Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year

The new year is upon us. I've heard many times that as you get older the years pass much more quickly. This is the year for me that I really believe this to be true. It's been a hectic year from a job standpoint and from a photography standpoint I think it's been pretty hectic as well.

I moved much more towards film this year and found photography enjoyable again. Some of my all time favorite images were made this year and I really believe it's because I approached photography so differently. I spent a lot less time in front of the computer. I really enjoyed picking up the film from the lab and enjoyed exploring new cameras and finding the fun again.

This year I also found a lot of sites that I enjoy going to on a regular basis. There are those that I am sure many have already heard about like Chase Jarvis, 2point8 and Joe Riefer - Words. I've either highlighted these before or linked to them in some fashion. But there are a few I want to highlight going into the new year.

The first one is Scott Dickerson out of Alaska. He shoots in some crazy conditions and surfs in the winter swell that evidently hits the Alaskan coast. Who knew! Check out his site for some enjoyable images of the Alaskan life.

I love to see images from around the world. Tewfic El-Sawy runs The Travel Photographer blog. He finds new and wonderful photojournalism images along with travel photographers from around the world. He is doing such a service to the community in posting these sites and I can't begin to imagine how I would find these sites without this blog.

Jeff Singer is a photographer in San Francisco. I love his images and his writing. It's definitely worth checking out.

I doubt if there is anyone that reads this blog (other than family) that hasn't heard about the Strobist. This guy has taken the lighting with flash thing to the masses and has probably single handily helped to improve the quality of images on flickr. If you haven't checked him out, and you want to learn how to use strobes off camera, it's well worth the read of his Lighting 101 course.

And finally I'd like to point you to David Tejada. He's a photographer out in Colorado that puts videos together to show what it's like on his shoots. I'm sure it's very time consuming and certainly a time sink. But, in the spirit of Chase Jarvis and the Strobist, he shares his knowledge willingly with the community.

To everyone that reads this blog; Thank You for coming by this year. It's very much appreciated and I hope you come back in 2008. Have a Happy and Safe New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Stay Another Day

There is no image today. Just a link to a David Alan Harvey entry.

As photographers I suppose it's sometimes innate that we want to document the lives of those around us. I know that it does for me and it's usually at the expense of those around me and those I love. It's much more personal.

If you aren't a photographer it may be difficult to understand this need to impede upon the personal, private and intimate moments that are difficult to share. But it's my belief that in the passage of time those images will represent memories, that in retrospect will be sentimental, heartfelt, and in some cases, necessary.

I struggle with this in my own family... with my own images. How much should I photograph? How far should I go? Difficult and unanswered questions.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Airport

I spend too much time in airports. This year, on a variety of airlines, I traveled about 130,000 miles. There were 8 trips to the UK, countless trips up to the Bay Area, a couple to Idaho and several to Seattle. I know some people that travel more than that but I don't know how they do it.

I received Gary Winograd's book “Arrivals & Departures” this year as a gift, and considering how much time I spend in airports, I was inspired to try it myself. His airport photographs span a 25 year period. I've got a long way to go, and frankly, will never reach that milestone. But what I did gather from looking at the Winograph monograph was that he photographed everything. I read somewhere that he had over 6000 rolls of film undeveloped at his death in 1984. He was famous for photographing everything, and yet, once he exposed the film it seems that he would wait a year to view the images. I wait but it's mostly a matter of time and convenience for me.

Anyway, this is one of the few images I like. As a standalone image it means little but over time it might fit into a cohesive body of work. Who knows?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jay Maisel

I got a chance to hear Jay Maisel speak at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego on Tuesday evening. I've seen him speak once before and he's quite engaging. His photography is something that I gain inspiration from and I would say he is one of my influencers.

Before the presentation started I had a chance to go through the current exhibit. Several things stood out. Most of the prints were either traditional silver gelatin prints or chromogenic prints. There was one print that was a combination of MIS and Lysonic prints on tissue paper in a wax encaustic. It was translucent and I enjoyed seeing that particular print. It was done by Mike and Doug Starn.

There was a couple of prints by Alec Soth. The prints were 20x30 I would say (I didn't make a notation of the size) and were full of detail. I'm sure I've seen a print made from an 8x10 negative at some point in my life but I don't recall. This was just cool to see.

Michael Kenna had 4 prints hanging and his silver gelatin prints were something to see. They were sepia toned and work from the late 1990's. I love his work so it was a real treat to see some images first hand. There was other work there but frankly, even with my notes, none of it really stands out in my mind two days later.

Mr. Maisel spoke about light, color and gesture. He showed a lot of work. It was encouraging to see how much work he showed. Some of it I'm sure wouldn't normally be seen but he used images as examples of particular points he wanted to make. Most of these images were important images to him. I got the feeling that was how he selected what he showed. That was encouraging to me because it seems to be the way I select images.

If you've ever heard him speak, attended a workshop or seen some of the stuff he's done on the net for his sponsors, you've probably heard him talk about “visual pushups.” He talked about this a bit but the essence of his message was to have fun and always carry your camera. As he said, and I'm paraphrasing here; If I have my camera I don't have to go out and shoot.

