Singular Images

February 28, 2013

Photographing with a purpose

05-10-08 TCGC neg 1-2 lr-1x scan n cropped

Copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

I have been looking at the photographs that I made in 2008 for my project Places in Between, which in retrospect was not all that well thought out. It was part of SoFoBoMo, so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to photograph, but the concept was not as well-defined. Thus like the Cheshire Cat admonished Alice, if you do not know where you want to go, any pathway (photograph) will do.

Nevertheless, this composition is actually well in line with my current project requirements, except now I understand what kind of light I want. In this case above I made the image during a dull overcast sky, but I now want this specific image made in glorious sunshine, which thankfully here in Southern California is rather common. This location is not far, either a long walk or a very short drive away. I have been monitoring the sunlight to anticipate photographing a similar composition, which appears that I need to work on it in the afternoon. I have not been there recently, so I am not sure if the background flowers are blooming  (but yet to decide if this makes a difference). Also, may not have the flying flag in the background of the composition either as the photograph above was made just before the 4th of July.

So a nice study that I can now refine during the next set of exposures.


April 8, 2011

SoFoBoMo 2011 dates announced

Filed under: Photography, SoFoBoMo — Douglas Stockdale @ 8:35 pm


Copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just received an update from Colin Jago that SoFoBoMo 2011 dates have been announced for the 2011 event: July 1 through August 31st. I also posted a brief announcement on The PhotoBook, so some more information available there as well.

In a case of rust remover for those not familiar with this blog, I was one of the many who supported Paul Butzi when he kicked off this annual event in 2009. I finished two books in 2009, one of which “Sharpening Photographs for POD Printing” is in its second edition on Blurb. Oh yeah, this photo-tech book was developed in two days. Now you might understand why it required a second edition, the first edition was that bad. All of my SoFoBoMo blogging related to my participation in 2009 is available through the catagory button in the right panel.

So much has happened during these subsequent years, so I can provide my perspective and thoughts on SoFoBoMo. Firstly, I think SoFoBoMo is an excellent opportunity to get fully engaged and find out what it means to put together a photobook if you have never done this before. It helps you get past the procrastination stage, and experience actualizing a concept and vision, what it means to layout a book and experience with type and text, as well as sequencing and pairing of photographs into a meaningful narrative. A collection of photographs that are assembled into a book is not the same as singular images, individual prints or a gallery exhibition.

In 2009 I ran into technical hurdles (self imposed don’t ya know) that made my final book (Places Amongst Us) a not so great object, although an extremely educational experience. I was shooting film, using a pro-lab to process and then subsequently scanning each negative on my film scanner, which required a ton of spotting and tweaking. So after running out of time with film, I had to quickly re-shoot the entire book in digital and finalize the book. sheeeese.

Today, I am using full frame digital and I feel very comfortable with a full digital workflow. So I just might do SoFoBoMo again this year. Although I left the 2009 Places Amongst Us on Blurb for about a month (sold three copies, so a really limited edition book), I thought it so bad that I deleted it. Today, I would consider this a private book on Blurb and use the Blurb books for a book dummy to provide book submissions or discussions with galleries. Since I still have the Blurb book file, this is a possibility. Meanwhile, I continue to think about the concept behind the project Places Amongst Us  and think that I would do it a little differently. I would also photograph the project differently and able to work on it while I am in Europe.

My recommendation is if you think that you want to participate, use the time now to think, think, think, and then plan, plan, plan. Yes think pre-visualization about your concept and how you want to visualize it. For me, I will plan to photograph the entire project in one day, maybe two, on the very first day of the event. I have found that even when you have all of the planning, photographing can change things, sometimes in a delightful way that was unanticipated. Likewise, it takes me a long time to get the sequencing and page pairing figured out. BTW, there is nothing that does not permits to use yours friends help, especially if they are book designers!

For me, I also find that as I work on laying out the photographs in the book design, I usually need to re-photograph something, and so photographing on day-one provides the extra time if needed. Also, for the planning, that also means that you can start thinking about how you might use the book layout options if you are using software like Blurb.

At this rate, I think I just might participate in SoFoBoMo for 2011, but that means looking at the available dates and what my options are regarding my European travel schedule. Likewise, I hope you give it some serious thought as well!

Best regards, Doug

June 24, 2009

Waiting for the studio furniture

Filed under: Photography, SoFoBoMo — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:33 pm

When we decided to put new flooring down in the studio, we also realized that we needed more individual working space. So we ordered some more furniture, which meant that everything did not go back into place after we had the new flooring installed. Because why load things into the existing stuff that is going to be replaced, then have to pack it again out of the old furniture and then reload it again into the new furniture? So I am in a bit of a holding pattern.

