Friday, November 28, 2008

Alter Egos

Seeing these characters in last Saturday's Christmas parade started me thinking. I'm kind of hoping I could get a photo shoot put together with these guys in costume. The logistics could be a bear and finding an appropriate location would be difficult. Where do you find a alien looking location in Grand Rapids?

Thinking more on it, I came up with a possible project. An alter ego project. I know it's been done, but I haven't done it yet. Photos of the person both in and out of character. The logistics for this might be easier, just a studio with a white background and a changing room. It would be good to expand the characters beyond the Star Wars folks. I know there are Civil War reenactors, people who go to Renissance Fairs and people who dress up as video game characters.

Trying to explore visually the way a persons character change when the clothes change. It would be an interesting project. I find myself wanting to photograph people more, but not in the classic photographic portrait style. I guess I'll have to find a studio of some sort so I can start exploring this.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I finally got around to scanning some film I shot late summer. I continue to like the look of black and white film over a digital conversion. I know there are people out there who say they can get a better black and white photograph by converting a digital file, but I'm not one of them. While it's just too easy to grab the digital camera instead of a film one, that is what I need to do.

This was taken at a grain elevator in Grant on 4 x 5 Ilford FP4.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Parades

Christmas parades have changed a lot since the last time I went. Which now that I think of it, I can't remember an actual date....

No floats, a few gussied up trucks and a lot more commercialization. The Ronald McDonald character was in the parade with a McDonalds car. Aside from the fact that the kids liked him, I don't know why he was in the parade. He didn't look any different than he does in the commercials. A lot of the parade was that way, a lot of local commercial interests interspersed between local kids groups and a few bands.

Oh well, the kids I was standing next too, seemed to like it. Maybe when they have grown, they will have the same complaints....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Touching Strangers

An article about a photo project that I'm somewhat fascinated with. The photographer approaches two strangers and takes a portrait of the two, but he has them physically touch in some way. Considering how much modern society insists on barriers and space between people, I'm amazed he finds people willing to pose.

A Conversation about Touching Strangers

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Google has put up a searchable archive of photographs from Life Magazine. The archive contains photos from the 1750's to today. I only wish you could get a set of photos by issue.

The Magnum blog has put up an article called Wear Good Shoes: Advice to Young Photographers. Good advice even if your aren't a young photographer.

Make has an article on making your own C Stands for studio work.

While not photography related, this cartoon explains why we all have a fear of failure.

A link to a focus test chart I found on Tim Bray's Ongoing.

In the Too Funny for Words department, Thomas Kinkade's 16 Guidelines for Making Things Suck.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Way to Print

The local art museum had an exhibit of Andy Warhol's work early this year. All screen prints, I was surprised that I liked them so much. Like a lot of art, it's better in person than it is displayed second hand through a magazine or a web site. That's one reason I'm such a big fan of printing my photography and displaying it on the wall.

One of the local museums advertised a 6 week session on screen printing and I signed up for it. The image above is my first print that I have produced this way. A photograph I took during the Priority Health Bike race last summer that I liked, but it was somewhat underexposed and flat. I converted it to black and white, then halftoned it in Photoshop. It was then printed out on transparent film. A screen was coated with a photographic emulsion, and then exposed using the print. Then the screen was washed in water and allowed to dry. Once that was done, a bead of ink was placed on the screen and using a squeegee, forced through the screen to the paper. I was surprised how well it turned out.

A somewhat involved process, but now the screen is done, I can make multiple copies of the print whenever I like. There is also no reason I have to use black ink on white paper either.

The only downside, is that it is messy and requires a lot of water to wash the screens afterward. You really don't want the ink to dry on the screen, if it does, you throw the screen out and start over.

Definitely a process I want to explore further.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I've Been Linked

I don't get a whole lot of traffic here. I do have a Google Analytics set up, just because I'm curious. It shows me how many people have visited this every day and if I'm really curious, where they are coming from. It doesn't give me any names or personal info, at least none that I've come across, but I'm glad they don't.

I tend to check it once a week or so, and early in the week I noticed that my blog traffic had jumped. Instead of the 4 to 5 visits I get, I was getting 25. This went on for several days before dropping off.

Analytics will give you which posts are being read and I noticed that it appeared to be the Canon 50D post I did. Doing a quick Google search, I came across 1000 Noisy Cameras. I appear on a page of posts about the 50D. I'm not sure how they came across my post, but it was nice to think more people are reading this. I didn't get any comments though, so I'm not sure what the extra 100 or so people felt about the post.

