dbANDREWS fine art photography: Blog https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog en-us (C) dbANDREWS fine art photography (dbANDREWS fine art photography) Fri, 19 Mar 2021 21:59:00 GMT Fri, 19 Mar 2021 21:59:00 GMT https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u90023058-o1017738491-50.jpg dbANDREWS fine art photography: Blog https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog 90 120 FLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2021/3/flower-photography Photographing flowers has long been a favorite photographic genre of mine.  Wherever my wife and I have traveled I have looked for botanical gardens.  I have found some dandies.  Some examples, Bouchart Gardens in Vancouver, B.C., the Denver Botanical Garden, Oregon Gardens near Portland, the Quebec Botanical Garden, & the Botanical Garden of Annapolis Royale in Nova Scotia to name just a few.  Close to home, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and right here at home, the UCSC Arboretum.  As you might imagine these have allowed me to build quite a portfolio of floral images.  And that doesn't even account for tons of wildflower photography I have done in many locations.  

That being said, I find flower photography to be the most difficult type of photography I do.  Why?  Because it is extremely physical and my old body doesn't like it.  To photograph flowers one has to get down on their level.  That often means up, down, up down; it sometimes means standing on one's head to see the subject in the view finder.  After about an hour of that I am totally exhausted.  Moreover, it is also very painstaking to get the subject portion of the flower in proper focus as one is often using macro lenses which means close ups and a very narrow depths of field.  A micro-millimeter off and the image is ruined.  I have had more failures over the years than successes.

Flower photography is also gear intensive.  The last time I went out I had a bag full of lenses, close up filters, stabilizing gear (tripod, platypod, clamps, etc.), extension tubes, focusing rail, etc.  But one can generally do without much of that nonsense.  I generally use only two or three lenses.  One, of course, is a 100mm Macro lens; the others are special purpose Lensbaby lenses, specifically the Velvet series of lenses which I find myself using more and more...even for landscapes.  These are "fine art" lenses that incorporate blur (where one wants it), and in the case of the Velvet lenses a beautiful glow effect at wider f-stops.  Wow!  What a difference these lenses make.  

But, it is in post production where the magic happens.  Of course one must have a good image in camera to start with, but post production is essential to me to create the effect I want.  After a shoot I can hardly wait to get back to my computer to see what I can create.  I generally apply textures to achieve color effects, surface texture, lighting effects, etc.  I use photoshop to clean up the image, take out unwanted elements, blemishes, etc.  It is all part of the creative process and I find floral images to be most receptive to creativity.  When I'm shooting flowers the last thing on my mind is trying to capture exactly what I'm seeing.  I think of photographer Tony Sweet who in my opinion is one of the best fine art flower photographers in the business.  He is also a jazz musician who approaches his flower photography with that mindset; he creates as he goes along, and that's exactly what I try to do in post production.  It's what makes flower photography so interesting and why I can put up with a few aches and pains to create something truly unique.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) art Fine flower flowers photography travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2021/3/flower-photography Fri, 05 Mar 2021 23:25:38 GMT
COLORADO https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/4/colorado With exception of California, and maybe Alaska, there is no other state I have photographed so comprehensively as Colorado...west of the I-25 corridor.  That, of course means mountains, and Colorado is the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  Technically Colorado is not our most mountainous state; that distinction goes to Nevada with 50+ mountain ranges.  But Nevada has only two peaks that approach 14,000' in elevation.  Colorado is undisputed king in that category with 52-peaks better than 14,000'; no other state comes close to that mark.  Perhaps the most distinct of the "fourteeners" are the Maroon Bells in the Elk mountains near Aspen, and iconic Long's Peak near Estes Park north-west of Denver.  The latter features a tremendous shear east face known as the diamond (for its shape), a favorite draw for "real" mountaineers.  Its shear face is very much like the face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.  Although this peak can be seen from the east for miles I found it a real challenge to photograph well.  Because of the way it is situated I think the only time it can be effectively photographed is in the early morning.  By mid-morning its face is in shadow and bringing out detail is very difficult.  The "Bells" are stunning, three like-shaped monoliths standing side-by-side, all over 14,000', flanked by two or three other neighboring "fourteeners".  In the fall the color leading in to these behemoths create stunning compositions.

But picturesque mountain peaks are not the only element to draw the landscape photographer to Colorado.  It is a mecca for fall color, arguably the best.  I have had the privilege of photographing New England in the fall...and it is spectacular.  Nothing approaches it for variety of color.  But Colorado is special in its own right.  Vast hillsides of golden aspen light up the landscape in the fall with colors varying from pale green to dark orange as the season progresses.  Many other plants in the undergrowth provide reds.  From early September through late October nature displays a rich palette of color in Colorado that will keep your camera clicking and your imagination for interpretation in high gear.  Rivers, lakes, lingering wildflowers, and wildlife provide ample auxiliary elements to add to compositons.

There's more.  On our last visit to the state I discovered sand...Great Sand Dunes National Park in south-central Colorado nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains where wind blown sand seems to gather forming huge dunes that far exceed the more often photographed dunes of Death Valley in size and scope.  

Colorado is also dotted with quaint mountain towns of historical importance and interest, places like Central City near Denver, Cripple Creek near Colorado Springs, Leadville, a beautiful drive from the ski mecca of Vail, Ouray, Telluride, and Silverton in the San Juan mountains of south-western Colorado.  One could spend considerable time just photographing unique 19th century architecture in these places.

One of the major surprises to me was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison river near Montrose on the western slope of the Rockies.  I visited this place kind of as an after thought after shooting thousands of fall color images.  Holy moley, what a hole in the ground!  If ever there was an iconic definition for "gorge" this place is it.  Vertical cliffs fall hundreds of feet into the narrow canyon cut by the Gunnison river.  It is so deep and narrow that sunlight can't penetrate into its interior which enhances the black coloring of the rock walls.  I visited in the fall so there was a lot of color in the vegetation near the rim that offset the black of the canyon.  While not as large or various in coloration as the Grand Canyon I thought this place a worthy rival.  Since my visit came after the tourist season I had the place nearly to myself!

Our final stop on a not too long ago roadtrip through this state was Grand Junction near the Utah border.  From that base I photographed color on the Grand Mesa, drove Jeep trails on the Uncompahgre Plateau, and photographed the canyonlands of Colorado National Monument, an area in whole worthy of several days.  The mighty Colorado river heads in the mountains of Colorado, flows through this western Colorado canyon country, south through the canyonlands of Utah, thence on through Glen and Grand Canyons, defines the border between Arizona and Nevada, continues into southern California, and finally with whatever water is left flows into Mexico and the sea.

In the canyons of western Colorado one notices a transition from the high Rocky mountains to the rugged canyonlands of southern Utah that stretch across the southern belt of that state and into southern Nevada, the Mojave desert, and the Great Basin.  Observing the geology of the landscape and following river arterials one acquires an understanding that this vast "machine" we call the Earth is intrically connected, every part of it is dependent on the other.  Rivers rise from snowbanks high in the mountains, flow downhill cutting great chasms as it goes, waters parched earth, and eventually reaches the sea where the cycle one more repeats itself.  On the way the waters are used by man to provide irrigation and life.  It behooves us, therefore, to be good stewards of our resources.  This might be taken as a trite comment by many (most?), but then we are constantly presented with evidence of our malfeasance in living in harmony with nature.  

One of the central motivations of my approach to photography is to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the natural world in which we live.  I photograph the beauty that I see; I deliberately avoid photographing the ugliness that man leaves behind wherever he goes, the trash, the cans, etc.  As I'm driving about, in my home state of California...or wherever, and stop to photograph an interesting scene, I often wander away from the road to get a better vantage point and invariably find all kinds of junk, from discarded papers, beer cans and cartons to automobile tires, obvious human impact on the landscape.  Perhaps I should photograph this stuff as an object lesson to underscore the point, but that is not what I'm about.  I want the beauty as God made it.

So, as I post this rather large portfolio of images from Colorado you're not going to see the folly of man's handiwork, your going to see the magnificence of nature's handiwork, and even some of the good that man has complemented it with.  Colorado is indeed a place full of marvelous sights and color.  I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.





(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Colorado fine art landscapes photography travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/4/colorado Sat, 15 Apr 2017 22:20:57 GMT
THE PALOUSE https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/3/the-palouse Some time ago my wife, Jean, and I returned from an extended RV trip that had taken us to northern Alberta and back through the Canadian Rockies, ultimately re-entering the United States in Idaho where we spent a few days.  At that point we were very close to an area in southeastern Washington known as the Palouse.  Knowing that area to be a reknown photography destination it was a perfect time to take advantage of an opportunity.  I first visited this area as a young boy when travelling to Idaho on a fishing trip; I recall being totally unimpressed, it being nothing but miles and miles of rolling hills and wheat.  My opinion has now changed.

When one thinks of Washington he thinks of mountains, forests, and a spectacular coastline.  But eastern Washington is far different.  This is farm country indeed, fields of wheat & lentels as far as the eye can see.  Farms dot the countryside but unless you have a high vantage point you're only going to see one at a time because the landscape rises and plunges relentlessly, and country roads twist and turn until one becomes completely disoriented.  But what a venue for photography!  If you like picturesque farms, old barns in various stages of repair (or disrepair), and wide vistas this is the place.

The experience differs by season.  For instance, in the spring one will see a sea of green...young wheat.  In the fall the palette changes to gold, yellows & ochre...earth tones.  My visit was in the fall.  These rolling hills were reputedly formed by sand blowing from the southwest and indeed looking at many of my "broad vista" images I see something that resembles my images of sand dunes in Death Valley.  One has to look closely to see that those "dunes" are really "waves" of wheat.  At the time of our visit the majority of the fields had been harvested leaving behind acres of stubble crisscrossed by "trails" left by harvesters.  But the color remains with the chaff.  This is a relaxing venue in which to photograph with plenty of country roads to explore and bucolic scenery to photograph.  Take your time and explore slowly; have lunch in one of the many quiet towns that dot the Palouse.

I recently scanned through some of my images and revisited this portfolio.  I had previously edited some of these photos but my style and taste have radically changed in just a few short years.  Consequently I decided to remaster some of these images.  The portfolio Palouse is the result.




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Palouse Washington photography travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/3/the-palouse Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:13:54 GMT
THE VERTICAL WORLD OF ZION https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/1/the-vertical-world-of-zion Southern Utah is one of my favorite places to photograph in the United States.  Along the southern tier of the State, known as the Escalante Staircase, lie no less than five spectacular national parks and a national monument; the western most is Zion.

I consider Zion in the same category with Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon, a crown jewel in the national park system.  Within its boundaries, and those of adjacent parks, is some of the most rugged, extraordinary and varied landscape in the United States.  To properly understand the geography one must view it in the context as a part of the larger Colorado plateau that covers the entire southwestern United States including the Grand Canyon, indeed the entire Colorado River drainage system.  It is vast, largely bereft of human habitation, some of it inaccessible and unexplored.  I can think of only a handful of photographers who have photographed this region in detail. Even from a more "manageable" perspective one could isolate Zion and easily spend the better part of a lifetime photographing this one portion of the Colorado plateau.

To photograph such a place requires more than just a casual day or two visit.  My experience has been that the first visit to such a place is largely a reconnaisance, a learning experience.  Then on subsequent visits, after having sorted things out, one can systematically cover a place piece by piece.  One could concentrate on many subjects, landscape, water, plants, wildlife, differing points of view, etc.  I think I have visited Zion four times which means I'm getting a start.  To put this in perspective I have visited Yosemite on dozens of occasions (because it's closer), hiking through it on foot as well, and still have room for more inspiration; I will never exhaust the potential.  Such is my feeling about Zion.  I think I am still in the stage of looking at it from a macro point of view, e.g., trying to accomplish too much with each visit.  Perhaps I'm ready to begin "drilling down" to a micro level.  When one is at the point of approaching a subject from that point of view I think the subject matter becomes sharper, more focused, delivering a more cogent message.  Alas, there just isn't enough time to do it justice. 

Most visitors see this park on one or two occasions from the shuttle bus, or by hiking some of the easier trails.  That is a start, but there is more.  There are units off the beaten track and an incredible hike through the "narrows" of the Virgin river which only the more determined visitors attempt.  I spent several days there in 2012 concentrating on something different each day.  One day on that occasion I ventured into the narrows for an incredible experience.  A few of those images appear with this new portfolio, "The Vertical World of Zion", and inspired the portfolio title.  The title is self explanatory. 

Experiencing the Narrows requires a bit of work although there is a well worn path into the gorge...the river. Most visitors hike a mile to the mouth of the gorge then turn around.  While a gorgeous hike to that point it is just the beginning.  The real experience starts once one steps into the river.  Fifty yards into the gorge I found myself up to my chest in cold water.  Just as I thought I might be a swimmer the river "shallowed out" and became merely a wade.  There was no alternative; water often extends from wall to wall and a good portion of the time in the canyon is spent in the water.  The canyon walls become higher as one proceeds into the gorge and vertical walls on either side rise hundreds of feet above, nearly touching in places.  The sky becomes just a narrow ribbon far above the river.  One has the feeling at once of being entombed in the Earth and in the midst of a vast cathedral; a feeling of confinement...and yet it is so huge!  Human beings appear so small and insignificant compared to the vastness in which one stands.  While perhaps not a religious experience one's thoughts certainly point in that direction.  There are only two exits, 1) to continue several rugged, wet miles to the upper entrance or 2) return the way one came.  For this reason it can also be a death trap.  Canyons such as this in the southwest are prone to flash floods and it would be fatal to be caught in one in this place.  It is wise to check the weather throughout the entire region AND with the Park Service before entering the narrows.  Rain a hundred miles away could result in massive water draining through this canyon.  One must understand that while the "little" Virgin River might appear benign it is the instrument by which this massive canyon was created.  A chaos of boulders, trees, etc., testifies to the raging torrent it can be.  It cuts deeper into the Earth year after year, century after century, millennia after millennia.

On my excursion into the Narrows I met a couple who had started the previous day at the upper end of the canyon expecting to exit the lower end that same day.  They had been overcome by darkness the previous night and forced to spend a cold, wet night in the Narrows without supper or a place to shelter.  They were in no danger or difficulty...but were ready for some dry clothing and a hot meal.  Still they seemed quite upbeat about the whole experience.  They were a tough pair.  

I had opportunity to visit Zion again this past October for a couple of days.  I had to pass up the Narrows on this occasion due to limited time and hip and knee problems, but was able to concentrate on fall colors, a herd of Big Horns, and shooting "painterly" shots with Lensbaby optics along the Virgin River.  The possibilities are endless and limited only by the imagination.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Utah Zion National Park artistic landscapes photography wildlife https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/1/the-vertical-world-of-zion Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:09:41 GMT
SLEEKLENS ACTIONS...A POST PRODUCTION OPTION https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/1/sleeklens-actions-another-post-production-optionu Those who know me understand that I am a confirmed believer in post production editing.  In fact, my images do not see the light of day until I have processed them through whatever post production protocol I choose to employ.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First, I shoot in RAW format, that is I do not allow my camera to make any processing decisions for me.  What I get from the camera is literally a RAW image containing all the data my camera is capable of delivering, but nothing has yet happened to that data.  At this point the image is dull and lifeless and not yet ready for public viewing; it remains for me to bring it to whatever state of completion I choose, or to put it another way, to exercise my artistic expertise to realize whatever vision I wish the image to represent.  Second, while modern cameras can be configured to process the image for us and produce a credible image it does compress it into JPEG format which is a fraction the size of a RAW image, meaning much information contained in a RAW image is lost as well as control of the end product.  Simply stated, compression into JPEG format is a destructive process as opposed to non-destructive processing of the image in say Photoshop, Lightroom, or similar software.  For that reason most serious photograpers want a RAW image even though it means time on the computer to process images.  If this is of no concern to you and you are happy with JPEG's then read no further.  But, if you are interested in editing "tools" then the following may be of interest.

That said, I employ a number of tools (software) to enable me to finish my images.  The process of editing is commonly referred to as "workflow". There seems to be as many "workflows" as there are photographers.  A great many utilize Lightroom, Photoshop, or others...or a combination of many.  I fall into the latter category.  Everything I do starts in Lightroom as an organizer...which also has a good processing module among other features.  I use this to do basic edits, e.g., exposure and contrast corrections, white balance, perspective corrections, etc.  That might be adequate for some, but to me the real magic happens in Photoshop which I use to apply more complex edits, and as a central hub to access third party plug ins, like NIK or onONE software which I use extensively.  Some might consider that a lot of bother, but Photoshop allows me to make each adjustment as a non-destructive layer which I can return to at some later time to make needed adjustments, and I can access all my plug-ins to create my desired "look" from that single platform.  It took much trial and error to develop my "workflow" and while I won't claim it's the best or only one it does work for me.  The downside, (and there's always a downside isn't there?) it takes a lot of time and storage space.  To be sure, everything I do could be done without ever leaving Photoshop, but most of us are not that sophisticated in the use if this complicated program and look to "expert" presets (or those created by ouselves in plug-ins) to get the job done.  In fact most presets I use today are those I have created myself.

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  I was recently given an opportunity to try a somewhat different concept by SLEEKLENS in exchange for my review.  SLEEKLENS markets presets for Lightroom and "Actions" for Photoshop that apply desired effects to photos within those particular programs without switching in and out of plug-ins or being an advanced user of Photoshop, which does require a rather steep learning curve.  Since I utilize Photoshop as my hub the SLEEKLENS actions were my choice to review.  

What is a preset or action?  Simply stated a preset is a "look" or "effect" that can be applied to an image with one click of the mouse.  An "action" in Photoshop is similar whereby a single click sets off a procedure, or indeed a combination of procedures, to achieve an effect.  They are created by ONCE recording a series of steps within Photoshop that can later be used over and over again as many times as one desires...with a single click.  The advantage?  They reside right in Photoshop with no need to navigate to an outside plug-in...and then navigate back into Photoshop.  So what's the big deal?  SIMPLICITY & TIME.  It requires time to move back and forth in programs, and if you're using an aging computer with multiple external storage devices like I do time becomes an issue.  With these "actions" there is no need to leave the Photoshop platform. 

The download I received for Landscape editing included over 50 actions that address most commonly executed edits such as Exposure and contrast adjustment, Tonality adjustments, Special Effects, Resizing, actions to create a specific Mood, Enhancements, etc.  The actions are delivered in a zip file that when opened easily loads the actions into Photoshop where they appear in the "Actions" window and easily identified under a Sleeklens caption.  As many as you want can be applied to an image by simply running the action(s) and adjusting to suit your taste.  A couple caveats...you must own Photoshop version 4-6, or CC, (also compatible with Elements 11-16), and have a basic understanding of its use (e.g., layers, masking, brushing, opacity).

There is a bit of a curve in learning what these actions actually do but with practice that should become pretty much automatic.  Compared to third party plug-ins I have used there are fewer preset options, but virtually the same effects can be produced via adjusting opacity and/or brushing in desired adjustments.  One thing that disturbs me a bit is that once an action is applied the layers are flattened or merged before applying another action.  This means one cannot go back and adjust a previous action; that is but a minor annoyance because in practice I seldom go back to re-edit an image.  But, on the positive side I find the actions execute quickly, they are convenient to access, they can be easily adjusted to personal taste, and they include all editing options most photographers will need.  And the price, $49.00, is far below that of any plug-in of comparable quality I have encountered.

Here is a sample RAW image for editing:

This image is right out of the camera with nothing done to it.  Note how dull and lifeless it appears.  I would like to add clarity and definition to this image to bring out definition in the sky, rocks, and surf...and improve the color.  Additionally I'd like a bit more light on the right hand pinnacle.  There is also a white seagull with the sun shining off its feathers right in the middle of the image; it is barely visible.  I think a bit of clarity will bring that into sharper visibility.  Finally, this photo was taken in mid-afternoon just as the lighting is at its worst.  It is harsh and rather flat.  I'm going to warm this entire scene to create more of a late afternoon ambience.


This then is the result after applying three or four SLEEKLENS actions.  I think I have accomplished all the goals set out above.  Contrary to what some perceive as "editing" I have not changed any of the elements of this scene; I have merely brought it more into conformity with what I saw and visualized for this image even to the extent of bringing that little dot of a bird into visibility.  And as added benefit the resultant image is less that a quarter the size of my normally edited images with a lot of positive implications to the massive storage space I utilize.

The following are links to SLEEKLENS where more information is available and the "Actions" purchased.  Just copy and paste to access the SLEEKLENS website.

