Green Eggs and Ham

iPhone 4S, Instamatic app

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!  Our boys are two of your greatest fans!  (I just might be one too…)

In honor of this day I cooked green eggs and ham for breakfast.  My DSW gave me the idea, and I used one drop of food coloring per egg to achieve the scrambled hue you see above.

(Our boys have only seen this unnatural shade of green before in cake frosting and poked at the eggs hoping that I had given them dessert first.  Sorry to dissapoint.)

Feature Shoot is one of my favorite blogs for discovering photographers.  It just so happens that some of their recent galleries might feel at home inside a Dr. Seuss book:

Doesn’t it looks like the Cat in the Hat might live in one of these tree hotel rooms?

I think the Once-ler might have modeled his thneed factories after these Yugoslavian monuments, for which he harvested truffula trees from large tree farms.

Impossible architecture is commonplace in Dr. Seuss’s works, and these dreamlike environments would fit well inside any of the buildings.

Otherworldy landscapes also abound, including macro environments for the Whos.

Hmm, maybe I am not the only photographer inspired by Dr. Suess…

P.S.  It looks like the sakura are blooming in Japan already.

Jazzing It Up

Nikomat FTN, Nikkor C 35/2 O.C, Ilford HP5 Plus via dr5 reversal process

Back in August we attended a jazz concert by some friends of ours, this gig happened to be at a local church courtyard.  Part way through the concert an elderly lady was assisted to sit in the chair in front of me, and I thought her woven hat and silk shirt made for a nice foreground subject.

The trumpet player in the background isn’t quite as well defined as I would have liked, but I still think the lady, the musician and the tree round out the composition nicely.

I shot this with my old Nikomat FTN SLR and (then newly purchased) manual Nikkor 35mm lens.  I love shooting with a “normal” 50mm lens, but I find in tighter quarters a 35mm focal length is more flexible with its slightly greater angle of view and depth of field.

A few things of note (and very retro ones at that):

Nikkor C 35/2 O.C

Fork in the Path

Nikon D300, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

One of my 2012 resolutions is to share my photos more, and one of the old fashioned ways to do this is via prints.  Putting photos up on the wall is an easy way to start conversations with visiting friends and family.

I took this photo while on a business trip to Oslo, Norway in October 2010.  We were walking through the Royal Palace park on the way to dinner when I snapped this shot of my co-workers proceeding down the path.

I had it printed by Mpix shortly thereafter and swapped it into a frame we already had.  However, the previous picture was a vertical shot and the wire mounting was not setup for hanging horizontal.  As I sometimes do (ahem…) I put is aside and forget about it.

My wife discovered it hiding (in plain site…) on top of a cabinet the other day, so I finally got off my behind, re-attached the wire for horizontal placement and hung it on a wall in our house.

Maybe I can rotate a few other new prints through the house soon, this time taking less than a year to hang them up!

Hello 2012!

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105mm AF, Fuji Velvia

My goodbye to 2011 featured a sunset I shot a few years ago at a beach in Garrapata State Park, California.  For this hello to 2012 I reached even further back in my archive of slides to a sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Hawaii.

Here are my photographic resolutions for 2012.  These are not goals to try to achieve and then forget, but rather changes in my day-to-day activities that I hope to make permanent.

Streamline: This may just mean a few simple changes to my workflow, but I spend too much time scanning and processing images these days.  I need to leverage more lab scanning services as well as reconsider the process and tools I use to go from film to final image.

Share: I started building a Flickr presence last year and have flirted with other sites.  But I need to better leverage the various sites, communities, etc. to get my photos out there and even critiqued as well as work with my DSW to update our portfolio.

Engage: I need to be more active in the photo blogosphere and forums, become part of the online photography community.  Especially the film-shooting folks, as we need to stick together and keep our interest alive and well!

Hopefully the resolutions above should help me focus more on the creative and social aspects of photography.

What are your photographic goals or resolutions for 2012?

Goodbye 2011, Thanks for the Good Times

Nikon F100, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Fuji Velvia 50

Last year was a great year!  I have many things to be grateful for in my life, most notably my Dear Sweet Wife, our lovely two boys, and the rest of our family and friends.

2011 was a tremendous year of growth and wonderful experiences for us all.

Our older son entered first grade and took on new interests such as tennis, piano, and even film photography (no influence there, ahem).

Our 3-year-old graduated to solo swimming lessons, conquered potty training, and also took some photos with our cameras (with our permission or not!).

And somewhere in between my DSW and I managed to squeeze in some date nights, going out to dinner in restaurants without crayons or seeing movies that weren’t G rated.

Photographically speaking for me 2011 wasn’t a bad year either.   I rediscovered my love of film photography and started playing around with vintage film cameras and new formats such as instant pack film.

This blog was a big step for me, to encourage myself to both keep shooting as well as write about my experiences.  In some ways I feel like I am still just getting started, while in others I feel I have achieved a lot in my first posts.

But enough about last year… it is time to look forward to this new year 2012!  I am excited about what it may have in store for me and my family, and will share my resolutions soon.

Christmas Preparations in Full Swing

Nikon F6, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Fuji Velvia 100F

Here is another shot from that first roll I put through my F6.  I liked the creamy tones on this classic car, and at full magnification you can see a lot of detail in the reflections on the bumper… even I am in there if you look closely.

I have been busy with our family’s Christmas preparations the last week or two.  But we have moved from buying gifts to starting to wrap and ship them, so I feel like we have turned the corner.