The photo above is Calder's La Grande Vitesse, a stabile placed in downtown Grand Rapids 39 years ago. I was trying to get a feeling for the emptiness on the plaza on a November Saturday afternoon. The more I look at it, the more I think I have too much sky.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

“The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image,” Mr. Adams once wrote, “often leads to creative disaster.”

I saw this in an article at the New York Times. It resonated with me and I need to remember it, especially when it is so easy to produce an image with a digital camera.

Since there is no first name, it is attributed to Ansel Adams.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Link Mode

I seem to have collected a bunch of links in the past week.

Sigma announced that they would be buying Foveon, the sensor maker they use for their cameras. Since I think Fuji uses them also, I wonder what they will do? Press Release at Digital Photo Review.

A fascinating tale of how a suitcase full of photos of the town of Hiroshima taken the first month after the Atomic Bombing were found in a trash pile.

The first time I saw the Zombie moment of McCain after the third presidential debate, I thought it was Photoshopped. It wasn't and there is an account of how it came about on the Reuters Photographers Blog.

Fashion Photographer Nick Knight is streaming a fashion shoot over the net. This runs from Monday November 10th through Wednesday November 12th. It's coming from Europe, so beware of time changes. SHOWStudio - Let There Be Light.

A post on a workflow for Black and White film. Surprisingly, he feels LightZone is better than any Adobe products for his work. I keep meaning to look at LightZone, maybe this will push me over the edge. I see they have a 30 day trial.

I'm sure I have more, but that's enough for now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grupo Corpo

I've never been a fan of dance, either ballet or modern. However when I came across the Brazilian dance troupe, Grupo Corpo on Ovation TV, I just couldn't tear myself away. I found a clip on YouTube, but it doesn't do the TV show justice. If you have a chance to see it, try it.

Grupo Corpo - Bach

Truth in Comics

I got a kick out of Saturday's Luann. It seems to be a microcosm of things I'm worrying about when I try to make prints.

Luann at

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Canon 50D

After a month of using the 50D, a few thoughts. I bought the camera in early October and I've taken a little over 2000 shots since.

While I knew the pixel count was double of my old camera, I didn't really think it through. The file size is not quite double that of my old camera which was a 30D. Since I tend to use smaller size memory cards in case one goes out, I didn't realize I would basically have to replace them all. For example, I have one 4 Gb memory cards I bought because I got such a great deal on it. With the 30D, I got slightly over 400 photos on it, while with the 50D, I get slightly under 200. Which while not a big deal, means if I go out for an afternoon of shooting sports or an event I have to remember to carry extra cards.

I've also found that I'm moving files off my computer to external storage sooner. While I would back up the old files before I would keep them on my computer for a month or two while I worked on them. I find I can't do that anymore, I need to room for new photos.

Operationally, the camera is pretty much the same as the 30D. The button layout is slightly different, which annoys me. They put the erase button between the display and info buttons. Since I'm always changing what info I'm looking at depending on the circumstances, I keep hitting the erase button accidentally, especially when the light is low.

I like the fact that they put an ISO display in the viewfinder, since that has bit me in the past.

One other annoyance is that it goes through batteries faster. The battery on the 30D used to last several sessions before it would need to be recharged. I find I need to recharge these before I go out pretty much every time.

Another thing I need to look at more is the "Peripheral Illumination Correct" menu setting. From a quick glance at the menu, it corrects vignetting issues in lenses. Of course it recognizes the Canon lenses, but doesn't any others.

One annoyance I still haven't gotten over is the pixels look soft when viewed at 100%. I still haven't gotten used to this view yet, and this seems to be a common complaint when this camera is reviewed.

I've also got a Sigma macro lens that will not auto focus with this camera. It works in manual mode though, but it is a pain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Today is election day in the United States. If you live in the US and are at an age where you are allowed to vote, you should exercise that right.

If you don't, please don't complain about the outcome.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I had the chance to photograph a Rocket Football championship game Sunday afternoon. Our contact on one of the teams got us press passes, so we had full run of the field. A great afternoon, and a good game. It was too bad that the team we were asked to photograph lost.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still - It's Coming

An article in todays New York Times on the movie starring Keanu Reeves.

The Cold War Parable That Fell to Earth.

A section with articles on the new Holiday movies.

New York Times Movies Special

Note, you will need to register to access these articles.

The Time, it is a Changing...

Once again, we go into daylight savings time, and once again I complain about it.

Aside from inconveniencing vast amounts of people twice a year, I'm not sure it does any good. The reason that the US Congress used to move the start and end date a few years ago, that it would save energy, was proven to be false. Of course anytime someone suggests that we just don't change the clock, it comes down to the cry of "Think about the Children". It always turns out that we need daylight to send the kids to school.

What a crock.

Just sitting and complaining again.