Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Artist Spotlight - Urban Junkies Photography

I've said it before in these spotlight posts, but I'm going to say it again. I love travel photography. And I really love well executed travel photography.

This week's spotlight is on Michelle from Urban Junkies photography.

Michelle takes some really incredible pictures. One thing I admire about talented photographers is their ability to make a really great image out of an ordinary situation.

Take for example my favorite image of hers. This was taken in downtown LA and it's of a passing bus. A passing bus wouldn't normally catch my eye, but Michelle's image is striking.

Urban Junkies

The scene itself with the movement of the bus and the vacant sidewalk combined with the perfect composition and dramatic colors make a great visual impact. My eye first picks up the the following cars, then the bold red color pulls me through the scene along with the bus. Movement can be hard to capture in an image, but Michelle nails it.

Another from her downtown LA series is available on her Etsy store. Take a look at WHOOSH!


Here are two more shots from her California travel photography that show off Michelle's great range when it comes to different subjects:


Silver Surfer

And here is another shot, this one from NYC, that I admire. The tension in this image is exactly what I've felt before when riding in a cab through Manhattan. You really get the feeling that you are in the scene. This image is untitled, but you can see it on her portfolio site in the New York City gallery:


Michelle is just as talented inside with portraits as she is outside with her travel photography. A very beautiful study of light and shadows can be seen in her Etsy store. The image is titled "Transmutation" and you can read about her inspiration for the image in a post on her blog.


Visit Michelle's portfolio site and her Etsy store to seem more of her incredible work. The examples in this post only scratch the surface when it comes to the number of incredible images Michelle has made.

You can also find find Michelle on her blog - make sure you pop by and leave her a comment!

Michelle's links
Esty Store: http://zuppaartista.etsy.com
Portfolio: http://www.urbanjunkiesphotography.com
Blog: http://urbanjunkiesartistlounge.blogspot.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

Did I tell you I'm running a half marathon?

Last month I posted about how I am signed up to run a half marathon in June with Team in Training. While I'm training I am also raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for cancer research and other cancer related programs. The end goal being to eliminate blood cancers.

So as a way to raise money during my training I decided to donate anything I make from my Etsy store to the LLS from the start of training up until race day. And, since I just listed one of the Holga shots I got in Boston recently I thought I'd post this note up with an update on how things are going.

So far the training has been good, although I am definitely ready for some warm weather to arrive. Yesterday's training run was 7 miles in 36 degrees with a rain. It wasn't pleasant. It was however the longest I have ever run, so even in spite of the weather I felt like I had accomplished something.

The coach and mentors from Team in Training have been great. The chapter I am part of has some long time TNT veterans with a lot of races under their belts, so I am learning a lot. And above all that the money I am raising is going to a really great cause. The Leukemia & Lymphoma society has invested more than $600 million in cancer research, a large part of that amount coming from the money raised by Team in Training participants.

So if you are interested in helping out the cause, and you have a bare spot on your wall that could use a print or two, visit my Etsy shop and place an order. 100% of the profits will be donated.

Visit my Etsy shop!

And for more info on the race and my training up dates, visit this page:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One week down... two to go

Last week I mailed my roll of phantom 620 film to Film Rescue Int'l to see if they could find any images on the at least 30 year old roll. The turn-around time is typically 3 weeks, so I am nearly at the 1 week down mark with two more to go.

Cool thing about Film Rescue Int'l is that they'll scan your negatives once they are developed and put them on a site where you can preview them and decide if it's worth getting prints or not. Since I do my own scanning I'm going to use the scans to decide whether it's worth it or not to have them mail the negatives back to me.

All in all it's a pretty cheap experiment. It'll cost $17 to get the negatives processed and around $8 to get them shipped back if they turn out worthy. It cost me about $5 to mail the roll out with delivery confirmation so if this whole thing works out I'll be out $30. If the negatives have no images on them, or they're so bad I can't get a decent scan it'll still only have cost me $22. That's way better than the $55 I was quoted at the local lab.

