Legos Photography Part II

As it turned out, I needed to re-shoot my legos shot to work on the lighting. To do it I created this setup with a single light source from above and a home made shoot. This is how it looked in my mini studio with my 6×7 film camera ready to shoot.

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The resultant image from this (scanned 6×7 negative) is this.

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I think this is better than the first attempt but it’s still a ways from the original Van Gogh.
Here is original story.

My Pursuit of Wild Mustard

Several years ago, as part of my rediscovery of photography, I began to watch the color of the seasons here in Sonoma County a lot more. The practical reason is that, well, I need subjects to shoot images of, and the artistic reason is that the seasons here are lovely each in their own way. Beginning in late January and running in to April the colors green (grasses), yellow (wild mustard), and blue (sky) are very prevalent in the Sonoma County country side. Toss in some bright sun and a cloud or two, a cow perhaps, and you have the basis for some good landscape images. Over the past few weeks, in between other interests, I’ve been looking for good to great images of wild mustard, green grass, and blue sky. Here are my recent efforts. Comments, as always, are welcome.

The season is not over yet and I still on my pursuit of that perfect wild mustard shot.

Speaking “Photographer” – the Basics

This was such a good article that I thought it might be useful to post a portion of it here.


Deciphering Photo Jargon – Learn to Speak “Photographer”

by Darlene Hildebrandt

These are the terms you’ll find in your camera’s manual and in most beginner tutorials on how to use it. Hopefully this will help you get a better grasp on them so the manual isn’t quite so foreign.

  • Photography – the word photography comes from two old Greek words “phos” meaning light and “graph” meaning to draw.  So photograph literally means to draw with light, or a drawing made with light.  So photography is the art of drawing with light.
  • Aperture – the variable opening in the lens through which light passes to the film or digital sensor.  Measured in  f-stops. I like to compare it to your pupil which opens and closes to allow more or less light to enter your eye depending on the brightness level of the room.
  • Bracketing – taking a series of images at different exposures or EV. You may see a setting on your camera that says auto exposure bracketing. This is often used when creating HDR images or in difficult lighting situations where you may want to have a range of exposures from light to dark.
  • Bulb – the “B” setting on your camera where the shutter remains opened as long as the button or cable release (remote trigger) is pressed. On a Canon it may be on your mode dial on top of the camera, or at the low end of the shutter speed settings (also where it is on a Nikon)
  • DSLR – digital single lens reflex camera. Any digital camera with interchangeable lenses where the image is viewed using a mirror and prism, and the image is taken directly through that lens. What you see in your viewfinder is what the lens sees.

Continue reading Speaking “Photographer” – the Basics

The Dawn Report from China Camp

While I tend to shoot every day, I also try to get out on a more intensive photo shoot every so often. These shoots are either by myself (more rare actually) or with some friend or a group. On Saturday March 9th, I attended a Dawn at China Camp photo shoot with the West County Photo Group. Over the past year I’ve attended a number of events with this group and it’s always interesting to meet some new folks and also to see what a group of photographers do with the same subject opportunities. For this meet up there were nine of us. The plan was to meet at the parking lot just on the edge of China Camp State Park near San Rafael, California at 6am. If you don’t know this spot, I suggest you visit it. It’s historical significance is quite interesting and while it’s a low key spot, it’s good for picnics and local hiking.

Upon arrival, we were first presented with this scene:
_IGP2873_4_5 Continue reading The Dawn Report from China Camp

My Take on Classics In Legos

As part of a project I’ve been working on I had to come up with a ‘copy-cat’ image based on a recreation (with my interpretation) of a famous piece of art. I have to say that I lacked great inspiration on this one and started doing some web searches for some idea of what I could do. As Vincent Van Gogh has always been one of my most favorite painters, I sought some inspiration from old Vince. As part of this search I stumbled on to several posting about artists who, several years ago, complied a number reworks of classic historical photographs in legos! The artist is Mike Stimpson from the UK and I recently found his flickr page on this: Classics In Legos He is not the only one doing this but his work is so good I’ll just have to attribute this all to him. Check him out on Redbook.

I was struck how well these were done and wondered if I could have a go at it too. Based on this concept, I settled on Van Gogh’s – The Potato Eaters – painting. I wanted something I could produce and that might look good in black and white as I was ultimately going to shoot this in film. The target shot looks like this:
The Potato Eaters

So…how did I do? Continue reading My Take on Classics In Legos

The Slow Photograph Movement

I read this article by Tim Wu on Slate.com – The Slow Photograph Movement – recently and it got me thinking about my own photographic journey. Wu writes:

“For most people, including me, photography is most often about documentation or record-keeping. It is about taking a photograph as an effort to grab a moment as it rushes by, to stage a tiny revolt against the tyranny of time. That’s why traditionally we photograph at moments you might think of as scarce. Few people photograph their daily commute, but most of us only go to high-school prom once—or maybe twice. A baby soon becomes a child, but humans look vaguely middle-aged for decades.”

I can relate to this statement quite a bit because, several years ago in one of my first photography classes, the instructor pointed out that most photography is documentary and not really art per say. Continue reading The Slow Photograph Movement

Report from my Art Class – Portraits

As one of my latest projects, I’m taking Art 21 – Intermediate Photography at SRJC to continue my education back into film and further my artistic development as photographer. I like learning in the classroom environment because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and the feedback I get with critiques is very very important in my learning process. As an example of this, in a recent project I had to do portraiture in the school studio with hot lights. You have to remember, I’m basically a landscape photographer and people are much harder subjects than landscapes. For the shoot, three of us worked as either the photographer, assistant, or model. I shot with my Pentax 645 medium format camera and my 135mm lens, using Ilford Delta 100 film, one of my latest favorite fine grain films. The hard part of the assignment was that we had to do 5 different lighting situations. I’m not very familiar with this sort of stuff so it was an education. I shot 2 rolls of film and these three images I consider my best results from the shoot. To get really good at this, I’d need a whole semester I think.

Note that these images are produced from scans of the negatives and actually the prints from the negatives came out much better in my opinion.

Rembrandt Lighting (sorta)
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Experimental Lighting
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Direct Lighting
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Interestingly enough, when the class picked which image would go in the display case, they picked the experimental one (it was my favorite too).