Thursday, August 5, 2010

Week 27: Nuts!

I know I am very behind in the project, but rather than bore you with excuses I'll just pick up where I left off and try to sneak in a couple a week to catch up.

We spent a week in Maine in the middle of July - this marks our third year in a row doing this so it's becoming a bit of a family tradition. The difference from this year to last is that this year we were able to stay at the family camp that we've been re-habbing since early Spring.

It's nice to have space for everyone and be in a spot that is relatively quiet. You hardly hear anything when you're at camp except for the birds, wind and the river passing by. It's incredibly peaceful.

There's also quite a few little critters to observe.

While I tried to get pictures of the chipmunk who hangs around camp, I couldn't entice him to stay still for long enough. I did get him to eat out of my hand a few times, remembering how my grandmother used to do it. Put a few peanuts in the palm of your hand and hang out for a while... eventually chippy comes sniffing around and sits on you hand and stuffs the peanuts into his cheeks. I got him to sit for long enough to extend my finger up and rub his stomach - those little guys are super soft.

Anyway, back to the photo. So in the chipmunk's place I got a squirrel to dine on a few pre-planted peanuts and ended up getting a few good shots of him:

I also took a few rolls of film while I was up there that I have yet to develop. If I ever get the time to do it and scan them I'll add them in as some of the weekly shots.

I still have to try some setup shots at home - I have some ideas, but now all I need is some time to do them.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The project rolls on, I've just slacked on posting

I have the past few weeks of photos done, I just need to process a roll of film (maybe tonight) and get to creating posts for each of the images. I'll be updating the blog soon with the missing weeks.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week 26: skyline from the Longfellow bridge

Walking from Beacon Hill, across the Longfellow bridge last week.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week 25: Laundry

Writers have writers block, so I guess you'd call what I have photographers block. Having a hard time thinking up things to shoot for this 52 weeks project. Typically I just walk around the office building at lunch and whatever catches my eye, I shoot. This has worked pretty well up until now. I feel as though I've exhausted all the shots within a 5 block radius of my building.

Of course this is impossible, but it's just the way I feel. Maybe it's not that there aren't any more photos to be taken, but more of a lack of inspiration that my surroundings are providing. I need to open my eyes more I think, or maybe take a break from the lunch-time photo safari routine.

I revisited a neighborhood I haven't been to in a while this past week, and while I did see some new sights, I don't really feel good about what I got. The shot this week is from a row of buildings that are across the street from the State House, on the eastern side.

This was one of those sights that just caught my eye as I was walking. I took a few more shots, each with a different set of people walking through them. This guy ended up being the most interesting. By the third set of people I started to feel a little strange about what they must be thinking - a guy hunched over taking pictures at ass level isn't the coolest thing in the world... So I moved on.

I wandered through a memorial garden for homicide victims that I had seen before, only when I was there in the fall the fountain wasn't working. Seemed like a nice place to take a break. Then I moved on to the familiar neighborhoods of Beacon Hill and snagged a knocker.

So I've decided that instead of waiting for inspiration to hit me, I need to start building my own inspiration. The first half of this 52 weeks project has been comprised of a lot of "found" photos - ones where I just happen to see a scene and shoot it. For the second half I might turn my attention to "created" photos - ones that I setup, not so much candids. I have one more week left before passing the halfway point, so one last "found" photo before I start planning...

...stay tuned...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Week 24: Stainless Steel

As sort of a response to week 22 and week 23's shots I thought I'd go out with my 100mm macro lens and see what small details I could find around Boston. I was walking toward Pi Alley when I noticed that the wrought iron gates that line the windows of one of the buildings were all locked with some rusty chains and beat up old padlocks.

The details and texture on the chains and locks made for an interesting picture, so despite the strange looks I must've been getting I pulled my lens very close to the lock and snapped away. After going out with film cameras more often than digital recently it was nice to be able to fire off a frame and check the display to make sure I had the framing and exposure right to my liking.

After what must be years of sitting out in the elements it looks like those locks are holding up pretty well. Even though they were pretty grimy and covered in rust from the chains they looked in decent shape. The chain on the other hand looked like more rust than metal.

I kept walking around that day and saw a few more small details that caught my eye. I also ventured down an alley I hadn't been down before and snapped another door and a couple wood pallets leaning up against the delivery dock.

I need to go out with this lens more often. I think I've said that before...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week 23: bike cops of Boston

I've put three rolls of film through the new Holga panorama camera, the first two were B/W (Efke 50 if you're interested) and third roll was from a new pack of Kodak 400 VC Portra film.

I have learned a few things.

First - the Portra film scans pretty well. Even with the complete guess work that went into the original exposure, and the fact that a lot of the frames were underexposed, the film still scanned well. The trouble I've been having with scanning Velvia or other thick emulsion film is kinda driving me to stick to color negative.

Second - I'm generally OK with the look you get from Holga cameras. The expected vignetting, and even the light leaks are tolerable and sometimes they create some interesting and pleasant surprises. I think I am getting a bit impatient though, and a bit less tolerant of the unexpected. Also, with a plastic lens (or pinhole in a piece of metal in this case) you're never going to get a crisp shot, and it's unfair to expect that of a Holga. I think I am getting to a point where I value sharp focus, and with the Holga you're just not gonna get it, so I expect that I won't be using this camera all that much going forward.

Third - most police officers are camera shy...

There was a parade starting at the back entrance of City Hall that I just happened to stumble upon this week. I saw a lineup of bike cops and thought it would make a good shot, so I asked one if I could take their picture. They said no, but I was welcome to shoot the bikes. Little did they know that the plastic brick I had mounted to the tripod captured a 120degree field of view. So the cops are there, lurking in the shadows, ready to hop on their bikes and hum the CHiPs theme song.

I took two more shots from the parade that day, consider them outtakes --

So it may be a while before I post another set of shots using this camera, but then again it may not. The Portra film does look nice, and I like the width of these shots a lot. Maybe I need to just experiment with some better subjects.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week 22: park panorama

So not too long ago I picked up a new toy. A Holga 120 WPC wide angle panoramic pinhole camera (read a review on it here). It created either a 6cm x 9cm negative or a wider angle 6cm X 12cm negative. Not really sure what would happen if you didn't use the mask, but that'll be an experiment for another day.

I used the widest mask, so my negatives came out to be roughly 12cm long, or around twice as wide as my regular Holga shots.

To frame the shot you use a V-like guide on the top of the camera. It's just there to give you an idea of what the field of view is, and how much of the scene in front of you will be caught on film. Also, there's a spirit level built into the frame to help you stay true to your horizon.

The first attempts brought me through Boston Common to try to capture some of the sights there. Since it's a pinhole camera and I don't have a handheld light meter I had to guess on the exposures, holding down the cable release to a 5 count or so. There are guidelines on the back of the camera: 7-9 seconds in bright conditions shooting ISO 100 for example. These are a good place to start.

Since it's a bit of a guessing game on the exposures I kept with negative film, hoping it would would be more forgiving than slide film. And here's the first test shot, which happens to be this week's photo:

And there's just one outtake for the week, a shot of the frog pond:

While it's not the easiest camera to shoot with, it could make some great images in the right setting. I've got a location I've been wanting to take pictures of at dawn, and it's a rolling landscape - this might be the perfect camera to captuer it with. We'll see...

Monday, June 7, 2010

I know week 22 is late...

I know I am behind on the 52weeks posting, and last week's post is late, but I am working on it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Week 21: On the way to Charlottesville

This past weekend I made a drive down to visit a friend who lives in Charlottesville, VA. The drive took us from MA through CT, NY, a sliver of NJ, PA, MD and finally to VA. That's a lotta states. And a lotta states means a lotta driving.

Luckily for me, at least in this instance, I got to ride shotgun the whole way while my buddy took the pilot seat.

Since this was a reunion weekend of sorts for three really close high school friends there were only a few photos sanitized enough to make it up for this week's post. Of those I only had one that I really liked, so there are no outtakes this week.

This shot could be from any one of those states we passed through. Really have no idea which one it was.

The one thing I know from this foggy quick trip to the South is that I really gotta get back there. Charlottesville was a lot of fun.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Week 20: Bike Messenger

In last week's update I mentioned that I've been playing around with panning lately. While moving cars are interesting to photograph I found that trying to capture bike messengers in motion was far more challenging.

Freezing their motion against a blurred background is definitely hard, but the hardest part was actually finding them. I started out waiting on a corner on Congress Street near Post Office Square in downtown Boston thinking there would be a lot of bike traffic through the financial district. I only saw one bike. So I wrote about it on twitter and a friend of mine whose wife used to work downtown sent me a note about how he would see a ton of them when he would visit her.

Turns out I was about a block away form there when I was first shooting, so while I was in the neighborhood, I was just far enough away to miss the action. I went back there the next day and sure enough a whole clutch/gaggle/school of bike messengers was hanging out in the park on Devonshire Street.

I parked myself on the sidewalk and waited.

I ended up catching about a dozen messengers on that street. This was the only one that I really liked. I shot this one on the Canon 35mm film camera I have, on some Velvia 100 film. Actually all of this week's shots are from this setup.

The next time I try to go on a panning hunt I'll be bringing my digital camera. Being able to get some immediate feedback on the shots with the digital camera will make the outing a bit more successful. As it was with the film setup I had to guess at what exposure settings would work, and just how slow of a shutter speed I would need to keep the biker relatively crisp against a blurred background. I obviously have a ways to go...

Here are the outtakes from the week: