Friday, September 30, 2011

“Messenger” Single Released by the J.O.B. (The Jim O’Ferrell Band)

JOB Messenger Album Art

Run, don’t walk to the J.O.B. website, or itunes and get your copy of the new single “Messenger.”  The J.O.B. has once again created something truly special you are certain to enjoy.

Sure, I have a slight bias – I like seeing my photography pop up on my iPhone when the song comes on.  But for the moment I will put my bias aside and tell you these guys are beyond good, and this song highlights their strengths as musicians and story tellers.

The lyrics are haunting, and represent another great example of artistic story telling set to music that deftly amplifies the message and the mood.  The gritty voice and acoustic guitar of Jim O’Ferrell are perfectly supported and echoed by the original craftsmanship of lead guitarist Jason Crawford.

This song is a must have for your music collection.  Like I said, run, don’t walk to the J.O.B. website and support this refreshingly original band.

Finally, I would love to hear your thoughts on the cover art with respect to how the photography compliments the music.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Silver Efex Pro 2–Comparison of a Few Photographs

Crab Boat at Piney Point-Edit

I have been viewing Silver Efex Pro with a touch of envy for quite some time.  Recently, Nik Software released Silver Efex Pro 2, and I finally made the commitment.  I am so happy I did.

Crab Boat at Piney Point

For the regular readers, my bias toward black and white photography is no great surprise.  After having played with Silver Efex Pro for just a few minutes (literally!), I can’t believe I was so cheap that I did not purchase this software earlier.

Black Stinger-Edit-Edit

Until now, all my black and white conversions were accomplished in Adobe Lightroom.  I have been pleased with the results.  But this satisfaction is like having enjoyed hamburgers your entire life without the knowledge of the bliss that comes from adding sautéed onions, mushrooms, and cheese.  With these new ingredients, you can never return to a plain hamburger.

Black Stinger

The real case for Silver Efex Pro 2 is the incredible level of control it provides during the conversion to black and white.  This post is not intended to be a tutorial or review of all the Silver Efex Pro 2 features, but suffice it to say the possibilities are accessible, expansive, and exciting.

Dock to Saint Clement's Island-Edit

I have included two versions of each photograph to highlight some of the capabilities of Silver Effex Pro 2.  In each case, I have placed the version from Silver Efex Pro 2 first, and the original Adobe Lightroom conversion second.

Dock to Saint Clement's Island

in each case, I spent less than two minutes in Silver Effex Pro 2.  I selected one of the presets, applied a couple of global adjustments, and one or two local adjustments.  Local adjustments are accomplished through “control points” that allow a great deal of local flexibility including easy dodging and burning.

Union Station Great Hall Silver

I am looking forward to spending some satisfying time learning the real capabilities of Silver Effex Pro 2. In the mean time, I am extremely pleased with the ability to improve my black and white conversions with very little effort and knowledge.

Union Station Great Hall

If you are a fan of black and white photography, Silver Efex Pro 2 is definitely a tool you will want.  Even the round trip from Lightroom to Silver Efex Pro 2 will not be an annoyance once you experience your new level of black and white conversion control.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saint Clement’s Island Maryland

Blackistone Lighthouse

On March 25, 1634, the first English settlers under the Baltimore proprietorship sailed to Saint Clement's Island on the Ark and the Dove.  March 25 is now commemorated as Maryland day.  The settlers chose Saint Clements island because as an island it offered a natural element of security and was initially believed that the 640 acre island could support the settlement.  The settlers soon determined the island was not sufficiently large, but remained on the island while they negotiated with the Yaocomico indians for land to establish a permanent settlement.

One of the fascinating facts about the island is that the 640 acres found by the English settlers has eroded over the past nearly 400 years to its present size of 40 acres.  The shores of the island have since been stabilized with stone bulwark to preserve the remaining 40 acres.

Dock to Saint Clement's Island

The island has a long history that included a base of operations for blockading the Chesapeake bay during the revolutionary war, a strategically important site during the civil war, attempts to turn it into a resort island with a grand hotel for vacationers from Washington, an Army installation, artillery range, home to an important navigation aid, cannery, farmland, and a steamboat landing.