(https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-adventure-photoshop-actions/https://sleeklens.com/product/professional-photo-editing-service/ and https://sleeklens.com/product-category/photoshop-actions/)? 




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography Photoshop Actions SLEEKLENS https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2017/1/sleeklens-actions-another-post-production-optionu Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:11:45 GMT
VISIONS OF EUROPE: THE BALTIC https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/12/the-baltic I have added 122 images from eight Baltic countries to my VISIONS OF EUROPE portfolio.  They are:  Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, or more accurately images from principal cities in each of those countries.  This represents a distillation from approximately 5,000 images created on a 15-day cruise throughout the region, and may well complete that portfolio for the foreseeable future.

Photographing in a "tour format" is not the optimum way to create quality fine art, nor does it tend to an exhaustive coverage of such a large area, but at this point in my life is the only practical way to sample the varied cultures in Europe.  Consequently I would categorize the images in this portfolio as travel and street photography rather than fine art.  However, if one embarks on such a journey prepared with a plan of attack, that is having done some research as to what kind of subject matter to expect, and going with a reasonable arsenal of tools, it is possible to come home with some decent images.  That, I hope, I have achieved.

Photography is the driving force for me on our various travels.  It sometimes means I'm burning the candle at both ends to get what I want.  For instance on this past trip our ship began its entry into a Norwegian fjord at 5:00 a.m. in drizzly weather with a cold, brisk wind blowing.  I pulled myself out of bed in time to be in position to photograph our progress into that fjord, and while the lighting and elements were to say the least challenging I think I came away with some stunning images.  By using a combination of techniques, shooting RAW file format, and applying appropriate post production edits I was able to extract a ton of color from scenes that looked pretty bland at the time.  Norway, for instance, is stunning in its beauty.  It is perhaps the one place on this trip I would like to return to and really dive into it properly.  For one who embraced photography to create mountain landscapes and seascapes it is a paradise.  This was just not the right kind of trip to take advantage of that.

The other place that has long been on my "bucket" list is St. Petersburg, Russia.  I admire Russian literature, classical music and opera; St. Petersburg is a "mecca" of classical Russian culture.  We spent two exhausting days there and while we saw a great deal so much missed.  I think we saw the highlights but one thing I wanted to do is spend substantial time on the Nevsky Prospect, the principal street in the city.  Alas there was just no time.  Moreover, Russia is difficult place to visit on one's own.  A pricey visa is required, and then too the language is more challenging than in many other western European countries.  I'm not sure I'd want to tackle that on my own.  But in the context of a tour it was very comfortable and enjoyable.

Berlin was a surprise to me in the amount of construction going on, especially in the former eastern sector.  Perhaps that is naivety on my part inasmuch as it is not all that long since the Berlin Wall came down and East Berlin began to emerge from the horrors of WW II.  Berlin is still grappling with that emergence as evidenced by cranes and scaffolding on virtually every major building.  Still, given its rich array of museums, music venues, etc., signals Berlin to be a major cultural center in the world.  

The remnant of the Berlin Wall still extant is a grim reminder of the horrors of man's inhumanity to his own kind.  That Germany is indeed recovering from that nightmare is testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.  I have now personally seen the remains of that wall and the one that imprisons the inhabitants of Bethlehem.  My reaction to both was the same...repugnance.  Walls are intended to keep people in or out, and doing so they may fulfill their purpose but they insult the human spirit.  Ultimately they cannot endure.  That my own country now proposes to build its own wall is a disgusting sequel to what I've witnessed in Berlin and Jerusalem.

The creation of this portfolio embodies a significant sector in my overall portfolio.  One may wonder why I chose to "focus" so strongly on Europe.  I didn't set out to do so; it pretty much grew of it's own volition.  Still, there is much that is unique, e.g., architecture, culture, etc., and understanding more about my own roots seemed somehow important to me.  While American culture is also unique and important there is much to be found in Europe that defines who we are.  A great many Americans, including myself, trace their lineage from European sources.  Traveling instills one with a different perspective from those who have never traveled; I think one becomes more tolerant of different views, ways of doing things, and in self identity.  Perhaps a way of putting this is "less insular".  I have traveled through all of North America, much of Europe, quite a bit of Asia, and a bit of Africa and have found something to admire everywhere, and perhaps the debunking of preconceived notions and prejudices.  The rest of the world cannot be dismissed as irrelevant.  We are all part of the same world and mutual understanding is a necessary prerequisite to world peace.  





(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Europe Photography travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/12/the-baltic Fri, 16 Dec 2016 21:59:42 GMT
UCSC ARBORETUM https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/5/ucsc-arboretum Although My early years as a photographer focused on landscapes I have always been more of a generalist...I'll aim a camera at anything I find interesting.  In the last few years I've gone to architecture, street photography, portraiture, travel, wildlife, and even flowers.  Maybe this broad spectrum of interest has cost me renown because I don't consider myself necessarily an expert at any of these genres, and my photo gear isn't geared to a particular type of photography, but I am capable of assembling an adequate kit at a moment's notice to do just about anything at least competently.  

When I originally set up this site I used the term "fine art photography", not because I consider myself a great artist but because I tend to play around with my images far beyond what is possible to produce in camera.  This may be blasphemy to some hard core traditionalists still using film; get over it.  The camera is a tool that renders an image; nothing more.  If that image satisfies you artistically that's great.  I want something more.  I don't think even Ansel Adams was satisfied with what came out of his camera.  He was known for spending as much time, if not more, in his dark room, developing, dodging, burning, etc., until the result met his satisfaction.  His craftsmanship at technical settings, composition, and post processing is what made him an artist.

There are some subjects I don't mess with too much.  Certainly if doing documentary photography I do very little outside the camera.  But flowers lend themselves well to artistic expression and what I end up with may be very different from the original image.  That concerns me very little.  The original image is but a starting point.  What I am doing is giving my personal interpretation and expression to a particular subject.  Sometimes I have something in mind that the subject triggers and I try to produce it; often I surprise myself when something emerges that sets me off on a completely new thread.  It's all part of the creative process and today we are fortunate to have many tools to help us create an image.

I am also fortunate to have a world class botanical venue within five miles of my home, the University of California, Sant Cruz (UCSC) Arboretum.  It is a teaching and research facility specializing in plants of differing ecological origins from places like New Zealand, Australia, Africa, as well as the Central Coast of California.  One can actually photograph California's golden poppy then walk a few steps and work with Proteas from South Africa.  I know of no where else one can do that!  

The new portfolio that accompanies this blog is a "painterly" rendering of floral images created at the Arboretum over a period of roughly five years.  I usually make one or two trips each year across town to photograph in the Arboretum.  It's an opportunity to break out my macro lens and specialty Lensbaby optics and just have fun.  Over that time I've assembled thousands of images, most of which never leave my computer.  But I thought it would be fun to work on a few of those to see what happens.  I wound up with images that might have inspired Monet and some that might have been painted by Georgia O'Keefe, and a couple that resemble the Expressionist paintings of Joan Mitchell.  Most of all it's just fun.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) California Flowers Painterly Images Photography Santa Cruz UCSC https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/5/ucsc-arboretum Mon, 16 May 2016 01:16:40 GMT
PORTRAITS IN THE WILD https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/3/portraits-in-the-wild PORTRAITS IN THE WILD is the the portfolio where my wildlife images live on my website.  I will attest right up front that every image in this portfolio is of an animal or bird totally free and wild in its natural habitat.  I have been so very fortunate over the past few years to visit a few of the premium locations in the world to photograph exotic wildlife.  I have a ton of photos of wildlife taken in zoos, but I look at zoos as practice opportunities, and while many of those photos represent the animals nicely it just isn't the same as interacting with a non-captive animal where he lives.  I have photographed wildlife in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, Washington, British Columbia, the Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, and most recently South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.  

I cannot begin to describe the adrenalin rush one gets when photographing a bear, for instance, when my Nikon is the only thing that separates us.  I found myself in that position on a couple occasions in Alaska a few years ago.  Believe me, I was paying attention to what was going on.  But you know, the bear on those occasions really wasn't interested in me.  Oh, he was aware of my presence and kept an eye on me, but otherwise went calmly about his business.  I didn't press my luck to get closer; my long lens did that for me.  The goal is to get the best photo possible without disturbing the animal, e.g., invading his space, surprising him, or putting one's self in jeopardy.  That sounds like a simple statement but it's not.  One must plan and execute a wildlife photo session very carefully.  It's not enough to just decide to take photos, one must physically get to where the animals are, determine how to approach them, select equipment, perhaps most importantly know something about the animals to be photographed (their habits, characteristics, etc.), then while actually photographing the subject be very sensitive and aware of how the animal is reacting to your presence.  Knowing the animal's habits and bodily actions are important tip offs to what is happening.  If the animal displays any sign of stress or abnormal behavior that is the time to back off.  An adrenaline rush is one thing, but being charged by an angry animal is a whole different ballgame.

The type of photo session is key to many preparatory decisions.  Many of my wildlife shoots have been guided ventures where the only consideration is choosing equipment and clothing one is going to take, then getting one's self there.  The best of such that I have experienced was a one week "photography dedicated" trip to Churchill, Manitoba to photograph Polar Bears.  I did a lot of pre-trip research to learn about the Polar bear, his habitat, challenges, and habits.  Then I took everything I had on that trip, two cameras, a full range of focal lengths, tripod, etc.   I also carried cold weather gear, boots, etc.  I had a lot of weight, all dedicated to photography; there was no other activity.  Contrast that with my recent trip to Africa.  We had but two days on safari out of a 16-day trip and severely limited as to both carry-on and checked luggage.  I was not able to take the long lense I wanted due to weight restrictions.  I had to think through very carefully what situations I might encounter and how to meet them from a "limited" equipment scenario.  I knew I would be shooting from a Land Rover or boat (I even shot a few from the back of an elephant!)  I settled on one camera and one 18-300mm lens, plus 1.4X and 2.0X tele-extenders.  I wasn't exactly satisfied with this limited setup but it worked quite well.  While I would have preferred my 400mm telephoto lens it was just too heavy to consider.  Because I would be shooting from a moving vehicle, and at times in low light conditions, I knew high ISOs were essential to achieve adequate shutter speed.  I don't like that, but I didn't have a choice.  Fortunately modern digital SLRs handle high sensor speeds nicely, and software does a great job in post-production to eliminate or reduce residual digital and color noise.  I also knew that a tripod would be out of the question, and while I could have used one in other places I didn't even pack one.  Image stabilizing lenses are a big help in hand held situations .  Many trips have been on-my-own in an RV where my photo gear got priority in terms of space; decision making was easy-it all went.  I've also done a lot of backpacking where once again space and weight were critical, however, wildlife photo opportunities on those ventures were limited, outside of Alaska that is.

Wildlife photography is thrilling.  I would encourage anyone who hasn't tried it to give it a go, if even in your own backyard or park.  Birds & butterflies make wonderful subjects, and perhaps not as adrenaline inducing as a Polar Bear or African lion but still requires some planning and practice.


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography wildlife photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/3/portraits-in-the-wild Wed, 02 Mar 2016 00:11:34 GMT
ON THE EDGE https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/1/on-the-edge A journey to the Arctic in early winter?  Who are you kidding?  A few years back my wife and I were in the Yukon at the turn of summer to fall and were treated to one of the most glorious treats of nature, the change in color of the tundra to bright reds and oranges.  One has to be a bit lucky to see this because fall in this sub-Arctic environment happens very fast, perhaps just a few days until winter moves in.  Already in late August, early September, we were getting strong hints that it was time to head south.  But winter?  Why on earth would anyone want to brave that?  For a photographer interested in wildlife the answer is Polar Bears!

This time it wasn't the Yukon but a small settlement on the south shore of Hudson Bay known as Churchill.  This is one of the best places in the world to see the great white bear because they congregate here in late fall as the polar ice begins to form on Hudson Bay where these hungry bears access the ice and head for winter hunting grounds for fat laden seals on which they are dependent for survival.  Without the seal Polar bears cannot build up the reserves of fat to carry them through the long months from say April to late November during which time they eat very little.  And therein lies their plight.  Because of warming global temperatures ice forms later and melts earlier keeping them land bound longer each year.  This naturally throws their life cycle completely out of whack causing them over time to lose weight, give birth to fewer cubs, and inhibit their ability to nurture the cubs they do have.  These great mammals, and other animals, fish and birds that share this place are "on the edge".

I went to Churchill hoping to be on time to witness this unique migration and photograph the great bear.  I was there just as Hudson Bay was beginning to freeze over.  Churchill is not considered high Arctic.  It is in a transition zone known as the sub-Arctic where the boreal forest that extends hundreds of miles in northern Canada meets the coastal plain of the polar seas, in this case, Hudson Bay.  The landscape around Churchill is largely barren consisting of low tundra, stunted willow like brush, and stunted trees.  By November it is largely a black and white world interspersed with islands of evergreens, most of which show the stress of cold and Arctic wind.  Yet if one looks closely there is color left over from the riot of fall, reds, oranges, sienna, ochre, greens, and blues in the water.  On cloudy days the blue becomes slate-like.  It is kind of like Death Valley in that the bones and structure of the Earth itself are exposed and on full display.  The landscape and flora, like their fauna cousins, are truly "on the edge".  And yet they survive in this raw climate, so far.

I find much to compare the Arctic zone with say Death Valley.  Certainly the climates are far different, but they are both extreme and stark.  Quiet and motionless one moment, the next can produce violent flash floods in the desert or howling blizzards in the Arctic.  Life is fragile and tenuous.  A plant can take decades to grow a few inches in height only to be obliterated in a moment with one careless footstep.  The landscape can seem lonely and deserted yet somehow the vastness and quiet gives one time and space to engage the intricate workings of this vast machine, to come to the understanding that the workings of nature are all in harmony and syncronization.  We are a part of that landscape and welcome in it, but carelessness, technology and industrializiation also gives us opportunity to upset that intricate balance.  Consequently we must be careful not to trend too harshly on what is an easily disrupted balance.

I personally find peace and beauty in such places.  At Churchill I had opportunity not only to photograph the great white bear but also a part of his environment.  I found a special place where the vastness was almost overwhelming.  I learned a great appreciation for the creatures that call this home and for the challenges they face in surviving their changing environment.




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Arctic Canada Environment Manitoba Polar Bears Wildlife https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2016/1/on-the-edge Sat, 16 Jan 2016 18:08:09 GMT
MOSI-OA-TUNYA https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/11/mosi-oa-tunya Mosi-oa-Tunya is the colorful local name for one of nature's awesome wonders, Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, Africa's fourth longest river.  Translated it means "Smoke that Thunders" for its prodigious spray which in the wet season can be seen from thirty miles.

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest based on its width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water.  Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America's Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls.  In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil's Iguazi Falls.

The falls lies partly in Zimbabwe and partly in Zambia.  The Zambia side is dry at this time of year preventing us from seeing the falls in its full glory, but also allowing us to see it at all!  I'm told that during the wet season the spray is so thick that it is impossible to see into the gorge and that the falls seemingly "rains up".  So, we were inadvertently fortunate.  But even if half the falls was dry the rest of it gets your attention and "smoke that thunders" is indeed an appropriate appellation.  I was not entirely comfortable peering over the cliff into the depths of its chasm...it's a long way down.  Which causes me to comment on the brave (foolish?) souls who wade into a pool (Devil's Pool) where the water is shallow enough to wade to the brink of the falls and peer over the edge.  There was a group taking that dare as we watched.  My skin still crawls.  Even though the water was only calf deep one slip would send one on a journey of no return for over 350 vertical feet.  Not a wise bet in my book.





(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Africa Zimbabwe waterfalls https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/11/mosi-oa-tunya Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:50:09 GMT
SAFARI! https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/10/safari My wife and I were recently privileged to go on not one safari, but two!  The first was mid-September in Kruger NP, South Africa; the second was two weeks later in Chobe NP, Botswana.  Both were "bucket list" type events.

One does not necessarily need a guide to go on safari but I would certainly recommend such, especially when one is on a strict time schedule.  To say these guys know their business is an understatement.  They find game that one might spend days finding, or never at all.  And they are adept at putting one in the right position to capture that once in a lifetime photo. 

Our day in Kruger was one such day.  We not only saw a lot of wildlife but found ourselves unexpectedly in the midst of a hunt by a pride of lions.  We had just seen a lone Cape Buffalo bull on a river bank perhaps 200 yards from our vehicle when suddenly we found ourselves flanked by five female lions casually strolling down the road; except they were'nt casually strolling down the road.  They had spotted this bull before we had and were positioning themselves to take him down...which is exactly what happened right before our eyes.  Before we even realized what was going down those cats were on that buffalo; he never had a chance.  Our guide explained he was an old bull that had been separated from the herd.  I can still hear that buff bellowing as those lions pulled him down.  A flock of buzzards had already gathered awaiting their turn.  A vivid example of life in the wild.

The second day of safari, in Chobe NP, came in combination with a visit to Victoria Falls (see separate blog entry) and was fully as productive as Kruger in terms of animals seen.  We "hunted" by land rover in the morning, by boat on the Chobe River (which empties into the Zambezi) in the afternoon.  Again, our guide spotted hard to see wildlife we would never have otherwise seen, especially birds.  Here too, we came upon a fresh lion kill (this time a baby elephant) with the lions still present sleeping off full stomachs.

Viewing and photographing wildlife in their natural habitat is exciting.  These animals are used to seeing humans so they go about their business as if we were'nt even there.  But one needs to remember that this isn't the zoo.  These animals are wild and not in a cage.  That thought was foremost in my mind as we were flanked by the five hunting lion at Kruger.  They were more interested in the buffalo than us, but still they were almost within touching distance from us in the land rover.  It's been less than two months since a woman was killed by a lion while on safari in Africa.  I kept a close eye on those cats.  Exciting yes...without risk?  Absolutely not.

With this posting I am beginning to put new photographs on my website.  See them in the "Portraits in the Wild" portfolio.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Africa Kruger NP South Africa photography wildlife https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/10/safari Sat, 24 Oct 2015 21:20:00 GMT
SPAIN IS COMPLETE!!! https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/spain-is-complete After three long months of editing I think my Spain portfolio is complete...or as complete as it will be.  It is a huge portfolio, consisting of over 700 images, and taken together is a virtual tour of Spain.  In fact as I edited these photos I felt I was seeing everything again for the first time.  As we moved from place to place we had guides to interpret what we were seeing, but I am so compelled to photograph that I often miss what's being said.  I don't hear that well anyway, so my focus is on what I am seeing then later read about those things that interest me.  In the end I bet I wind up with more of an insight than anyone on the tour.  My reading thus far has included a brief overall history of Spain, a history of the Moors in Spain, a history of the Spanish Civil War, and currently a history of Spain's "golden age" from 1519-1682.

These fifteen portfolios visit much of this spectacular country.  We began in Madrid, the Capitol.  Flying in to this modern city I was struck by how green the landscape was...from horizon to horizon.  I guess I expected much the same ground coloring as coastal California, golden yellow.  Not so.  My wife and I spent the first afternoon in Madrid's RETIRO park, a large and beautiful reserve within this city where one can escape the traffic and noise of the city.  

We travelled the country by coach in a clockwise direction heading north to Santander and the Bay of Biscay.  Enroute we stopped at the charming village of Lerma before crossing the Catabrica Cordillera (mountains) finally reaching the sea in late afternoon.  We then proceeded east to Bilbao, San Sebastián, Pamplona (of San Fermin fame) and Zaragosa before driving along the foothills of the Pyrenees and a relative "breather" in Barcelona.  We continued southwest to Valencia and Granada, a stop on the Costa Del Sol (including visits to Malaga and Mijas), thence to Gibraltar, Seville and Cordoba before proceeding north to Toledo, and finally back to Madrid.  In other words we circled Spain, enroute seeing and experiencing a great deal, like flamenco in Andalucia, the Alhambra in Granada, unbelievable architecture in Bilbao, and the Prado in Madrid.  Besides green in the central and northern sectors we saw far more mountains than expected, olive orchards as far as the eye can see, acres and acres of artichokes, almond and orange orchards, bull raising ranches, and miles of scenic coastline.  And, oh yes, did I mention architecture?  If not there's plenty to see in my portfolios.  Would I go back?  Oh yes!  We left plenty to see and do.  I'm too old now, but I should have walked the Camino de Santiago years ago.  If not familiar with that check it out.  

