August 6, 2017
A huge thanks to Singh-Ray who heard that I had smashed my MOR-SLO 15-stop ND filter while in the Faroe Islands and then very kindly rushed me a replacement. Their generosity and thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated.
I am a big fan of Singh-Ray products. I use their polarizer, their Vari-ND and their MOR-SLO 5, 10, 15 and 20 stop ND filters. My primary filter is their 15-stop ND filter, it’s used in about 75% of my images!
Why do I use their products? Just one reason: the quality. I have used many different brands, and some of them are very good, but in my opinion Singh-Ray filters are the best.
I first learned of Singh-Ray when I heard about and purchased their Vari-ND variable ND filter. I was carrying that filter with me when I was visiting Auschwitz and the idea of photographing ghosts struck me. I could not have produced The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau project with a fixed ND filter, the Vari-ND made it possible.
Their 15-stop ND filter is the perfect number of stops for my work. With 15 stops I can shoot up to two minutes in bright sunlight and much longer in places like the overcast Faroe Islands. What happens when I need to go longer than two minutes? In the past I was forced to stack two filters which resulted in vignetting issues, but those days are gone with the Singh-Ray MOR-SLO 20-stop filter.
I love Singh-Ray ND filters!
P.S. I want to disclose that Singh-Ray has given me 2-3 filters over the years, including this replacement.
July 21, 2017
I’ve been listening to Brian Wilson’s book: I am Brian Wilson. A Memoir.
Something he said near the end really struck me: :
“You’d think that by the time I got to 60, I would have learned almost everything about singing. But that turned out not to be true at all.
I kept learning. And lots of that is about unlearning.”
I feel the same way. So much of what I’ve learned later in life about art, photography and especially about myself, has come about as a result of unlearning something.
As you have gotten older and wiser, have you found yourself unlearning anything?
P.S. If you don’t know who Brian Wilson is, you’re probably pretty young and haven’t started unlearning things yet, you’re still working on the learning part!
July 13, 2017
Well, only for a month…I am headed to the Faroe Islands.
I am really excited about this trip, not because I know what I’ll find there, but because I have no idea what I’ll find.
I do no planning or research when I am planning my trips. I do not look at other people’s images from that area. I do not consult the travel guides for the “must see” sites. My only preparation for this trip consists of renting an apartment and car.
Because I want to go with a blank slate, with no preconceived ideas or expectations. I do not want to know how others have seen the Faeroes or photograph the same sites that everyone else has.
That’s my goal anyway. My hope is that I’ll see something there that inspires my imagination and which will result in a new portfolio.
I’ll not be posting much while I’m away, but I will post some iPhone snapshots each day on my Google+ and Facebook accounts:
- Google+ https://plus.google.com/+ColeThompsonPhoto
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColeThompsonPhotographer
I’ll be returning at the end of August.
See you then.
June 14, 2017
Photographer travels the world to capture black-and-white images
Cole Thompson work on display at Lincoln Gallery in June
By Kenneth Jessen
For the Reporter-Herald
POSTED: 06/14/2017 10:04:18 AM MDT
Photographer Cole Thompson enjoys the creative process. His “Moai Sitting for Portraits,” shot on Easter Island, will be on display for the month of June at the Lincoln Gallery. (KENNETH JESSEN / Loveland Reporter-Herald)
Read the full article here:
P.S. My thanks to Ken for such a nice article!
P.P.S. My special thanks for Ken for getting me to smile, I NEVER smile in photographs!
May 23, 2017
This is a “before and after” of the Jim Bridger Power Plant that I created recently.
The before does not differ a great deal from the after, but there are a few differences. Can you spot them?
Hint: the first change is abbreviated b&w.
I like to use the word “create” rather than “capture” when talking about my images.
Because a “capture” implies that the image is an accurate representation of reality, as the scene appeared to the camera and eye.
I like “create” because it suggests that the image is not accurate, but rather it has been created through my Vision into something new and different.
And when did the “Vision” for this image occur?
When I first saw this power plant from I-80 from several miles away. As soon as I saw it, the Vision of the final image appeared in my head and guided how I shot it, how I exposed it and how I processed it.
Vision was the driving force.
Why am I always mentioning Vision? Because it breaks my heart to see people chasing equipment, technique and gadgets…thinking that these things are key to creating a great image. Those things can certainly be “elements” of a great image, but not key and not even always necessary.
So please, focus on your Vision! I spent most of my photographic life pursuing the wrong things and was lucky to have a mentor who was even more bull-headed than I am, and argued that I did not need document, but rather I could create.
Thank you Vered.
May 18, 2017
May 14, 2017
My “Moai, Sitting for Portrait” series will be featured at the Lincoln Gallery in Loveland, CO for the month of June with an opening reception on June 9th.
