Monday, January 19, 2015

My "Pet" Project takes Flight....

Dear readers,

I would like to begin with many thanks for all your compliments, sharing, and support of all my endeavors.

The night of December 31st, as I bid farewell to an extreme 2014, I was spent setting up a traditional public showing of my Dog Beach imagery. A long time in the making and driven by my continuous urge of artistic pursuits (like why I keep going to Burning Man, not because I like eating dust… ), what started out as time to clear my head finally received some recognition. And it all started with the walks on the beach that I would take when spending time in Del Mar, walks that brought forth countless photo opportunities with my old iPhone4. 

My first capture (Magenta Sunset 2011) started it all. It lead me to download the ProCamera App and Filterstorm App as recommended by another photographer in Dubai. This app was game changing for me as it started capturing what I saw, even better. I have to admit, I was also taunted by a couple of pro photographers, who described their smartphone cameras as crappy or no good. I set out to prove them wrong. Maybe it ain’t the camera buddy...

The basic “secret” to ProCamera App is the separation of the focus and exposure button, into two separate settings. The Filterstorm App merely provided me a simple way to straighten (Yes-I cannot always hold my camera level), then crop, (not always, I crop when I am shooting, its called get up out of the sand and move your position), fine tune the exposure, (but not a lot, as Del Mar sunsets can be spectacular) and add a watermark (important these days-maybe). I do no photoshop re-illustration or cheap/dorky/dumb/outdated “filters” like Instagram allows amateurs to step into. 

The light is the light, and if you don’t get the right light, then maybe "don’t post a bad photo…kid". Go back the next day….eh. Can you tell I don’t like that 70’s look filter? We will look back at this decade and do facepalms, realizing amateurs wrecked a lot of their great photos.  

All of this is done at the beach on an image, while my subject is standing there with their wet dog, before they head back to their car.

This process did take time to perfect, but I wanted to see the reactions of people when I showed them my iPhone screen, once they walked over to see “what I got”. It did even lead to aTV interview last January, that aired on Feb 13th in the San Diego area. Ironically the same day I was in Quill Lake Saskatchewan, giving a difficult eulogy at my dear cousin Vern’s funeral. Like I blogged earlier, "A year of extremes….”

So, encouraged by Del Mar friends Sandy and Kevin, I started asking a few local galleries if they would consider displaying my work. Pannikin Coffee and Tea, located in Encinitas on the PCH, offered me the month of January 2015. I approached my “local” photo lab, Photo Shack in Las Vegas, run by a great guy called Lel, to do some testing with large prints from my old iPhone 4. For those photographers reading this (I know you are….) the biggest issue we found was “over sharpening by the iPhone 4 and some digital noise”, however the fact that it does not capture well in low light, actually makes for a better silhouette. Lel printed some of my images 44 inches (1.2meters) wide and then laminated them. His care and attention deserves a huge shout out, and to the aforementioned photographers, I suggest you go with him if you need something custom inkjet printed, personally supervised and then shipped with care.  

The show looks great in this unique and busy setting, that used to be a former Santa Fe train station. The large laminated prints are holding up well, as the large wooden freight room doors they are pinned on, are always open because it is always nice in California, so they are exposed to a lot of humidity, a few birdys, alota people, and the ocean is close. Elements that obviously would make many of my readers jealous. I apologize in advance, as I am trying to get this posting done quickly today so I can head to the beach...

So that is the basics of my show, please drop in if you are in the area, or perhaps I could give a personal tour at Pannikin if you buy me a coffee. Please let me know if there is some snowbound place in North Dakota or even north of that, that might be interested in displaying my iPhone beach captures. 

Warm Regards from CA



  1. Having lived thru much of your 2014 experiences, Kevin and I are so excited about your exhibit! Here's hoping it brings you the recognition you deserve. Congratulations!

  2. So awesome Mark!!