NY. Every spring around this time I find a great tree in these parks that stands out from the other trees in the park because of its beautiful white flowers. I am not sure what it is. I don't think it is native and was planted on purpose at the roadsides and parking areas when the parks were laid out during the depression. They have flourished and can be seen in many parts of the park now adjacent to where they were planted. I was once told they were mock oranges. I thought that was a shrub not a tree and was just curious if any of you know for sure what they are. In the meantime I will enjoy them for the next month before they go all green. I may even include them in some future posts. I enjoy these trees a great deal and they give me something to photograph until the waterlilies and mountain laurel bloom.

Do You know what this tree is?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Art is Everywere

Hello fellow Artists,

Once again I have learned the lesson that You do not need to travel far to find subjects for your art. This morning I packed up my photo gear and headed to the state park planning to hit some of my favorite spots and see what I could find. I found roads closed, waterlilies not in bloom yet and too early around here for mountain laurel... Dejected I headed home. I decided to take my gear out into the yard as I noticed in late afternoon yesterday that the light hitting my wife's Rhododendrons was just beautiful. I did not expect anything this morning, but what did I find that the sun had just crept up high enough to back light the flowers and with the help of a three foot round reflector I was able to get this great shot.

The lesson is not to try to force your photography(or painting) Let it come to you. This does not mean not to plan an expedition and learn what will be where when if you as planning is a great part of getting the best images. I am just saying be open to what is around you when things do not go according to plan.

Keep makin' art!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Infra Red Effect in PhotoShop

Hello Fellow Artists-

After posting my article yesterday I got to thinking about about PhotoShop and if I could make a passable Infrared looking image in PhotoShop with a raw digital file or JPEG.

The answer is Yes! It was not too tricky at all. I had thought of going old school PhotoShop and doing it the hard way with duplicated Channels and various amounts of blurring and opacity. I decided to search around and found a great article that gets right to it. Here is the article. Take a look at it and give it a try. I am going to play around some more and refine the technique, but it can be done pretty well.
What is the downside you ask... I had gone down this road looking for a legitimate reason to keep my film based photo gear. Strike one I guess.. However. The reason of I like my film based cameras that served me so well for 25 years! Is good enough for me. At least during times when I can put up with the time delays and the lack of control I get when dealing with a traditional photolab. I am becoming very spoiled by having total control from capture to final output. I have said this before, but we have gotten further into digital imaging than I ever imagined we would during my life time. Is that a good thing in many ways yes and in some ways no. I say this as someone who made his career working photolabs (just like my dad) and had to find another way to make a living as the number of labs got fewer and fewer and it become so costly for traditional labs to stay in business. What are your thoughts on the digital imaging revolution? I'd be curious to know.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Infra Red B&W Photography

Hello Fellow Artists-

Today's post is about Infra-Red B&W photography. Infra red is an amazing film. It records radiation in the Infra Red spectrum we don't normally see. It can be tricky to use, but well worth the results. I will share with you some of the lessons I learned the hard way about this film.

My first tip is by the book pictured here. The Art of InfraRed Photography by Joseph Paduano. I would have saved myself a lot of grief and more than one roll of ruined film had I read this book first. It also has a great collection of images that can give you an Idea of some of the things this film is capable of.

Here is list of things to keep in mind when using this film.

