Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Holidays

Well it's that time of year again, the chill is in the air, the ants are marching in from the cold, and the darkroom is beginning to fill with Christmas presents. That's ok, it's far too cold to be out there anyway, even with my nice space heater. I did develop another roll of film yesterday -- in the kitchen, of course -- some old TMax 400 I shot in the N2000 of the kids helping to bake cookies. Actually I think I shot it two weeks ago or so but only yesterday got around to developing it. I used a tip someone sent me and did the final rinse in distilled water and skipped the Foto-Flo, it worked great! I hadn't thought about the hard water being the issue with mineral deposits. Duh.

You probably noticed I started posting more pics to my flickr photostream. Boy, there are an amazing amount of excellent photos out there. What a great way to waste a few hours, clicking away on flickr. I'm starting to wonder why anyone has a 'regular' old skool website anymore, as all the important content seems to be migrating to social networking sites like myspace, facebook, blogspot, wordpress, and flickr.

One photographer I'm really excited to have chanced upon in my clicktour is the amazing Miss Aniela, who is talented as a model, photographer, and also as a Photoshop artist. Normally I don't dig obviously reworked photographs but hers are primarily what I would call stylized in a way that still allows them to speak as photographs, and not as digital paintings or illustrations (though some do go that far). Take a peek. Note - some are marginally NSFW.

In the likely chance that I'm too busy to check in before the holidays are all done, I wish you all the best for the holiday season and in the coming year!

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Toy, New Pics



Not my toy exactly -- I recently got to play with a friend's Pentax DSLR and just put a couple of the more interesting snaps I took with it up on flickr. The cool thing about it -- an older *ist and yes, that's the name -- is that it will use just about any K mount lens, meaning not just the latest AF Pentax lens but also my old manual K mount lenses as well! Apparently with an adapter it will even use universal screw-mount lenses too. Hard not to like that selling point!

Note on the pics - the black and white self portrait is with the included zoom, I cropped it, turned it black and white, and added film grain in Photoshop. The other two are with the Sears 1.4 / 50mm that came with my KS2. Note the shallow depth of field in the available kitchen light.

Sidebar -- Ponti Rosso sweet vermouth is a tasty aperitif.

MD

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Old Friends, New Friends

New photo posts on flickr, from a roll I just finished in my Ricoh 500G, what a great little picture taker that is. Lightweight and easy to use, with a really sharp lens and good meter. I think I paid less than $10 for it a few years ago. Half the roll is of the Rock 'n Blues Festival where Sammy Hagar and the Wabos played. Those two pics of Sammy are heavily cropped as a 38mm lens doesn't do justice from where I was standing, but I did get some cool photos of a local band called Weslester who put on a throbbing, headbanging, kick ass live show that the kids were really getting into.

The other half are some fun action photos of my kids shooting hoops at a local school, gearing up for basketball season, I'm still sorting those but will have them up shortly.

I also just finished a roll in the Nikon N2000, I had forgotten what a fun camera that is! Not much bigger than a regular manual SLR but with a pretty fast motordrive. Manual rewind, which took me a few minutes to figure out, I thought with the motor it would rewind itself like the N6006 but not so much. Doh!

So for some reason, getting reacquainted with these old 'friends' got me thinking about how different my life is now from when I first picked up these cameras, and about all the new people I've met since then. I have to say I feel pretty lucky for having the life I do, and to know the amount of great people I do. Thanks to all of you for keeping the flame alive, keep on writing and keep on shooting!

M

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Done Deed

I uploaded photos to flickr and changed my new work page to display the latest photos I have there. Unfortunately I can't seem to figure out how to get those linked images to launch in a new window, so clicking on them takes you to my flickr page and away from my photo page. It must be a parameter of javascript it calls but I can't quite figure it out. I guess you can always right- or option- click and open in a new tab or window.

Next task of course is to find homes for those images that gathered digital dust in the 'new work' section for so long, I like several of them very much. I also need to go through and remove the 'new' tags for those not-so-new cameras on the camera page, and when I get a chance, add (gasp) a couple of new cameras that have found their way into my house. Heh. So little time...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hey Folks

OK guys, sorry, while I'm far from a 'net newbie, these sharing sites like flickr and myspace are a little bit of a shift for me -- I'm just finally getting into my blogs eh! The point being that I didn't know there was a messaging component to flickr, and here people have been leaving me messages since I signed up! Doh! As some of you know (and you know who you are) I have trouble keeping up with email as it is.

You'll never believe what I did today... ah so I'll just tell you. I actually went in the darkroom and made my first proof prints in over a year. Sho' 'nuff. Yeh I think my paper is a little past date, it's kind of grey, not horrible for proofs but not great for prints. Chemicals seem ok though. The important ones anyway. See, Ellen's caught up to my last darkroom foray with her scrapbooking, so I (ahem) had no choice but to get in there and make proofs of negs I had forgotten I even developed. (!) And like my recent re-entry into developing, at first was pain and after was like riding a bike.