So, if you want to experience what we did spend some time with my portfolios.  You will virtually retrace our steps.  If you know little about Spain now you will now quite a bit by the time you finish.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Spain photography travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/spain-is-complete Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:28:57 GMT
VIEW OF TOLEDO https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/view-of-toledo VIEW OF TOLEDOVIEW OF TOLEDO

VIEW OF TOLEDO:  No, not El Greco's view but one similar I think.  The city still sits atop the same hill. The Alcazar and cathedral, still dominate the scene; the river Tagus still flows at the foot of the hill.  But what I wouldn't give to have El Greco's sky!

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Spain Toledo Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/view-of-toledo Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:32:53 GMT
EAST MEETS WEST https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/east-meets-west Anyone spending time in my Europe galleries will know that I favor churches in my subject matter, and for good reason.  In Europe, and in many places in North America, the architecture presented is compelling.  One is going to see everything from classical to art nouveau styles.  But in Spain there is something else, that is Moorish (Mudejar) architecture.  Spain, except for the north, was ruled by the Moors from ~711 a.d. until the Reconquista in 1236 when Ferdinand III of Castile reconquered Spain for Christianity and expelled the Moors.  But the evidence of their art and architecture remains.  There are at least three notable examples where Islamic architecture at its finest can be seen, the Alhambra in Granada (built in 889 a.d. as a fortress), the Alcazar (Royal Palace) in Seville, and the Grand Mosque of Córdoba, now the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, all World Heritage sites.  Basilica El Pilar in ZARAGOSA might also be included with this group as it has definite elements chararistic of Mudejar architecture, for instance, its pillars.  Indeed, remnants of Islamic architecture are to be seen elsewhere but these in particular are must see places in Spain.  

I know very little about architecture but I do know what is appealing through the lens of my camera and these places were so different from the usual fare of the Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, & Baroque I was used to seeing that I was immediately impressed that here was something very different.  Where I found most European ecclesiastical and secular architecture bold and masculine, embellished with iconic art, this was almost feminine in quality, delicate and highly decorative with floral and geometric designs to be sure, but totally devoid of iconic images of any kind.  This lack of iconic art is of course consistent with the mandates of the Qur'an which specifically forbids statues and icons.  Much use is made of arches in Islamic architecture just as in western architecture but their's is in the shape of a horseshoe as opposed to an inverted U.  In the case of the Grand Mosque double arches are utilized; I haven't seen those anywhere else.  Gardens and water are also important elements incorporated into Islamic architecture, and this is especially true at the Alhambra (and the Seville Alcazar) where a sophisticated irrigation system carries water directly from the Sierra Nevada to the Alhambra and operates to this day.  The gardens, fountains, and pools in the Alhambra and the Alcazar are exquisite.  In addition much use is made of decorative tile in pools, flooring, and wall wainscoatings.  Taken together the experience is far different than visiting say a gothic cathedral such as that at Seville.

The history of the Grand Mosque of Córdoba reflects the push and pull throughout history between Christianity and Islam.  The church was originally built by the Visigoths who first occupied Spain.  It came under control of the Moors in 711 a.d. and was shared by both religions for a time (784 a.d.) until demolished in toto by 'Abd al-Rahman I and rebuilt as the Grand Mosque.  It reverted to the Catholic Church after Reconquista and converted back to a Christian Church when a Renaissance style cathedral nave was incorporated in the 16th century.  Today it reflects artistic elements of both religions, each beautiful in its unique way.  But the "push and pull" between the two religions continues.  Spanish Muslims have petitioned the Catholic Church to allow them to pray in the cathedral, a campaign rejected on multiple occasions by both church authorities in Spain and the Vatican.

I was so taken by the beauty of these places that I'm devoting dedicated galleries to the Alhambra and the Grand Mosque of Córdoba, what is now the cathedral church of the Diocese of Córdoba.  Photographing in both places was very challenging and demanding due to bad lighting and crowds.  Tripods were of course out of the question.  In Córdoba especially I needed to increase the ISO to >1000 at times to get acceptable shutter speed to avoid blurring. This introduced predictable "noise" which in most cases I was able to deal with in post production.  Of more consequence was the crowds of people.  The only thing one can do is use them as props and try to wait until they were positioned in some kind of compositional sense.  This was somewhat successful but is secondary to the  beauty of the architecture itself.  These are truly incredible places well worth visiting.


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Photography Spain Travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/east-meets-west Wed, 19 Aug 2015 19:49:51 GMT
LIGHTING IN CHALLENGING CONDITIONS https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/lighting-in-challenging-conditions Lighting is a key element of composition at all times, but in the travel, street, and the architectural photography I do while traveling it is a real challenge.  So much so that if one is not prepared to quickly deal with lighting problems as they present themselves images can be utterly ruined.  Many of the images being posted in my Spain series present real difficulty in execution, but by utilizing certain techniques the situation was manageable.  Here is a brief summary of strategies I use.

1.  I always shoot in RAW format.  Why is this important?  Because it is only in this format that the maximum potential of your camera can be realized.  When one shoots JPEGs the images are compressed in your camera with a resulting loss of something on the order of 70% of the information contained in the pixels.  My camera, for instance yields a 12.3mp image.  If I shoot JPEGs I wind up with roughly 3.5mp, a huge reduction in image size.  This has a direct influence on the quality of the image and what can be done with it in post production and output.  If you are not shooting RAW you are "going to bat" with two strikes against you at the outset.

2.  Do as much pre-trip research as possible before leaving home.  With copious information available on the internet these days there is no excuse for going on a photo trip unprepared about the subject matter that will be encountered.  This takes a bit of time and effort but I at least know what type of photos I will be taking, equipment  I will need, and some idea of how I will approach it.  

3.  Try to shoot at optimum times, e.g., early morning and evening.  I am often ridiculed when I talk of civil twilight.  Then the laughter increases when I explain what that means.  That means I'm "out there" (pun intended) and ready to shoot roughly a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset.  That being said, when one is part of a tour that is not going to happen.  More likely one is going to be photographing at the worst possible times, challenged for time, surrounded by crowds, and more than likely under equipped.  On only one occasion on my recent Spain trip was I able to sneak out early in the morning to catch a sunrise.  So one must do the best he can to find compositions, or position one's self where the lighting is at least decent.  This is a real challenge perhaps best met by doing good subject research so one knows what angles might be available or having some idea of what can be done in post production (more about this later).  In any case the trick is to try to find the best composition while not losing your group.  Understand you're probably not going to get the "iconic" shot the National Geographic photographer is going to get.

4.  Don't be afraid to dial up the ISO.  I generally try to shoot with an ISO as low as possible, say 100-200.  The ISO is the sensitivity of your camera sensor; for those still shooting film, the film speed.  Low sensitivity generally translates to low "noise "in your images.  It is also a factor when images are "blown up" to large sizes.  The more noise the more it becomes evident as image size increases.  This becomes an issue in low light conditions, like inside churches and other buildings.  Ideally one should use a tripod to hold the camera steady in long exposure situations.  Unfortunately that is not practical in most situations.  Tripods are often not allowed, and  even if they were not practical because of time involved to set one up and crowds to trip over them.  In such situations one should not hesitate to '"crank up" the ISO.  I would rather do that than risk, or indeed, assure myself of blurred images.  Modern sensors are capable of high ISOs without producing excessive noise.  I have routinely gone up to 800 ISO and even 1600 ISO with acceptable results.  That gives me 3, maybe 4 stops of extra speed, huge in difficult conditions.  It's the difference in getting the shot and getting nothing.  Many people try to overcome low light with built-in flash. Unless your subject is very close to the camera that will be ineffective as built in flash just isn't poweful enough to reach very far.  I'm often reminded of people trying to shoot photos in a darkened stadium with a point and shoot and built-in flash.  They think they are illuminating the scene but all they're really lighting is the back of the head of the guy in front of them.  Additionally I find flash in a darkened interior very unsatisfactory lighting.  It's harsh and uneven.  

5.  Another technique which I find few know about is HDR (even though it's been around awhile), High Dyamic Range photography.  In order to utilize this one needs to have a camera that can be set to produce bursts of at least three images at a high rate of speed.  It is best to do this using a tripod, but again we are assuming such is not available.  The idea is to produce at least three identical images at the same f-stop but using three different shutter speeds 1-stop apart.  To do this in low light the ISO must be set so that the camera can be hand held steadily throughout the three bursts.  I find three bursts sufficient to produce an acceptable image; I doubt if I could hold the camera steady for more.  The resulting images are then combined in HDR software in post production to produce one image.  The idea here is to increase the range of light captured which is then translated into the final image.  It does tend to "flatten" out the lighting but with practice the final image can be quite acceptable.  I not only use this technique in low light but in situations where the contrast, or range of light present in the scene, is beyond that which the camera can capture without blowing out highlights or blocking up shadows, roughly say five f-stops of range.  I don't actually measure the dynamic range because I'm generally on the move, but with experience one will know instantly when HDR is appropriate.  This is generally not a good technique when there are moving people in the scene unless blurring their movement is not a big issue.  I find it a very efficacious technique and use it often.

6.  If your camera has a built-in flash it can be useful as a fill flash technique or where the subject is close to the camera; otherwise forget it.

7.  I always photograph with an eye to post production, what I intend to do with the image once it's uploaded to my computer.  I have a very specific workflow procedure that employs a number of software programs.  Everything starts in my basic program, LIGHTROOM.  I do primary RAW editing there and depending on the type image (for instance, most all architectural images) correct for lens  aberration.  I then move into Photoshop through which I access various special effect filters in plug-in software to finish the image to my taste.  These might include contrast, graduated, polarizing, softening , etc., filters depending on the "look" I am trying to achieve.  Some of the filters I formerly used on camera, e.g., graduated neutral density filters, I now wait until post production (at least for travel photos) because I haven't the time to mess with them or room to pack them around.  This may rub purists who think everything has to be done in camera the wrong way, but my results are the same with less hassle in the field. The point is in travel and street photography to get the job done without a lot of gear and quickly.  One just doesn't have time to stand around and analyze a scene then reach into a deep bag of gear for the proper tool. With this type of photography less is usually more.

8.  One last note with regard to gear, my bag usually consists of one camera body, a single lens (Nikkor 18-300 zoom), a polarizing  filter, perhaps a fisheye lens if I have something specific in mind for it, an extra battery for the camera,  and usually a light weight travel tripod with a ball head.  I also often carry a Lensbaby lens and a couple optics in case I want to do something a bit more artistic.  I have been using a Lensbaby system for two or three years and find it gives me an extra dimension although there is a learning curve to use it effectively.  That's it.

So, those used to lugging around a lot of gear will see this as a pretty sparse setup, but after a lot of trial and error I find this effective in these days of strict baggage limitations where I for one do not want my camera gear out of my sight, and where time and efficiency is critical.  Even more importantly, these lighting tips will solve most challenging situations you're liable to encounter.







(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography Street Photography Travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/8/lighting-in-challenging-conditions Tue, 04 Aug 2015 19:20:06 GMT
ABSTRACTS AT GUGGENHEIM https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/abstracts-at-guggenheim One does not necessarily associate Spain with 21st century architecture, that is until one views Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao in the Basque Country of northern Spain.  Oh, there's Gaudi to be sure, but but even he doesn't approach the surrealism of Gehry.  

I was at least aware of this building before going to Spain and was hoping to get a little time to do something with it in terms of photography.  We got one hour.  The choice came down to viewing some of the art held within this crazy building, or photographing it.  There was no choice.  The Guggenheim collection is noted for its modernism and surrealism.  Jean and I visited the Peggy Gugenheim museum in Venice a few years ago.  I've seen all that art I need to see; I chose to photograph.  One might think there is a disconnect between not liking abstract art and creating it one's self, but I think there is a great difference between abstract art and making montages of feathers, bottle caps,etc.  I like abstraction in art, I don't see anything artistic about a urinal glued to a stand.  Just my opinion.

The building at Bilbao was opened in 1997 and considered perhaps the most important structure of its time.  I will leave that determination to others.  That it is unusual there is no argument.  It is styled as "contemporary", "expressionist", and "deconstructionist".  I'm not sure what all that means but it sure isn't Gothic.  Seen from a distance it looks like a huge "other worldly" ship at dock.  Up close one must focus on just portions at a time.  Its skin resembles shiny scales of a fish or serpent.  One might also conjure up images of a space ship.  Whatever, it is certainly "contemporary" or beyond.

The business of photographing this subject is daunting.  Given but one hour it is impossible to wander far enough to get it all into view at once.  I think moving across the river might have been the thing to do, but there just wasn't time.  I solved that with a Fisheye lens.  The rest devolved into an exercise of lines, shapes, and compositional exercises.  And frankly that is where the fun was.  I don't think it's possible to exhaust the opportunities this building offers.  For most of the hour I played with putting pieces of puzzles together into some kind of interesting composition.  I played with diagonals, straight lines, curves, converging lines, shapes, etc.  Lighting too played a part as shadows and highlights played unpredictably across the various surfaces presented from different vantage points.  It was a pure exercise in composition that just seemed to go on and on until I realized I needed to run if I was to avoid missing our bus.

I haven't decided if I liked the building or not.  I do know that no other piece of architecture has ever caught my imagination as this one did.  For that reason I decided to put these images into a group by themselves.  It's but a sample of the body of work resulting from that hour's shoot.  




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Abstract Photography Bilbao Guggenheim Museum Spain https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/abstracts-at-guggenheim Sat, 25 Jul 2015 03:33:14 GMT
GUITARIST, BURGOS https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/guitarist-burgos GUITARIST, BURGOSGUITARIST, BURGOS

Spanish troubadour.  The festive occasion was the May procession and festival in Burgos.  This is a great little town, or maybe not so little, situated on the El Camino de Santiago (way of St. James) which leads to Santiago de Compostella on the coast of north-western Spain.  Thousands of pilgrims walk this trail every year.  

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Spain Burgos Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/guitarist-burgos Mon, 20 Jul 2015 03:08:34 GMT
SPAIN IN PROGRESS https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/spain-in-progress With this posting I will begin to add photos from my Spain portfolio.  It is a huge collection of photos and I will necessarily be very selective in choosing those that represent both quality and diversity.  At this point I am very pleased with the quality, but diversity of subject matter is a challenge.  Most of my images occupy two general groupings, architectural and street photography, the latter being things of interest I saw on the city streets of Spain.  As we travelled across and around this beautiful country by coach I saw hundreds of landscape compositions I would like to photograph; alas, photographing from a moving bus is not possible if one hopes to produce quality landscapes.  Not that I didn't try, but it's safe to say not one of those images will even be edited.  So I was left with photographing in the cities; architecture, people and street subjects were the order of the day.

I consider myself kind of a novice at capturing people photos.  It's not so much the technical aspect of capturing the image that I find challenging, it's capturing close up portraits.  I'm just not comfortable with approaching someone and pushing a camera in their face.  Therefore, most people photos are candids of folks going about their daily business.  Sometimes they are aware they are being photographed, sometimes not.  I try to be as non-obtrusive as possible so that they will remain comfortable doing whatever they are doing.  In any case I take care that the image of whatever is going on is in good taste.

The other challenge is of a geographical nature.  We're I to simply dump all my photos into a portfolio called Spain it would be a huge collection even while being selective.  I have decided to use several portfolios similar to what I did in Italy.  At present I'm contemplating regional portfolios to include the regions of Castile y Leon, Catabria, Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Valencia, and Andalusia; additionally there will be separate portfolios for Barcelona, Madrid, the Alhambra, the Seville Cathedral, and probably the Grand Mosque of Córdoba.  We also visited Gibralter which some will know is not part of Spain but rather part of the United Kingdom.  Even so we visited it as part of our Spain adventure so it too will be included in the Andalusia collection.  Should even this segmentation produce portfolios that are too large I may decide to further fragment them to more manageable size.


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Castile y Leon Lerma Photography Spain https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/spain-in-progress Fri, 17 Jul 2015 21:46:21 GMT
THOUGHTS ON LAUDATO SI' https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/thoughts-on-laudato-si I had the pleasure of reading LAUDATO SI' a short time ago, the encyclical of Pope Francis occasioned by the threat of climate change to what Francis refers to "our common home", the Earth, home to all humanity and all that lives on the Earth.  This encyclical quite frankly expresses the philosophy, theology and morality that inspired me and hence my photography for over 50 years.  While climate change prompted Francis to address this issue his scope goes far beyond just that, indeed it addresses a morally based use and treatment of the resources given to the custody of man to be accessible to all.  While this dialogue has been part of our debate for many years I don't think anyone has put forth his thinking in quite such succinct and elegant terms.  So what does this have to do with photography?

I think those who photograph the landscape, wildlife, flowers, insects, beautiful works of man, portraits, etc., will instantly make the connection.  We are celebrating beauty, beauty in nature, beauty in our environment.  When that beauty is despoiled our subject matter goes away.  Even those who photograph the wreckage we wreak are doing so to make a point, to expose our careless actions and disdain for that entrusted to our care.  Photographing beauty is a response back to God, praising Him for what we find good in His creation; photographing wreckage is one way to inform us of our abusive nature.

Man's careless treatment of what I find praise worthy has been a pet peave of mine all my life.  We trash our highways with garbage, we clutter our cities with graffiti, we set our forests afire with careless disposal of still burning cigarettes, we pollute our waters in dozens of different ways, and now we are pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere on a daily basis.  I have even found full scale dumps 30 miles into the backcountry of the Sierra Nevada where horse packers were too lazy to haul out their trash.  These included things like rusty cans, bottles, even things as large as stoves.  I've often seen old license plates nailed to trees in places that ought to be treated with reverence.  The list could go on and on.  

Laudato Si' challenges us to a new way of thinking about our "home".  No longer do we have the luxury of thinking of our resources as inexhaustible, or that somehow no matter how much abuse we subject it to it will miraculously repair itself.  Every day we become more aware of the damage we inflict on our surroundings and the creatures that inhabit our home.  Yet there are still those who refuse to acknowledge what they see and refuse to believe the science that tells us our consumerist "throw away" society is not sustainable.  It's time for all of us to "own up" to our own responsibility for the care of our environment, and if changes are warranted...make them.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Environment Photography climate change https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/7/thoughts-on-laudato-si Sun, 05 Jul 2015 02:31:50 GMT
SPAIN https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/6/spain In the past ten years my wife and I have made five trips across the Atlantic to European or Middle East destinations.  We are just back from Spain, the thirteenth European country we have visited.

One might ask what I find so compelling about Europe.  Well, as a serious amateur photographer interested in architectural photography there is no better place to go.  One certainly does not have to travel to Europe to find good architectural subjects, but the diversity and "old world" look found there is pretty hard to find elsewhere in my opinion.  In my travels I have found each country visited to be unique in what it offers in architectural style.  There are also fantastic opportunities for landscape photography as well; it's just that I've found myself mostly in urban environments where architecture and "street" photography is the "target of opportunity".  In terms of landscape photography I tend to think the western United States and Canada the place to be, but when it comes to architecture I favor Europe.

Photography aside, travel is a wonderful opportunity to expand one's cultural perspective.  Growing up my generation was led to believe that the United States is first in everything.  Well, I long ago put that myth to rest.  Yes, we lead the world in many things.  This is a fantastic nation and we are most blessed to live here, but we can learn much from others and foolish to think we have all the answers; it is simply arrogant to dismiss the rest of the world as irrelevant.

So, what of Spain?  Well, for one thing it is one of the more economical countries we have travelled in for quite some time.  The Euro vs. the dollar is very favorable right now which may be the main factor.  But I don't get the impression that Spain has had the volume of tourists that countries like Italy, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have experienced.  Consequently prices are perhaps a bit more reasonable than other destinations.  This is possibly in process of changing though.  Tourists have found Spain and several tour companies are operating there now.  If you hanker to see this country I wouldn't put it off too long.  It was also noted that Spaniards are not as proficient in the English language as many other Europeans are, possibly because of the above.  We found few who could speak English, but it is true their English by and large is better than our Spanish!  But this should not be a deterrence; one can get by.  Otherwise Spain is a vibrant, modern country.  In some respects their infrastructure exceeds ours'.  Roads, for instance, are far better in Spain than in the United States, and I think I can make this statement with some degree of knowledge.  Having travelled the breadth and width of North Anerica by motorhome the past ten years I can safely say roads in the United States are by and large atrocious.  Having travelled a good portion of Spain by bus I must say I was struck by the difference.  This is something to provoke alarm.  Europe invests a greater percentage of its GDP into infrastructure than we do; it shows.  We are not keeping up with the demands being placed on our infrastructure and I think we should be concerned about that.  European lifestyle too is far different from ours.  They are not as frenetic as we tend to be.  We are in great hurry to get wherever we are going.  We are so hung up on our so called "work ethic" that  we forget to live.  We are up early (often times in the office by 7:00 a.m.) and still there at 6:00 p.m.  They, on the other hand, start their day later and end it later.  Maybe this is due to time differential?  Americans are looking for supper at 5:30-6:00 p.m; Europeans don't seem to think about dinner until about 9:00 p.m.  City streets and "restaurantes" are buzzing with activity far into the night.