He also talks about not having preconceived notions about what you want to accomplish when you do go out. He showed several examples of this along with telling stories behind some of the selected images. I'm a sucker for the story behind the image and I usually find them fascinating. Mr. Maisel has a very engaging personality and is very entertaining. It works very well in my opinion and made for a good evening of photography.

This is an image from Palm Springs as I walked back from a day doing something I can't recall. I had seen the image the night before but didn't have a camera with me. I had it with me the next day when we walked past the store front. I think it's Portra 160VC but can't remember. By the way, I heard the other day that this film is being discontinued. Another Kodak film bites the dust.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Pop's Shop

A couple of years ago we went back to Kentucky to visit my family. Every time I go I think I will do some grand family documentary project and every time I fail. On this particular trip I headed out to Pop's shop to see what I could see and try to make a record.

This is Pop's toolbox from his 20 year stint in the Air Force. As a kid it was pretty well known that my brother and I should stay out of the tool box. As boys will do, we seemed to find reasons to get into the tool box despite the rules. I saw the toolbox and it immediately brought back a flood of memories. I'm not the most mechanically inclined; that was the realm of my father and brother. But it did bring back memories as a kid of getting the tool box out to set up my first darkroom, build a few sets and it's usefulness for some of my early photographic experiments.

This was shot digitally and converted in Photoshop to B&W. I toned it a bit as well to give me a feel of the nostalgia that I felt as I roamed the shop.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yannis Kontos

Over on the European Canon Pro site there is an article about some of the lenses various photojournalists use. One of the photographers is a young Greek photographer. He has a wonderfully designed website but it's the images that I really enjoyed. There are other photographers that are mentioned, some I had heard of and others I hadn't, but the images from Yannis Kontos were a joy to go through. His images, from all over the world, at times intense are also compelling and thoughtful in their approach. Check him out if you have some time.

This is another image from the Palm Springs Photo Festival. Taken digitally I really had a hard time with the highlights. With my Canon I just always seem to have problems and I think it's my technique. I've tried different approaches but these strong backlit scenes seem to give the most trouble. If you have any thoughts, tips or suggestions I'd love the hear them.

I've also been comparing the different RAW converters I have access to these days. I like Aperture but it's slow on my system. Some of the conversions are really spot on and I like the way it organizes my images. Lightroom has some advantages in the processing department but I hate the UI and the organization doesn't seem to meld very well with the way I work. I also like Canon's DPP and will use it from time to time. It has problems with skin tones though turning them an awful red and produces banding in the transitions from light to dark. I added some memory to my system to see if that will help and as a result will most likely stick with Aperture for the quick edit and the organizational capabilities. For those images that need critical work I'll try different ways of converting them until I get what I want. I may even combine images at times in an effort to take advantage of the strengths of the conversions from the various programs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

A quick one from the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Shot digitally and cropped square. I'm trying to get over my inability to crop an image but I don't know if it's working.

To everyone in the US I hope you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. For those of you not in the US I'll have more next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Palm Springs FD Training

Most of this year I've spent shooting film but I have broken out the digital from time to time. The problem has been I just didn't want to go through the process of processing the images in either Lightroom or Aperture. Work has been hectic and a royal pain in the butt lately and I needed some dead time tonight and got bored with the football game. So I fired up the computer and started going through old images I haven't done anything with. I started playing with Lightroom and some of the processing capabilities of the porgram and then went into Photoshop to see what I could do.

This is an image I made while at the Palm Springs Photo Festival earlier this year. It was hotter than hades and this guy was training; something new guys do everyday they are on duty for an entire year. He had just finished hauling a 50 foot hose several times to get water on a specific area designated by his trainer. The turn out gear weighs something like 80 pounds, and I don't know how much the hose weighs, but he was physically drained afterwards and this is where I caught him. He told me he had already drank about 3 gallons of water that morning.

I still have a ton of film to scan, but with Thanksgiving coming up and guests coming over, I don't want to set up the scanning station. It will most likely be a marathon scanning effort concluded towards the end of the year as my travel dies down. I've got one more trip to the UK planned for the year and then I'm done until the second week of January.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sun Drenched Weeds

Messing around a few months ago I went to the track with Jordan to watch her practice jumping hurdles. I took the camera, but since she was adamantly against me focusing on her I walked around the track. These really aren't my forte but the light as amazing and I thought I'd experiment a bit.

Taken with the 24mm f1.4L and Canon 1D Mk11 and processed in Lightroom 1.3.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Luis Sinco & James Blake Miller

Anyone that has read through this blog knows I love photojournalism. And being the son of a veteran, and a vet myself, I have an affinity for the men and women of the armed forces. Couple that with the fact that this story is about a kid from Kentucky and I'm hooked. It's the story of how one photograph brought two people together and how the making of the image impacted their lives. I don't know Luis Sinco personally but I think he did the right thing by helping James Blake Miller and in doing so may help a lot of other veterans in the process. This is story about much more than the two men represented.

The Marlboro Marine

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Favorite Image of Lily

I need a TiVO box for my brain. Last night I had a couple trains of thought going that I simply cannot recreate today.

