sweatpants money
fresh science.

Feb
18

A friend of mine sent me an email this morning with a link detailing the forthcoming Alpina edition BMW 7-series, the B7.  The benchmarks have been set for such vehicles, and this one fulfills all of them:  500+ hp engine, big-ass wheels, some kind of green justification for its technology, etc.

I want single out the big-ass wheels in particular; maybe my reasoning why will make sense in the rest of this post.  The PR doc states that the “evolution of the traditional 20-spoke 21” ALPINA CLASSIC wheels underline the fresh design language found throughout the B7 and impart it a distinctive appearance and powerful stance.”  Evolution, yes, a bit.  Fresh, er, not really, but that’s OK.  The rims on this whip are of the same basic design that was on my first car and only Bimmer to date, my dad’s beloved old 1974 3.0s:

They’ve grown 7 inches in diameter and who knows how much in width over the past 36 years, but they’re definitely rooted in a rich history of design evolution.  Innovations in design and technology that tends to follow a relatively organic path of development.  And they look darn good then and now.  Alpina is good at that.  Porsche is VERY good at that.  BMW was.  But now they’re not.  Not in this century, at least.

I’m not particularly fired up about this car, as you can tell.  BMWs in general have become too much of themselves, and a bit too much of something else entirely: big. Don’t get me wrong, “big” is OK in certain capacities: the way that a Roller is big and thus, by definition and necessity, a proper British car; the way that a 70’s Eldorado convertible is beyond big, as demonstrated by the very literal extra FEET of dead space/middle-finger sheet metal in the front and rear of the car (without a nearly 8-foot-long hood this car wouldn’t be what it should be though: excessive, especially in white on red leather), but those are the kinds of exceptions to which big for the sake of big should be limited.

Now, wait a minute.  Germany has done some very nice big in the past.  Mercedes in particular: any pre-2007 S-Class is a study in efficient hugeness (dedicated post on this subject forthcoming).  As is any 740iL Bimmer–I don’t care what anyone says, I’ll take a [pre-Chris Bangle] ’02 7-series any day of the week over the current iDrive nonsense.  I love that movies still use this model as the “cool bad guy car”…see Live Free or Die Hard.  Let’s not forget the Ronin-style Audi S8 while we’re talking movies, along with an aforementioned Mercedes S of days past, complete with all the correct 1997/1978 German boxiness:

These days however, it’s nearly impossible to find a full-size German sedan that is what it should be.  The roles have reversed, and now that we Americans aren’t producing ridiculous monsters in car-form anymore, they’ve taken up the torch.  I can only guess at how many extra pounds of sheet metal are bolted onto the modern S or 7 or A8.  And they have to make the 500hp engines to match.

There’s nothing wrong with 500hp, believe me, but it’s so commonplace amongst high-end sedans these days that it is…just not so special anymore.  The Italians are still doing it right by putting those things in lightweight sports cars, and in actuality, oddly enough, so are we from time to time.

Please, Germany, go back to what you are really good at:  beautifully designed mechanicals enveloped in an elegance-by-simplicity exterior package.  A smaller package.  I haven’t measured, but it seems like in about 15 years’ time the 3-series has grown to the once-held size and more critically, weight, of a 5, and there’s now the 1-Series that’s approximately the same size, if not bigger still, than the most classic 3, the E30 (first generation M3’s are the best generation!  I said it!).  The 7 has grown into…well, a 9.  Go back to what you are good at!  Wait, maybe you are…

The forthcoming 5.  By no means smaller or lighter I’d suspect, but at least a bit de-Bangled.  Starting to look like an actual BMW again…it even has a bit more of a trunk now!  And it’s bit more driver-oriented, too.  You know how I can tell?  This:

That’s the first center stack I’ve seen that is curving back towards the driver since, like, 2004.  I am so tired of the current “straight-up-and-down” design scheme in ALL NEW CARS where the stack makes things difficult to reach in the name of perceived spaciousness.  This, however, looks more like the cockpits of Bimmers of yore.  It looks efficient.  I don’t know about whatever shifter that is there, but at least it’s not total iDrive.  I hope that this single photo is a cue of things to come with what is really important for BMW, lest they entirely lose the respect and following that they’ve cultivated over their modern history.  Let them live up to that long-held slogan once again, The Ultimate Driving Machine.

