Singular Images

May 15, 2019

Gardening for Ordnance – still in process

Filed under: Gardening for Ordnance, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:50 pm


Untitled, Gardening for Ordnance, copyright Douglas Stockdale

It has been almost a year since I last provided an update on my Gardening for Ordnance project, but rest assured, it is still in progress. Sometimes a project needs to rest and allow the brain to do its thing chugging along in the background.

I had recently been more engaged in a related project Trabuco Flats which I investigate the same urban landscape. Interestingly there are a number of overlapping aspects between these two projects, although I am thinking that one is more of a fictional story than other. I am using the expired 120 roll film for both projects, so there are some visual overlaps as well.

Nevertheless, I find that my interest in Trabuco Flats is receding at the moment while my interest in Gardening is increasing. First, I had been thinking about publishing a line of new photobooks and as I considered which of mine to include, I kept coming back to Gardening for Ordnance. Thus I created a couple different book dummy’s for this project; and I am seeing some potential. That book publishing project is temporarily on hold while focusing on the (re)launch of the contemporary photobook magazine PhotoBook Journal. You can only do so much!

Second I was asked to submit some images for an on-line exhibition that investigates the idea of ambiguity and the Gardening photographs, one of these is included with this post, came immediately to mind. Okay, something is going on with the mental resurgence of this project.

Now I have another exhibition to submit and the images all need to be analog (film) based, which rules out many of the Memory Pods and Trabuco Flats images. BUT the Gardening project is totally analog! Not that using film is necessary to create an interesting project but the process of using film does create some subtle differences. I am not here to argue or defend film versus digital because as an artist, I use both depending on what I am attempting to create.

Such that my very expired film does create some unintended visual results. And using it provides another visual metaphor for investigating old/aging memories. I think the last film batch I processed (for Memory Pods) kinda went off the color scale. Well these two rolls were expired in 1997 and who knows what kind of storage conditions these were kept in over the last 22 years since its expiration date (or even before). I just keep rolling the (film) dice.

I also started journaling about the non-visual aspects of this project and perhaps what is drawing me in, other than the weird thing that we have decided to live on a decommissioned WWII bombing range. I think it has a lot to do with what just might be lurking just under the surface and recalling an incident when I was still a young lad and having an unresolved lingering moment of terror. That event continued to haunt me for many years. Seems like I buried that for awhile and interesting in how it has resurfaced.

So probably time to re-visit the images, make some new prints, think about a larger book dummy in terms of the edit and sequence and then consider which images to submit. Wish me luck!


June 23, 2018

Expired film – Gardening for Ordnance

Filed under: Art, Gardening for Ordnance, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 2:57 pm


Untitled, Gardening for Ordnance project, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While I am still in the midst of binding the remaining leporello artist books for Middle Ground (yes, book is still available, so message me for details) I have continued to work on two other on-going projects, Memory Pods and Gardening for Ordnance, both with an agenda of investigating memory.

One of my ideas for Gardening for Ordnance to under gird my narrative about history and memory was to use expired 120 film for this project, preferably chrome. Even though I have hoped for some radical visual effects using the expired film, the results have been minimal as I wrote a few days ago.

Nevertheless in the most current batch of processed film there were a couple of images mid-roll that has some striking visual effects (above). I am not sure if this was caused because of the film was expired (about 15 years ago) or the film was light struck somehow. I am thinking it might be the latter as there are only a few frames effected and those before and after do not appear to include this effect. Nevertheless, highly likely that this “defect” is still a result of the film being well used beyond is expiration date.

I think that this image works great with my concept for this project. So I continue to look for when serendipity and chance are introduced into this body of work. Oh, a friend quickly pointed out that with the CC version of Photoshop I can easily correct or substantially diminish this visual defect; NOT!


PS – I have not started a gallery for this project on my web site (have a link on the side bar to related updates for this project), and since I now working more actively on this as I finish the Middle Ground publication, probably a good reason to get one started. Look for an update on that shortly.

June 22, 2018

More Expired film donations

Filed under: Art, Gardening for Ordnance, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 6:26 pm

Ektachrome _and_VPS_film_expired_1986

120 Ektachrome & VPS expired film, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This was a good week for expired 120 film donations for me. I was starting to run a bit thin in my expired film inventory while working on my project Gardening for Ordnance and starting to get a little stingy in my film use. My idea is that while working on a memory project that dates back to WWII (1940’s) that using old expired film might add another dimension to my narrative. Especially if there are any serendipitous visual effects that occur.

So far I am not seeing a lot color variation in the final processed film results for the expired film I have been principally using which was Fujichrome that expired about 2006. This next batch of 120 film might provide a little more variation as the expiration date for the Ektachrome is 1996, 1997 and 1988. During the week I have already used a couple of rolls of the ’96 vintage, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of the soup next week.

