The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “Experiments

Random Abstract

I did another abstract this week. As I’ve mentioned before, this is more of my fun creative exercise to get the juices flowing. It can often help get me out of a rut.

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Next Time: Old Cars

Last fall, I went to a Cruise Night and photographed the cars (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/highlights-of-vintage-cars/). I had such a great time doing it that I’m planning on attending and photographing a local car show this week.


Old Controls

I thought about doing all sorts of controls and switches, but then I thought most people know what those look like. There’s little novelty about the common place. So I went for old controls. Most of these are located in my father’s side of the basement. He was quite the audio nerd back in the day, so the first thing I found was an old stereo.

 

Next was this old dehumidifier, which I made slightly greenish for a 70’s look. The device itself still worked up through at least last year, but I think it gave up the ghost recently.

 

Next Week: Archive or Seasonal

Hopefully, I’ll have time to shoot a new post. This one will be on Christmas decorations. If not, be prepared for a round of random archive photos.

 

 

 


50mm Project

I had no assigned topic this week. I more or less tried out a lens that I’ve had for around two years and never really used. Summer of 2009, I was in the South doing an academic internship on an independent film. A group of us were out at a local secondhand store when one of my friends found an old 50mm Nikon lens. It was cheap and appeared to be in good shape, so it came with me. I tried it out just enough to know that it works, but since then, it’s been confined to the depths of my camera bag (except for being featured in my post on imagination). Not this week. Little lens, your time has come.

The goal was to work with one focal length only, as I fear the zoom lens is robbing me of some sort of discipline. The real challenge was focusing a wider prime. Yes, technically the 50mm is longer than a normal lens on my DSLR, but I like the 70-100mm range, so it is wider than my comfort zone. For years, I’ve been zooming in and focusing with SLRs and using magnifiers on large format. Not to mention that it’s obvious when I’m off on the macro.  Fortunately, I met with some success this week.

First of all, I paid a visit to my old faithful test subject: the snowball bush. Admittedly a bit green right now. Really, the 50mm is a bit wide for this subject. It only focuses so close, forcing me to move back.

 

 

I moved on to some trees with interesting features, such as this “eye” of sorts, for more focusing practice. Success. Autofocus and zoom lenses haven’t completely ruined me.

 

 

 

Lastly, I focused on my sister’s car. It has some styling details I find attractive. Unfortunately, the paint isn’t so good, forcing me to give the car a Photoshop makeover. My sister was glad that I was painting her car, even if it was only in Photoshop.

 

 

Since I could use to spend more time with this lens, I may do a part 2 to this post, but not right away.

 

Next Week: Time

There are so many directions I could go with this. My hope is to use timepieces and objects around them to say something else about time other than, oh, half past seven.


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.


Liquid Experiments

I’ve been threatening to do these liquid experiments for weeks, so I thought it best to get it out of my system. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I did some test shoots and took a lot of pictures. This kind of work is like photographing fireworks without a script of the show. It takes a lot of trial and error and you never know exactly what’s going to happen. My first shots were of the food coloring shortly after it entered into the water. The drop would spread out like a chandelier as it sank towards the bottom. Then, I’d add another drop.

I tried letting it sit for a while to blend a bit and adding a drop or two of another color. The green looks like a flower.

As you can probably see, it’s not exactly sharp. Food coloring blends with the water and lacks distinct edges. I focused as much as I could, but eventually I had to think of a way to use this to my advantage. Patiently waiting to see what the food coloring did when allowed to sit in a still glass of water produced some interesting results. It fanned out into long, swirling trails. I even had some luck mixing two shades of purple. The indistinct edges could work well for backgrounds.

Using one of my shots as a background.

 

I continued my experiments varying color combination and water motion. At first, I filled the glass from the faucet and let it sit awhile before adding dye. Later, I discovered stirring the water gave an interesting effect.

Adding dye to a freshly filled glass of water was another variation. As you can see, I flipped the shot above and the shot below for artistic effect.

I know this is unorthodox photography, but it provided me with some images I can use for backgrounds and other elements in Photoshop work. Not to mention being a fun experiment and keeping myself and one of my cats very amused.

Next Week: Box and Folding Cameras

I’m going back to something more traditional next week: old cameras. This time, very old cameras, say 70 or more years old for some. Hopefully I can find the old Kodak folding camera.