Maybe the PR department was right.  Maybe this really is the dawn of a “fresh design language” for BMW.  Let’s hope so.

Feb
16

In light of recent Toyota troubles, I would like to highlight a time in which Toyotas were what Toyotas are supposed to be.  This was also a time in which Volkswagens did not look like Toyotas, a Mercedes was worth the price of entry, and BMWs were still BMWs, not whatever the eff they’ve become today, but I digress…(much more on these subjects someday)…

Just one part of Your Ty’s (my grandmother’s) legacy: 1987 Toyota Camry with 44k miles, in the preferred tan/brown color combination. Simple, peppy, spacious, 34mpg. Why can’t anyone build a car like this anymore? (Especially in tan and brown?!)

Feb
02

I’m about to get serious about the “where to live next” search but GOSH have I set myself up with a lot of rules from the get go.  I’ve been living alone now for almost two years and really have grown accustomed to it, so, roommates are out.  Which makes things easier and more difficult at the same time.  Whatever, I highly recommend any of my friends who might read this to try it out if they haven’t yet.  It makes things simpler.  And I’m 27 and I’m single.  So maybe I want to be able to work on a science project1 at 2am on a weeknight….or…whatever else those of us do who don’t have girlfriends and do not play networked video games.

I’m at home in the ‘burbs now.  But that will change.  I want to be here again:

A-T-L-A-N-T-A

Or here:

Reflecting pool @ First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston

Because Michael McDonald is on the stereo right now.  And that’s a problem.  But I put it on it’s automatic.  One of the other conundrums about living alone:  Michael McDonald is allowed at anytime, because anytime is my time, Spicoli.  And then Michael McDonald leads into Lionel Richie and the world is once again in balance.  Somehow I’ve grown a Walter Becker situation in the span of two songs.

[um, I know…my talents are going to waste]

Actually, what I’m getting around to is that I want to be somewhere that I can walk to somewhere else.  But I don’t want to do it and have the trade-off where I have to live like a college student.  This makes me think about making more money.  Which inevitably leads me to thinking about making more money while not working that much harder.  Which wouldn’t be…hard?  Basic problem #2.

I want a garage2.  I want a kitchen that’s not the same size as the bathroom.  I would like for heating and air conditioning systems to work as they are expected to work.  I want all this:  because I want what I currently have.  But just not here.  But I can only afford all that here so, shoot.

(Jeffrey Osborne’s Stay With Me Tonight…let that bass guitar do some talkin’)

Compromises:  Crappy house/downtown city life.  Shoebox apartment/the same.  Nice place/nowhere.

Compromise of said compromises:  Decent place/a little bit out of the city center.  That’s what I’m trying to find right now.  Well, what I’m about to try to find.  Because, in review, my issues right now are:

  • uncontrollable Michael McDonald crooning after dark
  • I want more money but wish I didn’t have to work at it

And what I’ve learned from this is that yeah, things are gonna be alright.  And I’m thankful for that.

1,2 Science projects and garages go hand-in-hand and usually involve trying to make two things that are inherently incongruous to become not so.  Example:  rack amplifier in the glove compartment.  Example:  1″ reel-to-reel machine where the kitchen table should be.  Example:  internal combustion Lego engine.

