The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “New Adventures

The Train: Running Again

I happened to call my Dad the evening after he went on the photo club outing to the train museum. He informed me there would be a live steam event the next day. An old train was up and running and about to make a journey it hadn’t made in decades. I was disappointed I’d missed the train museum, so I decided to join Dad and go see the train at one of its stops. It was an hour late, so it only stayed 20 minutes. A large crowd of train enthusiasts and families with curious children gathered to see it.

TrainApproaching

After the train stopped, we all went up to get a closer look. The steam practically caused it to rain on us. The train had many interesting details, but the short stay and large crowd made getting a lot of photos difficult. As the train left, I noticed many of the passengers were taking video of their trip. So many train enthusiasts were elated to see the old engine up and running again.

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Next Time: 4th Festivities

It is a bit early to know for certain what I’ll shoot next week, but there’s a good chance of the typical Midwestern 4th of July staples: fireworks and a car show.


Visit to a Popular Park

Last week, I loaded up my gear and headed to one of the most acclaimed state parks within reasonable driving distance. Since it was such a nice day, my father and his gear also came along for the ride. We quickly decided this park was way too busy for us. Both of us are used to going out in parks where we only pass a few hikers here and there. Not so at this park. There was a constant stream of people from every ethnic group and age group you could imagine. The sights were amazing, but the morning sun wasn’t flattering anything. I took a few shots of the rock formations and we moved on.

rockformations

damprockandlichen

In one canyon, there was a hanging vine illuminated by a ray of sunlight. I saw a photo I wanted, but it was dark and the vine was moving in a gentle breeze. The ISO on this shot was much higher than I’d normally use, but this is the closest I was able to get to the shot I wanted.

vine

Unfortunately, our lack of familiarity with the park and a crowded parking lot resulted in us spending a lot of time trying to find the correct parking lot and our car so we could do something about water and food. We were pretty exhausted when we finally found the car, being that we’d hiked quite a distance on steep trails, dad had spent the last night working on the lawnmower, and I was carrying about 15 lbs. of gear. (Since he is a view camera guy, dad had left his equipment in the car until he found a shot with good lighting.)

After lunch, it was overcast. I decided that would make better lighting conditions for one of the waterfalls than what we’d seen in the morning. Dad still wasn’t sure it would work for him, but we agreed to head for the nearest waterfall and check it out. I took a few shots in the overcast lighting. Dad considered how the coming summer solstice would impact lighting and at what time of day he’d be likely to get the best shot. Yes, I think we’ll be coming to this park again, maybe after school is back in session and not so many families are out on vacation.

waterfall

lowerfall

Next Time: Fruit in Bubbly

I’ve been thinking about trying the fruit in club soda thing lately, so I may as well actually do it.


The End of The Big Project: Pour Shot

The end is finally here! My pour shot is done, and it went a little better than I thought it would. Equipment was one of my biggest concerns going into this one, but shooting my flash through the scrim seemed to work pretty well. My furry four-legged assistant was watching me, but she can’t pour liquids, so thankfully, my mother agreed to help with this one. It took us a few tries to get the timing down, but the result was well worth any inconvenience or spilled red pop. Here are a couple different shots:

pour1

 

pour2

Next Time: Nature or Vintage Objects


It’s Really Winter This Year

Last year, winter was mild in my area. This year, it is back to normal. So in honor of an actual winter, I’m taking some time off The Big Project to bring you snow photos.

First, I went to the local forest preserve, a well-known area I can safely navigate in the snow.

barkandsnow

Water had oozed out of the limestone bluffs and formed murky icicles.

limestoneandice

The creek was mostly frozen, with small areas of running water breaking up the ice.

icecreek

Back home, I went to check out the spruce. It always has interesting ice and snow deposits.

icedspruce

 

icedroplets

Winter. It can be annoying, but it can also be beautiful. Live with the bad, love the good.