The information, while half awake, seemed to be coming from apparently disjointed fragments collectively joined together to form the thoughts. In other words, it was coming from all sorts of places in my consciousness, or should I say semi-consciouness, coalescing in a coherent thought process culminating in an actual point. It was almost like a conversation addressing something that I know was bothering me.

I can remember some of the conversation. But the jest of the thoughts escape me, and when I try to get them down on paper I find the thoughts just spiral down without structure. And the point I wanted to make no longer seems to matter. Maybe it never did.

On to photography. This is my favorite image of Lily and it will most likely become one of my all time favorite images that I have produced. It just works for me and I can't really tell you why. There are times when I don't even try to figure it out and this image is one of those. I accept it for what it is to me and that's an image that I really like and have printed several times. I'll frame this one large for the house.

On another note, I finally saw a copy of the LFI I had been hoping to see. The image is small; I mean really small and to say I've been published seems to be a stretch. It's a little embarrassing to tell the truth. However, something good did come out of it. The image will be framed and on display at the “Leica Day” Camera West in Mission Viejo hosts on Saturday. This is the first time I've had an image put on public display and that is exciting.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Aidan

I'm back in the US after a week long trip to the UK. Once again I took a camera and once again work prevented me from getting it out of the bag.

So, here is another image from the family project. (I don't know why I keep referring to it as a project. It really wasn't.)

This is Aidan and he bears a striking resemblance, at least to my eye, of images of my brother at the same age. He was eating and I interrupted the snack of chips and cheese to make this image. I really should keep better notes when I do stuff like this because now I can't remember if he was happy to pose or annoyed that I stopped him in mid bite. What is particularly funny to me is the thought of these images being seen later in life and the kids, all of them, wondering what I was doing and why I was taking pictures at that particular time. I have another one of LIly with chocolate all over her face. I'll post it tomorrow.

I've got a lot of stuff to catch up on and the scanning station while be broken out this week. I'm also looking forward to buying the latest issue of LFI because I think I will have an image in it. I just hope it's big enough in the publication to say I've been published.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jackson

The family portrait project didn't go as planned for a number of reasons. On the day this image was made, Kentucky was in a prolonged hot spell that made me wonder why, once again, I choose July as the month to visit. The air was thick with moisture and there was no way to cool off. The only people that wanted to be outside were the kids but with most large gatherings the house is almost always too confining. So we headed out.

Kids don't seem to mind that the air causes their hair to stick to their heads. Adults, on the other hand, are very adamant about not allowing an image to be made once they deem themselves a disheveled wreck. I had been following the kids around with a Polaroid camera for awhile - no Type 55 could be processed in the heat - and by the point I got the Yashica out I think they were tired of the crazy guy with the camera. With these kids that's an accomplishment. But they allowed me some last images and this is one of them.

This is Jackson and he's the oldest of the four children from my nephew Zack and his wife Christy. He's a bit of a ham and loves the camera. This is one of the rare images I have of him where he is showing a more serious side. Or maybe it's a, “Can we please get this over with” side.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lily

This is Lilly, my great niece in Kentucky. When my family and I took a road trip back to Kentucky this year I wanted to document it and do a family portrait project. The project really didn't come together for me as well as I would have liked. But I did get some good images of my nephew's 4 children. This is one of several of Lily that I really like. When she grows older I'm not sure she'll like it but I think it doe capture a little bit of her personality. She's a firecracker and so full of life and energy. She has to be considering she's surrounded by 3 brothers.

It ws taken with the Yashica Mat 124 and Delta 100.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Old Images

I'm trying to redesign my website, and in the process, going through old images and getting them ready. It's painfully obvious I have no photographic direction. I'm all over the place with different cameras, different film... digital, color, black and white... There are toy cameras in the mix, old converted cameras and a hodge podge of stuff once owned and since sold off.

I've been looking at a lot of photography lately looking for inspiration, ideas, a sense of whether my eclectic collection is wrong or OK. I'm still not sure. It seems that most people are advised to stick with one certain type of photography and go from there. Unfortunately I can't concentrate on something that long. I like trying out new ideas and I usually end up chasing some dreamt up notion I've conjured up.

This is an old image taken several years ago during a phase when portraits were what really interested me. They still do and it's driven by the human interaction that, as I grow older, seems more important. But posed stuff seems to be much more difficult for me. I find that as I loosen up, the person in front of my lens does the same. The problem is getting me to loosen up. It took me a few hours to loosen up in this shoot. Fortunately she was really good and made my job easy.

There is another image of Jordan over at flickr where we laughed and joked around. She's my daughter so that was easy but it worked. Going through old images can be rewarding and painful at the same time. I certainly learned something today. I just need to figure out the lesson.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Garrison Beau Scott

I have a tendency to stay with the same stuff for awhile. My choices of places to view on the web are no exception and I find myself perusing the same old sites every day. I recently ran across a couple of sites that I've enjoyed and posted new links over to the right. Check them out under Film Images if you find yourself so inclined.

One site I came across was a blog by Garrison Beau Scott. It was an entertaining couple of hours last night as the football game was on. The game was OK but reading through the entries kept me entertained. You can see more work here.