Here is the artist statement for this series:
In January of 2015 I spent two weeks photographing the Moai of Easter Island. This fulfilled a lifelong dream, one that started when I was 17 and read the book “Aku Aku” by Thor Heyerdahl. I became fascinated with the Moai and they have been on my mind and influenced my art for these many years.
As I traveled to Easter Island and tried to imagine what I would encounter, something interesting happened: I fell asleep and dreamt that I had invited the Moai to come and sit for a formal portrait.
When I awoke I thought “why not?”
I knew there would be challenges: the Moai are reserved, aloof and almost unapproachable. They had suffered greatly at the hands of outsiders and the question was: would they come to trust me?
Distance was the first hurdle to be overcome: the island is small by automobile standards, but when we are talking about the Moai who walk everywhere, traversing the island to get to my makeshift studio could be difficult. Then there was the Moai’s physical condition: many were incapacitated by war and the ravages of time and could not make the journey. And how would I accommodate the size of the Moai, with some towering 33 feet tall?
Facing these challenges and armed with nothing more than a dream and hope, I issued the invitations…but would they come?
Initially only a few came; the younger and less suspicious ones. But slowly, as word spread of their experience, others started to arrive.
Photographing the Moai created some interesting situations: one older Moai refused to allow me to photograph his face and turned his back on the camera. Another arrived with a hawk and insisted on having his portrait taken with the bird atop his head. Several Moai with bullet wounds, inflicted by outsiders, insisted that I document those scars.
And there were tense moments, as two rival Moai came together face-to-face in the studio, but which ended well when they agreed to be photographed together. And there were touching moments as old friends were reunited after years of separation.
The Moai are quiet, stoic and could even been described as “stone-faced.” And it’s true, not once was I able to photograph a Moai smiling, but instead they have a dignified poise that transcends time.
Here are the exhibition details:
The Lincoln Gallery, 429 N. Lincoln Ave, Loveland, CO
Opening Reception: Friday, June 9th from 6 – 9 pm
Artist Talk: Friday, June 9th at 6:30 pm
If you are in the area, I hope to see you there!
May 11, 2017
I’ve just sent out Newsletter No. 99 with ten new “Dunes of Nude” images.
If you’re already subscribed to the newsletter…check your inbox!
If you’re not subscribed, subscribe here: SUBSCRIBE
May 3, 2017
Over the last couple of weeks I have had the pleasure to speak with Dasha from Alter-View.
The result is this interview:
April 18, 2017
If you’ll recall from a couple of weeks ago, I sent a print of this image to the Plant Manager of the Jim Bridger Power Plant. (you can read the story below)
I just received a nice note from him:
P.S. Here’s the original story:
I was heading to Death Valley by way of Wyoming when I spotted a huge steam plume to the north of I-80. It turned out to be the Jim Bridger Power Plant.
It was a cold and sunny day and the white water vapor almost glowed against the dark blue sky. I shot three exposures. My practice is to name my image the first thing that pops into my mind and so I named this “Jim Bridger Power Plant.” But what I wanted to name it was:
“No You Can’t, Yes I Can.”
And here’s why.
I was photographing for only a short time before a security guard drove up and said that I was not allowed to photograph the power plant. I’m used to this protective (yet ignorant) behavior and politely asked if I was on a county road or a private road, to which he responded “a county road.”
I then explained, still politely, that I was allowed to photograph the plant as long as I was not trespassing. The next exchange went like this:
“No you can’t. Yes I can.”
I could see that I was getting nowhere and so I asked him to call out the Sheriff to settle this dispute. I was hoping that he would be better versed in the law than the security guard, but from past experience I was giving it only a 50/50 chance.
About 20 minutes later several men arrived and one approached, introducing himself as the plant manager. (I was feeling bad now, for disrupting his day over something like this)
He proceeded to tell me that I could not photograph the plant, and I again asked if this was a county road or a private road to which he responded “a county road.” I again made it clear that I could photograph anything I wanted as long as I was not trespassing. Again the verbal dance:
“No you can’t. Yes I can.”
It was clear that this conversation was going about as far as the other and one so I offered to show him the images, to put his mind at rest that my activities were harmless. He accepted my offer and was quickly satisfied that there was no “clear and present danger.”
We ended the encounter by him explaining his post-911 concerns and I acknowledged those as legitimate. But I said, I still have the right to photograph the power plant….and around we went again!
“No you can’t. Yes I can.”
And that is why I wanted to name the image
“No you can’t, Yes I can.”
We ended the standoff, by agreeing to disagree.
I’m going to send him a print of this image, he was a nice guy who was just trying to ensure the safety of his power plant.