Showing one of the framed, black and white Giclée prints that I recently ordered from my online storefront on Imagekind. This particular image is an excellent example of the pleasing results achieved when converting an HDR photograph to monochrome. The photograph is a combination of five exposures, combined using Photomatix Pro. I then fine tune using the tonal adjustment tool, bring the 16-bit TIFF file into Aperture and then convert to monochrome (black and white) through the use of Nik Silver Efex Pro plug-in, which I love because of its effectiveness when doing targeted adjustments. I’m excited about the coming release of Nik’s HDR Efex Pro.
On Saturday, November 6, 2010 I will be presenting an afternoon workshop at Cox Arboretum, designed for those photographers who are more experienced and advanced with digital workflow and editing. I’ll be going over my step-by-step process for HDR nature photography, from in-camera capture to final print.
I was fortunate and grateful last week to be able to visit two entirely different installations of fine art prints of my work with nature and landscape photography. One was a very visually appealing display of several 30″x40″ gallery wrap canvas prints in a customer’s home. The collection of images was selected based on the customer’s desire to include all four of the seasons on the Ohio landscape. I also worked with this customer in crafting a uniquely cropped version of “Dogwood in Rain” photograph.
The gallery wrap canvas style print is an excellent choice for display fine art nature photography in an environment where a traditional, behind-the-glass framed print is not required. These prints “lift-off” from the wall, hence the “wrapped around,” and work superbly on neutral-colored walls. The price is a bit more than a normal, unframed fine art photographic prints. However, the true advantage is that the pieces arrive wired and ready to be hung on the wall. There is a significant cost savings when compared to costs associated with frame, mat, mounting and glass, not to mention the weight and difficulty in handling on a framed 30″x40″ print. I provide additional information about the benefits of the gallery wrap canvas print on one of my YouTube tutorials, at http://youtu.be/EOOWZlX6Nxk.
The other installation of my work with nature and landscape photography was in the newly opened addition to Wooster Community Hospital in Wooster, Ohio. There is currently 66 16″x24″ prints installed, representing landscapes that I have photographed in Ohio, Montana, Colorado, Utah and South Carolina. I was very pleased with how the prints looked, particularly with the expert craftsmanship that went into the mounting and framing by a local frame service in Wooster. In a public, high-traffic location, such as a hospital, office or medical center, the traditional approach toward framing (mount, mat, glass, frame) is usually the better choice over the gallery wrap canvas print.
What is even more pleasing to see is how this display of photographic artwork helps enhance an environment that promotes healing and recovery in situations that are usually quite challenging for both patient and family, as well as staff and medical personnel.
For both installations I use a professional print lab service that caters to the fine art photographer. This particular lab has been crafting prints of my photography for over five years now and I could not be more pleased. Their quality and attention to detail is superb. For more information on fine art print installations of my nature and landscape photography, see http://ohiophoto.org/public_html/fineart.html.
Just last week I traveled to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with my daughter Emma, age 10. I learned the hard way last summer to make the best of the time I have with my daughters, so this year I planned a special trip with both of them. For Chloe, age eight, it was Washington D.C. last month. For Emma it was the mountains in Colorado. During the school year they live in Texas with their mother, and the winters here in Ohio for me, as a single dad, can be pretty tough. So far this summer is going much better. We’re having a ton of fun and capturing some great photographs.
Another topic I wanted to mention is the art and business of the fine art nature gallery. Whenever I visit resort towns, particularly out west, I love to browse the retail galleries of some of the top professional nature and landscape photographers. They’ve got it going on. While we were in Frisco, Colorado we wandered around a bit in the retail gallery of Colorado Photographer Todd Powell. His work is jaw-dropping gorgeous, and in his gallery he does all of his own printmaking and mounting.
Another gallery that just blew me away was that of Tom Mangelsen, located in the terminal of Denver International Airport. WOW ! Incredibly beautiful prints, meticulously composed, captured and edited. Tom raises the bar of excellence for any nature and landscape photographer who aspires to fly in the stratosphere of professional success and accomplishment. Tom Till, Art Wolfe, Jim Brandenburg, John Shaw and David Middleton also rank right up there with the best of the best when it comes to fine art nature and landscape photography.
I would love to have had a successful gallery operation, such as those of any of the above mentioned photographers, here in the Dayton area. I’m confident I have the body of local photographic work as well as the necessary skill, knowledge and equipment for fine art printmaking. In fact I somewhat attempted the effort at my previous retail location, off of Far Hills in Centerville. Sadly I didn’t receive hardly any foot traffic (other than salespeople) until I announced I was closing the store and marking all of my print inventory drastically down. That turned-out to be the confirmation of what I have always suspected to be the case with the local art market.
The problem with Dayton (and for that matter, all of Ohio) is that the market just isn’t there. Fine art print galleries are always most successful in high- dollar, tourist areas, such as in and around the grand vistas and National Parks of the American West. There are some notable exceptions, but the one constant is easy access to customers who 1) have the disposable income to purchase fine art nature and landscape prints, and 2) APPRECIATE and know the skill and artistic talent required to create incredibly striking nature and landscape photography.
It’s a shame because I have discovered Ohio to be rich in scenic locations that translate beautifully into fine art prints, providing buyers of professional nature photography with a unique, local touch to how they decorate homes and offices. Unfortunately here in Dayton the photographers who have achieved that level of skill often get pushed to the side or grouped-in with other visual artists, whether it be at public showings or in galleries. Been there. Done that. It’s not for me.
The best I can do at this point is “build my market” where it doesn’t exist. I think I’m making progress, but I – and the local market – have a long way to go. Perhaps someday.
Fine Art – Stock – Commercial – Portrait – Workshops