Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tahoe Snowstorms

We are having a great, snowy winter here in the Tahoe area. We must have about 8 feet of snow on the ground and more is on the way. The powder skiing is great, and even though the storms have been windy the trees are still holding snow on their branches. I went out yesterday and took this shot in the Mount Rose area of Nevada - the trees are plastered with snow at the higher elevations, and make for wonderful winter shots. I liked the different needle patterns of the various tree species, and the way the snow emphasizes these differences. I lightened the shadows up on the tree trunks - this image almost has the look of an pen/ink drawing. It was taken with the Hasselblad 300 mm lens. I have posted the image on my website in the Winter's Grace portfolio

I have also had a chance to catch up on completing my portfolio of images from Venice and Burano - even though I went there in 2006 I did not finalize all the images until recently. I have posted them on my website at this link:Venice and Burano. Most people know about Venice, however many are not aware of the charm of Burano. It is an island in the Venetian Lagoon that is sort of a rural, countrified version of Venice. The streets are all canals, and the colors of the buildings and boats are wonderful. It is a must see for anyone going to that part of Italy.

This series uses the sepia / handcolored toning technique I explained in one of my earlier blog posts:

Tritone & Color Technique


Crystalline Forest

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yosemite Renaissance Exhibit

Yosemite Renaissance is the name of a non profit foundation that exists to support the arts in Yosemite Valley. Every year they hold a juried exhibition, the purpose of which is to:

"encourage diverse artistic interpretations of Yosemite. Its goals are to bring together the works of serious contemporary artists that do not simply duplicate traditional representations; to establish a continuum with past generations of Yosemite artists; and to help re-establish visual art as a major interpretive medium of the landscape and a stimulus to the protection of the environment. Historically, the arts have played a very important role in the establishment of our State and National Parks. It is our hope that they can be just as important in future efforts to preserve and protect that heritage."

I was pleased to find out that one of my entries for this year's exhibit was selected - "Tuolumne River in Summer." The opening will be Feb. 29, 2008: Yosemite Renaissance XXIII opens at the Yosemite Museum Gallery. Awards will be presented at the opening reception, 5:30-7:30 p.m. I am planning on attending the opening - it is open to the public and is a great way to support the arts in Yosemite. Most of the pieces that are on display are for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to support Yosemite Renaissance. The exhibit is well worth viewing if you are planning a trip to Yosemite - it will be on display at the Yosemite Museum until May 2008.


Tuolumne River in Summer

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Winter Portfolio

I have posted a new portfolio of contemporary Sierra landscapes, which I have titled the "Pale Sun" series. These were all inspired by the pale winter sun of early January. The images were taken in the north Tahoe area, including the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee river. The portfolio can be seen on my web site under the Pale Sun series link.

I am also experimenting with an assortment of new papers that have more of a luster finish, so far my favorite is the Crane Museo Silver Rag, which has great depth and warm tone.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Epson 11880 First Impressions / Photo LA Favorites

We were able to get the 11880 up the stairs and installed in the studio, thanks to service above and beyond by John Maneira, the owner of Bytes to Print in Berkeley. He not only helped carry it up icy stairs, but also helped us get it configured and running in no time. It is much quieter and much faster than the 9800. As soon as it was up and running I did a few comparison prints of the same file. I printed Autumn Passage (shown below) on both printers with the maximum print resolution settings in place. The 11880 provided more detail in the color ranges reproduced, and also in the amount of detail visible to the naked eye. I was able to see small veins on the leaves from prints on the 11880 that were not visible from the 9800, and also more subtle tones in the reds were visible from the 11880 print. Since I was printing a 16 bit file, I also did a comparison with and without the 16 bit printing enabled, and found no visible difference between the 8 bit and 16 bit printing. This feature may become more important in areas where there is the potential for banding in one color, such as a blue/cyan sky. I will be doing more tests with this on those types of images. At this point I am very pleased with the results from the 11880, all done from the Epson Print Driver and Leopard OS on a Mac.

We did a whirlwind visit to Photo LA yesterday to see what was happening in the world of very high-end photo collecting and exhibition. A wall of about 6 original Ansel Adams prints, including the famous Moonrise, Hernandez image, was completely sold by the time we arrived - they were selling in the stratospheric price range. There was a good mixture of both contemporary work and work from the traditional "masters". It was interesting to see how galleries were displaying very large (40 x 60" +) prints - many are no longer using glass in the framing, and instead mounting the image on aluminum or acrylic. Some are face mounting the image to acrylic to provide more protection, but the images with no glass or acrylic in front looked great - there was an immediacy and impact provided by this type of display that is not available when the image is behind glass. This type of display was very effectively done on Jill Greenburg's large prints in the ClampArt booth. Other work I enjoyed was from Michael Eastman , and Stephen Wilkes, particularly his work on China. I also enjoy Nick Brandt's images of Africa.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arrival of the 11880, Photo LA, Calumet Event & Thanks Scott!

Our new Epson 11880 has arrived, it is in a box the size of a small car, in our garage. We will start unpacking it and attempt to get it into our studio tomorrow.

We are off to Photo LA on Saturday - we are just staying there for a day to see what is going on in the world of photography collecting, and to help out Crista Dix at the Wall Space Booth, who is representing my work at the show. I always find Photo LA an inspiration to visit, from the print materials to the framing, booth set ups, and of course the wonderful array of photographic visions represented.

Next week I am planning on being at the San Francisco Calumet from 2-4 PM on January 17th, there is no charge to attend, and I give lots of pointers on book publishing and photography. I will also be attending Macworld Expo the following day to see what is new and exciting there.

Scott Kelby gave me a shout out on his blog the other day, resulting in a massive spike of hits on my web site - Thanks Scott! I always appreciate links to my web site.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Snowed In / Epson 11880

We are enjoying a classic blizzard up here in Truckee, we are expecting 5+ feet of snow at our elevation of around 7000 feet, so we will be out photographing as soon as the weather clears tomorrow. Below a shot of this morning's satellite imagery which shows the storm winding up over California, with a direct hit on the Tahoe region.

Yesterday Olof and I decided to order a new Epson 11880 from our supplier Bytes 2 Print in Berkeley. We buy all our ink and paper from this company and have been pleased with their service over the years. The advantages of the Epson 11880 that helped us decide to upgrade to this pinter are:

1. Larger print size - the Epson 9800 has a max width of 44 inches, and the 11880 has a max width of 64".

2. No more ink switching - I never print on the luster or glossy papers because changing the inks is such a hassle, but the 11880 allows for both photo black and matte black inks to be installed. I am looking forward to trying the new exhibition fiber paper and luster papers from Epson.

3. New anti-clogging heads - our 9800 is prone to clogging from the dry climate / high altitude, this may help

4. 700 ml ink cartridges - the ink is more economical when purchased in large volumes.

5. Wider color gamut with the new vivid magenta ink

6. 16 bit printing - this may result in improved print quality, only testing will tell if the improvement is visible to the naked eye.

We take delivery next week - the hard part will be getting a 300+ pound printer up a flight of snowy outside stairs and into the studio! I already have a large 50 x 70" canvas order to fill, so I ordered a roll of the 60" wide smooth matte canvas from Premier Imaging - this is going to be fun pushing the limits of current technology to create such large prints for interior wall display. Stay tuned for test results and print comparisons with the 9800....