Posts Tagged: art

Nicole’s Corner at Salon Pop

Nicole's Corner at Salon Pop

Wed 11.09.16 – This afternoon I went to visit the ever amazing artist, Nicole Welke, at her day adventure – Salon Pop and Barber Shop. I love that Nicole’s aesthetic is not just in her paintings, cartoons, illustrations and products, but also in her physical space. I am excited to announce that Nicole will be doing the cover art for my short story collection.

The Whale and the Whale Ornament

The Whale and the Whale Ornament

Sun 10.23.16 – This morning I went to Paige H’s baby shower at her parent’s house. Her mother had the best whale sculpture with a whale ornament in its mouth on the living room’s fireplace mantle. It was lit in such a way to both reveal the whale sculpture and create mystery.

This made me very happy.

From One Not-So-Great Photo, Three Good Photos – or How Astrophotography pushes me to up my Lightroom Skills

1. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way - The Original
2. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way - Warm Tones 3. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way - Cool Tones 4. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way in B&W

Sun 11.01.15 – Those of you who have read this blog and/or have spoken to me in person about photography know that I get my joy from the taking of the photos and the moment thereof, not in the post-processing activities that are such a part of digital photography. It is the drag and lack of joy of the processing of a digital photo that sent me squealing with joy into the arms of mobile photography in December 2004 – OMG – take the photo and post it to the internet directly from my phone – How Marvelous! No Photoshop! Thank all the minor deities ruling over silicon wafer chips and camera phones from Finland!

By and large in my current photography practice, I use Lightroom to organize, add metadata and titles, and to catalog all of the photos I take, be it with my mobile phone, my Nikon D800, or a real live film camera (negatives scanned to digital files). Other than a few tweaks to white balance or exposure or a crop here or there, I rarely spend much time in the post-processing of my photography. I prefer my photos to look as much as possible as what I and others would have seen at the scene.

The big exception to this workflow is my astrophotography photos that I take with my Nikon D800. While I follow many of the common best practices for how to best shoot my astronomy photos, I currently don’t have a working Equatorial Mount (the one I have is gimpy and makes me want to poke my eyeballs out), thus if I want to have my stars show up as pinpoints, which I do, and not trails I have to keep my exposures to under 15 seconds and on top of that, I prefer to keep my ISO set to 1600 or less to limit pictorial noise.

The short exposure times plus the lower ISO means that I do need to do some post-processing work, more than just exposure and white balance, on my astro photos to bring out the night sky and so artistic choices need to be made – of which the biggest is how much do I let the Nikon sensor do the talking (colors galore!) and how much do I desaturate the photos to make it look more like what my eye saw in the moment.

The human eye for reasons to do with biology sees the night sky in blacks, whites, grays, and occasional light pollution glow. The fantastic colors seen in most Milky Way and Nebula photos your eye will never see, but your camera’s sensor will esp. with filters. Through a telescope the Orion Nebula is in black and white to our vision, but in a photo with minimal through to maximal processing it is a riot of pinks, reds and a panoply of rainbow colors.

I find myself frustrated by the Milky Way photos that I see out and about as they look fantastical – a world my eyes will never see. So, when I am post-processing the astro photos I take, I find myself in a quandary to how much do I reveal what the camera’s sensor saw or do I spend more time at a process I don’t like to desaturate to get a photo that looks more like what I saw?

Most of the time, after working on a photo or two, I get completely overwhelmed and I just stop and tell myself I will come back later, which I rarely do. And so the vicious cycle starts again, the blackhole of my computer eats up my photography.

Last night after I returned from photographing the Milky Way and imported the photos into Lightroom and after working on a few photos, I found myself working on one of the more mediocre photos to see how much I could push it and I did. I created three versions of the photo and posted two to social media, one to flickr and the other to Instagram, leaving my preferred photo for here.

Instead of just posting the preferred photo to this space, I decided that I would post all four photos: 1. The original photo as it came out of the camera, 2. The photo I like best but feel it is still too ‘colorful’, 3. The blue tinged desaturated photo I posted to flickr, and finally, 4. The black and white rendition that I posted to Instagram.

All the same original not-so-great photo, but all processed differently and thus each turned into a pretty decent if not good photo of the Milky Way. It is the joy of the alchemy of this transformation that I can see how many people find their joy in the post-processing of their digital photos.

I still don’t think I will ever spend hours on one photo in Photoshop as I have seen some do, in fact, blasphemy ahead… I don’t have Photoshop installed on my machine right now, just Lightroom and Fireworks.

Gasp. Shock. Horror.

Don’t even talk to me about star stacking software. Gah.

Mobile: What is the best / most beautiful / most innovative / most creative use of a mobile phone recently?

Eight years ago, I conducted a survey on the creative use of mobile devices by creative professionals, which became the research base for my Masters thesis: Moleskine to Mobile.

But that was 8 whole years ago, which in mobile or technology time was practically before the dawn of Mammals. In the last few years, it seems many people have settled into the mobile version of humdrum suburbia: iPhone photos uploaded to Instagram, sharing updates to Facebook, making a video of one’s favorite pet/child/drunkfriend and uploading it to YouTube, or just letting others do it while one watches, etc.

Much like any supposed boring suburbia, there has got to be something interesting going on behind the facade of your mobile’s casing…

People! What is the best and/or most interesting, innovative, beautiful, creative use of a mobile that you have done, seen, heard of, have a link to in the last few months or year? Even if what you think is not really that interesting, but you haven’t told anyone else you are doing it, let me know.

