May 31 2014

Finding Vivian Maier

2014 5 26 Harbinger No 20b Finding Vivian MaierHarbinger No. 20

 

I’ve just watched the most extraordinary film entitled “Finding Vivian Maier.”

The story begins with a man named John Maloof who purchases a box of negatives at an auction and becomes intrigued by the images and whoever created them. It is a detective story that reveals one of the most important street photographers of our time…that no one has ever heard of: Vivian Maier.

What I found most impressive about this story was not the images (which are absolutely amazing) but that Vivian was a complete unknown.  She was a nanny who had never shown her work to a single soul as far as anyone knows.

No one knows for sure why Vivian kept her work to herself, but I came away from the film feeling that external validation was not necessary or important to her. I believe that her creations were all the validation that she needed. 

I have always believed that I should create for myself and that what others think (family, the public, gallery owners, curators, critics and experts) should be irrelevant. If I love my work, then that should be enough.

At the end of the film John Maloof talks about how difficult it has been to have Vivian’s work recognized by the establishment. In my view this recognition is so very irrelevant, her images speak for themselves and I do not need anyone else to tell me that they are wonderful, and I doubt having the establishments approval would have affected Vivian’s view of her own work.

I recommend this film, it was both entertaining and inspiring! 

http://www.vivianmaier.com/film-finding-vivian-maier/ 

After you’ve seen it, I’d love to know what you think of her work and why you think she didn’t show it to anyone else.

Cole

 


May 9 2014

How I Found My Vision

2006 5 20 The Angel Gabriel Final 10 15 2007 750 How I Found My VisionThe Angel Gabriel

 

Why do I focus on Vision so much? It’s because I believe that Vision is what makes an image great. It’s what makes the difference between a technically perfect image and one with feeling. It’s what makes your images unique.

Great images do not come about because of equipment and processes, but rather from Vision that drives these tools to do wonderful things. What good are great technical skills if you don’t have an idea worthy of them?  

If I had to choose between the best equipment in the world and no Vision or having a Kodak Brownie and my Vision…

Brownie How I Found My Vision

I’d take the Brownie.

A lot of people ask: “How do I go about finding my Vision?” I’m not sure I can answer that for everyone, but here is how I discovered mine:

 

The Wake-Up Call

Several years ago I was attending Review Santa Fe where over the course of a day my work was evaluated by a number of gallery owners, curators, publishers and “experts” in the field. 

Review Santa Fe How I Found My Vision

During the last review of a very long day, the reviewer quickly looked at my work, brusquely pushed it back to me and said “It looks like your trying to copy Ansel Adams.”  I replied that I was, because I loved his work! He then said something that would change my life:

“Ansel’s already done Ansel and you’re not going to do him any better.  What can you create that shows your unique vision?”

Those words really stung, but over the next two years the message did sink in: Was it my life’s ambition to be known as the world’s best Ansel Adams imitator? Had I no higher aspirations than that?

I desperately wanted to know if I had a Vision, but there was a huge problem: what exactly was Vision and how did I develop it?  

What is Vision1 How I Found My Vision

I researched Vision but I couldn’t relate to the definitions and explanations that I found. Was it a look, a style or a technique? Was it something you were born with or something you developed?

And then there was the nagging doubt: what if I didn’t have a Vision? I feared that it was something you either “had” or you “didn’t have”  and perhaps I did not?

And how was I to go about finding my Vision?

With so many unanswered questions and with no idea on how to proceed, I simply forged ahead with what made sense to me.  Here is what I did:

Sort Your Portfolio

I took 100 of my best images, printed them out and then divided them into two groups: the ones I REALLY loved…and all the rest. I decided that the ones that went in the “loved” pile had to be images that “I” loved, and not just ones that I was attached to because they had received a lot praise, won awards or sold the best. And if I loved an image and nobody else did, I still picked it. 

Make the Committment

I committed that from that point on, I would only pursue those kinds of images, the ones that I really loved. Too often I had been sidetracked when I chose to pursue images simply because others liked them.