And to top it all off the guy I've been dealing with at Film Rescue (Greg) is a super swell dude. Very nice and easy to work with.

I know this sounds like a commercial for the service, and it sort of is, but rest assured that I'm not getting any special treatment for advertising these guys. I'm not a fan of blogs that post up positive reviews of services or products when they're benefiting from the company that provides them. It's very disingenuous. So let me repeat that I'm not getting any special treatment here - just giving some info on a company that so far has been great to work with.

2 more weeks and I'll write a post on whether this experiment produced anything of interest.

It'll be here before you know it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

arts and crafts

I've been neglecting my digital equipment. I've also been neglecting my Yashica Mat. Only the Holga has been getting use lately. Well, that is about to change I think.

Here's a shot I took the other day with the Yashica Mat. I love the look I get out of this camera. Why oh why does it have to be so expensive to shoot 120?

I think the Yashica Mat is going to be joining me to work once a week from now on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday artist spotlight - Monica Shulman, Ciao, Chessa!

99% of the photos people take while on vacation are taken just for them. Because of that it can be hard to look at someone else's travel photos and really get a sense of what it was like to be there. But, when a photographer travels it usually means that the photographs they take are taken not just for themselves, but for others. When a really good photographer travels and makes images, the photos stand out because of the way they pull you to the location, the way they bring you there even if you've never been there. A good photographer can make you think you've been to a place you've never visited.

It was Monica's travel photography that first struck me. She's a very gifted photographer on a variety of subjects, but her travel photography in particular has an inspiring ability to tell a story and make you feel like you were there.

you pick the place and I'll choose the time

Take a spin through her online portfolio and you'll see images from France, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Cambodia, Thailand and beyond, not to mention locations around the US. She captures incredible street scenes, beautiful landscapes and everything in between with a fantastic eye for detail and timing.

Walking From the Past

Street Stories

Monica also has a great eye for what makes a great image. Everyday objects are made interesting through her craft.

Hot Purple Lips

Monica lives in NYC, and if you're in the area she's got a show going on in Brooklyn right now until at least late spring. Swing by Le Chandelier Salon to see some of her work in living color (or black and white).

If you're not in NYC or Brooklyn you can find Monica at her Etsy shop, on her blog, and even on her portfolio site.

Make sure you stop by and say hello!

Monday, March 23, 2009

the start of something?

With my holga in hand I went out to brave the cold and get some lunch. I spied a door in an alley from the counter at the sandwich place so I decided to take a photo of it after I was done.

I noticed another door further down the alley so I took a shot of that too, then another on the way back. I think I have my theme for the photo book. I'm going to see how this next batch turns out, and if it's good I'll plan on using the doors in the alleys as my theme for the SoFoBoMo project I'm signed up for.

old buildings, you're being overtaken by new buildings. sorry.

Another from my "walking around Boston with my Holga" series. Today is a bright sunny day, so I'll make another trip around the city at lunch and see what I can get with the plastic beast.

Friday, March 20, 2009

smoke on the asphalt (steam really...)

Walking into work last week I couldn't help but stop and get some shots of the steam venting out of this manhole. I had to play in the street while the traffic was stopped so I was a little worried about getting run over.

I wish I had the focus closer to the steam itself, but with the Holga it's pretty much a guessing game... and when you're dodging traffic and trying to estimate the distance between you and what you're shooting and then trying to translate that to the focusing dial on the holga well, you basically just take a stab at it and hope for the best.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

walking to the lab, one frame left, what to shoot?

guess the bridge (hint: it's rusty)

It's like christmas morning every time I get some film back. Sometimes I scan in an image and it's like I just opened the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. Other times I scan it in and it's like opening a pack of tube socks. I feel like I get one decent frame out of a roll of 12 from the Holga. I really have a lot of learning to do on this camera.