Jan
29

I am a lazy person.  I am a procrastinator.  I have problems with my attention span.  So, when something new (shiny or not) comes along and I feel diverted, diverted is where I say, until I’m diverted to the next thing.  I’m very good at 90%.  I was a 90% student in school and that seemed like all that was possible.  It’s ingrained.  But that doesn’t always work too well in blog format if that missing tenner involves falling off a cliff completely.  This is not meant to expressly apologize to any of my loyal readers; it’s a part of who I am and I’m working on it but it makes me…more of…myself, which isn’t always the greatest for those attempting to follow my bloggy-style.

So.  Here are some new rules:

  • In order to do this more often and not feel like it is such a damn project every time I log in, I won’t be editing my posts to the nth degree like I used to.  If that’s possible.  Crap.  I just re-did that first paragraph three times.  We’ll see.
  • Not so many posts about things, buying things, wanting things, etc, from here on out.  It’s cool but it shouldn’t be defining.
  • Get outside of myself more often.  Read other stuff that people are writing and get myself involved in the conversation.  I’m very, very good at staying in the corner.  But when I’m out of it, I’m also quite good at being elsewhere in the room.

That said, enough of the meta.  Here’s what’s been up lately, condensed:

I’ve moved twice.  From Atlanta to a house that I was supposed to buy in Marietta which turned out to be a nightmare and fell through and I’m not particularly up for talking about, to my grandmother’s former house right off the Marietta square.  Holding down the fort there for the next few months and pondering what to do next.  And it’s a lovely fort.  I have until May to decide whether to move back to the ATL, which looks increasingly likely, or go elsewhere, which looks somewhat likely.  Marietta is no longer an option, however.  It’s a charming hometown but it’s just…time to commit myself to something else for awhile.

I’ve fallen back on photography a bit, for two reasons:  a) I felt like I was close to burning myself out or up with it back in the summertime, and b) with everything else that’s happened in the past six months it has had to take a back seat anyway.  But, I have some interesting projects coming up in the next few months that I’ll be sharing.

I’ve been in a sort of limbo with some other things but am making a major push at self-betterment.  That means new jobs, new places, new learning.  And, once again, I’d like to share some of that.

I’ve been reading some new internets to catch me up.  Here are a few that I find particularly inspiring:

  • ProLost.  All that is innovative in modern video capture, especially when considering the new breed of DSLR’s that support HD video.
  • HD for Indies.  Ditto.
  • Paleo Future.  Oh my god, if anyone ever wants to know what gets me going in my mindgrapes, it’s reading about past interpretations of the future, in the present.

Huh.  Those top two were video-related.  Yeah, I’ve been thinking about getting back into that a lot more lately.  More to come.

And WOW!  I feel fulfilled right now and this post only took a fraction of what I used to dedicate!  It might be proportionately worse, I dunno…but I’ll leave that up to you.  Speak soon.

May
12

My internet is slower than death. The ancient wiring in my building does not allow for much of a DSL connection, and limits me to near dial-up modem speeds on the upload stream, i.e., SLOW for photo uploads to Flickr. So, while I wait on all that, here’s one thing that’s going on with me lately:

I went with some (actually, a whole lot) of folks to my friend Jamie’s hunting property in Butler, GA this weekend. His family has a killer 2500-acre spread used for hunting, trail riding, sod farming, and logging. Four square miles gives you a lot of room to do whatever you want! What I wanted to do, other than shoot some guns and set in the crick a little, was to capture a sort of “family portrait” of our close friends who regularly make the trip down south. We were missing a few key figures to the Butler establishment this weekend, but managed to get in some good times and good photos nonetheless. And yes, the title of this post is a West Wing reference, but it also is how I feel every time I’m down on the farm.

I filled my trunk with the Speedotrons, and put them to use for the first time in an outdoor setting. Actually, I discovered some frustrating limitations with my lighting setup this weekend, but more on that in a second. I also packed the entirety of my digital camera gear, including that neat new little Canon point ‘n shoot I talked about in the last post. If you’re a Flickr friend of mine you can see a video or two that I shot with it that I feel gives a little taste of what goes on down there.

