I leave for Vancouver en route to Taipei in a few hours, and knowing that we'll be busy gorging ourselves on random fried and skewered mystery meats for the next 3 weeks, I thought I'd send out a year end closing note to you all a few days early. Wishing you all the best through this holiday season, and remember to spend some time thinking of those who are less fortunate than us.
And as a wrap up for the year, here's a mosaic of some of the stuff I photographed over the past 12 months.
I've been spending a great deal of time at Michael's (the arts and crafts store) lately. While I know they're the Galactic Empire of the art store universe, I can't justify paying 2x the prices at local art stores for supplies I will only use to make some crap art. So there we were again, 50% off couponing at Michael's, when I picked up a set of 12 tubes of watercolours for $3.66. I haven't played with watercolours in almost 10 years, and my clear lack of understanding of how to use them is evident in the piece below. But while it was a lesson in frustration last night, I did also enjoy the whole learning process.
I particularly like the subtle use of colour in her skin and lips, but do wish I could erase or at least lighten the dark blue shadows immediately next to her face.
Saturday morning. Check. Snow. Check. Sipping from the well of endless and unrelenting mediocrity. Check and check. I've been lost in a fog of photographic indifference and creative apathy for the past few weeks, unsure of how to escape, and unclear of what I want when I escape. So when we land in Taipei in a couple of weeks, I am going to strap my camera firmly to my face, and photograph the shit out of everything in sight... there's no better cure for a flatlining inspiration funk than exotic food, loud sounds and glimmering lights of a 7 million strong metropolitan area 6000 miles away.
In the meantime, we'll continue to muddle through the onset of winter (thankfully punctuated by the occasional fleeting scene of beauty despite the bleak cold and darkness)...
Taken off the front step of our house with the D300 and Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4. A couple of berries cling stubbornly to otherwise bare branches of the foliage.
It's one of those rare evenings where I actually have something important I should be doing. So naturally, I'm scanning a bunch of sketches I did the last couple of days and posting them to the internet instead of doing said important thing. I can't help it... me and procrastination are like Lindsay Lohan and jail. I. NEED. HELP.
Okay cameraphiles, time to get dirty - it's time for some CAMERA PORN! For non-camera enthusiasts, it's about to get really nerdy.
I got my latest camera this week, a Rolleiflex 2.8E TLR equipped with the legendary Carl Zeiss Planar lens. And while I've now got hundreds of rolls of film yearning to be exposed by this rugged twin lensed brute, it's far too fracking cold to heading outside for a photo walk. So instead, I present you with an alphabet soup of camera on camera on camera action... a TTV orgy, if you will. Told you it was going to get dirty/ nerdy.
First: TTV of a TLR, shot through the WLF of an SLR with a dSLR. Say WHAT?! In layman's terms, this threesome is a through-the-viewfinder shot of my Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera taken through the waist-level-viewfinder of my Kiev 88CM single lens reflex camera, with my Nikon D300 digital single lens reflex camera. And for you Big Gaping Aperture festishists (Marc and Dean!), all three cameras involved in this 3 way are f/2.8 lenses (2 are 80mm, 1 is 17-55mm).
Second: TTV of an SLR and TLR, through the WLF of an SLR with a dSLR. Layman's terms, as above, but it's now more of a menage-a-quatre, as I added in a Nikon FG SLR into the mix of sexy, sexy camera action. Again for the fetishists, that's now 3x f/2.8 lenses playing with an obscene f/1.2 50mm.
As promised in the preface, "I present you with an alphabet soup..."
In case you're wondering, I actually had taken the sexy alphabet soup photo a long time ago, and never figured out how I could make use of it until today.
Anita's new hobby apparently is 'sewing', and that meant an obligatory trip to Fabricland this past weekend. And while she was scrounging through the remnants discount bin, I was forced to entertain myself by choosing between taking photos of random abstract textures inside the store or stabbing myself in the eye with a stitch ripper. I think I made the right choice. Didn't have a real camera with me, so these were all taken with the iPhone and Shake-it app.
I'm having a bit of a nerdfest/ lovefest with my Moleskine sketchbook... I don't even really like Star Wars, but I've been sketching things from them like a possessed fanboy. The first sketch was copied from a photo I saw somewhere on tumblr. And the one of C-3P0 was done in ink, and then spiced up with gold glitter glue. So not only is it super dorky, it also sparkles in the light. Click to see it large. Sorry for the lack of photography lately. We shall resume regularly scheduled photogeekery soon.
A sketch of Audrey Hepburn that looks not much like Audrey Hepburn. There's nothing quite as confidence crushing as when you fail at a simple sketch... but I will say that I love using these Pigma Micron ink pens to sketch. You can't fix mistakes in ink, so you just learn to roll with them.
I got my iPhone 4S yesterday, and my first impulse was to test out a simulated super8 cam app I got. This video is absolutely WTF retarded, but I kind of like it. Especially the end when you hear Anita say in Chinese, "Whaaa?? You'll scratch your phone!"
As a contrast to my previous image of Vania in her living room, I also shot a 35mm version using a Nikon FG on Lomography Redscale 100 film. This one is 12 overlapping frames. I like the amber tones here... what a contrast to the cool blue temperature of the tungsten balanced film of that one. Again, click to view the large version.
This is the first of the many adventures I hope to go on with the film Vania's uncle donated to us. And I couldn't be happier with the results - this set was shot with the Kiev 88CM on Fuji NLP 160 tungsten balanced film that expired in 1992. The cooler tones are due to the tungsten balance shot in natural light. I actually quite like the slightly cool colour temperature here, as that adds to the urban condo living look I was going for. Click to view large on black.
