June 8, 2010

First Friday, and viewfinder shots

First Friday at Vintage21 went well -- I even managed to sell a few photos. In case you missed it or happen to be one of my many, many international readers, you can see most of the photos here.

There are several from the tilt-shift series I talked about in my last post, and also several square photos that look sort of old and very awesome.

That series is from an idea called "through the viewfinder," where you shoot a digital camera through another camera's viewfinder. For mine, I mounted my 40D to one end of a drum set boom stand using a light stand adapter I usually use to put flashes on light stands. On the other end, I mounted a Kodak Duaflex II that I got from friend and awesome food photographer Tim Broyer. I actually stole the idea from him. (But to be fair, he stole it from someone else.)

Between the two cameras, I used a stretched out dryer tube covered by the sleeve of an old black shirt, and of course, a good bit of tape and glue.

My personal favorite is a series of three (including the one above) from Raleigh's Boylan Street Bridge, which overlooks the city from the west.

The image looks like it could be from an old medium format, but it's much easier to manipulate as a digital. I may lose some street cred for not developing in a darkroom, but I think the photo printed well, and I don't regret saving the time and money.

For those of you looking for printing tips, friend and fellow photographer Ronny suggested White House Custom Color for prints, and I was totally satisfied. Cheap, quality prints and free two-day shipping? Yes, please.

The remaining First Friday photos (that were film, which is why they're missing from that Flickr page), were done with a stereo camera. But more to come on that later.

June 1, 2010

Back in black (and white)

Holy crap. Are you seriously updating your blog?!

Yes. After almost a year, I'm back to post some photos. What have I been doing this whole time? Well, mostly nothing (if you don't count getting married, changing houses, getting a dog, working full-time, and other, less interesting things). But I have been working on a few projects.

Firstly, I've got a new camera. It's a 40D to replace the old 10D, which I still have but almost never use. Sure, I ranted about how you don't need to have a big expensive camera to shoot good photos, and it's still true. But let me justify my purchase: the 10D has a real problem shooting at ISO 800 (or any time there's low light). That's because the sensor just isn't that good. Additionally: I started seeing the shutter on some of my 10D's photos, and the processor is really slow, so some DIY stuff got to be a bit frustrating.

Also, that camera was made in 2003. So now I've got an upgrade. Boo ya.

OK, so I know it's a little late, but here's what I've been working on lately:

Remember this? It's a home-made tilt-shift lens that I put together with a medium format lens, a hollowed out body cap and a piece of fabric. But now it's got an upgrade: cardboard and dryer tube (which keep the fabric out of the way). And on the new camera, it's much easier to avoid the graininess the old images had.

To recap, the basic idea of a tilt-shift is to change the way the plane of focus works. On a normal lens, the plane is always perpendicular to the camera, so you'll have a plane in focus, and then beyond that, things out of focus.

But with a tilt-shift, that plane isn't necessarily perpendicular to the camera -- now, you can move it diagonally in three dimensions so that something in the foreground can be in focus at the same time as something in the background, and then nothing else. Check out this photo for an idea:

Now that I've got the increased sensor awesomeness of the 40D, I can shoot these images without the grain, making it a relatively good substitute for an actual tilt-shift (which would be hilariously out of my price range).

I've got several new photos along this same line that I'll be showing at Vintage 21's First Friday this week (that's June 4, for those without a calendar). That also happens to be my dad's birthday, so it's like a double-whammy of great stuff happening.

Come out if you can: I will be showing more stuff than just the tilt-shift. And I'll be back up here to show some more projects that I've been too lazy to update about until now.

July 3, 2009

finale \fi-nal-ee, -nah-lee\,

1. the last piece, division, or movement of a concert, opera, or composition.
2. the concluding part of any performance, course of proceedings, etc.; end.

My dearest Readers,

It's with a heavy heart that I announce the end of the Photo Declamo word of the day project.

After 85 posts, the project has been a fantastic tool to really get me out of a photographic rut. It challenged me every day to get out and find something new, to really think on my feet and do so creatively within a short span of time.

I want to thank all of you, Readers, for contributing with your photos, feedback and encouragement.

But there's more to come. Ending the word of the day only means I'll open up time for bigger, more in-depth projects that I plan to share with you on this blog. I'll keep you posted with all the new photo projects, lighting setups and multimedia that come up.

And I've got some plans.

In addition, you can always check Dictionary.com's word of the day for your own inspiration. And if you send me your word-inspired photos, I'll be more than happy to post them for you.

Once again, thanks to everyone for reading, and check back for updates in the future!

July 1, 2009

penury \PEN-yuh-ree\,

1. Extreme poverty; destitution.
2. Absence of resources; insufficiency.

I got a quick shot of a foreclosed house for today's word of the day. If I had the time, this could have been a really cool series.

This comes less than 24 hours after Tyler and I were discussing the economic breakdown that led to so many foreclosed homes - specifically, the media's different ways of covering and explaining the situation.

My personal favorite explanation was this one. It's an impressive mix of graphics, journalism and analysis. If you were ever confused about how the economy got to this point, check that out.

But for those of you who choose to pass on that, get yourselves out to shoot some photos of penury and send them to me in an email. There are a lot of possibilities for this word!

June 29, 2009

clandestine \klan-DES-tin\,

Characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment, esp. for purposes of subversion or deception.

OK. Sorry it's so late for the word of the day, but I think this works out well.

I was excited when roommate Bryan got himself a new iphone 3Gs last week - not only because it's awesome, but also because I could use it for the lighting situation in this photo.

The phone has an application called "Flashlight" that just lights up the phone. That type of lighting technique has been used all over, including some films - it can be set on the dashboard of the car near the speedometer to shine on the driver.

The idea came from this post on Strobist. The whole situation is just a really cool way of thinking of light in a way that you might not otherwise come across. It's not just that the app is cool, but it's also the fact that you can use ambient light to compose your photo.

Sorry again for the late post - as always, send your clandestine photos to me in an email!