Photography in Spain was outstanding.  I wasn't able to do much landscape work as it's impossible to shoot from a moving bus, but I had foreseen that and focused on street scenes and architecture, and I will have to say the experience was on a par with Italy, that is outstanding.  The cities we visited offered outstanding depth and diversity, as well as color.  Every city seemed unique in what it offered.  From the narrow streets of old Seville and Toledo, and the splendor of the Alhambra in Granada, to the space age architecture of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, and the surreal designs of Gaudi in Barcelona, it was like being in a candy store.  My camera actually became warm to the touch on several occasions.  The only drawback was time.  Without exception I wanted much more time in every city visited.  For instance, we spent one day and part of another in Barcelona, hardly enough time to warm up.  It's like spending one day in Yosemite and thinking one can do it justice.  Simply impossible.  The only answer for an "overview" trip like this is to research very carefully and be focused, ready to hit the ground on arrival.  We had about two hours in Madrid's Prado museum, and while we viewed much of its Spanish art the Prado warrants far more time, perhaps like the Louvre or Metropolitan Museums, a lifetime!

I am currently well into the editing phase of my Spain project.  There are over 4,000 images to sort through and edit so it will take some time.  What I'm seeing so far is only stoking my desire for more. Spain will take a prominent place in my "Visions of Europe" portfolio in the near future.




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Spain architecture photography street photography travel travel photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/6/spain Wed, 03 Jun 2015 21:03:59 GMT
DEATH VALLEY https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/4/death-valley I arrive at Zabriskie Point a few miles from our RV "camp" at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. It is 6:30 a.m., March 17, 2015.  I am here to spend six days photographing in Death Valley.  Zabriskie Point is one of the many premier spots in the valley overlooking badlands so color banded that they have the appearance of a woodcut rather than real landscape.  The point is also perfectly situated to capture both sunrises and sunsets drawing photographers from all over the world in hopes of capturing a bit of this surreal landscape in the best lighting possible.  

This morning the sun will rise just after 7:00 a.m.  The 30-minutes or so before is known as "civil twighlight" when the darkness of night begins to dissipate and the new day slowly materializes.  It is also known as the "blue hour" because of the blue or "cool" tonality of the lighting.  It is lighting coveted by photographers and happens but twice daily, just before sunrise and just after sunset in the evening.  But for me it's not just the lighting that makes this time of day so special, it's the feel...quiet, peaceful, almost a spiritual quality; a time to be alone with one's thoughts and with God's Creation.  I have been known to leave home at 4:00 a.m. to photograph in this hour; this morning, however, was more "civil".  At this time of year the sun rises late and I hadn't far to go even though I left in the dark.  I even had time for a cup of coffee before leaving the RV.  

But there is a red streak in the sky in the east announcing the advancing day.  A partial cloud cover and that ripening red streak gives promise of an impressive sunrise.  Already the overlook is well populated with hopeful photographers; that and the red streak prompt me to hustle to claim a spot to set up my tripod.

Death Valley!  The name does not conjure up a warm and fuzzy feeling.  Most people react with, "why do you want to go there?  It's just barren desert.  Doesn't the name tell you something?"   Well, yes and no.  True, it is perhaps the harshest place on Earth in terms of both terrain and climate.  It sits in a transition zone between two of the four North American deserts, the Great Basin and the Mojave.  Its profile of mountain range and basin makes it resemble the former more closely.  Snow covers the surrounding mountains, but very little moisture reaches the valley floor.  Badwater at 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North Anerica, is only 100 miles from Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada, at 14,495 feet the highest point in North Anerica outside of Alaska.  A little thought about that will tell you what you need to know about the topography of this part of California.  Winter temperatures can be freezing, but the mercury can reach 130 degrees in summer.  It is home to Big Horn sheep, sidewinder rattlesnakes, scorpions, and an endangered little fish known as the pupfish, most of which are seldom seen by visitors.  But given all this it is also a place of spectacular scenery, color, and as if to give lie to the name, life!  I have photographed here on many occasions and never tire of it.  In my opinion it is a close second to Yosemite as a photographic venue.  So this morning I am "pumped up" and full of anticipation for what this morning and the next few days will bring.

These were some of my thoughts as I set out this particular morning about a month ago.  The sunrise came fast and furious.  The sky lit up with brilliant reds and yellows and within ten minutes all was over.  The light stayed "soft" until about 9:00 a.m. when it became harsh and I finally called a halt.  But I had a camera card full of great photos.  I photographed early morning on two other occasions and a couple sunsets this trip and while I captured some great photographs the lighting never quite equalled that of this particular morning.  

I have added a number of images to my Death Valley portfolio.  Check them out; Death Valley is not the barren desert of popular myth.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) California Death Valley Landscape Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/4/death-valley Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:55:04 GMT
VENICE OF THE NORTH https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/3/venice-of-the-north Seems like every trip to Europe has gone through Amsterdam, yet I never set foot outside the airport, that is until our last trip in 2012 when we finally experienced this fascinating city.  While not exactly Venice it does have its share of water and water transportation.  There are canals throughout this city and people are as at home on the water as they are on solid ground.  Every canal is lined by houseboats and jammed with every sort of craft from water taxis and pleasure boats to a variety of work boats.  The other thing that struck me about Amsterdam were bicycles, thousands of them.  Obviously this is the preferred mode of transportation for locals.  Every street seemed lined with rows of bicycles; how people keep track of which one is their's remains a mystery to me.  Maybe it doesn't matter.  A few years back Santa Cruz tried a "borrow a bike" program, painted them all yellow so they could be identified.  In two weeks time there wasn't a yellow bike in town!

Another measure of a city to me is its culture.  Amsterdam is home to numerous museums and other cultural attractions.  Of particular interest to me was the Concertgebouw (one of the world's finest venues for classical music), the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the Hermitage Amsterdam.

As a visitor on foot perhaps what impressed me most about the city, and indeed most large European cities, is their public transportation systems.  We found it easy to navigate either by light rail or water taxi.  One can reach nearly any part of the city by either means for a reasonable cost, and obviously many locals solved their problems with two-wheeled transportation, e.g. the bycycle.  While many large U. S. cities boast excellent public transportation (L.A. is not one of them) smaller cities across the country, like my home Santa Cruz, had better start serious thinking about where we go in the next twenty-years.  It often takes 30-40 minutes to move two or three miles, then find there is no place to park once there.  I thought of this today while sitting in traffic going nowhere.  And all we do is complain and commission yet another study that will ultimately be rejected...in favor of yet another study.  We are simply so wedded to the convenience and freedom of our cars that we refuse to entertain any alternative; and yet the day is approaching when we will have no alternative but change...or come to a complete halt.  

It seems to me we could take a lesson from many European cities on how to solve this problem.  There is no ideal answer but cities like Amsterdam seem to have employed a variety of means to get around. Why can't we do likewise?

The other thing where we might learn from the Dutch, and maybe the Venetians as well, is how to hold back the sea in this era of rising seas.  I think of the cute story of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike to hold back the sea; but it's only a half joke, they really do have a problem in the Low Countries, and they seem to know what they're doing.  Cities like New York, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco/Oakland, Seattle, and others are going to have to deal with this.  New Orleans has already paid a huge price but I'm not sure any U.S. city is truly ready to cope with this all too real threat.

Amsterdam is one of the world's most liberal minded cities and seems to attract the younger generation.  We saw thousands of youth throughout the city at all hours of the day & night.  Public mores are far more progressive than our's in the U.S., and whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view, however, I must say they seem to get along just fine.  The worst thing I saw was a man smoking a joint on a street corner, oblivious to what was going on, but otherwise doing no harm to anyone.  I see worse than that every day in Santa Cruz.  And the guy smoking a joint?  Well, he was a good photo subject.

The major thing I don't care for in Amsterdam is Schiphol Airport.  It is huge...a major connecting point for all of Europe.  One is going to walk a lot getting from one terminal to the other, go through what seems like a never ending series of checkpoints.  I just seemed to be caught up in the current of humanity until I eventually arrived where I needed to be.  I also found the signage confusing, maybe because I don't read Dutch?  I guess I would have to say the experience is much like New York's Kennedy or Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson!  I don't read Spanish very well either.

So what's all this got to do with photography?  Nothing really, except for maybe the guy with the joint.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Europe Netherlands Photography Travel transportation https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/3/venice-of-the-north Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:06:02 GMT
The Emerald Isle https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/2/the-emerald-isle I recently posted several images created in Ireland in 1984 to my VISIONS OF EUROPE portfolio.  Made in the "old days" long before digital photography was available these images have been scanned and digitized from 35mm slides.  Back in those days my equipment (camera and lens) were a far cry from what I'm using today.  To take this a step further my own skills were not what they are today.  So if there's a bit of a drop in quality compared to more recent images that's the reason.  

Still, these images belong in my portfolio if for no other reason than that trip marked my first visit to Europe.  My even being on this trip was kind of an after-thought as my wife and her mother originally planned the trip.  I had decided not to go, then late in the game changed my mind.  For my mother-in-law it was the fulfillment of a life-long dream as her ancestors came from Neanaugh in County Tipperary.  She was 82 at the time and I was somewhat concerned about her physical ability to cope with the rigors of travel, but was I in for a surprise.  She not only coped but kept us going day and night for three weeks.  She is the only octogenarian I ever saw run for a train...and catch it!

Ireland in 1984 was a step back in time.  It was like life in my home town in 1945, unhurried, laid-back, where people cared about one another.  We stayed almost exclusively in bed & breakfast establishments and the first thing we learned was that they wanted to talk.  So whatever sight-seeing we did came after the visiting was done.  On one occasion, in Cork, we planned to go out that evening and hadn't been given a key to the door.  I told the landlady that we might be out a bit late and asked how we might get in when we returned, thinking that would remind her to give me a key.  She looked surprised and said, "just open the door!"  I asked if she didn't lock it at night, and she replied, "Now why would I want to be doing that?"  Different times, different places.  We found Ireland to be a lovely place and the people charming.  

We didn't visit Northern Ireland as there was a different environment there at the time.  We did cross the border once to visit Belleek where the famous Irish chinaware is handmade.  Belleek was just a couple miles over the border into Northern Ireland.  There was a check point to enter but it was kind of like going through a toll booth.  We weren't questioned, bothered or detained.  Oh, they did wish us a happy "holiday".  We purchased a couple pieces of Belleek china to add to our collection and got it home intact only to lose that, and all the rest, in the Loma Prieta earthquake that rattled our home in Santa Cruz in 1989.  

So we have several good reasons to return to Ireland if for no other reason than to check out the north which I understand is just as beautiful  as the south.  I also acquired a taste for some stuff called Guinness which for some reason tasted better in the presence of convivial company in the many pubs.  Erin Go Braugh

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Ireland Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/2/the-emerald-isle Wed, 18 Feb 2015 19:03:19 GMT
RIVERS AND RAINFORESTS https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/2/rivers-and-rainforests RIVERS AND RAINFORESTS is the latest portfolio on my website and includes images created in October 2014.

The Pacific Northwest is at once the best of places and the worst of places in terms of weather for photography, or I suppose anything involving outdoor activity.  I have photographed and backpacked extensively in Oregon and Washington over the course of 20 years or so and have experienced extremes of conditions.  On one hand if the weather is fair it is hard to equal the beauty of the Cascades and coastlines to be seen in both states.  On the other hand one can spend weeks on end sheltered from rain that would intimidate Noah.  

This last trip was typical.  We experienced incessant showers interrupted periodically by deluges.  At Silver Falls State Park near Salem, OR, it rained constantly for over 24 hours.  Then came the best of times, for photography in the deep forest at least.  We got a window of no rain for nearly six hours, but it remained overcast.  The overcast was important because sun shining through leaves, especially when wet, creates unmanageable contrast.  The even, low lighting conditions produced ideal lighting conditions for photographing the falls with long exposures to produce the beautiful flowing effect of water.  It also produced evenly exposed, highly color saturated images, where highlights were not "blown out" or shadows "blocked up", and because I shoot RAW I had a great deal of latitude to work with in post processing.  But, because the window of opportunity is so short it is absolutely imperative that one be prepared to act when the moment arrives.  That sometimes means being "out there" in the rain or snow hoping that conditions will allow an opportunity; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  When things come together it!s hard to take a bad photo.  I find that pre-visualizing the type of photography and conditions under which I will be shooting helpful in being able to respond quickly when opportunity strikes.  This is something I always incorporate into the planning process long before I ever get into the field to shoot.  Preparation, luck, and yes, the right weather and lighting conditions are keys to obtaining stunning photos.

i have photographed in Oregon and Washington on numerous occasions, and on all but maybe one occasion I've been rained on.  So, no matter what type photography one is doing he/she needs to be prepared for inclement weather.  The good news is that bad weather often opens the window for stunning photographs.  So don't let a little bad weather "dampen" your spirits.  Stay out there and be ready when opportunity presents itself.  

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography photographing in rain travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/2/rivers-and-rainforests Wed, 18 Feb 2015 18:46:00 GMT
AMSTERDAM ADDED! https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/1/amsterdam-added HARBOR AT DAWNHARBOR AT DAWN


Thirty-five new images from Amsterdam take their place in my VISIONS OF EUROPE portfolio.  


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Amsterdam Europe Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/1/amsterdam-added Thu, 22 Jan 2015 01:09:04 GMT
DERAILED...TEMPORARILY https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/1/derailed-temporarily Last September I wrote about the failure of my computer hard drive (See "Disaster", September 26, 2014) that necessitated a total rebuilding of my drive.  In that posting I credited redundancy, domiciling my images on external hard drives and backing them up on separate hard drives, as essential for turning what might be a disaster into an inconvenience.  But what happens when an external drive fails?  Well, I have some practical experience to provide the answer to that question.

In October, just a month after rebuilding my computer and reinstalling all its software, I traveled by RV to the Pacific Northwest to photograph fall color (some of those images appear in "Painterly Gardens" on this site).  As is my long standing custom I carried relevant external drives with me so I could edit images while on the road.  I carry those drives in a hard shell Pelican case that is well padded against shock on the inside.  That procedure is going to change.  Apparently the state of highways in this country is so poor that even Pelican cases afford inadequate protection for those delicate drives.  After a day of shake, rattle, and roll on California's I-5 I tried to fire up the drive containing my entire California, Canada, and Great Basin portfilios (thousands of images)...and nothing.  I assumed I had a poor connection but repeated tries with connection cords that worked with other drives failed to realize positive results.  Fortunately the images were backed up (or so I thought) so again I was faced with a restructure exercise but not a disaster.  Not so fast!  I quickly realized that I had not backed my edits consistently and even some of the backups of original RAW images had failed without my knowledge.  Suddenly I was not so smug as both those failures were squarely on me, not flaws in my work flow but negligence in execution.  Now I had a problem, no two problems.  The lost edits could be recreated, in time, but the lost originals were gone forever, some which I had invested a great deal of time and money to create.  THIS WAS A DISASTER!  Now I needed not a geek but a genius to hopefully recover data.  

If you ever need to recover data the first thing you will learn is that this is a highly specialized process that comes at a price...a very dear price.  Computer technicians are expensive, but those who recover data from failed drives...well, let's just say you're in a different world.  The first prognosis was very doubtful and way out of range of practibility in terms of cost.  It seemed the jarring and jolting from the highway caused deep scoring of my hard drive's disk surface; significant work and a degree of luck would be necessary to recover those images, not to mention the expense that went with it.  The only way I could justify such cost was if my images were essential for preservation of my business or for forensic purposes.  I am a photographer with a serious hobby and I don't rely on my images for my livelihood.  Nor were there any legal implications involved where data was critical to prove a case.  Nevertheless I was faced with significant albeit mostly emotional loss.

I won't go into detail, but subsequent negotiation resulted in an arrangement satisfactory to me and the recovery expert and was a win-win situation for us both.  He was successful in recovering 100% of my images intact and I have now rebuilt my Lightroom catalogs.  The only loss was time which one might argue is significant.  Still, I came away with lessons learned:  (1) hereafter the external hard drives stay home; I will defer uploading my images until I return, and (2) I need to be more diligent in executing my own work flow, e.g., assuring edits are backed up regularly, and assuring backup images successfully copy to the backup disk.  Subsequent backup attempts have taught me that the copy process is not fool proof.  In other words take nothing for granted and VERIFY.

I was lucky this time.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Computer Crashes Data Recovery Photography Work Flow https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2015/1/derailed-temporarily Tue, 20 Jan 2015 22:58:08 GMT
PARIS ADDED! https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/12/eiffel-tower-ii EIFFEL TOWER IIEIFFEL TOWER II


NEW GALLERY!  a new gallery has been added to "Visions of Europe", PARIS.  This gallery will be completed within the next two weeks with more additions.  Check back!


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) France Paris https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/12/eiffel-tower-ii Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:56:51 GMT
Coastal Sunrise, Mendocino https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/12/coastal-sunrise-mendocino Coastal Sunrise, MendocinoCoastal Sunrise, Mendocino

NEWLY ADDED! Three new images from a 2011 shoot on the Mendocino, CA headlands have been added to the portfolio "THE SEA". Check them out.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Seascapes Painterly Images California Mendocino https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/12/coastal-sunrise-mendocino Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:07:39 GMT
New Gallery! PAINTERLY GARDENS https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/11/new-gallery-painterly-gardens


Inspired by a recent trip to Victoria, B.C. and the Butchart Gardens, this small gallery evokes a feel of peaceful repose.  It precedes a coming gallery of fall images created in Oregon and Washington in the near future.  It also gives me a break from my EUROPE project which will resume soon.


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) British Columbia Butchart Gardens Canada Painterly Images Victoria color flowers trees https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/11/new-gallery-painterly-gardens Mon, 17 Nov 2014 22:53:27 GMT
Royal Road, Ephesus https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/10/royal-road-ephesus Royal Road, EphesusRoyal Road, Ephesus

New images from Turkey (Ephesus) and Slovakia (Bratislava) have been added to VISIONS OF EUROPE.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Slovakia Turkey Photography travel architecture https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/10/royal-road-ephesus Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:50:42 GMT
Venice! https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/10/venice Were I to make a list of unique cities I've visited I'd certainly pick San Francisco, New Orleans of course, Paris, probably Florence, and most definitely Prague.  There are others that might be termed unique and belong on that list, and perhaps the most unique of them all is watery Venice.  

I was mesmerized by this city the moment I set eyes on it.  There are no automobiles or trucks to dodge, no traffic lights, but you are going to need a boat, and those are in plentiful supply.  The Grand Canal is perhaps something like Fifth Ave. New York if one just substitutes boats for taxis and cars.  They are everywhere and of every type from the iconic gondolas, bus like vaporettos, swift motorboat style water taxis, to larger work boats and barges for commercial hauling, and they move in every direction of the compass.  It's a bustling place and its energy will quickly envelop the traveler.

Its flavor is a cross between the Italian Renaissance and the mysterious east.  At one time this beautiful city was a center of world trade and commerce with a large merchant fleet and a sophisticated banking system; it was a cultural and mercantile bridge between east and west, no doubt thanks to the influence of Venetian, Marco Polo.  Its roots in the Renaissance are seen in the copious works of art on display throughout the city as well as in it's music.  Names like Tintoretto, Titian, Bellini, and Vivaldi are synonymous with Venice.  Its oriental flavor is present in Byzantine architecture seen in places like St. Mark's Cathedral and the Ducal Palace.  Perhaps it's global mercantile influence has waned but its draw as a major tourist center is alive and flourishing.

Of course, photography was one of my priorities and there is no limit to opportunities here; in a word it's a bonanza.  I think Venice more than anywhere else got me turned on to architectural photography whereas before I could think of nothing but landscape and nature photography, with occasional forays in wildlife subjects.  If its color you're after you'll find it in Venice; or hop a boat to the nearby island of Burano where you will find color to pop your eyes out.  There's a few of those images here; the vivid colors are for real.  And there's just no end of interesting people subjects enjoying an exotic vacation, or street performers to entertain them.  With Venice I conclude the Italy portion of the Europe portfolio.  We will next make a quick stop at Brataslava in Slovenia before moving on to The City of Light...Paris, yet another city that is legitimately unique.





