Saturday, June 28, 2014

Macro Magnolia

The above picture was captured with the Pentax ZX-L , on CVS 400 color film using a Sigma 28 to 80 zoom on the Macro setting. It is very similar to a print I have hanging in my living room and millions of others similarly hanging in homes all over South Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Magnolia is actually the Mississippi state flower. Magnolia trees grow throughout the Gulf Coast and bloom about this time of year.

I was actually a little disappointed in this photograph. The green leaves are sharper and seem to have more detail than the petals of the magnolia flower. Of course this is my very first experience with a macro lens. I suspect the on-board exposure meter and AF systems may not be set up to handle macro photography. I know little or nothing about the CVS film I was using and this is not a high resolution scan which might show more detail.

The conclusion therefore is inconclusive. I do believe this lens has more to offer so I think I need to “play” around a bit more with this “macro thing” and probably use manual focus and EV settings to see if I can get better results. The ZX-L has a “Close Up” program mode I may try as well.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Its not that I don’t like people!

I just noticed that most of my posts lately don’t show photographs with people in them. Its not that I don’t like people, I do. Its just that for the kind of photography I am exploring these days its so much easier without them. 

Even when people are the object of your composition they are often hard to deal with. They like to move around a lot, scratch, twitch, blink and generally just do things to mess up an otherwise great shot …and then my all-time favorite (after you’ve finally gotten the great shot), they tell you, “I look horrible in that picture. Don’t you dare let anyone see it.”

Its not that people are evil, well, maybe some of them are, but not most of them and  I actually spend a lot of time shooting people. The truth is that most of my photos are of people and do not make it to this blog. They are photos that show up in family albums or on Facebook, Instagram etc. And in the end all photography is after all, all about people. There is always at least one person in every picture – the photographer.

So here we have a picture of an abandoned shopping center shot on CVS 400 color film with the Pentax ZX-L. Well, its not really abandoned because it was never finished or inhabited so there was no one to abandon it. On the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain in the fair city of Mandeville there is a new sprawling shopping center along I-12 which clearly was intended to sprawl even more than it currently has because there is a great section of buildings that look like this. Presumably if ever needed, the shopping center can grow 20% to 30% just by finishing these buildings and putting them into service. In the meantime its an interesting photo subject. I just wish the fence around it wasn’t so high.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day !

I decided to take Saturday (yesterday) and celebrate Father’s Day by driving down to the Chalmette Battlefield for a photo shoot with my Holga pinhole camera. I’ve shot a couple rolls of film through it, most recently on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day in April, feel strongly that there is much more to be experienced with this little plastic fantastic gem.

My goal was to arrive about 4:00 p.m. (just as the light was getting right) and shoot the monument and one or more of the cannons they have there. As you can probably tell the photo above of the monument was not taken with a pinhole. It was taken with my Pentax K-01 mirrorless digital camera.

I arrived at the battlefield about 3:45 and quickly realized that the Park Service had change their hours and was closing the park at 4:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m. like before. I hadn’t even loaded film in the camera yet, saving that decision (as to what film to use) until I got there and evaluated the amount and kind of light available. Needless to say, less than 15 minutes was not sufficient to set up and shoot a pinhole session so I abandoned the quest and just shot a couple digital captures.

Here’s one of the cannons (below) which hopefully I will return to shoot with the pinhole another time.

To have enough time to set up and take 12 exposures I will have to arrive at about 2:30 p.m. so it will likely have to wait until late August or September for the light to be “right” at 3:00 p.m. when I would like to be shooting. Stay tuned!

In the meantime – Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tri-X Love

In my last post I talked about how much I like black and white film photography and I have often extolled the virtues of Kodak Tri-X for that purpose so here’s a recently shot example of just what I’m talking about. I am really not sure exactly what this little shack is but I pass it every day on the way to work and back. The rustic simplicity is eye catching and just begs to be immortalized on black and white film.

The thing about Tri-X is that you can always count on black blacks, white whites and a full complement of accurately rendered grays. The effect provides a kind of “texture” to what might otherwise be just a colorless image.

I confess I have become enthralled with color images in the last few years. There was a time many years ago when I shot mostly black and white (usually on Tri-X) but modern color film like Kodak Portra produce such beautiful images and are so forgiving when it comes to exposure values, its hard not to become a fan. Still, I feel more drawn lately to black and white and you can’t beat Tri-X for that.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day Entry

I forgot all about my WPPD photo entry after I uploaded it so here it is for your viewing pleasure. From my entry description...

"I used a Holga Pinhole Camera this year and loaded it with Kodak Portra 400 because it was cloudy and overcast all day. This was a 5 second exposure of an old house in the Cajun Village. It was windy so the leaves and flag were in motion."

If you would like to see it in the WPPD gallery please use the link below.

I am rather surprised by my fascination with using color film for my pinhole photos. I really like black & white but the vast majority of the photos entered into the WPPD gallery are black & white. Part of the reason I keep using color film is simply to distinguish my efforts from the rest. However I also must admit that I find the color version of pinhole photography deeply satisfying.