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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Under the Oak Trees!

The rain moved away this morning and the first day of the show at Oak Alley stayed dry. However, it was a little cool and was quite windy. I feel that some people stayed home today because of the weather. I think we will have a bigger crowd tomorrow. It's getting late and I should catch some zzzzzzzzzzz's but I did want to show another shot of the trees that I took yesterday.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Digital Fuji Velvia?

While I listened to the rain last night I played around with some new camera raw profiles that I had downloaded from the Adobe web site. I kinda like the one called camera landscape. On the left is an image I processed after applying this profile to it in camera raw. On the right is the same image I processed last month. The new version reminded me of Fuji Velvia. A deep blue in the sky. More red in the the rocks which were warmed by the setting sun. A little richer green in the grass at the lower part of the image. One thing I miss about not shooting film is the look of Velvia. This profile seems to give a similar look. For many years, Velvia was the film of choice for professionals who shot scenic and nature photography. Sometimes it bordered on being too saturated, but I think that was its appeal. Which do you like?
I did get my booth set up today at Oak Alley. I'm sure glad it didn't rain anymore during the day. It was very wet after the rain last night and having to dolly across the whole show site to get to my booth really wore me out. I started about 9:15 and finished about 4:15. After I finished I took a few shots of the plantation and the trees around it. The first image shows the plantation house and you can also see some of the tents at the show through the trees. The next image shows what careful positioning of the camera can produce...a nice design of the trees and the house and art show are covered up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A little rain in Louisiana!

I traveled to Louisiana today only to find out that the palm trees change colors after a heavy rain. Actually, these are part of a sign on the front of a swimming pool company that is near my hotel. There was some storms this morning before I left Fairhope and it apparently did the same in Louisiana . When I turned on the TV in my room this evening the news was talking about some storm damage in Baton Rouge. That is only about 20 miles from where I am staying. They also said we will get some more storms and the area is under a flash flood watch until Saturday. Setting up tomorrow should be interesting. Last year it was too wet to park on the grass adjacent to the show. We had to park on the gravel parking lot which is quite a distance from my booth location. To dolly everything that far will turn my 4 or 5 hour set up into a 6 hour set up. Rain delays could make it longer. I can't wait!
Here is a picture of my booth at Fairhope. Since getting beat up by some storms last year I have started adding a few things to make my tent more secure. You might be able to see the Canopy Hooks that attach the panels to the top bar of the tent. http://www.propanels.com/products/Canopy_hook.htm
I also use zip ties to secure the bottom legs of the panels to the bottom stabilizer bar of the tent. Both of these things make the tent much more stable than it is without them. It hardly flexes when the wind pushes on it. There is more to securing the tent than just how much weight is used. As I write this a big roll of thunder shakes my hotel room. If we get a big storm Friday night...I think I will be ready.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the road in Alabama!

During the last week I have had limited access to the internet. I have checked email several times but that is about it. In some ways I feel I am going through internet withdrawal but at the same time spending less time on the computer is probably something I should do more often. Last Wednesday I left my home and headed to Fairhope, Alabama. The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival was Friday through Sunday. The weather was great but I can't say the same thing about the sales. During this time I have been staying at my cousin's house in Fairhope. Tomorrow I will drive to Louisiana for my next show. I set up on Friday for the Oak Alley Arts and Crafts Festival which will be held on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the chance of rain which is forecast for Friday and Saturday won't materialize.
Yesterday I went to Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, Alabama. http://www.bellingrath.org/ I wish I had been there about a week or ten days ago. Azaleas were blooming everywhere but most of them were past their prime. I got a few nice images. The top image is of Mirror Lake. The next two images were taken in the Oriental-American Garden. They are of an interesting bridge that crossed part of a pond and the view of the pond from that bridge.
Adjacent to the gardens was the Bayou Boardwalk. It was kind of neat but I saw absolutely no wildlife of any kind from the boardwalk. No herons, no egrets, no gators. I don't think I even saw a sparrow. Here is a picture of the observation tower which looks out over the boardwalk. It's a shame there was nothing to observe.
After leaving the boardwalk I got back to the other side of Mirror Lake. It seems that one of the workers was having a bad day. Apparently he got a little too close to the slope of the lake and the rear of the mower slid into the water. A few minutes later a tractor was driven to the site and pulled the mower out. Glad he waited until I took my picture of Mirror Lake before having his mishap with the mower.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life in the pond!

