Jud Dagnall Photography Blog

Photography, technology and occasional rants!

Cliff Mautner – Incredible Photographer and Teacher

Posted on March 5th, 2006 in , by jud || No Comment

I just returned from an incredible five day workshop with Cliff Mautner. It was exactly what I needed! His use of light is outstanding, and he was able to share with us many of his techniques and approaches. I went away feeling like I had a much better understanding of how to use light as the primary tool of photography, both indoors with flash, and outside using available light. His approach to making striking images with backlighting, silhouttes and minimalist is already having an impact on my photography! He kept us laughing and engaged all the way through, and I also had the opportunity to work side by side with some very talented and inspiring photographers from all over the country. I would definitely recommend his workshop to any photographer who wants a better understanding of light. Thanks Cliff!

A few cool new photo sites

Posted on September 29th, 2005 in , , by jud || No Comment

Here are a few sites that I discovered recently:

Techniques and tips, including good information on measuring the black point of your printer:

Cool nature photos from the winner of this year’s Popular Photography contest:

Microsoft is getting into the photo game with some useful content:

Microsoft Professional Photography

Two x 20: An Exhibition by Bay Area Photographers

Posted on March 10th, 2005 in , by jud || No Comment

I’m excited to be part of a photography exhibition currently on display at the Modernbook Gallery in Palo Alto, California. Twenty Bay Area photographers were each selected to present two images, and the result is a diverse
and compelling show that includes timeless landcape and nature, black and white street photography, hand painted photos, artistic recreations of childhood memories, and special topics like antique neon signs and colorful details from Europe. More information can be found here. This is my first
gallery exhibition, and I have included two Mono Lake images. I also have a number of other matted prints available for viewing (and purchase) at the gallery. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Mark Hatasaka’s Digital Landscape Photography

Posted on March 10th, 2005 in , , by jud || No Comment

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mark Hatasaka, a professional nature photographer and author of two books on digital photography. While both of his books are very impressive and packed with useful information, I was really blown away by his most recent book, “Mark Hatasaka’s Digital Landscape Photography”. Both books are full of stunning images taking with a variety of digital cameras, ranging from compact digitals (which he advocates because of their convenience and use in capturing images other cameras can’t reach) to high end digital SLRs.

What I find most useful about his books is his overall approach to photography, which is to concentrate on the essentials, and focus on
those techniques which will allow you to rapidly progress as a photographer. For example, he advocates what he calls “high volume digital photography”, taking a very large number of pictures, bracketing compositions and exposures, and then carefully examining the results. Digital cameras are an incredible teaching tool, because you can experiment with new techniques, variations and (almost) random chance. By taking a large number of pictures, you become intimately familiar with how your camera responds to a wide variety of situations, you are able to record your photographic thought processes for future reference, and you have a visual record of what works, what ALMOST works, and what doesn’t work at all.

I have typically shot primarily RAW images. Mark advocates shooting highest resolution JPEG images for most landscape and nature photographs, arguing that the advantages of being able to take (and process) 3 to 4 times as many images with the same storage, battery and time requirements outweights the extra security (and detail) provided by a RAW file. Although I continue to pursue my own independent investigation, I have begun trying his techniques and in just the first week had learned more about how my camera handled exposure and depth of field by bracketing (and comparing) multiple hi-resolution jpegs instead of trying to post-process my RAW images in Photoshop.

I highly recommend his books to all serious students of photography. If you are new to photography and are looking for a way to take better pictures quickly, buy his book and follow his techniques. If, like me, you have been honing your skills for a number of years, there are still plenty of jems, and the photos themselves are woth the price of the book. As of this moment, only his first book Digital Nature Photography is available on his site, but if you contact him, I think you can purchase it directly. I also understand that Keeble and Schuchat Photography in Palo Alto, California, carries one or both.

I honestly think that had I gotten his book and began rigorously applying his techniques years ago, I would have progressed much faster as a photographer.

Two amazing photographers: Mona Kuhn and Fan Ho

Posted on December 16th, 2004 in , by jud || No Comment

This evening I discovered the [modernbook gallery](http://www.modernbook.com/gallery494.htm) in Palo Alto. They are currently featuring two excellent exhibits, one of portaits by [Mona Kuhn](http://monakuhn.com), and another, older set of prints from Hong Kong by [Fan Ho](http://www.modernbook.com/fanho.htm). Both are well worth seeing in person, as the web images do not do them justice. It was shocking to see how good art can be. I am particularly struck with how, in lesser hands, Mona’s photographs could end up trite and common, but instead they leave me with a sense of awe and appreciation for her vision.