  1. Always load and unload the film into your camera in total darkness. This film can fog right thru the can! (cause of my first ruined roll)
  2. The focus wheel on your camera has a little dot or hash mark just to the right of your normal focus location. Manually focus and then shift the focus point over just that smidge to the infrared focus point. (cause of my second not so good roll)
  3. Shoot with a dark red filter over your lens. You will not notice much of an InfraRed effect without it. (further not so good rolls of film)
  4. Don't try to figure out a working ASA (film speed) with this film. It changes on the conditions. I have learned to use a base exposure I use for everything and bracket 1 stop up and 1 stop down from that exposure (ie I start with f11 at 1/60 of a second and also shoot at f8 and f16). If it is a really amazing location and you want to guarantee you get the shot bracketing 2 stops is not a bad idea.
  5. If you are not going to develop the film yourself then make sure you discus with your lab that the film is InfraRed and needs special handling (More than 1 roll lost to this issue) One thing labs commonly employ is an InfraRed camera system to be able to observe racks of film in the development process. Guess what this does.... you got it totally fogs the film. (once you unload it from your camera into the plastic can it is safe for the trip to the lab. I also had more than one customer service person at the lab accidentally open the can of film and fog it. Clear communication with the lab is key)

So what does this stuff look like? It has an almost magic sharp grainy yet soft quality. The green grasses and foliage in landscapes becomes very light while the sky can become almost black. Here are some of the images I have created with this film. These images were scanned from enlarged contact sheets as I can not currently find the negatives from these shots and the prints I have are too big for my scanner so I apologize if the images are a little off. You will see I have sepia toned the images which can add to the quality of them.

So, hopefully I have not frightened you away from this amazing film and the beautiful images you can achieve. With a little experimentation and care you can get create images totally different from your current photography.
In a future post I will pick up this thread and talk about getting the same kind of results with your digital camera and Photoshop.

Long Awaited Post Number 50

Hello Fellow Artists-

Well here it is post number 50 (YEAH). I have been off the blogosphere for a couple of weeks. Sorry about that! Work has been insanely busy and while I love Art and it nourishes my soul... it don't pay the mortgage if ya know what I mean. At least not yet. Someday I will take the plunge and watercolor and photography will be my retirement career. Hopefully in about 15 years when i am still young enough to enjoy the rigors of hiking to the perfect spot at some ungodly hour of the morning. I want to thank everyone who wanders in and everyone who is a regular reader... Your comments encourage me to keep at it and push ahead with my art. Thanks also to my wife W. Without her love and support nothing is possible!

Next post is the long awaited discussion on infrared B&W photography.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Nobska Light

I think I was Channeling Edward Hopper last summer when I drove out to Nobska and painted this one. I took liberty with the nicely manicured green lawns and removed the fence.

I posted this one because I seem to be on a full-circle kick. When I ran across this painting on my drawing board I realized I had posted it also as a photoshop effect last week. It goes to show that the same subject can be inspiration for multiple works.

What subjects do you find so inspiring that you go back to them over and over?

Happy Painting!


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Another Card

Hello Again Fellow Artists (and art lovers)

OK. SO I did not finish my post on Infra-Red B&W photography. I actually and waiting for some prints to get back from the lab (ah film!)

Here is the the card i painted for my Mom. It is from the Dogwood I photographed about a week ago. It has now been Photographed, Photoshop-Art, and Painted. I have gone full circle on this image. Go back thru the past couple of week's posts and tell me which you like best... Why.. It will be a fun debate! This week I'll get back to my posts about what to do with your old film camera.



Happy Mother's Day

Hello Fellow Artists:

Happy Mother's day to all you Mom's out there! May have a great day with your families and loved ones.
Today Our little friend the Mountain Blue bird makes another appearance. I first sketched him in my sketchbook a few weeks ago after seeing a great photo of him on "a Focus in the Wild" (one of my favorite blogs.. You should check it out) Today's version is a little more polished. My wife asked me to make a card for her mom with the bluebird on it. I think it turned out rather nice. He's a noble little bird.
This is one of my favorite things to do when I don't know what to paint is paint greeting cards. Strathmore sells blank cards and envelopes on heavy watercolor paper. They are 5x7 in size the paintings goe quickly. One way to make them look sharp is to use painters tape and mask out a 1/4 " white boarder on the cards. They make great gifts that are frame-able in and of them selves. Give it a try! I like to either do watercolors or ink and wash on the cards. They are great for a quick half hour project and give you the wonderful satisfaction of putting brush to paper. I recommend it as painting therapy and a way to jump start yourself if you have not painted in a bit. It is also a great project to do with your nieces and nephews as a project for fun or on a rainy day!
Happy Painting,

