Dominique James, Photographer

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The blue of distance …

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Airscape #2

Airscape #2 • Photography by Dominique James

Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide To Being Lost:

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains.

Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.

I’m very pleased to share with you, these—come, take a look at a set of 22 photographs I call “Airscapes” at http://bit.ly/1neW8XU.

Also, if you aren’t subscribed yet, please consider signing up (and invite others to sign up as well) to my free short-and-sweet monthly photography email newsletter at http://eepurl.com/QBGCv. Thanks!

[Note: All photos from the official www.dominiquejames.com photography website are now directly available for download and print order for personal, editorial, and commercial use.]

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Thank you!

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Dominique James Photography

Dear, dear friends! Thank you, and a very warm welcome, to all new subscribers to my photography email newsletter. I truly appreciate your support.

You can expect the upcoming newsletter very soon. I hope you’ll like the pictures that I’m very excited to be sharing with you all.

To those who haven’t subscribed yet to my personally handcrafted newsletter, you can still sign up at http://eepurl.com/QBGCv. It won’t take a minute. Also, please feel free to ask others who might be interested to subscribe as well.

And, to make sure you see both new and previously unpublished photo collections, please visit my photography website at www.dominiquejames.com.

As always, I’d love to hear from you; email me at dominiquejames@mac.com.

Again, to both new and current subscribers, thank you! You guys are awesome!

Go West …

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USS Hornet (Photo by Dominique James)

USS Hornet (Photo by Dominique James)

I knew right away that I’d be staking a place in New York City when I moved to the United States in the fall of 2007. Part of the thrill of being an immigrant, of starting all over again, is that you can be who you want to be. I decided I want to be a New Yorker. At least, that was my plan.

But as you only all-too-well know, plans have a way of not happening as, well, planned.

Though I did live in New York for the better part of 5 years, I actually ended up traveling to many different places all over the continental United States. I traveled by plane, by train, by car, by boat, by bus.

Where did I go? Mostly, I went to places where I knew someone. Filipinos, after all, are really all over, in the US and in the world. With that as my sort-of-guide, off I went merrily gallivanting from place to place, spanning sea to shining sea.

The great state of California, which has the largest geographic concentration of Filipinos in the United States, happened to be one of those places. With a Filipino population of about 1.5 million (according to a 2010 census), it’s not entirely impossible for a Filipino American such as myself not to know someone.

And yes, it so happen that I know someone from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and actually, in most every where else in California—friends, associates, relations even! And along the way, I met even more Filipinos. (Filipinos love to get-together, to hang-out, and to party!)

I have so far traveled to California more than 3 times (one reason or the other), and I intend to keep going back every chance I get. In my trips, I’ve somewhat randomly snapped pictures of places where I’ve been to. I never had a firm photographic plan (not sure if I should regret this, remember what happens to plans?) or theme, for all the places I’ve gone to so far in California, that’s why my collection of pictures look eclectic at best. There’s really no storyline there if you’re looking for one, but rest assured, there’s a Filipino there, somewhere where I went. And  yes, I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

Come, take a look at my collection of West Coast photographs at http://bit.ly/1soVY2r

[Note: All photos from the official http://www.dominiquejames.com photography website are now directly available for download and print order for personal, editorial, and commercial use.]

30474

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30474

Gazebo By The Lake

In the fall of 2007, I migrated to the United States from the Philippines. I moved in with my family in the small town of Vidalia in Georgia.

My stay in Vidalia lasted only a couple of months. I went on to travel to several other American cities in both the East and the West coasts. Eventually, I settled in New York City.

By way of Interstate 16, Vidalia is nestled somewhere midway between Atlanta and Savannah, approximately three and two-hour drive each opposite way.

Vidalia’s zip code is 30474. It is one of two assigned to this somewhat sleepy American southern municipality. If you must know, the other is 30475.