On a side note, and I hope I don't jinx myself, the image you see here may be published. I received an email from a magazine I pick up from time to time saying they would like to publish the image. To make sure I won't jinx myself, I'll keep the publication to myself until I know something. I received several emails for the files, submitted the images and since then I haven't heard anything. I'm not certain what that means but I remain hopeful that it will get published.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Polaroid Flags

As usual time passes by and work gets in the way of photography. I've been printing images lately in order to put up some new images up in the house. This is one of them.

It was taken in Santa Monica on the Litton and Polaroid Type 55. So far the images I have printed have been film. I'm not sure why that is but I seem to like those images better. I wonder if it might be because I enjoy the process with the film cameras more? Technically these images aren't any better. In fact, the grain that shows up in the scans from the 35 mm film prevent me from printing really large prints. I think that is a reflection of my scanning skills more than anything else. But I seem to pay more attention with the film and maybe that's why the images are better.

I'm hopeful that I'll have some more images up in the coming weeks. Work seems to be slowing down a bit but it's probably an illusion and wishful thinking.

More later....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cambridge Arrow

Here's another Fee inspired image.

I've finally gotten through some of the backlog of images from the last several months. I still have a few rolls to scan plus develop but should be caught up soon.

This is an image from a trip earlier this year to the UK. Because a flight fare was ridiculously priced I was semi forced to stay over on a Saturday and tried to make the best of it. Earlier images from a “Rocky Horror Picture” showing were the result but there are a few others that didn't get developed at the same time. This is one of them.

The rangefinder just lets me see differently and so far, I like how I am reacting with the camera. This image is a case in point.

I saw this arrow on the road. The contrast of the asphalt against the arrow was striking to me and I composed the frame. I only took one frame but because I could see what I wanted in the viewfinder, and because I was taking my time, I really only needed one frame. When I saw it on the contact sheet I immediately circled it and knew I had gotten what I wanted.

It's HP5 rated at 320.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dark Images

2 minutes while here in Cambridge for a quick update.

About a year ago I came upon a photographer that really resonated with me. The work I saw was dark and foreboding but stuck with me and started me looking for images where I wouldn't have before. Sadly, James Fee passed away this year but left a body of work I've gone back too for inspiration.

There is something about the work I really connected with and found lacking in my own work. Shooting with film in this fashion has produced my fair share of attempts but only a few have worked and this is one of those. It was taken in Kentucky during a full moon as I left my parents house while visiting in July. This is an old water tower in my home town and it's been there forever. It's in a state of disrepair these days having been replaced many years ago but it still means home to me in many ways. It served as a significant landmark for the years when we would return during the summer to visit my grandparents. When we moved back home once Pop retired from the Air Force the water tower was a reflection of the tiny town we moved too.

It still is. The town is a shell of what it once was and if I drive up the hill to see the tower I wonder how it manages to stay upright. Somehow it does and probably will for many years to come. If it's ever torn down home won't be the same and the landscape of the town would be forever altered. I think the town would quickly cease to exist as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Getting In

Over at SportsShooter there is and article that any photojournalistic photographer should read. It's about getting in and telling the story. It's a compelling read so check it out.

No photographs today because all of the stuff I've recently shot has been family and dogs. And I also just haven't had the time to get everything scanned. This month has been nuts and I expect it will continue to be so as I head to Cambridge next week. I hope to get some backlog of articles written (can I really call this “articles”) while on the trip to, and from, the UK.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Nalu

Nalu came to us after being dropped of by the side of the road along with 3 litter mates. She might have been 6 weeks old but I think she was younger than that. We think, and I emphasize think, that she is a Vizsla and Lab mix but we aren't sure. Whatever she is, she's a love.

I've spoiled her and am constantly reminded of this by both Diane and Jordan. Nalu reminds me of it to when she crawls up into my lap and sinks in for a little nap. I'm getting older and softer. What can I say.

Along with Soli, she becomes a model when I feel the need to pick up the camera. Photographing a black dog has challenged my exposure skills at times but the move back to film has helped, although this was taken with the digital and 24mm and converted to B&W in PS. I really was trying some different compositions and liked this one the best. It's the last dog image.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Soli

I'll admit that images of dogs get to be redundant, irrelevant and too plentiful. If you have ever looked at any photographers image box you'll see there will usually be a plentiful amount of images of the 4 legged “child.”

As I wrote the piece for the post on photographing the ones you love, I noticed that I have a hard drive full of images of our two dogs Soli and Nalu. They are great models. They don't complain (although my daughter begs to differ with that statement) and they pose rather happily. At least I like to think so. They are unconditional models as much as they unconditionally love.


Soli is the stand in when I get a new piece of gear, want to test out a new technique or see light that I think is amazing. She is a “people” dog, preferring humans to other dogs I think because somehow she has become confused on her status in the animal kingdom. If she could talk, I am sure she would say that there has been a horrible mistake. She really isn't an animal but a human trapped in the wrong body. She may even give some credence to reincarnation. (Pop, don't worry too much.)

She's a joy to have around the house and I'm glad she's a willing model. This is her and her “ball” before we finally had to throw it away.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Jean Gaumy

No image today.

