Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Japan Rules

There are obviously MANY MANY reasons why Japan is THE SHIZZLE (sushi, ninjas, capsule machines, Nintendo, maid cafes... er, wait, those are lame), but this one probably tops the list for the photogeek in me: Magazines with giveaways - specifically, this magazine that gave away a DIY Twin Lens Reflex camera. How freaking awesome is that? And apparently, it only cost like 2500 yen (less than 30 bucks). GAWD I wish I was in Japan right now.

Hit up this link for photos of the camera being assembled by some blogger.

Meanwhile, my own TLR, the Super Ricohflex, is out of commission because of an as yet undiagnosed focusing issue (the focus of the viewing lens appears to be off from the taking lens)... woe is me.

Double exposure, taken back when the Ricohflex was still a healthy 50+ year old body. I miss those days.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A little Sunday afternoon boredom

A little Sunday afternoon project to indulge my love of colourful custom bokeh. I wanted to give the phrase I Heart Bokeh a little more meaning, so I did a custom heart shaped bokeh mask. And then I went to Michael's, and used one of their fancy schmancy punches to create a Plane shaped bokeh mask (Planekeh!). I'll probably never use these again, as they're not terribly practical, and they are quite shoddily constructed, but they were fun for all of an hour tonight. If you've got an SLR, a lens with a fairly large aperture, and want to try this out, drop me a comment, and I'll walk you through the process.

The Completed Heartkeh and Planekeh masks (scissors, an Exacto knife, some tape, and ~20 minutes labour)

Christmas decorations on the trees at Confederation Golf Course

I Heart Bokeh!!!

The bright white plane is actually the moon, while the blue ones were lights on a tree.

Probably my favourite shot of the bunch. It's kind of got that 'Follow your dreams' or 'Aim High' kind of feel to it.

December in a couple days... GAAAAHHH!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Voigtlander Vito II Test Roll

Results from the Vito II camera, shot on Fuji Superia 200 using the Sunny/16 rule for guessing exposure. Most of these were taken at f/8, and shutter speeds ranging between 1/50 - 1/100 sec. I was expecting a roll of just craptastic photos, but I actually quite liked what I ended up with - some are actually fairly interesting shots. Although the results are really grainy for a 200 speed film... I think part of that is my lack of film scanning know how though.

A peony dying out in front our house.

Freshly mowed (mown?) lawn at a school yard. I liked the way the lines from the lawn mower tires contrasted against the grass itself.

Apparently, the Vito II isn't as double exposure proof as I was lead to believe. I like it.

Messing with a preset in Lightroom on the double from above.

Not Photoshopped - these colours are straight out of the scanner.

Same here.

End of the roll - double exposed.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Toy: Voigtlander Vito II

Gots me a new toy off eBay. It's a Voigtlander Vito II, circa 1954. Compact folding 35mm rangefinder - cute as a button, solid metal construction, Color-Skopar 50mm f/3.5 lens, shutter speeds ranging from 1" to 1/300", plus B. The shutter appears to stick at speeds below 1/25, but I can work with that. Not metered, so good old Sunny/16 rule. Ran one quick test roll through it yesterday afternoon, shooting absolutely nothing of any artistic value whatsoever... just checking for light leaks, focus, etc. Overall condition is fair - minor dings and scratches on the metal top and base plates. One big noticeable bit of dust inside the lens element that may or may not affect shooting... will post scans of the test roll later.

Is the weekend really over already?!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blacula and the Master of Tae Kwon Do

The annoying screams of tween adulation for 'Edward' can be heard from pretty much anywhere on the planet this weekend. Which pretty much makes me want to barf. Forget New Moon. You want a vampire flick with substance? Hunt down a copy of a REAL vampire flick like Blacula! Seriously, the world needs more blaxploitation films. More specifically, blaxploitation horror films. What a perfect marriage of genres.

And that got me thinking - the only thing the world needs MORE than blaxploitation films right now is choose your own adventure novels. When the hell did those go out of literary fashion? Seriously, WTF? You can't enter any bookstore without having to weave your way through stacks of Twilight related novels and junk, but nowhere can the literary masterpiece Master of Tae Kwon Do be found on the sprawling floor space? There is something clearly wrong with this world when you can't get a good dose of novels in which YOU get to decide whether the protagonist should order a pizza or go for a bike ride. Someone please get on this. Linear storytelling is soooo passé...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kyoto Station

Well for the n-teenth, I'm in Ottawa again, staying at yet another different hotel (there aren't many more that I haven't defiled yet in the downtown core - they'll get theirs soon enough!). But the story is always the same. Baggage takes a million years to be unloaded, the lineups for a cab are worse than Black Friday at Walmart in Poortown USA, and then I am greeted by the hotel internet service that is slower than that 'so short she can barely see over the dashboard' Asian grandma driving around your local T&T parking lot. Seriously. What's not to like about travelling here.

Anyways, time for another photo post from Japan. This one is a series of shots I took at the train station in Kyoto (a very creatively named, Kyoto Station). It is an amazing 11 story semi-open air structure covered with a curved steel and glass canopy that was actually quite jaw droppingly beautiful. We've been to quite a few commuter train stations in cities around the world, but this one was probably the most incredible to look at. I'll let the photos do the talking. Again, these small versions do NOT do the place justice. Click to enlarge.

Riding the escalator up to the 11th floor. Notice, even the Japanese can't help but marvel at this place.

The sun was low in the sky as we were walking through this 11th floor skyway connecting one end of the station to the other. The light was just amazing as it reflected throughout the walkway.

The canopy structure reflected against the glass sides of the complex, late in the afternoon as the sun was setting.

Okay folks, time to go play some more Nintendo DS. G'night.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stupid (but often entertaining) commenters on

So, this actually happened a few days ago, but there was some NHL article on that talked about the Edmonton Oilers and the Ottawa Senators. For those that actually give a shit, it was just some bit about the Senators finally getting a chance to see what they missed out on (Penner and Cogliano) as the Oilers were on the schedule that night.

Anyways, the point is - the article was ONLY about these two teams, and had no bearing whatsoever on any other hockey related matter. Scroll down to the comments section, and in ALL CAPS is this comment that just made me howl.


Most times, I really hate the commenters on CBC. But this one was great, kinda like this other one I talked about a while back...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Images of Autumn - Swaying in the wind

The last of 3 posts related to autumn images. These ones are all fairly soft, mostly due to my inability to properly focus on the foliage as it blew around in the wind - nothing would stay still for even the slightest moment. Stupid nature.

Have a great weekend dudes!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Images of Autumn - Foliage

As promised, here are more images from Friday's Fish Creek Park adventure with the Voigtlander Nokton lens. One more post of images to follow.

Happy Remembrance Day folks. Remember to give a moment's silence to honour those that fought for the way of life we enjoy now...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Images of Autumn

I went out for an adventure yesterday on my day off down to Fish Creek Park in SE Calgary. I spent about 2 hours getting whipped in the face by gusting winds, but barely got past the parking lot - I stumbled into a field, and hit the jackpot for photo details. Like I said in a previous post, I love autumn for all the colours and textures of the foliage. Leaves get crunchy, grasses get straw-like, and everything is ablaze in oranges, reds and golds. Here's the first of what will probably be 3 posts of photos. I found a few of these plants by the parking lot and loved their colour. I really like how these turned out - the Nokton f/1.4 has such an extremely shallow depth of field that all the background details are blurred out, giving these shots such a painterly look and feel. Click to enlarge, there are a lot of details not seen in the smaller versions.