Thursday, May 08, 2008

All in the Family

When I started this blog I mentioned I come from a family of artistic people. My Uncle Steven works in Pastel. One of his pieces, entitled River Walk was accepted in the show celebrating the centennial of Zion National Park. The Zion National Park centennial exhibit will be on view at the St. George Art Museum from August 23, 2008 to January 24, 2009. The juried show will travel after that.
Congratulations to my Uncle Ugghhh (his nick name from when I was a kid). This is a beautiful painting!

For more information about this show go to http://sgcity.org/artmuseum/zion_gallery.php

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My First Camera

Hello fellow Artists:

For Christmas 1983 I got my first real camera from my folks. Not including the brownie hawkeye and the b+w polaroid that I played around with as a kid. It was a Konica Auto-Reflex TC SLR with a 40mm 1.8 lens. Talk about a workhorse of a first camera. It worked fine on manual if the battery died. Try that with the new Digital SLRs! and a was one of the last moderately priced 35mm cameras that had a metal blade shutter. I can't even begin to count how much film has gone thru this camera. It is a champ it shoots great even today and boy is that Konica 40mm lens sharp.

This leads me to a real quandary. I have fully embraced digital photography, but still have this great 35mm and an awesome medium format film camera... What do I do with them. They have been great tools and I don't want to turn my back on them, but with a fully integrated in house workflow how do I incorporate them. Here is what I came up with. I really enjoy Infra-Red B&W photography. This film is very sensitive and will fog right through the metal cartridge. So I load both of these cameras in a dark room shoot my IR film and then unload them in the dark and take to the lab in the dark plastic cans the film comes in. This gives me the freedom to shoot my Infra-red film with my 'trusty' old cameras. Everyone wins. On my next post I'll discuss How I shoot Infra-Red and give you some tips and tricks. I'll get a images printed up so I can scan them and share with you. Infra-Red Black and white has a surreal almost mystical quality to it. ... I know. I know you are saying Why not just reproduce the effect in photoshop? It can be done, but I don't want two of my favorite cameras to sit on the bench and miss all the action.

Keep Making Art

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Another.. Photoshopped Painting

Hello Fellow Artists:
Here is another sample. I am really enjoying the process of working in photoshop to make paintings of my photos.... It is a whole other way of looking at things. I think ultimately I prefer traditional photos and paintings, but this has some fun and interesting uses as well.

Painterly Effects in Photoshop

I normally tend to keep my photos separate from my paintings. but have been enjoying the work of my fellow bloggers out there who make paintings of their photos with programs like photoshop. One site that has been inspiring me is Janice Thomson's Beyond the Mind's Eye . So from time to time I'll post the results of my dabblings into this area that lies between my two pursuits of photography / watercolor. Let me know what you think. Today's image is the dogwood I photographed last week.

Keep on being artistic!

PS - topic of next post... What to do with that old 35mm camera?

New Blogger Feature

Hello Again Fellow Artists:
I am thrilled to see that Blogger has added scheduled postings to its capabilities. Hopefully now you went have silence all week from me and 5 posts over the weekend. Now if you don't see posts from me during the week it is PURE LAZINESS!

Have a great week!

Spring comes to Suffern Redux

Hello Fellow Artists:

Here is more proof that Spring has indeed come to Suffern NY (Yeah). I saw these tulips this morning in my yard and have always loved how this purple-ish color popped against the green lawn. It was cloudy and had just finished raining so was able to catch the waterdroplets on the flowers. I used a gold reflector card to bounce some of the light back up at the flowers and give them some pop! As I look at the window the sun is starting to come out and I am grabbing my gear to go shoot for a little while.

Have a great Sunday!