Next Time: The Big Project Continues –  Transparent


Christmas Colors

Everybody knows the old traditional Christmas colors: red and green. But increasingly, stores are offering decor in any color you fancy. Although I prefer the traditional, I followed the counter-culture this year and included a little pink in my decorating pallet. This was more of a “Man, where am I gonna store those pink vases?” moment than a brash throwing off of tradition. I bought some silver and white artificial flowers to accommodate my storage plans. While I was at it, I decided I may as well leave out this darling beaded angel. She’s probably a craft made by some housewife decades ago. I found her in a small town thriftshop a few years back and thought she was pretty.
pinkandsilverangel
Another slightly more traditional approach is the cream and gold color scheme. It’s rich and warm, but not very colorful. I’m in favor of having a little of it here and there.
goldangel
So yes, I favor the traditional. Christmas comes at a dark, bleak, and often snowy time of the year in my corner of the world. Red is warm and bright, while green reminds us of life and vegetation. It’s what we need right now. Warmth, brightness, life, and beauty.
redandgreen

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Next Time: 2012 Year in Review


Real Mug Shots, Literally

I finally finished my mug shots this week (that’s photos of mugs, not criminals). Confession: I cheated. This is obviously a teacup, but it’s cute. I wanted to try a white on white sort of shot, and this tells me I had better give myself some time when I do it again in January.

strawberryteacup

This is my “puppy mug” from my childhood. It’s an English “beaker” as I’ve heard mugs called on the britcoms. Back in the day, my mom let my sister and I each pick out a secondhand mug as our own. I had a thing for spaniels at that time, so this was an easy choice. Digging into the mug’s national origin, I chose to accent it with an old Shakespeare book and some shortbread cookies. I had the strongest visualization for this shot.

puppymug

Lastly, I wanted to do something with hot cocoa and a ’70s vibe. My mother kindly let me borrow this wonderful tall old mug she has. It went well with the cocoa and the tall spoon, but I confess the cookies were an afterthought. Your order at the cafe is ready.

hotchocolate

I tried out a method for adding steam in Photoshop. It’s something I’ve been playing with recently. Let me know what you think.

Next Time: Thoughts on Christmas and Color

I’ve seen pink trees, overheard talk of blue trees, and strolled down aisle after aisle filled with ornaments of non-traditional colors. Yet I still prefer the traditional.


What Happens When You Photograph Your Cat with a Reflector

I was photographing dear Jenny the other day. She was in a good mood for it, but she decided to sit in very strong sun, causing some harsh shadows.

I decided to use a large piece of white poster board as a reflector. This did not work. Jenny hid behind the board.

So, I got a toy to lure her out. She came, but the board came with her.

Long story made short, I’ve decided to stick to photographing cats in softer light.

Next Time: Mugs (If they’re not done in two weeks, I have issues.)


Vintage Rhinestone Necklaces

Some years ago, the ladies of the household inherited several lovely pieces of vintage rhinestone jewelry from my father’s aunt. I’ve done a little research and found that they date from the 1950s and 1960s when dressing up so much was a bit more common than it is for us. We’ve never had an occasion to wear any of these, but if the day ever comes, I’ll  be there with bells on.

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Next Time: Mugs or Cats

I’m working on a series of mug shots. Not photos of criminals, photos of mugs. If they’re not done in two weeks, you’ll be seeing the cat photos I randomly decided to shoot today.


Fall State Park Landscape

My father and I went out to explore and photograph a state park some distance from home. It featured steep trails, large limestone bluffs, and an unusually dry riverbed (wonderful drought we’ve had.)

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Next Time: Archive Jewelry or Some Other Indoor Theme


Fall Nature

Last week, I finally got out to the woods for a nice long walk. It just happened to be the peak weekend for fall color in my area. The trees were arrayed in brilliant red and yellow with the late afternoon sun highlighting them.

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Next Time: More fall nature from a new (to me anyway) park.


My Key Obsession

Well, I was going to do some photos of random conglomerations of stuff (I thought they might be useful backgrounds for stock), however, I decided that was creatively lazy of me. I had a bunch of keys out for one shot, so I started arranging them and decided to do a post on keys. To be honest, I’ve been a bit obsessed with them lately. I’ve found emergency spares and odd keys from various corners of the house, purchased a key pendant to make a necklace, and wasted perfectly good time looking at old keys on e-bay. No, I’ve not bought any yet, but I keep thinking they’d be awesome for photography.