This post is really just for photo nerds and film diehards... Vania's uncle donated to us his stockpile of expired film this weekend (3 FULL milk crates). Total tally - 626 assorted rolls of 35mm, 110, 120, and 220 roll film, some APS canisters, and 3 bulk rolls (100ft) of slide film. If this wasn't all expired stuff, this would easily top the $2000 range. While some of it was pretty generic Fuji Superia and Kodak Gold type colour print film, there were also an interesting assortment of stuff I haven't encountered much of.
The interesting Kodak stuff:
Kodak Vericolor, Hi Speed Infrared, 'Recording Film', Pantomic X (ISO 32!!), Pro400MC, Tri-X Pan 400, Technical Pan, Plus X Pan 125, and Kodacolor VR 1000.
And the Fuji:
Pre-Velvia Fujichrome (50, 100, 400, and 1600), Fujicolor 1600 Super HG, Neopan SS, NPH 400
I was also quite fascinated by the large variety of different film canisters on display. Some of the old Ilford canisters had shiny brushed metal tops. Very cool. See for yourself.
I found a recipe for Nutella Cake in a mug that I wanted to surprise Anita with when she got home from Edmonton this afternoon. I followed the instructions faithfully (mix ingredients in a big mug, then microwave for 1 - 3 mins depending on wattage), but apparently a cake mixture can superheat after only 2 minutes in a microwave. The result was not unlike one of those baking soda and vinegar paper mâché volcano science fair experiments from grade 4 - messy.
Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug.
Whisk well with a fork until smooth.
Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 3 minutes. (Time depends on microwave wattage)
Top with whipped cream and a little chocolate sauce if desired.
The end result wasn't pretty, but it did taste yummy. My suggestion - microwave for 30 second intervals, check in between rounds so as to avoid the volcanic eruption.
I met a Canadian artist last year travelling in Croatia who was espousing the qualities of Moleskine notebooks and sketchbooks. And I'd been wanting one for myself ever since. But given the price, and my lack of talent, I figured it would be a waste of money... except the Charlie Brown special edition plain notebooks were on for 50% off last week at Chapters, so I had no choice but to snap one up. Here are the first of what I hope to be many shitty sketches I will populate it with.
First you make us a fantastic turkey dinner on Saturday night, and then you willingly sit for me for a portrait session at Fish Creek Park yesterday. Seriously, Mike and Amy, you guys rock! Thanks for being such great sports. (Click to view large, worth it!)
I wanted to take this photo a couple days ago, but didn't have an apple (the fruit) handy until today. Most of us can safely say that the life work of Steve Jobs has had some impact on our lives.
For Anita and I, that's two 2 iPhones, an iPod Classic, 2 iPod Nanos, an iMac, a MacBook Pro, and a MacBook Air. And we just bought my parents an iPad 2. Not to mention that the first computer I ever played with was an Apple IIe back when I was in Grade 4. R.I.P Mr. Jobs.
I have this inexplicable fascination with animal carcasses... I've previously posted a series of images entitled the Dead Bird Diaries, whose subject matter should be fairly self explanatory. And now I present you with an image entitled Roadkill Cafe. The image was a bit graphic in colour so I picked one where the focus was NOT on the rabbit, and then converted to monochrome.
My mother-in-law asked Anita why I bought myself a new camera this week. Was I celebrating something, she inquired? Not that I need an excuse to buy cameras, but I guess could go with 'I'm celebrating my demotion.' I'm not the boss of anyone anymore, ha-lle-effin-lujah!
I've been really digging instant photos lately, shooting Polaroids (type 600, not that ridiculous Impossible Project stuff) and Instax Mini pack film willy nilly. And so after a bit of humming and hawing, I broke down and bought the Fuji Instax 210 Camera. I've lost track of exactly how many cameras I own, but I think this is number 26 or 27. I'm about 10 cameras over my hypocrisy limit for criticizing Anita's shoe collection.
A note to anyone actually considering buying this camera and film in Canada, The Camera Store in Calgary carries the camera for a hair under a hundred bucks, and then Black's is surprisingly the cheapest source of pack film at 25 bucks for a twin pack. That works out to about $1.25/ shot, which is only slightly more expensive than shooting medium format roll film and having it developed at a lab (process only, no prints). Having done that math, I now feel more at ease about shooting this widely available Instax 210 film with wanton disregard. Instant film is Carpe Diem-ing gratification... and the images have this visual aesthetic that digital cameras will never achieve, so you can take your 'that's obsolete technology' argument and shove it.
The initial results I've gotten so far are typical of integral film cameras - slightly soft, sort of muted colours, and just plain AWESOME. Top two shots are from the Instax 210 Wide, bottom two are from the Diana F+ with a Instax Mini back.
More photos from our last trip abroad - I present you with a set of black and white Holga shots I took while in Portugal this past May. It's looking like our plans to go hit up Chile and Easter Island this year are fading (much sadness), so I guess I'll have to continue mining my current collection of shots for inspiration... click to view the large versions on flickr.
Despite her usual reluctance to pose for my photos, Anita patronized me this evening by not refusing to sit for a portrait session. And so we messed around with a single light setup for a few portraits (and by 'light setup', I actually mean I turned on a floor lamp as the sole light source - it doesn't get more amateur than that). The results aren't terribly inspiring, but she was getting impatient after a few minutes of this posing, and so I only got a few shots to work with.