Wow, these are totally not terrifying or anything.
More here: Clown Portraits
Last weekend I went to California for the wedding of my dear old friend Sean to a woman I had never met but who seems quite lovely. The wedding was beautiful. It took place outside at a bed & breakfast in Fort Bragg, CA, a little town along the coast about 3 hours north of San Francisco. They had llamas and dancing and vegetarian food and lights and the whole thing was really nice.
I didn’t take a single fucking photo of that bullshit.
Instead, I took a bunch of photos of my brother’s young family at their house in San Rafael (which any person from the Bay Area will know is pronounced “san ra-fell”). Take a look!
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I think the photos are nice. Nothing crazy special about them. I am totally in love with my niece Sienna though. My favorite moments of the trip where when she’d come in and wake me up on the sofa. “Hi, uncle Joe.” “Hi, SJ.” “Did you see my doll?” “I do now, SJ.”
Here’s a good example.
And then I got this e-mail from Leah.
Subject: Sienna misses joe.
When I just put sienna down she asked me to tuck her in like a baby burrito and call her SJ.’ Then she said ‘why did uncle joe have to go back to new York?’
Reference: the first night there I read her a bedtime story and then tucked her in and told her I was wrapping her up like a baby burrito. God damn, don’t you just want to smother her?
September was a super strong creative month for me with not one but two dance videos (projects 10 & 11) and what I consider to be a nice return to my photo habit (project 12). You’ve seen the work and, I hope, enjoyed it as well.
The videos were fun little exercises in cranking out projects, the one we did in my apartment especially. The first video really needed to be put out quickly since it was a topical joke on that insipid video that Lanvin put out. So, it was. The edit only took a little while and the grade even less time. Of course, I was not happy with the first color correct, so I did it again the next day at work. The After Effects work to comp the problematic scenes was probably what took the longest, but, still, everything considered, the video was shot Thursday night and posted to the grand old interwebs Friday evening.
The Rubirosa video was slightly more involved on Sarah’s part since it required wrangling the staff of the restaurant, but my contribution was about the same as the prior video. Edit over a couple sittings, tweak this, tweak that, animate a face under a pizza, edit the music, make everything beautiful, and done. Luckily it was very well received by both staff and press, being blogged all over NY’s various foodie blogs. Pretty bad ass.
I might have also included the Ruby Kobo video in this list, but I took money for that so it doesn’t count according to the guidelines I established for this year’s theme. Regardless, I like how that came out too. Nice little video.
As I’ve mentioned before, the photos from Barcelona were the first set of photos I’ve posted to The Black Laser since July of 2010. I’ve taken a few photos in the interim, but nothing worth sharing, nothing I cared about. Honestly, I felt like I was done with photos and considered selling my photo equipment a few times. It would bring me a considerable sum as I’ve invested quite a few dollars into the habit over the years. But, I am glad I haven’t taken that plunge. I’ve just felt no inspiration to take photos, nothing has been popping out at me screaming “CAPTURE ME!!” I almost didn’t even take the camera to Spain since I wanted to pack lightly. Fortunately, I went with the old, “Fuck it, why not?” and took my stuff. I am glad I did and would have bitterly regretted not having my equipment in some of the places we went—Monserrat especially.
Looking back over the photos I took, and then comparing them to older photos, it is very clear to me that my eye is incredibly consistent, but that my technique and taste are getting better and better. Even with my year hiatus, I came back to the process of capturing images with a cleared mind than I remember ever having before. Indeed, I was much more critical of the photos I was taking as I was taking them than I ever remember being. Perhaps the break is exactly what I needed because I am definitely pleased with the quality of the selects. I wish I had taken more photos, but I guess I’ll just have to go back.
And how has the process of slowing my roll gone? Quite well in September, in fact. Besides some wedding-induced over indulgence, September has been quite a moderate month for me. I’ve been very deliberately eating better, too. I am now below 200 pounds for the first time in years and years. Encouraging!