A few things I have been reading online:

I have been following Amanda Gilligan’s Mocking Bird blog lately and dig her style of photography.  I empathize with her motivations to continue shooting film which she describes in an article on Daniella Marie’s A Lifestyle Blog.

My house is overflowing with Legos and I have wondered if I could put some to use for a photo test pattern.  My DSW pointed me to Cary Norton’s Legotron Mark I 4×5 camera which was a much more ambitious project.

Dan Domme is experimenting with some alternative printing processes (ex. carbon printing via UV light) and has a very brief primer post about how he is going about getting into it all.

And in terms of what I have been up to lately photographically, mostly just pumping a few rolls of Ilford XP2 Super and Kodak Portra 400 though my Rollei B 35.  I do have a new toy (I often do!) to go with it which is a Nikon SB-30 flash.

The SB-30 was released in 2002 and is I believe Nikon’s smallest Speedlight ever.  It has a non-TTL automatic mode where the flash measures the reflected light itself to match your desired exposure level for your current aperture.

It is probably the only flash with that feature that is still (barely) smaller than the Rollei itself.

Back to the Christmas prep work… Can’t wait for the holiday to actually get here!

Down the Slide Redux

Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8

Here is my same son from two posts ago, but on a different slide and of course shot on a different camera.

We hit Happy Hollow today, both my sons and I.  They had a blast, as always, running around and playing to their heart’s content.

Our younger son was a bit behind on his rest this weekend.  When we got home around 4PM I tucked him in for a late nap and he said “Goodnight Daddy…”.

He is still sleeping in there as of nearly 9PM.  Either he is out for the night (I hope!) or he is going to be up at 4AM asking to watch the Cars 2 rental we have from Netflix.

I shot today digital with the D300, using my 24mm and 50mm prime lenses which are equivalent to 36mm and 75mm focal lengths due to the camera’s smaller sensor.

I am still running Windows Vista on my desktop, which does not recognize my vertical shots as such.  I tried using Downloader Pro under its demo license to dump the images from my flash card to my PC and perform loss-less JPEG rotations in the process.

It worked like a charm, my vertical shots came through as verticals wether viewed in Windows, Photoshop, or uploaded to Flickr.  Downloader Pro seemed to have a number of other interesting features so I will explore it some more before paying for the full version.

Halloween in Available Light

Nikon D300, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G

I hope all you out there celebrating Halloween had a great time on Monday!  We certainly had a blast in our household.

Our six-year-old dressed up as a “stealth ninja” (not just any old ninja he is quick to say).  And our three-year-old went as a wizard, a home-made costume created by my DSW 4-years ago for our older son.  They both had matching glowing blue swords, because, well, don’t ninjas and wizards need them?

I actually had trick-or-treating in mind when I rented a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens for the week.  I considered shooting film initially, but then decided I was foolish to pass on our DSLR’s low-light ability and immediate feedback.

The angle-of-view was a bit tight using this lens on our D300 due to the smaller sensor crop factor, but it still worked out.  I never had to backup further than the curb to nicely frame each home’s walkway and front door where the eager kids had buckets outstretched.

A friend who was out with us commented on how good my pictures looked, and how natural the flash lighting was.  Then I reminded her I wasn’t using flash and she was quite amazed.

Most shots worked with available light @ ISO 800 to 1600 and still keeping around 1/50 shutter and an aperture between f/1.4-2.8.

I am a bit more tempted by this lens now that I have used it in very low-light situations.  Hopefully I can shoot something else with it before I have to return it on Friday.

And a big congratulations to my DSW on her blog’s 600th post!  Quilt Otaku is going strong after nearly five years.

Jedi Cross Processed

Nikomat FTN, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 P, Kodak E100G cross processed

The second roll of cross processed film I just scanned was taken at about the same time as the first, back in June.  However, instead of classic cars at Fuddruckers it mostly contained Jedi at Legoland.

Well to be honest storm troopers, droids, and even wookies are well represented too.  They had just setup a bunch of new displays of Star Wars themed Lego scenes in their Miniland and I couldn’t resist taking some pictures with selective focus to keep the miniature feel.

As far as the photos go, this roll of Kodak E100G cross processed seems to me to have slightly more natural colors than the previous roll of E100GX.  I see a trend here which is the films which are more saturated when processes normally (ex. E100VS) are also more saturated and have a greater color shift when cross processed.

Note that I am using the auto white level feature in my scanning software Vuescan which to some extent counters the cross processing effect.  I think for most shots (especially with people) the raw or neutral color setting produces too wild a result, so I prefer reigning in the cross processing effect a bit.

Bel Air Cross Processed

Nikomat FTN, Nikkor 35mm f/2 OC, Kodak E100GX cross processed

Believe it or not almost four months later I am still working on scanning my box of shame.  I have been making progress on it, but also have been shooting plenty of new film.  I think (or hope…) my “backlog” is gradually dimishing.

I just scanned two rolls of cross-processed slide film which I shot back in June on my Nikomat FTN.  These were only the 2nd and 3rd times I had tried cross processing, the first being a roll I shot on Kodak E100VS back in March.

The above shot was taken at the Lake Forest, CA Fuddruckers regular Tuesday night classic car rally.  For this roll I cross processed Kodak E100GX which is normally less saturated than the VS.  I think this holds true for cross processing as well, as my earlier roll seemed to have deeper greens and reds.

But I like the metallic sheen in this shot, I think it worked for this Bel Air.

More next time on the second roll…