(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Italy Photography Travel VENICE https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/10/venice Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:14:04 GMT
Disaster! https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/9/disaster Lurking in the mind of every computer owner is the possibility of a hard drive crash and with it loss of all personal data, photos, etc.  Actually the term "possibility" is a misnomer because sooner or later a crash will happen and one had best be prepared to deal with it.  "Sooner or later" came for me a few days ago...very unexpectedly I might add.  I had recently had my computer worked on and it had been running like new the past two months.  Then one morning I turned it on and...NOTHING!  Not a peep.  

One's first reaction is "this isn't really happening".  It's only after repeated tries with the same result that reality sinks in and one must think about what has been lost and how he going to go about getting it back.  This is the moment of truth and one is either prepared or he isn't.  If this is the first time that thought has crossed your mind you are in deep trouble.  But, if one has anticipated such an eventuality and taken steps to mitigate risk then just maybe it is but an inconvenience.  So what can one do to prepare?  The answer lies in redundancy.

The process begins the minute you start using your new computer and begin to create your own data, whether it be documents, financial information, photos, etc.  (Note: Don't take any comfort in the hard drive insurance the sales person sold you to replace your hard drive if a crash occurs; it will do nothing to recover your data.)   I'm going to focus on photographic images since this is a photography website, but the same logic applies to anything you create that has value to you.  While much information can be recreated photos cannot; once they are gone they are gone forever and chances are you invested much time and money in acquiring those precious images.  So, your hope lies in backing those images up to some domain other than your computer's hard drive.  There are various means of doing this and the one you employ depends on volume and personal preference.  I store no images on my computer's hard drive.  All my images reside on external hard drives AND a second copy is stored on yet a different hard drive.  That way if my computer fails, or one of my external drives fail, my image files remain intact.  To take this a step further a third copy of all image files should be backed up on yet another drive(s) and stored off site to protect against real disasters like fire.  Seem like overkill?  Perhaps, but think about the time, cost, etc., that went into creating those thousands of images, and if your livelihood is dependent on those images...well, you are now out of business.

There's more.  What about all those programs installed on your computer, Lightroom, Lightroom Catalog(s), plug-in's, activation keys, downloads, etal?  Have you kept backups of those precious catalogs?  If not, even if you managed to save your images, your going to spend hours rebuilding your catalogs.  But if you have those backups all your looking at is a minor inconvenience.  Computer programs are either on DVD's or downloaded from the Internet.  In either case your going to need the activation keys to reactivate your software once it's reloaded.  You did save those didn't you?  Keep meticulous records because while you can get help from vendor websites I can tell you from experience that software vendor websites are not designed to facilitate recoveries; they are designed to SELL products.  Some have readily apparent technical assistance buttons, others are all but nonexistent and you can spend considerable time trying to figure them out.  And often it can take hours, if not days, to actually get technical help.  It's much better to be prepared with the information you need to recover on your own.  

Finally, be prepared with a written step by step recovery plan and keep it up to date as you add or delete hardware and software from your system.  Again, this might seem like paranoia but believe me when your computer's brain goes south your's goes with it.  Your first reaction will be denial followed closely by panic.  If you have thought this problem through in an atmosphere of calm and logic you can deal with disaster.  

So, I am back in business for the most part with the loss of only a few documents that can be easily reproduced.  My images are safe, my software is reinstalled, and all It cost was a couple days of putting it all back together, a bit of frustration, and oh yes...the price of a new hard drive and a "geek's" time to install it.  But, my effort to build redundancy into my system, and devising a recovery plan paid off because it could have been so much worse.  It's not "if" a crash will occur, it's really a question of when.  Practice good risk management procedures.  The worst that can happen is that you won't need them.





(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/9/disaster Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:46:18 GMT
TUSCAN INTERLUDE https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/9/tuscan-interlude After a week each in Rome and Florence we were ready to shift gears and enjoy some time in the country.  We had booked a room in a villa in the small town of Strove, not far from Siena.  We rented a car in Florence (which itself is in Tuscany) for the drive into the countryside. Now driving in Italy is an experience.  Signs are at best confusing, often contradictory.  Even with the best of maps you're going to spend a lot of time scratching your head.  And don't rely on asking the "polizia" for directions; they don't know where they are either.  The best advice I can offer is to rely on your own internal compass and hope for the best.  Our wandering started with trying to get out of Florence.  Wow!  Somehow we just went in the general direction of south and wound up on the "auto strada" headed for Siena.  In due time we found our exit and after some wandering found the little "settlement" of Strove, more a group of houses and villas around a church than a town.  There was no town, at least by my understanding of such.  The lady who ran the "house" knew just a little more English than I knew Italian, but we managed.  But the place met my idea of what classical Tuscan villa should look like, red stone, red tiled roofs, and lots of flowers.  The restaurant attached to the complex served excellent Italian cuisine.  

Tuscany is one of the world's major producers of wine and olive oil.  If you like those things you're in the right place.  Vineyards and orchards are everywhere.  When you're not in cities like Florence, Siena, or San Gimignano you're in the country.  The countryside is largely green rolling hills, and the cities, more often than not, are walled and sit atop the hills.  This is a carryover from feudal times when line of sight and walls were essential for defense.  The entrance into the city is through a narrow gate that can be shut by heavy wooden doors.  The whole city then becomes one big castle.  Vineyards and olive orchards surround the city and extend as far as the eye can see, which may not be far...more on that in a moment.  Californians familiar with the Napa/Sonoma wine country will feel at home here; except for the walled cities it looks much the same...almost.  This is not surprising.  Many of California's wine making families originated in Tuscany.  When they first saw Napa they must have felt right at home.

But there is a difference.  Tuscany does not share our environmental ethic.  I was appalled by trash that lined the roads, refuge dumps scattered everywhere seemingly by individual caprice.  I said above it was hard to see too far because by midday smoke filled the air.  That was because farmers burned trash at will.  There was obviously no burn regulation.  Those things just don't happen today in California; we are keenly aware of trash proliferation and air quality.  Environmental quality was obviously given no thought in Italy.  It's a shame because Tuscany by any other measure is a treasure.  These were big issues for me as a photographer.  Landscapes were difficult because of smoke, and getting a foreground without trash in it next to impossible.  There were few places too to get safely off the road when a particularly good landscape presented itself; many times I just had to let the opportunity simply pass.  

But, that said, it's still a photographer's paradise.  Few places offer pastoral scenes to equal it provided one shoots early and late, before it gets smoky, or after the air has cleared.  Few places offer equal opportunity for architectural photography.  So with some careful planning I was able to get much of what I hoped to get, and many of those images now populate this site.  And the wandering?  Well, I remember years ago when in Dublin we were frustrated because street names seemed to change every two/three blocks.  I wondered how anyone ever knew where he was?  The locals just smiled and explained that was just part of the "charm" of Dublin.  Well, maybe the same was true in Tuscany.  We never really knew for sure where we were but we had a great time getting lost.  We found Montalcino and Montepulciano quite by accident; in fact on that particular day I don't recall ever knowing exactly where I was except when we drove into those towns, and both were gems.  Perhaps the fact that we found our way back to our villa was a miracle.  

So, would I go back?  In a heart beat!













(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Italy Landscapes Photography Street Photography Travel Tuscany https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/9/tuscan-interlude Wed, 03 Sep 2014 04:53:31 GMT
ROME, THE ETERNAL CITY https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/8/rome-the-eternal-city Perhaps my introduction to Italy was the same as most...ROME!  And what an introduction it was.  

This is one of the must see cities of the world.  The great city of western civilization that carried on after the glory days of Athens, the see of the Caesars and the Roman Empire, and the seat of the world's largest Christian faith.  It may be a bit "shopworn" these days...the glory that was the Roman Empire lies in ruins, but one could look at that as part of the charm of the City, one of the reasons one goes to Rome.  But there are plenty of other reasons.  It is home to much of the world's great art, a good portion of it housed in the Vatican museums.  There are many other great museums, one of which is the Galleria Borghese where some works of my favorite sculpturer, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, are to be seen.  Works of architecture abound at every turn, many great churches (besides Saint Peter's) which anywhere else would be considered world class, the Basilica of Santa Maria Major for example.  Then there are the warm and animated Italian people, themselves worthy of observation and engagement.

Perhaps I was a bit intimidated at first, a foreign city I knew little about, a language I knew even less about, warnings of pick pockets, etc.  None of that proved worthy of concern.  It's just like visiting any American city; it takes some orientation.  Our first lesson was the scaled down size of our hotel room and the hotel "lift".  The latter wasn't big enough to fit us and our bags into it so we had to go up separately.  We had to do a bit of maneuvering to get all into our room.  But it eventually worked.  Then at breakfast the next morning we met Gianni whose family owned the hotel.  He greeted us wearing a black shirt and white tie (seriously) but in perfect English with a distinct Philly accent.  Turned out he had just moved "home" from Philadelphia and missed his Phillies.  When he learned that I too followed baseball each morning started with a "review" of the previous night's scores.  The month was April, the season less than 30-days old, but the Phillies were struggling.  Gianni was "dying" and one morning pronounced the season "over".  Still he had enough left in him to recommend a favorite ristorante for that evening and told us to ask for "so and so" and tell him Gianni sent us, and we'd be in good hands.  We did and we were.

We had an acquaintance in ROME who had grown up in Santa Cruz and gone to school with one of our sons.  She had married an Italian man and subsequently moved to ROME where she was employed as an official tour guide at the Vatican.  She had good command of the Italian language.  She knew we were coming to ROME and offered to be our guide at the Vatican.  We hired her which proved to be some of the best money spent in ROME.  On our visit there we went right past a two to three block line waiting to buy tickets, straight into the museum.  My wife was having difficulty with her leg so she procured a wheel chair so she could ride through the vast expanses that are the Vatican museums (yes, plural).  That worked until we came to the Sistine Chapel where steps leading into it preclude the use of wheel chairs.  By that time, however, the heavy "hoofing" is past.  Once in one looks to the ceiling with awe at the sublime frescoes of Michelangelo.  Alas, they are too detailed to begin to internalize it all.  Photography is not allowed but I managed to "sneak" a few shots, one of which is included in the "Roma" portfolio.  The tour ends at the Basilica of Saint Peter.

We've visited scores of great churches in our travels but this place stands alone in my mind as probably the greatest work of art in Christiandom.  Everything in it is great art from the dome of Michelangelo, to the Baldachin pillars of Bernini, to the famed PIETA of Michelangelo (tucked away in a darkened corner and almost an after thought in the massive scope of the entirety), portraits by Raphael, and so on, and finally outside to Saint Peter's Square designed by (again) Bernini.  Oh my,the head spins!

And so it went, one day after another of great sights and not so great sights.  I am still saddened by seeing God's children begging at a church doors, but lifted by viewing a woman performing an act of kindness by giving a weary horse a few drops of water from her hand.  If we can show pity for the horse certainly we can take pity on the beggars too?  Alas this is a scene played out everywhere in this weary world.  

I fear our time in ROME fled before I could appreciate what I was seeing, and had seen.  It is a photographer's paradise and I used the opportunity.  With what I now know I could do a better job, but the photos in this portfolio help me come to terms with the magnitude of the history and art that made Italy one of the great players of western civilization that continues to this day.   These images are a treasured part of my portfolio.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Italy Rome Street Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/8/rome-the-eternal-city Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:12:43 GMT
Coming Soon...Roma https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/8/coming-soon-roma ANCIENT WALL, ROMEANCIENT WALL, ROME

The next stop for my growing European portfolio is the Eternal City...Rome.  Check back soon!

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Italy Rome https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/8/coming-soon-roma Wed, 06 Aug 2014 04:59:42 GMT
Lago di Como https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/8/lago-di-como When I was a boy there was a picture in our home that always intrigued me.  It pictured an upscale villa on a lake with a very much European flavor.  I eventually learned it pictured a scene from the "lake" district of northern Italy/southern Switzerland.  Wow! I wanted to go there and experience that for myself.  Well, I did!

Understand that much I admire about Lake Como is beyond my reach; after all it is a very upscale resort area.  The town of Bellagio on Lake Como inspired a luxury hotel in Las Vegas.  But maybe, just maybe some of that might rub off?  I think maybe it did.

I selected a hotel in the town of Brunate which sits high on a hill overlooking the city of Como.  On arrival I feared I had made a huge mistake as I had no idea how to get to Brunate.  Our taxi driver solved that for us in a hurry.  He drove us to a funicular that quickly whisked us a thousand feet up the near vertical mountainside.  At the top a kind lady noticed what a sorry twosome we were (we were both burdened with suitcases, lost, and limping) and called our hotel; within five minutes the hotel owner appeared and personally carried my wife's bags down the street to the quaint hotel, Locarno Milano.  This was the beginning of a fantastic three days on this beautiful lake.

Brunate is a great little village in its own right.  It owns a five-star view of the city of Como; at night it's quite spectacular.  In the distance one can see the looming snow covered Alps that divide Italy from Switzerland.  The ride up and down on the funicular is an "A" ticket at Disneyland.  Life in Brunate seemed very laid back.  The street that ran past the hotel was a narrow roadway, but busy.  That didn't stop truck drivers from stopping right in the middle of the road and running into the little bar attached to the hotel for a shot of espresso in the morning.  I never did understand what traffic behind them did; the road wasn't wide enough to get around them.  I think they just patiently waited for the driver to return and drive off.  That sure wouldn't have "washed" in California.  The folks running the hotel couldn't have been nicer.  At the end of our stay the owner personally drove us to the train station...door to door service.  If you ever travel to Lake Como I highly recommend the Locarno Milano.  It's small, but clean, the food is great, it's convenient, and the people are superb hosts.

But then there's the Lake.  This is a gorgeous lake, just like the picture in my boyhood home.  The best way to get around is by boat on one of the quaint and unique boats that ply the lake.  We took a boat to Bellagio, an easy day trip from Como.  On the way one passes by beautiful little villages where one can leave the boat and spend a few minutes exploring then catching another boat to wherever one's destination on the lake happens to be.  There is much to see in these villages, especially if one is into architecture and photography.  I'm sure shoppers could find bargains as well.  As we passed the many villages that lined the lake we saw some extraordinary estates...I don't know what else to call them.  These were obviously owned by the rich and famous.  At the far end of our boat ride we arrived in Bellagio, an obvious destination for most.  This town was alive with tourists; it would be a perfect getaway for a few days but would no doubt lighten one's wallet substantially.  Believe me, its namesake in Vegas has no monopoly on elegance.  We were satisfied with walking its picturesque streets and enjoying a great lunch before catching our boat back to Como.  

As I edited the images in this portfolio I was transported back to relive the incredible experience of Lago di Como.  There are many great places to see and things to do in Italy, but in my opinion Lake Como is about as upscale as it gets.  It's worth a visit whether you're into photography or not.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Italy Lake Como https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/8/lago-di-como Wed, 06 Aug 2014 00:34:26 GMT
Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/7/florence-the-cradle-of-the-renaissance Any visit to Europe, and Italy in particular, demands a visit to FLORENCE, or as it is known in Italy, Firenze.  Even if one is not versed in Renaissance history the City is one of the world's most beautiful.  If history, art, literature, architecture, shopping, etc., are even of remote interest then there are few cities the equal of Florence. It is associated with names like de Medici, Savaranola, Dante, Michelangelo, Rossini, Marconi, Ghiberti, Machiavelli, Donatello, Leonardo di Vinci, Botticelli, and others.  There are few cities with a roster of notables like that!  It is home to many of the world's great art galleries including the Uffizi Gallery, del Academia, the Pitti Palace and the Bargello. It is also home to great churches like the Duomo, Santa Maria Maggiore, Basilica de Santa Croce, etc.  It was once a financial center of the world, and is today a great venue for shoppers and food aficionados.  Moreover it is located in Tuscani, one of the world's great wine producing regions.  I consider my visit to Florence one of my more significant experiences.  As I wandered through the church of Santa Croce and saw the tombs of Michelangelo, Marconi, and Rossini, etal, I was both awed and humbled when I considered what western civilization owes to these men.  As I viewed Michelangelo's David and Mary Magdeline, the baptistery doors of Ghiberti, the sculptures of Donatello and other great works of art I was struck by what a privilege that was.  Heretofore I had only read about these treasures; now I was but an arm's length away.

I am posting herewith a number of images created in Florence.  As I reviewed them and re-edited them I relived my visit.  Once again the significance of this visit was driven home and perhaps memory becomes even more vivid than the actual experience.  Certainly the rendering of my images is more vivid than the first time around.  We spent three days in Florence, very little of that in our hotel I might add.  We were out and about, in the galleries, on the street, in the churches (including an early morning climb to the dome of il Duomo), sampling the food and wine, shopping, and of course taking pictures.  

This city really deserves a portfolio all of its own; in my mind it is the equal of any city in the world.  For now it will reside in my Visions of Europe portfolio.  But that portfolio is getting too big.  I will probably need to split it up at some point.  These images were created with a Nikon Coolpix 5700, an early 5mp digital entry to the advanced consumer market.  I took this camera because it was small and easy to carry.  While its specs aren't going to impress anyone today it was sophisticated at the time.  I don't use this camera anymore, and while slow compared to today's cameras impressed me with the quality of images it produced.  Even looking at them now they are pretty good.  The biggest change since 2007, however, is my editing and the vision for where I want to take these images.  My remembrances of Italy were mostly about the color and age expressed by the Italian words "colore" (color) and "vecchio" (age).  I wanted these images to incorporate colore and vecchio and believe I have succeeded on both counts.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Florence Italy Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/7/florence-the-cradle-of-the-renaissance Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:06:13 GMT
Travel and Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/7/travel-and-photography Photography and travel are necessary companions, one necessarily needs to travel to get to where the subject matter is.  Since the advent of digital photography, and the explosion of technology, both in terms of the hardware and the software we use, interest in photography has exploded in a geometrical progression.  Once a field left pretty much to professionals there are today thousands of serious amateurs traveling literally to the ends of the Earth bringing back stunning images.  But it is not easy.

One of the problems that bedevil every photographer who travels is how to get his gear to where it will be needed?  Much of my travel in North America has been by motorhome and taking my gear is simple; I simply fill a basement bin with gear and take it all.  But if one has to rely on air transportation problems mount quickly.  Unless one feels comfortable checking his expensive gear one has to travel light.  The answer, therefore, lies in PLANNING and being brutally strict about what goes.  Because I spent many years backpacking I approach travel with a backpackers's mentality.  Unless I have a specific use in mind for something it ain't going.  This applies to what clothing I take AND to the photography gear I choose.  On two of my European trips I limited myself to what amounts to a point and shoot camera, admittedly sophisticated ones, but still less than what I have available with my Nikon SLR.  Fortunately there are many ways to "skin a cat" and there are ways to achieve superior results without a lot of gear.

My trips always start with research into what I expect my subject to be and the kinds of pictures I will be taking.  If, for instance, my destination is Europe I am not going to be taking my long 400mm lens.  In fact, I did quite well with my small Nikon P7100 with a built in lens that gives me a 35mm equivalent focal length range of roughly 28mm to about 260mm, adequate for most needs.  Many of the images in the "Visions of Europe" portfolio on this site were taken with that camera.  (Note: The Prague panorama accompanying this blog entry was created with the P7100).  It has a small built in flash (not powerful) and HDR capability along with other "bells and whistles) that give me some versatility.  The real benefit, however, is portability.  It is an easy carry-on and doesn't attract attention of would be thieves.  I also carried a portable hard drive to store images and up loaded to it on a daily basis.  That enabled me to limit the number of digital cards needed and to organize my photos on the go.  Now days my iPAD also accompanies me so that I can share images while on the road.  If, however, I am going on a wildlife shoot the drill is a bit more complicated.

A trip to Churchill, Manitoba a few years back was specifically to photograph Polar bears.  I had a bit invested in that trip and wanted to be sure to that I brought back the "goods".  I knew I'd be shooting from various ranges so I was ready with two SLRs, one for my long lens, the other for an 18-200mm lens.  That enabled me to shoot from short range or from a distance on quick notice, and gave me a backup in case one camera failed in the field (there would be no field repairs on this trip!).  Temperature was a factor so I had three batteries for each camera in case one or two froze up.  It didn't happen on that trip, but I have had batteries freeze.  I also knew I would need some stability when shooting with the long lens so took a travel tripod with a ball head which I used as a monopod in the vehicle from which we were shooting.  I also took my portable hard drive as a storage device.  There was other gear but these were the essentials.  The plan worked perfectly.  By the way, I often found myself shooting with two cameras.  The bottom line, however, is that I had a rather large photo bag full of gear which became my carry-on bag; that stuff didn't leave my sight.  Clothing was an issue on this trip because I was going to a cold weather destination.  All that gear went into a checked bag.  My only real problem on that trip was annoyance from Canadian security.  Their agent scrupulously unpacked every item of gear and quizzed me on the purpose of each.  I basically gave him a course in Photography 101 before he was satisfied.