Practice Photographic Celibacy

I started practicing Photographic Celibacy and stopped looking at other photographer’s work. I reasoned that to find my Vision, I had to stop immersing myself in the Vision and images of others.

I used to spend hours and hours looking at other photographer’s work and would find myself copying their style or even their specific images. I knew that I couldn’t wipe the blackboard of my mind clean of those images, but I could certainly stop focusing on their Vision and instead focus on mine.

When I looked at a scene I didn’t want to see it through another photographer’s eyes, I wanted to see it through mine!

Simplify Your Processes

I embarked on a mission to simplify my photography.  In the past I had focused on the technical and now I was going to focus on the creative. I disposed of everything that was not necessary: extra equipment, gadgets, plug-ins, programs, processes and all of those toys we technophiles love. I went back to the basics which simplified my photography, gave me more time and it reminded me that I wanted to put more focus on my creative abilities.

Ignore Other’s Advice

I ignored the advice that well intentioned friends and experts gave me. So much of this advice had never felt right for me and I was torn between following their recommendations or my own intuition. In the end I decided that only by pleasing myself could I create my best work, and that no matter how expert someone was, they were not an expert about my Vision or what I wanted.

Change Your Mindset

I worked to change my mindset from photographer to artist. I had always thought of myself as a photographer who documented, but I could see that this role was limiting and the truth was that I wanted to be an artist that created.  

To help me make this mental shift I started calling myself an artist (I felt like such a fraud at first)  figuring that I must play the part to become the part. I also stopped using certain words and phrases, for example instead of saying “take a picture” I would say “create an image.”  

That may seem like small and inconsequential thing, but it helped to continually remind me that I wanted to be an artist who created, and not a photographer who documented.

Question Your Motives

I questioned my motives and honestly answered some hard question such as: why am I creating? Who am I trying to please? What do I want from my photography? How do I define success?

It seemed to me that Vision was something honest and that if I were going to find my Vision, I had to be honest about the reasons I was pursuing it.

Stop Comparing

I stopped comparing my work to other photographers. I noticed that when I compared, it led to doubts about my abilities and it left me deflated. All I could see were their strengths and my weaknesses, which was an unfair comparison.  

I decided that if my goal was to produce the best work that I could, then it did not matter what others were doing. I had to remind myself that this was not a race or a contest, I was not competing against others…I was competing with myself.

Stop Caring What Others Think

I made a conscious decision to stop caring what others thought of my work. I recognized that in trying to please others, I was left feeling insecure and empty.

At the end of the day, it was just me, my work and what I thought of it. As long as I cared what others thought, I was a slave and could never be free.

Get Inspired

I re-read Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead” which I had first read at age 17. It has been one of the most influential books of my life because it gave me hope that I could become truly independent, that I could think for myself and define my own future. I know this book can cause strong reactions in people, both for good and ill, but it was a tremendous help in finding my Vision. 

 

I really was proceeding blindly, but I believed that if I listened to my own desires, pursued what I loved and eliminated all other voices, I would learn something about my Vision.

I did this for two years and there were many times that I became discouraged and didn’t feel like I was making any progress. I didn’t really know what I expected to happen, perhaps I thought I’d have a revelatory experience where my Vision would suddenly appear in a moment of inspiration!

But that didn’t happen.

And then one day it just occurred to me: I understood…I understood what my Vision was. 

It came in an anticlimatical and quiet moment of understanding, and after all of that worrying and angst…it now seemed so incredibly simple. Vision was not something I needed to acquire or develop, it had been there all along and all that I needed to do was to “discover” it.

Vision was simply the sum total of my life experiences that caused me to see the world in a unique way. When I looked at a scene and imagined it a certain way…that was my vision.

2008 5 10 Auschwitz No 14 Final 2 1 2009 750 How I Found My Vision

My Vision had always been there but over the years it had been buried by layers of “junk.” Each layer obscured my my vision until it was lost and I doubted my creative abilities.  Some of those layers were valuing other’s opinions over my own, fear of failing, imitating others and creating for recognition.

