Posts Tagged: photography

Monday Tidbits to Start Your Week Off

Here is a hodge podge of reading links I have been saving in my tidbits folder for you:

Astronomers strike gold – and platinum – as they watch two neutron stars collide

Kodak’s First Digital Moment

In Amish Country, the Future Is Calling

“Lizzie said she was upset by how people had become so attached to their phones.

“People are treating those phones like they are gods,” she said. “They’re bowing down to it at the table, bowing down to it when they’re walking. Here we say we don’t bow down to idols, and that’s getting dangerously close, I think.”

Professor Kraybill said such insights were not unusual among Amish people.

They “are more savvy about the impact of technology on human interactions than most of us are,” he said.”

The Trump Conundrum: Four Factors Sending The Donald Into a Rage/Shame Spiral

The Danger of President Pence

“Trump’s swerve did the unthinkable—uniting Coulter and liberal commentators.”

The Great Nutrient Collapse

“As best scientists can tell, this is what happens: Rising CO2 revs up photosynthesis, the process that helps plants transform sunlight to food. This makes plants grow, but it also leads to them pack in more carbohydrates like glucose at the expense of other nutrients that we depend on, like protein, iron and zinc.”

10 Phrases that Originated in the Middle Ages

The Secret History of Dune

Trump’s Warning to Mueller Proves, Again, That It’s All About the MoneyIt always has been.

How to Kill a Dinosaur in 10 Minutes

In a Warming World, Keeping the Planes Running

Learning to Learn: You, Too, Can Rewire Your Brain

Landscape Photography focusing and Aperture tips from Spencer Cox at Photography Life:
https://photographylife.com/why-hyperfocal-distance-charts-are-wrong
https://photographylife.com/how-to-choose-the-sharpest-aperture

Dancing On My Own :

“As a young person trying to break into a male-dominated field, I spent my 20s afraid of being perceived as a froofy little girl, and acted accordingly. I was a hardcore feminist who’d nonetheless listened to the boys in my MFA program as they mansplained their Raymond Carver tattoos. I consciously practiced not speaking in uptones. I worried I had vocal fry. I limited ballet talk to visits with my mom. I wanted so badly to be taken seriously that I sought others’ approval at the expense of my own.
Oh, we live in a country that hates the dreams of little girls? I thought. Well, I’m going to become a fucking ballerina.

After the election, I lost my patience for this almost overnight. I was furious. Tamping down the desires of my inner five-year-old girl finally felt like the self-effacing erasure it had always been. How many ways do women edit and adjust themselves every day to exist in a world that hates them? I wondered. For me, it had already been too many, and for too long.

And so I began actively returning to the things I’d always loved but had dismissed as too feminine, too froofy, too much. Ballet was one of them.

Oh, we live in a country that hates the dreams of little girls? I thought.

Well, I’m going to become a fucking ballerina.” – Megan Burbank

Ocotillo and Jet Contrail : Film and Mobile

Ocotillo and a Contrail : Ilford HP5 Plus B&W film Ocotillo and a Contrail : Nokia 808 PureView Camera Phone

Fri. 11.04.16 – In 2015, I ventured into the One Camera : One Lens photo project with my Nikon FM3a film camera and a Nikon AIS 50mm f/1.8 manual lens. I tried to use a new film every month, alternating black & white film with color, to explore all the 35mm film that is currently available for sale – either at my local Samy’s or online. I still had quite a few rolls of film leftover from the 2015 project and continued to shoot into 2016, albeit a bit slower.

To help with a time stamp & GPS, I take a photo with my camera phone each time I take a film photo. The above two photos were taken on February 3, 2016 in Havasu Heights, Arizona, of my favorite ocotillo. The photo on the left was taken with Ilford HP5 Plus 400 black & white film and the photo on the right is with my trusty Nokia 808 PureView camera phone.

Click on the photos for the larger versions and enjoy.

Just When One Makes a Big Pronouncement On the Camera Phone Front…

Just when one goes and makes a big pronouncement on the camera phone front, ASUS goes and makes a January 2016 release that makes the camera phone space interesting again.

Hello, ASUS Zenfone Zoom, you may be the size of a wheelbarrow, but that Hoya lens system of yours with optical zoom is intriguing. I will wait for Gavin to take lots of photos and write his review before I wonder much farther…

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.

Dog Years: Scruffy at nearly 5 months and at nearly 12 years

March 2004 - Scruffy the Wittlest Cowboy in the West Sept 2015 - Scruffy at Bolsa Chica

Tues 10.20.15 – Photographer Amanda Jones has a project called Dog Years, wherein she takes photos of dogs when they are young and then again of the same dog when they are old. It is a lovely and moving set of photos.

While not studio photos, here are two photos of Scruffy McDoglet, one as a puppy in March 2004 and the other one taken as an older dog this past month.

The first photo of Scruffy taken on March 29, 2004, when he was 4 1/2 months old, he was truly tiny – a third the size he is now in weight and length. He was also full of puppy energy. His puppy energy lasted well into his fifth or sixth year of life.

The second photo of Scruffy was taken last month while walking at Bolsa Chica State Beach, in this photo Scruffy is 11 years and 10 months old. He has started to slow down the last two years both in terms of energy and his health. While Scruffy still takes two walks a day, they are shorter than they used to be and he is sleeping quite a bit more. In terms of his health, over a year ago, he was diagnosed with Cushings disease and that has been a whack-a-mole misadventure.

I still love Mr. Scruffy McDoglet something fierce.

OC : OL : MF 2015 – Ms. Jen’s Photography Project for the Year

Scruffy in front of the garage

Jan 4, 2015 – Photo of Scruffy McDoglet taken by Jenifer Hanen with her Nikon FM3a SLR, a Nikon 50mm AIS f/1.8 manual lens, and Kodak TRI-X 400 B&W film.

At the urging on TOP’s Mike Johnston last November, I decided to take on the One Camera, One Lens, One Year challenge to help me stretch my photography practice for the whole of 2015.

Last year in 2014, I quietly made the commitment to take my Nikon D800 out weekly and to the Huntington Library and Gardens monthly. It was a great personal challenge and helped me to get very familiar with my DSLR and the cycle of seasons at the Huntington’s gardens. Some of those photos were posted here and on my Flickr stream. Most live on my computer.

When I read Mike’s article in November, I loved the idea of printing out one photo every day rather than consigning one’s photos to the “Pictures” file / black hole. Due to the constraints of my life this year, I don’t have a good photo printer with me and due to my project last year I wanted to switch cameras.

Since 2006, I have been the proud owner of what is called the last and best mechanical film camera, the Nikon FM3a, of which I love the camera and the photos it makes. But I rarely take it out, mostly out of laziness. And there are still a surprising good selection of professional films available at my local Samy’s Camera back wall refigerators, for order through B&H Photo, and for order from interesting kickstarter projects like Cinestill.

Thus, I decided to do a OC : OL : MF for 2015:

OC => One Camera – my Nikon FM3a film camera
OL => One Lens – a Nikon Ai-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 standard lens (info on the lens is about 2/3rds down the link page)
MF => Many Films

I have been trying to stay with the spirit of TOP’s challenge by taking one photo a day and trying to make it through a roll of 36 every month, although May was challenging and I am still about 8 frames to on May’s roll of film. I have put my Nikon FM3a loaded with the month’s film in my camera bag or purse (yay for smallish film cameras!) and trying to take it every where.

The fun part has been seeking out films that I have never shot before or shot so long ago that I have forgotten what they look like. I am alternating Black and White with Color every other month, as well. I love taking the film to be developed at Fromex in Long Beach and then getting back in the car with my prints to see how they turned out.

On top of having Fromex develop the film negatives, I have also been getting one set of prints and an archival CD of the film scanned to jpgs. I import the scanned photos into Lightroom, add the meta data of camera, lens, keywords/tags, and location, but I have not been doing any post-processing as I want to see how each film differs.

