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.