Category Archives: Chuck Kimmerle

Glacier National Park Through Their Eyes

Time for another in the “through their eyes” series. This post features images from the participants on my recent workshop to Glacier National Park.  Remember to click on the links to see more of any one particular participant work.

 

Sai  – “I like this photo because of the different shades of the mountains which creates a sense of depth and distance.  The smoke from forest fires certainly help to create this image.”

Roxanne –  “Here’s what I have to say about Glacier: it is overwhelming. In the best sense. Unlike the feeling of being overwhelmed by life’s everyday responsibilities, the vastness and immensity of nature humbles us, centers us and brings us home to who we are. For me, this photo epitomizes this sentiment.”

Bob – “The photo I’ve attached is from Sun Point, taken Friday afternoon, technically after the workshop ended. It was ferociously windy on the point that afternoon. Here’s why it’s my choice: The ridge in the background, the texture of the rock in the foreground, the gesture of the trees, the haze from the fires all convey something of the scale and character of the park. Massive mountains were shaped by even larger forces through history, and even today, wind, water and fire were still at work in the park during our visit.”

Ray – “I made this image amidst dramatic weather on our first morning at Glacier NP. Using a long lens, I isolated just the peak and cloud to share the power and the magic of the place.”

Steve –  I actually photographed this area about a year ago, but, wasn’t entirely happy with the result. This time, it looks more like what I wanted. I like the bidirectional ambiguity with the visual direction going up (like flames) but the water flowing down (like water). Of course the image was thoroughly Kimmerlized, using things taught at the workshop.

Penny – I love the constant change and interplay of clouds and light……..

Terry – “Sculptured shapes, intriguing lines, and a considerable contrast in texture all in one image.  What’s not to like?  I traveled and shot in the Canadian Rockies several years ago, but it felt like I brought a different set of eyes to Glacier, and I’m pleased with the result.”

Jan – I was drawn to this cliffside tree that was surrounded by so many dead trees.

James – The image was taken at Avalanche Creek on the trail.  I like the color tones, balance and feel of the image.  If you look at the rocks in the center of the image and use your imagination the rock on the left looks like a woman’s face with the grasses and bushes framing her face as she looks slightly downward as if she is talking to a child, whose face appears on the rock across the water.  (I know it sounds goofy but that is what I see when I view the image.)  The rushing water between the rocks separates both sides and draws your eye into the center of the image.

Ginny – This image is from Sun Point on our last day in Glacier.  I love it because of its shape and the fact that the weathered branches stand out next to the dark backgrounds of the lake and the foreground.  It speaks to me of both tenacity and beautiful aging.

Judy –  It’s a multiple exposure of the burnt-out dead trees, the evergreens and the rocky cliffs…  I can smell the smoke.

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Nik Software No Longer Supported, Now What?

I’ve been hearing a lot of this lately….  Google has announced they will no longer support the Nik Suite!  What am I going to do?  What software is there that will replace this?  How will I do this or how will I do that?  HOW WILL I SURVIVE WITHOUT NIK SILVER EFEX!!!???

Okay, look,  I too was disappointed with the announcement for a minute. Did it ruin my day? No. Will it affect my photography? No. Will my images suffer? No. If you think the loss of Nik software will affect your images, take a deep breath, breathe….  Maybe, this will force you to finally learn about Luminosity Making and use it! It is awesome! Maybe you’ll find an even better way to convert your b&w images!  Maybe there is an even better tool than Tonal Contrast.  Maybe, you will start to focus more on your vision, composition and image capture than your processing.  And maybe, just maybe, your work will get better without Nik!

 

 

All sarcasm aside, please don’t use the loss of software as an excuse.  Rather, embrace the opportunity to learn something new. Dig out the software package you purchased, but, never really explored because you loved Nik so much. MacPhun has Luminar and just released its beta version for Windows Users.  Topaz has a plethora of tools including their new Studio product.  Alien Skin has Exposure X2 and On1 has Photo Raw.  Each of them have wonderful tools that will help you craft your images. I used to use Silver Efex exclusively for my b&w work. After learning how Chuck Kimmerle and Cole Thompson process their work, I now use Lightroom and then go into Photoshop where I use selections along with dodging and burning techniques.  I like the b&w work I am producing now better than when I was using Silver Efex Pro.  I used to use Tonal Contrast from Nik a lot. It was my goto tool. Now I use Topaz Clarity or Topaz Detail 3 and am totally satisfied with the results I’m getting. Embrace the opportunity!

 

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Glacier National Park Workshop with Chuck Kimmerle

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I am excited to announce a new workshop for August of 2017 to Glacier National Park with Chuck Kimmerle.  In 2013 Chuck was artist-in-residence in Glacier NP.  Please click on this link to learn more about this exciting workshop.  All images by Chuck Kimmerle. We hope to see you in August!

