Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spirit Tree Series Number Twelve

Spirit Tree Series Number Twelve

I am trying a slightly different approach with this image of the series. I am taking a lesson from the painter Curtis Otto. I was looking at his exhibit yesterday at the Morris Graves Museum of Art. The docent told me that Curtis discovered that one of his very warm hued paintings was not complete until he added a stripe of blue to the corner. Up until now, I have been avoiding the sky in this series as best I can. In this image I decided to embrace the contrasting colors that the blues add to the overall feeling. I think that this photograph is more about light and color then it is about form.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prairie Creek Evening Light

Prairie Creek Evening Light, November 2011

I am somewhat inspired with the notion of posting a photograph a day on this site. I already realize that I am not likely to take a photograph every day, but I can at least post one daily.

My work this year has been a combination of vibrant, and saturated colors, a more subdued color palette, and an in-depth study of digital black and white processing. I expect that I will continue along those lines in 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Photograph of the Day

Pine Trees At The Arcata Marsh

This may not be my all time favorite photo, but these trees always appeal to me. It is fun to interpret this as black and white.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spirit Tree Series Number Eleven

Spirit Tree Series Number Eleven

I took my brother Dan to Prairie Creek State Park today so that he could scope out some possible paintings. I could not resist this particular composition for myself. I liked it so much that I just now printed it 15"x15", and it looks great.

I used the 17mm Tilt/Shift lens on the Canon 5dmII.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joe's Pickup Revisited in Black and White

I think I will put this photograph on paper. I think it will look really good on Platine.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well, I could work it a bit.

If you were to look at the histogram you would cringe. That said, I still was able to tweak it a bit.

Why I Strongly Urge Aspiring Photographers to Shoot Raw

Flat Top Mountain, Wyoming 2002

I came across this image today while I was cleaning out hard drives. I shot this image with my old Sony DSC85. It was a great camera, and could not shoot raw, but could write in the tiff format. I was on the cheap, and did not have enough memory, so I shot in medium resolution jpg. Now I want to work the image, but there is nothing I can do. Oh, I guess I could go back there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bikini Goddess Revised

This is the full-frame photograph, but developed as a black and white. I would appreciate feedback on which of the three work best in your opinion.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bikini Goddess

The Original Interpretation

Bikini Goddess on a Brick Wall

This is an image that I took earlier this year. The color photo is where I left off on my processing at the time. I have since learned more about processing digital black and white. I think my digital darkroom skills have finally caught up with my "wet lab" skills. This image looks even better on paper.

Feedback is always appreciated.

Friday, December 9, 2011

One More From This Morning

Sunrise on the Marsh

Foggy Sunrise at the Arcata Marsh

A Very Simple Composition
I took this photograph this morning. This was taken about ten minutes before sunrise. When I left the house  this morning I was expecting clear skies - duh! The good news is that it only took me about a minute to adjust to the conditions, and soon I embraced the subdued qualities of light. I am trying to decide if I should print this one.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Joe's Ford Pickup

Joe's Ford Pick-Up At The Arcata Marsh This Past January

I keep coming back to this image. I worked on it numerous times, and have never felt that I got the feeling that I was looking for. I think at last that I have what I visualized when I saw this truck. It turns out that the truck's owner was on the other side of the pond watching me with his super telephoto lens as I photograph his truck. So this is for you Joe!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving With the Grandkids

Kevin Bethune

John Bethune

I think these are a couple of pretty good portraits. Of course these guys make it look easy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Value of Fine Art in One's Life

A  Study in Black and White, by Daniel Bethune

Yesterday, I took down the little show that Dan and I had at the RAA Gallery. The painting above is now hanging in my living room. This painting shows so much better on our wall than it did in the gallery. I am sure that the lighting I have here helps in the viewing of the work.

When I think of art, I usually think of my own photography. I mostly consider the individual pieces as they relate within a body of work. My vision is often one that incorporates the overall look or the theme of a body of work. What I see now, is that a single work of art - this painting - stands very well on it own. I do not intend to take away from the artistic value of my photography, but there is nothing more visually stunning to me as a nice painting like this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spirit Tree Series Revisited

Spirit Tree Series Number Ten, November 2011
Spirit Tree Series Number Five, 2009.

