During my recent Santa Fe workshop on black and white photography, we made a field trip to Plaza Blanca – also known as the White Place. The location is near Georgia O’Keeffe’s New Mexico home and was one of her favorite places to visit and paint.
I was handicapped a bit – hobbling around with a cane resulting from breaking one of my legs a couple of months earlier. The sandy soil was challenging but also provided a good workout – and, hooray!, I didn’t fall down!
I had brought along a brand new camera – a Sony RX100M6 – which turned out to be the perfect camera (along with my iPhone Xs Max) for my photography that day. I couldn’t have handled a heavier bag of gear nor a heavier camera around my neck. I mostly did one-handed shooting – and the zoom lens of the RX100M6 turned out to be perfect for my needs – as “zooming with my feet” was not much of an option that day!
As we were finishing up late in the afternoon, the sky darkened in the distance with these striking clouds – and the sky seem highlighted most dramatically in this image shot in portrait mode. The image was post-processed in Lightroom, Photos (iOS 13 Beta) and Snapseed.
Here another portrait image from my recent workshop in Santa Fe on “The Language of Black and White”. Our group worked with model Puja Goel I several settings. In this portrait we took advantage of her standing in a corner window with a curtain behind and an open window to her left. The light was magical!
This image was taken using my Sony RX100M6, edited in Lightroom, Photoshop, Portraitureand Snapseed.
I wrote earlier about the recent workshop I took in Santa Fe taught by Cira Crowell. One of the best parts of the workshop was being able to work with several excellent models during our photo shoots.
Aubri Zamo was the first model my group worked with – and we had a great time photographing her in several different settings. This is one of my favorites – outside on the deck overlooking Santa Fe in the distance. Shot with my Sony RX100M6, edited in Lightroom, Portraiture, Silver Efex Pro 2, and Snapseed.
Here’s another photo from a recent walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I came across this fellow obviously looking to rent one of the two scooters behind him. He seemed a bit frustrated – going back and forth while poking at his mobile phone – undoubtedly trying to activate one or the other.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of him in front of the two scooters and the layers including the railing behind, the pier and then the bridge in the distance. Shot using my Sony RX100M6. Post-processed from the original RAW file using Lightroom Mobile and Snapseed.
Along San Francisco’s Embarcadero is an outdoor sculpture titled Cupid’s Span by married artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. According to Wikipedia, it sits in Rincon Park and was installed in 2002. The sculpture is made out of fiberglass and steel. The artists said that the piece “was inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros.” See the artists’ website for more information.
As I was walking by on this particular morning, the fog was just beginning to break up and the sun beginning to peek through. I looked for an interesting angle to try to catch the sun just behind the bow – and took this photo with my Sony RX100M6. Post-processed in Lightroom and Snapseed (to darken the image and add some drama) before posting to Instagram and here on my personal blog.
The San Francisco Embarcadero has become a wonderful venue – ever since the decision was made to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway following the 1989 earthquake. One of the many new features in Pier 14 – a pedestrian pier that is eminently walkabout from along the Embarcadero.
One of my favorite spots to shoot an image is this one – where the pier and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge “converge” with Yerba Buena Island in the distance.
The original image was shot with my tiny Sony RX100M6 at f/4, 1/1000 sec. and edited in Lightroom Classic. In Lightroom I used the range masking feature to selectively adjust a gradient in the sky portion of the image. Range masking allows adjustment of the tonal range (or color) to which the gradient is applied. In this case I wanted to darken the drama in the clouds without also darkening the bridge or the island itself.
I’m just back from a weeklong workshop titled “The Language of Black and White” held at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Taught by Cira Crowell, the week involved a deep dive into the key aspects of black and white photography — a genre that I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy very much. Cira (@ciracrowell) is a superb black and white photographer who I met last summer in a workshop taught by photographer Christopher Michel (@chris_michel)
Each day of the workshop had a theme: Who, What, Where, Why, How and When. After introductions on Sunday evening, Cira asked us each to share what black and white photography means to us. “I’ve come to appreciate the timeless quality of black and white photography,” was my comment. Others shared insights about the simplicity of black and white, how dropping away the color helps add clarity to a photo, and more.
We began each day with a short reading from a wonderful Georgia O’Keeffe book: “Some Memories of Drawings” to help us set a mood for the day. O’Keeffe comments on many of her early drawings describing what was in her mind as she moved from concept to drawing on the paper.
My photographer friend Roxanne Overton has pioneered using an easy technique in Photoshop for creatively merging multiple images of the same subject. Doug Kaye wrote about the technique – and how to do it – on his blog a while back.
While multiple images taken from slightly different positions often generates the most interesting results, you can sometimes be surprised by the simplest approach.
Here, for example, is an image taken with my iPhone along the San Francisco Embarcadero yesterday that I processed using the Overton Technique. It was generated from one image. After opening the image in Photoshop, I duplicated the layer and then horizontally flipped it – creating a mirror image. Auto-blend then combined the two layers to generate this results – which I tweaked a bit further back in Lightroom to black and white, etc.
If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud member and have both Lightroom and Photoshop, give this technique a try. After playing with a few image sequences, you might find one that feels downright brilliantly creative!