Spring break for my daughter is a few days in and we are heading out tomorrow to visit family, so I’ll be away until Monday the 25th, and I wanted to highlight a few things before I left.
April’s full moon is going to happen on Friday, April 22nd (when I’m gone!), with moonrise at 7:58 pm and sunset at 7:29 pm on Friday night. Thursday night should be good for photography, too, with moonrise earlier at 7:01 pm and sunset following at 7:28 pm.
Good news here in Maine…the Maine College of Art just announced that they are merging/adopting the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies., which is great news for fans of serious documentary work.
My favorite event of the last few weeks was unquestionably the landing of SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 first stage booster on a floating drone barge. I love that they are taking on this incredibly challenging task that is an important step in reducing the costs of space flight. I love the fact that they named the barge Of Course I Still Love You after a sentient starship from Iain M. Banks’ science fiction novels. And I’ve loved watching the landing over and over.
Google acquired Nik (makers of plug in software like Silver Efex Pro and Dfine Noise Reduction) a little while back and everyone was a little bit worried about what would happen to the software. I’d say they should still be worried. The good news is that Google just announced that the software, which used to cost hundreds of dollars, is now free. The bad news is that this development likely means that the software will no longer be updated. So enjoy it while you can, but know that eventually some software update to your operating system will eventually mean that you won’t be able to run it any more.
I’m excited to announced that I have two pieces from my Codex Natura series included in a New York Center for Photographic Art exhibition opening this weekend at the Jadite Gallery in NYC. Find out more here…Congratulations also to Jane Yudelman for her Grand Prize win for her wonderful Frozen Lijimght series in the same exhibition! You can see an online version of the exhibition here.
Two quick notes on Maine-based photographers…I really enjoyed this video about DM Witman’s work…and congrats to Cig Harvey on her exhibition at the Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe that just opened (and check out this interview, too).
The big annual AIPAD show is going on in NYC happened last week and weekend. If you, like me, wish you were there but couldn’t attend, the next best thing is Collector Daily’s exhaustive summary of each booth at the show. Part 1 of 4 is here.
Last night we had no snow on the ground in early February in Maine — which was admittedly pretty freaky. Today school is cancelled and winter is back in business.
Here are a few things that caught my interest this week:
Since my last February Calls for Entries post, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA has announced a call for entries for their 22nd Annual Juried show. And don’t forget the PRC in Boston has entries for their annual juried show due this weekend on February 7th.
Maine Media Workshops & College is now taking pre-orders for a DVD set of Brenton Hamilton’s History of Photography course. This course is one of the best courses I’ve ever taken, on any subject, and I have to assume that the DVD’s will be the next best thing to being there in person.
Elin Spring posted a nice review of the current exhibition (which includes my work) at 555 Gallery in Boston. (also note her post of openings and exhibitions in the Boston area for this weekend/First Friday).
Here in Maine, I’ve very keen on seeing the new Robert Adams exhibition at Colby. This exhibition extends until June 16th.
B&H just posted a pretty exhaustive article about bokeh (the character of out-of-focus areas in your image) – it is worth a look if you are curious about the subject.
I’m now on Instagram (@jimnickelson), direct link here. I’ll be posting a mix of new work as well as my current portfolios (at least that is the plan now). This has been been a pretty fascinating experiment so far. Send along your own pages as I’d love to see what readers are doing on there as I try to learn this new medium.
July! It is hard to believe that June has passed already…Fireworks are on many people’s mind here in the United States because of the upcoming July 4th holiday, so I thought that I’d mention here that I’ve updated my Pyrotechnic portfolio quite a bit over the last few months, and you can see many new Pyrotechnic images on my website. Thank you also to blogger extraordinaire Elin Spring, who today featured my photographs on her July 4th post!
And if you are already tired of fireworks and are in the mood for moons instead, I just posted three new photographs from May’s full moon on my site, too.
For those of you who are fine art photographers in New England, the Griffin Museum is hosting this year’s New England Portfolio Reviews in a few weeks on July 18th-19th. There are many great reviewers and also a significant amount of educational presentations, too, that are available even to people who are not seeking reviews of their work. I’ve gone in the past and have had great results, but I can’t go this year because of scheduling conflicts.