Traveling photographers have challenges, but with a little thought most are solvable and with today's sophisticated equipment it is possible to achieve superior results with a minimum of gear.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography Travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/7/travel-and-photography Mon, 21 Jul 2014 04:00:15 GMT
Visions of Europe https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/7/windows-on-europe Over the course of many years my wife, Jean, and I have crossed the Atlantic five times to destinations in Europe where I amassed thousands of images, and yet not one of them has found its way onto my website, that is until our recent trip to Israel which resulted in "The Holy Land" portfolio.  But Israel which is situated on the eastern Mediterranean is really Middle East, not what we usually think of as Europe.  While processing my Israel images I got to thinking that I should revisit the Europe images and apply my evolving vision to some of those photos.  This was probably stimulated too by two projects completed in San Francisco and San Diego in 2013 that piqued an interest in urbanscapes, architectural and street photography; my European images fed right into that genre.  The result is the work in process "Visions of Europe". 

Visit any country in Europe and I guarantee one is going to find all the photo ops he can handle.  From architecture, landscapes, people pictures, it's all there.  The problem is that none of these trips were solely dedicated to photography and often I was without the gear I usually rely upon to create my best work.  Three of these trips were on tours where I had limited time and had to work very quickly.  The other two provided more discretion of subject matter but I was hampered by limited gear.  So I've often considered the European images as "travel" photos and haven't done much with them.  But now with more post production options available I can do more with these images than previously.  Therefore, I've gone back to take another look.  I'm finding that I do indeed have the raw material to create interesting images that will populate "Visions of Europe".  It promises to be a large body of work.

Revisiting these images has been almost as exciting as when I first viewed them...sometimes years ago.  The difference is that now I have a more developed vision of what I think they should look like and more tools at my disposal to make them look the way they do.  I have always been inspired by the paintings of the Renaissance era with the aged and cracked paint.  That kind of became the basis for my vision of Europe, particularly the architecture, old, warm tones, cracked paint and plaster, etc.  This will be noticed in many of my images where I use textures, a variety of warm toned filters, high contrast techniques, and saturated colors to create an old, worn look.  Do these images replicate what I actually saw?  No, not necessarily, but I've already addressed that issue elsewhere and will not address that again.  But, it is true that Europe is old and the architecture has a worn look.  From the Baroque, to Romanesque, to Gothic, to modernistic...and everything in between Europe has ample examples to satisfy anyone.

With this blog I am posting the first group of images from Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.  More will follow soon, however, this will necessarily be a long term project as the type of editing I am doing takes considerable time. 






(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Photography Street Travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/7/windows-on-europe Wed, 16 Jul 2014 05:05:00 GMT
Jerusalem, the Old City https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/4/jerusalem-the-old-city I have today added additional images to the Holy Land portfolio which brings me near the end of this very large project.  There may be a few more to come but I'm essentially done.  

This posting, and any more images to come, focus on the Old City of Jerusalem, specifically in the public market areas which encompass some of the most colorful subject matter in the Holy Land.  This area was vibrant, crowded, noisy, and to me somewhat claustrophobic because of it's closed in nature and close quarters.  Even though I was armed with a map it was difficult at any given time to know where I was.  I felt like I was just wandering, and indeed I was.  

I only had but one afternoon to devote to the Old City on the last afternoon of our Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  In reality I think many afternoons could be usefully employed in the pursuit of interesting photography here.  Even so I am pleased with what I was able to do in a limited time span.  The Old City is divided into four distinct sectors, the Arab, Christian, Jewish and Armenian, each with its distinct character.  I was not only looking for interesting architecture, but interesting people living out their day to day lives.  

Throughout our time in Israel I was impressed by the age of what I was viewing.  The modern State of Israel has not existed all that long, but the land in which it is now situated is ancient, and most of the buildings have been there for centuries.  This really hit home as I moved my hand over the ancient stones of the Western Wall that has existed since the time of Solomon.  Here I was, a citizen of the 20th and 21st centuries touching stones that occupied this precise spot centuries before Christ.  In the process of editing these images I wanted to bring this element to the forefront, to impart a patina of age and wear to my images.  I accomplished such with the use of textures to add a sepia quality that imparts a sense of the eternal in these stones.  I really like the effect.  I hope you do too.  

I know not whether I will ever return to this interesting land, but I know that if opportunity presents itself there is still much to be done photographically.  Certainly I will head straight to the labyrinth of the Old City.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Holy Land Israel People Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/4/jerusalem-the-old-city Tue, 22 Apr 2014 04:55:23 GMT
A Night Visit With Pele https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/3/a-night-at-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park Photographing the Kilauea lava flow has always been on my bucket list.  Therefore, when I planned a trip to the island of Hawai'i, better known as the Big Island, I started looking into ways to realize that.  Perhaps the best way to see this remarkable feature of nature is to take a boat tour to where the lava enters the sea on the southeast corner of the island.  Alas, I waited too long.  It seems the lava ceased to flow to the ocean last November, at least for now.  All was not lost, however.  One can still experience this volcano from a more convenient vantage point if perhaps less impressively.  

The Jagger Museum is located just minutes from the Park Visitor Center and is situated at the very edge of the Halema'uma'u crater.  Kilauea churns and spews a thick cloud of toxic steam from a caldera within this larger crater.  During the day only the steam cloud is visible, but after dark the fiery cauldron becomes visible and materially changes the character of the volcano.  The steam cloud also takes on the red glow from the cauldron. The museum is currently the best place to view the volcano and is wheel chair accessible, but it takes a bit of planning if one wishes to successfully photograph it.

The key is to be there at the right time, e.g., between sunset and civil twilight, or about 30 minutes after sunset, the so called "blue hour" after the sun goes down but before it becomes "black" dark.  During those crucial 30 minutes it becomes dark enough to see the yellow-red glow from the lava in the caldera AND details in the surrounding darkened landscape.  Before sunset there is too much light to see the glow, and after civil twilight it becomes too dark to see details.  The "window" is very small.  The other crucial factor is getting on location early enough to claim a "front row seat" from which to get a clear view.  The viewing area at the museum is quite limited so an early arrival is essential.  This means a chilly, lengthy wait and foregoing supper.  This, however, is just part of photography.  A bit of planning ahead can overcome these obstacles.  

It is absolutely necessary to get that unobstructed view and be able to set up a tripod.  Even at high ISO settings your exposure time will be in seconds (my settings were on the order of ISO 640, 2.5 sec.@f/5.6); at high ISO settings and long exposures digital noise is an issue but I've found with high end cameras set to "noise reduction" noise can be satisfactorily managed.  But without a front row position it's impossible to get a clear view or set up the tripod.  Once there, however, be considerate of others trying to get a similar view by utilizing as little space as needed.  I positioned two front legs of my tripod on the stone curbing in front of me so as to not require much more space than I would have without the tripod.  I wasn't the least sensitive about having a front row position because I figure if I stood in the cold two hours I was entitled to it.  And yes, it does get cold so dress accordingly.  Moreover, familiarity with your camera controls is important because you will need to make adjustments in the dark; a small flashlight is recommended.  Finally, patience is a virtue.  I noticed many people leave as soon as the sun went down.  Even then not much is happening...and it's flat out cold, especially if any wind is blowing which I understand is the usual case; it sure was this night.  But once there leaving early is a big mistake; the show is just beginning!

On our visit in March sunset occurred about 6:30 p.m.  My wife and I arrived at the museum around 4:00 p.m.  Earlier that day we stopped enroute and purchased something for supper which we ate in the parking lot.  Since we were staying in Kailua-Kona this was kind of important because we faced a two-plus hour drive back after the shoot with nowhere to get anything to eat.  I staked out my spot a little after five o'clock and settled in to wait...occasionally dodging rain drops.  I killed some time by photographing an incredible rainbow which appeared a few minutes before sunset.  That's called serendipity folks, but hey, I had created my own luck; I was there and in position.  I'll accept that kind of luck any day!

My equipment, by the way, consisted of a Nikon 300s, a Nikkor 18-200mm zoom lens, a polarizing filter (used only until sundown), a "shutter hat" to protect my gear in case of rain (used), and a Gitzo carbon fiber travel tripod.  This is pretty much my standard "down and dirty" travel bag.  I also carry a Digital Foci 80gb portable hard drive to store files until getting them home to upload to my laptop.

Back to the volcano.  Finally the sun disappeared.  My teeth were chattering but I hardly noticed because I was "stoked" anticipating what I was about to see.  At this time only a hint of red glow was visible, however, as darkness gradually overtook the light the intensity of color improved by the minute until the full fury of the volcano became evident.  I was mesmerized by this beautiful yet violent display of creation.  I continued to experiment with single shots and five-shot HDRs (High Dynamic Range) right up to Civil Twilight when it became too dark to discern detail in the darkest parts of my composition; by that time I had what I wanted.  It still remained to make the long drive to Kailua-Kona but that was of no concern at the moment.  Reluctantly I turned and walked away inwardly satisfied that I had seen and photographed something very special.  I will visit Pele again.


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Hawaii Photography fine art nature volcano https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/3/a-night-at-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park Sun, 30 Mar 2014 05:14:38 GMT
Hawai'i https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/3/hawaii With this blog post I am adding nearly 80 new images to my existing Hawaii portfolio.  These are new images created on a recent trip to Oahu and the "Big Island" of Hawai'i.
As I do so I must reflect on the fact that this portfolio is now the largest one on my website.  I have photographed extensively in most of our western states, but next to California probably none more so than Hawai'i.  There is good reason for this.  Having a son and daughter-in-law living on Oahu is certainly one good reason.  But beyond that Hawai'i itself is another good reason.  Our 50th state is an incredibly diverse place especially suited for my preferred genre of scenic photography.
I have not visited either Lana'i or Moloka'i, but the others have been my destination at least twice each.  O'ahu, of course, is the most tourist and commercial oriented island in the archipelago but boasts many good opportunities for landscapes.  The North Shore especially provides incredible ocean action.  The island of Kaua'i boasts the magnificent Waimea canyon and the remote and beautiful Napali coast.  Mau'i has miles of beautiful seashore and the mammoth Haleakala which dominates the majority of the southeast portion of the island.  Then there is the Big  Island of Hawai'i, my latest destination which may be the most diverse of all.  It's landscape is characterized by the twin behemoths Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, volcanic shields that soar nearly 14,000' into the Hawaiian sky.  Given my understanding of such "peaks", say for instance those in the Colorado Rockies, these two do not seem to fit into the category of "fourteeners" or "thirteeners", but considering that they occupy the majority of the real estate of the island their volume is prodigious.  So much so that the saddle road that connects the two sides of the island, and finds it's way between these two mountains, climbs to over 6,000' without one having the slightest feel of being at that altitude.  The only clue that these two mountains stand another 7,000'+ above this road is provided by the fact that they dominate the landscape, and the appearance of snow atop their rounded domes.  
The other significant and unique feature of the Big Island is the presence of an active volcano, Kilauea, which has been erupting since 1981.  Until November of 2013 it sent lava flowing down the mountainside into the sea on the southeastern side of the island, activity that continues to build the island.  Even though that has (temporarily?) stopped there is still activity within the caldera itself which can be easily witnessed by visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.  No one knows what is yet in store for this remarkable place, except perhaps Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess who may again decide to send lava to the sea.  It is somewhat sobering to think that what we see as the island of Hawai'i is in reality but the top of a huge volcanic mountain which is active.  Moreover this same line of thought extends to the entire island chain which is of volcanic origin.  This landscape is still in the process of creation and we are privileged to witness this.  How cool is that?
The Hawaiian islands are moreover a good laboratory for the observation of micro climates.  The windward side of the islands are characterized by rain forests, wet and lush with tropical growth.  The lee sides, however, are just the opposite, dry, covered with volcanic rock, with little or no vegetation.  In fact cactus can be found growing in the sparse earth or in the rock itself.  And where one expects to spend his time in tropical attire when visiting the islands a visit to places such as Hakeakala will quickly send one scurrying for long trousers, a sweat shirt, and or windbreaker.  It can get cold!
It seems incongruous to photograph lava, cactus, waterfalls, mountains, tropical flora, and seascapes all in the same day, but I did just that on the island of Hawai'i.  It is truly a photographer's paradise and I am pleased to present this portfolio.  Perhaps it will portray something you have not seen before as I endeavor to underscore what attracted me when I pushed the shutter release.  As I review these images I am encouraged to return yet another time.  
(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Fine Art Landscapes Nature Photography Scenics Seascapes https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/3/hawaii Sun, 30 Mar 2014 00:52:10 GMT
Bethlehem, Yesterday and Today https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/2/bethlehem-yesterday-and-today Before my trip to Israel I thought of Bethlehem naively in terms expressed in the familiar Christmas carol as the birth place of Jesus, an idyllic little village where our Lord was born in a manger on a cold winter's night.  That was about the extent of my knowledge.  That was yesterday.  Having now been to Bethlehem I can't say I know a lot more about it, but my impression has changed and now grounded in more real terms.  

Today it is a town caught between worlds of political turmoil and religious division.  We visited Bethlehem on two occasions, the first to shop and a second to visit the Church of the Nativity.  The first was somewhat of a shock to my western sensibility.  I've never followed the politics of the region closely, but Bethlehem is located on the West Bank something like six miles outside Jerusalem.  It is a highly contentious region largely inhabited by Arabs, and a small community of Christians who are being gradually driven out by religious persecution and atrocious living conditions.  For some time extreme Arab murder-suicide bombers conducted terrorist attracts on the Jewish community in Jerusalem.  In an effort to put a stop to these attacks the State of Israel in 2002 built a wall around Bethlehem to keep the Arabs in Bethlehem and out of Jerusalem, with good effect, at the expense though of creating a virtual prison.  Not only can the Arabs not get out but the dwindling community of Christians can't either.  The border is tightly controlled by the Israeli Army both as to ingress and egress.  To my mind it is no different than the Berlin Wall that so offended us during the Cold War.  As American tourists on a tour bus we were not challenged.  However, I am left to wonder what the case might have been had I as an individual tried to enter Bethlehem.  Our group of pilgrims were shocked by this wall but then what else was Israel to do short of all out war?  Under the circumstances, and armed with new insight, I hesitate to criticize.

On the day we visited the Church of the Nativity I expected to see a magnificent temple built over the site of our Saviour's birth.  What I saw was the oldest complete church in the Christian world built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century.  It replaced the original church of Constantine the Great built in AD 339; it is old and looks it.  Far from a magnificent temple it is more on the outside like a fortress to which someone attached a steeple as an after thought.  Directly across the plaza from the Church stands a mosque as if mocking the site of nativity.  The surrounding area too is a bit run down and intimidating.  Inside is little different.  It is dark, dank, cold, and in sad disrepair.  The multitude of icons around the altar and sanctuary of the Orthodox Church imparts an over furnished and closed in feel even though there are no pews, just a bare forbidding Nave area.  Scaffolding stood throughout indicating some kind of ongoing repair, but little evidence that anyone was actually working.  Our guide explained that because the Church was subject to divided jurisdiction (Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic) that it is difficult to raise funding for the church, so it stands...waiting.

We entered the site of the Nativity by a low doorway and down narrow, smoothly worn, stone stairs into a cave which has been venerated as Christ's birthplace since AD 339.  The doorway was lowered around 1500 to stop looters from driving their carts into the cave.  It seems appropriate to stoop low to enter the cave where God humbled himself to become a man.  It reminds one of Scripture that admonishes us to stoop low to humble oneself if we hope to one day be exalted.  That Christ may have been born in a cave and not a manger behind an inn is believable in that the area around Bethlehem is riddled with caves.  What a logical place for the Holy Family to seek refuge in a time of need! 

How ironic it is that the site of the Word made flesh is today in run down condition in a town torn by division and turmoil.  Wherever we have traveled the abodes of Kings and potentates have been lavish and magnificent; Versailles, the King's Bishop's Residenz in Wurzburg, Germany, Windsor Palace in England, and the Vatican in Rome come to mind.  Even the White House, austere by comparison with the baroque palaces of Europe, is an impressive monument to the more plain thinking Americans.  Perhaps that's as it should be.  Jesus was not accepted when he was among us and he was put to death.  After all His Kingdom is not of this World.  






(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture Holy Land Travel Photos https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/2/bethlehem-yesterday-and-today Thu, 27 Feb 2014 03:10:01 GMT
The Holy Land https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/2/the-holy-land I have just returned from an awesome journey to the Holy Land.  The fifteen images just posted are the first of what will be a new and important portfolio for me.

This trip was first and foremost a religious pilgrimage and not a trip where photography was the prime motive.  That being said those that know me understand that I would not go to some place like the Holy Land and leave my camera at home.  No, my camera was with me the whole time, but I can say doing quality photography was a real challenge.  At no time was I able to simply stop and think through a photo opportunity.  Every image was done on the fly, some too much so.  Nevertheless I think I brought back some quality shots suitable for my website.  It is situations such as this where years of experience and the ability to anticipate opportunities really paid dividends.  It is with pleasure that I share these images with those who follow my travels and website.

Over the next several weeks I will be adding to this portfolio as I work my way through more than 2,000 images created in eight days.  Our journey began in Caesarea, went north to Haifa, continued east to the Sea of Galilee where we spent two days, then proceeded to Jerusalem where we did short trips to Jericho, the Dead Sea, Qumran, Masada, Ein Kerem and Bethlehem.  Most of the images I will be posting will be of church architecture and street scenes in Jerusalem.  

A trip of this nature requires a lot of forethought about equipment.  Space is severally limited so photo gear must be selected with anticipation of the type of photography one will be doing.  I took two cameras, a Nikon D300s and a Nikon P7100 as a backup.  I took one lens for the SLR, a Nikkor 18-200mm zoom which is a dynamite travel lens.  I threw in a couple Lensbaby lenses which were not used due to time constraints at each site; I just didn't have time to be switching lenses.  I also took a Gitzo Traveler tripod with a Kirk ball head which was likewise not used for similar reasons, and due to the fact that most sites were too crowded for tripod use.  I use a Cotton Carrier vest to carry my camera to allow my hands to be free, and transport all gear but the tripod in a carry-on Gura bag.  That's pretty much the outfit with exception of batteries, chargers, a couple filters (Polarizer and a Vari-Neutral Density), extra storage cards, and a Digital Foci portable hard drive to which I transfer each day's production for safe keeping.  I also carry an iPAD to enable me to pre-edit selected photos and perhaps share a few while on the road.  

Check back often as I will be uploading images as I edit them.  




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architecture The Holy Land Travel Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/2/the-holy-land Tue, 18 Feb 2014 23:41:04 GMT
Harsh Beauty https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/1/harsh-beauty
The desert is a place of mystery.  Maybe it's because I grew up in the Great Basin of Nevada where the desert is home; maybe it's because there is so much space and a huge sky; or maybe there is a spiritual factor...a feeling of closeness to God.  Whatever it is I always feel more at peace in the solitude of the desert.

Recently I spent a day photographing in Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.  Normally a day would hardly be enough to even scout the place, but having been there before I was focused on what I wanted to accomplish and wasted little time with orientation.  I wanted to capture the feeling of spaciousness and the harsh character of the desert.  At the same time I wanted to capture it's incredible beauty.  The result is represented in the accompanying portfolio, Harsh Beauty.  

Joshua Tree is a transition zone between two very different deserts, the Mojave and the Sonora.  The western part of the Park above 3,000' is in the Mojave; the lower eastern portion is in the Sonoran Desert.  The flora and fauna found in each is quite different.  For instance, Joshua trees, really a specie of Yucca, are found in the upper elevations of the Mojave; Cholla Cactus (pronounced Choy-ya) and Prickly Pear are found in the Sonoran zone.  While the different deserts might host differing plants and animals they share the commonality of being harsh environments where only the especially adapted can survive; and both offer their unique beauty.  

