Saturday, December 20, 2008

Matt Denton is now on Facebook!

Yes, it's true... I finally signed up for FB.

You know I like to be fashionably late to the party.... now, where's the beer?

PS I should mention that if you want to friend me, please include a personal note so I know who you are and why you're making the request....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And it's been awhile....

(someone's going to get that, I just know it)

Hey-ho, what's up everyone? I know I haven't blogged here in a while, clearly I haven't been shooting much, though I've been thinking about it more and more lately. I miss my little metal friends! Time just keeps getting away from me somehow....

As a fan of the film Iron Man and pretty much everyone in it, and a fan of the outstanding documentary photography of actor Jeff Bridges, I thought some of you would enjoy checking out this well-put-together virtual book documenting the making of Iron Man on All black and white panoramic shots as he likes to do, with insightful handwritten notes scattered throughout. I particularly enjoyed the angsty haircut shots (how did he frame those, I wonder?) and the workshop shots. Check it out!

Happy shooting! And happy Holidays!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Back from Vacation

Ah Vacation.... Yes we just got back from the kind of vacation you need a vacation to recover from when you get back. Good times though, and I took a lot more pictures than I planned. Big question as always before we left, what camera to take? The short list was Vivitar 35ES, Ricoh 500G, Fed 2e w/35mm, Konica TC or Minolta XD-5. But I didn't leave myself much time to decide so took what has become a common companion, the Minolta with 45mm 2.0, Sears 28mm, and a 2x extender. Great versatile kit. Got heavy after a while though, tramping around Boston with my little man-purse of camera gear, and I ended up wishing I had what I should have taken but forgot about, the Canon Sure Shot 120. Rats. Next time!

Haven't developed the film yet but will soon. Also, loving the versatility of that little Canon Powershot A750is. Seems like everyone I know has a Powershot of some kind now! Still not the same as holding that solid SLR up to your eye and dialing in the perfect composition.

Sidebar - has anyone come up with a name for that thing people do with digicams where they hold them out with two hands and look at the screen with big eyes? Seems like it should have a name. How about 'four finger death pinch'? Comment with your thoughts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seawood Photo

I won't say why but over the weekend I had to make an emergency paper developer run and my usual - I should say former - sources were not holding. So I took a drive to the legendary Seawood Photo in San Anselmo, a trip I'd been putting off for years, and had a series of mostly pleasant surprises. The first surprise was that it was so close. San Anselmo had always seemed so far away in my head, and maybe this is a holdover of when we lived in the City and it would have been a good 45 min to an hour. But it's 5 minutes out of San Rafael, putting it about 15-20 minutes from my house. And anyone who lives the Bay Area knows that this is essentially the equivalent of walking across the street.

The second surprise was the camera collection lining the shelves of the store, a treasure trove that puts mine to shame three times over. Cameras I've only read about, cameras I've seen pictures of but not seen in person, and yes several that I own and have used. I just gaped for a bit. Eventually I had to just get my developer and go before I got way sidetracked and filled up the trunk. To be sure, this place is a traditional photographer's dream, between the collection of classics and everything else under the sun, including bins of manual camera lenses, filters and miscellaneous doodads. View cameras. Film! Ha.

Absolutely a must visit for any collector or photographer in the area. Nice folks too, and parking on the side. Watch out for dogs and bicycles once you turn off Sir Francis Drake though. San Anselmo appears to be a conclave of dogs, families and bicycles, all in the street at the same time... at least on the weekend...

Friday, April 04, 2008

New Pics from Sacto

Biff at CA Capitol
Went on a field trip this week with Casey's class to Sacramento and the state Capitol, haven't been there since I was in fourth grade! And yes I took a (gasp) film camera with me. I almost took the Konica TC but I didn't trust myself not to have a working light meter, but didn't have the batteries for that one (see previous post). Plus I wasn't sure that 40mm would be wide enough for interiors and architecture. The Minolta XD5 with Sears 28mm worked out perfectly. I shot Assemblyman Huffman in his office, portions of the Capitol, and the California Museum and a bit of Sutter's Fort, all on Kodak 400 CN so I could get it on CD at Costco. I also shot with our little Canon A570IS. See my flickr for selected pics.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Second First Impressions

So I had some free time this weekend and decided to use it to revisit my old friends in the closet, my camera collection. I went through as many as I could, removing stale batteries and exercising the lenses and shutters. In the process I discovered a few things, and was struck with what I can only call 'second first impressions' of some cameras that I haven't used for a while:

Discovery #1 -- old hearing aid batteries (1.3v replacements) can leak and leave a crystalline residue in your battery chamber. Easily cleaned with a damp cloth but good to know.