I recently had an opportunity to revisit this image in Lightroom. I was considering making another print. The problem I faced was that when I first worked and printed this image it was with Photoshop Elements. I have not used that program for almost three years. I imported it into Lightroom, and could not resist working on it further. What I found was that my skills in the digital darkroom had greatly improved. Fortunately, I shot all of this series in raw, and was able to start all over again. I am very pleased in the new interpretation of this image. This tree now reveals the essence and the glow that attracted my eye over the years that I traveled through Prairie Creek State Park.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Older Photos Revisited

Prairie Creek, The Prairie

This one is from 2009. Back then I printed it full-frame. I like this crop, and I think it more closely resembles my original intention.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thinking In Color

The Same Image in Both Color and in Black and White


One common thought on photography is that the photographer should previsualize the final print while taking the photograph. Back in the days when I shot mostly black and white film I eventually got to the point where I did "see" the final print as I was looking through the viewfinder or on the ground glass. I grew in my photography to the point where the individual acts of photography (photographing, developing, and printing) were all part of a greater whole wherein I saw the ultimate product prior to its actual emergence as a finished print.

It was sort of like "remembering" what the print looks like prior to snapping the shutter. There came a moment or a flash of insight, where I knew that I was in the flow - that the image I was seeing was what I came to create. I knew too, whether the image called for color or black and white. I often worked in that state up until the day that I dismantled the darkroom, and took a break from my art.

When I started to photograph again in earnest about six years ago, it was in digital, and mostly in color. It took me awhile to learn the medium, and the differences between it and color slide and black and white film. The first couple of years I mostly worked in color. Then over the course of the last year, I again started working in black and white. 

I started making black and white conversions, but I seldom took the image while thinking black and white. Sometime in the past few months, I slipped back into previsualizing the final print. I started to notice that I was looking at form and tone as much as I was at color and hue. 

Nowadays, while I photograph I develop a sense of what the final print should look like - black and white, inkjet color, glossy or matte. It was just recently that I understood that the color imagery that I sought to produce for years is now part of my repertoire. I sometimes previsualize matte paper prints with their subdued saturation and with soft hues.

The bottom line to all of this is that I feel directly and strongly connected to the entire process of creating my art. I am at a place in my development where I create images. I do sometimes "luck" into a nice composition, but mostly I am present with the subject matter throughout the entire process. 

At times while I am photographing, and occasionally while I am printing, I feel as connected as I have at any time when I sat and meditated, or at any other time when I attempted to come to an understanding as to what life is all about. This is my Bliss.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Foggy Morning In Eureka

Carter House Inns 

When I decided to go photographing this morning it was clear at home. I drove down the hill and into thick fog. I decided to go for it anyhow. I took more images of the Carter House, and decided to take some of this place. I also took some shots of the Carson Mansion and the Pink Lady. In thirty years of living here I don't recall photographing these. I may post more later after I make some firewood.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Help Me Decide: Color or Black and White?

Five Handles, Color
Five Handles, Black and White

I would appreciate some feedback. I do realize that not everyone is into industrial imagery, but I think this is not a bad study in early twentieth century technology.

The Evolution of The Carter House Photograph

The Carter House Revised in Photoshop and in Lightroom

I was commissioned to photograph the house. This has been a nice learning experience for me. I seldom take specific photographs at the direction of others, but that is what I did here. The main challenge with this photograph was to get even lighting on the building without having washed out gray sky. I figured out how to add the blue sky using layers in Photoshop.

I realize that a project like this could go on forever. I could go back time-after-time and take photographs in various lighting conditions. I could also incorporate HDR techniques to balance the subject with the sky. HDR could also be used to balance the contrast of front/side early morning light. By doing so the effects of the shadows could be lessened.

Overall, I think this image is successful. It will be fun to do a few follow-up sessions in the morning light with this building and others. I think I need to photograph the Carson Mansion. I never have taken photographs of it, and now I think it will be fun.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Carter House

The Carter House, photographed today.

