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Category: Photography (page 3 of 8)

Karaoke – 12/11/2009

It has been a little while since I last posted photos, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking them.

On one of the first really cold nights of the season, we all decided to going sing karaoke. It was totally epic. I’ll give you a million brownie points if you can guess who in the group was singing musical theatre. Hint: it wasn’t the photographer.

Here is a link to the whole gallery.

Here are a few of my favorite photos.

Don’t you want to come sing karaoke with me now?

Thinking about the Theme for 2010

December is upon us and about to crest, leading us into the descent of 2009. This means the end of the first decade of the 21st century, an utterly meaningless metric, but one that has provided me with no fewer than four “Greatest Metal Albums of The Last Decade” lists. Not bad. Everyone seems to like Mastodon’s Leviathan, which I’ve never really listened to. I’ll have to give it a go.

And with the fading of 2009 another year’s theme comes to an end. The Year of 5000 Photos and 50 Short Stories, though not yet through, has been a success as far as I am concerned. With the express purpose of getting me to be consistently creative and come out of the year with some work done, the year has been a resounding success. While I am not yet at my quota for either task, I am confident that within the next few weeks I should be able to make it. 50% of the stories are finished at 92% of the photos. Pretty good. I have a lot of writing to do and a few photos to take, but we’re in the home stretch and I feel good about it. Let’s not also discount the film I am cutting right now and all the time and effort poured into this site for my 10 readers. I love all of you.

With three weeks left in the year, it’s time to think of my theme for 2010. In my statement for the Theme of 2009, I discussed some previous years and the efficacy of those choices. I’m not going into it again here, but I’ll sum it all up and say some were hits and some were clear misses. Last year I described a good theme as being “broadly applicable with recognizable short term goals”. I still think this is a good way to evaluate a potential theme, but I’d like to add that the theme should have demonstrable results, that is, I should be able to show something for my efforts. The best way to improve myself is by doing. All the thinking about something in the world won’t make you better at it. You have to get out there and get your hands (proverbially) dirty. It’s old wisdom, but true.

Another aspect of my yearly theme is that once complete the theme should continue into the next year. I intend to take another 5000 photos and write 50 more short stories next year and to keep a counter of those on the right hand side. But since they’re a secondary goal, I won’t be killing myself to get them done. My primary focus will be the Theme of 2010, of course.

But what is the Theme of 2010? I don’t know yet, but I have some ideas.

  • The Year of 3 Music Videos – In September, I wrote about building a body of motion work. Amongst my various bodies of work, my film & video work is easily the most poorly represented. I have plenty of photos to share and fewer but still ample stories, but how many pieces of motion work have I posted here that I have done? If you answered “Zero”, you’d be correct. And it’s clear I like music videos and the music that supports them. The only real drawback to this theme is that each video is a big project in itself and to get behind would certainly spell doom for this theme. There are a lot of steps involved though, so perhaps it could still fit the pattern of work posting I’ve established with The Year of 5000 Photos and 50 Short Stories which would help me stay on task and stay honest.
  • The Year of 12 Short Stories – “But, Joe,” you say, “didn’t you just do The Year of 5000 Photos and 50 Short Stories? What’s with cutting the quota down so much? Are you lame or something?” No, I’m not lame. Instead of writing 500 word chunks, these 12 short stories would be much more finished pieces, actually receiving—GASP!—revisions. These would be multiple-sitting efforts. I think the one per month pace would allow for some breathing room, and let me think about the work more. In terms of length, let’s call them somewhere in the range of 5,000 to 15,000 words. This year the longest thing I’ve written is about 3000 words. It was the first thing I posted for this year’s theme. The Biker Kills a Mexican. That one took me a few nights at the computer, but received no revisions. I’m proposing 12 stories of at least double the length. It’s a good amount of work, I think, but manageable.
  • The Year of the Novella – Here the idea is to write the longest single thing I’ve ever written. I like the novella, it’s like a long short story, or a baby novel. I suppose it depends on which direction you’re coming from. It would be an exercise in developing something more thoroughly than I ever have before and sticking to it. The SFWA defines a novella as a piece between 15,000 and 40,000 words, but other definitions go as low as 10,000 and as high as 70,000. That’s certainly a fairly broad range and suitable for work throughout the year. Maybe this could evolve into The Year of 2 Novellas in order to keep me busy. If I wrote 500 words a day, my current per-day volume of work, then 70,000 words would take 140 days. Average in some days without writing, and we’re still looking at barely half a year. Just something to keep in mind.
  • The Year of 3 Screenplays – It has been a long time since I’ve written for screen, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something I still care about. Writing is writing. Writing 3 feature length screenplays of roughly 120 pages each would be a great way to get back into it. I’ve got some ideas boiling around the back of my brain that would be great for films. I just need to get them out and onto (electronic) paper.

I think that in those suggestions, somewhere, lies the theme for 2010 that will make the year a great one. Perhaps I combine Short Stories and Music Videos, or Music Videos and Novella, or Music Videos and Screenplays, or Short Stories and Screenplays? The cross disciplinary approach worked well enough for me this year. When I didn’t write, at least I could take pictures. When I could take pictures, at least I could write.

Anyway, food for thought. I need think about this a little more. What do you all think out there in Black Laserland?

On deleting photos and why I never do it

I never ever delete photos. Well, that’s not entirely true. I almost never delete a photo when in the field, and NEVER delete a photo once it’s made it onto my computer. The only photos I will delete from my camera while shooting are the “Oops, I pressed the shutter button with the lens cap still on” type. Everything else, even if maybe it doesn’t look at that exciting then, I keep and evaluate later. The difference between how a 5616 × 3744 RAW looks on a rinky dink 3″ VGA resolution screen and how it looks on my color calibrated 1920 x 1200 24″ monitor at home is often night and day. On the tiny screen you can get a rough impression of what’s going on in the photo, but there is no nuance. I really only ever use it for checking exposure. You can’t check focus on the damned thing, so why even try? There have been so many times that I’ve taken a photo, thought it to be a total discard, only to look at it later and realize that it’s much better than I’d thought. Good I didn’t do the hasty thing and delete the photo I was iffy about in the field.

Of course, shooting RAW and never deleting anything means I have a tremendous need for storage capacity. Fortunately for all of us, I have 3 8gb compact flash cards I use which have proven to be vastly more capacious than I require over the course of a day, often longer. Whenever the 5DIII comes out, I’ll need to upgrade my cards, no doubt, but by then 64gb cards will be cheap and easily accessible, like 1gb cards were when I got my 20D in 2004. Ah the inevitable march of technology. It makes me want to buy a 35mm camera, a film scanner, and just go analog. One day when I have more reliable income again, I will do that. Not as a replacement, but as an addition to my current setup.

I don’t know why anyone out there other than my dad would care about this, but I was thinking about it after reading something on the internet and thought I’d share. I’m always interested to learn about how people work since it often provides insight into the work itself. And if not, it’s fun to talk shop.

Mikey, Leah, and Sienna visit New York – 10/11/2009

Last month my brother, his wife, and their child Sienna came to visit me in New York. It was an adorable trip and we hung out and danced and played and ate and ventured through the city without a care in the world. I also took a bunch of photos. Surprise surprise!!

Here are some of the best of the set.

Here’s the whole gallery!

And even better, a bonus video!

For these photos I took out my much maligned 50mm prime, the unbelievably cheap piece of glass I got with my first camera. I thought, then, that it would be a great tool for learning, but I ended up using my Tamron 28-75 much much more. However, the Tamron is long gone and replaced by a superior lens I use more and more rarely, and the 50mm is still sitting in my drawer. I never really liked using the lens; it felt clunky and inelegant compared to the zoom I was used to shooting with. It didn’t behave like I wanted it to, and I had a hard time achieving pleasing results.

But that was then, and this is now. Now, I have much more experience shooting with primes, so I thought maybe I ought to give the little 50 a second chance. I am glad I did because, for such a cheap shit lens, it is capable of making quite good photographs. I used it a lot in this set since it’s super light and we were wandering all over the place and I didn’t want to carry around a bunch of heavy shit.

I am still not entirely satisfied with the clunky auto-focus, but that’s about it. Sure it’s soft wide open, but what isn’t? I kind of like that. Having everything in super sharp focus is for illustration and technical photographs. Life’s not in focus all the time, so why should my photos be? Right. I can definitely see upgrading to the slightly more expensive 50mm f/1.4 in the future just to have the more advanced auto-focus mechanism. There’s no reason to go L for a half-stop difference, though, especially with the fine high ISO performance of the 5D2. Stay tuned for further developments from the little lens that could.

L’esprit de l’escalier

“Oh those pictures are dope. But it’s because you have such a nice camera.”

“Yeah, that’s right, I just manually set aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, composed based on desired effect and available light, focused, chose the proper lens, picked the exact right moment to release the shutter, picked the nicest photos from the set, and developed them so as to extract the most detail possible and further enhance the effect I had in mind when shooting. The camera really does most of the work.”

Montreal – 07/25/2009

Montreal is awesome. Only there for 36 hours, our trip felt much to short, too rushed, to get a good feel for the city. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time there and wouldn’t hesitate to go back. It’s funky. It’s French as hell. It’s got a thriving metal scene. And the motherfucking Portuguese lady who took the chicken I ordered and chopped it into bits with the meat cleaver? I was in love. And I had an insta-stomachboner.

There’s nothing too special photographically about these, but they’re good and I feel like they captured the essence of our brief, wild trip in the great white northern wastes of Canada.

Here’s a link to the gallery.

Rhianna & Mike’s Barbecue – 07/05/2009

Clearing out the back log a little more. These were taken at a barbecue we had at Rhianna and Mike’s old apartment. It was just a few of us, yet I managed to take some surprisingly good photos.

Here are some selects.

Here’s the gallery.

Windy Hill and Burritos, 06/15/2009

Clearing out more of my backlog, here’s a small set from the last time I was in California. I think these were all taken with my beloved 85mm. I just love the texture it imparts, the beautiful edge blurring, the extremely shallow depth of field, and the way it distorts things when used wide open on subjects that have lots of depth, a field of thistles, for example.

Here’s the whole set. I couldn’t be bothered setting up a page for only 14 photos.

[flickrset id=”72157622551668604″ thumbnail=”square” overlay=”true” size=”large”]

Yum. Burritos.