Discovery #2 -- it's a good idea to exercise the shutter of any old camera before loading it with film and taking it out for a spin, just to make sure it's in shape and up to speed. There were a few that were sluggish for the first few frames and got better quickly.

Discovery #3 -- there's simply never enough space. Shocker, I know!

Some quick standout impressions of some of my neglected friends:

Konica Autoreflex AC, light and impressively compact, the compact 40mm makes this a great package.
Konica Autoreflex T3, a solid picture taking machine.
GAF Memo, super-compact dark horse of a shooter.
Kiev 4, just f'n cool, so silent and smooth and stylish.
FED 2e quirky and cool, heavy.
Minolta SRT101, maybe the smoothest shutter release of the mechanical cameras.
Vivitar 400/SL ah what memories we made together. Nice solid workhorse.
Sears/Ricoh TLS, slightly primitive classic classic. Heavy!
Prakticas, KA-CHUNK.
Olympus Trip 35, so cute, understated easy shooter.
Ricoh 500G, Vivitar 35ES, Canonet GIII, Olympus 35RC (forgot I had that one!) what can I say, all great tight little packages, all good shooters.
Konica Auto S2, the Cadillac of rangefinders, almost too nice to use. Big.
Yashica Electro 35, which I have too many of, you wouldn't know to look at it that it could take the pictures it does.
Agfa Isolette, Franka Solida, Moskva-5, solid shutters (especially the M-5) and classy well engineered packages.
Kodak Retina 1a, a thing of beauty and a true marvel of engineering. Jaw dropping precision action.
Walz Walzflex, very nice action for a relative unknown.
and Argus A, who couldn't like that little art deco classic.

That's the off-the-top-of the head standout list, I have other ones around that I didn't touch but I was so impressed at some of these I just had to give them a little shout out.

I did take an Electro 35 out for a spin down to Ghirardelli Square, we'll see how those pics come out. You know, 'cause I'm rusty and all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How could I forget?

As most featured museum exhibits will, the Annie Leibovitz exhibit ended in the Legion of Honor gift shop. Where, much to my surprise, amongst the photography books and clever albums were a flock of Diana and Holga cameras for sale! Lomo apparently has taken over manufacture (and marketing) of these cameras. I remember when you couldn't find a Diana anywere, and here was a stack for $36 apiece. The Holgas (flash model) were way too expensive for some reason, $67? What? For that price I'd go get the extra special White Stripes edition. Still fun to see that they're still out there!


Monday, March 10, 2008


Last week a friend and I went to the Legion of Honor to see the new exhibit by one of my all-time favorite portrait/fashion photographers, Annie Leibovitz. It was an extremely well curated exhibit, which is not something I'm used to noticing or saying, and of course the photos were phenomenal. I forgot that Annie has mad photojournalism skillz in addition to being one of the great portrait photographers. Her private candids show another side to that insight you glimpse through the portraits. The end of the exhibit that chronicles the death of her longtime companion Susan Sontag, then the death of her father, then the birth of her second and third children, one of whom she named Susan, was particularly moving. And of course the portraits are amazing to see up close and in person. If you're in the area I highly recommend a trip.

I knew but had forgotten that the Legion of Honor itself is not only by far the best museum in San Francisco, it's on par with the great museums of the world. The collection of Rodin sculptures are better displayed there than even the Rodin museum in Paris. Walking through the courtyard was the first time in a while I wished I had a camera with me, but I hadn't known ahead of time that we were going to be able to go. Another day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chip off the old block(head)

Well I can't say I've been shooting all that much but someone has! Another prodigy in the works, see this link to the SF Chronicle Online

"Young Photographers Go Snap Happy"

Taken with one of our Canon digital cameras, the older one I think. I bought Ellen a new one for Christmas, an A570is, one of the most fun cameras I've ever used. If you want a high quality pocket digital I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy New Year

Well it's been interesting so far, what with the storms and power outages and all. Still, it's been a nice few weeks spending extra time at home with the family, watching way too much football and of course happily overindulging on way too much holiday food and drink.

Now, I don't make New Year's resolutions per se, but I do take the opportunity to check the direction things are going and if necessary make plans to tweak them. Maybe get some goals in mind for the coming year, making sure they're reasonable and things to do not necessarily things not to do which rarely seems to work. This year I'm feeling like I'm on a good path, things in general are going very well.

One area I've obviously neglected is my photo site, which though still popular (thanks to all of you!) is sadly looking creaky in the Web 2.0 world. So one thing I'll be working on is systematically posting all of my orphaned pictures into my flickr photostream. I've got many pictures that are no longer on the main site or that you've never seen that I think deserve to have their day in the digital sun. So look for that in the nearish future.

I hope the New Year finds you all happy and well!