I May Have Learned Something About This Photography Lark

Mind you, I may not have learned anything as the jury is still out on the matter, but for the moment I would like to believe I had something of an epiphany and I’m going to run with that notion because it feels too damn good to do otherwise!

For your consideration (and from my Flickr site)

2008 Aullwood Apple Festival (29)

I took a number of images of dancers inside a barn at the local Aullwood Apple Festival at the Audubon Farm. The lighting was not conducive to good photography as there was no lighting inside the barn and the only light available was from open doors, which included one behind the dancers, which, as we all know, makes for rubbish pics of anything in the foreground (underexposed in other words). As such, I had to move up to ISO 1,000 and still use exposures that were longer than I had wished.

But while going over these images last night, and thinking most were rubbish because the dancers were often blurred or at least parts of them were, I suddenly realized how odd these images would have looked had I been able to stop-motion capture them with the camera. It is, in my mind, the fact that they are blurred (or parts of them are) that helps create the sense of motion, which seems appropriate considering they are dancing.

While this may sound very straight-forward and simple to you (or anyone else), it was something of a major mental breakthrough for me. This was me, for a moment, thinking outside the box. Outside my zone of comfort. Outside of the confines I had established for myself for photography under these circumstances. No small feat considering it was going up against decades of ingrained behaviour.

So while the images are pretty mediocre by most any measure, they represent a great leap in thinking for me.

And they’re still better than anything my point-n-shoot would have been able to capture! (shameless plug for digital SLR cameras)

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Strip Sex Nuclear Dance On Ice

Now that my title has your attention (thanks Young Ones!) let me tell you about my day because it was cool. Well…not cool in temperature (actually I thought it was rather unpleasant today, not cool, but a tad warm and humid), but cool in that I had some fun and I get to share it with you, my humble readers.

Meet Ron & Edgar

2008 Aullwood Apple Festival (1)

Ron & Edgar are folks I met through Flickr. I don’t recall exactly how that occurred, but I imagine it was one of those things whereby they had left a comment on a picture at someone’s Flickr site to which I regularly visit and there must have been something interesting about their avatar or comment such that I paid their site a visit. And there you go.

Via the exchange of a few e-mails they had indicated they were heading to the Aullwood Apple Festival today, which was located about dead even between where I believe they reside and where I do reside. I have been looking for an excuse to take photos at a public gathering (something I hadn’t yet done) and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: public photos and meet some folks from Flickr. And there you go.

I’m not quite certain how I feel about the process. I sometimes feel like a snoop, snapping pics of folks who I don’t know. But it wasn’t all that bad I guess.

2008 Aullwood Apple Festival (10)

I think it will take some time for me to become more comfortable with such photography. And I think I need to learn how to take such pictures. Without having given it any thought until the moment I typed the first sentence of this paragraph, I’m wondering if I went about this the wrong way. Instead of walking about and snapping pics when I found something/someone that intrigued me, perhaps it would be better to search out a spot that presents a nice background and wait, not unlike a spider, for my subjects to fly into my photographic web. I don’t know. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Now, if you visit my Flickr site and view the photos I uploaded you will quickly notice that I only uploaded ten images tonight. This was on purpose. I’m trying a new thing with Flickr….instead of uploading a whole mess of images at once (I have sixty from today) I’m going to upload a smaller and perhaps more manageable amount each day. Ten today….maybe fifteen tomorrow….followed by another ten. I just feel that when I put up a large number of images at once it may be more difficult for a viewer to make or find the time to go through them with the same attention they might offer a smaller uploaded group. Again, comments are welcome about this idea.

So remember to come back and see more pictures from the 2008 Aullwood Apple Festival during the following week. And if you don’t……well…….well……..then don’t. And then you will have missed out on some super killer pictures and your life will be far less interesting and you’ll probably get a zit or break a finger or something like that!

Leica S2

A fellow WordPress blogger and Flickr uploader had a discussion recently erupt upon his WP site in regards to the issue of how there are so many websites dedicated to the discussion of photography equipment as opposed to photography itself. I had included my $0.02 worth by mentioning that for many of us it is far easier to discuss the technical merits of a piece of equipment than it is to discuss the technical and/or aesthetic merits of a photograph. It’s about comfort. It’s about fact versus truth. It’s about a lot of things really.

That said, how about the announcement of the Leica S2 digital camera, which you can read about here:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08092301_leica_s2.asp

Leica S2 (courtesy of www.dpreview.com)

Leica S2 (courtesy of http://www.dpreview.com)

A sensor 56% larger than a full-sized (35mm) sensor? Good grief? 37.5 megapixels. Holy shit.

I wonder if the larger sensor size automatically makes one’s pictures Art?

😉

Some Days the Point & Shoot Is Your Only Choice

It has been of late, as someone else once wrote, the best of times and the worst of times. Last Sunday, the 14th of September, 2008, I was busying myself with a review of photos by Flickr friends when the winds outside began to pickup and the sky became cloudy. Within short order the winds began to howl and whine and the clouds darkened such that I thought rain rather imminent.

I normally pay a fair bit of attention to our weather forecasts because they are important for the purpose of my photographic endeavors as well as creating a lawn mowing schedule for getting mine and two others done during the course of the week. This week wasn’t any different in this regard and I didn’t recall seeing or hearing about any particular storm due to strike this particular Sunday. Yet, here it was. The wind increasing. The leaves blowing about. The trees straining to and fro.

Early in the afternoon the wind had become so strong that I changed the television channel (the t.v. being on in the background while I viewed photos) to the Weather Channel to see what was going on. Apparently the remnants of Hurricane Ike, a category two hurricane when it struck the coast of Texas, which left widespread damage, hadn’t received the memo from Mother Nature that stated hurricanes should diminish in strength once over land and not remain a nuisance after a short period of time. Instead, our little section of South-western Ohio was hit with tropical force winds for about 5-hours last Sunday.

David's House

The official wind reading at the local airport was 68 miles per hour, but other stations scattered around the Dayton area had readings as high as 75 miles per hour: category one hurricane strength. Needless to say, such winds over a prolonged period of hours created quite a bit of damage and debris to my little community and the greater Dayton area in general (as well as other parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky).

Neighbor

The real downer to this storm was the loss of electrical power. The company for which my wife works has a working relationship with the local power utility. They had indicated to her that approximately 250,000 homes and businesses were without power on last Sunday. And we were one of those 250,000 homes or businesses. We remained without power from early Sunday afternoon until the late morning/early afternoon of Thursday past: about 90-hours without power. Cold showers suck. No Internet access or television service sucks (especially when one is a news junkie as am I). The loss of about $300 to $400 in groceries bites, but I think you get the picture.

Debris - but not yet done!

However, and on the whole, it could have been far worse (as illustrated by the middle picture above). The loss of electricity and all the inconveniences it wrought are just that: inconveniences. Other folks lost portions of the their homes or cars and some remain without electricity still, including about 1/4 of my own community.

The REAL inconvenience was that my Canon 40D’s battery needed charging and I couldn’t do such without power, thus the AA-battery using Canon A630 became the camera of choice. Long live the Canon A630!

Pointing and Shooting Isn’t all Bad

I have noticed that in the past few weeks I have been pulling out the trusty and handy Canon A630 point-n-shoot digital camera more and more often. Sure, the weather outside is unpleasant so I’m not out there shooting with the big ol Canon 40D, but I haven’t felt as compelled of late to drag out the 40D for taking pics around the house. It really is quite a chore to drag out the huge bag from the closet, affix a lens, monkey with the controls, etc. While the A630 doesn’t take as nice pictures (from a completely technical perspective I mean) and its flash is not particularly useful for doing anything other than over-saturating any given image (even if I do step it down some), it is nice for quick and simple images. And seeing how I am a simple-minded individual it would seem like a marriage made in heaven….or wherever good marriages are made when one is an atheist.

Squints in Repose

Shooting with the A630 reminds me of how very good is some software out there. I mostly use a freeware application called Paint.net for working with JPEG images that come off my A630. It is quite robust and has been very, very reliable; not a bug yet for me. In my opinion it is a slightly detuned version of Photoshop Elements, but isn’t missing anything that I need. On the contrary, it is far less burdensome on my computer’s resources and responds quicker to changes that I make. And it’s free. What more could one ask for. (you will have to install the Net.frame components from Microsoft to make this software run, but that’s no big deal anyway)

Little One

As much as I like my little Canon A630 (I also used to have the Canon A95, but I donated that to a pet adoption agency when their digital camera bit the dust), I confess that I have been considering purchasing a new point-n-shoot type model. My requirements aren’t great and I’m not looking to spend a chunk of change. The A630 has full manual controls, which is one thing I wish to continue with, but I’d like a p&s that responds faster, no, much faster to the pressing of the shutter release button. My single biggest complaint is that the camera takes too long to snap a picture and I can’t tell you how many I’ve missed (particularly of the dogs and cats) due to this shutter lag issue. And having RAW capability might be nice too, but I think that it would likely be an unnecessary additional expense for what are my intentions and core needs. But it is something to ponder. Canon G9 anyone? 😉

Happy Bug

Sometimes “photography” is a four-letter word

I’ve had little to say of late, here at WP central.  Actually, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about photography as I have been looking over the web sites of many folks who are new to me via Flickr.  My current Flickr posse continues to post pics on an almost daily basis, but I confess to having done some tag surfing lately.  Just looking to explore what else is out there….what folks are doing….perhaps looking for some inspiration as I’ve felt rather uninspired of late.  This lack of inspiration comes from, no doubt, both the rather unpleasantly warm weather of late and my trip to my grandmother’s in Wisconsin.

As you probably know (if you read my last posting, and if you didn’t please don’t tell me as my ego is too fragile to handle such news) my trip to Wisconsin did not yield much in the way of results.  Not that I didn’t take lots of pics and not that I didn’t try and not that I don’t have plenty of pics of the family, but the things I tried to do that I was hoping would be interesting and/or artistic (I know…..perish the thought) were rubbish.  It was bad enough that I felt the urge to purge my equipment.

I imagine many photographers go through moments like this.  But I also imagine that many photographers have more success than do I and so these minor setbacks aren’t such a big deal in the great scheme of things for them.  But I really don’t want to ditch my equipment (sorry Mike!).  And I think the woe-is-me stage has truly passed since returning from Wisconsin and that it’s most likely the unpleasant weather that has me feeling blah about photography.  I guess I’m really waiting for fall and winter because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being outdoors when it’s cold.  Did I mention I love being outdoors when it’s cold?

Besides going through Flickr and looking at other folks work, I carefully went through the most recent issue of the magazine Interview (which my wife received as a free subscription) and critiqued the advertising images.  I’m thinking that I would like to take my musings and put them in print, so to speak, on WP.  I’ve always had a real interest in marketing, especially through advertising, and now that I’m more deeply involved in photography than I have ever been before I think it’s a good time to discuss what I’m seeing.  So look for that in the near (or not so near) future.  I know you’ll be biting your nails in anticipation.

I also confess that I have been looking over more and more Flickr sites whereby the photographer posts many self portraits and I’m wondering if I may do the same thing.  Not that I want to post tonnes of them, but I’m beginning to think I’d like to give it a try.  I really have no idea how to do it, but I think it would be something new and interesting to try and would be a great thing to do indoors during these unpleasant weeks/months of summer.  So look for this stuff possibly sprouting in the near, or not so near, future.

Finally, I don’t think I have a picture of myself anywhere in all this Flickr/WordPress mess.  Then again, no one around my house ever takes my picture.  Husbands don’t tend to exist in the world of family photos, do they?  We take pictures, we aren’t in pictures.  So here you go:  a self portrait taken at my grandmother’s, just a few weeks ago.

Me - Your Humble Narrator

Me - Your Humble Narrator