Another shot in ode to the simple things in life that can add a lot of joy in unexpected ways. In this case it’s a bit of afternoon sun coming through the window of a house on a farm with a few sprigs of freshly picked flowers and leaves. While Spring has never been my favorite time of the year I do love how hopeful it feels. The promise of a fresh start and the coming summer always lays down a welcome path for many after the burdensome winter prior. You can look forward to a few more spring wallpapers form me this week, perhaps tomorrow. See you then!
Cars don’t usually catch my eye, I have no affinity toward them like many others seem to. As far as I’m concerned I prefer public transport when it comes to getting around from day to day but mid sized cities like this don’t have much in the way of reliable or far reaching public transportation so cars are unavoidable. While walking down the street the day I took this it wasn’t the truck that caught my eye but the soft light of the afternoon that had me raise my camera for a couple of quick shots while walking by. Its amazing some of these old trucks are still on the road. While the backdrop leaves something to be desired I still enjoy these and thought some of you would enjoy the warm light and the nostalgic old truck. Check back tomorrow for another new image during my catch up week!
Here there guys! To make up for a slow posting schedule over the past few weeks I will be posting a new photo wallpaper each day this week. To get things kicked off I have a couple of hot images from a few weeks back. I was out grilling on one of the first nice days of the year and grabbed the camera to try and capture some good old fashioned abstract flame shots. So check back soon for more, until then, enjoy the heat.
Well, mostly Rockport. Late last year YoungDoo and I took a road trip north during which our friend Stephanie took us from Boston to her hometown Rockport, MA for a day. It’s a beautiful little town on an island that I would have loved to have a little more time to explore. It was a chilly afternoon when we visited so our time walking around town was brief but I did manage to find a few shots I thought my underused Hasselblad would be perfect for.
I only recently had these developed because we realized that we had a small stockpile of undeveloped film tucked away in various corners of our apartment that were long overdue for their chemical bath. After noticing slowly declining quality from our local film lab we decided to give Richard Photo Lab a shot after seeing the endless praise they seem to get in all corners of the film loving internet and we were not disappointed. While color film has officially broken that threshold of being modestly affordable to shoot too casually, I still feel its worth the investment. These days I reserve my film use for either paid jobs or while I am traveling. My day to day shooting has been narrowed down to being 95% digital which is why you have not seen as much film work out of me lately.
Richard Photo Lab is unique among many labs in that they take extra care in the scanning process to be sure you get the highest quality available from your negatives after developing. Their scanning work lends itself to a slightly over exposed negative or high-key style of shooting because of their tendency to treat the darkest point in each frame as a dark grey rather than absolute black. This leaves any noise in the film to be amplified in areas you may have underexposed but leaves you with that now classic “film look” that many of us love so much.
Their tale tell colors and tone have been popularized by a number of different photographers, primarily in the wedding/portrait market, and they also offer a service that allows you to tailor your scan results to fit your needs. For an exhaustive look into the company and their scanning have a look here at this thorough piece by Johnny Patience.
I have had a soft spot for polaroids for a long time yet never invested a lot into the art of shooting with them. Years back I shot around with an old clunker of a Polaroid Impulse on which I had to tape the flash off to keep it from mucking up too many photos. It worked well enough but what I always thought I would end up with was an old foldable SX-70. Once Polaroid closed up shop I gave up on the idea and moved on with other film cameras instead.
I tried using an old Polaroid Land Camera for a while and still shoot with it from time to time but it’s far too bulky to be practical most of the time. I eventually bought into a Hasselblad system which I really love and was excited to discover had polaroid backs available. I took it on its first big adventure when I traveled through India with it and a Voigtlander R3M. While traveling I often pulled the polaroid back out not only for fun but as a means to give something back to those who I was photographing. Many children or shop owners looked at me and my strange looking cameras with a confused sideways glance because I was unable to show them the photos immediately after shooting. The polaroid enabled me to not only share a photo with them but leave a copy of one as well so even at times when there was an obvious language barrier I was able to show my good intention by sharing something in return for their time.
I also took the chemical covered side of the pull apart instant film and made crude image transfers into the journal I was carrying with me on the trip. Looking back on these I found that even when the transfers were only partially successful I was still left with a fuzzy stamp of the moment I captured there in my journal so despite giving away the photo I was still left with a memento which, like the idea of memory itself, is a slightly distorted view of the original but plenty to remember the moment later on.
Some of you may recognize the idea of sharing polaroids like this from photographer favorite, Zach Arias who recently took along a Fuji Neo Classic 90 on a trip to Morocco and used it as a means to break the ice with people he would meet and photograph. I bring all this up because after holding out as long as I could manage, I finally went ahead and bought one of these handy little Instax cameras myself.
I avoided Fuji’s Instax cameras for a long time because I always thought they were too goofy looking and all to clunky to drag around with me in my camera bag. This conception quickly changed when I noticed the little Neo Classic 90 come onto the market. They did away with all the goofiness of their previous models and made something that would fit right in with my day to day shooting habits.