I have also been taking a photo with my Nokia Lumia 1020 of the same subject at the same time as I take a photo for the OC : OL : MF, for several reasons: to compare a native digital photo with the film photo, to have my Nokia kindly record the GPS location into the digital file, and to have the date time stamp from the digital file, as it makes record keeping much easier than carrying around a notebook.

I will soon start to post both the film photo and the Nokia Lumia 1020 photos here. I have quite a back log and may be only posting my faves, we shall see.

Here is a list of the films I have used to date* (plus links to buy some of your own):

Jan 1 – 3, 2015 – Ilford XP-2 Super 400 B&W film (Buy)

Jan 3 – 16, 2015 – Kodak TRI-X 400 B&W film (Buy)

Jan 17 – Feb 8, 2015 – Kodak Ektar 100 Color film (Buy)

Feb 9 – March 30, 2015 – Kodak Porta 160 Color film (Buy)

March 30 – May 3, 2015 – Ilford Delta 100 B&W film (Buy)

May 3 – present – AGFA Photo CT Precisa 100 Color Film (Buy)

For the last year, I have been in love with the Ilford XP-2 Super 400 B&W film, now I must add the Ilford Delta 100 B&W to my list of fave B&W films. For all the love that the Kodak Porta line gets, I really don’t like how washed out it is, but I do love the Kodak Ektar 100 Color film and will buy more after this project is done.

The slide films will not cross-processed, but processed to their specifications but not mounted, and instead have prints made. The nice folks at Fromex are very flexible and don’t raise an eyebrow at my requests. But I do prefer the look of a slide film for landscapes.

Now that you all have most of the relevant details on my OC : OL : MF 2015 photo project, I will hopefully get to posting the photos here, on Flickr, and occasionally the ole Instagram. If you see me in personal, encourage me to take a photo with the film camera…

* Currently there are over 15 other rolls of film in the frig waiting to come out, with several hard to get films on order, so this project will in good probability continue into 2016.

Tonight: Venus & Belle

Venus and the Container Ships Belle would like you to throw the ball...

Fri 02.27.15 – Two photos of two of the most beautiful things to be found this evening: Venus and the container ships as seen whilst stopped at the Pacific Coast Highway & Seapoint light in Huntington Beach and Belle le Cane and her ball after dinner. Belle would like you to throw her ball.

These two photos taken within an hour or two of each other re-remind me how much I love my Nikon D800 camera with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens. It is a simple but rockstar combo for great photos. Rather than buying several lenses or even one mid-range zoom, do yourself and your photos a favor and splash out for one good to great 50mm lens, then take lots of photos.

Flickr and the abuse of the Creative Commons

With the following Tweet today, Jeffrey Zeldman started a very good twitter conversation about Flickr, commericial/retail photo usage, and copyright/licensing/creative commons:

Andy Budd then linked to Zeldman’s blog post, What’s Wrong With This Picture? Flickr is about to sell off your Creative Commons photos, and started another good conversation on the topic:

Jen Simmons further drills into the debate with two succinct tweets and a blog post:

Jen Simmons’ blog post on I Don’t Want “Creative Commons BY” To Mean You Can Rip Me Off

And then Ms. Simmon’s linked to this Wall Street Journal article: Fight Over Yahoo’s Use of Flickr Photos

The quote that sums up Flickr in this situation and my own opinion* comes from Zeldman’s blog post:

I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for about ten years. I love Flickr. Sometimes, for years, it has been like loving a friend who is in a coma. Now it’s like helplessly watching a cocaine-addicted friend snort up their kid’s college fund.

Come on, Yahoo.

* As for the larger scope of my own opinion on Flickr and other photo sharing sites is a blog post in the making, as I am still collecting some comparison data.

** Please note that I am pro-Creative Commons, but chose a few years go – due to abuse by others – to switch from a CC-NC license on my Flickr images and my blog images/posts to a Copyright – All Rights Reserved.