[sidebar - that Papelbon has some game face eh? go Sox!]

Tomorrow - more printing. I have a confession to make, I have another reason to spend time in the darkroom -- I realized it's a great place to practice singing! Yes, no sooner than I posted that I was taking singing lessons that I (we) had to stop, we simply couldn't afford to continue, fun as it was. Wait, why am I trying to learn to sing in the first place? Well, that's for me to know and you, well... probably just as well not, no offense :)

So I'm almost done with my roll of soccer pics with the Nikon FM2 and the Novoflexar; and am halfway through a roll in my little Ricoh 500G that I started taking at a recent benefit concert for local schools that featured area local Sammy Hagar as headliner, what a guy, he can bring it at 60. He and the Wabos rocked the park! It was my kids' first concert, they had a good time, mostly with their uncle as I was busy as a volunteer patrolling the grounds as part of the safety patrol. Still fun. Local food & beers, lots of familiar faces, and of course Sammy and the Wabos.

Ok, I have pics to post on flickr now, from our trip north to Eureka not too long ago, and maybe some more soon depending on what I come up with tomorrow.

That's it for now. Oh by the way Happy Birthday Sammy! 60 woo! I can only hope I'm still kicking out the jams at that age :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Truemors

Don't know where I heard that term recently but I thought it was a funny word mashup. Yes the rumors are true, I am shooting again after a surprisingly lengthy break. Turns out that beyond getting past the apathy, ennui, and inertia, the trick is simply to have a loaded camera on hand. I guess I knew that but forgot it somewhere along the way.

I even developed my first rolls of film in what I can hardly believe has been such a long time, judging by the date on the chemicals. The first roll took embarassingly long to do, the second was just like riding a bicycle. Now to print :)

What I shot this weekend was my older Nikon with the Novoflexar, I can't believe I've never taken it for a spin. Great lens for shooting kids playing sports (soccer!), at least it seems so, I'll see when I get the film developed. Half a roll to go, but it feels good to be back in the saddle again.*

(*More Aerosmith, less Gene Autry.)

I'll bore you another time with the tale of the confluence of events that lead to the long break. In the meantime I've got the camera eye back, and film thawing.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Funny... or not

Ah brain cells, I hardly knew ye.

So when I went to get down my favorite handbag-sized Eddie Bauer travel bag (don't look, they don't make it any more) to stash my camera in for our recent trip north, I found inside it my sweet little Vivitar 35ES. With film. From our Disneyland trip. From last year. Doh! Nice pictures too :) What a treasure that little rangefinder is. I'm thinking I'll use this opportunity to figure out Flickr.

Well I thought it was funny, Ellen sure didn't!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Branch out, branch in

Ah, so! I just got asked if I was still shooting, it's been so long since I posted anything new. (ouch!) Well, gentle readers, I am in fact now shooting again, after a somewhat lengthy and uneven hiatus of a) uninspiration and b) being just too busy with other things to think about it.*

But truth be told I did in fact take the N6006 and (gasp) the Kiev 60 to the mighty mighty redwoods on our recent road trip north. We stayed in Fortuna, adjacent to the Eel River Brewing company (mmm...beer), and visited Victorian-era Ferndale, Lolita and its cheese factory; Eureka and Humboldt Bay; and Arcata, home of Humboldt Crabs baseball. Fun trip! So here's my question to you: I have new pictures, should I post them in the new work section or put them on Flickr?

I do have a couple rolls to develop. Hm, how old are my chemicals again??

*What things? Well, you know about work, baseball, coaching T-ball and now soccer, learning guitar and writing songs, in addition to that I'm now (with Casey and Bailey) taking Irish tinwhistle and singing classes. And trying to have a social life and balance that all with home life, and catching up on the Sopranos on DVD (doh!) SO yes I'm figuring out how to fit photography back in... Not a complaint, just the way things are right now!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

F*kr

OK I've done it, I've brought myself up into the current times, bit the bullet, and got myself a -- wait for it -- Flickr account. Two clicks was all it took, now that it's linked to Yahoo. I hope to use it for new work since I can rarely seem to bring myself to work through my own templates on that part of the site.

Now, there's nothing there just yet, since I don't have any new work of note. Yet, that is... I'm starting to get that itch again....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

But Seriously

Heh - I thought I'd let that one simmer a bit for effect. I did find out that the blog still has readers, which is good to know!

Here's the thing about disposable or 'one-time-use' cameras -- from what I can tell, they are just about the most common film cameras in use by the general public these days (collector-users aside) and as far as I know are one of the two main things keeping film alive and on the market.* One-time-use cameras, as you can guess, are made cheaply to be used in situations where you don't have a regular camera or wouldn't want to risk using or losing one. They also seem to be in use by people who haven't made a commitment to a 'real' camera for one reason or another, and just need a quick snap. Hm.