So, Saturday night I set up some strobes around the front of the main cabin and with a little help rounded everyone up for a portrait shoot:

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We tried a couple of different things, but the primary goal was to a) get everyone in to a tighter group shot on the front porch as above and b):

_MG_9110

Do something a little more casual. Candid-ish, but totally posed. Wider (wide wide 16mm) angle.  Oh, and that’s Jamie in yellow at the center of both photos. I’m just to his right. You might have to click through on the photos to see what’s going on…I know, they’re awfully small in blog view.

The cool thing about these is that most of my friends didn’t require much direction; we are all pretty comfortable in front of the camera as a group so it mostly came down to getting everyone in frame and as much out of the shadows as possible…more on that in a minute too. My film-school friend Mike Copponex remarked that it looked a bit like a shoot for some kind of TV show about relationships…like something you’d see on a dvd cover for an ABC drama series…or a spread for a lifestyle magazine…or maybe not. I don’t know, I just like the results, especially considering how little time we had to set it up.

Little time, not because we were on a schedule or anything, but more because I wanted to get something in around dusk and had been lazy and not started setting up until, um, around dusk. After conferring with Mike for a couple of minutes, the lighting setup that we ended up running with was two bare Speedo heads on stands with 7″ reflectors at around 45 degrees camera left and right, and a third head with the 16″ reflector firing up at the ceiling of the porch from behind the crowd. The intent of the third strobe was to have a central light for background separation, but it looks a little funny to me. Both were taken at ISO 200, f/6.3, and at slower shutter speeds of 1/15th and 1/8th second, respectively, to pick up a bit of the ambient light.  Canon 5D, 16-35mm f/2.8L lens.

Further technicalities, which you may skip if you’d like:

The biggest reason behind this particular choice of lighting setup was that it was about the only one that could be made, considering my equipment. Bare heads were essential as I only have 800 watt-seconds of power coming from my pack, and that had to be divided by three: the camera left and right strobes were at 300ws, with the one on the porch at 200. It is not the ideal ratio for shadow detail but I wanted an even swath of light across the front of the house. I had a fourth head that I would’ve liked to use as an on-axis fill to rid some of the faces of hard, linear, annoying shadows, but I had no way to set it up near the camera…I was flat out of power cables.  You can see one running across the grass.

And that, friends, is what I’ve decided is the number one drawback to my current strobe system: I have only one power pack, and all the cords from the strobes have to run back to it. I could buy some more extension cables, but at nearly $100 apiece, I’m thinking I might be better off with saving up and just buying another pack. Or a monolight or two. Or not at all; I don’t do this kind of stuff often enough (much less get paid for it often enough right now) to justify. This is one more reason why I need to get on this as more of a job than a hobby!

Why not throw your Canon speedlight on the top of the camera and use that for fill, you might ask. Well, that’s the second stumbling block with my gear. I have a rather archaic hotshoe-mounted infrared transmitter that fires off the Speedos, but doesn’t allow for attachment of anything else on-camera. Plus, the sync between the speedlight and the Speedos would be a bit off even if I could. As a side note, I’ve definitely noticed that the IR transmitter I have is too slow to support my camera’s 1/200th sync speed; there’s a bit of dark banding at the bottom (or I guess the left side if the camera is oriented for portrait framing) of the images I take with full-speed sync. I usually have to back down to 1/160th, or 1/125th to be safe.

The reason for writing that last paragraph is to further talk myself into a pair of those new Pocket Wizards! They will solve all my problems and more, I just know it!

As this is becoming a sob story about what I do and do not have, let me just say that I wouldn’t have any of the big strobe gear if my dad hadn’t bought it several years ago and subsequently left it to collect dust in his basement. He does that sometimes, and I can reap the benefits sometimes. So, yeah, I really shouldn’t complain about a free four-head Speedotron Black Line system, whether I’m missing some pieces or not. I can sure do a lot with it as is!