On The Paper Chase, my fine art printing blog, I just posted about upcoming solo exhibitions in July for three Nickelson Editions clients, Linden Frederick, Lynn Karlin, & Terry Hire. I do my best to post there about client shows, so if you have any please send information about them along.
For those of you in midcoast Maine, the summer session for the Maine Media Workshops is in full swing, and one thing I really love there is the nighttime slideshow presentations by visiting photographers. These presentations are open to the public — you can see upcoming ones here, which include photographers such as Sam Abell and Joyce Tenneson as well as many others.
The Maine Photo Project just launched and if you haven’t heard of it, it is celebration of photography by what looks to be pretty much all of the non-profit gallery spaces in Maine, including the various museums. The organizations are collaborating by each presenting at least one photography exhibition in the state during the year. You can see a list of participating organizations here – there are over two dozen.
Their blog looks to be the go-to source for news about the upcoming exhibitions, and their are lots of exciting exhibitions on the docket. It is certainly wonderful to have so many upcoming photography exhibitions coming in 2015.
The first one up is A Gateless Garden with photographs by Kerry Michaels (a Nickelson Editions client) that opens tonight at the University of New England Art Gallery, with a reception 5-7 pm. I won’t be able to make the opening but definitely look forward to seeing the exhibition, which extends until April 12th.
Summer is drawing to a close already up here in Maine, but there is still quite a bit going on. We’re heading out of town today for a last-chance vacation before school begins again for my daughter, but I wanted to highlight a few upcoming photography-related events.
Friday night is Pecha Kucha Night in Camden at the library amphitheater (the same location I presented last year, I believe). Friends-of-the-blog Dave Clough and Kelsey Floyd (alternative link) will both be presenting, and I’m sorry I won’t be able to see it. The lawn opens at 7 and the presentations start at 8ish.
Another friend-of-the-blog and talented photographer and lecturer, Brenton Hamilton, has a talk at the Susan Maasch Fine Art in Portland on August 21 from 6-7:30 relating to his solo show at the gallery.
And further south in Maine, blogger Elin Spring has extended north of her usual Boston-area stomping grounds to give excellent short reviews of photography exhibitions at Stonecrop Gallery in York, the George Marshall Store Gallery, and Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. I haven’t seen any of these shows but hope to rectify that soon.
To complete the journey south, the MFA in Boston has a Pictorialist exhibition up in the Herbert Ritts Gallery (reviewed by Elin Spring here). I saw this exhibit myself this week and, as you might expect, the prints are exquisite. I fell in love again with this portrait by Edward Weston, too. Highly recommended.
I realized that there are a whole slew of subjects I wanted to talk about in September that relate to the art and photography world, so I decided it was time for another Various & Sundry post. I’ll cover some online and free resources as well as new and controversial decisions/offers by Adobe, Apple, and Facebook.
VoxPhotographs and Maine Photography Shows
First up is a great resource on current and upcoming photography shows by Heather Frederick of VoxPhotographs. Her blog is always full of insightful posts, but her ongoing posts on upcoming photography shows in Maine and beyond are particularly useful. The exhibition reviews are excellent, too, like this one of the current Olive Pierce show at Portland’s PhoPa gallery and this one posted today about Cig Harvey’s new show at Dowling Walsh in Rockland.
And speaking of photography exhibition reviews, check out this excellent review by Daniel Kany of the similarly excellent show at CMCA/Maine Media Mentors show. This show is only up until September 22nd and is the photographic must-see of the year here in Maine, in my opinion.
Aline Smithson’s essential Lenscratch website has been totally reborn as a broader platform and resource for fine art photography. You can read her thoughts on the change here. I’ve always found the site to be an essential resource for finding new quality work and she has now added many other resources such as information on portfolio reviews, calls for entries, and free online exhibitions. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in fine art photography.
