Sunday, January 24, 2010

Arizona Sycamore

Arizona Sycamore Bark, Seven Springs, AZ, 2010 by Richard M. Coda

This is the first large format image I have from our recent trip to Seven Springs and the Tonto National Forest.

The mottled browns and blues and grays are what originally attracted me to make this image. I also took it in black & white and hope to have it and my 8x10 creek negatives developed in a day or two.

Let me know what you think.

Oranges, Poranges, Who Cares?

Orange Trees, Phoenix, AZ, 2010 by Richard M. Coda

OK, I may have just dated myself... that's from a silly song from an even sillier children's show from the late 1960s-early 1970s... H.R. Pufnstuf.

Anyway, every quarter we have a "theme" night at our Imageworks meetings. It's designed to get members out photographing for more than their six required large format images each year. The theme for our March meetings is "Orange" (the fruit, not the color). I would definitely not have any problems with the color... there's so much of it in the ethnic parts of Phoenix. But, there are also tons of orange trees (and other citrus) here in the valley.

As soon as I heard the theme I immediately knew where I would photograph. I also knew what type of day I needed to get what I wanted... overcast and early, just after sunrise. As it turned out, I got lucky. Two weekends ago it was supposed to be cloudy on Sunday morning. I packed up the car Saturday night, got up at 5:00 AM and was out the door at 5:30. I was at my "secret" location by 6:30 after a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for a cup of coffee. No one knows where this location is... because they pass right by it every day. It's on 40th Street between Campbell and Indian School.

I love the symmetry and the delicate wall background color against the brilliant white tree trunks. Topped off with green leaves and... oranges.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Still... Life...

First, I have to admit that I am not a still life kinda guy... I prefer to be outdoors. I have done a very few over the past 30 years but never spent any real time learning about lighting and the like.

In December, we took our daughter Lindsay to the National Portfolio Days. She received very high praise, especially being "just" a high school sophomore. However, they all said that she needed to do more drawing/painting from life (not photos). She immediately got "in the zone" and we took her out to the Goodwill and several "shops" to get what she needed for her "Western" still life. She set everything up and even set my lights up. I was so impressed with her that I glommed onto her composition.

This is 4x5 using Portra 160 (only the second time I have used it). I'm happy. I've also included Lindsay in action.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Photo Gallery in Phoenix...

My friend, the famous Larry Golsh, notified me today about a new Photography Gallery that just opened in Phoenix – Bokeh Gallery.

Their first show features John Wagner and an interview with him. Although I am not familiar with his work, I did enjoy the interview. My favorite part...

Bokeh: Yes, puzzling evidence.
And speaking of the evidence or the need for more, did u get your masters? The reason why i ask is I recall fondly hearing the advice…well most artists we represent have their masters.

JW: Crap….all that teaches u is bullshitting about photography not taking the picture…and that guy is not gonna be sitting in living room of your home explaining the picture to you every time you look it.

Seems I'm not the only one that feels that way!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Road Trip... Not!

My friends John Prouty and Juan Garcia invited me on a little photography safari this past weekend. The plan was to start out at Seven Springs and then work our way through part of the Tonto National Forest. I had never been to Seven Springs and never deep into the Tonto NF. Thankfully, John offered to drive with his Ford F350. Good thing... my Acura MDX would have fallen apart if we had taken it!

The road to Seven Springs is paved part of the way, then it becomes a graded road. We stopped at the Seven Springs campground, which was empty. We were there for maybe an hour photographing with 4x5 and 8x10 cameras. I exposed my first negatives of 2010... an 8x10 landscape of the stream and trees, then a detail of American Sycamore bark in both BW and color 4x5. Scans to come as I develop them.

We then took off for the wild unknown. John had not been back this way in over 20 years, but not much changes here. The road goes from graded to "primitive". That means virtually non-existent... strewn with rocks the size of basketballs at points as you are actually driving through (sometimes) dry river beds. It is truly beautiful out here, in a minimalist sort of way.