Each time I created for external rewards, each time I put accolades before personal satisfaction, each time I cared what others would think…I buried my natural creativity under another layer until it was buried and forgotten.

Interestingly I came to conclude that Vision had little to do with photography or art and had more to do with being a well-adjusted, confident and independent human being. Once I had the confidence to pursue my art on my terms, and define success for myself, I was free to pursue my Vision without fear of rejection or need for acceptance.

Something else I learned about Vision: it is not a look or a style. It is not focusing on one subject or genre and following your Vision will not make your work look all the same. Vision gives you the freedom to pursue any subject, create in any style and do anything that you want.


2007 7 24 Swimming Towards the Light Final 6 30 2009 750 How I Found My Vision

But finding my Vision was not the end of the journey, because now I had to follow it which was equally as hard. I am still tempted to create for recognition, to care what others think and to want to be acknowledged. It takes constant discipline to stay centered, to remember why I’m creating and to follow my definition of success.

If you could have known me before I found my Vision, you would have found a technician that doubted his creative abilities, a photographer who felt that it was wrong to “manipulate” the image, a person who sought the generally accepted definition of success: money, fame and accolades, and you would have found an insecure person who needed others to like his images in order to feel good about his work.

Thankfully, that person is gone.

While my initial search was for my Vision, what I really found was myself which allowed my natural Vision to flourish once again.  

Cole

 

 


May 2 2014

Why Not Let the Camera or Photoshop Create Your B&W Image?

2009 6 4 Harbinger No 11 Final 6 30 2009 750 Why Not Let the Camera or Photoshop Create Your B&W Image?

I’ve spoken to a number of people who have  assumed that I create my b&w images by putting my camera into monochrome mode or by simply desaturating my color images in Photoshop.

That’s not how I create my black and white images, but why not?  Why not let the camera or Photoshop do the work for me?

Here’s why: If I let my camera create the black and white image, then all I’d have is a color image that had been stripped of color. A great black and white image is much more than that, it’s an image that I’ve added something to, my Vision.

I capture my images in color so that I can convert them into black and white myself.  What can I can do that the camera or Photoshop cannot do? 

I know the potential of the image: the camera and Photoshop does not.
 
I know what detail is in the image that can be brought out: the camera and Photoshop does not.
 
I know how to create the look I want by manipulating colors into different shades of gray: the camera and Photoshop does not.
 
I know how to dodge and burn to emphasize certain elements and to de-emphasize other elements: the camera and Photoshop does not.
 
But most importantly, I have a Vision of what I want the image to look like: the camera and Photoshop does not.

If you compare one of my original color shots to a desaturated image, and then compare both to my final image…you’ll see a world of difference.  Here’s my Iceland No. 4 to illustrate:


Iceland No. 4 BEFORE Why Not Let the Camera or Photoshop Create Your B&W Image?

This is what the color image looked like right out of the camera.

 

Iceland No. 4 BEFORE DESATURATED Why Not Let the Camera or Photoshop Create Your B&W Image?

Here’s what the image looks like if you let the camera create the b&w image or you simply desaturate it in Photoshop.

 

Iceland No 4 AFTER Why Not Let the Camera or Photoshop Create Your B&W Image?

And here’s what it looks like after I’ve converted it to b&w using my knowledge of the original scene, my technical skills and most importantly…my Vision.

 

Letting the camera create the b&w image for me or simply desaturating it in Photoshop will never produce a great black and white image. But by processing the image myself, I’m adding to the image and leaving my mark. 

Now I’ve talked to a lot of people who have seen my before-and-after images and I know how some people will react: they will conclude that the “secret” to my images  are my processing skills and they will think that all they need to do to create better images is to improve their processing skills.

But that is exactly NOT my point! 

Learning processing skills without the Vision to drive them, is not much different than letting the camera create the black and white image for you or simply desaturating it in Photoshop. If you don’t know what you want, then better processing skills will not improve your images.

