Ode to Father’s Day


Red, Catch of the Day, Yuma (Pine Lake), copyright Stockdale Family Archive

What can you say about Father’s Day that perhaps has not already been said; it’s one of the one days for the guys who are dad’s. We come in all shapes and sizes. Thank goodness!

This day for me is also bittersweet, as my father has been gone for too long, but that does not say that I have some good memories to cherish. I do. Something that photography does really well is performing a great job of triggering the memories.

I did not take this photograph above, as I was pretty young at the time; but if I remember the story, my dad is holding the catfish that was pulling me into the river when others came to my rescue. Yep, that catfish was bigger than me. Not sure if that was the reason I avoided fishing for awhile; probably had a bit of a scare with that fishing adventure.

So when I think of dad’s, I think of things we like to do and for many of us, that includes going fishing. I guess it brings out the adventurous hunter in us. Which is why my artist book Pine Lake can also be considered an Ode to Father’s Day. Pine Lake is a compilation of my family archive photographs, of which I did not take any of, but I did modify these images to make sure these looked consistently “old” for the book. It was created as though it was a roll of film taken during a guy’s fishing trip.

The back story for creating this artist book was finding photographs in the family albums I had inherited that included photographs of my grandfather and great grandfather fishing; something I did not have any recall hearing stories about as I grew up. Now I understand  a little better why my dad liked to fish; he used to go fishing with his dad! Cool. The bittersweet aspect of this is that this is not something we can sit back and talk about today; I only have these indistinct, sometimes blurry, black & white memories to study and speculate about. Thus I created my story of Pine Lake about what might have been about the Stockdale guys out fishing together and talking about the ones that got away.

The upside is I do have my kids (okay, & grandkids too) to spend time with. So don’t take for granted the time you have together; if you have a dad, give him a really big hug today.  And a crazy funny card (mine was outrageously funny!) and make sure the family dog (or cat) signs it too. Spend time talking about what he did as a kid. Don’t forget to take a snapshot of the occasion; something your kids and grandkids will really appreciate one day. Just saying…..



Selfie – Spring 2019


Selfie, Spring 2019 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For those who follow this photo-blog, you know that I lean into artist projects that explore the urban landscape, and more recently botanical subjects, as metaphors. Just not taking very many portraits. So posting this selfie is probably a bit of a departure; since I needed to update who I am as of late for my social media (Facebook in particular), I thought it might be interesting to post it here it here as well. so Tadaaaaaa!

My original color and then black & white versions of this selfie were pretty straight forward and so in thinking about how I am interpreting my botanical subjects (Memory Pods), I thought I might provide a similar treatment for this selfie. Okay, similar, but still different. It was an interesting to work with this portrait, a part of my experimental/play process.

I am not sure about you, but I like it. So I also updated my web site as well for my bio page. And while I was looking at my web-site, I noted that there were a few tweaks needed to update some other information. Done.

I also need to update my bio/head-shot for Los Angles Center of Photography (LACP) web-site as I am being scheduled to participate in their portfolio review program this summer. So another opportunity to use this selfie. Hopefully it does not scare folks off!

I have been told I have a Mona Lisa smile in this photo & others say it’s my mischievous look by those who know me a bit too well.



Three Amiga’s

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Three Amiga’s, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this month we attended a family wedding in Virginia and it was fun to have the extended family get together. As it seems with most families now, this group is spread geographically far and wide.

After the wedding when almost everything was packed up, I noted these three cousins sitting on this bench and my goal was to get them to gaze at my lens and not to break-up into a smile. To varying degrees we did seem to achieve this, but these three are constantly fooling around, so this was a bit unnatural for them. The hardest part for me was to think of a way that would direct them to just look at me, as the oldest was the easiest to direct and it went downhill from there.

What I had not asked or planned on is how these three had composed themselves; how they folded their hands in a similar but individual way, and how they tucked their legs under the bench, with the two on the outside choosing complementary poses. And one just could not help leaning in on her cousin, she just had to be connecting. Then the other patterns; two with bare feet and other with socks, two outside with patterned shirts while the middle was a solid white.