One of my favorites books is called "Men At Sea" here in the US. It's called "Plien Mer" in France where it was orginally published. The photographer is Jean Gaumy and you should check out his images over at Magnum.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Seagull

OK, this probably isn’t that great of a photograph. There is just something about seagulls that I always seem to try and make an image of. It’s similar to the flag issue I wrote about a few posts back. Anyway, it was taken down at the Santa Monica Pier in one of the first outings with the film camera earlier this year.

The other image is from the same day (notice the seagull). On that particular day I had both cameras with me. No matter how I tried I couldn’t keep the highlights from blowing out. Maybe it’s just my lack of ability. Maybe it’s the camera. I don’t know. What I do know is that I was stunned by the lack of detail in the digital images and the amount of detail in the film images. I’m not trying to start a debate on the film versus digital thing just making an observation that was a little surprising to me at that point in time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Photographing The Ones You Love

I've been trying to explain this to myself and to the others in my family that wonder why I carry the camera. I can't explain it any better so instead of my words look here for why I, and others like me, do it. Gray Matters: Photograph Everyone You Love

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Missy

I’m a sucker for dogs. Especially for dogs that are skittish and scared. This is Missy. She’s an odd mix of Australian Shepherd and dachshund. She didn’t want anything to do with a guy with a camera in his face. The nice lady that owned her asked me to try and get some images and she held her hand down to try and calm her. I’m also a sucker for charming older women with said dog.

Missy doesn’t live at the home. She comes to visit her owner, hang out and make everyone feel better. She stays at the home of her owners daughter because her owner doesn’t want to get up in the middle of the night. I told her about my dogs and their propensity to get up in the middle of the night. She informed me that they had trained me well. My wife would agree.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Santa Monica Flag

I spent some time at the Santa Monica Pier earlier this year. This is one of the images from that day. On Sunday the Arlington West Memorial is set up at sunrise and taken down just before sunrise. It’s surrounded by flags.

I don’t know why I am fascinated by flags flowing in the wind. I just am. Every time I see one, whether I have a camera or not, I think about making an image. There a dozens if images in my folders and on my hard-drives of flags but they seldom look good. This one of the exceptions, at least in my eyes it is.

It’s another film image, Delta 100, processed in dr5 neutral developer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

JJ

This is an image from the workshop in May with Colin Finlay. JJ is a cast member at the Copy Katz Lounge in Palm Springs. It’s a cabaret style entertainment with impersonators putting a pretty good show. I wasn’t sure it would be something I would enjoy, but it was an experience that I most likely would not have taken part in had it not been part of the workshop.

JJ was a very willing subject and workshops like this are always a little difficult. There were 9 other photographers there that day and getting an image without them in the frame was a challenge. It did make me work harder but I also had to work harder because I didn’t have a digital camera to use as a crutch. It’s amazing how many bad habits I’ve developed using digital. I’ve made this a direct link to flickr in order to allow viewing of more images from the day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Capt Dave

The heat in the southwest, in fact throughout the country, has put guys and gals like Captain Dave in jeopardy. I had the honor of going to the Palm Springs Fire Department to witness some training and document the day. This is a portrait of a firefighter that puts his life on the line on a daily basis. I don’t know where Dave is today but I’m sure he’s out there in the heat, beating back the flames and protecting the communities.

This was taken with the Canon and one of the few times in 2007 I’ve actually used digital. It was processed in Lightroom, which I have yet to purchase, but with the release of 1.1 I expect to get it soon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Seattle

I may have posted these images before; probably did. But in getting this backlog of images scanned I actually got to work with the images instead of using a poorly shot transparency on a light box. There isn’t much to say. They were taken late last year - before I sold the Mamiya 7 - the last time I was in Seattle and I just love Seattle. The film was HP5 at 1600 processed in Developer 1 at dr5.

In getting a chance to work with the film images from the last year or so I’ve found how much I really enjoy the process of shooting. Getting the scanning system up and running, albeit cumbersome, I at least get to see some images I haven't been able to really work with. It’s also making me miss the larger negatives of the Mamiya. I guess I’ll have to start shooting the Littman more often.

My recent images have been off on exposure lately and I haven’t been able to figure the cause. Today I did. I use a Sekonic 508 I’ve had for years. Apparently I’ve been too trusting in it’s ability. I found today that it was an entire stop off over exposing on a regular basis. I’ve dialed in the adjustment but will most likely need to send it in for calibration sometime in the near future. I wonder how much that will cost? It’s always something.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Letters

There are times when writing for this blog finds me at a loss for words. This is one of those times.

I found a solution to my scanning problem and spent the last couple of weeks scanning a backlog of images. This is the first one that I’m posting here.

At best I’m a difficult person to live with: moody, closed off, demanding and a few other things that come to mind. Somehow I was blessed with a woman that found a way, and continues to find a way, to get through the stuff I throw around. I’m not sure what I did to deserve her but I’m glad she came my way. She’s probably one of the only people that actually looks at this blog and I know what words do for her. She calls them “Larry Letters” and I don’t write them often enough.