I also received a small donation of some expired 120 black & white roll film that is even older going back to a 1984 expiration date, which means it was probably made about 1982, thus almost 35 years old. Very cool! I do not have a specific project in mind for the black & white film yet, but now that I have this film in hand, I will be a bit more receptive to my artistic muse.

Of course if you have some expired 120 film laying about that you would like to get rid of, message me ;- D


Ilford Pan F - expired 1984

February 25, 2018

Investigate the waste Billions or potential (Nuclear) War?

San Diego Point of Entry

San Diego Port of Entry (Middle Ground) 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While thinking that since I have essentially completed my political satire about the #stablegenius‘s “da wall” and ready to get ‘er launched as I posted earlier this week, I find my self distracted by another of the #stablegenius attempts to divert everyone’s attention away from the Russian probe into his shady business and political practices. Regretfully each day brings on a new emerging crisis with our #stablegenius in the WH. The current senseless economic baiting of another #stablegenius whose poverty nation also has nuclear arms and who has a long term irrational resentment towards the United States?

So I need to reconsider; do I need to launch my Middle Ground project about the pending waste of billions of dollars to build a senseless wall in the middle of the desert miles and miles away from any habitation OR instead refocus on finishing my anti-war project Gardening for Ordnance?

I fully understand that either of these photographic projects may not have any effect on a real #stablegenius, but either might have an effect on those spineless enablers who continue to allow all of the senseless crap to happen. Or at least in my wildest hopes. What the heck, if a bunch of emotionally impacted high school kids in Florida can start a real anti-NRA movement, it provides much needed hope that anything can happen!

So what do you think?

Finish my political/social satire (Middle Ground) that might stop spending billions on a senseless wall?

Or shift priories and immediately attempt to finish an anti-war satire (Gardening for Ordnance) that hints at the dire consequences of war?

Thank you.

February 8, 2018

My Path to Somewhere

Filed under: Gardening for Ordnance, Path to Somewhere — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:16 pm


Untitled (Gardening for Ordnance) 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

First the good news; I have the Hasselblad back and I am resuming my photographic adventures with film again. The image with this post, untitled at the moment, is from the first roll for a camera/lens check as my first opportunity to test my used 120 mm f/4 Zeiss Makro-Planar lens that I just acquired. Btw, I did photograph this same composition with my 19% gray card stuck to the sign, but that does not make for an interesting photograph (yuk, yuk).

As I posted a couple of weeks ago that for at least the short term, my morning walks have a little more purpose to it in addition to getting some exercise. I will be working on my project Gardening for Ordnance while out and about as I am finding some more evidence of the decommissioned WWII bombing area that we live on.

I am also exploring potential compositions that do not tell the whole story, that perhaps have a little ambiguity and mystery. Such as this photograph above in which the front of the sign with it’s corresponding warning is concealed. That this posted sign can be obviously be seen from the neighboring houses might add a little more visual tension due to the proximity of these two diverse conditions.

All in all I think my test roll is a wonderful success; the lens provides crisp and sharp images, that the shutter and aperture appear to functioning very well and I walked away with an great image for my project portfolio.

Tech notes: Fijicolor 100 roll film (just a bit expired since this film is no longer available) with the Hasselblad 503cx and 120 mm Zeiss Makor-Planar lens, camera hand-held, exposure not recorded but recall lens aperture was wide open at f/4 for a shallow depth of field.


January 16, 2018

Walking were it might be “Hazardous”


Signage, Arroyo Trabuco trail, January* 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While walking the Arroyo Trabuco trail I have noticed a number of really deteriorated signs with a wire mesh that appeared to have covered the missing signage. All of these were in really bad condition, thus I could only speculate what was there. This seemed to provide some visual opportunities to leverage these ambiguous situations to my own advantage.

Yesterday I noted one such sign lurking in the shadows of a couple of large bushes. After investigating I found that this posted sign was in the best condition of any of these, but still a very major challenge reading the extremely faded text. This is the first sign I have found where the wire mesh to protect the signage appears still in tact. I had hoped that my close-up and conversion to black & white in Photoshop might tease out the text a little better. Nope. Since this was photographed with my mobile phone, I will try again with the Canon 5DMk3 and when it’s fixed, I do plan to re-shoot this composition with the Hasselblad & color film.

In retrospect, my previous post of the UXO signage was perhaps a little too photo-documentary and did not garner much interest as a singular image. This photo may still work in the context of a book, so still in consideration.

Nevertheless, the resulting image is still great, I love that it has some slight hints as to the text while remaining very ambiguous, perhaps even a bit abstract. This potential image is diffidently on my list for Gardening for Ordnance project. I also think it is a great candidate for the 120mm Makro with the Hasselblad, so more about how that turns out for another day.

