Archive | December, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

25 Dec

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. Thanks so much taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoy it. For this last post of 2010, I wanted to briefly discuss some of our hopes in terms of travel for 2011.  I am hoping this winter or early spring will bring at least one major trip. We’ve tossed around some ideas and a place we’ve been wanting to visit for years now is Big Bend National Park in Texas.

From what I can tell it is approximately a 20 hour drive from Phoenix, which would make it worthwhile if we could spend at least 10 days there. Another possibility is a return trip to Yosemite to capture the valley in its winter colors.  We also plan on doing some exploring locally in the Phoenix and possibly Tucson area as well.

Spring means flowers and we’ll wait to see what the spring bloom brings us this year. One of our favorite places is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Ajo, AZ.  We didn’t get to go last year, so I am sure hoping we are blessed with an opportunity in the new year.  The Anza-Borrengo Desert State Park is another place jigh on our list that we’d like to visit. Other candidates for later in the season are: Death Valley National Park, Canyonlands/Arches National Parks, and if things really work out…a return trip to the Pacific Northwest to the Columbia River Gorge and the Palousse.

In the early summer, we’ll being focusing again on our Zion Narrows Workshop and the rest of the year we’ll most likely leave open. Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity for one major trip in the late summer and it will be a smorgasbord of the usual spectacular candidates depending on our resources:  The High Sierra, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, The Canadian Rockies, or maybe even the The San Juan Mountains in Colorado.

Our fall is going to be completely up in the air, but it is going to be extremely exciting so matter what. Most likely, we’ll be returning to Colorado although a trip else somewhere isn’t our of the question either. In closing, I want to thank you so much for being a part of this blog. Let’s not forget to honor the person whose birth is really what this holiday season is all about – Jesus.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Michael and Joyce


A Print Makers Thoughts….

16 Dec

Today we are going to talk about printing and how to harvest the full power of your photograph. I chose this particular topic now as I just went through a period of prolific print making for our winter art festival season. 

There are few thoughts I’d like to share that I think will really help you in making your own photographs stand out. The print is really the culminating piece in any photographers arsenal.  How your print looks really defines your work. (Currently, I outsource all my printing to a local company in Scottsdale. so these tips may not be completely applicable for someone who does their own fine art printing).

1) Consider your lighting – How is your print going to be displayed? You may not know this, but keep it in mind. Here are some other relevant questions to think about. Will the print have direct lighting or natural lighting? These are important considerations in determining how bright you want your print. Keep in mind, if it is placed in a dark room, the shadows will look almost completely black, and darkness will dilute and dull the colors of your print. If you are concerned it is not going to show up well because of the lighting, you should enhance your colors a little bit to compensate.

2) Test prints – Don’t learn the hard way like I did, paying good money for prints only to discover weeks later that you really don’t like the finished product. I’ve learned to run each image through a rigorous set of test printing. I am not concerned about the cost, my prints are a reflection of my work and they must look right.

3) Paper – Are your printing on glossy or matte? Perhaps you print on canvas. Each individual printing surface has a slightly different color and each also showcases the colors differently. The sharpness of an image is affected by the kind of paper you are using. Some papers have a yellow tinge that must be accounted for in your editing. Other papers can enhance or slightly dull your colors. Your sharpening levels will be different depending on the size and kind of paper you use to print on as well.

4) Brightness – This is an extension of number one. Make sure you closely monitor the blacks in your shadows. Some printers block up shadows, rendering a darker black with less shadow detail. This is a subtlety that an artist can initially overlook caught up in the moment of enjoying his or her print. Make sure you compare the shadow detail of your physical print to that on your finished electronic file.

5) Clipping – Clipping is the loss of information due to overexposure resulting in a concentrated area of pure white in your photograph.  However, clipping can occur during the editing process as well, which is what I describe here. If your print comes out slighty dark and you lighten it, you must be aware very small sections of that image that could potentially clip during this time. This is a process where you must physically scroll over every inch of your photograph to ensure its quality. Be aware that lighter colors tend to clip quicker than darker ones, so if you have an image with snow, water or even light grey rocks, these are parts of the image that can be readily affected.

Well, I am wrapping up for now. Hopefully you’ve got something from this and if there is more information that comes to mind I’ll make another post on this subject. For now, I leave you with my best selling prints from this month’s art festivals.

Window of Opportunity

Celestial Alignment

The Magic Place

The Magic Place

Vision of Excellence

Vision of Excellence

5 Photography Tips & Bryce Sunrise 24 x 36 Print

1 Dec

Before we get into the photography tips,  here’s a quick personal update on the latest happenings in my photography world. The first big festival of the winter is upon us and we are making final preparations for a successful show. Our inventory is fully stocked, show pricing is in place, and we have several options of styles including framed and matted prints, notecards as well as canvas giclees.  For this show, we also made a couple of large prints including my bryce canyon sunrise shot entitled, “Celestial Alignment” at 24 x 36. That’s my largest print to date, we just got it home this afternoon and here’s a quick snap shot with me in it to give you a sense of size. Including the matting and frame – the image is 49 inches wide.

One of my showstoppers for Tempe this year. This is a 24 x 36 Lightjet print on FujiFlex paper with distressed gold trim, suede matting, museum glass, and a Southwestern wood frame. For more information on purchasing this piece...please contact me.

Now onto my photo tips. Ron, my contact at Induro Gear,  asked me to submit my top five photography tips and he published that article on the Induro blog earlier this week. You can read it here.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I apologize for not updating my blog for frequently. This has been an incredibly busy time. You can expect me to update the blog at least once per week from now until the new year.


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