I picked this image because her eyes show she’s playful and because there is a happiness here that I rarely catch with the camera. Her father was a photographer; she knows the drill, but I never seem to just catch her at a moment when she is relaxed. This is one of those and one of my favorites.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sign Of The Times

Here’s a sign of the times. This guy saw me making images and posed a couple of times. I actually didn’t push the shutter on those, not because he posed, but because a car pulled up behind him. But after this particular image he stumbled over to me in his high heels and asked to see the back of the camera. He was very polite but I told him it was film. He looked at me incredulously and asked, in all seriousness, if I was a Luddite. I told him, in fact, I was no such thing but this just happened to be the camera I had with me at the moment. He stared for a second or two, said OK and went to find a more progressive photographer.

Monday, May 28, 2007

"Rocky Horror" Lives

I spent a week in Cambridge on business recently. As it turned out I had a Saturday night stay over rate that prevented me form coming early even though the meetings were completed. So I spent a day roaming the village of 100,000 people carrying the camera and seeing what I could see.

I’ve been to Cambridge several times but I rarely get a chance to see outside the area between my hotel and office. This free day let me get outside the normal areas and see something of the town. It was enjoyable and it makes me wish we lived in a more pedestrian friendly city. I really enjoyed relaxing by sitting in the cafe’s and watching the people go about their Saturday chores.

On my way back to the hotel later in the evening I passed the Corn Exchange which is an older building that houses a theater. As I walked up the block, I noticed a large crowd and decided to check it out. There were several scantily clad hairy men milling about and it took me a moment to realize what was going on. Apparently the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” lives.

There was a line of photographers against the wall opposite of the main entrance. I only had the 50mm with me (only lens for this particular camera) so I couldn’t stay there and get any decent images. So I just jumped into the fray. I hope I didn’t piss anyone off but the “cast” seemed to enjoy it so I stuck around. I got a few images I like and this is one of them. This guys buddy was posing with a couple of the characters from the film. He asked me after he shot this if I got his best side. He was rather funny and seemed to enjoy the fact that he was the subject instead of the others.

It took me a little while to get comfortable getting as close as I needed but I eventually did and the few images I like are better for it. Now I need to get a 35mm and get even closer.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grip

This is from another Father/Daughter day at the gym. Jordan loves to climb and I love it as well although she makes me look like the out of shape guy that I am. She’s very good, and as she continues to get stronger she’ll just get better. So I took the opportunity to shoot some images while she was climbing a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoyed doing this although I’m not sure Jordan did. I think it gets a little old being the subject of so much photography but, in her sweet way, she indulges me and lets me keep trying.

As I went through these I started sequencing them according to what I had learned from Colin in the workshop. It was a good exercise in putting something that flowed in a logical way. I don’t know if I got it right but I do like how they turned out. I also purposely shot that day with an idea in mind instead of my usually random and disjointed way. It was prompted in some way by recognizing Jordan’s wish to not show her face. It made me think more, find a way to get what I wanted and still meet her requirement. I think it worked out pretty well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Aaron

This is Aaron. He was a participant in the Colin Finlay workshop held in Palm Springs a few weeks ago. He’s also one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and typically of a photographer and a creative, highly critical of his own work. He had some really strong images from the Copy Katz lounge and he saw the retirement home in a way I wish I had seen it. You can see some of his images here.

This is an image that I saw in my head when I saw this red wall. It comes close to reflecting what I wanted to portray but I could have used a little more light in the eyes. It’s shot on Fuji NPZ 800 and scanned on a little crappy scanner which resulted in a lot of noise. I metered off the highlight on his forehead and I don't recall the exposure. I wish I has paid attention. I have a few more to show in the next few days that get closer to what I wanted. Some of the images just didn’t work but that’s why you try; you see what works and what doesn’t and you learn from the mistakes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

JJ

It’s been a hectic few weeks and work is killing me at the moment. I thought I would have more time over the trip to Cambridge for some writing but coach class grows smaller by the trip and working is difficult.

I did get some images back from the lab and I’m actually pretty happy with some of them. Unfortunately getting them scanned is a little more difficult so I still have nothing to show. I really must come up with a solution.

The last day of the workshop proved to be the most fun. We went to a Copy Katz Showroom and Bar in Palm Springs. We were able to get some time with JJ as he got into character. The space was small, and jockeying for position with 9 other photographers was tough, but I got some images I liked and will get them posted at some point.

The next few images are from an impromptu portrait session with the other people in the workshop. This was one of the rare workshops without a bunch of know-it-alls wanting to prove how much they knew and how much smarter they were than anyone else. Everyone was very nice and very helpful.

This first image is JJ after the transformation. I used Fuji NPZ 800 for the first time. The red wall was too amazing to pass up and I didn’t have the digital camera. For the color I wish I had it for this spot in the club if nothing else.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Colonel George

The first day of the workshop we had a chance to introduce ourselves and talk a bit about our goals in photography. We also had the chance to hear a bit about Colin’s background, approach, philosophy while seeing some of his images. The morning discussion was very interesting and well worth the short time we spent. I honestly wish I could wax eloquent about the experience but the images and stories surrounding them simply speak for themselves. I consider myself fortunate that I was able to meet Colin, hear his story and see his images.

Marianne, event coordinator of the festival, set up three unique shooting situations for us to experience. On the first day we hit a senior citizen center and had a chance to interact and make images of some of the residents. I had the opportunity to meet one retired gentleman and had a chance to hear his story.