St. Clement’s Island, or Blackistone Island, as it was called for nearly 200 years, became an important location for wartime blockades. During the Revolutionary War, the British used the island as a base of operations, supporting a blockade of the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, while looting the nearby waterfront plantations. The British again took possession of the island during the War of 1812.

Blackistone Lighthouse-1

Dr. Joseph L. McWilliams took possession of the island through a land trade deal in 1850 shortly after the federal government had appropriated funds to erect a lighthouse on the south end of the island.  At this time the island was known as Blackstone Island, and the lighthouse built was duly named Blackstone light.  During the Civil War, the lighthouse made St. Clement’s Island very important to the Union blockade, which attempted to stop the flow of supplies into Virginia from southern sympathizers.

Cross and Blackistone Lighthouse

In 1864, Confederates launched a raid to dynamite the lighthouse. But due to the pregnancy and health of the keeper’s wife, the commander chose only to destroy the lens and the lamp, and take the oil. The Blackistone Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1932. Its interior was destroyed by fire in 1956, and the Navy razed the remaining walls a short while later.  Community organizers reconstructed the lighthouse in 2005 in close proximity to the 40 foot cross commemorating the settlers and their search for religious freedom.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Aerostars at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo 2011


This is my third and final post from photography taken at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo 2011.  If you missed the first two installments, here are the links:


One of the aspects of shooting the Aerostars and the Blue Angels I really enjoyed was the ability to eliminate all the distracting elements that might enter the composition and focus on the beauty of the performance.  The compositions are clean – sky, smoke trails, and planes.  Simple and unconfused.


Even better, from a photographic perspective, the day was uniformly overcast with no discernable clouds to muddle up the shot.  In general, I am a big fan of large dramatic cloud formations – particularly for landscape photography.  For street photography and other types of shots, overcast is perfect because it makes for nice soft light even during the middle of the day.  Although this certainly is not street photography, the soft overcast worked wonderfully.


Speaking of street photography, this past weekend we enjoyed an afternoon at the H Street Festival (H Street NE, Washington DC).  Check back later this week for some words and photography from this fantastically food filled urban festival.


Until we visit the Air Expo next summer, I hope you enjoyed this photography.


Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Launch of New Web Gallery for Craig Corl Photography and My Philosophy of Selling Photography


For the last year I have been playing around with setting up a web gallery for viewing and sale of my best photography.  One such test site is a gallery dedicated to Southern Maryland photography; Southern Maryland Photography by Craig Corl.  The Southern Maryland Photography gallery has a beautifully clean interface and is hosted by SmugMug.  I chose SmugMug based on recommendations from fellow photographers who had flattering things to say about the interface, ease of use, and the ability for visitors to purchase photography directly from the site.  All I had to do was sit back and let the money roll in.

I have been very happy with SmugMug and have sold a respectable number of prints.  Here is the catch – while I am paying for e-commerce capability and integrated printing, all of my sales have involved personal contact.  I have yet to make a sale and have the proceeds miraculously show up in my bank account.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and actually prefer the personal interaction.  But why am I paying for these unused services?  I believe one of the reasons I am not riding the auto-deposit wave is that ordering a print can be a daunting task.  There are tons of options with respect to the print medium, size, price, mounting hardware, framing, etc. that would make even a serious photographer’s well trained eyes cross in confusion.  Compound this with the fact that most of the people purchasing my photography simply find something appealing and would like to have it hanging on the walls of their home.  They are not photographers and find dealing with ordering photography as appealing as filling out their tax statements.  The 1040EZ form is a piece of cake compared to ordering a print.