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Cape Cod #2

untitled-0507-EditmattedLast year while on the Cape (Cod), I was introduced to the wonderful work of Michael Kahn and purchased one of his books. This year, the Focus Gallery in Chatham, had more of his work on display and a new book. Inspired by Michaels work, I readjusted my vision to think more in B&W this year. Below are two favorites with more to come. Remember to click the images to view them much bigger.

A note on the bottom image. Carla, one of our participants has been influenced by the great Chuck Kimmerle. She attended our Death Valley/Valley of Fire tour where Chuck was a special guest. As we were walking out to photograph Stage Harbor Light, Carla spotted this scene. A small group stopped and we worked the scene for forty five minutes. We never made it to the lighthouse! A couple of lessons.

1. Be open to what turns your head. Yes, we had a mission to get to the lighthouse, but, this was great right now!

2. Without Chuck’s great images and inspiration, Carla would probably never have seen the potential in this type of scene. 

By the way, the poles in the water are part of the nets used for Weir Fishing.

 


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You Bring Your Good Time With You

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I am just back from co-leading a tour to one of our most popular and favorite locations, the Palouse. We chose the week we did to photograph the amber waves of grain during the height of the harvest. Well, the weather in the Palouse has been unusually hot this year, the harvest was pretty much done by the time we arrived. During our meet and greet session, we always cover items like, stay hydrated, use sunscreen, be courteous, car pool, etc. This year we added a new rule, wisdom from Dan’s Mom, “you bring your good time with you.” I also added a concept I speak about often in my lectures, beware of expectations. With these two ideas firmly in place, we went about photographing the “harvest.” On a day where we had 106 degree heat, I did a processing session, before I started, I spoke to the group about how wonderful they were. How they truly had brought their good time with them and it showed. We were battling some difficult heat and hazy conditions, yet they were having a blast and making extraordinary images! No grumbling from anyone, in fact quite the opposite. So, next time you encounter conditions that are not optimal, beware of expectations and remember Dan’s Mom and her “you bring your good time with you” wisdom. I promise you’ll have a much better time.

Today’s image is from an abandoned grain elevator. I pay homage to Chuck Kimmerle on this one. Yes, I know I’ve broken a sacred rule of composition, do you care? Does it bother you? Obviously it does not bother me, I posted the image.

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Left Behind

During our scouting for tours, we drive roads just to see what else might be available. On this particular journey, we happened upon an abandoned hotel. Chuck Kimmerle went to look inside and I decided to follow. I couldn’t stand the thought of what might be. Chuck and I made an image of this abandoned wheelchair.  The composition seemed obvious and thus I suspect our images look very much the same. Sorry Chuck…. (click to make bigger)

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Also posted in B&W Tagged , , |

Wrong time, what do you do?

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When we arrived at this location, it really was not the right time of day to include the barn. The sun was behind the barn leaving the front side in shadow. It would have been nice to have some light on the barn, however, the sky was working and so were the cloud shadows raking across the fields. I also liked the fence leading to the barn. So, rather than be discouraged, I began working the scene. As I looked back on what I took, I made 10 different compositions. I went in tight, I included more, I waited for the cloud formation to change, I waited for the rolling shadows to change. I finally settled on this spot with just part of the barn. My first composition included two windows. It felt a bit static, so I included three in my next composition. Then I waited until the roof of the barn would sit in blue sky rather than white clouds. Last but not least, I waited for the cloud shadows to roll through the image to give depth. In the RAW file the front of the barn was indeed dark, however, I knew I could work on this in post. Once again, Perfectly Clear was applied first and then I worked the file further in Lightroom and a bit more in Photoshop along with Nik Viveza.

I’ve posted and alternate composition below just for fun. While it does not have the nice cloud shadows in the field, I do like the lines created by the fence, grain and dirt.

If you did not see my recent post about Perfectly Clear, I think its worth a look. Click here.

Don’t forget we are heading back to Death Valley, Valley of Fire and a night in Las Vegas with Chuck Kimmerle in February.  Spots are filling up for this unique opportunity to spend time with a master b&w photographer. Chuck is great fun to be around too! More information is available on my tour page.

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New Tour Announced for 2015!

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Due to popular demand, we are heading back to the Eastern Sierra region to do another B&W focused tour with Chuck Kimmerle. I know, I know, why would a legend like Chuck want to hang out with the rag tag duo of Barclay and Sniffin?  Good question, I don’t know, but we are thrilled that he has agreed to join us again. We will start in Las Vegas as this is a great place to fly into. We will photograph the wonderful Gehry building on the outskirts of town, then spend a few days in the Valley of Fire and finish in Death Valley for a few runs into the Mesquite Flat Dunes. Details can be found on the TOURS page.  If you have interest in this tour, I would encourage you to sign up quickly. It will fill up fast.  

