Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dreaming in Monochrom(e): Plank Stompers and Woodshedders at the Opera House

I haven't posted anything to this series in a while. I think that further affirms that I made the right decision in holding off on purchasing a Leica M Monochrom. While I know it's an amazing camera, spectacular even, I don't want to be limited to black and white only in a camera that's such an investment.
I am still enjoying shooting black and white film in my M4-2, however. Here are some shots from a recent concert of my friends the Plank Stompers and The Woodshedders. All were shot on Ilford Delta 3200 with the Leica M4-2 and Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 lens.
Here's one that I especially like of the audience enjoying the sounds:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sad Day - Rene Burri Passes On

Image Source:
Rene Burri, Magnum photographer who took the most famous images of Che Guevara, died on Monday, October 20, 2014, at the age of 81.
(Click Here) to read more on Leicaphilia.
Referring to my new book Magnum Contact Sheets, the section about Burri's shoot with Guevara in Havana, Cuba in 1963 recounts the experience. Burri says that Che would not allow him to open the blinds to get more light. Shooting with his Leica M3, Burri said it was remarkable that Guevara never looked at him, which is apparent in the three rolls of film displayed in the contact sheets. He was embroiled in an interview with Laura Berquist from Look magazine. Shot over two hours, the total of 84 shots (two rolls of 24 exposures, one of 36) show Guevara's animation and passion about his beliefs.
Burri also comments about the odd experience of purchasing t-shirts with his own image of Guevara on them.
Sorry to see him go, but Burri left an amazing record for us to study and learn from.

Monday, October 20, 2014

RoidWeek #2, 2014 - This Week!

I just found out about this. RoidWeek, which is a celebration of instant photography, starts today and goes through Friday. The event welcomes any instant film shots, but not digital facsimiles of them. They don't have to be Polaroid.
I read about it on Snap It | See It. (Click Here) to see the post. Inside, you'll find a link to the flickr page where you can submit images.
Importantly, images need to be taken this week, and the "week" is only five days, this Monday through Friday.
I'm going to have to load up my Polaroid (or Polaroid back for my MUP) and get some weekday shots to post.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Miho Kajioka's "Hello October" on burn.

Sometimes, I love simple images. In my own work, I tend toward more complicated compositions. In fact, I think I need to stretch and do a project of simple images.
Here's one by Miho Kajioka, posted on burn. magazine's site. David Alan Harvey is the curator of burn.
Hello October, by Miho Kajioka
Image Source:
(Click Here) to go and see burn.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sometimes it Takes a Tragedy to Make Us Appreciate Things - Yukari Chikura Documents Japanese Tradition

Image Source:
Yukari Chikura is a female Japanese photographer. Trained as a musician, after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, she turned her focus to documenting the traditions passed down through generations in Japan.
(Click Here) to read about Yukari on the NY Times blog, Lens.
Now for all of my photographer friends out there, something sobering. Yukari has only been photographing for two years.
How do we maintain the clarity and urgency that a disaster can give us in life? Surely we don't have to keep experiencing them for that to happen?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Studio Shoot with Musician Danny Knicely

Danny Knicely is one of the most productive and talented musicians I know. Danny is a mandolinist, violinist, guitarist, and I'm sure capable on instruments I haven't listed here. He's a member of Furnace Mountain Band, one of the best I know.
(Click Here) to see one of my posts on Danny, where he led a mandolin workshop with other legends Sam Bush and Drew Emmitt.
A few weeks back, I was thrilled to get a message from him, asking if I could help in making some promotional images for him. He wanted some images of himself to use in promoting his latest effort, a CD called "Waltz for Aimee." He also wanted some images of his classic guitar collection, including several Martin guitars, much older than either he or I.
Of course I was happy to oblige, and decided to rent a local photo studio for the project. I've had an increase in requests for this type of work recently, and hope to see that continue. I really enjoy it.
Anyway, here are a few of my favorite shots from the photo session.
I shot all of these with my Nikon D700 and prime lenses. I mostly relied on the 50mm f1.4 AF-D and 85mm f1.8 AF-D lenses. Using a relatively simple three light setup, supplied with the studio, I feel that I did a decent job with balancing the lighting overall. Getting the hairlight right on the images with a black background is something I've learned from previous sessions. This time, I struggled somewhat with the relatively narrow backdrop, even with shooting just one person and his instruments. This would become more of an issue shooting a multi-person band. I also need to focus on lighting the backdrop better for the white background images. I believe it's important to learn something from every shoot.
That said, I'm satisfied overall with the outcome. It was really a pleasure to spend some time with Danny and help him to promote his excellent musical talents.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

You Know How They Say The Camera Doesn't Matter?

Well, based on this morning's browsing of the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord group on flickr, I don't buy it.
Ada, by flickr user Traveling Darkroom
Okay, I know, the photographer matters more than the camera. That is true. But there's an abnormally high frequency of great images in this particular group, if you ask me.
(Click Here) to judge for yourself.
Now, it could be the square image format that I happen to like. Or, it could be the different perspective that you can get with any twin lens reflex (TLR) or other camera that has a waist level finder. But, I think there may be more to it than that.
I went out with my Rolleiflex yesterday, and without seeing any results yet, feel more confident than usual that I got at least one or two great images. The film ships out to The Darkroom today, so we'll know in a couple of days.