At any rate, I just grabbed one at the corner drugstore along with a sweatshirt when we were getting ready to march in the very chilly St. Patrick's Day Parade on Market Street in San Francisco last month. I didn't have high expectations of the thing, it was just meant to be a backup for our digital in case the batteries went out in the middle of the parade.

To be fair, they do vary in quality and some are actually reasonable alternatives to regular compact film cameras at, say, the beach or on a hike. We handed them out to our kids on our last Disney vacation and they got some pretty decent shots with the Kodak version that has an Ektanar lens and also with an Agfa disposable. But you definitely get what you pay for in this arena, and the blobby high speed film coupled with a plastic lens gives you about what you'd expect. On the other hand, if you're looking for the old 'plastic camera' effect (eg Diana, Holga etc) then that's certainly an easy and inexpensive way to go! Yes, I'm sure that's why I look like Fatty McPorkchop next to our startlingly tall and handsome Mayor Gavin Newsom in the picture I had our friend take of us... notice I haven't posted that one...

* The other factor keeping film available for our little mechanical friends, besides the surprising popularity of disposable cameras is, of course, the movie industry. I'm afraid that once that juggernaut of an industry turns the corner to digital then film will accelerate its decline to near-extinction. And yet, there is some hope... As long as people keep using film I believe it will be around in one form or another, just harder to find and more expensive. And maybe Costco won't develop it any more. I don't think that's too far off the mark. Well, they still sell oil paints and canvas, don't they?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Where has the Winter Gone?

Of course I mean that in a time sense as spring is nearly upon us, although I see in many areas it still feels like winter. Not here though, where it's sunny and 70° again. Time to take the sprinklers off hibernate mode I guess!

On one hand I can't believe it's been so long since I posted to this blog, while on the other I know I haven't been very productive in terms of photography lately. I did some digital self-portrait work for yet another side project (everything is a side project with me) and this past week actually managed to take a leisurely walk and do some shooting with my trusty and sadly neglected XA2.

But apart from that it's been all about the sports. And since I'm now a participant, not just an enthusiastic observer, I don't get to kick back and take the action photos I used to. My wife and I are just finishing up co-coaching 1st grade basketball, I'm just beginning coaching T-ball, and still assistant teaching Taekwondo all along. In fact Casey and I just earned the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt this past week. WoOt!

And yet, like I said, this has as little to do with photography as the songs I've been writing, so I've not posted. But as the weather gets better and the light becomes more favorable for photography I can feel my itchy trigger finger wiggling. I'll be back in the saddle before long.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Interview

Speaking of conversations, I just did my first interview (ever?) with Wayne Yang of eightdiagrams.com, you can read it here. Exciting!

Assorted Hijinks

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a nice holiday. We certainly did, relaxing at home for a change which is exactly what we all needed after a very busy year.

News -- I have a new acquisition for the collection: an Olympus Pen EES-2 that my Taekwondo instructor gave me, he must have seen it somewhere and he knows I collect cameras. Turns out he collects guitars, and has been playing since he was a kid. Hm...!

Speaking of that (and don't worry, I'll bring this back around), did I mention that I bought a bass guitar? Partly so Casey could learn, as he expressed interest (though I know keyboard is more up his alley), and partly for me to learn and to lay down bass tracks as I work up some original songs... a lot of my riffs sound like bass lines anyway. Anyway, it was kind of an early Christmas present to myself. SO... it's a kind of off-brand, and though the bass itself is nice and has great tone I thought its output was kind of weak and sought to replace the bridge pickup (you know how I like to tinker). My brother, who plays bass and has had his interest recently renewed now that I'm playing guitar, recently forwarded me the website for Subway guitars in Berkeley that he found while browsing around. So recently I cruised across the Bay (not literally, of course, I drove -- it's not that far from here) and looked it up in search of some parts pickups.

Subway guitars is located in what appears to be a converted house in a residential neighborhood in Berkeley, not far from UCB, and looks like it has been there forever. It has a real thrift store feel to it and is stuffed to the gills with vintage parts, amps, and of course guitars, some of the like of which you've likely never seen before. Its proprietor, aka "Fat Dog", is an old school Berkeley patriarch, probably one of the last of his kind. He not only sells used and rebuilt guitars but manufactures new ones in a factory up in Sonoma County. When I got there we got to talking about this and that, like domain name registration and the state of the economy, and some neighbors came in and we all went down the street to help them move a couch. It's that kind of a place. Anyway, he dug me out some pickups from a parts bin and tested them, told me how to install them, and let me have them for a measly $10 (cash only BTW!). Great guy, conversations with him are a real kick, I highly recommend a visit if you're in the market or at least in the area. Turns out he also has a thing for old cameras (surprise), and has a few that are in need of some TLC. At the end of my visit when the pizza and beer was breaking out and I had to split, he invited me to look him up early in 2007 when things calm down and look at trading some vintage camera refurbishing for some guitar goodies. Kewl!