Normally I will post some new images for you to see, but today I decided to do something a little different. Its been raining pretty good for the last couple of days and I guess I have water on my mind. Several years ago we built a small pond in the back yard. I say "we" pretty generously because it is about 95% my wife, Diane's work. I did get to do some shovel time in the beginning. She purchased five goldfish for the pond and two tadpoles which eventually became Leopard Bullfrogs the following spring. This is one of them enjoying his first year in the pond. During that first year, one of the initial two frogs shall I say"croaked". The following spring we got another tadpole and by late summer we had another frog. The younger one is quite shy and spooks as soon as he sees you. The older and much larger one has never been bothered too much by my presence unless I see him during the day. At night he lets me get quite close without spooking. He will eat anything that fits in his mouth...crickets, cockroaches, cicadas, grasshoppers, and every June bug that gets near his pond. He even ate a small toad I was getting ready to photograph one night. Who knows how many other toads he eats during their breeding season. I'm sure you will here more about the toads when this starts during the full moon in May.
This is a shot of the pond in the summer right after the lights come on in the evening. Our five goldfish had become eighteen goldfish until a visit from a blue heron reduced that number back to ten. The heron has visited at least three times that we know of but I'm sure we missed a few visits. Fortunately the fish have some good places to hide. My office is in the back yard just out of sight to the right of this image. Everything I print and sell at shows is made within 30 feet of the pond. The first time I saw the heron he was standing in the back yard about eight feet in front of the door to my office. I was in the house and just finished some breakfast. I looked out the window to the back yard and like to have freaked. A heron standing on the ground is probably as tall as I am.
We also get quite a few birds that use it as a watering hole. Lots of dove. Thirty five years ago you would only see Morning Dove in this area. Now you can see White Wing , Inca, and Collared Dove. Things have started to green up in the yard but it still has a ways to go to look like it will in the summer. This last image was taken after one of the rare, freezing precipitation events that we get each winter.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giclée (pronounced "zhee-clay"), is an invented name (i.e. a neologism) for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. The word "giclée" is derived from the French language word "le gicleur" meaning "nozzle", or more specifically "gicler" meaning "to squirt, spurt, or spray"[1]. It was coined in 1991 by Jack Duganne[2], a printmaker working in the field, to represent any inkjet-based digital print used as fine art.

The word "Giclee" has now become a source of confusion in the art world. Jack Duganne needs to un-invent the word. To some it means a reproduction, but not every Giclee is a reproduction. A digital print of a painting is a reproduction. Digitally printed photographs and digital art are printed in multiples, usually a numbered and signed edition. These multiples are considered originals since there is no "one of a kind" art work that exists such as when you reproduce a painting. This is true for an edition of digital or chemical darkroom prints. Unfortunately some of the people who make the rules for art festivals can't seem to understand this. Some shows are making rules which would not allow digital prints and more specifically, photographs printed on canvas to be displayed. If allowed at all they can only be put in the print bins. Last year I was excited to have been juried into the #1 rated show in the country "Art on the Square" in Belleville, Illinois. This year I am going to criticise them. Their rules for participation this year say
"Signed reproductions, photographs on canvas and gicles may be sold, but must be displayed in portfolios (not on screens) and clearly labeled. "
As you see they can't even spell Giclee correctly and they don't really have an understanding of its meaning either. This would leave myself and any one else digitally printing their work unable to actually hang any of our work at this show. It could only be in the print bins. You have to wonder just what is the purpose of a rule like this when the great majority of photographers are now shooting and printing their work digitally. Film is quickly becoming a thing of the past! Many would argue that digital is just a better way to do what we used to do with film. I would argue that in many ways it is also more difficult and the learning curve is never ending. I paid $79 Friday to sit in a room at the Arlington Convention Center with about 500 other people to learn more about Photoshop. I had also attended one of these seminars back in December. Every year I go to at least one of these so I don't fall too far behind in the learning curve for digital photography and printing. Rules like the one above are made by non-photographers who are ignorant of the medium. It drives me crazy!
What about the pictures? Oh yea! The top image was one of the first couple I took at Grandview Point during my first morning at the Grand Canyon. Right after I shot this I picked up camera and tripod and quickly relocated to another spot about 50 yards away, the location I took the header image at. Later that morning I took the snow scene of the canyon wall. The image below is the deserted bar near Pecos, Texas. It was created from three different exposures that were combined in Photomatix Pro. This technique gave me detail in the sky and the inside of the building. I then used the infrared setting on the black and white adjustment layer. After a little vignette was added I considered it done.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another one bites the dust!