This one, I believe is a key for a small safe.

Here is a collection of very round keys. I have no idea what they are for, but I love the shape.

These are older automobile keys, one round for the door and one square for the ignition. This set was barely ever used. The keys were kept as spares in a spare key hiding place my family forgot about. We dug them up while organizing. I’m pretty sure they’re for Patricia VonOlsey, our old van that’s been rusting in peace at the junkyard for about a year now. Yep, completely useless.

Next Time: Nature

Hopefully, within the next two weeks, weather, time, and light will align in such a way that I can get out to the woods for a bit.


Another Cruise Night

My sister talked me into coming to this Cruise Night in a small town near us. It was rather crowded and the lighting was sub par, but there were some interesting cars. I focused mostly on the details as I find them more interesting than a long shot of the car where you can’t see much of the vehicle’s nuances.

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Note: Photos have been edited to obscure license plates and faces. Just in case you were wondering why some spots look a bit odd. I can’t ignore privacy.

Next Time: Fall Nature or Background photos


Miscellaneous Rings

Let me be honest, I don’t wear rings. Not only do they get in the way, but I sprained my right ring finger doing something stupid when I was 9, and it has been a little out of whack ever since then. Rings go on, but they don’t come off too easily. The only reason I’ve kept them is so I can photograph them.

This turquoise ring was my aunt’s untill she was no longer able to wear it. (Knuckles keep growing through the years.) It’s a bit chunky and could probably use some more cleaning, but I like the look. The turquoise and the large leaf design give it a nice earthy sort of character very different from most of my other jewelry.

I found this opal ring in thrift store when I was in junior high. The stones sparkle in the light, and the colors are like sunset. It’s odd, but I love it.

This purple cubic zirconia was a gift from my mother and was a fine complement to my wardrobe back in my ring wearing days. It’s more like most of my jewelry. Small, nice-looking, and costume. I’ve never cared for gaudy and I don’t want the liability of wearing “the real thing”, not to mention the price.

Sometimes, I still think about wearing the turquoise or the opal. Incase you’re wondering, the opal is the only one to make it on my finger while I was shooting for this post. My love of things I find aesthetically pleasing dies hard.

Next Time: Old Cars or Photos to use as Backgrounds


Computer Wallpaper and Clouds

Anyone remember the cloud desktop wallpaper from Windows 98? It’s been awhile hasn’t it. Six years ago, I got my laptop and headed off to college. It was a beautiful, brand spanking new Windows XP machine, and I disliked every wallpaper on it. I wanted the old cloud wallpaper from Windows 98, but not quite. Something more realistic. I tried one or two of the XP options, but after the first year I went out and took a picture of some clouds. That was my wallpaper for years. I loved it. Recently, I decided it was time to upgrade my computer. Not that I hated my little laptop, nothing could be further from the truth. She just didn’t cut it anymore. She could hardly run Lighroom or Premier Elements 4, let alone anything I’d want to download a trial of or maybe buy. So I upgraded, and I got a better screen. My old cloud photo looked a bit grainy on my old computer, so I knew it wouldn’t work on the new one at all. After a month and a half of substituting, I again went out and turned my camera to the sky. Here they are. I think I’m using number 4 at this time.

Next Time: Old Cars or Rings


Keystone 8mm

My parents brought this old 8mm home movie camera to me after visiting relatives. I assume it spent years tucked away in my grandmother’s house, like many common old objects in my father’s family. The 8mm used to be the way to capture fleeting moments of family history like vacations, trips to the beach, or Christmas morning. A bit before my time, to say the least.

This worn yet charming example features an electric eye (a sort of exposure meter) and a rotating turret with three different lens.

Here, you can see the camera’s power source: the hand crank. Wind it up, then press the lever. Kind of like a windup toy.