Fun in Black and White

Duplex Flyer, Scotia 2011

The print of this image is just downright luscious. It is the richest ink jet black and white print I have made. I will have the print on the wall at the current show in the RAA gallery in time for Arts Alive on November 5th..

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Eureka First Presbyterian Church Latest Attempt at a Portrait

My Latest Attempt 106 MB file size.

Arcata Marsh Dawn

Arcata Marsh Dawn


The RAA has a new exhibit at their gallery that starts this Wednesday October 26, 2011. My brother, Daniel and I have examples of our work in two of the upstairs galleries. Please feel free to come by Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon until five. The opening reception will be Saturday, November 5, 2011 from six until nine.

We shared this space for the October Arts Alive, and we were well received. This exhibit is the first showing of Daniel's work in Eureka. He resides near Santa Fe  at Lamy, New Mexico, and has exhibited in Santa Fe galleries for the past several years.

Friday, September 2, 2011


We are hosting an Arts Alive reception Saturday, September 3, 2011 at the F Street Photo Gallery in Eureka. Here is a link to an article in today's Times Standard newspaper.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Show at the F Street Foto Gallery in Eureka

A Preview of the Show

This new show is comprised of the works of myself and of fellow photographer Marc Chaton. We combined our images in an effort to compare and contrast our styles. This show features color and black and white images in a very nice gallery setting. Please consider attending our opening reception on Saturday, August 6th from six through nine. The gallery is located at 527 F Street in downtown Eureka (upstairs in Swanlund's Photography).

My thumb rehabilitation is coming along. I am still not ready to handle my camera. I have done some printing, and with help, I was able to do some framing for this show.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time to Fix the Hand That Feeds Me

I made the above photograph at this time last year at the Redwood Acres Fair. This was just after I bought my Canon 5d Mark II, and was just having fun.

Tomorrow morning I will have my right thumb reconstructed. I have bone-on-bone arthritis, and it has been bothering me more and more. The procedure should alleviate most of my pain, and I should be back in action within a month.

I am hanging a new show at the Senior Resource Center in Eureka on June 30th. The show will be up for the month of July, and I encourage everyone to drop in for a look. I will hang a show in the F Street Foto Gallery in Eureka for the months of August and September.  I would appreciate it if you would drop in and take a look at these. As always, I am open to comments and observations on the work.

I will not be posting any new posts for at least two weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Smoochie Skin Revisited

Faces on a Wall, Arcata, 2011

This image is the best one that I took yesterday morning. I worked the plaza area just as the sun rose. Because it is nearly solstice, there was lighting on the north side of buildings that seldom receive direct sunlight in the mornings. Since it was six in the morning, there were very few vehicles parked in front of my subjects. That allowed me the opportunity to experiment with taking block-long panoramas of store fronts. I have lots of work to do to "stitch" the images, but it could be rewarding.

A Portion of the West Side of the Plaza

The Former Smoochie Skin

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Overcast Eureka Morning

The Schooner Saloon, Eureka 2011

I woke up around five-thirty. I was warm and I knew that I could just stay snuggled with my honey, but I made myself get up. I could tell that it was overcast, and that it was unlikely that I would find sunshine on the  photography outing that I was planning. It actually was not much of a plan. I grabbed my low-lead coffee, and headed out. I was not very energized, but I knew that if I persevered that I would find some nice images. I got to Eureka a little bit after six, and after a few moments of indecision, I parked and got to work.

I was near the Lloyd Building, and I only had to walk a few steps before I started seeing my photographs. I think the small amount of caffeine had kicked in, and most of the cobwebs were cleared from my head. I am amazed how quickly I started finding the shots.

It only took a few minutes before I decided that I would use the 17mm tilt/shift lens. I think I like to have manual focus as my only option. That I can magnify the image on the screen is a real asset for my style of shooting. I mostly focus on something in the foreground. Because I usually have the lens stopped down to about f16, and the inherent depth of field for a 17mm lens, I can expect acceptable sharpness for most of the image.

315 C Street, Eureka, 2011
Random Beauty