Vidalia, the principal and largest city of a micropolitan area (as opposed to metropolitan area) in Toombs and Montgomery county, has a population of 10,971 living in a total land area of 17.4 square miles—that’s according to the year 2000 census, the latest available. It is serviced by one Wal-Mart superstore, open 24 hours, in a location rumored to be where the first sweet Vidalia onions were grown.

Yes, if there is one thing Vidalia is famous for, and appropriately recognized by the food channel and the cooking network, it is the sweet white onion. Vidalia’s sweet white onion is in fact guaranteed by an official trademark. From historical accounts, we have farmer Mose Coleman to thank for, who in the early 1930s, made the observation that the white onions he was growing in Vidalia was much sweeter than any grown elsewhere.

Each spring, around mid-April, in honor of Coleman’s discovery, the annual Vidalia Onion Festival is celebrated. This year, it will be its 37th—with a parade, a rock concert, a cooking contest, and several other onion-themed activities—all in sweet anticipation of the bountiful harvest of the state’s official vegetable. Of course, Vidalia is also very well known for pecan and tobacco, but somehow these two other crops have been eclipsed in popularity by the incredible sweetness of its white onions.

Compared to a lot of other American cities and towns, there isn’t that many pictures of Vidalia, and the ones that you will most likely come across are typically of obscure historical nature. Very, very few, if any at all, are pictures of contemporary Vidalia. It’s as if people just didn’t bother enough to take any picture at all for quite some time. There is a palpable gap.

And so, after returning from New York City where I lived for almost 4 years, I decided to undertake a personal project: to take pictures of Vidalia. I went around a few days merrily snapping away with a pocketable Leica, all the while doing my best to ignore the often curious stares of locals peering out of trucks, perhaps baffled by what it is exactly I’m doing, pointing and shooting at all directions and all angles. In any case, my primary goal was to give Vidalia its cache of contemporary images.

From this, I was able to produce a modest collection of color images of present-day Vidalia, my personal photographic ode to a city so named by Central of Georgia’s president, William M. Wadley, at the time when the town was first founded in the 1880s, in honor of his daughter, Vidalia Wadley.

The resulting collection of Vidalia photographs from my little excursion is by no means exhaustive. I don’t even have a picture of onions! There’s more to Vidalia than a few days worth of photo go-arounds in a single season by a single camera-toting individual. What I came up with is a glimpse of what and who she is. I’ve managed to capture only a facet, so to speak. Hopefully, Vidalia residents and visitors alike with cameras will be inspired to follow suit and take pictures in order to come up with a bigger, more complete picture. For sure, and in time, many fascinating, intriguing things will be revealed.

There is one song you may have never heard of that pays tribute to Vidalia—the city, not the daughter—a 1996 song by Sammy Kershaw entitled, what else but, Vidalia.

Hopefully, though not musical by any means like Kershaw’s tribute, but through a visual essay, I am able to pay tribute to Vidalia as well.

So, come and take a look at my pictures of Vidalia, here.

[Note: All photos from the Dominique James Photography website are now available for download and print order for personal, editorial, and commercial use.]

Homeless, no more …

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Screenshot 2014-02-28 10.50.45

For a longest time, my pictures online can be seen here, there and everywhere, but in fact, nowhere. I can point you a link here, there and everywhere, but where to really look can get really very confusing, really very fast.

The way it’s been going on, and the way I’ve been carrying on, you can say that I’ve been squatting online in too many places for far too long.

Of course, I’ve always wanted to have one of those incredibly beautiful, professional-looking online photography websites that many famous photographers have, where you can go and see all of my pictures. And believe me, it’s not because for the lack of trying. I tried it this way and that way, and then another way. But it just didn’t happen quite like I wanted it to.

I’ve known all along since early 2008, when I was living in New York City, that there is this one perfectly elegant way for me to do it.

