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Another Ansel

I recently visited Cantor Art Museum at Stanford to see a temporary small exhibition of Ansel Adams’ work: Surf Sequence. It’s an exhibition of five of his photographs taken in 1940 along the San Mateo county coastline looking down at the surf as the waves move in and out over the sand.

Surf Sequence

They’re beautiful images – as usual with his work. Even more interesting to me, however, were two other images on the opposite wall taken in the late 1920’s of a skier coming down a ski run on Mount Watkins in Yosemite (both images shown below taken with an iPhone 11 Pro Max).

Skiing on Mount Watkins, Yosemite High Sierra
Skiing on Mount Watkins, Yosemite High Sierra

These images remind me of one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s drawings – Winter Road – although I’m sure one didn’t directly influence the other!

Winter Road

Winter Road comes from one of O’Keeffe’s books of early drawings and we studied it along with some of her other work during a workshop I attended last summer in Santa Fe. The image above was taken with my iPhone at a wonderful exhibition of her work – Living Modern – that I saw last August at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.

I’ve seen a lot of Ansel Adams photographs over the years – but these were new to me. There so different from his usual Yosemite work but very “musical” in some sense. There’s a certain calligraphic look in all of these images – pen strokes that vary in width. Others might see other things – finger patterns in the frost on glass in the wintertime, etc.

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The Artists in Bavent France

Recently, I participated in Valérie Jardin’s Normandy workshop and had the special opportunity to visit the artists working at the pottery in Bavent, a few miles from our home base in Cabourg.

The artists we very welcoming and open to our visit – it was a special time to be able to see them work and to capture a few portraits of them. Special thanks to each of the artists for being so generous with our group of photographers and to Valérie for enabling us to visit.

For making these images I used my iPhone. Here are a few of my favorites images from the visit.

The Potter
The Painter
The Jewelrymaker
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Seeing Georgia O’Keeffe’s Living Modern

A few weeks ago – after returning from a week in Santa Fe – I made a day trip to Reno to visit the Nevada Museum of Art and its Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition Living Modern (organized by the Brooklyn Museum). I caught a morning flight from San Francisco and arrived at the museum just as it was opening at 10 AM. The sun was pretty dramatic on the museum building that morning.

The exhibition was beautifully displayed – a combination of both O’Keeffe’s artwork (paintings and drawings) and her clothing. The combination helped illuminate my understanding of her as a person – particularly her emphasis on wearing black – and her use of light and shadows in her artwork.

One of my favorite drawings of hers – Winter Road – was on display near the end of exhibition. It’s a drawing of a long driveway – strikingly done.

Winter Road

The exhibition displayed her artwork on the walls while her clothing was displaying in the middle on mannequins. The combination provided a lovely juxtaposition allowing a movement back and forth across the two domains.

In a different area of the museum there’s another exhibit of O’Keeffe’s camping gear. She was quite an outdoor woman – spending overnights camping out in her favorite locations in New Mexico.

The gift shop in the museum had the following quote from O’Keeffe – which sums her her clothing style!

I hadn’t been to Reno in many years so it was fun to catch back up with the city a bit while I was there. About a block from the museum is the breakfast and lunch spot Peg’s Glorified Ham and Eggs. Naturally I had to try it out – having breakfast for lunch!

After lunch, I stopped by the National Automobile Museum – about 160+ classic cars from the original collection acquired over the years from casino owner Bill Harrah. A worthwhile visit – the movie provides a great overview of the collection and about Bill Harrah.

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A Lazy Sunday at Cantor

We are having a lovely early June weekend here in the San Francisco Bay Area and it was one of those perfect lazy Sundays to visit the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford.

I recently broke the femur in one of my legs and am just now getting to the point of being able to get around using just a cane and without the seemingly ever present walker that I’ve been using. Cantor is a perfect spot for taking it slow while getting in some good exercise walking both indoors and out. It’s a perfect place for some iPhone photography along the way!

The inner courtyard has a new piece that’s very striking in its isolation:

A lunch of shiitake mushroom soup at the Cool Cafe hit the spot with just enough sustenance to keep me going. Next to me on the patio we’re a couple reading – they looked like regulars who enjoyed the ambiance of reading under an umbrella while overlooking the lovely lawn view adjacent! Put me in the mood to do the same! (I’m currently reading Bitcoin Billionaires!)

In one of the indoor galleries are paintings from two favorite artists: Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe. Here’s the O’Keefe work:

And the Hopper piece:

Out in the Rodin Sculpture Garden it was lovely parking myself in the shade, reading a bit and watching the visitors explore. Along the way I noticed the sunlight on one of my favorite small sculptures in the big Gates of Hell:

Here are a few more images from my walk at Cantor today – and a few more over by the main Quad and Memorial Church:

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Mobile Photography on Monterey Bay

I recently drove to Monterey to join my friend and painter Don Neff while he was doing plein air painting as part of the 2018 Carmel Art Festival. Don took us to one of his favorite spots along the Monterey Bay coastline – Perkins Park in Pacific Grove.