For those who have not been exposed to a desert environment beauty may seem a strange appellation; after all, what is beautiful about shades of gray?  There are several things I find beautiful.  I see lots of color, perhaps muted at times, but color none the less.  For instance, color is to be found in the sand, in the rocks, in the plants, in the animals.  It's everywhere but one must look closely.  The unique lighting in the desert enhances these colors.  Finding a backlit garden of Cholla rewards one with a sea of thorns glowing in the sunlight.  A desert sunrise or sunset is special to behold.  The rising sun brings with it a sense of renewal and hope; watching it drop behind the western mountains in the evening instills a feeling of peace and fulfillment.  Who has experienced the aroma of sage and not hastened to draw the heavily scented desert air deeply into his lungs?  A garden of Prickly Pear can delight the eye with hues of reds, greens, and yellows.  Spring in some years will see the desert come alive with flowers of every hue and color.  My first visit to Joshua Tree several years ago was such a year, perhaps one of the best years for desert wildflowers in recent memory.  Even the fauna, bearing colors that in the whole blend in with a mostly grey green environment can display a surprising array of vivid color if one looks closely.  An example might be the colorfully beaded back of a Gila Monster, or the colorful patterns on the back of a Diamond Backed Rattlesnake.  I recently photographed a Mexican Grey Wolf that appeared mostly grey as his name implied, but when observed close up displayed gorgeous black and white markings around his eyes, ears and mouth.  What a remarkably beautiful animal! The portfolio on this site named "Abstract Expressionisn" was photographed in the Arizona desert where the overall impression was gray-brown; these images are among the most wildly colorful images in my portfolio.  But the best attribute of the desert is it's mystery.  I can't describe it in words, it must be felt.  It has to do with the the seeming emptiness, the vast space, and yet the feeling of closeness with God.

Because I wanted to emphasize the harshness of the desert and to create emphasis on lighting I chose to render most of the images in this portfolio in black and white, or more accurately in chromatic gray scale.  All these images began life in color, and it is that color which is responsible for the gray scale tonality in the images.  These images too were made in the month of January, a time when the least color appears in the desert.  Even so, I do not sacrifice beauty in the character of the plants, in the way the light strikes desert features such as backlighting on Cholla cactus, or shading on the rocks.  This is a land of contrast and extremes, little water at times and at others raging torrents down desert gulches as evidenced by the patterns in now dry watercourses; scorching hot days in the sumner, freezing temperatures at night in the winter; intense color in the midst of monochromatic gray-greens and browns.  It is indeed harshly beautiful.  

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) California Desert Joshua Tree National Park Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/1/harsh-beauty Sun, 26 Jan 2014 06:49:53 GMT
2013 Smarter Travel Photo Contest https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/1/2013-smarter-travel-photo-contest Some time ago I was invited to participate in this photo contest.  There are all kinds of contests on the Internet each year, most of them with an entry fee of $25. and up for each image submitted.  I usually ignore them because the chances of winning are nil and none.  This one, however, did not have an entry fee and was looking for travel photos.  Since I had just done such in San Diego and San Francisco this year I decided to have a go.  I submitted six images, the maximum allowed.

This morning I learned that the attached photo, "Fishing Boats at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, was chosen as one of the eleven best in the Waterscape category.  It wasn't the grand prize but given that there were over 7,200 photos submitted I felt that represented some confirmation of my work.  Smarter Travel seemed to select 11-15 images in five categories as candidates for the grand prize, so that puts my image in the top 55-75 of all submitted.  Nifty.

It's somewhat ironic that this image was selected because I nearly skipped Fisherman's Wharf entirely.  I love the image but it wasn't my favorite.  But I decided to do an early morning shoot at the Wharf as I had pre-visioned this image.  I had previously seen a similar image and wanted to see if I could find a "look alike" scene and create it with a mirrored surface on the water.  This required me to be on site at first light before boats began to move and wind came up to rile the water.  I needed everything perfectly still as I anticipated a long exposure and couldn't have my subject moving.  Still, I used a Vari-Neutral Density filter to ensure an extra long exposure (something like six seconds) to keep the water absolutely smooth.  My efforts paid off.  I can't claim credit for the initial inspiration that created this image, but I can claim credit for its execution.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) San Francisco Waterscape boats photography travel https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2014/1/2013-smarter-travel-photo-contest Sat, 18 Jan 2014 19:14:13 GMT
More San Francisco https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/12/more-san-francisco I have just added what may be the final installment of my near year long project of photographing in San Francisco.  Although prolonged it has been a most enjoyable self assignment, one that has served to expand my photographic skills and interests.  Up to this point I had mostly concentrated on scenic landscapes and wildlife, in fact shunning urban areas.  In San Francisco, and to a lessor extent San Diego, I was in a totally different environment that forced me to think differently and approach photography differently.  Besides having all kinds of distractions to deal with in my photos (people, cars, buses, signs, electrical wires, etc,) I had to decide when and where to include those "distractions" as appropriate parts of my new landscape.  It didn't take long to understand that cities and people, for example, go together and I thereafter sought to include them where appropriate.  I also changed my post production thinking rather markedly.  As a landscape photographer I endeavored to edit "true to the scene" as much as possible, in other words make it look realistic.  In editing my urban images I felt much more at ease about using a bit of creativity, for instance skewing the shape of a cable car, or doing a bit of stylizing with Willy Mays.  These are "travel" photos and I felt free to do whatever I pleased with them.  It was fun, and as a side benefit, I became a more skilled Photoshop user.

This turned into a major project in terms of time and necessitated thinking about the scope of what I wanted to accomplish as it could easily become a never ending job.  I shot thousands of photos and edited around 800 (so far).  Much of the content on this site involves architectural or street art content, subjects I enjoy and have experience with.  But San Francisco is so much more than that.  One could concentrate for a considerable time on people alone.  I've often thought that sitting on a street corner and photographing passers by would yield interesting results...maybe a theme for another time.

Several subjects in the City I think deserve special mention from my experiences.  I have always enjoyed photographing churches and San Francisco has several that can be considered works of art:  Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in North Beach (Roman Catholic), Cathedral of the Holy Virgin in the outer Richmond (Russian Orthodox), Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill (Episcopal), Mission Dolores in the Mission District (Roman Catholic), St. Ignatius at Univ. of San Francisco (Roman Catholic), and St. Mary's on Cathedral Hill (Roman Catholic) are examples.  The latter, while not in my opinion the most interesting from the exterior is exquisite inside.  The architecture is modernistic and stunning.   To do it justice one needs a tripod...and pick a time when religious services are not being held or tour buses lined up outside (this is DIFFICULT).  I was lucky and had the cathedral mostly to myself for nearly an hour (just after early morning Mass).  I used a technique called HDR (high dynamic range) photography making five images at differing shutter speeds to control the high degree of contrast & range of light, then combining those five images into one for final editing.  I think the results stunning.

Another subject was street art at Balmy Alley and Clarion Street in the outer Mission.  Here one finds murals painted on houses, garages, fences, whatever is available.  The murals rise far above graffiti to the level of art.  This is an area of high Hispanic concentration and the murals all have a message ranging from social protest to the religious.  They are worth photographing.  They are also venues the average tourist is not going to see.  There are other striking examples of street art throughout the City too numerous to list but a few of which are included in my web portfolio.

I found Fisherman's Wharf rewarding for maritime images, but this is subject matter best approached in early morning before breezes disturb the water, and before hoards of tourists descend on this popular area.  At any other time I believe the wharf best avoided.

I spent a morning hiking up California St. from the Bay to the top of Nob Hill.  This is an endeavor not to be taken lightly as it entails a steep climb.  It doesn't look like much from the bottom but you will think differently when you reach the top.  It is a workout especially when loaded with camera gear.  This walk takes one from the Embarcadero through the financial district, along the edge of Chinatown, past several world renown hotels, past remarkable churches, lively street activity, great architecture, and in general represents much of the essence of downtown San Francisco.  

If an enthusiast of classical architecture one could do no better than visit the Palace of Fine Arts, Palace of the Legion of Honor, City Hall, War Memorial Opera House, and Herbst Theater.  Other architectural venues of interest include the DeYoung Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden and Davies Symphony Hall.  I spent considerable time around and about all these places.

Finally, I created innumerable iterations of the Golden Gate Bridge, a cliche for sure, but impossible to ignore because it is so entwined with the popular image people have of San Francisco.  I was surprised by the numerous unbelievable vantage points to view and photograph this icon.  I am completely "bridged" out but I still have not exhausted the possibilities to present different perspectives of this engineering marvel.

San Francisco is indeed a great city and has much to offer.  It's population is diverse, indeed much of the charm of the City is in its unique neighborhoods such as North Beach, Chinatown, etc.  There are decidedly upscale neighborhood like Pacific Heights where the rich and famous live in jaw dropping magnificence.  But there is also the other side of the coin.  One is going to see disturbing sights of homeless people living on the streets, some there by choice no doubt, but many too by circumstance.  I debated about photographing that and decided that was not what this project was about.  Still, I find that people living in such marginal conditions in a country as rich as our's disturbing.  How can this be, and why can't we find a way to alleviate such suffering?  In a way I can't explain I feel responsible for these people, and at the same time frustrated at my powerlessness to do much about it.  Perhaps for this reason I did not feel comfortable photographing the plight of others.

I will end with this thought.  I believe the images in this portfolio represent most of the major points of tourist interest in the City and a good place to visit if one wishes to research an expected visit.  Keep in mind though that if you only have three or four days you are not going to see everything. It took me roughly 10 visits to the city to create this portfolio, and for most of those I was set up and ready to shoot a few minutes before sunrise.  However you choose to approach the City be assured it is one grand place to visit.




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography San Francisco Travel Urban Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/12/more-san-francisco Wed, 04 Dec 2013 20:29:15 GMT
Fall in the eastern Sierra https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/10/fall-in-the-eastern-sierra I have just concluded a glorious week photographing fall color on the eastern Sierra.  The Sierra Nevada is not necessarily known for its fall colors, but I am here to tell you that it might just be one of the finest venues anywhere...if you know where to go.  When one thinks fall color he thinks of New England or Colorado, without argue great places.  But the eastern Sierra can be just as spectacular even if one has to look a little harder.  The place to go is along the U.S. 395 corridor from Lone Pine to Gardnerville.  Just driving that highway though is not enough.  One needs to leave the highway and penetrate the canyons that lead off into the mountains, e.g., Bishop Creek, Rock Creek, Convict Canyon, June Lake Loop, Mammoth, Conway Summit, Highway 108 over Sonora Pass, and many others.  Most of these places are easily accessible by passenger car.  In these locations one will find color to rival anyplace in the U.S.

This is kind of like home to me.  I grew up in western Nevada on the east side of the Sierra Nevada.  Many a summer was spent in the Sonora Pass area camping and fishing.  I followed those early experiences by backpacking the Tahoe to Whitney trail which includes the John Muir Trail.  When eventually my interests turned to photography my knowledge of these mountains paid off big time in knowing where to go to capture spectacular scenics.  I no longer backpack but still enjoy being close to these mountains and talking about some of the great places in the back country.  And, of course, the color is but an added bonus. 

The images loaded so far are just a beginning.   I have much editing to do and will add other images as time goes on for the next month or so.  Keep checking back.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Sierra Nevada fall mountains photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/10/fall-in-the-eastern-sierra Fri, 18 Oct 2013 22:48:10 GMT
San Diego https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/7/san-diego I recently had occasion to put my own advice into practice (see my blog of Feb. 13, 2013) on a "photo trip" to San Diego.  It has been many years since my last visit and San Diego has changed...and grown.  It is now the eighth largest city in the U.S.  I had planned an ambitious list of places to photograph in five days.  This trip had to be tightly choreographed if I hoped to fulfill my agenda.  I had to be ready to hit the ground running which meant preparation was key to success.

I began by perusing a map of the area to get my bearings.  I consulted apps like Yelp and Trip Advisor to get a sense of interesting places; I invested in a photography book dedicated to San Diego.  Having developed a tentative list of subjects I then used Google to find more in depth information.  From this basic research I developed a rough photo plan including types of shots I might expect to encounter, allocated expected time at each venue, and made a list of gear I would likely need.  Now this might seem like total overkill to most, but when one expects to accomplish much in a short time span organization is critical.  Without it one will be "behind the eight ball" from the outset.

During the course of my research I came across an interesting resource I had never considered, a certified tour guide whose tours were "focused" on photography.  This resource was Julie Kremen who operates San Diego Photography Tours.  Julie runs several different tours in the San Diego area from which one can choose depending on interest or, as I learned, Julie will put together a custom tour.  Julie was booked during the normal weekdays I planned to be in San Diego but she offered to do a "one on one" custom tour on a Sunday.  I jumped at her offer.  We wound up doing a 4+ "golden" hour shoot in the late afternoon/early evening in the Gaslamp Quarter, harbor area, and Balboa Park.  I used this as the centerpiece of my plan and built around it.  Julie proved to be a gem; bottom line my time spent on this tour was extremely productive.  Her photography background together with the brief up front information I gave her regarding my skill level was all she needed to develop an itinerary to make every minute count.  She took me where I wanted to go and gave me freedom to photograph at will without the worry of having to keep up with a group.  She is also a skilled photographer and capable of ensuring that one will come away with superior and unique photos.  To anyone planning to photograph in San Diego I heartily recommend her services regardless of skill level.  It was one of the rare occasions I've photographed in tandem with another photographer and it was truly an enjoyable experience.

In the end I not only completed my San Diego agenda but found time to photograph at San Luis Rey de Francia and San Juan Capistrano Missions, both easy drives from San Diego not to mention photographic gems.  This would have been an enjoyable trip without my research, but I most certainly would not have accomplished the ambitious agenda I designed for this venture.

A few of my results are included on this site.  Check 'em out.



(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architectural Photography Cityscapes Photography San Diego Urban Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/7/san-diego Thu, 25 Jul 2013 06:31:29 GMT
The "City" https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/6/the-city There are many famous cities, but the only one I know where one can simply say "the City" and everyone recognizes what he is talking about is none other than San Francisco.  Oh, it is a city in many respects like most, there's traffic, congestion, it's hard to park, it has its share of homeless, etc., but I know of no other place except perhaps Paris that commands such romantic appeal.  While Tony Bennett did much to contribute to San Francisco's legacy it has plenty to offer on it's own to tug at one's heart strings.

For me personally I consider it "my city" even though I've never lived in it.  My family on my mother's side had roots in San Francisco dating well before the great earthquake of 1906.  Although visiting the city infrequently I recall as a boy (in the 1940's) being mesmerized by the hustle, bustle and night lights of the big city, so unlike the small town where I grew up.  When one went "downtown" in those days gentlemen wore suits, ties and hats; ladies would not be seen without hats, gloves, and high heels.  One dressed to go to the city to shop in places like The City of Paris and The White House department stores, the "supermalls" of that early day.  San Francisco's financial district was the Wall Street of the west, headquarters for banks named Bank of America, Wells Fargo, & Crocker Anglo, institutions with roots in the gold rush (two of which endure to this day albeit morphed into a new era).  It was home to the Hearst Newspaper chain, Standard Oil of California, Levi Strauss, and Folgers Coffee.  Fisherman's wharf was then, as it is today, home to a substantial Italian fishing fleet.  The Cliff House overlooked the Pacific Ocean at Land's End (and still does).  The early years listed names like A. P. Giannini, Henry Wells, William Fargo, Charles Crocker, J. P. Getty, William Randolph Hearst, Leland Stanford (founder of Stanford University), Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Mark Twain, and the legendary bandit Black Bart.  In the 1930's the DiMaggio brothers roamed the outfield for the old San Francisco Seals; Lefty O'Doull managed the San Francisco nine in the 40's.  In the early 50's the San Francisco 49ers put together the best backfield never to win an NFL title consisting of Y. A. Tittle, Hugh McElhaney, John Henry Johnson, and Joe (The Jet) Perry; Willy Mays electrified the Bay Area in the 50's and 60's and to my mind no one ever replaced him.  His statue now occupies a place of honor in Willy Mays Plaza at the entrance to AT&T Park.  Oh there is history here; not bad for a city buried in dust and rubble after the devastating earthquake and fire in 1906 when hardly one stone remained atop another.

But I think what really closed the deal for me was the San Francisco Opera which I began frequenting while attending college across the Bay in Berkeley in 1962.  I fell in love with the opera and with San Francisco, AND IT CHANGED MY LIFE!  This was an opera house that echoed with the voice of Enrico Caruso (he sang Carmen in San Francisco the night before the earthquake).  In the 60's one could buy a standing room ticket for $4.00 to hear the finest singers in the world for less than a movie ticket costs today.  Hearing and seeing such artists as Joan Sutherland, Mario Del Monaco, and Giorgio Tozzi was heady stuff for me.  Yes, the San Francisco Opera was world class and remains so today although the $4.00 ticket has long since disappeared.  

My wife and I eventually located to the Bay Area and 47 years later we remain within an hour's drive of the City where we occasionally enjoy a day or two revisiting the sights.  I have maintained an interest in photography all those years but always as an avocation.  Even so, I never made it a point to do much photography in the City, my interest being more focused on landscapes and wildlife.  Over time I managed to photograph most of the United States and Canada, as well as several foreign locations.  Still San Francisco was neglected.  That will change.

The few images I've posted to this website are but a start of what I intend to accomplish.  I hope you enjoy this virtual tour of the City by the Bay.


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Architectural Cityscapes Photography San Francisco Urban Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/6/the-city Mon, 24 Jun 2013 22:03:59 GMT
A Fresh Approach https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/6/a-fresh-approach I think one of the more difficult challenges for any artist is to avoid a rut and learn to approach his subject matter in a different way.  I know I've struggled with that difficulty.  I've photographed most of my life and have had the privilege of photographing in many of the iconic "hotspots" of our country, some on numerous occasions, and yet there was something missing.  I was running out of ideas and subject matter.  I began to realize that I tended to shoot the same kind of images everywhere I went with the result that even though the images might differ in content they were still much the same.  I realized that I was addicted to the same point of view, e.g., I usually shot from eye level, used the same lens, shot the same " cliche" images as thousands of others had already shot, etc.  In other words, imagination was lacking.  When that happens boredom sneaks in and one's portfolio begins to lose vitality.  What to do?

Well, I decided a complete "makeover" might be in order from concept to post production.  These past several months I've been thinking more locally than looking to iconic locations like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.  For instance, I live within an hour of one of the world's great cities, San Francisco, yet I've photographed there very little.  So I've determined to remedy that by scheduling a series of sessions in "the city" and mapped out different locations and intents for each of those shoots.  Twice in the past month I've been on the road by 3:45 a.m. in order to be in position before sunrise to catch the best light.  Not a lot of fun hauling out of bed that time of the morning, but the light is worth it and has an added benefit of beating the traffic and finding a parking place; nothing to dismiss in San Francisco where a quarter buys four minutes on a parking meter!  I've also learned that after a life time of living near this city I've never really seen it.  When one starts walking the neighborhoods they emerge in a completely different light.

My approach has changed too.  Instead of looking for drop dead scenics I'm looking for lines, patterns, shapes, color, abstracts, people living their daily lives, etc.  In a sense it's back to basics.  My equipment list has changed a bit too.  I still use my "go to" lens a lot (Nikkor 18-200mm) but I'm also experimenting with my Lensbaby system quite a bit and find it's giving me a whole different mindset that carries over even when using conventional lenses.  The Lensbaby "look" even enters into my images in post production as I find myself introducing intentional blur effects on occasion in Photoshop.  In other words, I have other creative tools to use, and with focused goals for each session I'm coming home with images far different than my typical style.  It's a lot like photographing in Yosemite.  Once one has photographed all the "postcard" sites he is forced to look for new subjects.  It is then that one really begins to "see" his subject and start making art and not just recapitulating cliches.

I'm also paying attention to what others are doing.  As the digital "age" progresses and equipment and techniques continue to evolve I am sensible to traditional subject matter being captured in different and dynamic ways.  For instance, time lapse and HDR photography is raising the bar on what can be achieved that just a few years ago was impossible.

These are just a few examples of things that can be done to keep one's self from falling into a rut and becoming bored, a state that inevitably shows up in his images.  Whatever you do I think it is beneficial to periodically take a step back and assess one's approach.  Am I becoming predictable?  Am I simply "cloning" my own work over and over?  Am I "going through the motions" and putting little thought and creativity into my work?  Do I lack a sense of motivation and drive? If the answer to those questions is "yes" perhaps we are in the proverbial rut.  I don't mean to infer that repeating what works is necessarily a bad thing, but a little "seasoning" now and then doesn't hurt either.