I suppose, then, that the best option moving forward with gear is to stick to the brand that I already have a bunch of stuff for (reflectors, softboxes, cords, etc) when I consider expansion. That means I’m gonna be a Speedotron man for the foreseeable future, and that’s not a bad thing.

Back to something less dorky:

I’m really happy with the results of the shoot, all things considered. If I had had more time I probably would’ve been able to fix some of the issues that I see in the photos, namely the hard shadows on some faces and the kind of iffy effect of that third strobe firing up at the porch ceiling. Live and learn! Speaking of learning, check back soon for a companion post about photographing the main event of the weekend…

Also, be sure to check out my Flickr feed for more photos from this shoot!

Also also, thanks to David Hobby and his Strobist 101 for teaching me a lot about this stuff lately.

May
06

Well, in a seemingly incongruous move, at least insomuch as my normal rhetoric on the subject goes, I picked up a tiny point-n-shoot digital the other day, the Canon SD780is.  Available in a variety of colors, but I tend to agree with Mr. Ford that the only acceptable one is black.

It’s incongruous because I don’t like lots of megapixels crammed onto small camera sensors, and this camera certainly does that: 12.1 effective MP on a 1/2.3″ CCD.  That’s about the same resolution as my 5D but on a sensor 1/5 the size.  Yes, there are noise issues.  Yes, the camera does squeeze the photos it takes down to 3MB jpegs at the highest quality setting.  But, I’m not using this thing for gallery prints.  I’m using it for:

  • My day job, which now wants me to take photos of the interiors of every house I see so as to provide additional content for our website, which no, I’m not giving you a link to, and to put certain homes on Craigslist.  I certainly don’t need 12 megapixels for this, so scaling down the photos to something tiny won’t allow you to see all that noise.  Don’t worry, I know this is still a good opportunity to learn more about shooting interiors with an SLR, so I’ll be doing some of that too.  Just not all of it.
  • Friend photos.  I like having a camera when I go out with friends, but I don’t necessarily like that camera to be the 5D.  I wanted something pocketable for those times when I simply want nice little memories (or buzzy memories).  It’s easy to spill things on the 5D, I’ve done it a couple times now.  The iPhone doesn’t have a flash.
  • The fact that it’s pocketable!  I can have a somewhat decent camera on me at all times!  Especially useful for those times when I want to take a snapshot or some other kind of reminder of places to revisit with more gear.
  • The image stabilization.  The following are one-second and 1/8th second hand-held exposures, respectively; although the subject matter isn’t particularly interesting it still made for kind of cool photos:

img_0074

img_0067-1

Oh yeah, it also shoots 720p video.  That’s pretty neat.  As soon as I have a quicker connection to upload something to Vimeo, I’ll show you all a little test run.

May
04

I don’t know what’s been up with me today.

The easiest way to put it is that, basically, I’ve felt like I’m a bit lacking in motivation lately.  I feel uneasy about the future and the direction I want to take, because even though I can oftentimes see what I want to do, or be, or accomplish, I let the vast number of possibilities and paths overwhelm.  Yeah, I know what I want, but how to get there…that’s a good question.

I’m pretty fortunate, really.  I have a very cushy (maybe not financially speaking, but flexibility speaking, at least) job right now, one that is quite comfortable and allows free time to explore my other interests.  That is to say, I’m not very interested in my day job, despite its perks.  I’d love to think that someday I’ll be a full-time photographer, working for myself, but once again…so many paths!  So many options.  One problem I know I have is that I never to miss out on anything because I’m doing something else.  Whatever “something else” may be.  I don’t wanna miss out on the big picture by getting trapped into tangents, which is kind of what I think happened to my dad.  Please, I would like a bolt of lightning to strike and show me how to go about it all.  Right now.  But that doesn’t happen too much.