Why don’t I let the camera or Photoshop create my black and white images? Because they are simply tools and cannot convey my Vision.

Cole

P.S. For those who might wonder: I convert my images to b&w using Photoshop’s b&w conversion tool. I do not use plugins or b&w conversion programs.

 


Apr 25 2014

Preconceived Ideas

2013 10 19 They Walk Among Us Final 11 28 2013 1000 Preconceived Ideas

 

A story…

Every autumn I go to Bandon, Oregon to photograph Monoliths. I have very specific conditions that I prefer; clear skies with wispy clouds that allow me to use long exposures on the Monoliths.

Unfortunately this last October I had not called ahead and made this request with Zeus, the god of clouds, rain, thunder and lightning. What I encountered was fog and lots of it, and unfortunately there is nothing for me to shoot in the fog.

So I decided to go up the coast and check out Cannon Beach, I heard they had some great Monoliths and I was hoping that the weather would be better there. Unfortunately it was just as foggy and so I decided to give up and head home where I would rent some movies and veg out.  

Because as long as the fog was obscuring my Monoliths, there was nothing for me to photograph there.

But something inside of me said: Wait a minute, there is always something great waiting to be discovered…in every light, in every weather and  in every location. It may not fit into your preconceived ideas of what you want, but there is something here for those who can “see.” And so I stayed.

Through the fog I faintly saw people walking towards me and it reminded me of spirits. A title immediately came to mind as I imagined the image: “They Walk Among Us.” Using the fog, a long exposure and by over-exposing, I created this very high-key image…in the fog.

It reminded me that having preconceived ideas (knowing what I want) might sometimes be a strength, but at other times it may make me blind to unexpected opportunities.

Whenever I’m at a location and feeling that there’s nothing for me to see, I’ll ask myself this question: If I had a time machine and could transport all of the great masters of photography here, could they find a great shot? 

Of course they could!

So what is the lesson for me? That sometimes I need to look beyond my preconceived ideas of what I want…and see what is being offered.

Cole


Apr 18 2014

The Toughest Interview I’ve Ever Done – Vision Drawings: Session #1

Sampler Images The Toughest Interview Ive Ever Done   Vision Drawings: Session #1

My friend and photographer John Kosmopoulos recently interviewed me for his new series, Vision Drawings: Session #1

Honestly, it was one of the toughest interviews that I’ve ever done, not because John was tough, but because the questions were difficult for me to answer.  

At one point I frustratedly told John that I just didn’t think that I could do it, but with his help and encouragement, I completed the interview.

The questions were tough because they dealt with the feelings and motivations behind my work. It’s not that I don’t have these feelings, but I find it difficult to put them into words.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason why I became a photographer, so that I could avoid words and use images instead.

You can read the interview here: 

http://www.silverzenphotography.com/blog/vision-drawings-the-sessions/cole-thompson/

Thank you John, for this opportunity and for encouraging me.

Cole

 


Apr 12 2014

Vision First, Skills Second

Last weekend my wife and I stopped at a garage sale that was hosted by three very old ladies who were selling some very old things (both the ladies and their items were “vintage”).

Amongst their knick knacks I spotted a leather camera bag with a post-it note that said “make offer.” I didn’t need a bag but decided to look inside.

What I saw inside made my heart flutter! It was an old 1950’s Kodak Pony camera, identical to one that I had owned as a boy.

 Vision First, Skills Second 

I went over to the three women and asked “who should I make an offer to?” and the two pointed to the one in the middle. I had no idea how much the camera was worth, but I wanted it and so I said “will you take $20?” 

Call 911! I thought the woman was going to have a heart attack right then and there, it was clear that she would’ve taken much less for it. But the truth is I would’ve paid a lot more because it brought back a particular childhood memory:

I was 14 years old and I had purchased a used camera just like this from Casey’s camera in Rochester, New York. I quickly put it to use on a still life that I had assembled on my mothers prized dining room table, using two eggs and a goblet.