I spent many frustrating years trying to discover my "style" only to learn that style is not something that miraculously one day manifests itself.  It is something that continually evolves as one matures in his craft.  One has to be open to the fact that he changes over time and embrace that truth.  Like Tiger Woods leaving the tour for a spell to redevelop his swing I think the artist has to step back now and then to reassess what he is doing and make appropriate adjustments.  Even if no change is made it is still a valid exercise.  A rut, no matter how shallow, can often prove tough to escape.  Once in it only becomes deeper if nothing is done about it.







(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Art Photography San Francisco architectural photography city scenes https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/6/a-fresh-approach Mon, 24 Jun 2013 04:58:44 GMT
Influential Artists https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/6/influential-artists It has been my custom for many years to collect books on art & photography, and on occasion prints, from artists who for one reason or another move me.  The practice has proven to be a source of inspiration, and provides case studies in style, lighting, and composition which in many cases finds its way into my own photography.  

One of the more illusive facets of photography is finding one's sense of style, "voice" if you will.  I think that is because style is somewhat intangible.  Learning the nuts and bolts of photography is one thing; that is technical know how.  But figuring out how to apply that knowledge and bring an image to life is an entirely different thing.  It's something that is part of one's soul and develops over time with practice and a lot of trial and error.  Studying works by other artists and discerning what it is about them that makes them work, or not, can certainly be of help in bringing one's muse to the surface.  So I pay attention to what others are doing and have done, and while I don't do that with the intent to reinvent their work it is inevitable that techniques rub off.

Photographers who immediately come to mind as influential in my work are Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell, William Neill, Alain Briot, Kennan Ward, Tony Sweet, and David Muench, to name just a few.  This is a widely divergent group of artists but all have something to teach.  Adams, of course, is the standard for many modern photographers.  His excellence of technique and artistry is without peer.  Who hasn't looked at his gorgeous black and white landscapes and marveled?  From rich blacks to bright whites, and every tone in between, his landscapes blossom better than if in full color.  And to think, he did that without aid of today's digital darkroom technology.  He, more than anyone I think, inspires landscape photographers to work in black and white and to perfect technique.  Galen Rowell was a master too of landscape photography while working mostly in color.  But he was also a noted mountaineer and writer.  His landscapes were marked by incredible lighting achieved by his uncanny tendency to be in the right place at the right time.  William Neill is noted for his "spiritual" landscapes of Yosemite.  Many of his images portray an almost impressionistic quality.  Alain Briot is not as widely known as either Adams or Rowell but had a huge impact on my thinking and approach to photography as art.  In one book authored by him he spoke of photography as if standing in front of his subject with palette and brush.  He discussed color as if a painter and perhaps for the first time I looked upon photography as a true art and my camera nothing more than a brush, and that it was my decision as an artist how to render the scene before me.  Ward is primarily a wildlife photographer with stunning photographs from Alaska; Muench, like his father before him, a stunning landscape photographer of the southwest.  Tony Sweet is to me the epitome of an artist with a camera.  He uses a wide variety of techniques to produce stunning images in the camera.    

All this being said, it is perhaps painters who have influenced me even more.  I am a great fan of the impressionists and often seek to render an impressionistic quality to my own work.  Georgia O'Keeffe's modernistic paintings of flowers and southwest landscapes inspired me greatly as I was photographing in New Mexico; and the wildly colorful abstract expressionist paintings of Joan Mitchell, John Paul Riopelle and Jackson Pollock inspired me to seek similar abstracts in nature, a few of which appear on this site.  But perhaps the most inspiring to me are the incredible landscapes, particularly western landscapes, of the Hudson River artists, specifically Thomas Moran, Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt.  They portrayed a country still being discovered and explored and perhaps best conveyed the spirit of the ideal, the vast untarnished splendor of the North American continent.  They brought the wilderness to the American audience and usually portrayed a lone viewer standing in a remote spot within the composition surveying the magnificence before him.  The standout quality of these images was the use of lighting to highlight the most important part of the scene and draw the viewer's eye to that being viewed by the onlooker in the composition.  And isn't that the essence of photography?  Perhaps it is this sense of discovery and awe that inspired Ansel Adams and today's artists to photograph and paint the little wilderness we have left, to at least preserve it in our minds.  Another trait of the "Hudson River" paintings is that they were not necessarily real in the sense that they accurately portrayed the scene painted.  Often they were approximations of the real thing; and while the locale could be easily identified they were figments of the imagination.  So, what is the difference if a photographer takes some artistic liberties on occasion?  It is not necessarily the photographer's intent to portray exactitude, rather it is to convey a feeling or an idea, and in that context I have reason to differ with those who insist photography must be true to the subject being photographed.  We are talking about art, not documentation.  

So, any work of art that inspires shows us a fresh approach to a particular subject.  It is a means of communication and a means to elevate the human soul to a higher plane.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Photography art https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/6/influential-artists Sat, 08 Jun 2013 18:36:36 GMT
Abstract Expressionism in Nature https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/4/abstract-expressionism-in-nature Whenever my wife, Jean, and I travel to a major destination we look for art galleries to visit.  This has been a habit for me at least since many of my photographic ideas originate from painters as well as other photographers.  In the process this habit has taken us to some pretty amazing places like the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the National Gallery, the Georgia O'Keeffe Gallery, the Louvre, and the Uffizi Gallery to name but a few.  One of my more serendipitous finds was at the Art Gallery of Calgary a few years back where I was introduced to the work of Jean Paul Riopelle, one of Canada's most celebrated artist.  Riopelle painted from about 1946 until his death in 2002, much of that time while living in Paris.  I was immediately taken by his work.  I don't know how to describe Abstract Expressionism other than with those words, it's abstract and certainly expressive.  It looks like blobs of multicolored paint hurled at the canvas wily nily, except that order and purpose is evident.  One writer described Riopelle's work thus:  "Lucious, lavishly generous dollops of exquisite impasto paint applied in dazzling configurations of form and colour."  

Then just recently a poetry magazine to which I subscribe (poetry and photography are close cousins) featured a few paintings of the American Abstract Expressionist, Jean Mitchell, a contemporary and close friend of Riopelle.  Wow, I was blown away!  Did she influence him, or he her? Their styles differed but their paintings were very similar.  I have since read her biography and spent time looking at her work in more detail.  I think everything said of Riopelle can be said of her.  While I can't say I understand what these artists are trying to express in their painting I can say that I like it.  Maybe it's the wild color, or maybe the free wheeling nature of this genre.  I wish I could provide a sample here, but to do so would violate copyright laws, so the best I can suggest is that if you want to see their work just "Google" their names and bingo.  

But what I can do is show you a sample from my own portfolio; the artist is Nature.  A few years ago Jean and I were at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.  This is a rather obscure park, overshadowed by Arizona's many other attractions, but certainly worth a visit. If you go there look very carefully because the real attraction will not just jump out at you.  It is one if the most wildly colorful places we've ever visited, but I fear many people don't see that color.  It's in the broken logs of petrified wood.  I hadn't "met" either Riopelle or Mitchell at that point, but if I had I would have immediately thought of them.  Those log ends are Nature's version of Abstract Expressionism.  I spent most of a morning looking for these works of art and photographing them.  I was the only one doing so.  Either no one cared, or more likely they just didn't see what I saw.  I like to think that the hours I've spent in galleries and studying photography have influenced my ability to see just a bit.

Here's just a sample of what I saw, and this might be a good preview for what you might see if you look up Jean Paul Riopelle and Joan Mitchell.  You will find other images like this one in my gallery, ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM IN NATURE in this site.

(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Abstract Expressionism Photography https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/4/abstract-expressionism-in-nature Sat, 06 Apr 2013 03:26:13 GMT
Hawaii, Paradise in the Pacific https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/4/hawaii-paradise-in-the-pacific With this entry I launch a new portfolio of images of Hawaii.  The eleven images of this first group have been in my portfolio about ten years and all originate from the island of Kaua'i, the garden isle.  Although old images they have been re-edited in accordance with my current post production workflow.  Because that workflow has evolved dramatically these are like new images even to me.  My intent is to make numerous additions to this web portfolio in coming weeks as this but scratches the surface.  Having just returned from two weeks in Maui and Oahu I have much new work to add.

Looking at the gorgeous natural scenery of Hawaii I never cease to be amazed at the magnitude and diversity of landscape we enjoy in the United States.  Each of our States has its own special charm and Hawaii takes a back seat to none.  From tropical rain forest, to mountains, to seashore, to volcanic plains, and even desert, Hawaii has it all.  While not an expert by any means on Hawaiian topography and landscape I know magnificent scenery when I see it, and Hawaii has enough of it to keep any photographer enthralled a long time.

I will never forget my first visit the the Hawaiian archipelago.  I was in the Navy and my ship stopped off at Pearl Harbor for refueling enroute a six month deployment to the western Pacific.  We were to be at Pearl for only two days and I was excited to finally see a place I had heard so much about but never had opportunity to see in person.  I sure did want to see those Hula girls perform!  Much to my chagrin I drew the duty the first day in and couldn't leave the ship.  The second day was pretty much a quick look at Honolulu.  I thought I could make up for that on the way back but we refueled at sea and skipped Hawaii completely.  A second deployment to the western Pacific two years later was much the same, except on that occasion we refueled at sea both coming and going.  So much for a tour of Hawaii courtesy of Uncle Sam!

But I made up for it on my own.  I have now made four or five trips to the islands and visited Oahu, Maui, Kaua'i, and the Big Island of Hawaii.   Each is a bit different and makes its own claim for attention.  For the photographer in us one cannot go wrong with any of them.  Oahu is everyone's introduction to the State, but if one stops there he will have missed the essence of the islands.  Maui is a great place to experience one of the world's highest volcanoes, Haleakala.  It rises over 10,000' above sea level where one will likely find his head in the clouds, or if you're very clever you can make your way to the top in darkness and just maybe see the sunrise of your life.  The east coast of Maui is one of the wettest on earth, and the barren coast line along the north shore reminds me so much of the west coast of Ireland. The Big Island is really two, the rainy Hilo coast on the windward side, and the desert like Kona coast on the lee side.  AND, if one is adventuresome he can visit the active Kilauea volcano, the highest sea mountain in the world, Mauna Kea, 33,000', or the most massive mountain in the world, Mauna Loa.  In between these two mountains lies the world's largest cattle ranch.  Whew!  Hey, I haven't done all this yet; I need to go back!  Kaua'i is the smallest of these four but has one one of the world's deepest canyons, Waimea, which makes one think he is perched on the rim of Arizona's Grand Canyon.  OR, if none of this entices you there are miles of pristine beaches and endless waves to surf.  Heck, you might just sit by the pool and sip a Mai Tai.  Whatever you do you can be sure to be surrounded by ample natural beauty.

Hopefully my images will conjure up feelings of a relaxed life style, warm sands, gentle trade winds, and if you haven't experienced this Pacific paradise, a place to add to your "bucket list".





(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Hawaii flors landscapes seascapes tropical https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/4/hawaii-paradise-in-the-pacific Wed, 03 Apr 2013 03:54:22 GMT
Why Post Production? https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/3/why-post-production  

If you read my earlier blog on "process" you will recall my mentioning post production.  What do I mean by that?  
Simply stated it is what happens to a photograph after you've uploaded it from your camera to the computer.  It could also include what happens in your camera after you've pressed the shutter release if you're shooting JPEGs.  In that case the camera is compressing and processing the image in the camera so that when uploaded to the computer it's supposedly ready for viewing.  I say supposedly because I for one do not think any image that comes out of a camera is ready for viewing.  I'll even take it a step further.  Back in my film days I shot transparency film (slides).  Nothing was done to those slides in the way of editing unless enlargements were made when there might be cropping or color correction employed prior to printing.  Yet when I look at those slides today there isn't a one of them that I can't improve today in post processing.  Indeed, many of the images seen on this website started life as slides.  The mantra was "get it right in the camera", and we assumed we could do that, and indeed we tried-and still do-BUT...
In today's digital world a photographer has so many more up front options than in the days of film.  Having the camera process images according to certain presets are some of those options.  One can set the white balance, tell the camera how much contrast to employ, what degree of color saturation, etc., all the things I prefer to do myself in post production on my computer where I have precise control over the process.  I do this by shooting RAW format images which is the format where the maximum file information that your camera sensor and lens combination are capable of producing.  For example, my camera is rated at 12.3 megapixels.  When I shoot RAW that is approximately the size of file I transfer to the computer.  Were I to shoot JPEG I might wind up with a file of approximately 3-4 megapixels; the rest is lost!  Initially the JPEG is going to look better than the RAW image because the former has whatever processing that took place in the camera, but I guarantee you that after I process my RAW file I'll have the better image.  The downside?  The RAW file takes up more computer space.  But, if it's quality your striving for there simply is no comparison.
To process RAW files one needs computer software such as Adobe's Camera RAW.  RAW processors are incorporated into such programs as Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, Nikon's NX2, and Nikon Capture.  For some time I did most of my processing and edits in Lightroom.  In the develop module things like white balance, exposure, contrast, fine tuning of highlights and shadows, clarity, vibrancy, saturation, cropping, and many other basic edits can be addressed.  This can be done on single images or in batch.  The adjustments take but little time.  I now tend to use Photoshop as my central hub for editing and move back and forth between that and several plug in software programs that I employ on a regular basis to perform certain functions.  Lightroom is my center piece, however, because it serves as my organizer and platform for printing.  I access my entire portfolio of near 200,000 images through Lightroom.
If Ansel Adams were around today he'd be doing something similar.  He's not a true comparison because he started with an 8x10 negative as opposed to the relatively small digital file most of us employ today, but it is true that he did not produce the astounding black and white images we all admire by simply making a print directly from his negative.  No, he spent hours in his darkroom manipulating, dodging and burning to get the results he did.  That's why he is considered such an artist because he did it the old fashioned way, and he did it with a master's touch!  That's post production.
So, "get it right in the camera" is a goal we all strive for, and that is why I spent so much time and effort to understand what it is I do when I am out with my camera.  We all want to start with the very best image possible.  But, I have yet to see the perfect image, and never one that didn't require post production work.  As sophisticated as cameras are today they still require the human touch and images require individual interpretation.  That is what makes photography an art.
Software I use in post-production:
Photoshop, Lightroom, NIK Photo Suite, OnONE Perfect Photo Suite, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, Photomatix Pro, Alien Skin Photo Suite, NIK Snapseed
(dbANDREWS fine art photography) Art Photography Post Production https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/3/why-post-production Mon, 04 Mar 2013 00:28:30 GMT
My Approach to the Photographic Process https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/2/my-approach-to-the-photographic-process  

"I think I need to get a better camera". 
Those words were spoken to me by a friend who felt his photography needed a bit of improvement and thought a new, more technically modern camera was the answer.  Well, I thought, maybe that would help some, but unfortunately it's not that easy.  There is so much more that goes into making successful photographs than the camera.  I've been photographing most of my life, seriously for the past ten to fifteen years, and I'm still learning; indeed, when I pick up a book by a well known professional, attend seminars, or peruse some of the many excellent websites available I realize how much I have yet to learn.  Maybe I need a new camera too, but I think the approach to photography which I've adopted as a general practice is a better answer.  
Let's first get the equipment thing behind us.  Yes, you do need a camera, preferably a decent one, lenses with a fair range of focal distances, a tripod, a few filters perhaps, etc.  Think of these things simply as tools, much as a painter thinks of his brushes, paint, easle, thinner, etc, as tools of his trade, but the best of materials will not put a thing on canvas; the artist has to supply the talent.  So it is with photography.  One can be shooting a $6,000. Nikon, but if he doesn't know the basics of photography or how to use the controls the results will be no better than what can be achieved with a standard point and shoot.  No, photography is like anything else, it requires training and practice.  There is just no magic button.  I discovered that not only does one need to know and understand the tools, but photographers are artists and they need to concern themselves with composition, color palettes, isolation techniques, lighting, design basics, perspective, etc., all the same stuff that a painter is concerned with.  
Fortunately there are numerous sources of training available from formal schools to self training materials.  I have utilized a wide range of sources over time which ultimately led to my current approach to a photographic assignment. I spent a lot of hours in classroom settings with professionals like George Lepp, Rod Planck, John Shaw, the folks at Rocky Mountain and Nikon Schools of Photography.  I've poured through books authored by well known photographers, and studied the works of both photographers and painters to see how they handled certain situations.  In the course of all that one begins to develop a style or approach to photography that matures the more one gets out and practices.  As professional photographer Vincent Versace insists one must not just practice, he must practice at practicing.
So having some basic understanding and proficiency one is ready to take that equipment out and "practice". Here are the things I habitually do whenever I'm headed off to a major, or even a minor "assignment".
First, I research my intended subject.  I try to learn something about where I'm going, what opportunities I might encounter, what kind of photos I will be shooting (and by extension what hardware I might need).  If I'm going to be shooting at sunrise or sunset I want to know the exact time it will occur and from what angle it will appear (yes, I carry a compass).  I check all my gear and make sure batteries are charged.  A good example of this regimen was my 2011 trip to Churchill, Manitoba to photograph Polar Bears.  If one waits until he is actually there to begin thinking about the shoot it is unlikely anything good will result.  I read books about the Arctic, its natural history, current issues about the region, and of course, about the bear.  I wanted to learn as much as I could about the Arctic environment, anticipated weather and temperatures, and as much as I could about the bear that was to be my subject.
Second, I selected my gear based on the above.  This was crucial because I'd be traveling by air and be limited in number of bags and weight.  I chose my equipment carefully, taking only what I'd be likely to use, gear that might serve several purposes.  For instance, I knew I'd need a camera capable of enduring low temperatures, extra batteries, cards, etc., a good zoom telephoto lense, and because there would be opportunity for landscapes a wide angle lense.  I took one filter, a polarizer.  I took a lightweight carbon fiber tripod, and an external hard drive to store my images.  I also took a second backup camera body because if anything happened to my prime camera an expensive trip would go up in smoke.  That's pretty much it.
Third, for major trips such as Churchill, I develop a photo plan, a list of the types of images I want to come home with, techniques I want to use, etc.  I take notes regarding what I photograph, lenses used, lighting, etc.  Each night after a day's shoot I compare what I did that day with my plan.  If I haven't completed the plan I have a goal for the next day to concentrate on the missing elements.  When I arrived in Churchill I hit the ground ready to go; when I left I had gotten what I wanted.  This is perhaps an exaggerated example because it was a big deal, but I pretty much follow that process even if I'm going out for a morning's shoot up the coast.  I generally have a very broad plan with few details, but I can then very easily take advantage of that rare opportunity that comes along.
Fourth, when actually shooting I shoot in the RAW format.  Without getting into a lot of technical stuff RAW is simply a digital file format, just as is TIFF and JPEG.  Most shoot JPEGs because the camera does the processing for you and relieves you of further thought.  It might also be the case that if your shooting a simple point and shoot you don't have the option to shoot RAW.  That's OK if your only a casual shooter. The problem is that the photographer loses control the second he exposes the image.  You can preset the camera to do certain things, but one really has no idea what is going to happen inside once the image is exposed.  Also, JPEG is a compressed format so that much file information is necessarily lost in the camera.  RAW format eliminates these problems.  No image processing takes place in the camera; no compression takes place.  This is the format where all the information the camera sensor and lens are capable of recording indeed winds being included in the file.  It is left then for the photographer to develop the file in the computer.  To do this dedicated software is required.  While the thought of processing discourages some it is really not complicated.  The process is non-destructive and the photographer maintains full control over how the file is processed.  This includes things like white balance rendering, color correction, cropping, exposure adjustment, etc.
Finally, we come to "post production".  While RAW processing is considered post production other things can be accomplished as well toward realizing the photographer's vision.  It can be simple or complex and an art in itself.  Edits can be done in software such as Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom, etc.  There are also some cool "plug in" software programs such as NIK's and OnOne's software suites that nicely mesh with the above to enable virtually unlimited flexibility in rendering a photograph.  Is this cheating?  Not at all, but this is a subject for another time.
This is a condensed and simplified summary of several subjects in which books have been written.  I hope it will serve as a guide for those thinking of getting involved in a great hobby or avocation.
So, did my friend really need a new camera?  Perhaps, but more than likely what he really needed was a bit of understanding of the scope of the issue, then think about that new camera. 


(dbANDREWS fine art photography) photo process https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/2/my-approach-to-the-photographic-process Fri, 01 Mar 2013 00:16:55 GMT
Links https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/2/links  




(dbANDREWS fine art photography) links referrals https://www.dbandrewsfineartphotography.com/blog/2013/2/links Thu, 21 Feb 2013 07:04:39 GMT