Category Archives: Photography

Less Can Be More

In January of this year, some weather came through Sarasota.  Most of the boats in the anchorage rode it out and stayed in place.  One fellow, who didn't was unfortunate enough to lose his anchor on the windward side of Ringling Causeway. I may have written of it previously. This evening, I came upon the series of images that I took that morning while the waves were still pounding. Images of a boat being pounded by surf can be dramatic if good framing is possible. It wasn't that morning and none that day's images were good enough to pass muster.  The boat was still on the rocks a few weeks later. The day was bright, and the bay calm. I still couldn't get a good composition of the overall scene. But I did capture this image that brings the story down to the final outcome. aground  
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America 1930 Style.

In September of 2015, I came across an exhibit of wall-sized Thomas Hart Benton paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. These capture America at work and at play in 1930.  There is no need for words. The images tell the story. I will say that my lens was not wide enough to capture the entire image in some cases. _krk3252 _krk3254 _krk3255 _krk3256 _krk3257 _krk3258 _krk3259  
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King Menkaura and Wife

He-and-SheYesterday's visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Art found me once again admiring this 4500-year-old sculpture of an Egyptian pharaoh and his wife. Found during a museum-sponsored Harvard expedition in 1911, this is considered one of the finest works of ancient sculpture ever found.  The unfinished sculpture is life-size and this image shows only the upper portion.   The image above was edited in Photoshop using Tony Kuyper's TKActions V4 which I had forgotten that I had. The image below essentially out of the camera, but with some noise reduction as it was shot at ISO 1600 f1.7 @1/60thKing Menkaura and Queen-1 The exhibit card can be read here.  
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Entropy is an image that dates back to 2005 when I spent some time near Yankeetown, Florida. I was standing on the northern edge of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, where it would have entered the Gulf of Mexico had better sense not prevailed to cancel the project. I had worked on this image several years ago and had never been happy with the result. Today, I revisited the image and like the result.

Taken with 3.0mp Olympus camera.

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Special Moments

There are special moments in photography, when the gods come together and without anticipation you are there, in the right place, at the right time, with the right - or almost right - equipment. That happened the other night on Lido Beach. We had come to watch the sunset and, having brought a couple of sit-on-the-sand stadium seats, plunked ourselves down a few feet from the water. We were there to enjoy the sunset and, perhaps, capture a few images.   There was still enough light that my camera was set to my usual aperture priority, f/11. Given the hour, the ISO was 400. The camera was in my lap, aimed more or less, down the beach with the 18-200mm DX lens pulled all the way back to 18mm.   Couples, young and old strolled by – the firm and the infirm. Gulls wheeled overhead and the sounds and warm breeze nearly lulled me to sleep. Then, along came two young women who, stopped a few yards away and stayed - conversing in the warm light - while one practiced her dance and balance movement. Is it possible for a photographer to resist this? Click, Click, Click - without ever picking up the camera.   The light had declined and because of the distance, the image is cropped way down to where it’s only 2.5mg. I was able to push the color and contrast; and I think that enhances the specialness of this unique moment. I captured a number of images. Three came out well. This one, I like best. There is a lesson here: special light makes special moments - but you have to be there. _KRK6878edit7162
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Standing Woman

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise was modeled in 1932 and cast in bronze in 1955. It is a striking, dark, larger than life sculpture that captures an iconic female force. In a gallery crowded with other exhibits, this photo was shot at 1/45 with an ISO of 1100. Original Image:
Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise.

Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise.

The original image on the left  fully captures the blackness' of the work. The next step brightened the image ; but in the final adjustments in Silver Efex Pro 2, I brought it up even more to fully capture the inherent power. Final Image:   Normally, I would eliminate noise before sharpening but, in this instance, I sharpened first and then dialed it back. _KRK6432-Editedit7078
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Spinning Ball

I enjoy working with sculptures. Here is the first of two sculptures that I photographed last week at the Brooklyn Museum.  Both images were taken with a Nikon D7100 using a 35mm f1.8 lens. Due to generally poor lighting conditions in the galleries, I used aperture priority set to f4.8 There is a story behind each image and I’ll borrow liberally from the Museum’s cards. Liberty 2015, part of the Punctum series, in fiberglass with an auto paint finish. This work by Hank Willis Thomas, b. 1975,  is the artists 3 dimensional rendition of a 1976 Life Magazine photograph of a Harlem Globe Trotter standing in front of the Statue of Liberty spinning a basketball.  Thomas cast the arm of retired NBA All-Star, Juwan Howard to produce the piece which begins at the shoulder.  I chose to use only the upper portion of the work. Since the sculpture’s initial inspiration was a photograph that 40 years later was turned into a three dimensional piece, I decided to return the image to its original dimension and portray it as street art. The original photo:
A portion of Liberty 2015 by Hank Willis Thomas

