Last week I took an online seminar taught by Julieanne Kost and hosted by Santa Fe Workshops. She walked us through many of her creative techniques for image processing including one significant project she did last year called Color of Place.
In this project she wanted to explore the differences in color between various locales around the world that she’s visited during her travels. She put together a portfolio of 25 cities and the colors that she found from her photography in those locales. The results are a series of wonderfully colorful abstract images that display 50 narrow strips of color for each location.
In an online article and video she shared more about her technique using Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. Following her approach I put together my version of the colors of Cuba derived from the images I made during my visit there in 2013.
Wow that seemed quick! In a flash 2019 was over and we were on to the new 2020.
Let’s hope 2020 is indeed a new year for clarity of vision, new learnings, much joy and prosperity for all.
I was reminded last night of another Happy New Year photo that my friend Doug Kaye and I both made while walking the streets of Havana seven years ago this month. It highlights the contrast between decay and hope with the simple Happy New Year message painted in English on this decayed building on a Havana street.
I am an optimist and believe in society’s ability to find the will to face our challenges and the intelligence to find solutions to them.
And don’t miss Life in 2030 by Frank Chen of Andreessen Horowitz. He should take up science fiction writing!
I also recommend Om Malik’s recommendations for A Decade of Self-Control – although my strong recommendation for a daily journaling app is Day One. I’ve been using Day One since I had a surgery back in 2012 and wanted to capture my recovery. It’s become a regular daily habit for me since then – the literal scratchpad of my life! For another recommendation for Day One see Why a Digital Diary Will Change Your Life.
Over the long holiday weekend I read a few books – especially enjoyed Mike Isaac’s SuperPumped about Uber. Quite a story and a very enjoyable read!
In other news I continue to find it somewhat amusing that the most popular article here on my blog remains the one from many years ago about my rotator cuff surgery! Somehow that article ended up high enough in search engine rankings to generate many pages views every day!
I wrote yesterday about Paul Graham’s exhibition at Pier 24 in San Francisco. Graham’s exhibition features three different approaches to photography. One of his approaches he called “American Nights” – consisting of images that had a high key, sort of faded look.
While enjoying the whole show, I found Graham’s “American Night” images the most interesting of the exhibition – and wanted to try the technique on a couple of my images. Here’s my first example – “Cuban Nights” version of one of my favorite images from Havana in 2013 that I titled “Lady in Red”.
The whiteness was added to this image in Photoshop by adding a white Color Fill adjustment layer and adjusting the opacity to approximate what I saw in Graham’s images. The original image can be seen here – but don’t look at it until you’ve stared at this version for a bit of time and begin to see some of the details emerging. That’s the fun part of Graham’s technique – at least for me!
And it works especially well with large prints on the wall – more so than with this small web image version!
A couple of years ago, Eric Kim wrote one of his wonderful blog posts on the notion of letting your photos marinate “in order to really discover if they are any good or not.”
One of the things I most enjoy is looking back through my Lightroom catalog at images I’ve shot a year, or two, or more years ago. Sometimes I’ll just remember a situation – and go searching back through my catalog to try to remember. It’s always striking to me just how often I’ll something completely new in those images.
One of my first examples of this took place over a year from my first trip to Havana in January 2013. I was wondering whether I could assemble a book of portraits from my images shot in Havana – none of which were actually taken as portraits. I wanted to experiment with both black and white and a square format style – and it worked out beautifully. I found faces – portraits – in images I’d previously overlooked. Like seeing with new eyes all over again. See my Faces of Cuba images.
Last night I was back in a Havana mood again – this time looking forward to my next trip to Cuba in January 2016. I came across these two images – both of which just made me smile and remember the moments when they were taken. Marinate indeed – these two have been down deep in my Lightroom catalog for almost three years – and they resurfaced last night to my delight.
I’m looking forward to attending next week’s screening of the short film Cuba Cubano Cañibano – about the life and work of Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano. The event is being held on Wednesday, September 23 in Palo Alto at The Mid Pen Media Center. RSVP if you’re planning to attend as space is limited.
My image above of Raúl shooting was taken in Havana in January 2013.
A couple of years ago, I noticed the work of Chris Hilgert on Google+. At the time – he’s since moved on to other things – he was using a post-processing technique which I really enjoyed. The basic idea was to simplify the image to push noisy details out of the image while retaining fine details in the areas of primary interest in the image.
I decided to try experimenting again with variations on this technique – applying the technique to some of my images from Havana shot in 2013. The Flickr album that resulted is here.
Tonight I attended the talk by Raúl Cañibano – one of Cuba’s great photographers – at an event at Foothill College organized by Ron Herman. I spent a week in Havana two years ago – in January 2013 – and Raúl was one of the photographers we worked with. He’s an amazing street photographer to watch – very quick on the trigger, knows his settings and image dimensions – and makes beautiful images.
This new exhibition of his work by Ron Herman is beautifully done. If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in this kind of monochrome street and fine art photography, be sure to check out this exhibition!
Today was a great day in the evolution of relations between Cuba and US. This is an image I shot in Havana during a beautiful week in January 2013 – note the “E Pluribus Unum” on the upper part of the wall. One from many!
With today’s news, I look forward to many more happy images from Cuba and the wonderful people we had a chance to meet while we were there. Change takes time – and generations to pass. It was a wonderful day for Cuba today!