I was surprised to discover just how small the camera is. While I can’t shove it into my pants pocket, it easily slides into a jacket pocket or into the corner of a camera bag. While it is made from plastic the construction is sturdy in a way that you feel you can trust it. The design of the body seems well considered in that they included two shutter release buttons depending on how you want to shoot. The film itself lends itself to shooting a portrait composition but an additional button was added to make it easy to shoot landscaped as well.
While it is a fully automatic camera in regards to exposure there are a handful of shooting modes to help you get the most out of it including multiple exposure mode and one for bulb exposures. It also allows for basic exposure compensation by allowing you to choose one of four different settings, dark, standard, light, and extra light. I love this ability because while I love the bright annoying pop of a built in flash at times, it lets me have enough control over the exposure to shoot creatively without the flash getting in my way.
The photos I have taken with it so far have been well balanced tonally and sharp though they do have that hazy instant film look which I realize not everyone is into. Having a collection of these little prints around is a charming way to look back through memories. There really is nothing quite like using real instant film in both the joy of watching it appear in front of you and having these singular prints around to enjoy. No amount of digital emulation will give you quite the same feeling as using actual film which by now most of us already know.
As long as interest holds strong I have hope that the cost of film won’t soar too much any time soon. At around $14USD for 20 exposures (or less depending on how much you buy at once) it’s more than reasonable unless you’re a particularly trigger happy kind of shooter.
I bought this for YoungDoo and I to share but its quickly becoming obvious that we will end up with two of these around because I am having way too much fun shooting with this joy of a camera. I can easily recommend one of these to just about anyone who enjoys making photographs, digitally or otherwise. If you have any questions about it I would be happy to answer them below.
Back just before digital music had been fully accepted by the masses a number of musicians and labels were looking for creative ways to assemble limited edition, physical releases to help encourage sales and push the boundaries in terms of creatively selling music. Easily my favorite entry into this pool was Ghostly Internationals release of a limited edition sculpture to accompany the digital release.
It’s called the Black City Totem and was released in tandem with Matthew Dears album, Black City. The sculpture was created as a physical representation of the music itself and the feeling it conveys. I love the stark simplicity of it and love having it around the house. Created as an edition of 100
I am pretty certain it is no longer available at this point there are still some available through Ghostly here, I do wish the idea had caught on. Now that vinyl has taken over as the defacto limited edition of most album releases there is not as much pressure to create objects such as this which I think is a shame.
Maybe I am an odd one out but I love original art like this sold in reasonably limited editions. Not in an effort to make it more valuable in the future, but because of the added personal value it adds to those that do own these unique, limited objects. In that light, I am a proud owner of this beautifully modest little sculpture that represents a great album.
Because I have had such a busy week this post is all I can find time for. I asked everyone on Twitter whether they wanted something moody or something sunny and every single vote went to sunny so I set out to find something sunny to shoot today. At the last moment of sun out behind the building I work at I discovered this tiny instance of spring poking its head through into a new year.
I realize the post work is a little heavy, this is clearly because I heavily blew out the sky to capture the exposure needed in the plant, it was a compromise. Many professional photographers will not use images with blown out sections of an image, mostly due to the fact that the edges of the photo have no edge if its pure white. Imagine a photo of a model with a white, blown out sky on a white magazine page. It gives off an amateurish vibe that you can see right through if you are savvy to the mistake and is one of those little details that go a long way to making a design look clean and professional. Same goes for making a darkroom print. If the sky in a negative is blown out and you make a print with a white border the edge of the frame is lost and it gets sloppy looking unless you burn the edges or dodge your subject to compensate. The ideal solution, of course, is creatively use lighting or reflectors to balance your exposure.
I cheated here in knocking down the white to a shade of grey and tinting the highlights to match the closest color before the blown highlights. These days I do all I can to avoid this mistake either by framing the shot differently, exposing darker than I want to and hoping I can pull information from the shadows without too much loss in detail, or abandoning the shot altogether. While some knock Ansel’s Zone System I feel having at least an awareness of different intensities of light and how best to utilize available light to balance an image is vital to maturing as a photographer.
If I saw someone else’s photo using this editing technique I would probably think less of the photograph overall, a double standard, sure, but its true. I often avoid being so heavy handed with post work but when circumstances leave me with no choice I just go with the flow, do what I need to do to make a passable image to share, as do many of us. On days like today when I could only spare a couple of minutes to sneak out and take a photo, I let my guard down and make conscious compromises for the sake of capturing something rather than nothing.
Honesty in post work aside, I hope its not as distracting to you guys as it is to me and you enjoy the sunny new desktop!
Children’s toys were once so simple were they not? This is another object floating around in my collection that has no story, it just is. No battery, no screws, just a few holes drilled into sculpted wood. I enjoy having this around as a reminder of how simple things have the potential of being when reduced to their bare essentials.
While the weather can’t seem to make up its mind anymore I have finally started to see spring try to break its way through the cold, rain, ice, and snow that has lingered for the last couple of months. A little warm sun and time outside is something I have been looking forward to for a long while now. I’m sure this won’t be the last seasonal desktop on these pages, my camera is just as desperate as I am to get some sun.