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Posts tagged “Photography

Canon G3

Canon G3

I have to credit Lisa with transitioning me to digital photography. She bought me this camera one birthday long ago. Until then I was an Ektachrome slide photographer. Nikon would not put out the digital D70 for a year or more. This (G3) was the camera recommended by the camera shop. I enjoyed the use of it though I never made it my “go to” camera. Nonetheless, I used the G3 to shoot some of Susan’s daughter’s wedding though I never did use it extensively. And then, the Nikon D70 came in 2004. I shot Dave’s high school graduation and never shot another frame of slide film after that. Just like that – analog slide to digital. Julia swore she could always tell my scanned slides from digital images, until she stopped complaining one day. Yup, I still have this camera. It’s unused. It occupies a treasured spot on the shelf, honorably retired. (My mistake. it’s gone missing. The G3. I have an extensive collection of unused gear. It’s there somewhere, just where, I’m not sure.)

The latest greatest? I just learned (realized) how much I have evolved. I did a photo shoot with a mirrorless camera. Advantages over my big Nikon DSLR: smaller, lighter weight!, LCD viewfinder. I shoot at different angles and compose differently. Embrace change? It’s a tool (camera). Know your camera and it’s capabilities. Use it. I love learning new things after all these years.

And, once more I apologize to my dear (present) wife. Colleen weaves. She reads (weaving), takes classes, and watches video at every opportunity. I have often wondered why? You know it, already? And then, I look at what I know and how it evolved. She’s always right. And, I can hear, “I told you so,” coming right around the corner at me!


Art… again

Okay, here’s more fun in the museum. Inspired? I have been on a tear since one member of our family disparaged our enthusiasm for art. True, there is a lot of art that does not move me. And then, there is art that calls for interactive participation. Fun! Yes, art can be fun. And so, here we are. This internationally renowned artist photographs ordinary objects and makes one look at the extraordinary aspect of their use. Take a wrench, make it your own. How about enthusiasm?

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Or think for yourself?

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Birdwatching?

Symmetry?

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We had a lot of fun. Art appreciation is for everyone.


Art critic

The Biggs Museum runs/ran a photo exhibition. Submit your photo for criticism and be selected, get displayed and maybe win a prize. Oh, okay. I found out it’s completely subjective. You are at the mercy of the likes/dislikes of the juror. Submitting work is a crap shoot. You may have excellent work. You may think you have excellent work… It was enlightening to understand the process of selection. Basically, anything goes. There was stuff I would have thrown out that got honored. And the grand prize went to a picture I would have tossed. I’m not whining. In fact, the lecture opened up new thinking for me. I don’t need a juror or a show. I don’t need the credit. For as many years as I have been a photographer, it has been for pleasure. It is definitely not my day job. Although I would be happy to do a job for you. Ha! No pressure. Keep on shooting. If anything goes:

 

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Shoot the moon. Ignore the power lines. It’s the moon. Power lines add interest. Well, I don’t agree. But….

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Charge your phone. Vampire. Just scoot on in to the lecture, help yourself, charge right up. No matter there’s a photo show/op right there.

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Cat/silhouette, I would have shooed away the cat. Now it is better to have tension in this picture of the morning star.

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Reflections, sure, shoot ‘em if you got ‘em. Juxtapose. See things in a new light. I shot this shortly after leaving the museum.

In a single day, I broke out of the doldrums. What I learned? Anything goes. Happy shooting.


Portrait of the artist

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I don’t consider myself an artist. I make images now. But it is more of a technical exercise with problems to solve. You solve the problem. You have the answer. The right answer gives you a 100 on the test. You get an A. Not so fast. There’s more than just pressing the shutter button. Lots of mundane ordinary photos are taken. Famous painters – Rembrandt, Da Vinci – painted themselves in self-portraits. We presume Da Vinci was left handed among other reasons because he did a painting showing his right hand. Clever! I’m a left hander in a right-hand world. I learned to operate right-handed and then adapted. I cut with scissors from the right and from the left. It’s no big deal. But if you are right handed I deem it a lot more difficult for you than me.  Ha ha. I go both ways. I have talent, but I’m still not an artist.


Trio

In the interest of fairness, I’m including the immediate family in 1975. My dad had died about a year earlier. Brothers John and Eric, and my Mom were in Disney World. Yes, me too. I don’t have any black and whites to follow. I started (photography) at the World’s Fair in 1966. Nope, none of those are around. Eric my have them in a drawer somewhere in Mom’s house. Perhaps that is why I so assiduously documented my kids’ childhood. At a certain point the task is too large to have photographed everything. And to store everything? It got way out of hand when the kids started taking their own pictures. For now, this trio is from the first roll of slides I kept, stored, and digitized.