His name was George and he was a retired Air Force officer that had served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He also served as test pilot and “flew everything that had a prop on it.” He joined, what was then the Army Air Corp, in 1939 and trained in Texas. Hew flew in the Pacific Theater during the war and then flew the missions in Berlin after the war. He was quite a gentleman and it was an honor to spend some time with him.

He was also a Mason and a Shriner. I took this image as he explained to me the pride he felt in reaching the highest rank one can reach within that organization. I really wanted to show something of the man that had, at least as it appeared to me, a life to be proud of.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Documentary Workshop

As part of the Palm Springs Photo Festival I was fortunate to attend Colin Finlay’s Documentary Workshop. Over the next few days I’ll be posting images from the workshop, explaining a bit about the images and in general reporting on the workshop. Bear with me next week as I head to the UK and may not be able to get work up as quickly.

I shot both digital and film the first day but found myself too distracted with the switch. On the second day at the Palm Springs Fire Department HQ I only shot digital and on the third day I only shot film. I didn’t regret not having the film camera at the fire station but I did have second thoughts on the third day. I’ll leave that until I get the film back. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks to get those images online but I am looking forward to those images in particular. Once I get the images back I’m sure I’ll be happy I concentrated on B&W film with one color roll thrown in for good measure.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Coming Across Old Stuff

I’m going through some old images getting ready for the Palm Springs Photo Festival and came upon this portrait. It was taken several years ago in New York as part of a shoot put together by some people form Photoworkshop.com.

I was in New York for the annual Photo Expo show and spent a day in a rented studio shooting in wonderful natural light. Having space to move around and great northern light was such a joy that I wanted to find studio space when I got back to Kentucky. I did find a great space in downtown Louisville with 40 feet of 18 foot high windows. I’ve since left that space and moved out to California. I don’t get to shoot portraits very often anymore and should just find the time to do more. I enjoy working with people and I need to make the time.

This was shot on a Mamiya RZ 67, handheld on SFX 200 which, is sadly, no longer available. The lens was the 110mm f 2.8. I loved that camera but sold it because it was getting no use. It helped fund the Leica I’ve been using more and more this year.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Holga Track & Field


There's not much to say about this image. I took the Holga with me to test it out and see where it was exposure wise. I had a red filter on the front and it was a bright sunny day. The negs are a little dense but were scanned nicely by the lab (for a change).

This was one of my favorite images and it just reminded me of something surreal. It looks otherworldly to me but you may not be able to see it in the jpeg web image. I just like it I guess.

This is pretty straight with just minor adjustments in PS to add some contrast to an otherwise flat scan. I was actually inspired to use the Holga by the John Stanmeyer profile on the Aperture site. I didn't use Aperture in this case but will most likely do so in the future.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I take a lot of notes and have far too many notebooks laying in cluttered piles with little to no visible organization. Somehow I know what’s in them and where to look for stuff. One of the notebooks has a few ideas for photo sessions and in a recent perusal of this particular notebook I remembered an article I saw years ago.

I don’t recall the photographers name but after the passing of his mother he documented what the house she lived in looked like. It’s struck me over the years that we look too often for the exceptional and ignore the mundane. I’m sure there are reasons behind this, ones that make absolute sense. But yesterday I needed a break and picked up the camera and I really just wanted to shoot something in the early afternoon light that always looks nice in the house. I also wanted to experiment with Kodak’s BW400CN, find a place that could develop it and scan the images that would allow, at a minimum, posting.


There was other inspiration from an article I read on the Leica eNewsletter about a photographer that went to Russia and documented a place while visiting with a friend. So using those two excuses to shoot I set out to document the life of a house in 30 minutes or so. Here are a couple of results.

Everyday life can be mundane but looking at it closer yesterday I saw that it really wasn’t. A pair of shoes next to a purse reminded me of a girl who will all to soon be moving on and finding her own way. There were the candles sitting on the table waiting for the warmth of human companionship. A notebook from an often remembered brother and uncle taken to soon and missed daily. An inspirational posting hung over a door as a reminder and a good luck Irish Cross hung over a door for good luck for those that pass under it.


Everyday stuff. Good photography? I don’t know but as with a lot of things I don’t care. It matters to me and it might matter to those close to me or it might resonate with someone across the world. This is photography that appeals to me, matters to me and in the long run what I really love to do. It varies from day to day, subject to subject, medium to medium. It probably always will. I may never make a living from photography but I will always get enjoyment out of it and that is what matters the most to me in the first place.

Friday, April 06, 2007

James Nacthwey - 2007 TED Award

This isn’t a photography post specifically but it does speak to photography and the impact photography can have. For all the people that think images have no impact read on.

Every year there is 4 day conference called TED held in Monterey, CA. It brings leaders from around the world to discuss ideas in technology, entertainment and design. It’s a great concept and I hope that I can participate at some point in my life. Each speaker gets 15 minutes to speak and there have been a wide range of speakers over the years.

James Nacthwey was a recipient of a 2007 TED Award, and like many others with ties to photography he is a personal hero of mine. For those of you that know me you know what that means. For those of you that don’t, I don’t use that word lightly.

I had the chance to see Mr. Nacthwey talk in Pasadena last year. He was unassuming, quiet and was very willing to answer questions of anyone that had them. This video is well worth watching. He’s seen the worst of humanity and made images that have made a difference.