Adobe Offers a Good Thing in an Annoying Fashion
Adobe has just announced a modification to their new (and controversial) Creative Cloud subscriptions that will be of interest to many photographers. Now they are offering a combined Lightroom/Photoshop subscription for only $9.99/month, which I think is a perfect solution for many photographers. They claim that is the forever price but I suspect they mean that it is not an introductory price. Adobe continues to be ham-handed on their marketing of this, though, and it is annoyingly only available to people who own a license to Photoshop CS3 and above and who sign up by December 31 — but is not available to people who licensed the Creative Suites or to current Lightroom-only users.
So, essentially, the people who have been Adobe’s biggest customers are not eligible. And, amazingly, there is no way to sign up for this package at any price if you aren’t someone who owned a previous version of Photoshop — if you are a Lightroom user who wants to move up to Photoshop also, or someone who wants to downsize from the Creative Suite, you are out of luck. I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually offered this to everyone at a higher price, but for now it is limited. I’m assuming Adobe will figure out at some point a somewhat consistent message on this Creative Cloud subscription service, but for now it remains a confusing mess.
A little while back Amazon, the ubiquitous retailer, moved into the fine art market in a collaboration with 150 or so galleries with a new storefront called Amazon Art. You can find artwork, including photography, at all sorts of price prints, ranging from a $4.85 million dollar Normal Rockwell (free shipping for Prime members!) to $50 C-print photographs. The fact that such expensive pieces are available and the fact that Amazon Art works for the consumer just like browsing and buying anything else on Amazon leads to all kinds of hilarious reviews and incongruities. I doubt anyone will buy the expensive art from Amazon because of lack of provenance, information about condition, or the fact that one’s credit card limit is usually less than $4 million. I suspect, though, that they are hoping such pieces have a halo effect on the whole business and make it more likely for people to buy, say, a $500 piece.
The conventional art market could certainly use a bit of shake-up and I’m definitely curious how this develops. One way they could extend this down the road would be to allow individual artists to have Amazon “stores” where they sell directly to purchasers and collectors. Now THAT would certainly be of interest to many who would like to piggy-back on Amazon’s e-commerce platform.
Facebook Terms of Service
Facebook has always been the target of criticism for their policies and their latest changes continue that tradition. Facebook basically is saying they can use your information and content that you provide to them however they would like and without compensation to you. I’m glad organizations such as the ASMP continue to fight these changes, but I don’t see these changes as dramatically different than what was there before.
If you are using a free social media platform, you are paying for it by providing them with information, whether it be by uploading a photo or them detecting what you like and don’t like. Monetization of your information is their goal. I agree with Jim Goldstein’s excellent post that if you use services like Facebook (or G+, or Flickr, or Twitter, or whatever) you have basically already given up these rights. It is up to each of us to decide for themselves whether the benefits of using Facebook for personal and/or business use is worth giving up these rights.
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend — here, the Easter bunny did indeed make a visit to my 6 year-old. I do remember last year around Easter weekend when I photographed the March full moon (shown above), known sometimes as the Egg Moon. I’m working on the photographs from the last two full moons from this year, too, but they aren’t quite ready for prime-time as of yet, so stay tuned.
I do have a few things around the web I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention. First up, if you are interested in filters & software for Lightroom/Photoshop/Aperture, the software suite from Nik has been significantly reduced in price by their new Google overlords. Using the discount codes floating around out there, you can get the whole package for about $126 – B&W conversions with Silver Efex Pro, programs for HDR, sharpening, noise reduction, etc. are all included. The discounted pricing made me finally make the plunge, and so far I quite like Silver Efex Pro (I haven’t yet tried the others). There is also a free 15-day demo available, too. Their prices were extremely high previously but the new package seems to be a very good deal as the programs tend to be highly recommended.
One of my favorite online art sites, 20×200, continues to struggle according to this article from ArtInfo. This site has basically been offline since the end of January, and, if the allegations in the article are true, many vendors (and perhaps artists) are unpaid and customers without prints for which they paid. I’ve bought prints from them before and I hope they get through this, but things don’t look good from the outside, and if the stories are true, I don’t think it reflects well on the parties behind it.
