Workshop(s) recap… both with Jake… a double take!!

•December 26, 2014 • 4 Comments

We hope that everyone is having a great holiday season, and we wish you much happiness in the new year to come!

I find it so rewarding to have repeat students at my Sculpting with Light workshops. It’s gratifying to see the progress they make the second time around.

One of my repeat students, Robert “Jake” Jacobsen, who came down to Lancaster County from Manhattan, has taken three One-on-One workshops. I decided to recap the second and third one in this post.

Since Jake had “gotten his feet wet” in light painting previously, he had very clear ideas about what he wanted to photograph. I get so much out of seeing how other photographers think about and look at composition and content, and I always learn from it! Of course, this happens at almost every workshop, but generally, students are looking for input on ideas, especially when they are first learning the process. Jake was pretty sure of just what he wanted to do.

For his first project, he wanted to create a “surreal” image using an old camera and plumb bob from my collection. He specifically wanted to have the camera floating and some element of movement. Jake thought that the plumb bob as a pendulum would be interesting. Both objects are well over 100 years old, but they certainly take on a new life in this image:

Photograph by workshop student Robert Jacobsen

 Photograph by workshop student Robert “Jake” Jacobsen

More recently, Jake came down to the studio again for a third workshop. This time, as before, he had something very specific in mind, and Jake had gone shopping for props in Manhattan, probably the best place in the world to find great things to photograph (and in this case, to eat!)

He wanted to do an image involving wine, cheese, and charcuterie. He brought with him the most wonderful collection of cheeses (the Yellow Stilton was fantastic!) and cured meats. The image is one of those rare ones in which everything feels right. Although the overall composition is complex, and there is a lot to look at, the image doesn’t feel too “busy” to me. Also, I feel that it has a beautiful stillness about it.

Photograph by workshop student Robert Jacobsen

 Photograph by workshop student Robert “Jake” Jacobsen

Both of these images are so visually interesting to me; they are so different in both concept and execution, yet they were done by the same person!

To see more student images from my workshops, click HERE.

Discount on Capture One software… 20% until December 1st!

•November 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Harold Ross's Light Painted Image

Photograph by Harold Ross

As most of you know, the Light Painting workflow and shooting experience is greatly enhanced by tethered shooting. Tethered shooting means that our camera is connected to the computer, and using software, we write the captures directly to the computer’s hard drive.

This isn’t the main reason that we use tethering, however… there is a huge benefit in being able to see a large preview of our image, but an even bigger advantage is that we can use the software, as I like to say, as “the world’s best light meter”. In other words, by moving the exposure slider, we can see exactly how under-exposed or over-exposed our image is. This allows us to determine an exact exposure correction, and in Light Painting, where there are so many variables, removing this one is a big help.

I’ve been using Capture One since I made my very first digital capture, and I’ve seen the program develop into not only the best tethering software, but also into a very advanced RAW processor, one with amazing local color correction tools not found in any other tethering software.

As a Capture One Ambassador, I can offer my followers a 20% discount through Dec. 1st, 2014.

After that, a 10% discount is still available.

These discounts are for both the full product and upgrades from existing versions.

To get either one of these discounts, just use my discount code at checkout: AMBHAROLD


Capture One Pro 8 is the world’s best raw converter, rendering precise colours and incredible detail with support for leading high-end cameras (and the ever-growing list of supported cameras can be found HERE.) It contains flexible, digital asset management, all the essential adjustment tools in one customisable and high performing solution. For more information on Capture One Pro 8 go to

Workshop recap… Two students from Ontario.

•November 24, 2014 • 2 Comments

Our apologies…we’re really behind on the posts of my student workshop recaps, and we’re finally trying to catch up. You can expect more of these posts over the next few weeks!

I had the great pleasure of having two Canadians, Gareth Callaway and Jack Schachner, for a two-on-one workshop. They were both very funny, and kept me in stitches for three days! Although they are good friends, they differ in their sense of humor… The thing is, they both had me laughing with the email correspondence before the workshop, so I was actually worried how we would get work done with all of the impending hilarity! We managed.

I’m always curious to see what props are chosen by students, and in this case, both Gareth and Jack came up with some interesting but very different compositions.

Jack decided to photograph a still life with garlic, one of my favorite subjects. Garlic is one of those things that, when lit in a certain way, is just beautiful.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Jack Schachner

 Photograph by workshop student Jack Schachner

As is often the case, I learn from my students, and when Jack suggested back-lighting the peeled skin of the garlic, I mistakenly thought (and suggested) that it wouldn’t work. He insisted on trying it, and it worked quite well!  To borrow from my friend John Tebbetts, “Grasshopper teaches Master”. Although I do use backlighting often, I’m very careful with it, as backlighting can counter the effect of well placed “normal” lighting. In other words, the light coming through from behind literally fills in shadows which render shape and texture, thereby flattening the lighting. In this case, Jack was spot on, and I was, well… not.





Gareth put together a very cool vintage still life, which has a great color scheme. I love the old Thermos bottle (given to me by Vera’s father), and the antique box that was brought to the studio by my friend and co-instructor, John Corcoran (John has been light painting for over 20 years, and shoots flowers and portraits seen HERE).

