Feb 16 2017

Why Do I Create?

2011-1-11 Road to Nowhere - Final 1-23-2010 750

I’ve been posting an image a day on social media and have noticed that certain images are very popular and others are not. Often I find that my least favorite images are more popular than my favorite ones.

2009-10-21 Diminishing Cliffs - Final 11-8-2009 750

Let me give an example. There are two of images in my “less favorite” group that are very popular, they are Diminishing Cliffs (above) and Road to Nowhere (top). Don’t misunderstand, I do like these images, but I consider them two of my less creative and more mundane images. However they generate a lit of “likes.”

Here’s my dilemma: each time I post one of those images and get a flurry of “likes,” I am tempted to post more images like those. I am tempted to create more of the images that people want to see.

Why? Because I love the praise and the attention…I’ll admit it, I like the “likes!”

So what do I do? How do I respond to this conflict of interests?

I stop and ask myself: why do I create?

When I first started creating images, when I was a 14 year old boy, I created for the pure joy of creating. I created to please myself.

But over time other motives crept in. I found myself creating for positive feedback.

Then I started trying to win contests.

Then I argued that I needed to build a resume in order to be taken seriously as a photographer.

Then I was creating to be famous and to be respected as a photographer.

Then I was creating to make money from my photography.

And now, after some fifty years, I have come full circle and am once again creating for the pure joy of creating. What a long journey I have taken to learn the lesson that my 14 year old self knew!

The truth is that “likes” (or fame or fortune) are not bad, but I could never be happy producing work just to please others, no matter what the reward. The buzz from a “like” only lasts a moment, while loving my images produces an internal satisfaction that lasts a lifetime.

Life is much more simple when I try to please just one person…myself.

Cole


Jan 25 2017

Death Valley Photo Tour in Late February – One Spot Now Open

2016-1-7 dunes of nude no 135 - final 3-28-2016 1000

A good friend had to cancel out of our Death Valley photo tour on February 20 through 25 due to medical reasons. 

If you’re interested in a last minute trip to Death Valley with John Barclay and myself, please contact John right away at johnbarclayphoto@me.com or (215) 896-8334

Speedy recovery Roger!

 

2016-1-7 dunes of nude no 157 - final 3-28-2016 1000


Jan 5 2017

The Story Behind “Melting Giants “

2016-6-1-melting-giants-no-21-final-9-7-2016-1000

I use Singh-Ray Neutral Density filters to create my long exposure images and occasionally write blog articles for them. 

They have just published my article that explains how I created the “Melting Giants” series. 

You can read the article here:

The Story Behind “Melting Giants”


Dec 21 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

2016-12-family-christmas-card

Cole


Nov 22 2016

Signed LensWork Issue No. 127 Available

lwq127cover-fullsize

Hello to all!

If you have not seen it yet, this issue of LensWork is now on the newsstands. If you are fortunate enough to have a Barnes and Noble nearby, you can pick up a copy there.

If not, I’d be happy to mail you a copy for $10, signed if you like.

Just PayPal me at Cole@ColeThompsonPhotography.com with your mailing address.

Thanks!

Cole


Nov 15 2016

Come Visit with me in Denver on December 15, 2016

halcyon-hotel

The Halcyon hotel is hosting a series of Artist Talks and have invited me to speak on Thursday, December 15th at 5 pm. The location is 245 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206. No RSVP is required, but space is limited.

During the one hour presentation I’ll be sharing the stories behind my favorite images, such as:

2006-5-20 The Angel Gabriel - Final 12-4-2011 1000

The Angel Gabriel, who is he and why did I call him that?

2007-7-24 Swimming Towards the Light - Final 6-30-2009 1000

Swimming Towards the Light, how did I get this underwater shot? Is this an underwater shot?

2008-7-26 Harbinger No 1 - Final 1-17-2009 1000

How the Harbinger series got started on a hot summer’s day in the middle of Nowhere, Utah.

2015-1-1 Moai Sitting for Portrait No 38 - Final 3-5-2015 1000

How did I photograph the Moai of Easter Island in a photo studio?

2008-5-10-auschwitz-no-14-final-4-26-2012-1000
Are those real ghosts that you photographed at Auschwitz-Birkenau?

2008-5-1-with-eyes-shut-6-final-7-10-2008-1000

Why do all of these Ukrainians have their eyes shut?

2016-6-1-melting-giants-no-22-final-9-7-2016-1000

How did I find and photograph so many icebergs?

And many others stories about many other images.

Please come and spend an hour with me and learn about some of my favorite images.

Cole


Nov 4 2016

Newsletter No. 95 is Out!

2016-10-5-separation-no-2-final-11-2-2016-1000

Issue No. 95 of my newsletter is out with a number of new images, are you subscribed?