The very first time (and the only time) I attended a group meeting of a small, special-interest photo club in New York that I was thinking of joining in the fall of 2008, Allen Murabayashi happened to be the guest speaker. He gave a talk about the best way for a professional photographer to establish an online presence. Yes, he was pitching PhotoShelter, of which he is the co-founder and chairman, but everything he said made very apparent sense to me. His talk definitely resonated with me, and I must have decided more than a hundred times thereafter that I’m going to go with PhotoShelter. Of course, it helped that Allen was so good-looking in his freshly-pressed white shirt when he delivered his talk.

I don’t know how many of the dozen or so people listening to Allen that afternoon signed up with PhotoShelter’s service, but I did sign up, and I did try their 14-day free offer. However, I didn’t follow through. Somehow, I was skeptical and hesitant, and I resisted the idea for as long as I can. I was always coming up with excuses, which was (thinking about it now), unnecessary and senseless. But all those times, through several photo projects and a number of photo industry events where PhotoShelter was represented, from New York to Atlanta, I never stopped thinking and considering an online presence with PhotoShelter.

In fact, I went on to constantly compare PhotoShelter with the many other online offerings of doing the same thing; and the more I did, the more I was convinced that going with PhotoShelter was not only the right way, but it was the best way. Always, and in comparison, all the other services fell short.

And so, about 5 years down the road, fast-forward to today, I told myself, enough of putting up pictures here, there and everywhere, but instead put everything together already in one, single place—a certain place online where you can see all of my pictures all at once, both new and old.

That place online, my place, on PhotoShelter, is now up. You can see it at www.dominiquejames.com.

With PhotoShelter’s Beam, each and every photograph in my portfolio is beautifully exhibited. But other than just providing an “exquisite wrapper” for my pictures online, PhotoShelter is doing many behind-the-scenes heavy-lifting that makes it easy and practical for an independent professional photographer such as myself to have a really amazing online presence. What’s more is that I can now focus and concentrate on being a photographer. And, more importantly, viewers now have a beautiful experience looking at my pictures, and directly from within my website, an easy, convenient and safe way of ordering photo prints and licensing the images for personal, editorial and commercial use.

Yup, my online squatting days are over.  I’m proud of my new online home. With PhotoShelter, my pictures are homeless no more.

How to work through the Camera Raw dilemma

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Dave Johnson, TechHive:

All great debates are framed by at least two compelling, often contradictory choices: Mac vs. PC, Beatles vs. Stones, oatmeal raisin vs. chocolate chip. If you have a digital SLR or an advanced compact camera, you can make just such a choice when it comes to what format in which to save your photos. Most cameras default to the common JPEG format (and if you have a smartphone or very basic point and shoot, that’s probably your only choice). There’s a good chance your camera also offers a Raw option as well, though. You’ve probably heard that it is a higher quality option than JPEG, but comes with tradeoffs of its own. Should you take it? There’s no one right answer; it depends upon how you tend to edit and use your photos. It might be helpful to take a step back and discuss the differences between the two formats.

Written by dominiquejames

May 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

How to minimize noise in digital photos

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Dave Johnson, TechHive:

In the days before digital photography, seemingly every corner store had rack upon rack of film on display. Each roll of film was marked with a speed—measured in ISO—such as 100, 200, or 400. Higher-speed film was handy for low-light photography, but it had a serious disadvantage: grain.

Film grain was every photographer’s nemesis. Instead of smooth, natural textures, grain put ugly blotches all over a photo. And though the days of grainy photos are far behind us, digital photos have a similar problem: digital noise.

You’ve undoubtedly seen noise in your own photos. On the plus side, noise tends to be very small; and when you view a many-megapixel photo on a computer screen, pixel-size noise is so small that it usually disappears into the background. You might look at a very noisy photo and not even know it. Noise becomes apparent, though, when you zoom in—if you crop it down to a small detail, for example, or if you attempt to make a large print. Let’s learn how to control noise.

Written by dominiquejames

April 23, 2013 at 6:00 PM

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