Btw, from what I could read: Keep Out Hazardous Area. Found adjacent to the Plano Trabuco Practice Bombing range (active: WWII and Korean War).

Please join me on Instagram: @douglasstockdale

* Limited time print offer: a 7 x 7″ black & white print is available for 24 hours after this post for a special price of $150 USD plus shipping. This print size regularly sells for $300 USD. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte (305 gsm), paper size is 8-1/2 x 11″, Edition size of 10 and the print will be signed and numbered in pencil.


January 15, 2018


Filed under: Gardening for Ordnance, Path to Somewhere, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:51 pm

01-11-18 Warning_sign_KI6A7825_Gardening_for_Ordnance

UXO sign, Plano Trabuco Target Area, January 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While on one of my morning walks, I came across a posted sign for UXO that I had not realized was on the Arroyo Trabuco trail. A nice bit of serendipity as photographing this walking project reminded me of another photo project; my Gardening for Ordnance that has been a little dormant for the past few years. One of those projects where I encountered some resistance to the project and had an irrational excuse that I did not have the right lens for the Hasselblad. sigh.

So seeing the signage, it re-engaged me and I realized today was an opportunity to photograph some alternative compositions. Since this was created with my 50mm on the 5DMk3, I quickly realized that my 80mm (normal) lens for the Hasselblad will do just fine. One of the compositions was in retrospect a little too tight and when I backed up to include the top of the hill in the background, a little too general. Cropping the big picture to exclude the sky and ridge appears just right. Also realize that photographing this in the morning with the sign back-lite was not want I like, but will need to return in the early afternoon with the sun shinning on the front of the sign. I also like the bigger aperture to throw the background slightly out of focus.

I think that I have the concept for the Gardening project pretty well nailed down so now it’s a matter of execution. My current thinking is that the Gardening book should be ready for publication in spring of 2019 next year, so I have time to work it while keeping focus on my current book dummy for Middle Ground.

Btw, if you cannot read the fine print, UXO is the military abbreviation (TLA) for Unexploded Ordnance, something you have to think about (or maybe NOT) when living on a WWII practice bombing range. Also becomes part of the backstory for Gardening for Ordnance. So more about this later in the year or you can read some of my earlier posts linked up on the side-bar for this project.


July 17, 2013

Chugging along

Filed under: Gardening for Ordnance, Projects/Series, SNAPS — Douglas Stockdale @ 7:40 pm


untitled (Kapalua, Maui) copyright 2013, Douglas Stockdale.

It seems like I have a bunch of balls in the air at the moment, nothing final to report, just that I am moving forward and hopefully making some progress.

My Gardening for Ordinance project is on a temporary hold while I gain some confidence in asking some folks to model for me, but I am getting some traction on this front. Trouble is that after my first attempt, my subject would not sign the model release. sigh. Nevertheless some good experience, but I’m going to work on some other projects before coming back to this.

SNAPs project is coming along and now looks like two artist book projects, first will be the smaller (less expensive) while sorting out the bigger project. For the first of the two, I am into the third book dummy, each one becoming more specific and detailed as to what the artist book will look like. Still not ready to commit to the purchase of the ISBN for the title, but I researched the title to know that it does not have an ISBN attached to this specific one yet, but at the moment as a placeholder, I am calling it a SNAPfolio.

So in the meantime, trying to find all of the materials to construct this SNAPfolio has been a lot of fun. It was like a memory of a child hood treasure hunt; instead of a gang of kids going door-to-door, more of an adult version in which I had my list and drove from store-to-store looking for something that resembled what I wanted. Resulted in some nice conversations with the folks at the stores as they listened to what I was looking for and they participated in finding the specific item or offering alternatives. It became somewhat collaborative in a sense.

As I have been creating this SNAPfolio, I keep adding more and more to it, so it is more and more of an art project that appears like an artist book. I borrowed a page from Raymond Meeks, so I have developed a hardcover casing to ship (and store) this project in. I now have a second generation prototype and it looks charming.

I am  borrowing a page from Pierre Bessard, my publishing friend in Paris, and will create this as limited edition of 100 copies. The trouble is that my printing and binding cost will not as low as Bessard’s, but no matter as that aspect is a lesser issue at the moment. Nevertheless, I have been seeking alternative sources to help reduce the costs of materials, so that has also been an interesting pursuit.

This project has also been taking time away from what I usually spend on my photobook narratives, so the postings to The PhotoBook have less frequent recently.

Looking back, the current route dose seem to be a little bit erratic and a zigzag path, but that’s the fun of being an artist versus a project manager; serendipity can play a bigger role in my life.

Oh, as to the photograph above with this post, it has no bearing on anything; I saw, I photographed and as it is not related to any project, it is a case of random “seeing”.  enjoy.