A portion of Liberty 2015 by Hank Willis Thomas

And the final:Spinning Ball    
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St. Augustine Beach Scene

Topaz Impression is my current favorite among Photoshop plug-ins. I don’t go to it all the time, but some images just cry out for it. The problem with using a plug-in like Impression is that the better one becomes using it, the more images seem to beckon toward it. Every image has a limit beyond which our taste for it diminishes. Finding the sweet spot takes time and no two images can ever be treated exactly alike. This image, taken on St. Augustine Beach in late January seemed to call for Topaz Impression. The light was constantly changing – one minute warm and lovely; the next grey and somber with a dark, threatening sky. _1260864edit6906   I was captivated by the reflections of clouds in the wet sand. After some initial adjustments in Lightroom, a few more were made using Topaz Impression within Photoshop. Lastly, I cropped the image to a 16:9 aspect ratio.  (Check the article on Aspect Ratios in Landscape Photography by Elliot Hook on the Digital Photography School website.) I’m a newbie when it comes to having my work printed.  Trying to stay within the confines of standard frame sizes has proved trying. Should I crop as each image seems to call for and deal with custom framing? Or, is the image close enough, with matting, to work it into a standard size frame? We all have to make our own decisions regarding presentation, but here is a listing of the most popular frames which FrameUSA produces as standard:

Stamdard Frame Sizes

Accompanying Article

  MatDesigners has a useful chart giving suggested Opening Size by Mat Size.  
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A Visit to Deep Hole

Those of us who have visited Myakka State Park over the years have accumulated a lot of images. I have images of trees, flowers, birds, turtles, canoes, fish, people and, of course, alligators. There was one special day back in 2013 when I decided to get a trail permit and hike to Deep Hole, a 130’ deep sink hole in the Myakka River. Getting the shots that I got that day had everything to do with being there at the right time. The river was low and the late February morning was cool.  Deep Hole provides a pleasant place for creatures to gather. I have refrained from ‘prettying up’ most of the images and, with only a couple of exceptions tried to represent the scene as closely as possible to my view of it on that day. From the trail head it’s a mile and a half walk, down this road, to Deep Hole: 20130221Myakka123313   Coming to a tree line along the river, I followed it south before turning to the dried-up river bank and heading back north along it.  Approaching Deep Hole from the south, I had to bring up my telephoto to verify that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. 20130221Myakka133120 I walked slowly toward the hole…stopping every few yard and eventually setting up the tripod, taking a couple of shots, then moving slowly forward. 20130221Myakka134057 20130221Myakka134125   The sun was well up and the day was becoming hot.  I decided to come at it from the north side and moved into the shade for a while.  I found a nice clearing in the trees, picked out a shady spot, brought out my camp stool and had some lunch. 20130221Myakka142537 Finished with lunch, I moved through the grass to the north side of the Hole. The images from the north side were the best of the day.  It’s wild Florida – 30 minutes from Sarasota. 20130221Myakka144920 20130221Myakka145808   20130221Myakka144929 20130221Myakka144632 20130221Myakka144848 The walk back to the car produced one additional images which I pushed a bit. 20130221Myakka151728 We often get grouchy when we see how the Florida around us is changing and becoming urbanized. Those of us old enough to remember, recall how tropical-kitschy Florida was back in the 50’s, how Disney changed it in the 70's, how disco it was in the 80’s and how the pace of growth accelerated in the 90’s and in the process, with popular coastal areas now teeming with human population, Florida became something different. How precious are places like Myakka. In reference to a wonderful book by Patrick D. Smith, A Land Remembered, an older Florida is only a half-hour drive from Sarasota. For more on Deep Hole see: which contains an excellent description of Deep Hole along with an aerial photo. Also included is a brief description of a diving expedition – as well as an account of paddling across the hole at night. Thank you for visiting and be sure to visit Myakka State Park.
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Rough Shape

  Rough Shape Photos can lie. The high-key treatment here gives the scene a desert-like feel. The original colored image was of higher contrast with a very different mood. I remember getting it to a certain point and stopping. The next day,  I looked at it again and decided that I had sharpened too much. Going back in, I twiddled a bit in Viveza pulling the structure down. Then, in Silver Efex Pro 2, made the conversion to black and white and lightened the sky with a blue filter -pushing it to 200%. Going to the Hue slider, I went back and forth for a while before finally settling at 271 degrees. A final brightness adjustment completed the job. A lot of experimenting went into this image. While I like the colored version, the black and white really wows me. I have an old Harper's Weekly on the desk with some Frederick Remington Illustrations. This image in it's final form mimics some of his work. I'm very pleased with it. It was a warm day and I was wandering far from where tourists usually venture.  The streets were empty and quiet as if the world had stopped for siesta. This is the kind of scene that, as photographers, we live for. I would like to have stayed for a week.
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