Saturday, October 24, 2015

Photo Professional

Here’s a shot of a couple guys hard at work. I don’t generally consider myself a professional photographer although I am occasionally paid for my work. When this happens this is the kind of pictures I am usually taking.

Actually, the one below is more typical. The one above was one I shot because it was just a great shot even though it had no technical value to the project at hand.
I do not want to diminish the value of artistic or creative photography but there is also a practical side of photography. Whether we’re dealing with equipment installation like this or some other more mundane image like damage to a vehicle after an accident or the contents of your house for an insurance claim, the ability to accurately capture an image that documents or records something is an always useful and necessary tool.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

B&B through a Pinhole

Above is one of the images shot at the Natchez B&B I mentioned in my last blog post. Shot on Kodak Ektar film with the Holga Pinhole Camera, this was the view of the fountain in the courtyard seen when looking through the window of our suite’s sitting room. I spent a fair amount of time just staring out this window. It was a delightful scene just begging to be immortalized on film so I obliged it.

I did not record the exposure time but I was using the “Light Meter Tools” app on my android phone to determine the correct exposure. I believe it was in the 1 to 2 second range. This little app seems to work perfectly except that it is 1.5 stops off. I determined this by comparing it to the light meter readings in my other cameras. The good news is that the app allows you to make an overriding exposure compensation setting to easily account for this. 

I know a lot of folks make a big deal about pinhole exposure times and bracketing every shot but I have come to trust my little meter app and my own judgement enough that I rarely take more than one shot of each image. If I do end up with any less than desirable images (and I do) it is not because the exposure was incorrect. Of course, the film I generally use in my pinhole cameras (Ektar, Portra & Tri-X) also has a pretty wide latitude.

My goal is to simplify the pinhole photography process to the point where it is easy enough to do it all the time. When I started I was carrying around at least one other camera to use for metering, a clipboard with notebook & pencil and a couple exposure & conversion charts, and the camera mounted on a tripod with a cable release. In those days it would sometimes take me 15 to 20 minutes to get a shot and I would bracket. I was happy if I got two or three images from a roll of film.

Now, with my handy dandy light meter app, I still carry the pinhole camera on a tripod with a cable release although I am just as likely to lock the shutter open and just use the lens cap for longer exposures. I may have another camera with me at times but it is for shooting not just for a second opinion on the exposure times, and I don’t need the notebook and the conversion charts anhymore.
I do miss the notebook and I can never remember my exposures so I may resume bringing it along to record my exposures for each frame.

The good news is that while pinhole photography remains a very contemplative and purposeful version “slow photography” I can now frequently get off shots in just a minute or two making the whole process more fun and productive. Also, I typically get several good shots per roll since I am not having to bracket everything.