March 10, 2014 (Updated October 21, 2016)
This is my first ever attempt to write something that could be considered a “blog”. I’ve authored and published many peer-reviewed scientific papers and a few other articles over the course of my career, but never a blog. So, this first "blog" shares a few things about what I enjoy in photography and some general concepts behind the images that are posted on this site.
I enjoy the challenge and the solitude of city and landscape photography. Having spent the past 20 years of my life in a very intense and demanding career in science, I find it relaxing and fun to scout interesting locations, find new perspectives on familiar places, capture really beautiful light and think about ways to add visual interest to my photographs. I also enjoy the challenge of trying to make images in a way that is a little different from the norm, either because the light is spectacular or I used creative composition and long exposure to add interesting dimensions to an image. Finally, I enjoy the challenge of trying to get the image right at the time I take the shot. Almost as a rule, I don't crop my photographs and I don't make big changes to exposures using software. What you are seeing is what I captured.
You my notice that most of the images displayed on this site were taken in really beautiful light. This is not an accident, though on occasion I have been extremely lucky. The part that is not an accident is that I pay close attention to the sun and sky and do most of my photography within the hour or so before or after sunrise and sunset, often using long exposures (seconds to minutes) to create interesting effects in the sky or in water. The luck part shows up in an image like the one of fog lifting over the Golden Gate Bridge. When I arrived at the bridge that day it was completely encased in fog. I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me and very nearly drove back to my hotel. Instead, I decided to drive around a bit and as I did the fog began to lift. I drove up to one of the scenic overlooks near the bridge and waited. The bridge and twilight sky over the San Francisco skyline gradually emerged, amidst a beautiful glow in the fog. As my instructor Joe Baraban once said to me, "When you get lucky, be ready". I was.
I owe a lot of my recent ideas about photography to instruction from Joe Baraban (www.joebaraban.com), who teaches a series of courses and workshops under a theme of “Stretching your frame of mind”. Joe’s teaching and 1:1 feedback helped me approach photography in an entirely new way. I’ve learned a lot from Joe's experience and candid critique of my work.
People frequently ask me about the gear and software I use for my photography. In my opinion photography is about what the person behind the camera sees and the image they want to create, not about the gear they are holding when they trip the shutter. The camera is an important tool, for sure but the specifics of make, model and lens matter less than the person using them. Nevertheless, no secrets here, so here’s “what’s in my bag” so to speak:
For image capture:
Canon EOS 5D Mark III or Mark IV DSLR, equipped with Canon "L" lenses. Phase One XF Medium Format DSLR, Phase one IQ260 digital back equipped with Schneider-Kreuznach medium format lenses. Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod , with a heavy, sturdy Manfrotto ball head.
For image processing:
Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop for processing RAW files from my Canon Camera. Phase One Capture One for processing medium format RAW files from my Phase One camera and P45+ digital back.