Yes, you, photographer, artist, DJ, musician, banker, teacher, couch potato, maker, creator, builder, I am talking to you. Don’t be shy. If it isn’t you, then tell me about your creative friend. If it is you, share what you have been up to with your mobile. Doesn’t matter if it is a smartphone, feature phone, or super basic phone…

2014 – Let me know. Post the link to your or someone you know of’s creative/innovative activity with there mobile phone. Comment here or tweet a link to me @msjen.

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Nokia Connects has a fun program / award called MVC – Most Valued Connector (which really should be Most Valued Creative), wherein a group of us nominate folks who are doing cool and amazing things with their Nokia Lumia mobile phones or helping folks connect in some way thereof.

On top of wanting to see what y’all have been up to with any mobile phones, if you or a friend is doing some cool, creative stuffs with their Nokia Lumia phone, please send me the link so that I can recommend them for a nomination.

Y’all rock!

A Visit to the Galleta Meadows Sculptures

Mom and the Eagle's Nest sculpture, Galleta Meadows
Elephants, Galleta Meadows Cactus, Anza-Borrego State Park Detail of the Eagle's Nest sculpture, Galleta Meadows

Photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nikon D800 and various lenses.

Sun 01.19.14 – Yesterday, my Mom, Scruffy, and I drove to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Borrego Springs via a circuitous route through Oceanside, Pala, the Pauma Valley, Julian, and then finally over the mountains eastbound to the Anza-Borrego State Park and Borrego Springs in northeastern San Diego county.
I wanted to see the desert and its flora, my Mom wanted to go see the Galleta Meadows sculptures that ring the outskirts of Borrego Springs.
We started out from Huntington Beach at 10am and I dropped my Mom back off at 10pm. While a bit of a whirlwind, and yes we probably should have stayed in Borrego Springs, but I am glad we went. The Galleta Meadows sculptures were fun, the food at Carmelita’s was good, and the stars / Milky Way we saw driving east towards the Salton Sea were amazing.
Next time I want to spend more time exploring the upper Anza-Borrego desert and go hiking in the Palm canyon area.

Help an Artist Take a Big Leap: Contribute Dan Rubin’s Photo Studio

Mon 11.11.13 – Have you thought about about telling your current life to bug off while you take a flying leap into the new life you have been dreaming about only to be held back by a set of circumstances?
Photographer, designer, and all around great creative Dan Rubin is currently, due to a set of circumstances and wanting to make a leap into a new photography life, running an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to start his photo studio and in return you get to choose a few amazing printed art photos.
Yes, you don’t have to look at blank walls in your rooms anymore. Instead you could have original art prints in teurn for supporting a photographer to take his big leap in life.
I have known Dan for about 8 years through the web design / dev conference circuit and we have been talking about our mutual passions for photography, design, life, travel, and mobile for years. The last time we got to hang out we talked so long about photography we were both in mid-sentence when I had to leave off at Liverpool Station in London for the last train.
I respect Dan, I respect his art, his process and his character. Getting your rental car broken and your stuff stolen into while visiting one’s ill father sucks. I had my apartment in Boston broken into twice in 1995-1997 and had all my photography gear plus more stolen, not only is it horrible but when your creative outlet is also gone. But…
I also admire Dan for being willing to leap towards a creative career in photography and shift away from a full-time design career.
Shall we help Dan leap?

Tidbits for a Friday: Camera Size and a Form of Naming From Without

1) In today’s “The Ideal Retro Camera” at The Online Photographer, Mike talks a bit more about the new announced Nikon Df and what would be the perfect retro digital camera. Amusingly, he uses the Nikon FM3a in size comparison against the new Nikon Df and states that the perfect lens would be a Zeiss Planar 50mm not the new special edition Nikon 50mm.
When I shoot film with my Nikon FM3a, I do not miss digital. But when I use my Nikon D800, I wish it was the size and weight of the FM3a. I would be wildly excited in a new Nikon professional level DSLR that was small and light like the FM3a. The new Nikon Df is still a bit big.
I realize that many of you would say that Fuji has already made that camera with their mirrorless X-E and X-Pro series cameras, but honestly I would rather invest in a few more F mount lenses than get a new body or a whole new system right now. Also, my Nokia 808 PureView and the Lumia 1020 satisfy my pick-up, go and shoot, urges than remembering to bring a mirrorless along with the lenses.
But the guts of a Nikon D800 or D4 stuffed into a FM3a body? A Nikon Df2…
2) Patrick J Endres’ wonderful photo of the Big Arctic.
3) A great quote from 3 Quarks Daily’s Abbas Raza:

“There should be no dividing line between science and the arts. I think they should all be taught as equally important intellectual activities. And that’s what we have tried to do at 3QD; we try to find things that are interesting. It doesn’t matter what subject area they’re in.”

4) Well worth the read, an essay on naming, slurs, and college by professor Amardeep Singh:

“But when someone calls me “raghead” or “towelhead” or “Bin Laden,” that can be a form of naming from without. This is why it’s not enough to say, “oh, it’s just words, you can shake them off.” Actually, you can’t shake them off so easily, any more than you can shake off the primal association you have with your own first name. As with ethnic slurs, the names we are given by our parents are not chosen by us. And yet we accept them as helping to define who we are. Do slurs that are wielded against me also then define me?”