Friday, January 28, 2011

Midwest Large Format Asylum 2011 Portfolio Review

If it's January, it must be time for the Midwest Large Format Aslyum's print review.

Held January 22nd at the Best Western in Chesterton Indiana, I attended again this year. I didn't really have any recent work I wanted to show, so I just went to look at everyone elses work and schmooze with the group.

I left Friday afternoon, hoping to get in a little photography once I got to Indiana. Once again, that was not to be. I got out of town late, and made it to Indiana in time for dinner. There were already 8 other people there, so we hit a great steakhouse in Valparaiso. Even though we got there at 5:30, it was already packed. We waited 40 minutes for a table and spent the next couple of hours eating and talking.

After dinner, we retired back to the hotel and set the room up for the next day. The room we are using is on the second story of the hotel and has a great set of windows. During the winter, there is really nice diffused light, and it's a lot nicer than some conference rooms stuck in the basement floors. After getting the room ready, a couple of folk brought out their rejects to show. Still great work, but not stuff they wanted to show to the whole group.

Saturday dawned and the group met at "Peggy Sue's Dinner" for breakfast. A little hole in the wall place in downtown Chesterton, the food was good, and the place was kitted up with a bunch of car related items. Busy at 8 am on a Saturday, the only downside was there are only 4 non-smoking tables. You could definitely tell there were smokers in the room. I'm not used to that anymore, since Michigan has made all restaurants non-smoking. Still good food, and more good discussion. One new attendee from Milwaukee showed up, and mentioned the roads were good. There was an expectation of a big group for the showing, so that was good news.

As we got close to the "official" start time of the event at 9, we were getting concerned since no one else was showing up. We decided to wait, and a half hour later people started appearing. It turned out the roads had gotten bad, and people were being slowed down by accidents and ice on the road. We waited until 10 to start because of this later bad news.

The actual print showing went until 5 in the evening. A lot of good work, which was a pleasure to look at. It makes me want to try some different techniques than what I've been doing, and I've learned some new stuff during the discussion throughout the day.

The people who had come in earlier started leaving late in the afternoon. Others left after the showing ended and the room was cleaned up. Once again we had 9 for dinner though a slightly different set of folks. More good discussion for dinner and the group split up.

I spent Saturday evening as well and there was supposed to be 4 for breakfast at Peggy Sue's the next morning. Saturday morning broke with a great blue sky and clouds. Two of us ended up at breakfast and spent an hour and half talking about the show and art in general. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and were able to get in the pool area to photograph. They were working on the pool and it was drained with lots of neat abstracts. We were able to work around the two guys working on the pool, though I did have them step in a couple of photographs.

There was a total count of attendees, but I didn't get it. I believe 19 people showed photographs. They came from Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. I need more weekends immersed in photography and this helped a lot. A good group and hopefully next year, I can show some of my work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Old Cars and Outhouses...

I was invited out to Pine Bend Park in Ottawa County a week ago Saturday. While that day was turning out to be a busy one, I wanted to see this park. Ron had shown me photos of an old car with a tree across it, and we were going out to photograph it.

We met at 8 am, just before sunrise. I could only stay an hour before I had to leave. My Wednesday morning breakfast buddies, Ron and Mearl showed up soon after. We walked down by the car and started photographing. Not only was the car there,as promised, but an old boarded up house, along with an outhouse was alongside. A foundation of another house was a hundred feet or so away.

We ended up photographing for an hour before I had to leave. Since it was somewhat under 10 degrees, I was somewhat glad to get back in the car and get the heater going. It turns out the other guys didn't stay much longer.

Once I got out of the park, the morning sun appeared, the first sun we had seen in a week. On the way home, I noticed fields full of snow fog. I really wanted to stop and get some more photos, but it was not to be.

I want to go back to get some more photos of the car. I also need to explore the surrounding area also, it looked like there would be a lot of other photos to be captured.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I see folks are starting to post resolutions already for the New Year. That made me start to ponder the New Year resolution. Resolutions can be funny things. If you make it too easy, they really don't mean much. If you make them non-specific, they get too hard and don't get completed.

Plus, it seems most people tend to forget them in a month or two. You'll see a bunch of people vowing to lose weight this year, again. Gyms and health clubs will probably see a uptick in memberships, and bookstores will sell more diet books this month, but for most people, it will be forgotten by the first of February or March.

Resolutions need to be specific enough to have an ending point, a way to know when you are done. They also can't be so out of reach so to be undoable during the year.

So with that being said, here are my photography resolutions for this year.

1. Spend more time with the camera. I'm going to get out with the camera for more than one hour a week, preferably two. Easy during the summer, not so easy when the cold weather sets in.

2. Complete a project this year. Most likely for SoFoBoMo. I have some ideas, even some that could run longer than a year. But I want to have a finished project sometime this year.

3. Do a 365 project. A photo a day will help me with number 1 above, it also gets me into thinking more about what I can photograph. Hopefully I can also get in the habit of carrying a camera around with me all the time. You'll see the results posted here, hopefully once a week.

4. Learn some new techniques in Photoshop. I currently do not do all that much processing to my photos. I would like to be able to present the vision I see when I photograph to the final image.

I could put more resolutions in, but this will do for a start. I'm going to print these out and post them somewhere near my computer. That way I will see them every day. Hopefully I will still be working on them next winter. We'll see.