I’m an explorer. I look to create a world on the canvas of the ground glass of my camera. As I look around, I let go of my thoughts and get to a place of intuition and feeling. I never know what will catch my eye and resonate within. Whatever object is on my ground glass is like a skeleton. It provides the structure of the world I create. Built upon the structure on the canvas is the quality and direction of the light. The shapes, textures, and patterns draw me into my ground glass world surrounded by four walls. I work on my canvas, making small adjustments, getting everything just right. What to include? What to leave out? At some point, it feels right and I make the exposure.
Back in my studio I again let go of my thoughts and go to a place of intuition and feeling as I begin working with the slide or negative. I now have my canvas world to work and play in. What do I want to emphasize? What is less important? Changing the black and white tones and raising or lowering contrast in different parts of the canvas, I refine the world I am creating. Some changes are drastic; others are minor. Sometimes the changes just flow easily and quickly. Other times, it is a struggle, with many dead ends. The road is never straight and I must listen carefully to hear where the image wants to go.
I see my image-making as an attempt to find and create beauty out of the visual layers in the world. I particularly enjoy looking at ordinary things and by looking more closely and visually extracting a part of what I see, finding a new visual world within the larger "ordinary" world. Often the result is greater simplicity in my subject with one or two elements becoming the theme of the work. When all the elements of the image-making process come together, magic happens……
My intent with photography is to create an emotional reaction where I draw the viewer into the image. Ideally, I would like to grab them emotionally even before they can respond to the “thing” of the image on an intellectual level. Without the reference point of “what the subject is”, they can then let go and visually explore an image. They are able to experience the image on a gut level and create any personal meaning for themselves from the inside out."
Maligne Lake Boathouse Star Composite (Post Image)
Nikon D800, 20mm Nikkor lens. Milky Way: ISO 3200, f/2.8, 20 seconds. Boathouse: ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1 second. Gitzo G1258 Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ball Head.
I wanted an image of the Milky Way with the lit boathouse at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Canada. With a 20 second exposure, the Boathouse would be totally blown out so I made two exposures, one for the Milky Way and the second for the Boathouse. Bringing both images into Photoshop I converted them to black & white using a green filter. In Camera Raw, I pushed the Dehaze filter and Clarity sliders to the right to bring out the Milky Way. I masked the Boathouse to combine the two images to create this scene.
4x5 Wisner Wooden Field Camera, TMAX 100 ISO Film, Nikkor 90mm lens, f/45, 4 seconds, Gitzo G320 Tripod, Bogen 3047 Tilt-Shift Head, Developed in TMAX-RS Plus One Development.
I was in Southern California in 1996 hiking through Torrey Pines State Park when I found this tree. My memory of the tree is that it was very large. I carefully composed the image to take in the sweeping lines of the tree without any visible sky. In post-processing, I burned down the upper right of the image to keep the viewer’s eye on the tree. Upon returning to Torrey Pines years later I was surprised to find the same tree was only three feet tall.
Olmstead Point Rocks
Nikon D800 24mm Nikon Tilt-Shift Lens f3.5 ISO 100 1/20th second Gitzo G1258 Tripod Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ball Head
I was on Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park in June 2013 and stopped at Olmstead Point. I saw the lines in the granite going up to the tree. I was careful to line up the lines in the rocks, the large rock, and the lone tree in this image. Using my tilt-shift lens I was able to bring all elements into focus. In post-processing, I converted the image to black & white in Photoshop using a red filter. I further locally darkened the sky and lightened the foreground rocks so that the viewer’s eye would start at the bottom of the frame, travel up to the large boulder, and end at the tree.
Great Sand Dunes
Nikon D300, 18-200mm Nikon lens at 170mm, ISO 100, f/19, 1/20th second, Gitzo G1258 Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ball Head.
This image was made in the early morning of May 2008 at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. The sky was bright blue and the low sun was lighting up the dunes on the right side while the left side of the dunes was in shadow. I converted the image to black & white in Photoshop using a red filter which darkened the featureless sky to create a graphic look. The image needed little adjustment other than slightly darkening the highlights to bring out more detail.
Nikon D810, 80-400 mm Nikkor lens at 400mm, f/27, 0.5 seconds, ISO 200, Really Right Stuff TVC-34 Tripod & BH-55 Ball Head.
I was on a trip up the Oregon Coast in May 2016 and stopped at Seal Rock Wayside, one of my favorite places on the Oregon Coast. I was fascinated by the surf crashing over the rocks and wanted to capture the water as it went back to the sea. Bringing the image into Photoshop, I converted it to black and white using a yellow filter and increased the contrast in the falling water. I also darkened the surf in the upper left to make it darker than the falling water.
Nikon D810, 28-300 mm Nikon lens at 45mm, f/19, 1/20th second, ISO 100, Really Right Stuff TVC-34 Tripod & BH-55 Ball Head.
I took a trip to the Palouse region of southeast Washington State in September 2016. We spent four days exploring back roads. On this day, I saw this cloud at the same time that I saw the ploughed field. Setting up my camera & tripod in the field I lined up the plough lines to lead to the cloud overhead. I converted the image to black and white in Photoshop using a deep red filter to darken the sky and create more contrast in the shadows in the ploughed field. I brightened the foreground and increased contrast in the foreground and sky to create a graphic look.
Blue Iceberg In Fog Greenland
Nikon D810, 28-300 mm Nikon lens at 145mm, f/11, 1/1500 second, ISO 1100.
I was on a trip to southeast Greenland this past September. We spent four days on motorboats going up and down fiords. One day with low clouds we spotted this bright blue iceberg floating in the water. Circling around the iceberg we made many images. This image is one of my favorites with the clouds in the background and the reflection in the almost still waters. In the afternoon returning to Tasiilaq we found the iceberg, but the magic was gone. I converted the image to black and white in Photoshop using a green filter. I lightened the low clouds and raised the contrast in the water reflection to lead the viewer’s eye up to the iceberg.
Nikon D810, 28-300 mm Nikon lens at 28mm, f/16, 1/2000 second, ISO 3200.
We were on motorboats out in the open ocean returning from photographing in a fiord in the late afternoon when we spotted this magnificent iceberg. Circling around it for almost an hour I was shooting continuously. In this image, I captured the small icebergs in the foreground and the streaked clouds in the sky above the iceberg. I converted the image to black and white in Photoshop using a yellow filter. I lightened the foreground small icebergs and the water. I darkened the right side of the image to help keep the viewer’s eye in the frame. Additionally I darkened and increased contrast in the sky to accentuate the cloud lines.
Bob Neiman is currently based in Delray Beach Florida. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group juried shows across the U. S. since 1996. He was a Merit Award winner in 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2008, and 2006 Black & White Magazine Portfolio Contests and a winner in 2018, 2017, 2016, & 2015 Single Image Contests in Black & White Magazine. He has won recognition in the Black & White Spider Awards for the last five years and the International Color Awards for the last two years. His photographic images were included in the 2008 SilverShotz Folio Edition and he was an Artist Showcase Award Winner in the Manhattan Arts International Summer 1998 International 7th Annual Competition. Bob has been pursuing his passion in photography since 1991. He is primarily self-taught. His personal work includes landscapes, abstracts, manmade objects, interiors, trees & botanicals.