If not, sign up here: http://www.colethompsonphotography.com/NewsletterSignup.htm

Cole

 


Nov 3 2016

The Black and White Landscape eBook

black-and-white-landscape

 

I’m proud to announce that I’ve contributed a small portion to my friends new eBook: The Black and White Landscape. Andrew Gibson has done a wonderful job of compiling relevant information and illustrating it with wonderful images…and he is selling it for a ridiculously low price. The wonders of eBook publishing!

I am self taught and learned a great deal of what I know by reading the Time-Life series on photography back in the 60’s. I wish I would have had this resource back then, Andy’s eBook is so much better, please check it out!

The Black & White Landscape

Cole

Disclaimer: I do not earn a thing if you purchase Andy’s eBook. I’m mentioning it because I’m featured in it, Andy’s a friend and because I think that it’s a great guide to b&w landscape photography.

 


Oct 30 2016

Canon 5D Mk IV – My Report on Long Exposure Noise Results

2016-10-5-run-aground-1a-120 Run Aground – 2 minute exposure

I’ve just processed the first images from my Canon 5D Mark IV and wanted to report back on what I’ve found. To recap my previous post regarding the Mark IV: I love the new features and increased resolution, but my litmus test is how much noise there is on images with long exposures of 2 minutes and longer, and particularly those images that have been underexposed (which is how I shoot).

I’m happy to report that the Mark IV does much better than what I experienced with the 5DSr. Exposures up to 2 minutes are very clean. The image above was a 2 minute exposure and I was very happy with the quality and noise levels.

But what about images that are over 2 minutes? Here’s a 6 minute exposure:

2016-10-5-monolith-no-97b-360Monolith No. 97 – 6 minutes

This image was shot at sunset and was greatly underexposed (perhaps by 3 stops) due to the sun going down during the exposure. I found it had much more noise than a 2 minute exposure, but I was still able to work with it and salvage the image. So I was pretty happy about that.

Here is the same scene with a 2 minute exposure:

2016-10-5-monolith-no-98b-120Monolith No. 98 – 2 minutes

There is no doubt that this image is cleaner and has less noise. But as I said, with a little extra work the 6 minute exposure was usable.

Patterning. I don’t really know what to call this phenomenon I’ve seen with the Mark III sensor, but I call it “patterning.” It’s a pixel pattern that shows dark streaking vertical lines in areas that have been heavily dodged and burned. 

patterning

This is an example of light patterning from a Mark III image. Sometimes I have to back off my dodging and burning in these areas or I’ll break up the lines with dozens of healing brush taps.

Fortunately I have not yet seen this patterning appear with the Mark IV images, which is very encouraging. But again I’ve only shot and processed a few images.

Conclusion: I am very optimistic that the Mark IV images are going to serve me well with my style of long exposure and underexposed shooting.

2016-10-5-separation-no-2a-30Separation No. 2 – 30 seconds

 


Oct 14 2016

Canon 5D Mk IV First Impressions

img_7116(Basket of Driftwood, my first Mark IV image)

I am in Bandon, Oregon and have just received my new Canon 5D Mark IV today. I have spent only a few hours with it and wanted to share my very, very first impressions.

First, it’s pretty easy to learn since it’s so much like the Mark III. That’s a good thing.

But they’ve added several new features that will make my life easier, including:

They have moved the position of the remote control terminal to the front of the camera. This means that you can now use the remote cable release and keep the left side connector covers in place. This is important because previous models have had a light leak on the left side when doing very long exposures. I’m hopeful that leaving the covers in place will now block the light leak.

The Camera now has a long exposure timer, something that they introduced on the 5DS.  This means I can use Bulb mode to do very long exposures without a cable release, or more importantly, continue to shoot very long exposures if my cable release fails (as happened when my primary and backup cable releases failed on Easter Island).

A wonderful new feature allows the Mark IV to wirelessly transmit JPEG images to my iPhone. Here’s a Bandon image that I shot on the Mark III and then transmitted with the Mark IV:

img_7115

My camera is set up to save a RAW and a JPEG, which I then transmit to the iPhone where I can do some minimal adjustments.

And then there’s the Mark IV’s sensor increase to 30 megapixels, which is a 7.5% improvement.  I feel this is a more reasonable and balanced increase than what they did with the 5DSr going to 50 megapixels. 

Which brings me to the real test of the camera (for me and my applications): how much noise is introduced by the new sensor during a very long exposure (greater than 2 minutes).  If you will recall, I had a very bad experience with excessive noise on the Canon 5DS images  

So I had the camera shipped to me here in Bandon, where I was hoping to do some long exposure work and put the camera to the test. However we have had two big storms and I’ve only been able to get out shooting twice.

And now they’re saying the storm arriving tonight will bring 80 mph winds, 40 foot waves and rain through the duration of my trip!

(audible sigh)

Cole 

img_7120