Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blues Issue

As I’ve said before, the web is full of information and there are times when it’s wonderful. Answers to questions you’ve been pondering, but can’t seem to find an answer for, mysteriously appear in the form of a website that provides information simply because someone wants to share knowledge. When someone does that, the web can be a wonderfully useful place.

I ran across of gem of site today and in all honesty I can’t remember how I got directed to it. I found an answer to an issue with images, especially sky images, that I have been having a serious issue with. The site is run by Ron Bigelow and he provides, what appears to be, wonderful articles on Photoshop and it’s use for photography. I say appears to be because I haven’t read every article but the article on posterization really provided an insight on a solution to my particular issue. Perusing through the articles, there is certainly a level of in depth detail that many would find useful. Check it out for yourself. And if you live in Southern California check out the “Outings” section as well. He provides great information on area trails and areas of interest in the southern and central region of California.

This is an image in question. I love the sky and the colors I see here in Southern California. But with the Canon 1DMkII, blues seem to have a particular problem with posterization despite what I do. You can't really see the issue in this web image but it's certainly a problem when I try to print. I’ll be trying some of his techniques to prevent the problem in future shooting sessions.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I went over 500 visitors to this blog today. To all the visitors from around the world I want to thank you for stopping by and having a look at my images. It took over a year to get over 500 hits but I really appreciate everyone that has stopped by. I have visitors from countries that I’ve never been fortunate to visit but somehow have been able to connect with, even if it is only through their viewing of my images and the reading of my words.

I’m working on a website and hope to have it completed, at least the first version, in the coming week. If you would like to comment please do so when I post the link. I’d welcome constructive comments on improving the site although it might take some time to get it implemented. The new site is largely designed using iWeb and I’m customizing it as much as it will allow. Right now it’s about all I can afford to do and it will have to suffice for the time being.

This image is part of my Alcatraz portfolio and will be featured on the website. It was taken with the Canon ID MkII but I also shot a lot of film and used the previously talked about dr5 process on the chromes. It was actually my first foray into using both cameras to document a trip. Actually it went quite well and I am still using both cameras. But the film doesn’t get developed as rapidly. I think I have several rolls of film, maybe more, that need to get developed. Cost is one issue and as I look for work to fund my habit, it’ll continue to be a factor. It’s been years since I had to worry about the cost of film, or photography for that matter, but I do now and digital is ruling the day when I do get a chance to shoot.

I’m getting time to really organize my images, develop a reliable and standard backup system for the images, and maintain a process by which I categorize the images and put them into some sort of workable order. It’s allowing me to see my vision progress - in most instances my lack of vision - and where I tend to go with my images and how I see the world.

I’m still striving, after more than 30 years of photography, on and off, to develop the vision, the style, the sense of place… and the ability to develop those things.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Martin Fuchs

One of my favorite photoblogs, and a Photobloggie runner up for the Photojournalism category in 2006, has recently been awarded an ad campaign by Canon. You might wonder why this is especially notable considering there are many photographers that have this distinction. That may well be, but Martin Fuchs was a graphics designer just a few short years ago. His passion is photography and he did what many would be simply too afraid to do. He went out and found a way to live his passion!

As a result, he spent 6 months in New York serving an internship with Magnum Photos. He was able to get support and sponsorship from Canon which allowed him to use a Canon 20D while in New York. He recently returned to Vienna after another 3 month stay in New York where he held a paid position by Magnum Photos. He is now sponsored by Lexar, Digital Railroad and Color Vision. He exemplifies a wonderful work ethic and an ability to take the first step and see where it leads.

Congratulations Martin on a job well done.

I’ve posted this photo before but it’s still one of my favorites. Tiana is passing out bumper stickers in Times Square just before the 2004 election. The bumper sticker reads “Lick Bush & Dick in 2004” and we personally thought it was hysterical. It was taken with a Mamiya 7 on HP5 film pushed to 1600 and developed in the dr5 process. If you still shoot film and want black and white images that are stunning you simply owe it to yourself to try the process. A side benefit is that the chromes are easy to scan unlike B&W film in some cases.

Follow the passion, never stop learning all that you can and keep working, exploring, dreaming…

Friday, June 09, 2006

Podcasts

It’s always interesting to hear a photographer talk about their work, at least it is for me. Jeff Curto’s podcast Camera Position, in both quality and content, shines and ranks up there with Brooks Jensen and Lenswork. If you have iTunes, or go to the website, you can see the images he is talking about. As a Professor of Photography at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL he provides valuable insight into what he was thinking as he made the images. He has been documenting the landscape and urban areas of Italy for the last 15 years, and as a listener you get a chance to see what has gone into the process. It’s not technical. It’s a view into the process of creative photography and the way one photographer approaches his image making.