“Preserve your memories” – Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel.

My only curiosity is – who will keep the numerous drawers with all those slides after me. The digital will be on multiple hard drives. Great! But I already have trouble keeping track of those.


Graduation

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This is the last slide I shot. My memory is/was correct. June,2004, I bit the bullet and got my first DSLR digital, the Nikon D70. The price was finally within reach of my budget. Early digital DSLR cameras exceeded $1000 considerably. David graduated and this last shot on the last roll of film is it.

After that the rest is history. Ha ha. I went digital. It was too seductive. No more home processing. I’d stopped that a while before. (I had a neighbor – since moved – who hated the running water in my darkroom at 3AM. Gee! I wonder why?) No more need for storage space. Too funny. I’d just built a cabinet of 28 drawers with excess capacity to store future slides. I had photo paper, chemicals, and film. Slide film would remain stored in the freezer for more than a decade (till I threw it out).

Yes, it was that abrupt. I have gone through a series of camera upgrades. David taught me that the Canon Power Shot series was excellent for detail. Currently my kids primarily use their iPhone as their image maker/saver.

Yes, indeed, David graduated on this day way back then. I just now put it together that we both graduated on that day. I estimate I shot 113,600 slides since 1975. By my count I have shot more than 367,000 digital images since 2004. That would be double the number in half the time. I’ve gotten exponentially better as I honed my craft through trial and error. There are about the same proportion of “keepers” and disappointments. I have immediate feedback but am often in too much of a hurry to check immediately. I shoot frequently in a fast-moving platform (our car). I shoot the same subjects (but better, I hope). I still shoot fewer people (shy). I could never have been proficient nor shot the fish in the Red Sea without digital.

Of all the things I do/did, I’m still learning photography after graduation.


Verrazano Narrows Bridge

This bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. For a while it was one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It was finished in the ’60. Before that three bridges connected Staten Island to New Jersey. In fact the island is closer to Jersey than New York City. The island became part of New York in after the winner of a row boat race around the island turned out to be from New York. Until the mid ‘70’s there were still farms on the island. Now it’s all about the biggest house you can build on the smallest plot of land. It’s a shame about the lack of urban planning. Meanwhile this aerial shot was taken after I became fast friends with Charlie, a former NYPD helicopter pilot and American Airlines pilot. He took me up in his Bell 47, MASH helicopter and we toured NYC. It was the first of many adventures. You can see the rain on the bubble in the lower right. Charlie was really doing me a big favor. He hates to fly in the rain. It gets the gears all gunky. But he had promised and we were going no matter what. It’s a view unlike anything else. And I have to say it’s about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.


There are a few times when Lisa and I agree – on a photo. You didn’t really wonder if we agree, did you? This one was an instant hit. Once again it wasn’t a technically perfect shot. It was a slide capture of son David, a grab shot at a hot summer birthday party for his cousins. I didn’t have a chance to correct the horizon. The background is pleasantly out of focus. It all came together in that moment. Automatic settings, no fumbling with focus or exposure, just shoot. It was my favorite for a long time. It still is a favorite. I just have many more now.


Golden Horseshoe Award

We had an old Argus C3 ‘brick’ that I once used – once! No lessons, no clue, and the results were over and under but never exposed properly. Even my amateur eye could see that the developed negatives had no images. I just played with the buttons for one roll of black and white film on a trip to Charleston, West Virginia to receive the Golden Horseshoe Award. The award was a pretty big deal given to three students from each county after a competitive exam each year. As a minority student winner, I was placed front and center next to the education commissioner in the official photo taken on the steps of an official looking building. That’s me to the right of the ‘old bald headed’ guy. Racism was still present in the state. I know, because my parents were turned down for membership in the local country club. The father of one of my co- winners was on the board that turned down my parents. Times change. I don’t know and haven’t bothered to look to see if the award is still given. I’ve moved on. They said that poverty was high and education among the poorest states in the nation. It wasn’t.


Highheeled Shoe

Another technical demonstration is this high-heeled shoe. It was on a pedestal mounted to a turntable connected to a computer rigged to shoot in 10-degree increments. Complicated, it was designed to obtain 36 images. What for? In order to create a spinning catalog view for internet shopping, you need this setup. Clever.


