Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Proud Prodigal Father

More bragging rights:  Prodigal Father is currently used as the group icon for Film - An Abstract Point of View in Flickr.

Diana F+, self-developed 120 film, composite, textured
The image is a composite of film and digital.  One shot was taken with the Diana F+.  I think I used a Kodak TMax 400.  The other image was taken with the Diana F+ plastic lens mounted on my Canon EOS Rebel XT.  I developed the film using generic chemicals (because I'm cheap).  Scanned the negative as Tiff file and imported it to Corel Paint Shop Pro X2.  The digital image was likewise imported to Corel.  Stock textures (I think I downloaded the textures from C-G Textures) were added for finishing touches.

Next to the Hurt, this image has been viewed hundreds of times.  It is probably my all-time fave.  Thanks for looking and for your support.  Cheers.

see also Flickr and RB.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Interesting what some not-so-scientific experiments will produce

I shot these with my first Canon L series.  Initially, I was disappointed with it.  I used it with my 60d and the 5d, both excellent camera bodies.  The test shot images paled in comparison with my Zeiss 35mm and 50mm even when I used the 135mm with a tripod and mirror lock. (The price I paid for each of the lens are comparable so I expected similar results.  Rude awakening.  They're not.) Then out of frustration I relegated the 135mm L to my crappy Rebel XT, which has a crop sensor of 8 mp. (I've banged this camera so many times and I've scratched the sensor while taking the dust off that I think at best it produces only 6 mp... heh... )I decided I was going to keep the lens because I don't like the hassle of shipping it back, and I thought maybe something magical may happen.  (I'm a closet Pollyana.)

One day, my cat was sunbathing by the window.  And the closest camera I could find was the crappy Rebel XT with the 135mm lens attached to it.  Smile for me Mr. Jerry Mew (that's his name).  Snap, snap, snap.  Reviewed what I shot on the viewfinder...  click, click, click until I saw this one thumbnail and I go... whoa... has my vision improved?  This has got to be one of the sharpest image this crappy camera ever produced.  I surmised that it must have been the combination of the light condition, the camera and the lens assuming all things being equal (they're not really as there are always going to be variables).

On one my our morning walks with the dog, I decided to take the camera with the 135mm for further testing.  I don't usually like to shoot with a long lens on walks as I find the images it produce too cropped. I placed the lens on top of the fence to stabilize the camera and shot these cows from a distance.  Again, I was amazed at the results. The color saturation was pleasing to the eye (at least for me).  One out of five shots was tack sharp.  This probably means that the blurry ones were due to operator error (heh).

I'll definitely keep this lens.

My initial conclusion?  Sometimes it's best to mix and match cameras and lenses.  At least, I think my experience seems to be validated by pro photographer Kirk Tuck (read his blog here).  This also tells me that we should not be afraid to experiment and break the "rules".  I am encouraged by this seemingly unexpected performance I get from my not-so-scientific experiments.  Good stuff.

Story behind the bovine moments: 

Having a Cow

Cow A:  "Wanna smoke a doobie?"
Cow B: " Dude, are you kidding or do you want this place to explode?"
Someone once said that cows are the least likeable subjects in art.  But  I felt that somebody has to do it.

 Hello Goodbye

Why would anybody be interested in looking at a photo of cows?  I don't know.  But I thought it interesting (at least for me) that every morning these cows greet us as my wife and I take the dog for a walk.  They are creatures of habit.  Whenever they miss us, they know something is not right.   I usually bring a camera whenever we go for a walk.  Just the other day, I decided to document our greeters.  In a few years, I anticipate that they will be gone as our little place here gets more suburbanized.  I'm just glad to see them while they are still here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why my work will never sell

For a number of times, I tried selling some of my work as stock images, and each time my work gets rejected.  Their reasons are these: poor lighting, unacceptable borders, no commercial value, not in focus or focus is not where they want it to be, autotracing (I have yet to figure out what that means), simple filters (I don't know what this means either) or artificial framing, poor or uneven lighting or shadows, white balance may be incorrect, noise, film grain, over-sharpening, or artifacts at full size.  I should be thankful.  Why?  Because I know that my work is not like everybody else.  This is why my work will never sell as stock images.  They are quite simply not to be considered as stock.

also in RB and Flickr

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lo-fi Tecniqiue No. 3: How I Shot Serendipity