1968 Egg in Glass Vision First, Skills Second 

I knew what I wanted the image to look like, but there was a problem because the camera wouldn’t focus close enough. So I disassembled the lens and removed the focusing stop so that the camera would now focus very close, but how would I focus it?  It was never intended to focus like this and so I took a piece of ground glass, put it on the film plane and manually focused it like a view camera. I then loaded the film back into the camera and created this image. 

I jokingly tell people that “Egg in Glass” was my first fine art image, and as I have reflected on this experience from some 45 years ago, I’ve come to appreciate what this image represents to me.

It is important because I had exhibited a simple Vision and then sought the technical skills I needed to pull it off. As I look back on my photographic life, that’s how a great many of my images have come about: I had the Vision first and then developed the second.

Let me give another example:

2004 11 1 Skeleton Final 4 24 2009 750 Vision First, Skills Second 

This is “Skeleton” and this is exactly how I found these bones.

Well, not exactly, here’s how the camera saw the scene:

2004 11 1 Skeleton BEFORE WEB 750 Vision First, Skills Second 

When I stood over those bones that autumn day, I didn’t see the image the way my camera saw it, but rather the way that my Vision saw it.  I knew exactly how I wanted this image to look: I wanted those bones to really stand out against dark leaves.

But the problem was that I didn’t know how I was going to do this, I had just converted to digital and I didn’t know how to use PhotoShop. So I just jumped in and starting trying things, and in the process I learned how to dodge and burn with a tablet. The Vision came first and the skills were developed as needed.

Here’s another image where I had to develop the skills on the run:

2004 12 20 Old Car Interior Final 2 27 2006 750 Vision First, Skills Second 

This is “Old Car Interior.”  When I stuck my head in the back window of that car and looked at that wonderful old dash, I knew how I wanted it to look.  But again I was faced with a technical challenge that I had no experience with: the interior was very dark and flat while the exterior was very bright and contrasty.

The dynamic range in this image would have been a challenge with film, but it was impossible with digital. I didn’t know how to go about fixing this and so I just tried something.

Here’s the original shot:

2004 12 20 Old Car Interior BEFORE small Vision First, Skills Second

I exposed one image for the interior and one for the exterior.  I then processed each one separately, cut out the window from the exterior shot and pasted it into the interior image.

Might there be better ways to have created this image?  Probably, but all I care about is that it worked and I was able to create the image that I had imagined.

A final example:

Windmill in Moonlight AFTER Vision First, Skills Second

This is “Windmill in Moonlight” and this is how everyone knows this image.

But this is how the camera recorded this night scene:

Windmill in Moonlight BEFORE Vision First, Skills Second

When I saw this scene on that cold winter night in Nebraska, I was inspired and excited with its potential! But when I saw the RAW image, I had doubts that I could manipulate it to match my Vision. I made several attempts and failed,  but I didn’t give up because I so believed that this could be a great image.

I know that my philosophy of “Vision first, skills second” runs contrary to common wisdom. There are many who believe that skills must come before the vision can be executed.

I respectfully disagree.  Everything in my photographic life (both the good and the bad) has reinforced my belief in Vision first.

When skills comes first, then images are limited by what you can do. But when Vision  comes first, then you are only limited by your imagination and determination.

Cole

P.S. I researched the price on that Pony 828 camera and you can buy them all day long on eBay for $10. That old lady got a great deal…but so did I!


Apr 4 2014

The Story Behind the Image – Iceland No. 30

2013 9 7 Iceland No 30 Final 10 12 2013 1000 1 The Story Behind the Image   Iceland No. 30Iceland No. 30

 

Why did I include this image in my Iceland portfolio, when I consider it just “average” at best?  Because it reminds me of the story behind the image.

It was in September of 2013 that I spend two weeks driving around Iceland and it was heaven: I was alone, I had no itinerary, no reservations and no plans other than to go wherever my eye took me. 

