Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Epiphanie bags is giving away a new camera, and I wanna win it

Camera bags are usually pretty ugly things, mostly utilitarian in design, so it's nice to see a company making camera bags that don't scream "HEY LOOK OVER HERE, THERE'S A CAMERA IN ME"

Epiphanie is a camera bag maker that focuses on creating camera bags for women. You can check out their lineup here: The designs are pretty freaking clever. From the outside you would never know there's a camera and lenses in there.

Right now they're holding a contest where a lucky participant (read: me) is going to win either a new Canon 5dMK2 or a $2500 voucher on Southwest Airlines. I'm going to chose the camera.

If you want to find out more about the contest check it out here: but don't be upset when you find out that I'm the lucky winner ;-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week 12: Pseudo Pano

I hadn't shot with my Holga in a long while, so I loaded it with some 400 speed Ilford HP5+ and ventured out this week in the cold and rain. It's been pretty miserable weather wise, but miserable weather is what B/W film was made for in my humble opinion. Especially miserable weather in the city.

There's something about when it's overcast and rainy, and the buildings have a slick coat of wet on them, that makes it look perfect to me for taking photos. The tricky part is in the timing. I'm not very good at holding an umbrella and taking photos at the same time, so I need to get the timing right and get out in between the showers.

For this shot I actually never even went outside. I took this from my office window, looking East toward Quincy Market from Beacon Street.

two frames from the Holga, f/11 for 1/100sec on ISO 400 Ilford HP5+ scanned on an Epson v500

It's two images that I didn't fully advance the frame on. I had planned on layering them to make a panorama, but this sorta works on its own I think. There's a third frame off to the right that I was also going to include, but since that was totally separated from the image I just left it off.

This is definitely making me want to play around more with forcing panoramas within the camera. I need more practice obviously, but eventually it would be fun to try and seamlessly combine images within the camera.

The outtakes this week are more plentiful than last week. The two B/W outtakes are from Chinatown, also taken on the Holga. The color shots are from near South Station, just outside the place where I have my color slide film developed. I had a few frames left and these guys were staring me in the face.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good reading - BBC Wildlife Magazine Photo Masterclasses

Between March of 2006 and October of 2007 BBC Wildlife Magazine had a feature they called Photo Masterclass in each issue. The essays covered a variety of topics, from photographing plant life to capturing animals in their environment to dealing with the challenges and rewards of shooting at sunset and sunrise.

Each feature has contributions from a number of professional photographers. They offer tips and stories related to the main theme for that particular feature, and there are plenty of example photos to drive the points home.

The series is hosted by Mark Carwardine, a world renowned zoologist, conservationist and wildlife photographer. Most recently he worked with Stephen Fry on a series for the BBC called Last Chance to See where he and Fry travelled the world seeking out endangered species. He's definitely an authority on capturing nature on film. You can read more about him and see his work here:

The PDF versions of the features can be downloaded from this website:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beta 2 of the new Lightroom 3 is available for download! WHOOHOO!

Really looking forward to the day this goes to a full release. I am a huge fan of Lightroom, and this next version packs some incredible updates to an already fantastic application.

Here's a list of what's new in this latest beta version, and what will be included when the final release is made available:

* Improved performance throughout the application for faster importing and loading of images
* Native tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras
* Luminance noise reduction has been added to the previous color noise reduction improvements available in the first public beta for outstanding overall high ISO quality
* Support for importing and managing video files from DSLR cameras for better overall photographic workflow control
* Improvements to the import experience in the first beta to reflect public feedback
* Improved watermarking functionality from the first beta to reflect public feedback
One of the features I am very interested in is the new Luminance noise reduction controls. They look like they're going to put Noise Ninja out of business. Two other features I'm looking forward to are the new import controls and the tethered shooting.

You can check out a video preview of the new features by clicking on this link - there's a great example of how the Luminance noise reduction is going to work.

Download the latest Beta version of Lightroom 3 here -- click me now!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The rebirth of instant film

In 2008 Polaroid discontinued production of their instant films, and since then the back stock has quickly disappeared. The Impossible Project sought out to engineer new film for all of those instant cameras, and as of today they succeeded - they're introducing two new films, the PX 100 and PX 600 Silver Shade.

You can...

read the press release here: The Impossible Press Release

read the press kit with more detail here: The Impossible Press Kit

just visit the site and poke around here: The Impossible website

The first two films are monochrome, but color film is slated to be available this summer, with a total of 6 different films being made this year.