I’m also pretty fortunate to have who I have in my life.  I’m close with some really great people, and honestly, those relationships are more important to me than making a bunch of money or anything else.  Four years ago, upon graduating from college, I thought quite differently, but now I know that I’ll be happy as long as I can share my experiences with those that I care about.  No matter what else.  My best friend often says “it doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with”.  I agree completely.  Does that really happen though?  There’s been a bit of drifting amongst friends in the past year or so, something that I told myself would never happen, but also something that the older and wiser around me said absolutely would.  So will I be happy in the long run?  Wow, how rhetorical…

Photography is all about experiences.  It’s about being there for the experience, and it’s about recording it as honestly as you can, as honestly as you personally see it, using the tools you’ve got, eyes translated to lens and viewfinder.  At least that’s how I see it…with my…eyes.  My ultimate hope is to combine the two:  life experience and career.  I say that that would make me happy–who wouldn’t be happy making a career out of their life experience–too often it winds up being the other way around.  But, I guess if one of those components isn’t a happy one then it will inevitably drag down the other.  Ugghh, this is a circle of thought that leads me back to RESTLESSNESS.

The decisions that must be made to break the circle are pretty big ones, I think.  Move out of this place for somewhere cheaper but not as convenient.  Stay in Atlanta or move elsewhere.  Sell the car to make the move, or be homeless and on the road for a while.  Try to make it on my own or look for work underneath someone.  Put it all on hold and go back to school.  Follow or not.  One option that is apparently not on the table is to settle.  I think that’s a good thing.  There’s more to it than just this, but it’s just for me.

I’ll make ’em, I know I will.  This is probably a bit over the cliff from my usual blogging, but, that’s how I feel right now.  I’ll be back later.

Apr
29

I wanted to take at least a second and report that I’ve successfully completed my first product shoot.  I’ve been working with Fontis, a great local bottled water company, for a month or two on and off now to provide them with some new product shots for their revamped website.  Admittedly, shooting products on white was a learning process for me, and, well, fixing my mistakes in Photoshop afterwards was also a bit of a learning process…or maybe a reflection that I just need to learn some more:

fontis-1

That was one of the “before” images.  I lit them with my Speedotron Blackline system (a recent acquisition from my dad; obviously I’m still learning) with three lights total powered by an 805 pack:  a small softbox about 45 degrees camera left for the key and a medium softbox at about the opposite angle camera right, along with the third strobe on the backround through my largest softbox, about a 24×48 incher.  The background itself isn’t seamless white paper (didn’t have any of this at the time) but rather a very large white sheet that will probably find better use as a silk from now on.  I call this/these “before” images, as in before I had to go back in and draw clipping paths around the products in every photo to knock out the background to get a pure white, like this:

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Maybe if I’d read Zack Arias’s excellent tutorial about lighting against a white background before the shoot this would have all gone more smoothly.  Even though the cut-out versions worked pretty well, there’s no kind of cool shadow or reflection as in Zack’s examples.  But hey, Fontis was happy and I got some new experience out of it; can’t wait to give it my next go!

Apr
22

After a brief vacation-ish stint to Las Vegas, I’m back in the ATL and I’m, well, quite glad to be.

Went out there for a friend’s three-day-long bachelor party and had a really good time, but I gotta say, Vegas just ain’t my kind of town.  I like going to cities to explore…to take them in…and this one just wants to take you in, it seems.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots to do if you have lots of money, and/or if you are willing to lose lots of said money, but I’m not really in a position these days to do that.  Time to find more work!  Make some more dough!  Those are the thoughts that ran through my head all weekend, aside from the “wow, she really is wearing that/I’m only gonna buy one of these $22 drinks/why is it so impossible to sleep?” thoughts that permeated my time there.