You can also check out Phil Borges if you scroll down to the January 9th, 2007 downloads for another photographer using his images and talent to make a difference.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dana Point Light

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the sum of my photography. Two long plane rides will provide the time to reflect. Especially back in coach with no power and no room to open a laptop.

I see no theme and wonder if, at my age, I’ll ever have a body of work that provides something lasting. In the March 2007 issue of Black & White Photography, Duncan Hewitt writes about Lu Nan, a Chinese photographer that has solely been focused on black and white photography for 15 years. His work, and his life, are dedicated to the pursuit of a body of work that stretches across time and is interconnected. His work is focused on spirituality according to the article.

Living in China, it’s been difficult to get his work seen and he has tackled some difficult subjects. The images in the magazine were wonderful but it’s the underlying theme of spirituality throughout his projects that is really interesting. It ties in well to the amount of sacrifice he is willing to make.

What I find fascinating is the willingness to sacrifice so much to make the images. It seems to me that these individuals are rare. I’m certainly not one of them. But I wish I’d paid more attention throughout the years to photography and built up a body of work. I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I don’t know if it’s the body of thematic work I want or the work to be about the stories I’ve wanted to tell.

I couldn't find a link to Nan's work in the limited time I had to search. If you find a link let me know.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Outside the Aircraft Window


Returning from Cambridge, UK and my #%* hurts to living hell. I digress.

Crossing over Idaho and the mountains I shot several images. These aren't them because I don’t have those developed yet. I had a few rolls of Kodak 400BW and these particular images were made as we were making our approach into LAX.

I shot several images over Idaho and over California as we came into LA. I don’t know why I try this so often because most of the images look like crap. Haze makes everything low contrast on the film, the airplane window is two panes thick, scratched up and makes for a terrible filter. But there is something about going over mountains, particularly snow capped mountains, that gets to me.

It’s mostly a reminder of my trip out to Alaska in the summer of 1979. To this day I vividly remember wanting to to be walking on those ridges, climbing the peaks, descending the steep ravines. Every time I fly over the mountains and have a window seat I have that same thought. And if I have a camera I make a few images. It’s just like a million other images out there and we probably don’t need more but they are a reminder for me and I like these images.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What Would You Do?

If you had the guts to quit and work at whatever you wanted to do, what would you do? It’s a question I ask myself from time to time, and certainly more often, as I grow older.

There are no photographs today; just a link to a video interview with Ryan Spencer Reed. As a young man this was the work I wanted to do.

Make images that could make a difference.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Seattle

Another busy week in the land of Southern California but I actually did get some time to do some stuff. I am using Aperture more and more in my work flow. Anyway, I spent a great deal of time getting images into the Aperture library and organized in a way that is actually useful. It makes it easier for me to get the images onto the web either on flickr, my web site or emailed out. Disk space is still an issue and I need to get this resolved but want to do it correctly. It’s just another project but an important one if I hope to have access to my images in the years to come.

Increasingly, images are appearing on the web a lot more than they are in print for the amateur photographer. This really isn’t news if you’ve looked at the proliferation of imaging sites on the web. Just take a look at flickr and you’ll see what I mean. It’s easier to get your work seen but I wonder how much input we gain from this exposure. My blog has had about 2000 hits since June of last year and there have been very few comments. In a sea of images that isn’t really surprising and I don’t make much of an effort to get it out there. On my flickr account I’ve received some comments but not a lot and again, I’ve not really been able to put much time into the site. It’s very social and for some that is great and fine but doesn’t really work for me.

The upside to all of this is that if you really want to search out great photography it’s there and in a lot of cases you can really get an insight into the photographer and their work. If like me, you are an equipment nut, you are most likely going to get some insight into that as well. I like reading about the equipment photographer’s use in making their images. I like to read how they are put together, what processing programs they use, etc. I find it of great interest and in this day and age of technical possibilities there is a great deal to learn. My feeling is that if I like the images there is probably something there to learn. If I don’t like the images I probably won’t delve into their technique very much. It’s not so much that I think they don’t know anything or that they can’t impart some knowledge that would be useful to me. But with the amount of information that is available and with limited time, I need to go where I think I’ll get something useful. Liking the images is my gauge for time spent.

Here is an image taken in Seattle last year and shot with a Mamiya 7 on HP5 and processed in dr5. I put it on a light table cleaned it up a bit in PSCS2.

Monday, February 05, 2007

First Post of 2007

To say that 2007 has been busy so far would be an understatement. Louisville started off the year with a whooping of Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl. Great job! I found out I was up for a promotion and I actually got the job but it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

I have been shooting but it’s been all film and with the travels I haven’t gotten it developed yet. I also haven’t gotten the scanning issue resolved. So while I have some chrome’s to scan, I haven’t done anything because I need to determine who will actually do them. The joys of analog in a digital world.

For the next few days you’ll see some older images from the last several months. There will be some dr5 shots in there because I put them on a light table and used the Canon to convert them. It’s not the best solution but it works for now. I should have it figured out soon. We’ll see.

Enjoy the images and comment if you get a chance or feel so inclined to do so.