Will Gibson Photography | Blog

From time to time I hope to share news, inspirations, techniques, and observations as they occur to me. I expect to mostly stick to photography and the arts, but it is not my nature to travel a linear path.  I hope that whatever the topic at hand, you will find these pages worth reading.   WmG.

Call for Students: Alternative Processes class Photo 216

April 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

This year the Palomar College Photo Department has scheduled an Alternative Processes class for Intersession for the first time. I’m pleased to have been selected to teach it. Intersession is the four weeks between the Spring and Summer sessions, starting May 20. The signup period just opened on April 29.  It will be a total-immersion experience, as a whole semester’s class will be completed in just 4 weeks. The schedule lists the class as Tuesday through Friday, primarily because the class starts on a Tuesday. Actual days can be adjusted (i.e. Mon –Thurs) by class consensus.

My experience with this class in Summer 2011 tells me this class could be even better. We will have our area of the F Building all to ourselves that will allow us to modify the lab for our purposes without having to make way for other classes in between. Once students start printing, there’s an energy that’s hard to duplicate in a regular term. Because the coating of the printing paper can be done in low-level tungsten light, there’s a social aspect of camaraderie and sharing of techniques that is hard to duplicate in a silver gelatin darkroom.

Below is a promo piece I made for the class with more information. If you are interested and have any questions, please email me at wgibson@palomar.edu or willgibson@cox.net.








The Survivor Series: Platinum / Palladium Prints

January 25, 2013  •  2 Comments

Last summer I revisited a marvelous Ponderosa Pine that I had photographed in 2008. With an improved camera and lens and an improved plan, I took another stab at capturing the character of the tree I call the Survivor. It has been in at least one fire and I suspect has been hit by lightning. Living at over 10,000 feet elevation it has indeed had a hard life. The scars of that life have a strong beauty that I was trying to capture. The images on this post are photographs of 5 platinum / palladium prints in mats, right before being framed.




The wood underneath bark that had been taken off for whatever reason has a great variety of textures and shapes. Although I (and my patient hiking partner) spent over two hours there, there is plenty more visual gold to mine. 




Technically, these are digital captures utilizing focus stacking technique. Because the depth of field of any lens is minimized as one focuses closer and closer, in many instances, it was impossible to get the entire image in focus in one shot. So a series of images is taken moving the focus slightly between each one. Then in software these images are stacked together in layers and the program selects the sharp bits of each layer. If done right, the final image is in extremely sharp focus throughout the image. Most of my butterfly images on the website are done this way.


Vincent Munch


In recent years I have been more and more involved in alternative processes for myself and in my roll as an instructor at Palomar College. So when I was asked to be part of a group exhibit of black and white photography at the Ordover Gallery at the San Diego Natural History Museum, it was a logical but not easy choice to hang platinum / palladium prints as my addition to the party. The images are roughly 12 x 16 inches, twice the size I had attempted previously. It took me quite a while to be able to coat the paper well at that size, but I was very pleased with the results once I got the hang of it.




I used more palladium than platinum in the mixture of chemistry to bring out a warm tone to compliment the subject. Potassium oxalate developer at 110 degrees also helped get the tone I was looking for. I found that while I don't miss working in the silver print darkroom, I really have enjoyed the hands on, tactile part of the platinum printing process. Commercially available platinum papers ceased production in 1930, so one has to coat the paper oneself. I like exploring the characteristics of the coating and make it part of the final image. In this case, I have coated the chemistry just beyond the edge of the negative resulting in the thin black 'key' lines framing each print. This and other factors make each print unique and disernable from other prints made from the same negative. Although I love the precision and quality of the inkjet pigment prints I can make, this process is more satisfying. More work and more susceptible to all sorts of factors, but more satisfying. I plan to do more in the near future.


Original Topographics


The show poster I made for this exhibit is below. The opening is Saturday Jan 26 from 11 am to 1 pm. If you can't make the opening, the exhibit becomes part of the museum as a whole and an entry fee is required except on the first Tuesday of each month.