Nevertheless it was a fun photo event for the four of us (yes, it is part of my experimental/play process).


Swim competition photography

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Zach, San Juan Hills H.S., San Juan Capistrano, July, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I attended Zach’s swim meet and I continue to be vexed on how to capture good photographs of the swimmers, because if they are swimming well, you do not see much of their faces unless it’s the breast stroke, then all you capture is huge open gaping mouths as they come up to grab some air.

Thus, I deferred to some environmental portraits, such as this one above. I am tempted to name this “The calm in the Midst of Chaos”. I set up the 200mm on the Canon5D at the opposite side of the pool finding a unobstructed spot between two of the coaches tables. Then I made multiple exposures and captured this pause in the action with his meditative gaze at the pool, which was his first 200 meter event. I like that he is so every lightly touching the starting platform as to ground himself, and in the background are all of the swimmers and others moving about. It did not help that while he was in line waiting for his turn, his google strap broke and he had to quickly high-tail it back to his swim gear and obtain his back-up training googles.

So I’m actually pretty happy about this photograph.


Re:borN Dance Interactive

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2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A couple of weekends ago I was again the event photographer at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) Family Day. Family Day at OCMA is a fun event for me to photograph candids of the children and their parents interacting with the surrounding art as well as the art projects that the OCMA team provide for the kids to work with.

Occasionally Family Day creates more creative opportunities for me with some of the performances that are provided in conjunction with this event. More so when the dance is contemporary and interpretive and I think the occasion then allows me experiment with more creative options.

To photograph the Re:borN Dance Interactive performance, I wanted to visualize the amazing energy of the performers, which for me is to select a slower shutter speed to allow some blurring. To further abstract the performance, I also deferred to black and white images.

For my part, I was fortunate to be “staff” and able to move away from the audience to less obstructive view point. In this case there was a large painting on the background wall that I thought might allow some interesting juxtapositions with the dancers. The painting was uniform enough that it also allowed the performers to create their own space. It also allowed me to place the performers within the OCMA physical context, which meet my client goals. To further enhance the visual perspective, I sat on the floor such that I was looking upward towards the performers and allow them to tower above the paintings frame (yes, a bit of a William Eggleston influence). In this case, having a 24 – 105 zoom allowed me to constantly adjust for the performers while they moved through their performances.

Nevertheless, for OCMA I provided a selection of color images. For Boroka Nagy, the Artistic Director of Re:born, she received both the color as well as my B&W.


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06-12-16 OCMA Re-borN Dance Interactive_KI6A2766v2_B-W

Friday Night Lights – Flag girl

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Untitled (Ella, San Clemente, October 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

This is the third in my series discussing my Friday Night Lights photographic adventures. As I stated in my last post, I made a camera change for last night’s flag football game. Still the same relatively slow zoom lens, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L lens, but now mounted on my Canon 5D MkIII in conjunction with my tripod being used similar to a monopod (tripod legs still folded together).

My very willing model, Ella, was not as much of a challenge to photograph compared to the action on the field, as she provides a best case evaluation of the camera/lens combination in this lighting condition. I waited until darkness, thus only illuminated by the lights on the field and without any fill-in flash to evaluate how my Canon MkIII sensor might perform with the ISO ramped up. I had the camera set to full auto with highest resolution JPEG capture, which the camera defaulted to a moderate ISO 1600 to obtain a 1/60th second exposure at a fully open lens aperture of f/4.0. I had composed this photo with lens set at 70mm, thus a decent pairing with the 1/60th shutter speed, especially in conjunction with the tri(mono)-pod.

I think that this photo passes night photography muster; the original JPEG file has plenty of sharp detail and the sky has only a tab bit of noise. This camera/lens combination is a much better choice compared using the smaller sensor of the Canon XTi.

Btw, Ella did a mighty fine job cheering her little brother’s team on to victory last night.