Yesterday I was going through my mail and came across a large envelope. I wasn't sure who it was from but when I opened it I saw it was an application to an art show I had sent in about a month ago. Just like the letter I received 8 days earlier it contained an explanation of why this years show was being canceled. Bummer! I guess I will go fishing the weekend of June 20&21. Then I came to the part which read "we are delighted and grateful that you have offered to donate an item that can be used in our 2009 fundraising efforts". I'm thinking "I didn't offer to donate anything". After canceling my chance to earn a living for that weekend, they still think I will just send them some art work for free. OOOOOOOOOK! It reminded me of the telephone solicitors that call and thank you for buying tickets for their fundraiser last year and are wanting to know if you would help out again this year. You know dang well that you didn't help out last year and its quite irritating that they try and trick you like this into helping this year. Oh well! At least it wasn't a rejection letter. It does seem that two shows canceled in eight days deserves a small bit of bitch'n though. I feel much better now and will tell you about the pictures .
The images below were taken just a few minutes after my header image was taken at the Grand Canyon. This one is 6 images that were stitched together to make one big giant panorama. The finished file with all the layers is 3.38 gig. I will probably offer it as a 30x90 but it could go much bigger. It looks kinda small here so I cropped out a small section so you could see the detail better. That is the lower image. I am tempted to try a stitching program instead of photoshop. When photoshop stitched this it ends up curved, the overlapping layers show, and the layers don't line up all that good. I then have to spend a bunch of time and figure out how to fix all that. A lot of layer masks are used to get all the overlapping layers to blend properly. I then have to try and straighten it all up. Eventually I get it where it looks like this except for the color correcting and other darkroom tricks that I think it needs. I like the way it looks now but it could get another tweak or two.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The changing of plans?

If you looked at the schedule on my web site you may have noticed that the Marble Falls show in April had been canceled. I got this news about a day after getting back home from Arizona. Only having two shows on my schedule in April was looking quite unacceptable to me. Last year I had the best month of sales ever. I now was only going to participate in one of the three shows that had made that possible last April. The good news is that I did add San Antonio's Fiesta Art Fair back on my schedule for April 18 and 19. After sending a couple of emails, it looks like I will also be able to show my work at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival in Dallas which will be held April 3-5. That will fill the weekend that Marble Falls left vacant. It will be interesting to see how the DEAF goes. Most shows would be full and working on a wait list this close to the show date.
One thing that most art show patrons don't seem to realize is that all the shows I participate in are juried art festivals. These shows usually ask for 3 or 4 images of your work and a picture of your booth and display. It used to be slides that you submitted but most shows take some sort of digital submission now. Who actually juries the work varies. It may be a group of paid professionals or it may be a group of people who work for the organization that puts on the show. Many times I don't really know who does the jurying. The jurying is quite subjective no matter who does it. Many better shows have 1000 to 2000 applications with only several hundred spots available. Because of this, all artists get plenty of rejection letters. That's the way it is for all of us. I routinely apply to several shows on the same
weekend just to cover my a__ so I have somewhere to sell my work. Fortunately (unfortunately) there are times when I get accepted to two top shows on the same weekend. Almost every decent show I have ever applied to requires the artist to be present. Some artist's seem to think this rule doesn't apply to them, but that is another story. As for me, I have to make a tough decision as to which show to attend. More than likely both shows would be profitable and that's why some artists will send some sort of representative in their place and hope that the show officials are not paying attention or checking IDs. Its just a matter of time until other artists notice this and complain. I feel that if rules are made they should be enforced and enforced equally among all the artists.

The top image was taken at the outlet malls in El Paso while I was driving back from Arizona. The next image was taken on my Route 66 trip back in January.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I have a new header!

I sat down at the computer this evening and designed a new header for the blog. I also gave it the name of "Creative Eye". Sometimes designing something like this frustrates me and seems to take forever before I am happy with it. That wasn't the case tonight. I like it and I bet I did it in about 30 minutes. Hope you like it too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

30% off Grand Canyon images until March 15th!

Storm Over the North Rim

I sent out an email earlier today offering a 30% discount on 5 of my new images from the Grand Canyon. I am quite happy with some of them and I hope there will be some response to the offer. If you didn't get the email and are interested in the details...send me an email and I will send them to you. The image above was made from 3 horizontal images that were stitched together. Normally I would have shot 5-8 vertical images to stitch. This still created a very large file when it was completed. I am offering this in a 30"x90" size.

This second image was shot the morning of my second day at the canyon. I just barely got to this location in time. I had to drive about 15 miles down a snow covered road to get there. Several people that were at the same location that morning got to see me running through the snow with tripod and camera. I was the only one I saw that was a serious photographer though. It was a good morning to be out. I actually like being at the canyon this time of year. Its not as crowded as at other times of the year, you don't have to take the shuttle bus everywhere, and the weather is pretty good about doing something dramatic. Clark

Grandview Point Sunrise #2