Doom

Doom

There is a great local arcade here in town with a rotating cast of pinball tables among other old arcade machines. While I have never been all that good at the game I have always loved the mechanical wonder of a good pinball machine. I shot these casually one night and thought their abstract, bokeh filled nature would make a nice wallpaper for any fans of the game. Enjoy.

Doom v2

In The Shot
Guest Desktop

In The Shot

Back with another great guest desktop for everyone! This week we have an image from Dan Hawk, a photographer from the great city of Portlandia. He reached out to me showing interest in sharing a photograph in the guest series and after pouring through the beautiful photographs on his site I found this gem which he was kind enough to share with everyone as a wallpaper.

At first glance a straightforward long exposure of a beach at sunset caused me pause when I noticed the blurry outline of one of his children in bottom of the frame. The ghost like figure gives it a personality and vitality that I really love. As you know, I enjoy a story or a few thoughts about an images creation and Dan had this to say about the photograph:

“My wife and I took all three of our kids to Maui this year and this image is from their first Hawaiian sunset after a long day playing in the ocean.  I tried to make it down to the water for sunset every evening as it seems so wrong to miss them.  I made a couple of long exposure pictures that evening which turned out pretty good, but then my son decided to jump in the frame on this one and it became the keeper.  I tried to get him to hold still, but he’s 9, so it was a lost cause. When making photos, I hope my images represent the way it felt to be there and this one succeeds for me.”

A story that rings true of some of the worlds best photographs, ones of serendipity and adjusting expectations to fit the circumstances to discover something even better.

Dan also had this to say of his technical approach; “I made this image with a single frame taken with a Sony NEX 7, the 18-55 Zoom lens (which is pretty good stopped down at 18mm) and a Neutral Density Filter so I could use a longer shutter speed.  This is a ten second exposure at f/20, using a tripod. I’m usually more of a prime 35mm equivalent shooter, but I find myself reaching for the wider angle of the zoom for these big ocean sunsets. I generally shoot in RAW which gives me access to the broad dynamic range of light that the sensor is recording. All of my editing is done in Lightroom.”

You can find more of his work and follow along with future photos and stories here.

object_15_desktops

Object No. 15

Changing things up with this object shot using a different approach this time around. I took the lens of of my X-Pro1 and messed around with a bit of “free-lensing,” a technique I had no idea had a name, more or less a following, until recently. I remember the first time doing this years ago with my 5D, I wanted to see if I could force an old pentax lens to work with the camera without having any kind of conversion mount. My only option was to manually hold the lens out in front of the camera. At the time it felt like nothing more than a novelty, something new to mess around with to get abstract images so I was surprised to see many people use it seriously.

At any rate, the technique is certainly fun to play around with if you are ever looking for something new to try. It works especially well with mirrorless cameras because you don’t have a mirror to contend with! Just be sure to do it in a clean environment where you don’t run the risk of filling up your sensor with dirt or dust.

While traveling in Inda way back when, I made a point not to buy too many mementos, I had only taken one small backpack with me after all and couldn’t spare a lot of room. There were a few things that I did end up buying though as a way to remember my time there, one of which was this Ganesh statue which I believe I bought while in Pushkar from a place that sold their statues all by weight. I chose one somewhere in the middle and it has been hanging around my apartment ever since.

I decided to include three variations on the shot, one of which has a nice healthy flare from all the light pouring into the sensor as I snapped it.

object_15_v2_desktops

object_15_v3_desktops

Down The Line

Down The Line

Finding new places to shoot is not always as easy as discovering a new abandoned landscape and relying on its unexplored decay as the focus of a photograph. Sometimes it takes the right set of circumstances to make something of it, such as the flowers that serendipitously appeared here, covering this piece of land one grey summer afternoon.

Which reminds me of something I was thinking about recently regarding patience as a virtue in the art of photography. While some days subject matter, interesting compositions, and beautiful light comes easy and obviously, there are times when nothing shows its face and rather than get down about not finding anything that stands out its important to realize that sometimes we have to be patient in the search. This is one thing that has really sunk in after pushing myself to shoot and share at least one photo every day for well over a year.

I often feel down when I go a few days without shooting a photograph but lately I have been quick to remember that I can’t always force a good photograph out of a day, especially busy ones with repudiative landscapes. As long as I don’t turn off my internal photo radar, I have started to let myself relax more when approaching photography from day to day. Its lead me to focus on shots that I want to take rather than ones I feel I have to take, if that makes any sense. Sure, life is short, but whats the rush?

Melon

Melon

Summer is a lot of things. Time at the beach, floating down a river, ice tea or lemonade on a porch; any number of quintessential, sometimes cliché activities come to mind when the word summer pops into mind. One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh fruit and vegetables filling the local farmers market to the brim. Nothing like a locally truly vine ripe anything. So in the waning end of summer I thought I would toss in a desktop for any other lovers of a good summer melon. Enjoy!

Angel Oak v1

Angel Oak

Back to Charleston for a few black and white shots of a beautiful tree called the Angel Oak, thought to be at least 400 years old (if not much more so). I had been trying to get down there to see this tree for years now and it was nice to finally make it there and soak it all in. These old southern oak trees are achingly beautiful and one of my favorite parts of traveling to the southeast. Their long, hearty branches seem to defy gravity as they spread outward and in some cases such as this tree, end up growing so far outward they end up touching the ground. The Angel Oak is free to visit and has a modest park surrounding it with a gift shop full of a handful of local offerings and photos for sale.  There are a couple of websites dedicated to the tree but I’m not exactly sure which is the official site, this one here has visiting hours listed at least. Well worth the drive if you are int he area.

