This website, I think, is about to undergo another makeover. If you’ve paid any attention to me — and my infrequent blogging probably does not encourage that — you know that I keep re-designing the website. There are reasons for that which go beyond “I don’t seem to be able to find something I really like.”

I’ve been trying to transition from being, as one photography vendor once called me, “an enthusiast,” to being more of a professional photographer. (The vendor said that as a compliment. I had referred to myself as an “amateur” in terms of my skill level at that time. The vendor stated that I was far from an amateur, but since I was only selling my prints “in addition to” my non-photography day-job, he used “enthusiast” to describe me.)

As I make this transition, I’m submitting some of my work to juried competitions.

My latest such effort resulted in the black-and-white version of my “Calm Beneath the Storm” winning second place in the Landscapes category at the Sorensen Studio. 

Calm Beneath the Storm (Black & White Version)
Calm Beneath the Storm (Black & White Version)

For details on how the original image was created, you can see the article with the color version here.

For the black and white version, I started by converting the image with the Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2.

One thing about Silver Efex Pro is that I almost never like any of the presets. If I’m lucky, I find something I can start with, but they’re never “spot on.” All settings end up getting their adjustment to my liking. More often than not, I’ll just ignore the presets altogether and start working the adjustment sliders myself. Usually — as was particularly true with this image — there will be a lot of control points for finer control over different elements in the image.

After that, various other adjustments were made in Adobe Photoshop CS6 — I refuse to upgrade to CC because of the subscription-and-cloud model, so I guess I’ll be a CS6 user for some time to come. If the day comes when it won’t run on newer systems, I guess I’ll be like the guys who continue to work with film: I’ll figure out how to keep my old systems going.

From there, the image was printed using a chromagenic process. To be more specific, the image was printed to my specifications (e.g., “no corrections applied by the printer”) at Horn Photo of Fresno on a Zbe Chromira printer. The paper used was Kodak Endura Premium Metallic.

I love this paper — lately about 98% of my printing is done on it — but I recently purchased an Epson Stylus Pro 4900, and I’m not sure yet what paper will come closest to giving me the same look. (I haven’t even finished hooking up the Epson yet. The thing is a giant, and I’m still trying to figure out where to put it!)

As I try to transition towards more of a fine art style of shooting, I feel like my website needs to change to reflect the new me. As I write this, there are too many images shot at events, and not enough that highlight my newer stuff. One reason for this is that I’ve been working locally to develop my credibility. The juried competitions are part of that. I was also a panelist at a recent Photo Expo symposium.

This all seems to be working, as I’ve had several invitations to join a local co-op of high-quality photographers.

The other, more important reason my current website doesn’t reflect the new me is that I’m not happy with the current technology available to me for selling my prints, so I haven’t wanted to post my newer work much to my galleries.

At any rate, the dual message of this slightly disjointed post is this: things are changing for me, and I won another award for my work.

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