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.