Here's this was one image that wasn't complete garbage. I'll post more up either later today, or maybe tomorrow.

I've got two more rolls in the bucket ready to go out, and another roll halfway through in the Holga and the Yashica. I really really really need to get a tank and some chemistry to do the B&W at home... these film costs are getting a bit rich.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Artist Spotlight: Eduardo Cervantes

Tuesday already!? You know what that means!!! It's Tuesday Artist Spotlight time!!

Eddy has talent. There's no doubt about it. A quick browse through his portfolio at www.eddyizm.com immediately shows you that this guy has a great eye for making images that stick with you. I bumped into Eddy not too long ago while I was learning the ropes at Etsy. I've mentioned it before, but even if I can't make any money selling prints at Etsy, I can at least appreciate the incredible network of helpful, like minded people who have their stuff on there. Eddy is one of those guys. He's the best kind of gifted photographer - he's the kind that loves to talk about his art and help you understand how to become a better photographer by either sharing techniques, giving helpful tips or even just acting as an inspiration through the art he creates.

The first image I saw of Eddy's is what initially got me interested in a method of photography called TTV - through the viewfinder. It's a process of shooting top down into an old TLR camera where you're adding the mirror and the glass elements of the old camera in front of your lens. Shooting through the viewfinder creates a great frame and retains the dust, scratches and other artifacts that appear on the viewing screen and lens of the old TLR camera. The antique look that shooting through the viewfinder adds works really well on some photos. Eddy's not only mastered the execution, he's also proven that he knows what works and what doesn't with TTV photography. Just browse through his shop and you'll see.

Here's the image that first caught my attention. It's titled "Rest Stop":

Another of Eddy's great TTV treatments is an interior titled "Cold Hot":

Once I was through browsing Eddy's images on Etsy for the first time I made my way over to his portfolio site. Here's a tip: don't go there unless you have a LOT of free time. The amount of images and more importantly the diversity of images on Eddy's portfolio site is amazing. In particular I found myself gravitating to his travel photography, of which you can see some great examples if you just stick to the Etsy site.

One section of his portfolio that I find myself coming back to is a set of galleries from 2007 of images made on a 2007 visit to Bodie, CA. Bodie is a ghost town just east of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Mono Lake which is now a state park. It was built up in the mid 1800s during the California gold rush and gained the ghost town status in 1915. Check out the galleries by clicking on these links: Bodie 1, Bodie 2, Bodie 3, Bodie 4, Bodie 5.

My favorite from those galleries also happens to be available for purchase at his Etsy shop. The image is titled "The Kitchen":

If you want to see more of Eddy's work, head on over to his Etsy site or his portfolio. On his portfolio contact page you can also sign up to get more info and be added to his mailing list for updates.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Unknown treasures lurk on this spent roll of 620

A few weeks ago Shari over at inherdarkroom.blogspot.com posted about buying a camera and finding a roll of film still in it. Well, imagine my surprise when the Kodak Duaflex II I bought off ebay arrived with an old roll of Kodak 620 film in it all used up. You can read about Sheri's discovery here, and you can see the results of the film she got back from the lab here.

The film that Shari found in her camera was at least 20 years old (they stopped making Kodacolor VR back in '86) and unfortunately no images were visible on the film when it came back. Kodacolor-X 620 film stopped being produced a decade earlier in 1974. My roll has been sitting in the body of that Duaflex II for at least since back then, so I am not really hopefull that anything will come back off the negatives. I'm still going to try though.

The kodacolor-x film uses an old process for development - C-22. I am going to a local lab today to drop it off and they'll be mailing it out. Turn around time is about 3 weeks they said, and it's not cheap to develop. It's gonna be a long 3 weeks.

I'm hoping that we'll find some old pictures of the fake lunar landing soundstage, or maybe see who the second shooters were on that grassy knoll, but if anything does come back it'll probably be Jimmy's 4th birthday or some artsy night photos of ferris wheels... wait a minute!

