Donald Neff: The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley

Donald Neff

Donald Neff is an old friend and business colleague – who’s also a great painter of landscapes. We worked together as computer geeks in prior lives – and, while my journey into photography is a recent passion, painting is something for Don that goes way back. And he’s great at it!

This afternoon Don gave a talk at the Don Edwards National Refuge Education Center in Alviso about his most recent project – The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley. Don started this project in November 2013 and, over the next twelve months, painted a series of sixty plein air paintings in the nooks and crannies of Silicon Valley. During today’s presentation, he told some wonderful stories about several of these places – full of suspense and delight. His exhibition at this venue will continue for a few more weeks.

Don’s got a lot of material about the project available on his website – and, if you like what you see, I’d encourage to to order his book on the project. It’s beautifully done – and in the same 8×10 size as his original plein air paintings.

Beautiful work indeed!

My Favorite iPhoneographer: Karen Klinedinst

Autumn Lake-img_7324-1024px

I’m not exactly sure that I remember how I first discovered the work of Karen Klinedinst. I suspect I was searching for iPhoneographers who were doing especially interesting work. iPhoneography is the term applied to using your iPhone’s camera to create interesting images – and iPhoneographers are those creative people who create their art this way.

Somehow I ended up on Karen’s web site – one of those delightful discoveries that sometimes happen to us on the web. First, one image – then another, and another, and yet another. Beautiful in their treatment of a landscape – with the delight of having been shot and edited on an iPhone. I found her on Facebook – and friended her.

I was particularly taken with Karen’s “Autumn Lake” (above) and emailed her an order for a framed print of this beautiful image. Karen’s Autumn Lake is now hanging in our living room – a beautiful image that changes it colors as the window light shifts across it during the course of a day. It’s one of those very special images.

Along the way, I asked Karen if she’d be willing to share more of her story here on my blog. She agreed – and We worked together on a Q&A. I sent her a list of questions that I had about how iPhoneography – and she replied – sharing some of her artistic inspiration as well as the details of her iPhone photo processing.

What a wonderful chat with a great artist – thanks Karen!

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Peter Wegner’s Work at Stanford’s Knight Management Center

Monument to Change As It Changes - Zambrano Hall - Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Lily and I made a very quick tour this morning under grey skies of the new Knight Management Center campus of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. While the setting is grand and the spaces are lovely, the work of Peter Wegner stood out for me in our quick tour. Here’s the Flickr set from our walk.

The image above is of Peter’s “Monument to Change As It Changes” (click to see more) which is on one of the exterior walls of Zambrano Hall. Made up of 2,048 of those little rectangular color spinners (he calls them “flip digit modules”), the wall changes constantly creating a mesmerizing experience. Very nicely done!

Wegner has a couple of other installations at the new GSB as well. He’s based in Berkeley – and is doing some obviously great work! Perhaps I’m a bit biased to other artists who also grew up in South Dakota?

Chris Honeysett at Menlo Park’s Fine Arts Festival

One of my favorite local photographers is Chris Honeysett, a master of black and white images. I own two of his large photographs – one in my home office and the other in my Glenbrook office – and they’re both great! Chris recently started blogging – his new blog is one of my regular photography-related reads!

IMG 5196 EditChris is exhibiting this weekend at the 29th annual Sidewalk Fine Arts Festival on Menlo Park’s Santa Cruz Avenue. I was out early this morning shooting photos for our InMenlo story on the festival – and spent a few minutes catching up with Chris. He’s recently moved almost all of his photography from his original view camera to digital.

While I was there, he showed me his latest aerial shot from Kauai, Hawaii – a remarkable grey scale image of the Kauai coastline – shot from the air in a helicopter with no doors! If you go to the festival, be sure to check out this particular image!

I imposed a bit on Chris for a few shots of him in front of his display. Here’s one of my favorites – enhanced using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom!

Must See: Ansel Adams at the Monterey Museum of Art!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Chris Gulker and I headed south this morning to the Monterey Museum of Art’s La Mirada facility – a beautiful old home with wonderful three level gallery adjacent. The venue is popular for weddings – and I can see why!

Our objective: to be able to do a leisurely tour of the Ansel Adams: Portrait of America exhibition currently showing (through October 3). We did just that – taking our time, exploring all of the details, highlights and shadows of each image – and marveling at Adams’ creative and technical proficiency. No crowds, mostly just the two of us – enjoying the heck out of this exploration of light.

What’s particularly special about this exhibition is that it’s one of the rare showings of a complete “Museum Set” – something Adams focused on during the last years of his life. This set of images is from the collection of Ansel Adam’s daughter, Anne Adams Helms – who Chris and I actually met during our walk through!

I’ve been to several other Ansel Adams “shows” over the last few years – but none of them had the impact and beauty of this exhibition. It’s just perfect! Be sure to get there if you can.

On the way home, we stopped for a great seafood lunch at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing – another spot not to be missed when you’re in the area!

Painting Stanford with Donald Neff

My friend Donald Neff and I visited Stanford this morning for a fun exploration of painting and photography. Don’s quite an accomplished landscape artist and, while I rarely pick up a brush, I’ve got way too much photographic gear to just sit by and watch!

We picked a spot inside the quad and I took a “reference photo” which Don looked at briefly and then began to sketch and paint. We wanted to see a comparison of the same scene – painting and photo – more on that later! Don took this picture of me shooting our “subject” in the Quad. Here’s Don’s blog post on today’s “Stanford Shootout!

Don and I worked together at a couple of points in our careers in the payments world. Here’s a photo of Don hard at work inside the quad at Stanford!

Donald Neff painting at Stanford University

Below is an example of one of my HDR photos (High Dynamic Range) taken with the Canon 5D Mark II using +/1 2 stop Automatic Exposure Bracketing on a monopod.

StanfordQuad-HDR-25Apr2009-ScottLoftesness.jpg

And another HDR shot of one of Rodin’s Burghers of Calais in the Stanford Quad.

Stanford Quad - Rodin's Burghers of Calais

The full set of HDR photos I took inside the Stanford Quad are here.

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford – A Sunday Favorite

One of our favorite places on the Stanford campus is the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts – otherwise known as the Cantor Arts Center.

Lady Madonna

Today, on an amazingly warm and delightful Sunday, I took the quick two mile trip over to Cantor to try out my new Canon EOS 5D Mark II on some inside the museum photography – Cantor is one of those museums that empowers photographers – inside the non-exhibition galleries and for non-commercial use only. Here’s the quick result – today’s “raw” (unadjusted) set on Flickr.

For today’s shooting, I left the 5D Mark II in full automatic ISO selection – turned out that for indoor shooting inside the Arts Center this was a real delight compared to the 40D’s limited automatic ISO adjustment. I ran the 5D Mark II mostly in Picture mode – letting the camera automatically select shutter speed and aperture.

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Loving Serendipity

Painter friend (and reformed payments geek) Donald Neff writes about how he achieved one of his 2007 New Year’s resolutions – having his paintings shown in two new galleries.

He was successful – signing up the Tahoe Village Art Gallery in South Lake Tahoe and the Sandy-by-the-Sea Gallery in Carmel by the Sea.

He writes: “Well, after all this, I am setting a goal of at least one more gallery for 2008. I doubt they will ‘plop in my lap’ like the last two, but you never know.”

In the small world category, it turns out that Don is friends with Ed Terpening – another Northern California “plein air” artist. I first corresponded with Ed when he was helping Wells Fargo launch their initial weblog efforts a couple of years ago.

Maybe we need to start PaymentsPainters.com? 😉