Panasonic DMC LX-3 (Point & Shoot)
Getty Center, Los Angeles, California
This out of focus – in focus image was taken last Saturday at the Getty Center. Rose and I were just hanging outside the cafeteria. It was about 4:30 pm so the ambient lighting was golden…here in California, it is one of the best time of the year to shoot outdoor. I set my Panasonic DMC-LX3 Point & Shoot to work. The aperture was at f8 and iso 80, which meant I had to shoot at 1/8 or some slow speed to get a decent exposure. I did this so I can have the sharpest image on the non-moving elements, i.e. the building and any slow moving people, and at the same time have some motion blur of people moving across my line of fire. Normally, I would have used a neutral density filter to get down to a slower shutter speed but I figured that 1/8 was all I needed. The camera image stabilizer (IS) was off. Images usually appear sharper if you’re not shooting hand held (like when using a tripod) whenever the IS is off. Then, I just laid the camera on the table, adjusted it so I can have a background I want… had it focused on the building as my background… and then I just fired away as people walked past us. I think I only did about four shots when Rose got bored so we had to go. Fortunately, I got this one shot. I didn’t even notice the two men in focus until I uploaded the images to my PC. Now, this is serendipity.

see also RB and Flickr

Monday, November 15, 2010

Project 13

The logic behind Project 13:
1. Strike one match
2. Two Little Women
3. Three Bathers Jumping
4. Four Limbs
5. One apple + Four books = 5
6. Six Lemons (at least that was how I counted them)
7. Seven blurry chess pieces
8. This could go up to 8×1000 rpm
9. Cat has 9 lives
10. Ten o’clock somewhere in the brave new world
11. Eleven insignificant indulgences
12. Aged twelve years
13. She was 13 years old then

If this doesn’t make sense, I have no one to blame but myself but maybe this will. Thanks dear Vesna... puno osmeha i puno ljubavi… !!!

see also RB and Flickr

Friday, November 12, 2010

Can your point and shoot do this?

I think this is art.  Okay, I'm being facetious.  I have been a good boy so my wife allowed me to buy a point and shoot camera.  I reasoned that my daughter took my old one to Sydney.  I'm almost sure she wont return it (or perhaps I was hoping she wont).

Sorry to subject you to my silly test shots.  Taken with the Panasonic DMC-LX3 (it's literally a Leica made in Japan - the same identical parts except for the brand name).  Read Dpreview's camera review here.

see Flickr and RB for comments

Monday, November 08, 2010

Bourgeois Indulgence

This is how things look like after you have a couple of drinks.
No, it was not quite 5 o'clock yet.
I've been trying to avoid posting images that stem from self-indulgence and shameless self-promotion but I couldn't resist passing up in this one.  A few days ago, Rose got me a Carl Zeiss 35mm Distagon T*2 ZE for my birthday (it's still a few days away).  Used with the Canon EOS 5d, the results are amazing.  The images are tack sharp and has that signature Zeiss 3d quality.  This lens is top notch.  I didn't realize how mediocre my other lenses were.

I put the lens to a dummy photographer test.  In other words, I contrived a scenario that simulated a dummy photographer... akin to someone who would shoot with a professional equipment but not know what he's doing.

For the first test shot, I downed a couple of glasses of red wine.  I was working on my Maker's Mark when I set up the Canon 5d on the tripod.  Heck, I was feeling so good I didn't even bother to pour the bourbon on the right glass... I used the same wine glass (the wine purists are probably cringing).

The image I got was so sharp I had to blur the corners in post-processing. I concluded that a decent image such as this from someone who has had a few drinks was probably due to the lens and the camera. The besotted photographer could not take credit for this. I love this kind of lens test.

The second shot is a collage of magazine clippings I have posted in my office.  This time I didn't have a drink.  The challenge here was trying to get a sharp image across all corners despite the flatness of the subject.  I find that shooting a flat subject such as printed material, e.g. newspaper, text prints, quite challenging.  One always get some vignetting at the corners.  It's more obvious if the subject is flat in my experience.  Again, the Zeiss excelled here. I'm convinced.  I'm  replacing my EF lenses with Zeiss.

Thank you, Rose. (Oh, can anyone tell me how many birthdays can one have in a year?)

Note: No one was hurt in the above experiment. Everyone was willing to do it in the name of science.

see also RB and Flickr

Saturday, November 06, 2010

True Colors: Chapter 3

Only now
They show
When they’re about to fall
A true soul

No need
Any more
To create the shade
Greens fade

Jewels under the sky
The last cry

In my hand a fallen leaf
A moment brief

I go
Something is left unsaid
A drop of red

see other comments in Flickr and RB