If you're interested in what 620 film (on the left) looks like compared to 120, here's a photo (iPhone quality, so please forgive me):

The lab wanted $55 to send it out and get it processed. That's a little steep. Gonna scour the web to see if there are any alternatives. All I want is negatives, no prints. If you know of a place, drop me a comment?

Shari over at inHERdarkroom.blogspot.com posted a couple links in the comments, one of them with options for labs that might do C-22 processing. So I sent a note to film rescue and it looks like they'll be able to process it for $17 and they'll even scan the negs and let me preview them over the web before sending them back. The return shipping is $8 so if the negatives come back with images on them it'll only cost me $25, if the roll is bunk I'm only out $17. Only down side is that the turn around is probably 4 weeks, but for that savings ($25 vs. $55) I'll wait. Thanks again Shari!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drive By Holga

So I've been playing with the holga for a little while now, but one thing I have not been all that great about is keeping notes on what I shot with it and when, and also what I was doing with the camera at the time. So, since I have no idea how to re-create anything I've shot I have decided that the camera will from now on be loaded with ISO 400 film of either B&W or Color variety and I will use it in a Shoot-First-As-Questions-Later fashion.

I did get a tip from my friend's father who is a professional photographer that shooting slide film is a better way to go with Medium Format, so I think I'll try to pick up some of that in the near future knowing full well that my exposures will be tighter, but so be it.

Anywho - here's a pair of images I shot on the way home one day when the sky was warming up with the sunset:

As part of my goal of shooting more this year I have started carrying the Holga around with me wherever I go, for the most part. I'm hoping that I'll get to use it more and figure out how to exploit its little quirks. It's a fun little camera for sure.

I've been featured!

The Photographers of Etsy are an Etsy team with over 800 members. The talent in the group is pretty astounding. Just head on over to Etsy and search for POE and see what comes up. It's all pretty amazing stuff and there are quite a few members who continue to blow my mind with their work. In fact I featured a POE team member yesterday (in case you missed it just click here or just scroll down to yesterday's post).

So, when I was asked by Ann Wilkinson if I would be interested in being featured on the POE Blog I couldn't respond with a yes fast enough.

Here's the link to the feature: POE Blog Spotlight on ME!!

I know this is a blatant self promotion post, but I figured that given the circumstances anyone reading this would indulge me. It's not often I get featured by a photography blog (in fact this is the very first time) so I figured it was worth a post.

Take a look at the post, read through the interview, and when you're done make sure you take a look here:

-- Ann's blog and Etsy store
-- The Photographers of Etsy team page on Etsy
-- A handy link I created for you - just click here to automagically search Etsy for POE listings

Thanks again to Ann for the opportunity!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday artist spotlight - C. Wade

I am a sucker for night photography. I love shooting at night and I especially love looking at photographs taken at night. It was while browsing through some night photography on Etsy when I first saw some photos from C. Wade - you can see all of her stuff by clicking on this link or her shop banner below.

Photography in general isn't tricky. Technically it's pretty easy to make an image. But what separates good photography from ordinary photography is the photographers ability to make an image that holds the viewers interest and tells a story. It's always amazed me how two people can take an image of essentially the same subject and while one image may be mundane and simple the other image might be dynamic and inspired. Defining what makes an image work is hard if not impossible, but when you see an image that works you know it immediately.

Take for instance this night shot of Cait's titled "Loiterers" (my favorite of her night shots):

Within a nanosecond of looking at that image I know this image works. I might not be able to say specifically why it works - but I know it does. That, to me, is the hallmark of a good artist.

I don't want you to think that Cait is a one-trick-pony only able to crank out stellar low-light and night photography though. She's just as talented at making great images when the sun is up. Take a gander at this beautifully toned cityscape titled "Rooftop Surrealist":

When I first saw this image it just clicked in my mind. I immediately got this abandoned feeling - apocalyptic almost. Something strange is going on atop that parking garage, and the mood that image strikes in me is perfect. I don't know if I can put my finger on exactly what it is about the image that makes it work with me, but I just know it does.