While were were vacationing in Europe (mad bougie, I know), I was talking to JJ about how I really want to get back into shape, but how I just fucking loathe running. He suggested Crossfit which he said would kick my ass. I told him that needed my ass kicked. When i got back to the States (mad bougie phrase), I looked up classes in NY. I found a place close to work, but was intimidated by the cost. When I mention that to JJ, he was like, “Dude, that’s 3 nights of drinking. Shut up,” and I was all, “Yeah, duh. Ok,” and signed up. Though technically in October, I took a free intro class on Saturday and holy shit it kicked my ass. I gave me two things. 1) The clear knowledge that I am magnificently out of shape. 2) The desire not to have my ass kicked again. 7 minutes into the 10 minute workout I was seeing stars. My thighs still kill and it’s Monday. Amazing.
The intro course starts 10/17 and runs for three weeks. I will have more to say about it in my October recap, certainly, so look forward to that.
Let’s also talk for a moment about the amortization of expenses as they relate to drinks. I’ve written here on The Black Laser about how I amortize photographic expenditures, that is, a photo must be taken for every dollar spent on gear with that piece of gear. It’s sensible and it works. However, I’ve also found that a useful way for me to think about spending on things in my life is to measure it against what I would spend at the bar. “Oh jeez, 5 dollars for whatever thingie that would probably be really helpful?” 1 beer. “100 bucks for x, y, or z thing?” 1 Saturday out. “300 bucks for the intro to Crossfit course and two weeks of classes afterwards that will put me on the path to being more healthy?” 3 Saturdays out. Money I wouldn’t even think for a second about spending at the bar becomes incredibly difficult to spend in real life on other things that would be much more beneficial to me than a night of drinking that I might not even remember.
How stupid is that? Really stupid. But, the truth is that it is a useful hack that I’ve been using on myself for a long time. And it works.
Ok, lots of words about September. Hopefully October is just as productive. Oh yeah, 100% on the projects. WHAT WHAT!? Awesome. Everything from here on out is in the triple digit percentages. Healthy. I like it.
This is the first set of photos I’ve posted to The Black Laser since July of last year. Holy crap! Where has all the time gone?
To be honest, I’ve not felt very photographically motivated for some time and I even considered not bringing my camera with me on the trip to Spain. But, I am glad I did. Nothing like yanking you from your typical surroundings to get the old creative juices flowing. Also, jamon.
I’ve posted the whole gallery here instead of giving you a separate link because my other Flickr plug-in seems to be broken and I am not sure why. That’s pretty annoying, but this new way will work just the same.
[flickrset id=”72157627761334660″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”true” size=”large”]
Thoughts: don’t have too many. There are some nice photos here, and some really nice photos here. I am quite pleased with the edited set, down from nearly 600 photos. My photos look as much like my photos as they ever have and it’s clear that I am not seeing things all that differently than the last time I was motivated to take my camera out. I did try and focus on making sure I didn’t have too many redundant photos in the set, something that has been a weakness of mine in the past.
As a document of my trip through Spain goes, the photos are nice and that’s all I could hope for.
I’ve written about my brother Charlie before here numerous times. Well, he recently started an Etsy store where he’s selling some prints of photos he’s been taking around San Francisco. Go give him some money. The prints are very reasonably priced and he’s a good man.
I particularly like this one:
Cha, do you hear that? I like THAT one. You have my mailing address.
Here’s the link to his Etsy shop: Charlie Dillingham on Etsy.
I’m sure you all remember the ink drop videos I posted a while back. Well, just a few days ago the mastermind behind the project, Arian Camilleri, was featured in Juxtapoz magazine. Pretty cool bit of press, I think. Here’s what they say about the project.
Arian Camilleri is a Brooklyn based photographer who aims to address and explore the concepts of creation and infinity in his photographs. Expanding and collapsing in an almost infinitely hypnotic manner, his new series is mesmerizing.
The fluid seems to rush towards you, then almost off the page; the unknown substances are perplexing and exciting. This is free movement captured.
The ethereal quality of these images could land one’s mind anywhere from underwater to a landscape horizon, and even outer space. Like cloud formations in the sky, the choice and destination is ever-changing, left to the viewer to decide.