It's nice to see that instant film is not dead, and even nicer to see that the movement is being supported by ILFORD PHOTO. Glad to know that there are still companies in the photo business that are looking out for the art as much as the profits.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 11: Little Sister

This week was a rough one. We had over 10 inches of rain in a little more than two days, and as a result my basement turned into an indoor pool. There wasn't much time for photography, hence the 11th hour submission for the 52weeks project. I said early on that there would be the inevitable 11:59pm on Sunday post, and here is my first one...

I had about 4 frames left to go on a roll of FP4+ 125 I was shooting in my 35mm film camera, a Canon Rebel 2000. On the camera I had the 50mm f/1.4 lens and I was mostly shooting in and around Boston with it. The 4 frames ended up being shot at home, and they all were of my daughter who was standing at the kitchen island helping my wife with some baking. This was yesterday.

Not really sure if I had gotten the shot I wanted (this is film, after all), I unloaded the film and processed it a couple hours ago. It didn't get to dry very long. I tossed it into the scanner and I found 4 frames I liked. The one that really grabbed my eye was one of the frames I took yesterday of my daughter:

The girls are all usually very patient when they see me with the camera, but in this case they weren't being very cooperative. Three of those four remaining shots were either a blurry head or of closed eyes, but this one makes me happy when I look at it.

The other images for this week, the outtakes if you will, are all technically from the previous week, but since they were developed today I'll include them:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 10: Memorial

I've walked past and through Boston's Holocaust memorial a bunch of times, but I never stopped to photograph it. It seems like no matter what the weather is outside there is always someone standing inside the memorial or near the entrance plaque reading and thinking about what the memorial symbolizes.

"Look at these towers, passerby, and try to imagine what they really mean - what they symbolize - what they evoke. They evoke an era of incommensurate darkness, an era in history when civilization lost its humanity and humanity its soul . . ."

"We must look at these towers of memory and say to ourselves, No one should ever deprive a human being of his or her right to dignity. No one should ever deprive anyone of his or her right to be a sovereign human being. No one should ever speak again about racial superiority... We cannot give evil another chance."
- Elie Wiesel
The woman in this photo spent a long time slowly moving from one of the six 54 foot pillars to the next, reading the text on each pillar that captures the accounts of some of the survivors.

The memorial parallels the busy Congress street in Boston, and is only a short walk from Quincy market, but in spite of the commotion around it the memorial remains a very quiet place, probably because of the thoughtful reflection it inspires.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A pet peeve of mine, and a very good write up

I was reading someone's response to a friend's photo on facebook the other day, and it went something like, "wow... that's a great photo - you must have an awesome camera!"

Whenever I hear that (or read that) I get all riled up. That kind of "compliment" is akin to telling a painter that his paintings are good because of the brushes he uses, or a musician that his music sounds great because of the instrument. I doubt anyone ever said to Picasso, "wow... that painting is amazing - you must have some awesome brushes!"

A camera is a tool, and unless you know what you're doing with it you likely won't get a good image out of it.

So that gets me to a really great write-up I read on my friend's Arni Cheatham's blog today - How to take your toys and not yourself seriously. Arni is an amazing photographer, and equally amazing musician. He was a coworker of mine up until last year when he retired. In the short while I worked with Arni I learned a lot from him about photography, and continue to keep in touch with him.

In his post he talks about how easy it is to get hung up on gear, and that you need to remember that it's not necessarily the camera that makes the image great, but the eyes that see the image through the camera. It's a good read.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 9: Escape!

I made my way back to the top of the Pi Alley garage again this week. Not sure why I chose to go on the coldest, windiest day of the week, but that's what I did. I brought my digital body with me this time with my 100mm macro lens. I had intended to get some closeup shots in a nearby cemetery, which I did, but none of them came out the way I wanted. I think I was just impatient because of the cold.

This week's shot is of the same building in the shot I took in this post, but a tighter shot since I was shooting with a tighter field of view than I have on the 80mm lens that the Yashica Mat has.

Canon 30d, Canon 100mm macro @ f/2.8 for 1/250 at ISO 320

I've also been posting my outtakes to my facebook page. If you're interested in checking them out just click on this link and you'll be brought to the gallery. And while you're over there why not become a fan?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Negatives drying, ready to be scanned

Another adventure awaits tonight as I'll put the latest roll of film into the scanner to see if anything is worth saving. Last night I developed my first roll of Efke 50 b/w film (120) - never shot with ISO 50 film before, so I have no idea if what I took will actually come through or not.

I had a hard time finding developing times for this film with the developer I have (Ilford DD-X). I ended up having to post a question on the boards, and someone came back with a response of 7minute with the stock dilution. So I crossed my fingers and gave it a whirl.

The negatives look pretty good to the naked eye, but I do not have a light table (to be built) and I can't find my loupe anyway.

Hoping one of the frames is good enough for this week's photo. Stay tuned...