Friday, November 29, 2013

Feeling Fat

I am fat.
No wonder.
After yesterday, even though I tried, really really tried to eat like a normal person, I ended up gobbling food up like there was no tomorrow.
I even went back for seconds.
Now I gotta walk like a hundred miles or something to work all them calories off!
I'll start tomorrow.
Laziness drills don't you know.
I hope you had nice Thanksgiving Day too.
Anyways, I recently got me some color film to shoot.
I don't really like color film and prefer to shoot digital when it comes to well, color.
I figured I'd try some good film in this case Kodak Ektar 100 so I took it along with me to see what it could do:

Okay I guess.
Ektar runs about $7-8 a roll so I'm not sure it's worth it, especially since digital in my opinion renders much nicer.
I've also got some Kodak Portra on the way and that stuff is supposed to be the bee's knees.
I also shot me some Ilford HP5+ which is much like Kodak Tri-X:

Seems to be a bit more finer grained but I also just switched developers from D76 to a generic form of Extol.
Film geek techno babble, excuse me.
Bottom line is it's less expensive and more eco friendly.
Boy, I ate so much I'm having a hard time bending over the keyboard.
Also, the other night I finally made it up the hill to the famous/infamous lookout above the city:

A lot has changed since I last visited oh, sometime when I was in high school way back in another life.
Now it's a merry go round of tour buses and tourists coming and a going.
More on that later.
For now, I gotta go figure out how to get rid of all this extra uh, goodness that I acquired yesterday.
The folks at The Warehouse finally took down one of my pallets so I can start getting some of my books and music.
Boy, I'm really looking forwards to that.
I was being sarcastic in case you couldn't tell.
So I better get going before my laziness training kicks in.
Second nature don't you know.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Early Edition

So last night I took six kids off on a night shoot.
Last time I did this, it didn't turn out so well as most of them weren't prepared and most of the time was spent learning the cameras.
This time I made sure they sort of knew what they were doing so we could spend more time taking pictures rather than fooling around with stuff they were supposed to already know.
Leaving at dusk:

I didn't time it right and we missed the sunset.
That would have added another hour though and I'm not sure we could have handled it.
More on this later.
I didn't take too many shots, I was too busy watching them making sure we were all sticking together; we got spread out some as a couple would stop to take pictures while the rest forged ahead.
I think using a digital camera makes one waste a ton of shots.
I'll admit it too, to taking pictures of things I got no business taking pictures of, basically wasting time and frames.
Film has taught me to be more frugal with my shot selection, to look twice before pushing the shutter.
While walking along to our intended destination it seemed like the kids wanted to take pictures of like everything!
Which is okay if you got all day and night, not so good when you only got two and half hours.
Well we finally got down to business, which was was taking those night water shots and they did pretty good.
Some of the things they've been learning are finally starting to make sense.
I think.
Down at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor:

I think they came away with some nice images.
I'll have them post their pics up to Flickr or the blog later.
Some of them wanted to do some light trail stuff but we just didn't have enough time.
Next trip, I think we'll go for three hours, but only hit one specific location so as not to waste too much time.
That way we won't be walking all over the creation as some of the kids just weren't up to it.
By the end of the night, some of them were just plain pooped!
I figure we covered about three miles or so which isn't that far, but I supposed they aren't used to hoofing it.
Four of them were also carrying film cameras, but I don't think they had much time to expose any frames.
Speaking of film, now I'm going into full speed production:

I got me another film loader so now I can load up three different types of film and twenty more of them cassette thingys.
I've also got a different type of developer on the way as I've not been too happy with my results.
Except for now:

I'm done with that cheap film and now using Kodak Tri-X 400.
It's closer to what I'm looking for with my night shots, though it's still not what I'm visualizing.
I like the upper half, but not the intensity of the reflections on the water.
I think I'll try using a graduated ND filter to see if that helps.
Since I have the Tri-X  on a bulk roll now, I can load up cassettes with maybe only ten frames and shoot and develop them differently to nail down a process.
Time to stock up on chemicals.
More from that roll later.
Okay, I gotta go finish up my laundry them hopefully I can get out and do some exploring.
I also got some color film to fool with and doctor.
More on that later too.

