Portrait of an Unsung Artist: Part 2

 

Guatay, CA — As I planned, I made the labels for the prints for Bill Chappelow’s Gallery in Guatay (BTW, I misspelled the town name in the last post) and on Sunday, with Cynthia, the photographer who helped with the shots and had a shot or two of her own to bring to him, we ran the labels and another print he specifically requested, out to him.

So this time, while at the gallery and workshop I took several shots of his workshop area to see if it would work if, as I noted in the last post, I dropped them in on the shot of him in front of the big old band saw.  To refresh your memory, here is the original shot in front of the window.

Straight version of pose #2.  You can see the problem with the mess (my own mess, of course) out in the area in front of the shop.

Straight version of pose #2. You can see the problem with the mess (my own mess, of course) out in the area in front of the shop.  Not to mention the road and other distracting elements.

The shot of him is nice but that background simply had to go.  This time shooting the workshop alone I made sure that I shot the workshop from the same level as I had for his portrait so that the perspective between the two shots would match.  I took a number of possible views then selected one where there was a small light over over one of the small band saw tables.   I also made sure the distance from the foreground objects (the table with blocks of wood on it) to the camera was about the same as it had been from the camera to the window behind Bill in the first shot.

Again I shot it straight and properly exposed so I had maximum room to play with it.  But once in the edit mode, in order to push this new view into the background I dropped the exposure progressively in the far background, slightly lowered the  saturation , vignetted it a little and then did a lens blur to create some feel of depth of field at play.

Then, when it was ready, it was substituted for the old shot of the wood grain seen in the last post and, after a few more tweaks, here is the final.

Completed version of this shot with the second shot of the workshop in the background.

Completed version of this shot with the second shot of the workshop in the background.

When I shot the workshop part, the little light on the bandsaw was not on.  But when I saw the assembled pieces I thought it would make a nice touch if it were, since it could “motivate” some of the rim lighting on Bill to make him stand out from the background.  So with a little help from Adobe… I switched it on.

—–ADDENDUM —————–

The night after I initially posted this I looked at the final image again to see if there were any small areas that needed cleaning up around the selections.  The more I looked at it the more I liked the idea of it being a sepia toned B&W image so I made one and here it is:

Sepia toned version of the composit shot of Bill.

Sepia toned version of the composite shot of Bill.

—-END OF ADDENDUM————

Although I had lots of last minute work waiting for me at the computer at home, I hate to pass up a chance to be out of town and, hey, I already WAS out of town so decided to take the great polar route back home through Boulder Creek.  The road runs from Descanso to Julian somewhat parallel to the main highway 79 but west of Cuyamaca.

When I take this road it seems I have usually taken it from the other direction.  In spring it is alive with wildflowers in places so is a favorite back-country drive. This time, seeing things from a reverse angle to my normal route, there were some interesting views that popped up.  The first thing that stopped us was this bizarre, surreal rock.  It was a large granite boulder that had split and revealed an encapsulated rock inside.

I didn’t see it first since I was watching road.  i thought it was interesting but was not sure what to do with it.  But the more I looked at it the more it resonated with some memory and the more  I thought it looked like a rock egg with some embryonic thing inside it.  The tree growing around and above it reminded me of one of Jerry Uelsman’s images so I took this shot, intending from the start for it to be a B&W image.

Surreal formation of a rock within a rock.  Canon 5D MkII, Canon 17-40 f4L

Surreal formation of a rock within a rock. Canon 5D MkII, Canon 17-40 f4L

We discussed if it was natural or something some clever person created.  But the little inner smooth rock seemed to perfectly fit in its enclosure and looked like at some past eon in time, below the surface in a magma filled environment, the then liquid composite flowed around and ultimately solidified around the harder internal piece.  In any case, this is how we found it.

The road at this point takes a higher contour on the hillside and as we continued there appeared the remnants of a burned ranch house down in the valley.  There was a place where it seemed as if a good view might be found but after studying it through several lenses and compositions, I could not find a shot I liked and the drab colors all seemed to blend together.  However turning around to return to the vehicle and looking up… there was a possible shot:  A “broken” moon rising over some “broken” rocks seemed like another B&W shot to make.

Broken moon rising over broken rocks along the Boulder Creek Rd.  Canon 5D MkII w/ Canon 70-200 f4L

Broken moon rising over broken rocks along the Boulder Creek Rd. Canon 5D MkII w/ Canon 70-200 f4L

Since the moon is simply a big gray rock it did not seem too fantastic to think of this half moon as the other half of the broken rock on the hill top now broken away and floating free to its place in the sky.

From there to a sort of summit, the road gains elevation and at one point offers a spectacular view to the west all the way to the Pacific Ocean.  Normally the haze obscures details and the truth is, coming the other way I cannot honestly say I ever noticed it before. But today, though not perfectly clear as you got closer to the coast, you could actually see the buildings of downtown San Diego and even Point Loma.

Looking west from Boulder Creek Rd toward the Pacific.  It was sufficiently clear to see downtown and Point Loma.  Canon 5D Mk II, Canon 15-40mm F4L.

Looking west from Boulder Creek Rd toward the Pacific. It was sufficiently clear to see downtown and Point Loma. Canon 5D Mk II, Canon 15-40mm F4L.

Don’t think you can really see the city, much less the Point Loma headlands?  Well here is an enlargement from the center of the shot above.  I added the labels so you can tell what you are seeing.  Why if you get out the magnifying glass you could probably see one of my students taking a picture of the old lighthouse…!!!

Enlargement from the center of the shot above so you can see just how much was visible from the vantage point on the road.

Enlargement from the center of the shot above so you can see just how much was visible from the vantage point on the road.

As the road went on there were some tree shots that offered themselves as subjects but my mind was not in it since it had already drifted back to the needed work to get ready for school so the couple of times we stopped my shots were pretty “surface” shots.

Well, now I really do have to get some work done.  I have one more class outline/Syllabus to finish and get off for copying and one more class to enter into Curricunet, the computerized curricula database the state uses.  Then I need to bring my master course shells in Blackboard up to date.  Classes start in a week so time for play is, alas, over.

I’ve got the new CDs of my handouts now ready to sell to students at a discount and a bit of the profit from the sales for the Photo Lab.  Next I will start making some of the high end version with the CD in a DVD case with inserted Table of Contents ready and put the notice and sales pages up on this blog and on my website.

I’m pleased with this compilation of data and hope for students and non-student photographers alike it will offer some good material.  Once ready to market broadly I’ll post a note here.

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About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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