Saturday, July 20, 2019

Photographically Painting the Blue Mountain Vineyard Image


About 15 years ago I created Pacific Northwest: The Ultimate winery Guide for Chronicle Books. One of the wine regions I photographed was totally new to me, the Okanagan in BC, Canada.

So a couple of years ago my wife and I revisited the region. But on this trip, I wanted to photograph Blue Mountain Winery Vineyards, which somehow we didn't include in the Chronicle picture guide book. (I highly recommend their wines.)

So early one the morning I scrambled up a steep rocky slope. Balanced on crumbling shale, I looked down on this scene. It was almost like someone planted a vineyard in Yosemite Valley.

That night reviewing the day's take on my MacBook Pro, I knew the image had great bones, even as an unprocessed RAW file directly out of my camera at the time, a Nikon 810 camera. But it just didn't make me sing opera. Yet.

So a couple of weeks ago I finally processed the RAW file in Adobe ACR (for my wife, that is Adobe Camera Raw processor). Better. But still no opera performance.

Starting with some basics, I wanted to keep the viewer's eye from wandering out of the photograph; so I darkened edges, like the vineyard edge center far left and road center right. Darken those edges.
Then I did some initial adjustments and started painting with textures, which also darkened the edges all the way around. 

I love adding detailed textures, layering them like watercolor washes to change color, mood and light. I shoot these texture images my walks, hikes and photographic safaris. 

This is just one of the dozen or so textures I painted into the Blue Mountain vineyard image. This photograph is taken during one of my escape camping trips along the McKenzie River in the Oregon Cascades. Then, using various blending modes to paint, creating the feeling inside of me.

But the sky was still blah. Adding several cloud images and adjusting the perspective, helped. Still, no dramatic standing ovation opera performance, yet.

I kept experimenting by adding various water textures in various blending modes. All told, the image took about one week to finish, with some of the time proofs just sitting on the wall to germinate.

A few finishing touches of painting with texture images made the opera and orchestra sing for me. My wife wants a large print on our bedroom wall. 

What do you think?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Should I print my photographs on rock?

Will my digital photographs last as long as these petroglyphs? 

These Dark Angel images in Arches National Park made me wonder. Some petroglyphs are more than 10,000 years old. 

My images? While I triple back up all my files, my storage media constantly changes: CDs, gold CDs, NAS hard drives, SSDs and now, the Cloud.  

When storm clouds rapidly approached me at Dark Angel, I wondered: should I be printing onto stone. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Bad Spirit visits me in Mali

In Mali, a Himba tribe shaman told me about this really bad spirit.

Find out what happened to me as a result at my Artist’s Talk on Nov. 4 at 4:00pm 
Camerawork Gallery
Legacy Emanuel Medical Lorenzen Conference Center
301 N. Graham St.
Portland, OR 97227

Believe me, it’s magic.

Friday, October 12, 2018

My Personal God and the lion

The Karo tribe elders told me that each person has a Personal God to watch over them. That night a lion came roaring through the village right past my little tent with me in it. Man, did I hope that my Personal God was watching over me right then.
Both the Karo and Hamar tribes believe that each person has an invisible Personal God that hovers over them. While the Personal God is suppose to warn the person about any danger, one elder confided that his God must have been looking the other way when a snake bit the elder. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ten years ago Oregon The Taste of Wine came out. It's the book I'm most proud of creating. 

Oregon the Taste of Wine was first published in 2008. The publisher printed a second edition, with a few updates, a couple of years later. A second printing for a picture wine book is like finding a 1787 Chateau Margaux, just not as expensive.

Plus, it won all kinds of awards including Gold Medal for Best Regional Book and even snobby Wine Spectator called it "one of the best reads for wine lovers." 
Richard Sommer, founder of Hillcrest winery and rightfully founder of Oregon's modern wine industry, shows off a new camera to Dyson DeMara, who bought and continues production at Hillcrest.
And, it's still relevant today with surprising stories from folks like Richard Sommer, who had bottled Pinot years before Papa Pinot, who usually gets the credit. 

A big thanks to Jim Bernau and all the kind people who taught me the taste difference between California Ripple and Oregon Pinot noir.


Monday, June 11, 2018

A beginner seeks guide book to god-like powers

About 65,000 years ago a few Homo sapiens left Africa to populate our planet. In that time we sapiens have developed almost god-like powers over other animals and our environment.
What do you think these African Mursi tribe warriors see?

After 18 years of looking back onto the world from remote African tribes, I wonder, do we sapiens have the wisdom to wield our powers? Where's the instruction manual?


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Struck by Creativity Freeze

While creating this image, I choked up. I was totally afraid to make a mistake. I couldn't continue.
Chief Bolugedong dreamed his grandfather told him to take care of the orphans in the tribe. Africa, Ethiopia, Omo region, Suri tribe
I'd been working on this piece for days. It's about the Suri Tribe Chief who dreamed his grandfather told him to care for the tribal orphans. When I dropped in the perfect photograph with a child from my files, I started to like the myth image. 
Then, I froze, afraid to do anything else to it. 
Fortunately, the next morning a little inner voice said, "Hey, Janis, it's not precious. It's just art. So finish it. Surprise yourself." 
Do other artists choke up, afraid to make a mistake, afraid to continue?