Friday, November 22, 2013


The Analog Army is invading the Digital Domain!
Women and children first!
Take cover!
Run for your lives!
Okay, not really.
About the running for your lives part.
I have been the so called avant garde for the Analog Army first with the film cameras and that Holga thingy but now the main battle force is here:

The cameras I ordered for the kids finally arrived.
Unfortunately they, the kids, are not here today as we got some district meetings going on all day here which start in about 25 minutes.
Actually the cameras are here just in time as tomorrow I go on a night photo safari with some of the kids and hopefully some of them cameras will make the journey.
I may even try some 120 film.
The Diana Mini on the bottom is really small and just maybe the thing I've been looking for:

Compared to a real camera it's downright tiny.
I've been looking for a smallish camera just for fooling around and the Diana Mini just might fill the bill even though it only shoots like half frames.
I'll kick the tires some and see what I get.
Speaking of fooling around I was trying to figure out something to use as an avatar over at Flickr and didn't want to do the same same.
Here's what I came up with:

I took a picture of my camera through my other camera with my other camera.
I suppose having more cameras than I need comes in handy.
Finally, totally unphotography related, I put some bananas in the fridge and this is what happened:

What's the deal banana peel?
They turn all brown and unattractive!
Well, compared to the fresh bananas.
I mean if only the brown bananas were there and you were really hungry I don't think it would really matter.
If you know what I mean.
So I was wondering what the hell was going on in Bananaland, I am a Bananahead after all, I found this.
I guess bananas don't dig the cold either.
Like me.
Maybe I'll use them Lomo cameras to take some pictures of some bananas even though I just ate the last one.
I got bananas hanging right here in the classroom:

Banana avant garde.
They are watching you.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's Not the Camera

At least that's what I tell the kids.
It's always what I believed except now I'm beginning to have doubts.
More on this later.
I have no idea what I'm going to find when I take to the street or park and being the prepared type it's in my nature to be prepared for anything.
Except being prepared for anything when you're taking pictures pretty much involves taking the kitchen sink.
You know, for developing film on the fly.
I tend to travel light:

Tripod in a case with strap and one camera in a bag (the other camera is out and ready) along with a couple of different lenses:

Lately since I've been doing mostly nightscapes so I take my 16-35 f4 wide angle zoom for digital and a  28-45 f4.5 wide zoom for film.
Both my digital and film cameras have 50mm f1.4 lenses, which helps when just taking random pictures.
I find that the 1.4 lenses will shoot at around 1/30 of a second at ISO400 which is not bad but not good, luckily the with the digital I can boost the ISO to around 6400 which still gets me decent images.
I've learned to sort of take pictures between breaths to keep the camera still:

For those images I set the camera to ISO800, to match the speed of the film I got in the other camera:

Those were taken hand held at about 1/50 or so.
Interesting how the film doesn't pick up the orange cast from the sodium or iodine or whatever lights those are.
Most of the other shots are done with a tripod:

That's on film with the 50mm f1.4 probably set to around f5.6 or so to extend the exposure time out to  8 seconds which is as long as my F3 will meter.
Since I walk around with the digital too, I have used it to check the meter in the film camera to make sure it's in the same ballpark.
I lengthen the exposure by closing the aperture mainly to flatten the water.
Out there at the end of the pier it's pretty calm, I try to get rid of that small shore break.
Usually ten seconds or so is enough but I've taken exposures as long as thirty seconds which  is as long as my digital will go without going to the bulb setting and manually setting the shutter.
Aperture wise, f11 is about as high as I'll go for funky things happen when you start to bend the light and although depth of field increases, so does either diffraction or coma or something else not good for resolution.
I gotta admit not knowing too much about depth of field for it involves some physics and stuff but with lenses 50mm and under I don't worry too much about it.

