Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

No, that's not my dinner, it's the closest thing I got to food here.
Well, except for the jello and pudding.
Have a happy and safe holiday!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Final

Some pics from when I went out with the kids.
I find that I don't have time to do my own thing; well I am supposed to be watching them.
It's a it difficult for they all want to do their own thing and once we get to where we're going I just sort of let them go and do whatever it is they do.
Here they are at the bottom of the shot, wasting good light:

I learned that it's hopeless to offer any help, they're going to do it how they think it's supposed to be done which is a good thing.
Or not.
I still catch them doing crazy things like shooting at an insane ISO in bright daylight.
They still haven't really gotten the hang of the relationship between ISO, shutter and aperture yet.
I think.

Okay, I did have time to peel off some shots.
I tend to have the kids figure out the camera stuff on their own.
I shoot Nikon and we have all Canons at school and I haven't even bothered to read the manuals so I couldn't help them if I wanted to.
Instead of learning the camera, they want the short cut: they just want me to tell them what's wrong.
Not me.
Figure it out, I tell them.
I mean a camera is a camera but both the Nikons and Canons have their little quirks.
After this shoot, I think they are beginning to realize that the camera is pretty much useless unless you know how to use it.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, back to the drawing board tomorrow as I have some new strategies to try out.
Stay tuned.

Sunday Early Edition

So we're working on portraits.
Use the lighting I tell them.
Two lights minimum, front light, back light, side light, top light, bottom light, whatever light.
Think outside the box.
I'm really getting tired of saying that.
How about 'be unconventional?'
What do I get back?
Year book pictures.
Mug shots.
Lemme show you how to do it:

Figuring how much time they spend online, and all that these kids are exposed to these days, you'd think they could come up with some interesting stuff.
I finally had to take the lead and show them.
Grab the hat!
Grab the umbrella!
The lights!
Use the lights!
Like this:

Look, I tell them, go on the webz and copy something!
I know they see it, but they can't translate it into their own work.
Or they don't know how to deconstruct it.
Or something.
Okay, some of them get it.
I had a bunch coming in on their own time to fool with the lights and work it.
Work it baby!
I think maybe it's me.
I set the expectations too high and they don't want to give me any crappy work.
Don't give me any crappy work! I tell them.
Or maybe they're just ashamed to work it in front of the whole class.
Work it baby:

This ain't like pulling teeth!
Put a dude here, put a girl there, put a light here, put a light there.
Shoot away!
I know they can do it.
I know.
So why don' they?
Do I need to show you again?
Grab that camera!
Stand here.
You stand there.
Hold this.
Look surprised:

Seriously, it took me two minutes to think that one up.
I'm the one with the degree, I'm the one that's supposed to be teaching this stuff.
Can you teach art?
Can you teach creativity?
They got the technical skills.
What I can't give them, not in the time I have, is my background.
They haven't seen all I've seen.
Hell, some of them can't even see yet!
I often forget that some can't visualize; put it all together in your head.
Seems so easy for me I have a hard time relating with those who struggle.
Need a new plan.
Try a different angle.
Or something.
On Monday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's In the Bag, Panic!

Walking, walking, walking.
Walking, walking, walking.
That's what I do.
Walk all over the place.
Within reason.
My loop maxes out at about five or six miles, which isn't really that far, except I'm carrying this:

Oh yeah, and my tripod.
I decided to clean out the bag, you know, to lighted up a bit cause sometimes it feels like I've got the kitchen sink in there.
I don't have the kitchen sink, but I did have three spoons.
I gotta say, carrying around three cameras sometimes isn't such a good idea as there are times when I don't use one or the other.
Or there are times when I cannot make up my mind which camera to use.
More on this later.
So anyways, I was a walking, walking, walking with my Rollei loaded up and took this:

Which turned out pretty well I think but then I realize that I got some really slow film in there and like I just took a picture of the sun going down!
I was so busy with my other camera that I forgot about the film in this camera!
I need to shoot this roll like now!
More so because I want to use a faster film later.
So I start walking, walking, walking really fast, taking pictures of anything I think looks interesting:

All the while calculating in my mind and with my eyeballs just how much shutter speed I got left.
Which wasn't very much as I took most of these at 1/10 of a second.
Thing is I got like four or five frames left and it's not like this film is super cheap and I don't really want to waste it but I really want to get it out of my camera:
The film I mean:

No Parking barriers.
As you can see I finished the roll before I lost all light and I guess it turned out okay!
Wow! I should shoot in a panic more often!
So then I reload with the real night time film and all I got of that roll was this shot:

It's shots like this that make me think about carrying around just one camera.
Every once in a while that Rollei will do something for me, make me look like a better photographer than I really am.
Having to carry just one camera around will make my back happy.
Of course, the boy scout in me will never let that happen.
If I decide the Rolleiflex is the only camera I need, I'll have to carry around two of them.
You know, one for the slow film, one for fast.
No need to panic.
If you know what I mean.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It Never Gets Old

Well okay, it sort of does.
I mean if you've seen one, you've seen them all.