I packed up and went out there with one carry-on bag, filled with some clothes and a pretty bare-bones photo kit that barely got used.  For shame.  Seems as if the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mentality was pretty prevalent among my friends and therefore very few opportunities for snapping pics arose.  There was one good one though:

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Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park.  I mentioned in my last post that I was gonna try and have a 10-year reunion with this hike, and fortunately we were able to get out of town the first day and do it.  Good thing too; I’m not sure we would’ve had the energy/patience/wits about us had we done it later on.  I was gonna go all Strobist and lug my flash and some off-camera lighting accessories up with us, so as to avoid pictures like this:

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…where you don’t get very good fill lighting from the 2pm sun alone, but, after seeing what we were going to have to climb to reach the summit I decided otherwise.  I wasn’t much liking the idea of dropping a nearly-new 580exII off a thousand-foot cliff:

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…while trying to hold it in one hand and taking the 5D it was attached to in the other hand down with it.  Nope, not gonna do it.  It was really windy, and I have questionable balance sometimes anyway so I really needed to be holding onto that chain.  All that said, I still managed to bang my camera against rocks more than a couple times, but thankfully no harm done.  In the end I still got some good shots that you’ll be able to see on Flickr a little later tonight.  And boy, was it beautiful!  Just like I remember, but I think the weather was even better this time around.

A little note on taking photos this time:  last time I was there, I had an Olympus OM-1 with semi-working exposure meter and I believe a 24mm lens.  With film you can’t see what you just shot until (in the case of this hike) you’re gone (duh).  But you know what?  In those conditions, with bright sunlight and few places to step into shadow, the LCD on the back of my DSLR camera doesn’t really help out too much.  I mean, it proves that the picture was taken, but it really doesn’t say too much about what the final product’s gonna be like, except a histogram that shows whether or not you’re in range (and I am trying my best to trust the histogram but it’s hard sometimes!…plus it’s really small on the image review screen; I don’t think there’s a way to change the size on the 5D).  I took a lot more shots with the exposure-lock function than I’m used to doing because of exactly this, even though I wasn’t really moving the camera around all that much.  I’m sure the newer models have better screens that are more usable in hard light, but, there will be no new models for me for a while.  The point is that I read a really excellent post from Doug Menuez’s blog the other day titled “The Zen of Film vs. Digital Gratification” in which he was talking about trying not to rely on that LCD screen so much these days.  “That LCD is crack”, says he.  I think I get what he’s saying a little, although I’m nowhere near his level of expertise and really, really, do feel like I need a hit or two to learn more about the craft.  Or maybe not.  Film guys learning the craft 10 years ago (which I kind of tried to be) didn’t have this luxury.  If the exposure’s right it’s right and what you need to be concentrating on is composition.  Conversely, you can see your composition in the viewfinder before the shot so you should also be concentrating on getting that exposure right…being able to “know” it.  I can pop off about 350 RAW images before my memory card fills, so a shot-by-shot review shouldn’t be necessary.  Even so, I’ve got a lot to learn.

As for the rest of the Vegas trip, yeah, I’ve got a couple of other things that I’ll post to Flickr as well but nothing that I feel is blog-worthy.  So yes, what happens, stays.

Apr
11

Ok.  So, all that stuff I talked about before happened.  Which brings us to ~mid-summer 1997.  I got home from family vacation, bought a couple Popular Photography magazines, and started learning some basics.  I think I also bought or was given one of those all-encompassing how-to-be-a-photographer books, with lots of poorly printed black and white images from the 70’s as illustrations. I learned about some things like frame composition, the rule of thirds, what an f-stop is, the difference between slide and print films and their respective speeds and grains, etc.  I suddenly had big dreams….

I knew that my dad had a bag full of camera gear, and that only about half of it was ever used.  So, I thought, why not try and learn to use the other half?  The other half was an Olympus OM-1 SLR and a handful of Zuiko lenses, most notably the 24mm (wide-angle), the 35 (kind of wide angle), and 85mm (kind of telephoto, for portraits).  All had a maximum aperture of f/2, so they were fast lenses that could be used in low light, or to create a shallow depth of field, perfect!  Read on! Read the rest of this entry »