You can check out the whole article here: Infinite Collapse as Explored by Arian Camilleri
Here’s Arian’s fine art site: Arian Camilleri
Click the link. Check the site.
Last week, a couple of old friends of mine came to visit me here in New York for a week and a bit. Here’s an incomplete list of the things we did while they were here.
Really, it was the best trip ever. This summer has been so rad so far I might explode.
We were pretty busy and I didn’t really take as many photos as I’d have liked, but therein is the trade off. Do I spend time taking photos a few feet back from the action, or do I neglect the photos in order to be part of the game. In this case, the latter won out, so you only get 67 photos of the time they were here. Not too bad, but not a whole lot, either.
Here’s a link to the gallery.
Here is a quick selection of some of my favorites.
My prime-lens-only tear continues. After the disappointment I experienced with my old 50 f/1.8 in Telluride, I went out and had an impulsive moment and purchased the 50 f/1.4. Pocketbook lighter, I have to say I am not upset with the purchase. It brings that focal length up to par with my 28 and 85 in terms of handling, making it a much more useful and friendly place to work. Not only that, but if you manage to nail the focus at f/1.4, it looks great. The 50 accounts for 53 of the 67 photos in the set. To me it is obvious which ones are not the 50, but see if you can tell.
Anyway, I love the compositional restriction afforded by the prime lenses. No, that’s not exactly right. I love that there is no noodling about with zoom to make me miss a moment. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: primes rule. There is a time and place for zoom lenses certainly, like when your movement will be restricted or when you’re shooting a party and you need to be able to cover all sorts of focal lengths quickly. But for the type of photography I do mostly, primes are really nice. First, they’re faster than their zoom equivalents. Second, they’re less expensive. Third, they’re lighter. What’s not to like about that? So you can’t zoom between 28 and 135 mm. So what? Any zoom with that great of a range that is affordable is a piece of junk. Limits encourage creativity.
Truthfully, I’m not sure I’d think this way if I hadn’t spent so much time shooting with zoom lenses, first the Tamrom 28-75, and then the Canon 24-105. The Tamron is long gone, and the Canon gathers dust in the drawer. Who needs it?
JJ and I drove into Colorado on a semi-whim to attend this year’s Bluegrass and Country Music Festival. We arrived on the 17th (my birthday) and drove on out of there Monday the 21st. We logged 2400 miles of driving over the course of 4 days, all of which I did. It was absolutely epic.
The festival itself was totally amazing. Of course, I took photos the whole time. I only hit about 330, which is low for me, but I was doing a lot of partying and hanging out and whatever that got in the way of my efficient photo taking. Oh well. I had a blast.
On the way back, we had to take a detour around the Grand Canyon because of a fire raging outside Flagstaff. We’d seen the beginning of the fire on our way through the first time, but it has gotten so out of hand that they closed off 13 miles of highway just a few days later. Smartly, we stopped and got out to sight-see at the Grand Canyon and we lucky enough to experience it completely filled with smoke from the nearby fire at sunset. Pretty god damned awesome.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Check out the whole gallery here:
As far as thoughts on technique, I decided to shoot with only primes. Seeing these dudes walking around with their huge zooms and crap gave me a delightfully smug shudder of pleasure knowing that I was probably taking nicer looking photos than they were. But I might just be an arrogant prick. Whatevs.
My beloved 85 f/1.8 performed as amazingly as ever. The 28 f/1.8, though harder to use, worked nicely as well. But the poor 50 f/1.8 really had trouble nailing focus. Enough so that it ruined a bunch of photos that would otherwise have been just fine. Looking through the first two days of pictures today, I regretted sticking with the 50 both days because of the sheer number of just-out-of-focus photos. It made me angry. I will be purchasing the 50 f/1.4 as soon as I can not for it’s slightly faster aperture, but for its improved autofocus. I refuse to let a shoddy, cheap shit lens, ruin another photo. If my photos are going to be ruined, I want the fault to be my own.
Either way, I think there are some good photos in the set. Enjoy.