I suppose though, if you live here long enough, all my life in my case, you start to take them sunsets for granted.
Ho hum.
I spent all summer two years ago just taking pictures of sunsets and lemme tell you, they never get boring.
Each one is different, sort of, and everyday, when I get the chance, I look to the afternoon sky to try and guess what the sunset will look like.
Today, I said, it's going to be good.
Well, it was okay.
I mean it was nice and all, but as far as sunsets go, I've seen better.
I did sit for a while and admire.
Then I saw the pics:

Everyday, it's like the solar system gives you a present.
Here, it says, but don't unwrap it now.
Wait for it.
Oh yeah baby.
I've said before that I like twilight more than the fireworks and tonight was really nice.
I was using my wide angle and all of these shots were under exposed.
I forgot I was shooting at f4.
I had to boost the exposures a bit but I swear I didn't mess with the color.
Where did those blues come from?
I walked along the as it got dark and boy I wished I was back in another life with a cold beverage in my hand.
Preferably one with an umbrella in it.
Sometimes I'm out walking around and I don't pay any attention to the setting sun; I know it's there.
I mean it's getting dark right?
From know on though, I'll be doing more than just giving it a glance over my shoulder.
I'll tip my hat in thanks, thanks for the gift that keeps on giving.
It happens everyday, but it never gets old.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Putting It Together

The other night I packed up the cameras and jumped in the car to check out one of my old haunts.
Back when I lived in the warehouse, I used to ride my bicycle there all the time and it's sort of where my photography started:

The long road out at Lagoon Drive.
It's out by the airport to it has a nice view looking back at the city:

I finally figured out why the images are different sizes.
It's me.
I select the scanning area of the negative manually.
The scanner can't do it automatically since the negatives are so dark.
I guess my selecting isn't exact so the scans come out at different sizes.
Anyways, I was out there to try and put together a triptych:

Some/most of these night triptychs are difficult mainly because of the difference in lighting.
From left to right, the light may change as much as three or four stops and you sort of gotta go with your best guess.
This one was interesting because the light was so far away and the further the light is, no matter the brightness, the intensity is lower.
You choice is mainly overblow the lights and lighten the shadow in the foreground, or kill the foreground and get the lights right.
Or I could have used a graduated ND filter but I don't have one for this camera.
So anyways, that turned out okay so I figured let me try and print it out:

So I took the digital print and tried to frame each panel on the easel.
The light is magenta cause I'm using a no.3 contrast filter on the enlarger.
It must have been some kind of miracle cause when I lined up the first image, the other three pretty lined up all by themselves.
You can see a piece of tape on the right side of easel to mark the horizon.
I think it's the way the camera and the Rolleipanoramathingamajiggy work together.
The way the pictures are taken use the same amount of crop to line up the images.
We'll see as I'm gonna try anther one later.
Triptych I mean.
The 8x8 prints:

I've framed them with some cheapo frames but I'm gonna go to the craft place today and get them cheapo frames with the really thin well, frames and hang the three right next to each other.
I've done some way nicer triptychs and I'm hot to print and hang them.
I also went out the other day and got some really nice shots of Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.
It was one of those days that I didn't really feel good about but when I scanned the film I was really stoked.
More on that later.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Early Edition

I think shooting at night is not really a skill, it's more of a feel.
What I mean is I use a light meter and all, but only as a guide as I rarely shoot what the meter says.
The problem is the light is all over the place and you have to take the whole composition into consideration.
I find that if I lay off going out at night, it takes a bit to get back into the swing o'things.
I'd say it's more of an art form than science, but for me it's more like a guessing game:

Well okay, there's really only one thing I'm guessing at and that's the shutter speed.
The lens is wide open 99.999% of the time.
The shutter is the game breaker for me.
I shoot so slow that's sometimes it's doubtful whether or not the shot will come out.
Thankfully I don't drink coffee.
Can't have any camera shake don't you know.
How do I do it?
I started thinking about that the other night, how I do it I mean, and it occurred to me that maybe high school riflery has something to do about it.
I mean the whole breathing thing and squeezing the shot off:

Back in the olden days they let us shoot for real, .22 longs, nowadays they shoot air rifle.
I only shot for a year, but I think I use same technique.
Okay not really, but you get the drift.
Well okay, sort of.
About the luck part.
If you've been following along at home you, the reader, know that it's all about the light baby.
That's the luck part.
Do I over expose or under expose?
Do I read the light here or there?
Can I get this shot off at a 1/4 second?
My night shots are getting better so I'd say that I'm a pretty lucky dude.
Of course a tripod helps:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Early Edition

After a little break I got back out last night.
Lately I've been feeling a bit fatigued, not sure if it's my blood or too many laziness drills.
I really have to push myself to get out and about.
Anyways, I haven't taken a photograph in anger in a while, my free nights have been dedicated to learning how to use them enlargers.
I've also had trouble visualizing anything I want to take pictures of.
Well okay, I live in a place where there are lots of things to take pictures of, but I just couldn't see it.
So instead of being a potato on the couch I forced myself to pack the cameras and just go:

I also haven't shot medium format in a while, ever since I've been fooling around with that Kodak Signet.
There I am on the beach:

Some long exposure stuff.
Around twenty seconds or so, you know, just to smooth out the water.
Then the Rollei pics:

I'm gonna start shooting my Rollie more often I think, mainly because it's the largest negative I can well, enlarge.
At times I think there's nothing left out there to take pictures of and some of the shots I take are of the same subject, just at different angles.
Part of it is I'm too lazy to drive anyplace else and my territory is limited by how far I want to walk.
Which actually is pretty far.
How far I walk I mean.
I could walk a lot more if I wasn't lugging around like a GAGILLION pounds of camera crap.
What I'm finding though is that there's a ton of stuff that I miss.
I think it's frame of mind and mood that dictates what I see and how I see it.
The streets are also dynamic and there's always something different out there to see and capture.
Just got to get out.
Which I'm working on.
More pics from last night later.