Don and I caught up on old times as he was painting a small 6×8 inch canvas for the show.

As I was sitting with Don, we watched the sun play with the fog bank – creating some beautiful and ever changing lighting on the bay. There was a single fishing boat out – seemed to be turning circles in the middle of the bay. I captured a few shots with my iPhone 8 Plus including this one:

Later, when I was home, I began playing with this image using some of the iOS photo editing apps that I’ve collected (don’t ask how many I have!). One of my favorites for landscape (or seascape!) scenes is called Distressed FX. This app is available on both the iPhone and iPad. It allows you to simply experiment adding both color and texture effects to an image. With this image, I cropped it to a square format and then, using Distressed FX, added the sky and a subtle texture overlay. The result is startling beautiful – and way different from the original! [Update 5/29/18: Here’s a good introductory tutorial about Distressed FX.]

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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!

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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!

Q&A with iPhoneographer Karen Klinedinst

1. How did you get into your iPhone image making? Was there some spark that lit your interest?

About three years ago, I was looking at the Center for Photography at Woodstock‘s schedule, to see if there was a workshop that might inspire me. I had been doing Polaroid transfers for many years, and was searching for a new creative spark. CPW had a “iPhone Artistry” weekend workshop with Dan Burkholder listed. I was curious, and looked at Dan’s website and was completely wowed by his iPhone images.. During my research, I also discovered the work of Nettie Edwards, and was really blown away by her beautiful, mysterious images–all created with her iPhone. I had never considered using my iPhone for anything other than snapshots of my cats. I immediately signed up for Dan Burkholder’s workshop.

2. Tell us about how you see when you’re in the field – and how you capture with your iPhone?

An integral part of my process and how I see is influenced by walking. I’m an avid hiker, and spend at least once a week, hiking in beautiful places in the Mid-Atlantic region. Walking through a landscape allows me to see and feel the nuances of space, light and time. This, influences how I photograph the landscape. By using an iPhone, I’m totally unencumbered, because it so easily fits in my pocket. I can be free about what I capture, and start processing images right in the field. I call it “plein air processing.”

3. There seem to be a never-ending assortment of photo processing apps for the iPhone. Which ones are your favorites, how did you settle on them?

I’m very particular about composition and getting the best quality image capture that I possibly can. I generally capture the image using the apps Pro Camera or 645 Pro. These are great camera apps that allow you to control focus, and exposure. Sometimes, the lighting situation requires using an HDR app. My HDR app of choice is HDR3. So many of my images are panoramic, and with the iPhone it’s incredibly easy to create them. By far the best pano app out there is AutoStich.

Post-processing is where you can get very creative. Some of my favorites are SnapSeed, PhotoToaster, FilterStorm, Vintage Scene, Modern Grunge, Photo Studio, Laminar Pro, and PhotoForge (unfortunately, no longer available in the App Store). I’m constantly experimenting with new apps, so the list is always changing.

Because I do create prints from my images, file size and resolution is very important. So, I only use apps that allow me to get maximum file size and resolution. Some of the file sizes of my AutoStitch panos are fairly large–the maximum possible is 18MB.

4. What’s your general workflow – once you’ve captured a scene?

Because I’ve done a lot of alternative photographic processes throughout my creative life, the image capture is just the jumping off point. I’m not really interested in capturing reality, but creating a neo-Romantic world of my imagination.

Once I capture an image, I think about what I want to covey, and the emotional qualities that the landscape conveys to me. I do some fine-tuning and exposure adjustments with SnapSeed or FilterStorm. Then the creativity begins. I experiment with different apps such as VintageScene, PhotoStudio, PhotoForge, or ModernGrunge to add textures and colors. I sometimes layer effects by bringing several versions of the same image into Laminar Pro and using the layers function. I do a lot of experimentation, and save many different versions of an image before I get where I want to be. I’m always surprised by the process–it’s magical!

5. You take special care with your printing. How did you arrive at your current process?

Because I come from a traditional and alternative process background, the print is an integral part of creating an image. The type of paper used for a print can really change the image. I experimented with a lot of digital fine-art papers before I found what works best for my images. I do most of my own prints using an Epson 2880, and print on Hahnemühle Bamboo paper. It’s a bamboo-fiber, warm-toned paper with a surface very similar to a hot-press watercolor paper. It also comes in a wide variety of sizes, and in rolls. Some of my panoramic images have been printed as large as 30×15″ by Full-Circle Photo in Baltimore. They specialize in fine-art printing for photographers and artists, and are wonderful to work with.

If you have any other questions, please ask – add a comment below! Happy Holidays!

Looking to learn more about using your iPhone to create beautiful art, be sure to checkout:, and

Image of “Autumn Lake” – © Copyright 2013 Karen Klinedinst Landscapes.

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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?

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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!

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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!