May 8, 2013

Pro scans while Gardening for Ordnance

04-30-13 neg 13 Pro-photo 91270009

Gardening for Ordnance Copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

Odd title for a post, but hopefully it will soon be self evident as to the reason for this narrative.

Perhaps until very recently, I have been doing my own film scans after processing. First, I have the film scanning equipment and second, I am cheap. Very cheap. Opps, I mean very frugal. Meanwhile, I realized that my scans of the various films were not always giving me what appears as the best starting material as it appeared that I was getting some kind of color drift in the process. I eventually changed my scanning process to first create a JEPG file, then in Photoshop open that scan file in RAW and make some of the color temperature and contrast adjustments before really working on the image. Much better.

I had also been advising a couple of folks that have been working in film that they might want to consider getting some film scans to work out some details in photoshop before making a print by a photo lab. So last week at my photo lab while getting the latest roll of film processed, I checked on their scanning prices, as I recall spending $45 for one high-resolution scan. I found out that they have incorporated a film scanner in line with their film processing and that for $5 I could obtain a low resolution film scan of each image at the time of processing. Wow, even for a cheap guy (frugal guy!), that sounded like a good deal. Especially when you consider their film scanner was some 50 times more expensive than mine. So I added the film scanning to the Fuji transparency film processing.

And so this is the results show. The photograph above is part of my ongoing photographic project Gardening for Ordinance. To save you some reading, the bottom line is that this looks great, and very little required by me opening the scan in Photoshop RAW to adjust color temperature and contrast range. What I don’t like is that they do an ever slight crop to eliminate the film edge, which I prefer to keep in at this stage of my evaluations.

First thing that I really like is the clean film scan, no spotting required. With my studio film scanning, I had all sorts of major dust to eliminate after scanning just to have a low res print to evaluate. I could probably not spend the time on spotting, but sometimes the stuff in the scan was a bit distracting, especially as I intended to print each image to obtain some project feedback. So with these scans, saving this time.

As to the batch scan process, I now have a low resolution scan to evaluate for each and every image of the film roll, no need to spend time on the light box trying to decide which transparency to scan. So that step is eliminated!

The low resolution film scan is a great size, providing a file size that is an 8 x 8″ image at 240 pixels/inch, which works fine for me as my evaluation prints are 5 x 5″ on 8-1/2 x 11″. Also a small enough file size that does not bog my old computer down to process each step and only slightly smaller than with my own scanning process, which I was scanning to a 10 x 10″ image at 300 pixels/inch.

Also what is nice is that as soon as I am back in the studio with the freshly processed film, I am ready to go. Just tuck the CD into the drive and open the folder up to decide what image to evaluate first. cool.

So bottom line, I like it, and this lab processing option only adds about $0.50 per image, which I think is a pretty good deal for all of the upsides. So this is now my new photo lab film process.


April 23, 2013

Adjusting to the Fujichrome change

04-17-13 RSM neg 14-15 v2

copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

With the demise of Kodak 120 Ektachrome, I have made the required change to the 120 Fujichrome, in my case the Fujichrome Provia 100F, considered a Super Fine Grain film. This also means that I might need to make some changes in my overall workflow, including the film scanning on the Nikon 8000 in conjunction with the Photoshop toolbox.

So far, I will have to say that I am impressed with this film. At the advice of John at my photo-lab, I did not change my image capturing processes. Ever hour or so (more often in the early morning and late afternoon), I do an exposure check with a Kodak gray card and my spot meter. At the moment for this film, I am using an Exposure Index (EI) that is the same as the manufacturers 100 ASA in conjunction with the labs standard E-6 film processing.

First indications are that the Fuji film appears more color saturated and the blues of the sky appear more as I remember them. In retrospect, the Ektachrome (E100, daylight transparency) seemed almost desaturated and I continually had issues with the colors of the sky.

Additionally, the scans of the Fujichrome film with my Nikon film scanner appear to require less correction and a lot closer to what I remember than the Ektachrome scans (maybe I have a Fujichrome memory??). I will not go as far as to say that the Japanese film and scanner companies are in cohorts together, but it does appear that the film scanner seems to be better calibrated for the Fujichrome film and not as well for the Kodak films (scanning both color negatives and transparencies).

So at the moment, I am enjoying the film change and having no regrets.

As to this photograph, I created this just before I was the bunny hero last week, as a part of my investigation project “Gardening for Ordinance”. I think that this bush is in the midst of its Spring bloom, but regretfully I do not recall seeing it until now. Another one of the beneficial aspects of working on conceptual projects like this is that it does increase my awareness of those things around me. Very cool. As to the composition, in the view finder the sky was not evident in the upper left corner when I made this composition. I had purposely tried to fill the top of the frame with this flaming bush. In retrospect, I think that this bit of sky adds some mystery and creates a more interesting photograph. So at the moment, a keeper.


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