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 – 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 onceā€”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)

Experimental Lighting

Direct Lighting

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

Using Manual lenses on Pentax DSLRs

When I bought my first Pentax camera in 2008, I didn’t know it but I soon found myself in the world of the k-mount and with it came a number of very interesting realizations. For the uninitiated, the k-mount is the name given to the bayonet fitting used on Pentax 35mm and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras since the mid 1970’s. We recently learned that the k stands for King – kinda cool really. Note that other camera systems have their versions of bayonet fittings, Canon: c-mount, Sony: alpha-mount, etc. There is no standard fitting for lens mounts and for a number of camera manufactures these have changed with the times often with no backward compatibility to early lenses. Why is this important? Well, even in the film camera days, camera bodies come and go but glass (lenses) lasts. So if you have a number of lenses for a specific camera system, you may upgrade the body time to time but you hope that your investment in glass, which can be many times more than the cost of a single camera body, endures. Continue reading Using Manual lenses on Pentax DSLRs

My Best of 2012

These twenty images reflect many of my top images from 2012 for me. We spent our 40th wedding anniversary in Pt. Reyes and 10 days in Hawaii, however, I did two trips to Bowling Ball Beach and fell in love with the place. A number of these won in my company’s photo contest. I’ve printed a number of these too. In the spring, I attended an intermediate photography class at Solano Community College, again working in black and white film, I greatly improved my skills and although only a few are presented here, developed a nice amount of stock imagery. Creatively, I was challenged in 2012 and that’s a very good thing.

So have a look. Comments, as always, are welcome.

Learning PENTAX Lenses: A lens for Every Photographer

This is a nice promo video from one of Pentax’s featured photographers Kerrick James. It’s worth a look if only for the lovely southwest photography.

You get a very nice overview of the current lens offerings, as well as, a demonstration of their use. I’m a bit sheepish to say this but I own quite a few of the featured lenses.

My best of 2010

Continuing with my retrospective look back over the past five years of my photography, 2010 was quite a growth year for me. I had one photo class under my belt in Fall of 2009, I now had three DSLRs and really began to get serious about my photography. I also did a fall landscape photography workshop with a local pro that further added to my tool box of good places to shoot, critical insight on what was a good image versus a great image, and I also got back into black and white film.

These twenty images reflect a good segment of 2010 for me. We spent our vacation in Redding and Yosemite. Those were wonderful subjects to work with. So have a look. Comments are welcome.

Site Reviews – Express yourself

Even though this site is just beginning, I’m very interested in any feedback you would like to provide on your visit of my site or work. I’m currently thinking or re-thinking just what the focus of this blog will be. It’s one thing to show off my work and really quite another to provided news and views of Pentax camera equipment. So please feel free to share any thoughts you may have here. I would appreciate it.

Pentax DA 560 f5.6 Unboxing

This is a major event! For years Pentax users have been begging for a really long telephoto lens. Pentax has finally delivered one, at 560mm’s it’s a duzzy and only $6,999 (plus shipping of course)! This unboxing is just the sort of thing that gets Pentaxians to cash in our 401K’s and head for the stores.

Thanks to for this version of online voyeurism.

Top Images from 2011

I began 2011with some personal goal, one being to go back to SRJC and relearn black and white film photography and checked into Art 36 in the spring. I was re-exposed to the darkroom, film development, wet printing, and a good foundation of art and some of the masters.We got into things like the rule of thirds, how to use it and how to break it and what I noticed then was that I began to actually previsualize some shots. Why, well between applying a few rules of photographic composition and using older slower cameras, I started to give things more thought and far less of the DSLR spray and pray technique. One of the highlights of 2011 was a fall trip to southern Utah including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. This time I had more cameras with me and I shot a lot in 12 days, we even visited Death Valley on the way home.The other thing about 2011 was my work on a 365 project – that’s where you shot every day of the year. On I began with a world wide group to do a ‘single in’ challenge where each month we picked one lens from our collections, shot every day of the month with it, and posted one image on the forum every day. I did it for 12 months and did not miss a day! If you want to see the results from that, visit this link. I learned so much, not only about my gear, but about my surroundings, and how to produce something every day with photography. It wasn’t always my best. I continued this in the summer and fall of 2012 and am now on a hiatus.

Here are some of my best images from 2011.