I find the person to person method much more approachable.  Not only do the buyers get to talk to me directly about the photography and develop a relationship, but I can cut through the mind numbing photography purchasing maze and offer some advice based on what they are trying to achieve.  Framing materials, paper, printing process, matt color and size, grouping, etc., are all things I can either help solve or make completely transparent to the buyer.  Oh, and to make things even worse, only about 50% of my photography is a standards size.  In other words, I am a firm believer in cropping photography to achieve the desired composition.  This approach nearly always results in non-standard proportions.  Not all printing companies deal with custom sizes easily…death to online sales.  In the end, it makes more sense to deal at a personal level, and along the way, we may even get together and have a glass of wine.

Another important aspect of online sales is pricing.  When I set up the Southern Maryland Photography gallery, I set prices for each photograph proportioned to the print size.  Blanket pricing such as this runs contrary to my philosophy of selling photography.  Blanket pricing puts quality photography out of the reach of many household budgets.  I prefer a pricing model that is aligned with what people are capable of paying.  Printing and framing are not inexpensive and can still be a challenge for many people.  However, I am committed to do may part to make art more financially accessible with my model of “pay what you can.”  This model is a sum of three components:

  1. The cost of printing and framing.
  2. A small margin for my effort of ordering and shipping/delivery.
  3. Pay what you can to the artist.

The third component is the only variable, and I have yet to be disappointed.  I have sold prints, shot family portraits, shot events, and made personal and professional portraits based on this model and have been more or less fairly compensated in every instance.  Those who could not afford what might be considered “market rates” were balanced by those who were grateful enough to be generous.  I find that people want to be treated fairly and generally feel the same obligation to treat others fairly.  So until I am consistently and dreadfully proven otherwise, I plan on sticking to the “pay what you can” philosophy.  I don’t want to discount the value of the artist – me – in making the photography, but I want to create a just space where people can afford access to art while fairly compensating the artist.

Without the benefit of a catchy segue, I return to the subject of my new photography gallery.  I have decided to host the best of my portfolio on  I am still building the gallery, but you can visit Craig Corl Photography to see the work in process.  You cannot buy my photography from this site.  However, you can take the preferred route of finding photography that appeals to you, contact me, and we can chat.


For those of you who have visited Southern Maryland Photography by Craig Corl and are considering a purchase, don’t worry.  The site will remain active through the end of the month (September 2011).  Most of the photography from Southern Maryland Photography by Craig Corl will migrate to the Craig Corl Photography gallery.

When you get the opportunity, visit my web gallery – Craig Corl Photogrpahy – and let me know what you think.  Your thoughts on my pricing model are equally welcome.

Have fun and go make some great photography.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue Angels at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo 2011

Blue Angels-37

Photographing an air show is nothing but fun.  Shooting it on my farther-in-law's boat at the end of the runway with a cigar and glass of wine is even better!  This is my second installment from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River and features some photography of the Navy’s Blue Angels performance.  I had intended to save this for the last in a series of posts, but found I could wait no longer.

Blue Angels-35

I did not fact check the story, but I was told the Blue Angels fly essentially “stock” F-18s that have exceeded the number of allowable carrier landings.  In other words, carrier capable aircraft have a limit to the number of landings they can perform.  Upon reaching this limit they are retired from carrier duty for what I would guess is structural safety concerns.  Makes sense.  However, what makes less sense is that once they have seen the end of their useful carrier service, they are turned over to the Blue Angels.

Blue Angels-12

I don’t know about you, but if I were pulling the maneuvers these highly skilled jet jockeys were making, I would not be excited about flying a “leftover.”  Regardless of the planes they are flying, the Blue Angels put on a great show.  Here are a few more shots of their performance.

Blue Angels-14

Blue Angels-36

Blue Angels-22

Blue Angels-34

Blue Angels-25

Blue Angels-15

Blue Angels-33

Blue Angels-9

Blue Angels-31

Blue Angels-38

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Final Album Artwork for The J.O.B. Single – Messenger

JOB Messenger Album Art

I am very excited to share with you the new album artwork for the soon to be released single “Messenger” by The J.O.B (Jim O’Ferrell Band).  I have been working with lead guitarist Jason Crawford over the last couple of months to compose an image that provides a visual background for the lyrics.  As we progressed through the project, I posted several times to discuss the process and give a behind the scenes look at the creative process that ultimately led to the final product you see above.  For the full history, visit these posts:

So the purpose of this post is to wrap a bow around the project and recap the fun highlights of the creative process.  First of all, although Jason and I have never met, it was a real pleasure working with him.  Projects like this are always more enjoyable when you are working with good people.  I’m sure we will get together sometime for a beer or maybe Jason will venture up to DC for one of my signature wine pairings.