We will be announcing the rest of our 2015 tours very shortly so stay tuned or sign up to receive notice of any blog post I make.  You can do this on the blog home page at the bottom right.

The blog image is from our trip this past February in the dunes.

 

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Whose Vision Are You Chasing?

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Alabama Hills –  Yes the sky was working this day!

Whose vision are you chasing?  Chuck Kimmerle’s latest post is excellent, stop now and go read it.  No really, go read it, it is essential reading.  Alright, now that you’re back, his post validated what I have been teaching in my new lecture “Discovery and the Creative Process”  The last slide in the presentation is a quote from Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  My commentary is typically something like…. in the end we need to be confident in our own vision, in our ability to discover worthy images that make our hearts sing.  We should not be worried about what others think, rather we should be worried about how we feel about what we are creating.  As Chuck says, and I agree, we are human so positive feedback is good and oft times welcome.  BUT, it should not be why we make images.  My friend Donnie Fulks said this when responding to Chucks post, “when I joined 500px, it took me about two days to figure out what kind of image will garner 5,000 views. Yes, I admit that stokes the old ego.”  Then Donnie went on to talk about sharing a “personal favorite image” that only received 50 views let alone any likes.  What now?  Does he abandon his vision?  Does he post only images that will resonate with others and get him to the front page, lots of hits?  Or does he continue to create images that comply with his unique vision?

Might I ask why you photograph?  Is it for the joy of it?  To create images to sell?  To create images so that you can earn a living?  To create images that feed your soul?  To create images that others like that make you feel worthy, stroke your ego?  To create images that remind (memories) you of the journey you are on?  Why?  There is no right or wrong answer, however, I think it instructive to understand why we do what we do.  I photograph because it feeds my soul.  I don’t print many images.  I don’t actively market my images for sale. I love the process of making and processing images.  Yes, I enjoy the positive feedback, however, ultimately I’ve come to a place where I don’t need others approval to like what I produce. 

So, whose vision are you chasing?

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More on Photo Celibacy

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Recently I featured a terrific post written by my tour partner Dan Sniffin about his ideas with regard to photo celibacy which Cole Thompson tries to live by.  Dan’s article was written before we spent the week with Cole and the group.  The tour started with a wonderful lecture by Cole titled “Why B&W.”  In it he spoke not only about B&W but also more about his ideas on photo celibacy.  But what happened after the talk was quite powerful. I asked the group to respond to Cole’s ideas specifically about celibacy. What did they think? It was one of the most stimulating discussions I’ve been part of.  Some agreed, others challenged Cole with good honest questions. Some spoke about the need for a basic understanding of technique. We spoke about technique versus vision.  We spoke about the value of others opinions.  We spoke about rules and guidelines and much more. It was a stimulating hour of discussion!  I’m not sure we resolved anything but we carried the spirit of the discussion with us throughout the week. In fact, I am still pondering on the matter and would like to continue the discussion here.  

I am reading a book suggested by Chuck Kimmerle titled “Why People Photograph” by Robert Adams.  These quotes resonated in lieu of our discussion.

“I really didn’t have much to teach. I didn’t even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way. And nobody can teach you your own way…. in terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it.  If you don’t’ do it you don’t know what might happen”  Harry Callahan,1991

“Can photography be taught?  If this mean the history and techniques of the medium, I think it can….. If, however, teaching photography means bringing students to find their own individual photographic visions, I think it is impossible. We would be pretending to offer the students, in Wililam Stafford’s phrase, “a wilderness with a map.”  We can give beginners directions about how to use a compass, we can tell them stories about our exploration of different but possibly analogous geographies, and we can bless them with our caring, but we cannot know the unknown and thus make sure a path to real discovery.” Robert Adams
 
“Even now I don’t like to discuss work that isn’t finished, because until it is revised over the span of a year or several years there are crucial parts that are present only in my minds eye, pieces intended but not yet realized……  “Art is made by the alone for the alone.”” Robert Adams with inserted quote by Luis Barragan.
 
“I knew I didn’t want to study at length contemporaries’ pictures, fearing that their work might come close to mine and blur my vision.”  Robert Adams
What do you think?  Are vision and technique connected?  Can you achieve your vision without some guidelines about good composition?  Can vision be taught?  Does looking at others work influence yours?  

With regard to the blog image from the Alabama Hills. Yes, the recent tour was focused on B&W and my folder of images is 99% B&W, however, that did not stop me from processing this one in color!  Why color versus B&W?  I wish I had a good answer, sometimes color just makes more sense and I run with my gut feeling.  In the dunes, I can’t imagine anything but B&W yet I’ve seen some wonderful images that are color.  So color or B&W becomes a creative choice, there is no right or wrong.  

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