San Diego – Well summer has gotten off to a bizarre start. It has been filled with both panic and productivity. The break between the end of Spring Semester and the start of what would be a Summer Semester is about to end and it has been filled with some scrambling by me to make up for a cancelled summer by the district to save money. Virtually ALL classes are cancelled and the campus closed down except for our building where both Nursing and Cosmetology have classes timed to end with State Board Exams so they mush offer a few classes. Plus, Dave Eichinger’s Euro Travel class could not be canceled so that and a dedicated lab class will be running. For me, however, it was an unexpected summer without classes and therefore without pay for two months.
However since the building will be open we also will be running some workshops and lab classes that are not part of the normal program offering but being done privately and merely “hosted” by our program. That means they are not credited and therefore do not count against repeatability. They also have no prerequisites so anyone can sign up, pay the fee, and join the fun. They are fee-based as would be any private workshop but some of the revenues will go to help fund the supplies budget for the program so it is a win-win for us to be able to do it.
So far on the books for me is a July photo fieldtrip to the Bristlecone Pines area (full details, itinerary and costs are in a post below) and a Monday and Tuesday afternoon-evening lab class for both darkroom and digital work which will start on June 20 and run in two 4-week blocks. For $50 per 4 week block, a student can have access to state of the art darkroom and digital labs for 4 hrs two nights per week.
These are not “teaching” classes in the normal sense. Participants will be expected to have a basic knowledge of each and be able to use the equipment after no more than a quick orientation if they are used to a different lab’s equipment. But I will be there to help with your darkroom printing, digital editing and printing issues or, if you are confident you know all there is to know then after showing me you can use the equipment safely and properly you can come and go during those times and be left alone to do your own work.
I will also be putting together a few weekend shooting treks but do not have details thus far. As they get firmed up I’ll post data here and on Facebook and at the labs.
I have been a little productive during the time available after grading, doing textbook requisitions for Fall, and working out the workshops thus far. In the spare time over the break I was able to finish a good first draft of my next book, “The Black Belt Photographer” which is now being proofed and reviewed so I can use that input, do a 2nd draft, and then put it in front of some publishers.
And I’ve worked out the techniques for an interesting approach designed for portraiture but potentially applicable to some other images as well where I’ve combined all and new looks. I learned to simulate the look of the old brass barrel “Petzval” type portrait lenses and both tintype plates and bromoil printing and to blend and then apply that to a portrait shot with new equipment and lighting styles for what is to me at least, a really interesting look. I actually had started this experimentation before the semester was over but the free time allowed me to accelerate the efforts. I’m really pleased with the results.
It is not truly an accurate simulation of any one of those techniques but a blending of all of them. The image “feels” like a very old one with the dimensionality of the Petzval optics, the weathering of an old tintype and the hand-made look of the old bromoil techniques with the shooting style of a modern image. Like all special techniques, when it works it is perfect but the danger is in falling in love with it and applying it to images for which a different approach would be more appropriate. But for my test portrait it resulted in a stunning image. If it should turn out that that image is the only one appropriate for it then it was still a success.
San Diego Fair Photo Events:
I will also be involved with photo related events at the San Diego Fair this year. I already was involved in judging for the International Photography Exhibit and now have a number of related and subsequent events. During the past two weeks I’ve also created two brand new PowerPoint presentations for two of the lectures that are new for me including shooting new photo illustrations. Since i’ve been asked about them, here is the calendar for my events:
Wednesday, June 15: The Judges Roundtable from 7-9 pm. This is a great opportunity for all of you local photographers to hear what the judges thought of the entries and what they think can improve shots and make them more likely to be accepted and even to win juried exhibitions such as this one.
Sunday, June 19: (A) Presentation on Color Management from Camera to Print from 2;30-3:30 pm. This is a high level overview of what is required of the photographer who wishes to extract the ultimate on color accuracy and consistency from their digital shooting.
Sunday, June 19: (B) HDR (High Dynamic Range Imagery) from 5:30-6:30 pm. An overview of the increasingly popular digital technique of HDR for both expanding your tonal range and for creating some very unusual images.
Wednesday, June 22: Judges Critique from 7-9 pm. This is a chance for individuals to bring a couple of images and have one of the judges critique it and offer suggestions for how to improve it. Not a full portfolio review but close and could be very valuable for serious photographers. This is a brand new event this year.
Saturday, July 2: (A) Macro & Close-Up Photography from 2:30 – 3:30 pm. A presentation covering the various types of equipment and approaches used to create macro and close up images.
Saturday, July 2: (B) Printing on Canvas from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. If you’ve been thinking about printing on canvas since it is gaining in popularity, this would be a good presentation to attend. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of canvas, talk about printer issues, the supplies and materials involved, and show various ways to handle and display photo prints made on canvas.
In addition to my presentations there are multiple presentations and events on both Saturday and Sunday each weekend the Fair is running so be sure to check them out. In some cases, a similar topic to one of mine will be presented by another presenter so you can hear a different take on it. This is a profoundly valuable possibility for you. First of all no one knows all there is to know and given the fast pace of development and incredible range of material it is more than likely two individuals, no matter how knowledgeable they may be, will approach things differently, use the tools differently, and pull out different pieces of data. None of us learned all we know from one source and neither should you.
These presentations are all free and open to anyone at the fair. So for the price of admission to the Fair you can have 5-7 hours per day of back to back presentations by some of the top professionals in the industry. It is the best deal going and where else, I might ask, can you get such a deal and for lunch have a deep fried twinky?
With all of the enforced time off this summer, who knows what I might get into next. I’m still working on issues surrounding the creation of a 125″ x 80″ canvas image for a potential show Dave Eichinger and I might do in our gallery toward the end of the summer. If we can pull it off it should be a fun show to do.