Thus the limited edition book of In Passing that I am developing for photo-eye has not progressed beyond the conceptual stage, but I am going to order some sample parts today and see if I can get this design finished. Otherwise it will be the end of July before I am done.

AND I have not worked on my photo project Insomnia for at least two weeks (or more). I know that the last image I worked on needs to go back into PhotoShop and for additional image tweaking to work with the book’s full bleed layout design.

Which means no SoFoBoMo this year. So instead of working on a SoFoBoMo project, I am instead reading other photobooks and writing reviews. At least that has not been a major disruption during this studio re-work. Well, at least it wasn’t until I could not find the book that I had started to review when the whole studio redesign started. That was a bit maddening, so I had switched gears to another book until I finally found the first one. sigh.

Now I am doing some Facebook development, and I am not sure how all of that will turn out. I have only started to dabble with Facebook, so I have a learning curve to come up to speed. But what I understand, Facebook is like a blog (this), but now I have more specific people that I are sharing it with. Will Facebook take the place of this blog? At this point, I am not sure, but when I am back on a roll working on my own photographic projects, I think that this blog will be the place for it. While working on background issues for the The PhotoBook, that might end up on Facebook, and publish the photobook reviews on The PhotoBook blog.

So I will see how things develop.

Best regards, Doug

June 8, 2009

New Studio flooring

Filed under: Books, Photography, SoFoBoMo — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:40 pm

Not much to write about at the moment. I am in the middle of installing new flooring in the studio, in preperation for the larger format printer that I have been considering. And as one thing leads to another, this little wood flooring project is being immediately followed up with carpets for the house, because now the carpets are looking tired.

Meanwhile with all of this going on, the desktop computer is down, the Epson 4800 is off in a side room and it is begining to appear that I will not be completing my SoFoBoMo project this month. In as I still have my project Insomnia in progress and I am trying to finish it by the end of this month, that really is my current priority for creating a photo book. Since I created a how-to techie photo book over two days last year during last year’s SoFoBoMo, I am not completly writing off a 2009 SoFoBoMo. But at the moment, I don’t really have my heart in it so far this year. We’ll see…

Best regards, Doug

June 2, 2009

Blurb – BookSmart 2.0 & 12×12″

Filed under: Books, Photography, SoFoBoMo — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 8:18 pm

I received a heads-up from the Blurb PR folks that they were going to announce a new update on their free book-making software BookSmart. From the press release, it appears to have some of the attributes of InDesign, with added customization capabilities.

Wish I could say more, but the Blurb site is a bit slow in running for the download, as it usually stalls out at 80% download for me. So after three failed attempts, I’ll try again later tonight, or wait for the Lakers & Magic game on Thursday evening.

Blurb now has a new book format, a 12 x 12″ which might be of interest to the Hasselblad shooters or anyone else using the 6 x 6 cm square film format (not exactlly a digital format, eh?). I was kinda hoping for a larger horizontal than their current 11 x 13″, perhaps stretching it out to 11 x 14″, so it might fit in some standard size folio cases, etc. That would make a heck of a lot more sense to ME, but nobody was asking. Okay, a 12 x 12″ format is NOT exciting for me. Unless I dust off the Hasselblad and buy that 50mm lens that I feel that I need to create those open spacial relationships that I have been leaning towards lately.

But this updated BookSmart version may be of interest especially to those working their SoFoBoMo book projects. Unless of course you completed yourSoFoBoMo in May, then the groanner of re-doing it on the new software, but it very well may worth the effort. Okay, they must HAVE known about SoFoBoMo, so why did they wait to release it for only those June procrastinators get to use it??

I hope to get it downloaded and perhaps share some thoughts, sometime soon I hope.

Best regards, Doug

March 31, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy and SoFoBoMo 2009

Filed under: Books, Photography, SoFoBoMo — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:41 am

When I signed up for SoFoBoMo 2009, I had no idea what my photographic project was going to be. So it was a DaDa moment and I just arbitrarily made up a weird title as a place holder. Hopefully no harm done, eh?

And perhaps today is a convergence of ongoing thoughts and random occurrences. Okay, that’s my life.

I will try to be brief, but here is what seems to have happened today. I finalized my LBCC PhotoFest half day presentation, and I am waiting for some digital book photos for one of my pending reviews to finish my illustrations for photo projects. So the whole underlying reason for a photographic project has been on my mind.

Concurrently, I have been putting the finishing touches on my folio Foundations, with an update on my thoughts about why I photograph the natural landscape. Hint, I have the emotional internal dialog which is not getting on paper very easily. sigh.