I don’t like to embark on a trip with plans and so the only two things that I put on my “to do” list was to soak in the Blue Lagoon hot pools and to photograph the icebergs.  I did have a wonderful soak, but the image above was the only one I was able to create of the icebergs, and here’s why:

The weather for most of my trip had been pretty good but on the second half it started to get windy.  Living near Wyoming I’m accustomed to strong winds, we often have gusts of 60 mph and sometimes as high as 80 mph. But what I encountered this day in Iceland made those Wyoming winds seem like a mild breeze.

I had driven around the island clockwise and things started getting windy in the east.  Then as I approached the south, things really got serious.  On the day that I visited Iceberg Lagoon, the winds were so strong that I could barely get out of the car or stand up. I saw people standing at a 45 degree angle as they braced into the wind.

I walked around a portion of the lagoon and tried to photograph, but I literally could not hold the camera still enough. I found a location where a hill blocked some of the wind and by using my tripod very low to the ground and putting my full weight on it, I was able to create Iceland No. 30 above, the only image I got of the icebergs. This was pretty disappointing given that I had come all the way to Iceland to photograph icebergs.  

Shortly after leaving the lagoon and continuing west, I started to see an enormous dust cloud coming off of the alluvial gravel fields. These dust clouds were very dark because they were made up of volcanic rock that had been ground by the glaciers over the centuries. It was an odd sight; this low lying ominous dust cloud against a blue sky.

I had just passed the Hotel Skaftafell and decided that I should turn around and not proceed into the dust cloud. I pulled into the hotel parking lot but was immediately stopped by a security guard who said that the hotel was fully booked. It turns out that Matt Damon was filming a movie and he and the film crew occupied the entire hotel. So I’m blaming Matt for what occurred next.

Since I couldn’t stay the only decision to be made was which direction to go: east from where I came or west towards my final destination? I didn’t want to go east because I’d be losing ground and the last hotels I had seen were quite a ways back. So I proceeded west…reluctantly…into the storm.

I approached a bridge with this enormous dust cloud pouring over it and I was having some serious second thoughts about my decision. The bridge demanded an immediate decision from me because once I was on the bridge…there was no turning back. The bridges over these alluvial fields could be very long and they were so narrow as to prevent turnaround.

My indecision became a de facto decision as I started onto the bridge and was immediately met by an oncoming car. My heart half stopped at what I saw: the car’s windows were all blown out on the wind side. I immediately feared that I had made the wrong decision.

Now that I was on the bridge and committed, I could only proceed and hope for the best. What I didn’t know at that moment, was how strong the winds had become. I later learned that this “storm of the century” had gusts up to 134 mph.

The visibility was so poor that I could only drive about 10 mph and the only thing that kept me on the road was the center stripe. Soon the sound of dust blasting the car became the sound of small rocks pelting it. The wind had become so strong that it hurled sharp volcanic rocks into the air, pummeling everything in its path. Well, my car was in its path and suddenly and without warning, the four windows on the windside of the car simultaneously exploded and I was covered with broken glass. 

The rocks that had been smashing against my windows were now smashing against my face as I tried to drive. The wind pressure was so great that my ears hurt and I had to roll down the windows on the leeward side of the car, which relieved the pressure but also allowed the rocks to fly through the car with even greater force.

Fortunately I was wearing a hooded jacket and I used this to shield the right side of my face. This was a very abrasive situation, but how abrasive, I would not appreciate until later.

I had to keep driving because I had no alternative, but I didn’t know when or where I would find refuge.  The car was rocking so badly in the wind that I wondered if it would be blown over, and whenever I crossed over a bridge it became so violent that I would bring the car to a stop until the wind subsided a bit.

I drove like this for hours, crawling along slowly and clinging to the white stripe on the road.  At one point the stripe disappeared because an inch layer of the road surface was actually being blown away, peeling in the wind like an onion. This was unnerving and without the stripe, I was blind for a distance.

Along the way I encountered other drivers coming from the opposite direction and heading into the danger zone that I had just come out of.  I would stop and warn them by yelling and using sign language, indicating that they should turn around. Seven cars listened to me and we drove together in a caravan, however one car would not listen and proceeded anyway.

