The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Archive for May, 2011

My First Camera

Although it’s been a year or two since I last used it, this Minolta AF-C holds a place in my heart. Back when I was in late grade school, my sister and I started learning photography from our father. Dad wanted to teach us on his first camera, but the shutter broke, so he pulled out this 1983 point and shoot with auto exposure, auto focus, and manual just about everything else. Eventually, my sister obtained another camera, and the AF-C became “my baby”.  At first, I carried it arround in the orange and black case my father used to keep it in. However, that case only had a small strap and snap made for attaching the camera to a belt. I didn’t wear a belt, but I made the mistake of trying to hold the case by that strap. The snap popped open, and I nearly lost the camera. After that close call, I purchased a sturdier case with an over the shoulder strap. My baby was safe.

 

 

 

For a point and shoot, she was always a good camera. A little old-fashioned, but still good. Sure I had to load the film manually, but I’ve fussed with auto load, and I’d rather do it myself. OK, so I had to remember to turn the flash on when I needed it, but that’s just practice for bigger friends on manual control. I’ll admit manually advancing the film after every frame is a bit inconvenient, but it becomes habit after a while.

 

 

 

I also had to rewind the film manually, but again, that’s not a problem. After I learned to use an SLR, I was only bothered by the lack of aperture control, zoom lens, and focus control.

 

 

 

I continued to shoot with my baby regularly through my freshman year of college. Some thought it needed to go, others thought it was cool. Because I was a photo minor, I upgraded  to my current Nikon D80 my sophomore year. However, I still have fond feelings for that little old point and shoot.

 

Next Week: A Small Town or Random Objects

If the weather’s good tomorrow, I’m going to cover a small town in my area, like I did late last fall (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/exploring-the-village-a-look-at-a-small-midwestern-town/), only though I’m probably going to write more. If not, I think I could use to practice my indoor shooting skills some more, and random objects I want to photograph have been coming to mind.


Unconventional Flowers

My apologies for the late post. Around 6pm yesterday as I was preparing to finnish the photos, my home was plunged into an uproar with tornado sirens going off and humans frantically trying to locate flashlights and kitties. The power came back on around 3pm this afternoon. Other than that, it was beautiful last week. Not many new flowers were out, and the ones that “made the grade” for my blog were not exactly what you think of when you hear the word flowers.

The blue spruce outside my window is unfurling for the spring. The new growth comes out of reddish-brown casings and is a lovely shade of green swirled up so the end looks semi-flower-like.

The dandelion, a common weed, produces the most magical looking fluff towards the end of its life cycle. Here, I used a macro lens to capture the detail.

As for other weeds, I was a horrible gardener and let this one grow in my shade garden because I wanted to see what it would look like when it bloomed. It paid me back by producing a lovely, yet unusual flower. The anthers seem to be attached to small petals rather than the normal stalk like structures on most flowers.

Lastly, these tiny flowers come from a red, thorny bush. I’ve passed those bushes many times without noticing the delicate ornaments. When I finally did see them, I had to wait for enough light to photograph them.

Sometimes there’s beauty in less than obvious places. Life is short, so take time to smell the roses, or whatever else you find out there.

Next Week: My First Camera

Since I’ve been threatening to do it for so long, I’m going to show you what my very first camera looks like. I may have a few others as well.


Indoor Abstracts

Last week, the weather was poor and I was in an odd mood. I felt inspirationally dry, so I decided to play a game, resulting in some less serious photographs. The rules of my game were as follows: all images were to be shot as if in monochrome, toning/split toning in Lightroom would later be used to enhance the feel of the image, photographs were to be of everyday objects in one room, objects should preferably not be easily recognizable in the final shot, normal object orientation was to be seen as a barrier to overcome.

This was the first object to grab my attention. The soft, round shapes and contrasting materials made me think of three things: a flower, ice cream in a cup, or some sort of mod-style architectural detail.

desk lamp

 
 
Next, there was this open end of an old clear glass vase that for some odd reason I saw as a horizontal with limited depth of field. I don’t know why. Anyway, the point of this exercise was to do what I felt like doing randomly. So I gave it a try.
 
 

 

For the third image, I went a bit more standard than the rules. The detail on my new lamp provided a symmetrical heart shape with some additional ornamentation. I found it hard to resist.

Lastly, I wondered about the bottom side of vases. I’ve photographed lots of them, but always right side up. This particular example had a flower shape on the bottom. The unrefined and scared glass bottom coupled with a purple tone reminded me of the photographs of uncut amethyst in science books.

I couldn’t do this every week. For one thing, it wouldn’t be adequate practice and skill building. It’s a break. A chance to let loose and do something different for once just as a creative exercise.

Next Week: Outdoors or First Camera

Depending on the weather, I’ll either shoot more of the natural world or give you a look at the first camera I learned to use.


Budding and Blooming

The world is finally getting ready for summer up north. About time. Our trees are no longer bare, and the flowers are starting to bloom. I love the leaves when they first break out of their tiny buds. They’re so fine and delicate, not to mention the unique hues they take at first.

The bleeding heart bushes are beginning to catch up with their wild counterparts. My fringed bush shows off her clusters of embryonic flowers amidst fragile foliage.

My mother’s more traditional pink bush is way ahead of mine. It displays arching tresses of hearts.

Now is the time to enjoy what we’ve been waiting for: to drink it in knowing more will come. For awhile, at least, it will be here, and then the seasons will turn again.

Next Week: Indoor Abstracts or Rainy Day and Water Drops

The first would be a creative exercise in how I look at objects and how lighting and color affect form. The second would be trying to make something most people don’t like look good. Both have interesting potential.


Imagination

I have to admit this was a more difficult assignment. Imagination takes many forms. What does it look like? How do you express it? The answers to these questions are different for everyone. However, there are some popular avenues for expressing imagination.

Many children grow up drawing what’s in their heads – letting their imagination out visually on paper with whatever you give them. As a child, my imagination allowed me to see or be anything. Fashion designer, strange creatures, other worlds, characters from TV series, pets, and, of course, a flying woman.

More mature forms of expressing one’s imagination can include meticulous planning and multiple drafts. Drawing is still a possibility, but most of us find ourselves lacking the will or talent to be serious artists in that particular craft. There’s also a consciousness of the impact of sharing our imaginations with others. Do I want to go there? Will this hurt someone? Is that too dark?

Some of us choose to express our imagination photographically. A photograph is not just a record of what is or was, it’s how you saw or rather chose to see what was there – your world picked out piece by piece from all the chaos that actually surrounds you. And sometimes, when there’s an image in your head, creation occurs in a more from scratch basis: you set things up. Some of us even create in the digital darkroom, but how far do you go with that?

Imagination is ever-present in my life, but it’s aways accompanied by the nagging questions. Can I make this “real” in a sense? Is it original? Is it quality? Should I let this out of my head? What is your imagination, and what do you do with it?

Next Week: Weather Permitting

It’s getting greener, but also more rainy and windy. I’m planning to shoot outside and possibly see if I can use some of this wind artistically. We shall see.