The great challenge and fun of this project was creating an image that evoked the essence of the lyrics.  We started by Jason sending the lyrics (sorry, still can’t share those, but the single will be out in a couple of weeks – check iTunes or visit The J.O.B. website).  What I can say is that the lyrics speak to a deep level of connection between people – much of it unsaid and below our radar of our consciousness.  Jason then pointed out a couple of the photos from this blog that hint at the concept and sent a couple of photos from other sources he was also attracted to.  Armed with this information I began shooting.  I actually shot quite a bit, but only sent those photos for consideration that I thought reflected the heart of the lyrics.

Adding to the fun and challenge of creating the “right” photograph was the fact that I was dealing with abstract ideas – and I had no idea of the music supporting these very powerful lyrics.  While the lyrics are full of vivid images, they remain abstract until the shutter is clicked and the band starts playing.  In the end, Jason selected the photograph below.

Rush Hour Ghosts-1

This shot was created by setting up my camera on a tripod and taking a series of shots as people moved in front of me.  The shots were all set at a sufficiently slow shutter speed to blur as the people walked by.  I then combined the photos by masking in the passing people while the background remained static.  My interpretation of this photograph in the context of the lyrics is an unseen connection between the people as we race through life unaware until someone illuminates those connections.

Having become a fan of The J.O.B. and their uniquely enjoyable style of Americana Rock, I encourage you to find them on iTunes, pull out your coin jar, and purchase “Messenger” when it is released in a couple weeks.  I have not yet heard the final production, but these guys are good and put a great deal of thought and talent into their passion for music.  I am confident it will get 5 stars on my iPhone playlist.

I hope to continue this creative relationship with Jason and The J.O.B. and soon be writing about the next single release in the coming months.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

B-25 Panchito at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo 2011


I had a great photography weekend.  In addition to several wine pairings that will soon show up on Craig’s Grape Adventure, I took advantage of some great photographic opportunities at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo 2011, along with a visit to Saint Clement’s Island.  I will be share more of this photography over the next week.

Panchito Guns

For today, I am focusing on a few photographs of Panchito, a World War II era B-25 bomber.  Panchito is one of the few remaining near 10,000 B-25s that were produced before and during World War II.  The Panchito and B-25 Mitchell have a long and storied history including the Panchito flying on the day of Nagasaki bombing with a view of the mushroom cloud, and one that crashed into the Empire State Building in the fog in 1945.

Panchito Guns-1

Come back soon for more photography from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo 2011static display as well as some photography of the Blue Angels in action.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Union Station and Washington DC Metro: Repetition as Leading Lines

Union Station Metro

I have written separately about using leading lines in photographic composition and repetition as a composition tool.  In this post, we have examples of the two composition techniques in combination.  In other words, examples of repetition forming leading lines that draw the viewers eye through the photograph.  In the first example, a photograph of the Union Station Metro, there are leading lines in abundance – the ceiling pattern, escalator, train tracks, and the ceiling seams.

We are naturally drawn to consciously or subconsciously discern patterns – it gives us another level of information about our environment.  When repetition and leading lines are combined in photography, the result can be very compelling.

Farragut North

In the second example, taken at the Farragut North Metro Station, we have some of the same elements along with the dimples, lights, and tiles in the floor.

Union Station Arches

Moving outside of Union Station, the repetition of arches and lamps again form leading lines that guide your eye through the photograph.

Capital Bike Share

Finally, moving a bit further outside of Union Station, the line of bikes at the Capital Bikeshare rack are yet another example of repetition forming a leading line.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.