 

 

*Edit: I recently found out this camera came from a church rummage sale, so I can stop wondering if there are any old home movies out there.

Next Time: Old Cars or Nature


Country Car Show

A small town I live near had a car show a while back. Since I had so much fun photographing car details at a cruise night last fall, I decided to go check it out. There weren’t many cars, and some of the trucks were quite new. Despite the small numbers, I still found some interesting shots. I was particularly excited to see an old Monte Carlo. My mom had one when I was little, but hers was much newer. Overall, it was well worth going out in the heat for.

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Next Time: Old 8mm Camera


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.


Early Summer Nature

Summer’s been here for a while now, and we don’t have much in the line of flowers. It’s been quite dry this year. Fortunately, a few plants are resilient enough to bloom.

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Next Time: Abstract or Old Camera


Marbles

When my sister and I were little, we played with a toy called Marble Works. It was basically a bunch of curvy ramps and various other parts you built a structure with and watched your marbles twirl around in. Strange as it may seem, we could spend hours building these mazes and watching our marbles navigate them. Of course, this was only for normal sized marbles. The large “shooter” kind did not fit through the holes.

Recently, I dug my marbles out of hiding and put them in a glass jar on my dresser. Most of the ones I still have came from a booth at a historical reenactment. My favorite, however, I found in the dirt at my grandparent’s home. No one is sure how it got there.

 

Next Time: Nature or Old Camera

Yes, those are probably the two most common subjects on this blog. If I do an old camera, it will be a movie camera this time.


Small, Shiny Misc.

Random small shiny objets from around the house. The doll shoes were actually a bad idea. They were rather scratched and required considerable retouching.


Lock and Key

Why do we have locks and keys?

To keep things safe and secure. But not just that. To hide our secrets.

For all of us, there are private things – secrets hidden in our hearts, sometimes manifest in objects, written down or not. Some great, some small, most trivial in the large world. Important to us.

Next Time: More Spring nature shots


Another Snow, and Ice

I was going to do a post on waiting for spring, but our string of unseasonably warm temperatures was broken by another snow. Here are some photos of the melting and ice.

 

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The View-Master Personal Stereo Camera

Between the holidays, my father and I went to visit my grandma and help my uncle with some repairs on her home. My uncle frequents auctions, and sometimes, he buys a box of things for one item on top. Occasionally, he gets an old camera hidden in the box. One evening, he presented two of such cameras to my father as candidates for induction into The Camera Collection. (For those of you who frequent my blog, most of the cameras I photograph belong to my father. He has an old habit of not getting rid of cameras and picking up interesting specimens.) One look at the case told us this camera was in.

 

Meet Freddie. He’s an early 1950’s Stereo Camera used to photograph slides for the View-Master. (You know, the little red-orange devices you had as a kid?) Isn’t he handsome?

 

This is the exposure guide. Look familiar, my fellow former cinema and photo students? Yep, a fancy Sunny 16 guide.

Although it may seem primitive at first, closer examination reveals this camera as a mechanical marvel. You can find more information and a manual here: http://www.vmresource.com/manuals/index.html

 

 


Snow!

It finally snowed in my little corner of the world. Fortunately, there wasn’t much ice. My sister’s car, Howie, might disagree with that last sentence if he could talk.

Last weekend, I went out to enjoy the snow at a nearby forest preserve. Since it was a sunny day, I passed a few other people, including four cross-country skiers.

I’d wanted to photograph these odd pitcher-shaped features on this tree for several months, but I never could seem to get the lighting or angle quite right. Now that the leaves are gone, it works much better.

I love the way this stump sticks out of the snow, covered in fungus for added texture.

Even after the snow, the dried remains of a few flowers hang on.

The world is full of all sorts of interesting patterns and designs. This fallen tree branch is one example.

Ice on the small creek in the park was at various levels of thickness. Loose snow and rippling water gave it a sparkling look.

Next Time: Vintage Camera

It’s about time I do another camera post. Courtesy of my uncle, my father has an amazing new addition to his camera collection. I have arranged to borrow said addition for my next post. I think you’ll like it.