In addition to being a great photographer Cait is also a musician. You can sample both her photography and her music on her blog M45: A Nebulous Conglomeration of Music and Photography.

And just because I love night photos, here's another of Cait's that I really really enjoy titled Southbound:

So please head on over to Cait's blog and leave her a comment telling her how much you like her stuff (because I know you do). Also check out her Etsy store which you can find here: http://pleyades.etsy.com. And if you're into the whole twitter thing, you can find Cait on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/pleyades

Monday, March 9, 2009

My photo got selected!

Each Sunday over on the M45 blog C. Wade runs a bit of a contest. The theme is Sepia toned images. For the past few weeks I had been forgetting to enter, only to be reminded of the contest Monday morning when I saw her blog post appear in my reader.

Well, this week I have been working on a little feature post on C. Wade that's set to appear on the blog tomorrow so there was no way I was going to miss entering her weekly contest. I ended up treating one of the images from my lantern triptych and submitting that (you can see the triptych here: paper lanterns ). The image was already pretty well toned, but to achieve the antique look I was going for I brought a bit of the saturation down to age it.

You can see the other images that were entered as well as the one I put up here: Sepia Sunday!

And stay tuned for a posting tomorrow on C. Wade's art - and don't forget to visit her blog!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

JPG mag is back, with a new partner

So JPG Mag will be saved after all. Good news for amateur and semi-pro photographers alike as well as anyone who is a fan of photography.

The new owner is also introducing some new ways for the magazine to gain revenue, but it isn't entirely clear how the first of those new ways is going to work. Adorama has been signed up as the Premier Community Partner - not sure if that means increased social activities on the JPG mag site, or something in the magazine or what, but at least it'll help keep things floating. I'm sure Adorama will gain advertising from the deal and in return provide some funds to 8020 media.

Here's a little blurb:

Your outpouring of support--whether on Flickr forums, blogs, or savejpg.com--demonstrated to the world (along with the investment community) that JPG is simply too special and unique to vanish. Our new investors agree with you--and believe strongly in the potential of JPG as a business. So I'm looking forward to working with them to creatively drive revenues while enhancing the quality of the JPG experience. I'm also looking forward to working with our Premier Community Partner, Adorama, to develop wonderful opportunities for all of you to reach a broader audience as well as better engage around the photography equipment you use and love. More on that to come!

and here's the original blog post: http://jpgmag.com/blog/2009/02/an_exciting_future_for_jpg.html

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let's start something new (for me anyway)

Once in a while I'll stumble upon some photography that really catches my eye. Lately I've been finding a lot of incredibly talented photogs through Etsy. The other day I was browsing around Etsy and found just such a photographer.

I've been thinking about what to post on this blog in between fits of editing and waiting for negatives in the mail, so I decided I'd start a weekly tradition of highlighting a photographer who I think makes amazing images. This concept is by no means unique - a lot of photo blogs have a weekly or monthly feature, and it's a great idea. Photographers love exposure (no pun intended) so why not?

So, first up in this series (gotta come up with a catchy name) is a photographer who has an incredible talent of making ordinary objects beautiful. Her use of selective focus is never overdone, and in fact the out of focus areas in her images are as important as the in focus elements. Her shop name is Tea & Brie and has a it has very poignant subtitle: "explore. observe. discover."

Here is an example of an image I love of hers that clearly has a focal point but also uses the out of focus background as balance (click to see it in her Etsy store):

Beyond the ethereal images she also makes great object images:

Outside of Etsy she maintains a great personal blog that is a mix of candid photography, fine art photography and wisdom. On top of being an incredible photographer she's an excellent writer.

Here's a link to her blog: http://whimsy.typepad.com/teaandbrie/

So if you get a chance, swing by her shop on Etsy, or her blog and browse through her work.