Saturday, 29 September 2012

"Compulsion To Hit Hard; Merciless Punishment" (North Korea Light Stencil - All In Camera), Oxford

Via Flickr:
All in camera - single exposure. Please see ""Let's Glow More Sunflowers!" for images of the kit used.

This is the second in a series of light stenciled propaganda posters I'm attempting with the much appreciated help of the Hooded Accomplice.

For light stenciling, you build a foil box, put an image on the front of it, and fire a flash through it from behind. The flash lights the image and "stamps" it onto your sensor/film. Then you move the box, and let the rest of the scene burn in. If you're interested, I'd recommend you check out tdub303's excellent tutorial piece here.

I put some quick thoughts down in the first of the series (linked above) as to why on earth you would choose to do it this way, in camera, rather than using Photoshop. Certainly it takes a lot of time and demands you make a lot of cumbersome kit to burden yourself with. However, the challenges it throws up are worth confronting. This is how you learn about light and cameras.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Articles of Faith #2, Dalaman

Via Flickr:
Second shot from the "cow" series last year that got me semi-blinded, mosquito/flea bitten and sprayed with cow saliva.

Hope everyone's having a great weekend.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Let's Glow More Sunflowers (North Korea Light Stencil - All In Camera), Oxford

Via Flickr:
All in camera - single take. Please see images in comments!

A year ago I built a big foil-lined box for light stenciling, and I've finally gotten around to testing it out. With a hooded accomplice's much appreciated assistance/contribution (for this is a two person job) this is the first of a series I'm putting together with North Korean, Soviet and Chinese Propaganda posters.

Clearly it'd all be easier and quicker in Photoshop - see notes in comments. Doing it "properly" with flash, black card, onerous stencil creation, mid-shot refocusing, balancing levels, etc. is, however, a great challenge to take on.

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Beetle Rock Sunset #2, Sequoia National Park

Via Flickr:
This is the second in the series from Beetle Rock in Sequoia National Park. As noted in the first of the series, there was a black bear poking around the area an hour before the shot. I've put a picture of him/her in the comments below.

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Light You Can Touch

"Illuminate"MiddayWrigley Building in FogGlacier National Park: Logan Pass Sun RaysSt. Peter's Basilica
Lightbiking To Work“BATALAN”Hopeb8650 The City Radiates at Nightolatuak
With a Ray of LightRay Cycles to WorkCentre Stagethe experiment itself_MG_7805Chicago, Illinois. In the waiting room of the Union Station (LOC)

Light You Can Touch, a gallery on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Commemorating black and white images with clean beams of light, so solid you can touch.

For people visiting from Twitter, thanks to those who have taken the time to retweet and share the gallery with their friends and followers.

Ferryman (Wawona Road Repair Convoy), Yosemite

Via Flickr:
Nice guy doing a difficult job along California State Route 41 from Yosemite to Wawona. This was shot through a windscreen/shield at ISO 1600 (about as high as you want to push the 5D MKii) - hence the (moody, atmospheric) grain. He'd just explained we'd have to wait ten minutes, and whilst it seemed rude to get out and point a camera at him, I thought I should get a shot nonetheless.

There was a distinct "journey to Hades" feel - the dark, groaning forest on all sides, the lone, grim marshal and the uncertain wait. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Hereafter (World Trade Center), NYC [Film Scan]

Via Flickr:

One of my first SLR shots, taken in NYC a decade ago. The visit was a 21st Birthday celebration, alongside the gift of the camera itself. This is another scan of an original film image, EXIF data added, but no edits to the noise, scratches, etc. The trip was my compelling first connection to NYC; a city I got to return to a lot whilst studying more recently upstate. It was marked by the drifting mist and cloud in evidence in this view, which, neither undermined my engagement with the city itself nor, especially looking at this image in the years since 911, detracts from the impression it creates.

I would suggest viewing on black, despite the grain.

[From here on, I'm afraid things become a little reflective and over-wrought. It's not intended to offend, and no offence would be taken if you choose to skip it entirely.]

Having worked and studied overseas and in upstate NY, I've obviously made friends with a lot of people with far more intimate and emotional connections to 911 than I have myself. Not wanting to intrude upon or distract those far more powerful accounts, I still thought I might briefly commit some of my rememberings to this posting by way of commemoration and perspective.

On the day itself, we were living in Chipas, Mexico. In terms of timezones, this meant as we awoke the first tower was already on the news. Events unfolded as an American friend and I prepared for a morning volunteering (as English teachers) at the local orphanage. We had to leave for our teaching during the collapse. At the orphanage the kids would ask questions to get to know us, natural to them given their context, but strange to us, like; "Do you have a father/mother?" My friend's father was flying that morning, and he had been unable to contact him before we left, which gave a surreal, uneasy, yet somewhat epiphanic, edge to the morning.

Meanwhile, the close friend of another teacher in our group, was working in an upper level of the second tower. She had been unable to contact her. Understandably perhaps, to avoid panic and potential injury, after the first impact, she later found out that those working in the second had been told to remain at their desks. Her friend left her desk regardless, and, though she was still inside the tower when the second aircraft hit, she was now below the impact zone and thereby survived.

In terms of commemoration, I'd like to suggest, timidly, that one of the greatest tragedies of the day is not the tragedy of opposition - the battle between A vs B, whatever you label A or B, whichever side you take. Given subsequent conflict, right or wrong, that is how this event is often framed by the media. Rather I see it as a tragedy of those who have a side, and those who don't even know there was a battle. However the perpetrators are cast - be in political, religious, non-US extremist or US conspirator - clearly their paradigm was built on an underlying assumption of a conflict, which the victims were unaware of. If we disagree and together decide to fight one another, that is one thing. If we disagree, and I accept or am unaware of our differing thoughts, and yet you strike me down regardless, that is another, to my mind, greater tragedy.

I do hope these notes don't trivialise the event or offend anyone. It's just a record of a couple of stories and the musings that flowed from them. It's not meant as anything more. One thing my scanning of these old film prints has reminded me of is the power of a photograph to commemorate meaning over time. Flickr is chiefly a celebration of the present; of the frenetic energy of now and today. Perhaps one aspect of photography it overlooks is the longer term view. It's the difference between seeing the noise of everything, and stripping that noise away to leave the transcendent moment alone. Both interesting angles, but the latter inevitably absent from this medium, perhaps.

So that's probably quite enough introspection and philosophical declamation for the next few months. I hope you're all very well and have survived my ramble if you were generous enough to follow it. Have a superb week all.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Entwined (Fence & Vine) HFF, Dalaman

Via Flickr:
HFF! I've sat on this picture a year, somehow failing to organise my Fridays, but finally I get to take part in the dazzlingly spectacle which is Fenced Friday.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Unnatural High (Transamerica Pyramid Light Trails), San Francisco

Via Flickr:
So if you were driving up Columbus Avenue on the 24th of August, and swore you'd come back to kill the %$&!ing lunatic kneeling in the middle of the road with a DSLR and cable release, well.. . now you know who you're looking for.

Saw this shot during the day (some sunnier non-LX versions to follow), and returned in the early evening to get it. San Francisco's citizens are a good bunch; lots of interest and conversations with strangers as they stopped off at my tiny traffic island to see what I was up to.

Some more ramblings below about how to/not to take a photo; if you have the patience to read on, thanks! Otherwise, have a fantastic weekend!