For the city/night scape stuff again I'm tripod mounted.
I have remote shutter releases for both cameras but tend to just use the timers to minimize shake.
That one there I'm at f 5.6 for 20 seconds at ISO100.
I don't boost the ISO for I don't want the extra noise.
From what I understand, long exposures cause heat to build up in the sensor causing more noise.
I do set my camera to wash some of that noise out; I haven't tried it without the noise reduction.
Again, I lengthen the exposure to flatten the water.
Although it was a still night, the tide was out and coming in:

You can see the reflections on the water bending I think because of the waves/ripples of the incoming tide.
That picture was at f4, I needed some speed for I didn't know if the gentleman was going to move, but he sat still for 13 seconds.
Thanks dude!
I learned to use a couple of other things to help me out.
I meter the light not at the buildings but at the edge of the water, a middle brightness of sorts, so that I don't crush the shadows.
My camera is set to spot metering only so that I have a starting point and then I can manually set the aperture from there.
By the way, I shoot on aperture priority almost 95% of the time, going to manual only when things get funky with the light or I need more exposure time.
Aperture priority though gives me a starting point.
I suppose I could widen the metering area and get to where I'm going sooner, but it's what I learned and it's sort of my routine for now.
Which helps, the routine part I mean.
Most of the kids would get all flustered at trying to get the shot because all the settings tend to overwhelm.
Night photos are about using camera basics mostly and using what you learned.
I think the most difficult part is finding the right composition:

I probably could have exposed that one a bit longer.
Luckily I can do some post processing to make it a little nicer:

I just upped the exposure about half a stop, and some other little things.
Anyways, folks think that for nice pics you need a nice camera.
It helps, but it ain't everything!
As you can see, I'm starting to get decent results using film.
On the other hand, I think the Nikon D600 (now discontinued and superceded by the D610) is an exceptional camera and it sure don't  hurt!
Of course, you gotta know how to use it and I think I'm only half way there.
While the camera may be exceptional, the photographer sure ain't!
Could I have taken the same pics with a lesser camera?
Sure, but I got some pretty nice glass in front and that helps too.
Most folks though won't be squinting their eyeballs enough to notice the difference.
I learned to take night shots mostly from looking at other folks' images and seeing what they were doing.
Imitation is they say, the greatest form of flattery.
Don't you know.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Final

Actually the Late, Late Edition.
Hopefully I get this done by midnight and it's not tomorrow.
Anyways, more of the same thing I did last night except it was overcast all day and night.
Which can be good or bad, depending on what you're shooting for.
Sunset was out so I didn't bother to leave until after the well, sun went down.
Too late for the moon was already up and being well, moonly:

I didn't really think the moon could be seen as when I went out to check it was all hidden by clouds.
It was pretty still out with very little wind so I decided to go and get some shots anyway.
Then all of a sudden the clouds thinned out so I moved as fast as my little feet could well, move, before the moon got too high above the horizon.
If you squint yer eyeballs you can see me in the bottom left corner.
I had to move to another spot:

I still haven't gone over these shots yet as I'm under a deadline.
Got to get this out before I turn into  pumpkin.
Or worse.
Then I went over to the other side of the park:

There was a dude fishing there and he kindly allowed me to use his silhouette:

Then I went back to the other side of the park again:

By now the moon was too high for me to get it in the frame.
Maybe Tuesday I can leave earlier and the moon should be rising later.
Then I came back, but not before getting one of these:

Oh yeah baby!
Green slushy thingy!
Okay I'm starting to turn orange so there I go.
More on tonight later.