Another car initially ignored my advice and seemed determined to proceed. It was a young couple with a small child in the back seat and on the windward side. Seeing that child and imagining what would happen if they lost their windows really scared me and caused me to become loud and forceful, commanding them to turn around.  Which they did.

We caravaned for several hours and finally came across the Fosshotel Nupar. There were rooms available but the hotel was quickly filling as it became a refuge for the travellers in the area.  Soon the hotel was full and they had to put people in the lobby and other available areas. The scene there was unworldly, the wind was so fierce that people could hardly make it from their cars and into the hotel.  We all huddled together at the windows, watching the cars in the parking lot as their windows exploded, one by one.

We made it through the night and didn’t lose any hotel windows, but the cars were not so lucky. In the morning I surveyed the damage to my car and thankfully I had not lost any more windows, but the remaining ones were sandblasted along with the car’s paint, headlights and wheels. The car was a mess outside and inside it was full of broken glass, sand and small stones. 

The winds were still fierce, but much less than the day before and so I decided to drive straight to Reykjavik to get another car. I taped trash bags over the windows and got on my way. The trip was uncomfortable, cold and the bags were soon ripped off the windows by the wind, but I continued on because I desperately wanted a warm car with windows! Along the way I encountered several mild sand storms…but nothing like the day before.

Upon arriving in Reykjavik, the car and I were something of a celebrity.  The rental people said that they had never seen a car destroyed by the winds like this and asked how I was going to pay for it. I told them that I had State Farm insurance, to which they replied “not here you don’t!” I had assumed that I was covered by my car policy and so I never purchased the additional insurance. I learned an important lesson that day.

I paid for the damages using my Visa card (at least I got some frequent flyer miles) so that they would give me another car. But to my surprise Citibank ended up covering the damages since I had used their credit card to rent the car and had declined the supplemental insurance, thank you Citibank!

Armed with a new rental car and better weather, I was able to finish my Iceland journey without further incident. This was the the trip of a lifetime, regardless of the images I did or did not bring home.

Was this part of the trip a terrible experience? There were probably moments that I thought so at the time, but I now fondly look back at this as an adventure that I’ll always remember.

And that is the story behind the image.

Cole

P.S. Here’s a photo of the car.

2013 9 15 Two Missing Side Windows on Passenger Side The Story Behind the Image   Iceland No. 30

 

 


Mar 27 2014

“Why Black and White?” Presentation in Denver on April 10th

2013 10 19 Monolith No 68 Final 11 27 2013 1000 Why Black and White?  Presentation in Denver on April 10thMonolith No. 68

 

I’ll be delivering my presentation “Why Black and White?” in Denver on April 10th, 2014.

The Focus Camera Club has graciously invited me and I never say no to an invitation (well, almost never).

I will attempt to entertain, educate, provoke and convert all color photographers present…so come with a an open mind and a thick skin!

There will also be a free drawing for three of my images:

Three Images Why Black and White?  Presentation in Denver on April 10th

Here’s the time and location information:

http://focuscolorado.com/ai1ec_event/apr-2014-program-meeting/?instance_id=203

If you’re in the area, I hope to see you.

Cole


Mar 8 2014

Newsletter Available

2014 2 1 Dunes of Nude 85 Final 2 26 2014 1000 Newsletter AvailableDunes of Nude No. 85

 

My latest newsletter is out with new images from Death Valley, Trona Pinnacles, the Alabama Hills and Manzanar.

If you are not signed up for the newsletter, you can do so here:  

http://www.colethompsonphotography.com/NewsletterSignup.htm

Cole

 


Mar 6 2014

The Art of Grain Silos

2007 11 26 Silo Detail No 51 Final 11 26 2007 750 The Art of Grain SilosGrain Silo Detail No. 51

 

Lenswork Daily featured a 3 minute audio excerpt from my interview with Brook Jensen regarding this image.

http://daily.lenswork.com/2014/03/the-art-of-grain-silos-by-cole-thompson.html