And in the biggest news in the fine art photography world, William Eggleston has won the first round in the lawsuit brought by one of his collectors. The short version is this: Eggleston had a sold-out limited edition of 16×20″ dye transfer prints that the collector purchases; later on Eggleston comes out with a new edition of much larger (and more expensive) digital prints. The collector of dye transfer prints is not happy and sues. The trial court ruled in favor of the photographer, basically saying that the new prints were not part of the edition as they were a different size and/or medium. I do think that this new batch of prints does seem to be a separate edition from a legal perspective, but the ethical side of things is a bit more complicated.
Everything in this area seems murky in terms of the law and the actual practice in the industry, so my mantra is to be overly restrictive in terms of my limited editions to respect the collectors who have purchased limited edition prints. It will be very interesting to follow this case and others sure to come to see how the limited edition limitations develop.
Lastly, the artist website provider PhotoShelter just released their newest free handbook, this time on copyright — I haven’t yet read this, but I’m sure it will be useful based on their previous offerings.
Tonight begins this year’s lecture series at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport with a slideshow presentation at 7:30 pm by noted street/travel photographer Peter Turnley. You can read about this presentation as well as tomorrow night’s presentation by Michael Wilson here. These lectures run through the summer and early fall and are truly one of the great photographic resources here in Maine – world-class photographers presenting their work to an audience of photographers, all free of charge. I know I always come out of these presentations charged and motivated.
I’ve seen both of these photographers present and they both really are wonderful – I’ll able to make Turnley tonight but won’t be able to make Wilson tomorrow because of child care issues, but hope to see you there! There are new presentations every week, so keep on checking back on the MMW site to see the updated schedule.
On an unrelated note, the weather here in Maine is not cooperating with the two big celestial events of the week – the Strawberry Full Moon tonight and the very rare transit of Venus across the sun tomorrow afternoon/evening. Hopefully we’ll see a break in the clouds sometime but things are not looking good at the moment.
I may not be able to photograph the Strawberry Moon this year, but I have updated my website with the final selects from the recent Worm, Milk, and Egg Full Moons. You can see my Adventures in Celestial Portfolio right here.
The full moon this last weekend was much talked-about as a supermoon – a moon near perigee in its orbit at the time of the full moon, making it about 10-15% brighter and larger than normal. I went up to Cadillac Mountain on Saturday night to photograph the rising full moon and there were quite a few people up there, all there to see the supermoon. It was a bit surprising but gratifying to see so many people interested in an astronomical event!
So, I was all set up for the moonrise when, just before the moon should have appeared, all of a sudden I couldn’t see much at all. A cloud had surrounded my location on the mountain and visibility dropped to just hundreds of feet at best. I waited a bit but was eventually forced to move to a lower elevation and, by the time I found a clear spot, the moon had risen quite a bit and my original plans were foiled. Sometimes the photographic gods smile upon you, sometimes they don’t. The Milk Moon photograph above was my best from the alternative location – let me know what you think, as always!
There are a number of other things I wanted to mention, too. We just posted the new online exhibition for the Maine Photo Alliance, this one entitled “Objects in the Mirror…” and curated by our own Ann L. Krumrein. I had to come up with a reflection/mirror image as I didn’t have any in my archive, so you can see my slightly spooky one of my daughter below at the bottom of this post…
On Sunday I made a journey to Manchester, New Hampshire to see the Modernist photography exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art – highly recommended if you can make it over there before the show ends May 13th. Beautiful prints and great photography.
Only the third link of this post is about photography, but I think many of you, like myself, are also interested in natural phenomena as well as in different ways of displaying visual information, and that sums up the appeal of the first two items in this post perfectly.
If you’ve been bouncing around the Internet the last week or so, you may have already seen this – but I can’t tell you how much I love this real-time map of the winds over the continental US. I found myself spending way too much time of late just staring at the wind patterns, and then I discovered on accident that if you click on it you can zoom in quite a bit.
NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio has produced their Perceptual Ocean visualization and it is a stunner (you can download hi-def ones here), which gathered different types of scientific data to create a visual feast – an animation of ocean currents across the globe.
Lastly, and coming back to fine art photography more directly, the Bates College Museum of Art has produced a very slick video promoting the upcoming Starstruck show (a show which I’m very excited to be in) and discussing the art of astrophotography. You can view the video, which is less than 3 minutes, below: