Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The mystery continues...

Awesome and exciting news arrived in my inbox yesterday. If you'll remember about a month and a half ago, maybe two months ago, I picked up a Kodak Duaflex camera on eBay to try out some TTV photography.

Well, when the camera arrived it had a roll of spent film sitting in it. Here's the original post I made on it: Unknown treasures lurk on this spent roll of 620

Since the roll was an older Kodak film that required special processing (C-22 vs. the more standard C-41 process used today) I had to find a film lab that would handle it. After going by my local lab and finding out it would cost $50 with no guarantee of results I started looking on the web and came across Film Rescue International - an outfit in North Dakota that specializes in restoring and processing old film.

The way it works is you send them whatever film you have that you want either restored or developed, they do their best to get workable images off the negatives (and in my case they process the negatives too) and they create a lightbox on the web where you can preview the images that are deemed printable. Even though my film was a color emulsion they scan the negatives in a way that produces a black and white positive image. This ends up with a more reliable print in the end.

So here's a sample of one of the images that they put up for me to preview.

By next week I should have the negatives and the scanned images to me on CD. I'll put up a gallery on the web in a new blog dedicated to reuniting these images with their family, and with any luck we'll end up with one of those feel-good stories about the power of the interweb.

keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I've been featured!!

You might remember a spotlight I did on Michelle from Urban Junkies Photography a couple weeks back. If you missed it, just click here to read it.

Well, Michelle asked me if I'd take part in her ongoing Studio Chat series, and she just posted the article yesterday.

Head on over to her blog to take a look: Studio Chat with me on Urban Junkies Artist Lounge.

Friday, April 17, 2009

fascinated with camera bags (and what's inside them)

So imagine my interest in a recent post over on Char's Ramblins... blog responding to a post on the Ink on my Fingers blog.

I have a bit of a bag fetish to begin with. I can't seem to find the right camera bag. At the moment I have two - a backpack and a shoulder bag. The backpack is great for when I need to haul everything and a tripod (and it has a laptop sleeve which is convenient). The shoulder bag holds just about as much, minus a lens or flash, but is a bit smaller and therefore better suited for walking around.

Both bags are good, but there are drawbacks to each.

The backpack holds a ton and makes carrying the weight a snap, and it has a holster for a tripod, but what it lacks is miscellaneous pockets for holding smaller things like card wallets, extra batteries, filters, etc. The backpack I have is a Kata R-103. It seems like Kata listened to a lot of the complaints about the lack of extra storage so in their new version of the laptop carrying camera backpack, the R-104, they added removable side pockets that mount on the outside of the backpack.

The shoulder bag I use is a Lowepro Stealth Reporter D300 AW. It holds pretty much everything I need if I am out for a day shooting (walking around the city, etc.) but it screams camera bag. I can load it up with all this and it fits comfortably in place:

  • Canon 30d + battery grip with 24-70mm f/2.8 with hood reversed
  • 70-200mm f/4 lens with hood reversed
  • 17-40mm f/4 with hood unmounted
  • wall wart battery charger+ extra battery
  • CF card wallet from gepe (the 4 card one)
  • holga film camera with a few rolls of film

When it's fully loaded it's pretty heavy, but it all fits.

Now, to what I need...

Even though those two bags can carry pretty much what I'd need if I were out shooting, neither bag works if I am out shooting AND sightseeing for the day. There's really no room in either bag for other stuff like a book, a map, raincoat, etc. etc.

So that gets me back to the posts on Ramblins and Ink on my fingers.

Over on Flickr there are a few groups that contain pictures of the contents of peoples bags. There are even groups that are specifically for camera bags. I've been checking out these groups to get an idea of what everyone else is using for bags and what they can hold.

The 'What's In My Bag' cluster

The 'What's In My Camera Bag' cluster

At one time I had a crumpler bag - the 5 million dollar home I think. It was a great bag for a camera+lens but not much else. Recently I saw a couple shots of the 7 million dollar home and that looked like it could handle what I wanted, so I made my way over to the local camera shop to check it out.

The bag definitely held everything that I had in my current shoulder bag, and it even distributed the load better due to the wider shoulder strap and the fact that I could wear it like a messenger bag, but again, with all the gear in tow I couldn't put anything else in the bag.

I must have spent 20 minutes arranging and re-arranging all the bits and pieces of my kit into that bag.

now, where am I going with this...

...I have come to the unfortunate realization that there is no such thing as the perfect bag. I don't think I'll ever find a bag that can hold my whole kit and still leave room for extras - there's just not a bag big enough for that. And even if I did find a bag big enough, would I really want to lug it around?

When it comes to bags and the things they'll carry I need to remember the mantra of less is more. I don't need to bring every piece of gear I have with me when I'm out shooting. I've been having a lot of fun just wandering around with my Holga and an extra roll of film (no bag necessary), and you can't get much more light weight than that.

So maybe it's not the perfect bag that I should be looking for. Maybe I need to just remember that the important thing about photography is just being there, not being there with the perfect piece of equipment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Artist Spotlight - Scarlet Beautiful Photography

I had never heard of TTV photography before I joined Etsy. TTV means through the viewfinder, and it's a style of photography where you shoot through the viewfinder of an old camera, usually a TLR camera with a waist-level viewfinder. The end result is an image laden with all the imperfections of the glass in the viewfinder that is usually cropped square by camera you are shooting through. Russ Morris has a great tutorial on TTV Photography on his site: http://www.russmorris.com/ttv/.

So that gets me to this week's spotlight artist.

Tenika of Scarlet Beautiful knows how to make a great TTV image. What's tricky about TTV photography is picking subjects that work well for that format. Because of it's almost antique, dreamy look, choosing the right subject becomes really important.

What I find most attractive about TTV photographs is the nostalgic mood they elicit. This mood works perfectly in Tenika's images that focus on travel. Her series on welcome signs you'd encounter if you were just crossing a state border work really well in the TTV format:

My favorite travel shot from that series has to be the Kansas one:

The soft antique feel of the TTV photograph also works really well when shooting flowers as Tenika shows in these two images:

Easily the best part of being on Etsy has been getting exposed to wonderful art by members of the Photographers of Etsy team. I recently picked up a Kodak Duaflex II of my own to try TTV photography with, but that experiment comes at the end of a long list of things to do so it might be a while before I get any shots made. Still, it's great to look at work from artist like Tenika to get inspired.

Pay a visit to Tenika's Etsy shop to see more of her great photography.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

it's spring, right?

Nope, not if you live in Boston. It was 36 degrees out today. 36!!!!! What kind of crazy person would leave California weather and return to New England where it's winter for the majority of the year?




In an effort to encourage spring to arrive early, I am posting these three prints up on Etsy this week. Maybe we'll get above 40.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday was yesterday, so where's the spotlight?

I'm still trying to contact the artist I wanted to spotlight this week, so I think we'll have to take this week off and shoot for next Tuesday for the weekly artist spotlight.

This should teach me that waiting until the last minute to get in touch with the photography probably isn't the best idea.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's 4am, do you know where your camera is?

So what if I told you I got up at 4am Saturday morning along with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of other photographers from around the word and took a picture?

Well I did, even though I've been feeling like garbage from a cold. I didn't venture far - luckily I had a shot in mind - so I setup the night before and went to bed with my alarm set for 3:45am. I popped up, checked the shot, fired a few frames off and then returned to bed. Luckily the fog I had seen earlier was still around so the shot I had in my mind turned out the bet the shot I grabbed.

The 4am Project is the brainchild of Karen Strunks and you can read more about the project here: www.4amproject.org.

Next time there's a similar early AM project I'll hopefully be without a cold so I can go to a more interesting location than my front yard.