Then, not that I don’t have enough books already, I stooped at the local large Borders, which does a pretty decent job of stocking current photographic books, and sure enough, America by Zoe Strauss caught my eye. And it  did end up coming home with me, but I am not going to get to write about it on The Photo Book until probably May. That doesn’t mean I will not be reading it a bunch of times before then!

AND the recent book by Andy Goldsworthy, Enclosure, caught my eye. Now this is where it gets interesting. BTW it did come down to budgetary constraints, and Strauss won this round. Anyhow, back to my story:  Goldsworthy creates sculptures, which include transitory works in Nature, usually in the U.K., his home base. And he also photographs his own work and his photographs are wonderful! As he stated in one of his earlier books, Hand to Earth,

“Taking the photograph is not a casual act. It is very demanding and a balance is kept in which documentation does not interrupt the making.” and he continues “Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image.”

Well done Andy, both in the creativity of the work, which for me includes the photographic traces.

Well something triggered an interesting idea for me. During the period a few years back when I was mostly painting, I did a small transatory project on the beach in San Diego. I created some two dimensional works in an area where the top layer of sand was much lighter than the darker base strata just below, and mixed these in conjunction with the incoming tide. And I did take some photographs, but I did not think much of the photographic capture of the work at the time. It was a lot of play and discover.

So now with my currently developing series, Insomnia, I have been creating my own sets to further explore my ideas. So why not do the same for SoFoBoMo 2009, to create a series of works to be photographed? So now my mind is running, and my moleskin is getting a lot of good use, capturing a bunch of interrelated ideas on this concept. Now I have some time to dig a little deeper before this whole SoFoBoMo thing starts, to better outline my intent. nice.

Best regards, Doug

Editorial change: I had initially dropped the word “not” from Andy’s quote above in the second sentence, sorry about that. Now it is all good.

January 6, 2009

Photograhic POD Book Workshop in Portland

Filed under: Books, Photography, SoFoBoMo — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:37 pm


Laural Russel at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon, has just formally announced my workshop for Developing a Photographic Print on Demand (POD) Book, which will be a one-day workshop on Sunday, March 15th at her gallery.

You can find out more information about the workshop and complete the registration here.

It should be a lot of fun and very informative. I will have samples of my books, including the artist proofs and discuss why I made the subsequent changes and how I ended up with my final version. As a result of my web-journal The Photo Book, I will also have a bunch of recently published traditional published books, as well as the best of the POD books, including a copy of Beth Dow’s In The Garden, the 2008 Grand Prize winner with Blurb.

Additionally, the workshop will be occuring during the exhibition of the POD books from the Photo+Book juried competition at the gallery (which you can still enter until the end of January!!)

I will be covering the following topics during the workshop; Establishing the purpose of your book, POD vs traditional book publishing, POD options, parts of a book, book design & book dummy, editing,pairing & sequencing your photographs, POD templates, words & fonts, color management & output sharpening, production proof, and marketing your book. Whew! Yes, a lot of ground to cover, but we will get ‘er done!

Although the gallery is on winter break for the month of January, you can still register for the workshop. And of course, if you have any questions, leave me a comment.

And you can take this workshop just in time to prepare youself to participate in SoFoBoMo 2009!  SoFoBoMo, also known as Solo Foto Book Month, is when you take 30 days to complete a photographic book project.  You start taking the photographs for a book (no cheating, you can’s use photographs before you start your 30 days), creating at least 36 photographs, and then developing and producing the photographic book. At the end of 30 days, you have a finished book. (Which is your own personal prize for participating)

 So if you are interested in either my workshop or SoFoBoMo 2009, check them out;- )

I hope to see you at Portland in March…

Best regards, Doug

January 2, 2009

New Year Goals – 2009

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series, SoFoBoMo — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:43 pm


At the beginning of the year, it seems like it is always a nice idea to think ahead about what you might want to try to accomplish and establish some goals. Being a project guy, I find if you have at least a idea of where you want to go, you usually have a better chance of getting there.

But first, how did 2008 meet my goals for the year.

The biggie was getting my series In Passing published in LensWork magazine last January, which was a huge validation of what I was trying to accomplish. Next was getting In Passing published in a book, with a false start as an intermediate size softbound Blurb book, but getting it right with the second edition, with an imagewrap cover, large format, hardcover by the end of the year. I would like to have the series in an exhibition, but that is probably a roll-over goal for 2009.

The big unexpected event for 2008 was probably the participation in SoFoBoMo with the publication of my series as a Blurb softcover book, Places Amongst Us. Although that book is now out of print, I did learn a lot from it, and the series is still quietly in development. The bigger surprise for SoFoBoMowas the publication of a second book during the event, my POD Sharpening book, a technical how-to, which was a child of necessity. Yep, I am an engineer, and I did not like the initial soft printing of the POD process and I was resolved to figure out a fix. Now I have published the second edition of the Sharpening for POD publishing. Nice. And SoFoBoMo 2009 is now soon upon us, so I need to decide if I put that on my agenda.

One of the nice things to develop in 2008 is the pending workshop on how to develop a Photographic POD Book in conjunction with the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland next March 15th. That has now been formally announced and the link to the workshop is here.

I had the chance for one last trip to China last year for another three weeks, during which I finally start to connect visually with what I was experiencing. And I was fortunate to have a freak snow storm occur just before leaving, which added another visual dimension to my experience. Wonderful. Although I have spent most of the year developing the subsequent series or two from China, I am learning more about myself. The Critical Mass rejection of my series Re:Development was a disappointment, but again, I learned a lot from that experience as well, and make some new acquaintances in the process.

I also started three new blogs, what was I thinking?? The first was easiest, just to publish about what exhibitions and events about the group of us photographers (the Photographers Exchange) who meet monthly at the Irvine Fine Art Center, Irvine, CA. The meeting is open, at 6:30 p.m., third Thursday of each month, so if you are in the area, drop in or leave me a comment for more information. We show prints, talk about photographs & the reasons behind them, exhibitions and there is absolutely no judging. So if you need a ribbon or gold star, this is NOT the place for you. I also started the Photo Exhibit, more below, and the The Photo Book, which I am enjoying and plan to keep blogging about.

2008 was also the time spent doing this, blogging my thoughts and images, subsequently developing some closer relationships with a lot of folks that I would not have otherwise met. And someday, I might have the chance to meet some of you in person.

But okay, so what about 2009?

Well, I have hinted at a couple of items already; exhibiting In Passing, continuing the development of Re:Development and another series from China, participation in SoFoBoMo 2009 (only ONE book this time), and leading the one-day workshop at the 23 Sandy Gallery.

I hope to attend the Photo l.a. in a couple of weeks, maybe get up to Photo s.f. later in the year, and the Palm Springs Photo Festivalat the end of March. Those events will also be additional blogged about in a couple of other ventures I started in 2008, The Photo Book and Photo Exhibit.  FYI, the Photo Exhibit is now a collaborative publication and if you are interested in becoming a regional photographic exhibition reviewer, check it out and then let me know your interest.

And to continue photographing, developing my series into books, prints, exhibitions and publications. Taking it one day at a time, appreciating what I have and who I share it with. I hope to continue with the Photographic POD Book workshops and I am receiving some more interest in other workshop venues, so if you have or know of an opportunity, please let me know.

So like the photograph with this post, there are some dark (economic) clouds out there and they do have a slightly silver linning(okay, lets go with “making lemonaid from lemons” analogy), but the sun is shinning through (yes, I take that to symbolize Hope), and in the back ground you can see the blue sky. The water is calm at the moment, hopefully not the calm before the storm, but peaceful and reflective.

Best regards, Doug

December 15, 2008

SoFoBoMo 2009

Filed under: Photography, SoFoBoMo — Douglas Stockdale @ 7:47 pm

The fuzzy month for SoFoBoMo 2009 have been selected, which will allow for the 30 days of maddness to occur between the begining of May until the end of June, 2009.

So I have some time to think if I will join in this year, probably depending on a suitable series that has my attention at the time. My one big lesson learned from the first SoFoBoMo 2008 is not to try it with film and your local professional processing house.  Especially if need to allow for about 4 hours of digital spotting per photograph for after I scan it. Oh, yes, and for the three hours to scan each negative. Yikes, was that stressful, and then have to bailout with the digital.

With the amount of Blurb books that I have been working on, the book development is not that daunting at the moment. I just need to remember to keep my text limited. And to remember that during the fuzzy period that I need to develop a second how-to book because I am trying to work out some technical issues. I hope that those issues are now behind me.

But last years series for SoFoBoMo, which was created close to home, did connect for me. So I think that I will explore that idea for a while.

Best regards, Doug

BTW, as these and other SoFoBoMo thoughts are published, I will try to remember to link them on the right in the SoFoBoMo catagory archive.

October 30, 2008

Sharpening for POD printing

Filed under: Books, Photography, SoFoBoMo — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:37 am

Just a quick update.

While I was preparing my workshop materials for the pending POD (Print on Demand) class in Portland, I was reviewing some of my earlier postings about creating a POD book. And then I received a call from Laura Russel about my book,  Sharpening Photographs for Blurb Printing.


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