Halloween

Part 2: There were so many photo ops, you didn’t know where to turn your camera. (See also my other blog Imaged Event for more images.) So maybe it wasn’t so many people? The estimate on the website is about 60, 000 marchers. It literally took about two hours to get everyone onto the parade route. The director Jeanne Fleming says that she sees the parade through the eyes of the photographers who are there to record the event. Indeed, one person can’t be everywhere and the number of people moving and the size of the geographic space makes it impossible to even get a fraction of the parade and the costumes. There are many photos that get repeated. Some parade attendees wear the same costume each year. Some folks come early and are a photographic subject for all the photographers who otherwise would not have a subject. These early arrivals get a lot of attention. It’s chaotic. And, I guess it’s a little claustrophobic. But when you’re seeking out the next costume, the weather, the chill, the crowd and the noise are not too much of a deterrent. The parade organizers put the wedding party in front. Bringing up the rear, Occupy Wall St got a big crowd into the parade. It seems that they may have been making a statement again, but I’m not sure. Most photos don’t require explanation. But, there was this male nun dressed in lace women’s underwear…. The theme was ‘I’ of the beholder, hence, all the eyeballs.

More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).

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St Louis Arch

 

This is a pretty classic shot of the St Louis Gateway Arch. I have seen it lit up at night and that is impressive as well. Everyone who visits stand beneath the Arch where an effective photo is near to impossible. Wide angle lenses cannot take in the whole view or they distort things. I am happy enough to have driven around behind the statehouse. I would have gone by this shot never seeing it in the rear view mirror had it not been for the red tinted fountain in honor of the Cardinals being in the World Series. Go Cards! In the gallery you will find the outtakes. These are good images that show a different perspective yet again and make my argument that you don’t need to see the whole arch to know it’s there.

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Victor ID

Press Pass, US Open. Here was a dream come true. Well, actually not so much a dream as a fortunate happenstance. No, not worded strongly enough, it was a fantastic experience! Every amateur dreams, of unlimited access to wander and photograph, at an event venue. Lisa’s co-worker’s husband is Manny, a Sports Illustrated photographer, whom I met at a dinner party in our home. I showed him my slide storage system for 100k+ slides. He was blown away. He later graciously invited me to assist him in Flushing Meadow at the US Open. And, “Bring your own camera.” I had a D70 that I had purchased when David graduated high school. I thought it was a pretty good camera. I had the 80-400mm zoom and an 80-200mm f2.8 zoom. The former I purchased when Julia started playing rugby. And the later I acquired on sale at the photo equipment repair shop. Everyone at the upper echelon of sports is mostly Canon. I’m talking about the heavy-duty workhorse Mark bodies and the gray telephoto lens mounted on monopods. Some of the lenses are nearly 20 lbs. Boy oh boy did I get an – on the fly lesson in event shooting. It made me realize how inadequate my skills were for this fast paced atmosphere. I upgraded my camera soon after. I suddenly had use for more buttons and menu settings.


Moose Family: Father and Son

I was not too happy with this shot. No, I did not shoot the moose with a rifle or gun. Someone seriously asked me about this after seeing my shots. Rather, I should say photos. Previously, I had some poor photos of the rescued injured moose in the wildlife park and they were lame. Meandering through Baxter State Park in northern Maine in the fall, I stopped where cars had parked by the roadside. Entering the woods, I saw a photographer in red hunter attire. There in front and among the trees was an enormous bull moose with a magnificent antler rack. The moose gets larger every time I tell the story. My camera was out and I was rapidly clicking while I expected the moose to leave at any moment. Uphill past the moose another tourist was coming downhill toward the moose. I say tourist for two reasons. He had a simple point and shoot camera. I know, this is a bit snobby of me. And, he had no clue that the moose could turn on him and kill him – definitely tourist ignorance! So I turned to my hunter/photographer acquaintance and asked what his exit strategy might be. We were both standing behind a tree for protection. I knew enough from native Mainers to know that a pissed moose is nothing to trifle with. His reply startled me. “Don’t worry about the one in front of you. It’s the three behind you that you need to be careful about.” Sure enough there were three, count ‘em, three moose, a giant bull with antlers 6 feet across, and a momma and baby. Oh boy, the last thing I wanted to do was to get between momma and her baby moose.  Well, there’s momma and son in this photo. Maybe it’s not the best shot but there it is.

The follow up to the story is that the hunter was an amateur just up from somewhere else to take a photo course on how to shoot moose. Here I had been looking all over to shoot a moose for a couple years. Beginner’s luck! Now it makes sense to me. His wife came to stand next to me while I got the photo of momma and babe. And my hunter friend is standing behind his wife and me as he started to make what sounded like moose mating calls. No, I don’t know what sound that is and neither did he. But immediately my exit strategy changed. In the event the moose charged over, I would push his wife out from behind the tree. The wife was pretty nice but not too photo savvy. I lent her my big 400mm lens and she asked me to take some photos using her camera. I reset her camera, which I hope she later changed back. Meanwhile, I kept thinking that the exercise was to take your own pictures. It was about your shot and your vision. Otherwise just open National Geographic and cut out a moose picture.