The Verde river at Sheep's Bridge prior to crossing

Dead leaf composition

In fact, we had to cross the Verde River twice on the way back. It was either that and save a few hours, or backtrack and get back well past dark. John braved the cold water to test the depth to make sure we could cross... only three feet... and he skillfully crossed it in no time. The truck on the other side in the photo decided not to risk it even after watching us cross.

John Prouty testing the depth of the Verde River prior to crossing.

Verde River after crossing

Juan Garcia photographing some saguaro

North of Horseshoe Lake

And what trip would be complete without a little Photoshop fun. No, John did NOT actually walk the cable across the river...

Efros/Kitts/Hojnacki Exhibit at ASU Library

From left, Randy Efros, Matt Hojnacki, and John Kitts

On December 4, 2009 I attended the opening of a photography exhibit by friends Randy Efros, John Kitts and Matt Hojnacki at the ASU Library located at 411 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ.

Many of our Phoenix-area photo community friends attended this expansive show. 64 images were shown between the three artists. The quality of the work was very high. These three artists have been photographing for over 60 years collectively. The show continued through January 31, 2010.

Image by Randy Efros

Images by John Kitts

Images by Matt Hojnacki

John Kitts

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Inspirations #24: Moonrise

OK, there's been this big discussion over on about why Ansel Adams' Moonrise, Hernandez, NM is his most sold image. The answer, basically, is that is just drop-dead beautiful. It is a haunting image, and based on Adams' writings, it haunted him in the darkroom. For those of you who don't know, the original contact print looks nothing like the finished print, and even the finished print evolved over the decades. The amount of work that went into the final print is astonishing and has probably not been rivaled since, nor will it ever be.

Moonrise, Hernandez, NM, 1941 by Ansel Adams (finished print)

Moonrise, Hernandez, NM, 1941 by Ansel Adams (straight print)

Every photographer has their own personal Moonrise, whether it is actually a moonrise or a completely different subject matter. Moonrise has come to be defined as a photographer's iconic image... the image that he or she becomes known for. I have been told that my Moonrise is Whaler's Cove, Pt. Lobos,CA 1984. But, I actually have a real Moonrise.

Ansel Adams had other Moonrises, too... Moonrise from Glacier Point, Yosemite NP, CA,

Moonrise from Glacier Point, Yosemite NP, CA, 1953? by Ansel Adams

Autumn Moon, the High Sierra from Glacier Point, Yosemite NP, CA, 1948 by Ansel Adams

In 1989 I spent a month in California, renting a house in Carmel so I could photograph and immerse myself in the rich photographic history of this beautiful place. A college friend of mine, Alan Grossman, flew out with me as he had a wedding to go to in Palo Alto the next week. So that first week we went to Yosemite. Neither of us had ever been there before and we were awe-struck. You drive around the loop in the Valley and all you can do is look straight up, and not in front of you where you should be, and say Oh, my God! It is truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Towards the end of our stay we had heard there would be a good moonrise and that Glacier Pt. was the place to be. So Alan and I photographed in the Valley during the morning and after lunch headed up to Glacier Pt. so we could stake out our spot. Of course, there were many other photographers there with the same idea.

As it started to get dark (and cold) we were set up and I was able to make the image below.

Moonrise, Glacier Pt., Yosemite NP, CA, 1989 by Richard M. Coda (final print)

After I came home 3 weeks later I developed the film. There was so much range in the negative that I could never print it. See my earlier post about how digital saved this image. Below is the original straight scan from the negative. I can truly appreciate the work Ansel Adams put into his Moonrise now because I've been there. Even digitally, there is a lot of work on this image. Gratefully, it only has to be done once, and not 600-700 times like Ansel had to do!

Moonrise, Glacier Pt., Yosemite NP, CA, 1989 by Richard M. Coda (straight print)