I held off sharing these because I was not completely satisfied with the way they turned out. I am starting to feel a bit claustrophobic using a 50mm lens, well, on the X-Pro1 it’s the equivalent of one at least. After developing my personal style using 35mm lenses on full frame bodies I don’t mind shooting with a 50 but it often cramps my style. These images also show the shortcomings of my current camera setup and trying to shoot with my classic, wide open, shallow DOF reliant compositions. I am hoping to figure out a way to pick up Fuji’s newer 23mm f/1.4 lens eventually so I can get back to my familiar focal range and give myself the breathing room I am used to having when approaching a subject.

Angel Oak v2

Angel Oak v3

Angel Oak v4

Mountain Shrub, by Conor McClure
Guest Desktop

Mountain Shrub

Today I am happy to introduce the return of the guest desktop series here on 50ft. Everyones favorite on again, off again set of posts here on the site where I reach out to other photographers around the world and convince them to share their amazing work with you guys through the art of digital wallpaper. I have the intention to start releasing these every couple of weeks here on the site and will start to be on the lookout for suitable new images to share.

I love this series because it gives me a chance to expand what I am able to offer here on the site photographically by offering others viewpoints on the world and expose great photographers to fresh eyes in the process. This time around I am happy to share an image by Conor McClure, a young James Dean looking fellow who has an admirable dedication to his growing personal site conormcclure.net, a site I follow along with to keep up with the ambitions of this up and coming photographer. I was lucky enough to meet up with Conor for a while while in Boone, NC a few months back and had a nice time chatting for a while and hope to cross paths again sometime in the future.

I saw this shot pass through my RSS reader a couple of days ago and the thought suddenly occurred to me that I really should jump back into my guest post series, so here we are. In Conor’s words to me through email correspondence he had this to say about the photo seen above:

“The photo was made back in October 2013, so the story behind its creation escapes me. My girlfriend and I were hiking to the top of Beacon Heights, an overlook off of the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Boone, North Carolina — it’s considered an easy beginner’s hike for those looking for one of those typical scenic Blue Ridge views.

At this point, I was still in the honeymoon phase with my Fuji X100S, so I took it with me everywhere and took pictures of everything. The photo is a typical wide-open low-profile kind of shot, of what appears to be some unattractive dying plant. The post-processing is typical of most of my photos: the Fuji “Velvia” camera profile, some basic exposure edits, jacked up clarity and sharpness, and liberal amounts of hazing and fading in the curves.

It might be interesting to go back to this spot sometime soon and see if the flowers are in bloom this time.”

For desktop cropped versions see the link below and be sure to check out his other work and follow along over at conormcclure.net!

Object No. 14 v1

Object No. 14

After a brief hiatus for the Object series I am happy to start things off again with a new object. Well, in this case it’s a pair. Apparently it’s common for casinos in Vegas to sell off used cards and dice after using them and regularly rotate their stock to avoid cheaters scamming the place. While I personally have never placed a single dollar on a Casino floor table I did find these minimal red dice unmistakably lovely and seeing as they were the single cheapest thing available for sale in the gift shop I figured why not pick up a pair? Who knows, someone may have won big of these.

I have a couple different versions this time around, both were shot at a high ISO, something I have been experimenting more with to see how usable or aesthetically pleasing the digital noise is from the Fuji X-Pro1. I’m still on the fence about it and plan on continuing to mess around with higher than I am used to ISO settings to see what I can get away with before things start to fall apart. Links to wallpaper versions below.

Object No. 14 v2

Kerouac

Kerouac

The image above was taken at a studio we were borrowing for an afternoon to experiment with flash and portraits, something I want to have a better understanding of. This ladder being used as a casual bookshelf of sorts was begging to be photographed and as I approached it I noticed there must be a fan of Kerouac that works in the space.

I’ve always wanted to dive into the books of Kerouac, at least his classics, but the few times I have tried I could never find myself pulled into the story or the characters enough to want to finish them. The two I have cracked open were Dharma Bums and On The Road, both well acclaimed works of fiction that I feel as though, based on my personal taste, I should really enjoy but neither have been able to grab hold of my imagination. I’m sure I will pick them up again eventually but for now they can simply sit among my collection.

When it comes to books and reading I more or less only read fiction. The only non-fiction books I read are typically product manuals (which I always read or at least glance through), and occasionally a book on photography or a good indie book such as the few offerings from Patrick Rhone.

Fiction inspires me in a way non-fiction can not. My creative thinking is very much emotionally driven and novels provide an emotive backdrop that makes me want to create. Non-fiction provides lessons worth learning but history only supplies a guideline for what has worked or not for others, valuable information but rarely gives me the raw energy that it takes to make me want to create and explore the world. So I often gravitate to fiction when I want to create, and non-fiction when I need to learn. Huh, comme ci comme ça, I’m sure there are plenty of opinions on the matter, either way, enjoy the new desktop!

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fiftyfootshadows.net

fiftyfootshadows@gmail.com