You’ll also see a link in the sidebar to another podcast I find of interest. Ibarionex R. Perello has put together a podcast called The Candid Frame, consisting of interviews he has conducted with photographers he finds of interest. I’ve only gotten a chance to listen to the first two episodes but I will find time for the others and would recommend the podcast despite it’s rough edges. Ibarionex apologizes for the learning curve of podcasting in the first episode and I expect it will get better. The first interview with John Isaac was of great interest to me personally. If the quality of this first interview indicates the quality of the others we have nothing to worry about.

Both of these podcasts offer something different and are very informative. Check them out along with Lenswork which I’ve talked about before. They aren’t technically oriented but I’ve benefited more from listening to the photographers and hearing about how they approach their work, what’s important to them and why it is they do what they do. Technology, and enterprising people such as Jeff, Ibarionex and Brooks, allow us to be inspired and learn much easier today. It’s a mini class in photography and the knowledge gained could be indispensable to your own work.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lighting Test


The nature of the web, and by default, blogs as well, is that information exists in droves. Finding information that is relevant to what you need and then, finding informative material can be daunting. I don’t know that I put much useful stuff on this site for many people and I won’t claim to be an expert on anything. But there is a site that has a lot of relevant information on photography and specifically lighting.

This image is a tribute to Strobist and the information he provides on his site. He does a great job at explaining his use of strobes, providing tips on manufacturing your own equipment, and how to set up a shot. He’s a pro working for the Baltimore Sun and is very generous with his knowledge. He’s one of the good guys, and judging from the number of people that visit his site daily, I’m not the only one that thinks so. There is a lot information there and it can be really useful if you are having difficulty with your lighting and specifically with your strobes. Check it out.

This image is from several years ago, long before I had digital. It’s of my nephew Jake and he graciously helped me test out some lighting techniques I wanted to learn. I shot this with a Mamiya RZ67 and an Acute pack. I metered off the sky to give me that exposure and underexposed it by a stop and a half. I set the flash pack to give me an aperture of f8 and ran with it. It was a lot of fun and I have to thank Doug Merriam for teaching me this technique. He teaches a couple times a year at the Santa Fe Workshops and he’s well worth the price of admission.

So, if you have the ability to teach and you have the knowledge, do the world a favor and pass it on. A lot of people will benefit.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Session with Eddie

Since I’ve been out of work I’ve found myself telling people I’ll do some portraits or candids for them. I’ve taken some photos of the neighborhood kids but won’t post those because of sensitivities I’m not willing to broach on a blog.

But I will post this one from a shoot yesterday with a friend of mine. He’s an accountant by trade but has been given some opportunity to work in the modeling industry. It’s fun for him and will probably allow him to do some things he would otherwise not get to do. When he gets famous I’ll be able to say I helped propel him to stardom with the first headshots of his career.

This is Eddie. The image is lit with natural light from an overhang in my garage that faces north. Just below him is a white reflector about 3 feet from his face. It provides a nice even light that a headshot needs to actually fill the requirement. I’ve never done a headshot before so I had to do some research on what agencies really want to see. I think it works and I’ll be anxious to see what his agency says.

It was a good day with Eddie and Jen filled with good conversation, good rum, good wine, and some image making thrown in for good measure.

For more images go here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cool Site

I’ve recently been in a funk and photography has taken a backseat. Looking for a J-O-B is very tiring and a ton of work. I find that I’m working harder at finding a job then I felt I should have. Anyway, as a result I’ve not gotten much done in the way of photography lately. So there are no images from me today.

But I have had the chance to scope out some interesting sites and in the spirt of this site I want to pass along some of that information. The next few posts will be dedicated to sites I find interesting and that provide some really good content. For the most part they are knowledge based sites and sites that are obviously cared for by the owners. Like me, they are advanced amateurs. They are doing some cool work with the design of their sites and the images they put on them. I’ll link them permanently on the blog roll.

This post is about a site I saw today. It was referenced in a post by a self proclaimed geek and why he bought a Canon 30D. I looked around the site and found a lot of interesting images there but what struck me most was the images he has created from the window seats. Really top notch images and interesting to boot. On top of that, he has interesting content. Give it a look. It’s run by Richard and you can find it here.