Sunday Early Edition

The secret is out!
Black and white film rocks!
Especially when you develop it yourself:

Yesterday I showed a few of the kids how to develop their black and white film.
It got a bit messy and they made some rookie errors but over all it came out okay:

Some of the kids have been shooting film before me but no one was shooting noir et blanc because of the processing cost.
The local photo place was charging about seven bucks for developing!
Well the photo club was supposed to cover the cost of the chemicals, reimbursing me, but as any good promoter of addicting substances I let them do their first rolls for free.
Oh yeah baby now they're hooked!
Hopefully we'll get to see how their images came out as I started a Flickr group called what else? one point perspective.
I'm trying to get the kids to look at more pictures so that they can see for themselves what is a good photo and maybe what is a not so good photo.
Then maybe they can compare their own work and see how they can get better.
I was only supposed to be at work for four hours but it ended up being more like six.
On a Saturday.
Well I went home and guess what?
That's right short sleep fans!
I took a nap.
Laziness drills don't you know.
Well the weather finally cleared up some so I hit the pavement, this time a little earlier than I usually leave to hit the pavement.
I was only going out for an hour or so, I had roll to finish, but as usual I  stayed out a bit longer.
I was traveling light but I managed to get this:

Hand held!
Boy lemme tell you that Vibration Reduction (VR in Nikonese) works!
It's not super duper sharp but sharp enough for me and that image is like a half second exposure.
Anyways, I'm headed out again tonight with the ole tripod to get a super super super duper sharp image and hopefully the moon will be lower on the horizon.
I also managed to get this:

Remember that?
I got that a couple of months ago and I almost never use it cause it's never around here.
Mostly I leave that camera at school for the kids to use and I've never really had the chance to push the shutter button in anger.
Well it's home now and just in time for an impromptu family portrait:

That's embarrassing.
I'm leaving out the other FG and FG20 at school.
The disclaimer is that all them film cameras cost less than one of them digital beasts and all of them have been used in the last month or so.
Still I'm a bit ashamed to have so many of them picture taking machines.
Kinda makes me think I need a new bicycle.
Thankfully I sold that Canon AE1 and another kid bought that Canon ATsomethingorother for ten bucks.
Which is what I paid.
Anything to encourage more customers er, photographers.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, I gotta go do some laziness drills and store up some energy for later this afternoon.
Time for some sunset pics.
Weather and laziness permitting.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Battle F!

Is over.
Sort of.
I mean I got a couple more uh, you know whats to check out then it will be over.
You know.
The you know whats.
Okay, let's start with the lowly Nikon FG, the smallest of the F series cameras I tried:

Not very good images for someone who owns like a ton of cameras but I gotta go somewhere in a bit so I'm rushing.
More on that later.
Anyways, if you look on the right sidebar you can see that I also have a chrome FG which I liked so I went and got me a black and nasty one too.
It's small and compact but it won't do double exposures without some trickeration which is the only drawback.
Viewfinder shot:

There's a split prism there trust me and metering is done with those LEDs on the right.
Not so hot when shooting into bright light but serviceable.
There's also a little beeper thingy if you are under or over exposed but I think it only works on auto exposure.
Nice compact camera.
My much longed for FM2:

That is a FM2, an FM2n actually, I was just too lazy ( I am the King don't you know)  to take off the power winder thingy.
LEDs in the viewfinder too:

On the right side, you get a 0 indicator for correct exposure and + or - if you're over or under.
As you can see, I'm under.
Up top you get the aperture and on the left the shutter speed.
All your info is there for fast shooting.
Max shutter speed is 1/4000 so you can handle bright sun light and wide apertures.
The PRO camera:

The F3 with high eye point view finder for folks with cheaters.
I don't wear glasses when I shoot but it's nice to have a wide image:

One drawback to this viewfinder is LED display on top left which didn't come out to well in the image.
Shutter speed is displayed there along with a similar + - thingy like the FM2.
Aperture is in the center window on top.
The F3 however is nice.
It's a PRO body with a nice winder and you don't have to wind the film all the way to fire the shutter.
Still experimenting with that.
What I grab first:

Go to.
My other one flipped it's mirror so I'm sad but I'm working on getting another one.
Maybe another one too.
If you know what I mean.
I like the match needle meter:

Check your aperture in the window on top then match the needles on the left to see your shutter.
It's faster and easier to see than the F3 and a bit more reassuring than the + - of the FM2, at least for me.
The FE2 and F3 also meter down to 8 seconds which works for me since I do some long exposure stuff.
No guessing there.
The other cameras only have a bulb setting.
Actually I'm disappointed that after all this the FM2 didn't come out ahead cause I pined for that puppy for like forever.
I still use it and like it, but the FE2 is my favorite.
For now.
There's still that legendary FM3a that I'm thinking about along with the F2 though neither meter to that holy 8 seconds.
It ain't over till it's over.
Don't you know.
A little disclaimer here.
If I wasn't so heavily invested in Nikkor glass, the Canon AE-1 is nice.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home you remember I picked up that black and nasty one a while back which I have since passed along to one of kids.
The AE-1 is a nice inexpensive camera and the glass is wallet friendly too.
I was actually thinking about building up an AE-1 system until I realized that I already have a ridiculous amount cameras already.
In the end, Battle F! came down to what I like to use and what works for me.
The best camera is not always that iconic dream you wished for, but the one you use the most.
Off to the eVilness to find a nice FE2.
Don't bid against me.
Next up: Battle Digital!
Okay, not really.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Night Stalking

That's what I'm going to call it from now on.
I mean I'm night walking, but really I'm stalking.
Which again, is sort of creepy.
Anyways, on Tuesday I hit the beach part of Waikiki, not the whole thing but just part of it, you know, to see what it was like.
There's a beach walk that goes all along the sand part in front of all the hotels but again, I only walked part of it to see if there was anything to take pictures of.
Oh wait, first let's see some noir et blanc from my other favorite place, Sand Island Recreation Area where I went back to try my luck at those abandoned fields again:

There's something there that I'm still not able to capture.
Maybe it's the angle or something but I think I'm going back to try again.
Some dude fishing:

I actually took more digital images than film and I forgot to put the polarizer on the film camera so my water pictures all sucked.
It was also an overcast day and that was either good or bad, depends.
Mostly it was bad, for me anyways.
That was on Monday.
Tuesday night, it was night stalking:

Cops in Waikiki!
Same shot with the constellation Orion setting I believe, over head:

You'll need to enlarge that one and squint yer eyeballs to see the stars.
I took that on a groin thingy that sticks out into the ocean some and the tide was coming up almost splashing my precious gear.
I'll need to be more careful!
Self propelled water vehicles locked up for the night:

That part of beach walk was pretty deserted, probably cause it was getting late:

The Hilton dock:

There are some other images I got that I'm not too proud of, mostly because I was too lazy to set up the tripod.
I'm still the King!
Of lazy that is.
I did set up the tripod to get another angle of those parked boats:

I think I like that other one I posted up earlier better.
This night stalking thing is getting kinda serious as it was about 11:30pm when I finally headed for home.
Not before I got this:

Don't ask cause I don't know what a duck tour could possibly entail and I have a pretty good imagination.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, the walk home was long cause I was pretty tired and none of the soda machines at the bus stop was working.
I was sad.
Finally I took a picture of this bridge:

Just a little bridge that goes over the canal in the park.
I see something there with my nekkid eyeballs, but I'm just not able to transfer what I see to film.
Or to digitization.
Or something.
I'll have another go at it when I get back out stalking again which was supposed to be tonight but we were supposed to get some heavy rains that didn't appear.
So I practiced my lazy drills.
I'm getting really good.
Almost PRO.
I'm not stopping until I'm ALL-PRO.
The Lazy Hall of Fame is waiting.
Don't you know.