Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

As Christmas winds down for another year, I thought I would take a moment to hope that you had as wonderful a day as I did.  It was a day of family and friends, and cooking.  Lots of cooking, with a dash of photography thrown in.

Hopefully you got lots of photography gifts, and maybe you gave a few too. 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Segue - RIP Dave Brubeck

     As far back as I can remember, I've always been a big music fan.  We always had the radio going in my house.  My folks had a B&W TV, with all of 3 local channels.  Since someone had to get up and change the channels, it usually stayed on whatever news show my father wanted to watch.  When he wasn't around, I always turned on the radio. 

     I can remember the radio being on a local radio station that played pop music.  I was happy with it at the time.  My parents didn't like it, for one.  :)  My peers also liked it.  But then as I grew older, I found different radio stations.  I moved on to, what at the time was, modern rock.  At the same time, I started playing saxophone in the school band.  So I was exposed to a lot of music growing up.  Rock, which had its roots in blues, classical and classical pops in school band.  We had a jazz band in high school, but I don't remember much actual jazz.  Maybe they weren't really a jazz band, they were most likely more like a pep band.

    I made it to college and while I didn't play the sax much, except for marching band, I did hang around the music building.  I knew a lot of people there, and I was comfortable with them.  I got introduced to jazz fusion, a lot of people liked Mahavishnu Orchestra at the time, and of course I was one of them.  It was sort of a mix of jazz and Jimi Hendrix.  I still follow a couple of the musicians in that band since they've broke up.

     It wasn't until my second year at college that I took a "Listening to Music" class.  We covered a lot of classical music, some of which I knew and some of which I didn't.  We then moved into Jazz and that's where I was introduced to 50's jazz and Dave Brubeck.  We heard both "Take 5" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and I fell in love with it.  I've been a big fan of his every since, though I never ended up going to any of his concerts.

     I won't have any more chances.  He passed away yesterday, 1 day shy of his 92nd birthday.  He will be missed.  A couple of songs to remind us what he was like, and for me to hear them one more time.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Historic Processes

     If you've been following me for a while, you know I'm into what is called Alternative or Historic processes. These are photographic processes that have fallen out of favor as newer ones have come on the scene. Here are a couple I've been working on. The first is an older photo of Montana Marie I took a couple of years ago in a stairwell in an abandoned church in Gary, Indiana. It's been one of my favorite photos since I couldn't resist printing it in a process called Cyanotype. You may call it the old blueprint process if you remember that. I could have toned it to remove the blue, but I like it this way.

     This next one was taken several years ago at a Michigan Calf Roping event. The process is called Van Dyke Brown and produces a reddish-brown print. Once again, these can be toned, which this one is.  The toning takes it from a reddish-brown to a darker brown.  I really didn't care much for this process, but I've been changing my mind. A acquaintance of mine is doing a series of 16x20 of photos he took overseas in this process and they are mind boggling. I may have to do more with this. My major complaint is the development process can take quite a while, while sometimes it can be a little too red for my tastes if you don't tone the print.  Which adds to the time.

     I'm currently working on a 4 color gum bichromate print. This is a color print created using water colors added to a light sensitive solution and negatives. Somewhat slow and a lot of different options for how simple it sounds.  I'm trying to do a 4 color print of a rowboat I took in Maine last year.   Hopefully I will have something to show you soon.

I hope your fall has been great so far.   More later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Artprize 2012 Final Thoughts

     Now that Artprize is over for another year, and I've had some time to think about it, some final thoughts.  Take them for what they are worth.

      As usual, I didn't see as much of it as I wanted.  As usual, I get worked up over all the crap I see, or at least what I consider crap.  Art is in the eye of the beholder as they say.  But there was the good mixed in with the bad.  

I photographed the "Lights over GR" event.  I thought it was amazing.  People complained it had been done before.  I don't care.  If you look at Art history, pretty much everything has been done before.  I'm glad it made the top 10.  I wish it would have won, just so something other than a 2d piece would have.  I hope they come back and do it again.  If they do, go see it.

     Another view of the piece in the river.  I sort of wish more artists would have used the river, but there are too many restrictions placed on them.  The City of GR is talking about more approvals after the lights launch above, since people complained about them landing in their yard.  I hope they listen and just nod, without making anything more restrictive.

     A piece that while as a geek I like, since it has so many Science Fiction/Fantasy/Model Building qualities, I don't really consider art.  But I did like it, and I laud the person taking the time building it.  But I didn't hear anyone complain that it had been done before, even though I want to believe a company released a model kit like it several years before.

I was mainly there to look at the photography.  I do want to enter this event, but I have had a hard time coming up with a project I want to put my name on, and think is good enough to enter.  I thought the work at Fountain Street Church was among the best at Artprize.  This piece on Disabilities and Sexuality was on the top of my list of best photography.  I'm glad the jurors liked it.  There was another piece in the same venue about a man trapped in a womans body that I liked as well.  I'm glad the church added these two artists and others to its venue.  I don't imagine they were popular subjects in Grand Rapids.

Todd and Brad Reed, two landscape photographers from the Ludington area, took over a hallway in Park Church.  While I like their work, to me it looked like they were trying advertise/sell their work rather than winning the contest.  Maybe I need to just consider doing that as well.  The did have a lot of nice work though.

A lot/all of the music performances took place at the St. Cecilia Music Center.   They offered a set of iPods in the basement with the artists performances on them.  It was nice to sit there and listen, but there were at lot.  I should have stayed there longer though.  Some of the music was on sale at the site store, but not all.

All in all, I enjoyed most of it.  I get worked up over people telling others how long it took to make their art, since that shouldn't matter.  People should just view the art and decide what it does/does not do for them.  But people do pay attention to statements like that.  I also tell myself I need to take some time off and see more of it, but I didn't this year.  Hopefully next.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Artprize 2012

Artprize is happening once again in Grand Rapids.  Downtown is packed, lots of kitschy art is being voted up to win cash awards, and the restaurants are full.  I needed to update my night shoot talk I'm giving next month at one of the local camera clubs.  Since I love the look of long exposure water, and there was an entry in the Grand River, of course I took a photo of it.

I've asked people on Facebook which one they like better, and it's pretty much the color one.  I tend to like the black and white, because I think it's dramatic.  I also think the color distracts from the image.  The lines, the shapes.  Other people have said different.  One person commented on the red dot in the center of the color photo.  I don't know what it is, probably a street light, but it distracts.  I could take it out with Photoshop, but I don't want to do that.  I know art is subjective, but I feel I'm missing something.  Maybe not.  I'm still going with the black and white.

What about you?  Which do you prefer?

Remember you can follow me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.  I'm social.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Update and the Hudsonville Fair

Sorry you haven't heard much from me lately. For some reason I've been having issues with uploading photos from my laptop. Now I've got that solved, blogspot is still not working right for me. 

 In case you're curious, my talk at the SWMCCC Summer of Photography Conference went quite well. My most crowded day was Friday afternoon, where I had over 20 people show up to listen. The other two days, I had about 10. However that is normal, there is a lot of photography related stuff going on, and people tell me the Saturday and Sunday talks are always not as well attended. My talk went about an hour with questions, so I made it the correct length. I had a great weekend, and I hope they invite me back to talk next year. 

A reminder.  I've been posting a lot of my photographs on Facebook.  I try to get one a day.  Come see my page and 'like' it.  I'm also on twitter, and google+.

I have been out photographing a bit as well. These are from a night at the Hudsonville Fair. Of course a rural fair has to have a carnival, and I like night shots. There was a meetup where a group of folks met and gabbed for a bit, and then everyone went and photographed. A great night. I like this impromptu portrait. A bit soft, but it still has a feel I like. 

The line at the "1001 Nights" Ride.

A line of chairs at a "Game of Chance", yeah right.  I still liked the colors of the chairs in the lights of the carnival.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Links for Photographers and Social Media talk

I'm giving a talk on Photographers and Social Media at the SWMCCC Weekend of Photography.  Being held at Hope College in Holland Michigan, I will be speaking at 3:30 pm on Friday and Saturday as well as 10:30 am on Sunday.


Google +


Photo Sites

Protecting Your Work

1000 True Fans

Other Stuff

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Face Painting

I don't normally do a lot of formal portraits.  They are just not my thing, and I feel there are other photographers who do a much better job of it than me.

This past weekend though, I got a chance to work with some models and make up artists.  It was an amazing time.  There is something about makeup that transforms people in our imagination.  They are still the same underneath, but the makeup lets them play a role they normally wouldn't play, and we join right in.  I would have liked to have more time with the models in different locations, but it wasn't meant to be.

I've also started a Facebook page for my photography.  The plan for now is to post something each day, with most of the posts being photography.  We will see how long that goes.  You can see the page at https://www.facebook.com/StevenScherbinskiFineArtPhotography.  If you have a Facebook account, please go take a look.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Too Busy


I guess it's better to be busy, rather than not.  But I would like some time to slow down.

The downtown blues series, WLAV's Blues on the Mall, is back again.  I've made it when I can, and have some relatively good photos.  Out of the blue, at the last one I attended, I decided to do a 100 Strangers portrait project.  I've got two so far, hopefully I will finish it.  The first two folks I asked turned my down, while they were visually interesting, they were members of a motorcycle gang and didn't want to bother.  The next two folks were very pleasant, and after we talked for a bit, and I took their photos, we talked some more.  It's a good way to meet folks.

I've been working with the West Michigan Photography Collective on a show, and it happened this past weekend.   It was held in the studio of one of our members, and while we had plans to air condition the place, they didn't work out.  It was hot the whole weekend.  We had fans which helped, but I tended to park myself in front of one of them and stay there.  On the other hand, it was a great show.  They photography from the members of the group was great, we had food prepared by a friend of the groups and a great local band preformed Saturday evening.  Several prints were sold, though none of mine.  Now we need to start preparing for our fall show.

I'll also be giving a talk about social media at the SWMCCC Weekend of Photography or "Summer School".  This is a Friday to Sunday event with speakers and photo shoots, and I get to be one of the speakers this year.  I've given a short talk on this for one of the photo clubs in town, but I need to update and expand it.  It's in two weeks, so I have time.

The new SoFoBoMo started on the first of July, and goes to the end of August.  I have plans to do it again this year, but I haven't started yet.  Hopefully in the next week or two.

I hope things are going well, and you're staying cool in this hot summer we are having.  Well at least here in West Michigan.

Friday, May 25, 2012

SoFoBoMo 2012

May has just flown by, I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've posted here.

I have been busy though.  I've participated in a local show with the West Michigan Photography Collective.  It is a group of photographers, both student and professional folks.  We formed to try to get our work well known in the area and hopefully sold.  I like the group since I continue to learn from other photographers and they push me to better myself.

I've also been printing more alternative process.  I've had access to the equipment in a studio in Kalamazoo, so I have put off getting a workflow going at home.  Since I probably won't have access to the studio over the summer, I need to start working on that again.

I've also succeeded in getting 3 prints accepted in the local Festival of the Arts Regional Arts Competition again.  The opening reception is tonight, so photos will hopefully come this weekend.

The last Solo Photography Book Month was supposed to be 2011.  The group running it decided it would take too much time and money to continue.  Thankfully someone else has picked up the mantle and is trying to run with it.

Now being headquartered at http://sofobomo.jntech.co.uk/, the web site is slowly coming into shape.  He's got a process to register, a forum and is working on a way to upload finished books.   

Sofobomo will run from July 1st to August 31st this year.  In case you've forgotten how it works, you pick a project, take 35 photos, and produce a book in a 31 day consecutive timeframe in those two months.   The book only has to have a pdf version, which you upload to the website.

I'm already thinking about a project to do, and (hopefully) will finish it this year and product a book.  More later.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2012

Tomorrow, Sunday the 29th is Worldwide Pinhole day.  Held the last day of April every year, it's a day to promote the fact that you don't need a fancy camera to take photos.  

A pinhole camera is basically a light tight box, with a small hole in the front to act as a lens.  While there are the usual scientific formulas to compute what size hole to use for the sharpest image, pretty much any size hole can be fun to try.  A pinhole is so small in relation to the film size, that for all practical purposes, the whole image is sharp.  Well as sharp as a pinhole can get.  They do have a delightful softness to them.

While people have use hotel rooms or vans for pinhole cameras, and even an airplane hanger, I've decided that I would purchase a camera this year to try.  I've been looking at this Holga panoramic pinhole for a couple of years now, and decided to break down and buy it.
I've run one roll of film through it just to try it out, and I'm planning on getting out early tomorrow morn and go through a couple of more rolls.  Hopefully I can get the results out early next week.

If you're interested in trying this, there is still time to participate.  There are plans on the internet for taking a DSLR body cap and putting a pinhole in it, or for creating a pinhole camera out of a oatmeal box.  Barnes and Noble also has a book/kit in their projects section with a cutout 35mm camera.

It's fun, you should give it a try.

Friday, April 27, 2012


I'm still, slowly, trying to get may alt process workflow calibrated at home.  While I primarily want to do Cyanotypes or Platinum/Palladium prints, there are other processes I would like to try.

One of those is Van Dyke Brown.  It produces a warm brown tone on the paper, and it's relatively easy to do.  A bit time consuming, because there are multiple washes of the paper in water, as well as fixer.

I'm participating in a class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts that is doing Alt Process.  I worked on a VDB print and liked what I finally got.  I did scan it in Black and White mode, so you really can't see the true color of it.  There are a couple of things I would like to change.  This is a hand coated process, where you have to mix the chemistry and then coat the paper.  I think I spent too long coating and raised the nap of the paper a bit.  There are some white spots that lead me to believe this, and I want to get rid of them.  Second, it needs to be a little darker, which I hope is just a simple exposure change.

Besides this process, I want to try one of the original methods used called Salt Printing, as well as Gum Bichromate.  The gum process would give me a color image.  The few I've seen of these in person, I really like.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


As most everyone knows, we've had weird weather this year.  One morning I got up for work, and we had the most delightful fog out.  Since I had been waiting for a good fog, I headed out early and looked for good subjects.  I found a couple I was happy with, and then promptly forgot I had taken them.  They came to light when I was working on some photos I took this past weekend.

I especially like the bridge, though I may have to crop it a bit different.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Day in Chicago

This past Saturday, I spent the day in Chicago with a couple of other members of the Midwest Large Format Asylum.  For the middle of March it turned out to be a great day to be outside.  Nice weather all day, and in fact I may have dressed a little bit too warmly for the day.

It started out early, by 9 am (Michigan time), I was sitting in a restaurant with the other two folks, planning the day.  I had brought some of my B&W prints made from digital negatives to show, and one of the other guys brought some work also.  We talked about it over breakfast.  I always like looking at other peoples work.  While I don't want to copy it, I usually get an idea I want to try sometime in the future.

We decided to start out at an old railroad swing bridge nearby.  It was one of the first things I photographed when I started with the group and I wanted to go back.  I have to admit, I was disappointed.  The city and the railroad had cleaned it up, repainted it and turned it into a dual use park.   Instead of the rusty textures I was expecting, I got nothing.  The area around the bridge had also been cleaned up, and a lot of development had taken place.  Good for the local area, not good for me.

After that, we stopped by the downtown Calumet Photo warehouse store.  They have been going downhill for quite some time as a destination for me, and this just confirmed it.  They had less product displayed than the last time I was there, and if it wasn't a house brand, it wasn't out on the floor.

Since two of use like the grungy warehouse look to photograph, we spent some time in the neighborhood photographing.  We could have spent some more, but we had other places to go.

Since I had never been to Helix Photography, we stopped by there next.  The guys warned my not to expect much, but I was not disappointed.  The first floor of the building is for repairs and rentals, so you have to go to the second floor for the store.  A real camera store.  Everything you would want in once place, sort of what Calumet used to be.  We spent some time there, schmoozed with one of the salesman and we all made purchases.  A definite stop the next time I'm in the area.

We next headed up to the old stockyards area.  We passed some places I would have liked to photograph, I need to remember those for next time.  We did see a Greek Orthodox church we would have liked to go in and photograph, but the doors weren't open.  When we first drove up, it looked almost new to me, but the cornerstone had been laid over 100 years ago.

We did end up in the old stockyards area finally.  Nothing I saw really floated my boat, but one of the guys made some exposures.  After that it was lunchtime, at 3 pm for me.  More photography discussion and general BS.  I took my leave after that and headed home.

All in all, a great day.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Going through a few older photos.  I came across this one and just decided I should post it.  While it has been nice lately, almost springlike, I'm definitely wishing for warmer weather.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Snow, or lack thereof...

It really has been a strange winter.  Once we got over our pretty much snowless December, I really wanted some snow to come and stick.   Instead we've gotten a little bit of snow that melts in a couple of days.  While great for driving, it's not so good for photographers and the businesses that depend on snow.

These were taken earlier in January.  We had just gotten a snowfall.  There was no wind, and the big flakes were just staying on whatever they hit.  I was in the middle of preparing to head west to the left coast the next morning, but I decided I had to get out and photograph.  I spent a couple of hours out, and just used my Fuji X100 point and shoot camera.   That is the reason for the 16x9 crop, it's what I have as default on that camera.  A good time.

Of course, now that Groundhog day is here, I want winter to be over.  While I wouldn't mind a day or two of snow, it can remain above freezing as far as I am concerned.

Hope your Groundhog day goes well and you get what snow you want.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Alt Process Work

I've been getting back into what has been referred as "Alternative Processes".  These are historic photographic processes that have been popular at one time and died out for one reason or another.

I took a refresher weekend at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts school this past fall.  These are two of the prints I did.  The one on the left is a Platinum print on vellum paper and the one on the right is a Van Dyke Brown print on watercolor paper.  They are currently hanging along with some other work in the school itself.

I tend to like these processes for a couple of different reasons.  First, each print is hand coated and exposed to a negative.  While the negative is reusable, the process still creates a unique print due to variations in coating, exposing and developing.    The second reason is that I like the look.  It's different from the usual digital stuff being thrown about these days.  You can attempt to recreate the look in Photoshop, but I have yet to see it successfully done.

I've started working on a couple of processes at home.  Specifically Cyanotype and Platinum.    So far, I'm in the middle of calibrating my printer and developing processes.  While cyanotype is one of the cheaper processes around, printing using Platinum can be expensive.  I want to get the process down pat, so I don't have a lot of waste.  Hopefully, I can start the actual printing soon.

More when I have it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Year End

I ended up 2011 with a trip to the Muskegon Wastewater Treatment Plant with Kelly, Wayne and Mike. A huge open area that is surprisingly well know in birding circles. We had heard reports of Snowy Owls being in the area, and of course we had to go photograph them.

We ended up seeing 3 of them that day. One was skittish and wouldn't let us get close, another was on top of a stirring structure and remained there all day, and the one above. He(?) seemed to be somewhat unconcerned about all the attention. We could easily get within 75 feet of him and he would just turn his head and look at us every once in a while.

Talking with another photographer, we found out there had been reports of up to 8 Snowy Owls in the area. Considering the ease we found the 3 we saw, I can believe it. We're pretty sure we saw a glimpse of a Golden Eagle, and more different kinds of ducks than I could name.

It was a great way to end 2011 photographically. I hope your New Years eve went well, and 2012 turns out great.