Alternatives: Daguerreotypes to Digital

May 26, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

As part of the City of Vista Strawberry Festival this Sunday, May 27 (http://vistastrawberryfest.com/) the will be an open house and reception for Alternatives: Daguerreotypes to Digital photo show within the Vista Wellness Center, http://crwellnesscenter.com 115 Main St. in Vista. Larny Mack and owner Maureen Barrack have put together an ambitious and varied exhibit. The show spans the entire history of photography from a collection of 19th century Daguerrotypes (courtesy of Jack Quintero) to the latest innovations within the digital realm. I am showing samples of three bodies of work. I have six platinum/palladium prints, made using 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 film negatives, the Jordan's Garage print shown on this website, and my first four prints from the butterfly macros I've been working on. 

Above Alberta Falls

Among the other PAG members showing, Kim Hirsch has both Polaroid manipulations and palladium prints. Diana Fowler has a number of Polaroid lifts in combination frames among others. Eric Johnson has two very large impressionistic canvases. a lovely painted rose and a glowing (literally) image stacked shot from Queen Califia's Sculpture Garden. Theresa Jackson is showing a dozen iPad images, shot and worked on the iPad, framed appropriately in  faux life-sized iPads. Andrew Szikla has three of his impressionistic Koi images from his Nishikigoi series.  There are even photo micrographs from Norm Olson. Mary Waring, Viki Strand, Sing Baker, Jack Quintero, Fred Marinello, and Irv Liefberg fill out the show. (I hope I haven't left any one out).

The reception/open house will be from 10 am - 4 pm this Sunday. The Strawberry Festival should be in full swing. So come on down, there will be plenty to do and see.I will be there from about 10:30 am to 1 pm.  I hope to see you there.

Portraiture Class Spring 2012 Exhibit: One Night Only

May 11, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

This semester I have taught a very talented and mostly diligent group of students for Portraiture (Photo 225) at Palomar College. We had our last class on Wednesday and finished up critiquing their portfolios. Because I have all this good work over the 2nd Saturday weekend, I asked for and received permission to show their work in Studio 3 at ArtHatch in Escondido. It will be for tomorrow, Saturday May 12 only (6-10pm), but I think it's worth the effort to give their work a broader audience. Some highlights of images follow....

Both Jenny Veloz and Shaun Hagan concentrated on high key images. And both printed on matte paper to great effect. I hadn't fully realized before how appropriate that choice is. You get the smooth silky textures that matte papers are known for, but because there is typically very few important shadows in a high key image, you avoid the main drawback of a matte surface; loss of shadow detail. Both of them were able to maintain excellent subtle tones in the very brightest areas. I hope these read well on your monitor. (Remember, all images are copyrighted, all rights reserved.)

One of Jenny's self-portraits...



And a page spread from Shaun Hagen's hand made book, 


Guillermo Escamilla created a number of diptychs with a variety of looks. This is one that may show best here.


Malia Dadez has developed a contemporary style for her wedding and portrait business. 


And a last example is Charles Lugtu, who audited the class this semester. He took the class last year and has really applied himself above and beyond the norm. His portfolio was almost exclusively shot on 4x5 film, then scanned and processed digitally. He has really learned to get the most from each exposure.

These are only a sampling of the individuals and images that will be on display Saturday night 6-10pm at Studio 3 inside the ArtHatch building, 317 East Grand Avenue. I will finish hanging them in the morning, but there will be more than 40 images from about 16 photographers. It's always a good gathering on Second Saturday in Escondido. Distinction Gallery in ArtHatch is showing  Aaron Jasinski and Matt Linares: "It All comes Rushing In". There are also many more artists showing in studio spaces and on the walls throughout the building.  Across the street at the Escondido Arts Partnership Gallery, The PhotoArts Group will have a reception for Photoshopography a collect of 20 images deftly and strongly manipulated in Photoshop. Their opening coincides with the Municipal gallery offering and the studios at 216 Juniper (Corner of Grand). They run from approx. 5:30 -8pm. I hope to see you on this or any Second Saturday in Escondido.

Wm. G.

Palomar Student Exhibit: Boehm Gallery

April 12, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

On the Road to Chuck's Running April 25 to May 12 the Boehm Gallery at Palomar College will be showing the annual Student Art and Photography Exhibition. There will be an opening reception on Friday, April 27 form 5-8pm in conjunction with the Art Department Open House and Student Sale.  I'm glad to announce my students showing in the show will be Sebastian Humphreys from the Fall 2011 Commercial Photo class, Vicki Strand from the summer's Archival Processes class (image on the left) , and Shaun Hagen from the current Portraiture class. 

This is always a good time to see what's happening in Art at Palomar and perhaps pick up some pottery, glass or other items in the student sale.

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