Gareth learned how raking (or skimming) the light can bring out tremendous detail on “flat” surfaces, like the faces of the toy wooden blocks. When lit with this technique, detail is revealed which we don’t normally see. It always surprises me.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Gareth Callaway

Photograph by workshop student Gareth Callaway



Photography by Harold Ross's student Gareth Callaway

To see more student images from my workshops, click HERE.

 We hope everyone has a very nice Thanksgiving!

A Discount For My Readers… For Capture One Pro 8!

•November 1, 2014 • 6 Comments

Recently, Phase One has helped out my workshops by sponsoring us with a 6 seat license for Capture One! This has been a big help, as now all students are working on the same platform.

Additionally, Phase One has made me an “Ambassador,” and Capture One is now available to my readers at a 10% discount! Just use the discount code at checkout: AMBHAROLD

Click the C1 logo to get Capture One:


John Corcoran (my co-instructor) and I have been using Capture One for tethered shooting and RAW processing for over a decade. It is definitely geared toward tethered shooting (and has the most streamlined interface), but the RAW processing and editing tools available in C1 are amazing as well!

One can actually work with adjustment layers, along with masking to make local corrections. I feel that the setup and structure of this tool is very well organized, and more intuitive than other programs.

Further, one can make adjustments to individual colors in the color adjustment tool. It is very simple and powerful. I’ll be doing a tutorial on that feature soon!

Please take a few minutes to check out the powerful tools in C1… on the Image Professor’s Blog.

Also, they have a terrific series of videos HERE.

Workshop Improvements… and Sponsorship!

•October 21, 2014 • 13 Comments

Well, we decided to make some improvements to the workshop in terms of hardware, so we outfitted the workshops with new iMac computers!

Photographer Harold Ross outfits his workshops with new iMac computers.

Windows users do not be alarmed! The interfaces in Photoshop and Capture One are virtually identical between the two platforms. This means that what you learn at the workshop will seamlessly transfer to whatever computer you work on currently. Also, the monitors have all been calibrated, and are much better in size and quality than laptop monitors. And, so that students can take all image files home with them, we will be giving each student a 16 GB flash drive.

We have used the new computers at two workshops so far, and it has been fantastic! No downtime for computer and software issues, and the larger monitors allow us to see in great detail.

wacom-logo Phase_One_logo

Also, we are very proud to announce that Wacom and Phase One have become sponsors! Wacom has provided 6 Intous Pro tablets and Phase One has provided us with 6 licenses for Capture One to be used at the workshops. A huge thank you goes out to Wacom and Phase One for making this possible.

Light Painting at The Biltmore Estate!

•October 3, 2014 • 16 Comments

For the last four days, Vera and I have been at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. with photographer Jim Ryan of Greenville, South Carolina. Jim was able to garner access for us to photograph “behind the scenes” at the Biltmore House (and this was no small feat, as photography in the house is strictly forbidden!)  It was an exciting opportunity and Jim made sure that we had complete access to anything we wanted to photograph. This was in itself a challenge; the Biltmore is absolutely chock full of the most amazing things, all personally collected by George and Edith Vanderbilt: priceless hand-carved furniture, 16th century tapestries, a library with 10,000 volumes, 65 fireplaces (each more interesting than the next), original paintings by Renoir and John Singer Sargent, and on and on. It really is overwhelming, and Jim and I had the arduous (but happy!) task of deciding just exactly what we wanted to photograph. We were helped immensely by the staff at the Biltmore, in particular Laura Overbey, Collections Manager. The entire staff was there to help in whatever way they could, thanks to Jim setting everything up in advance. Since we just finished shooting Tuesday night (at midnight) I don’t have any final images to show yet, but below are some images of us entering the house, and a few snapshots. A huge thank you goes out to Jim Ryan for coming up with the concept of us light painting in the Biltmore, and then making it happen. Thank you, Jim!

Photographer Harold Ross Light Paints at the Biltmore Estate

A shot through the van windshield, approaching the Biltmore House


Photographer Harold Ross and Jim Ryan preparing to Light Paint at the Biltmore

Jim Ryan and me unloading equipment from “Big Blue”, the light painting van.


Photographer Harold Ross entering the Biltmore Estate to Light Paint

Me explaining to Collections Manager Laura Overbey just how small of an impact we will make.

Photographer Harold Ross light painting inside the Biltmore Estate (multi exposure)

 A multiple exposure of me light painting inside the Biltmore House.

Photographer Harold Ross light painting in the Biltmore Estate

 Viewing a capture just made in the Smoking Room.

Over three days (and nights) of shooting, we made 12 photographs, so stay tuned as I produce these images of this most amazing estate, which has never been photographed in this way! I can’t wait to see them, and I hope you will enjoy them!

Great news! Now represented by Susan Spiritus Gallery!

•October 2, 2014 • 10 Comments

Fantastic news…

I’m very honored to now be represented by Susan Spiritus Gallery!

Susan Spiritus has been a leader in the field of fine art photography for 38 years, opening the doors to her Southern California gallery in 1976 so that she could share her passion for photography with others.

I met Susan at photolucida in Portland a few years back, and I had followed up with her by sending her a small folio of my “Night” series. According to Susan, she has been thinking about my work for all of this time, and recently decided to represent me.

I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Please take some time to look at the wonderful artists in her gallery website.

Here is the announcement:



Photograph by Harold Ross


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