For me, road test is my description for taking a new camera or lens out into the world to see how it performs. It is the second step if you count the first step being the one where I shoot around my house in an utterly familiar environment. In the road test I try for something brand new… something I can’t predict too well.
The new camera is a Lumix GH4 by Panasonic… a snappy little camera with a lot of muscle under the hood. So far, I am very, very pleased. Yesterday found me at Fort Vancouver for the first time. I have been on Officer’s Row a gazillion times but never had a chance to go into the fort. This image was taken in the blacksmith’s shop in natural light and I couldn’t be more pleased. The only caveat here is that Adobe doesn’t support RAW files for this camera yet… the workaround for now is to shoot RAW + large JPGs and save the RAW files for later. That means that as nice as this version looks, I can’t wait to get my hands on the RAW file and see how it flies!
My unending thanks to Mark Toal, the Panasonic rep who has given me so much of his time and information… I have been looking for something small and fresh for a few years and he suggested I look at this line.
Ultimately, this little camera is going to take me places I want to explore… sure, I could pack my Nikon bag but sometimes it seems like too much to carry… like it’s too much work. Since play is what I’m after, I may extend the road test for awhile. ;0)
Once upon a time, I used to turn to Infrared film for a jolt of inspiration… it was a voice for me that I didn’t apply to my regular work. It required me to pay attention differently and I know that was the key.
In 2005, I heard that you could have a camera converted to Infrared and I thought it would be the answer in the digital age. I took one of my D70s out of regular service and had it converted. I was disappointed by it in a couple of ways, the biggest issue being that I no longer got to look at a scene through a red filter… apparently that was a strong part of the seeing process for me. The other problem was that it never really looked quite like the film had… there was a texture and a light to it that was missing. You can see some of my film work in this post.
A few days ago, I pulled that old camera off the shelf and wandered around my yard with it… trying a few things as a test. I have new software in my aresenal now that may make the difference. Yesterday, I took the camera with me to meet a new friend and I took some more photos while we talked. Something tells me that I may have a new way to see again… I’m not sure, yet, that it will match my film days but it will be something different and that is a wonderful thing. ;0)
On a very soggy weekend before Spring Break, several sets of Montessori parents and small children gathered on the muddy slopes of Gabriel Park… our mission was to create an art piece to frame and offer at auction for a good cause. The annual Pathways Auction was established to generate Tuition Assistance funds for qualified applicants. The Auction is held yearly in the spring and the proceeds are used to fund tuition assistance, special programs and to supplement the educational environments.
This is all a volunteer effort… if you’d like to get involved, there is more information at Montessori Pathways Spring Fete.
Back to the muddy hill… imagine a dozen three to five year olds on one hill, about the same number of parents on a slope right behind me and the feat of directing this small circus! The rain was spotting my lens and the little girls wearing dresses were reluctant to sit all the way down. It devolved rapidly into sword fights with brandished mums and lots of laughing. We all got muddy and when I left, most of the kids were running up and down the slopes of the park waving their tattered mums… laughter ringing in the air.
I love my job!
My apologies in advance to my good friends who actually work with wet plate and some of the lovely older photographic processes… I know that this will just seem wrong. This is another iPhone image… this time it is from Hipstamatic… Tinto 1884 + D-Type Plate. It is not an app for the faint of heart and, so far, there are many subjects that don’t translate well. I will use it sparingly.
I ran it on Instagram the other day and am tickled to report that I have sold a nice print of it… for my old-school friends, you’ll be glad to hear that it is at least on a good, proper paper and will last a long time.
Last Spring I posted about being all excited by the addition of an iPhone to my gear bag… I have not been disappointed. Sure, I needed a real phone but I bought it for the camera. There is good photography going on in this very portable genre… if the apps are handled well, art happens. It is something you carry in your pocket and it has changed my already odd habit of looking at the world for things I’d like to keep, maybe to share. It makes me self-assign on a very different level.
The lead image here is a section of the Seattle Music Experience… the Space Needle is off to my right in case you go up there… huge, crazy, beautiful planes of metal designed by Frank O. Gehry.
Opera boy and I took advantage of a recent clear, cold day for a walkabout near Powell’s Books. This one was processed in an app called Decim8 and it is an interesting departure from it’s rather straightforward original… I don’t usually go this far with my images but I am liking this one very much.
This stack of bowls was a display at Rejuvenation Hardware… that place is an absolute candy store for me. I never had the nerve to just wander around with my real camera but with the iPhone, I look like every other shopper there taking notes in the showrooms. ;0)
Opera Boy and I wandered a little further in the cold sun and I found this one… that’s him in the hat.
Anyway, these are a few I felt like putting up today… tomorrow, the real business of 2013 begins again and I have other work to finish. The play will take a back seat for a while.
As the days get downright gloomy, Christmas lights and over the top plastic displays start to sprout all over town… it’s fine for driving by but when I come home I prefer a little visual peace. Most of the time, we don’t do any decorating here… the cats would make short work of a tree in my small house and the outside is short on electrical outlets. ;0)
This year, my very talented friend Francoise Weeks was teaching wreath-making workshops… the conversation we had about that sparked a desire to have one, so I asked her if I could buy one of hers. She laughed at me and said no. Then she said she would make me a wreath on one condition… that I take some good photographs of it. My turn to laugh! Francoise is just one of the nicest people I have ever known and we have traded our talents for awhile now.
The textures in this piece are worth exploring… see what you think. Continue reading
I have to laugh every year about this time… there is always a somewhat frantic scramble to get a Christmas card put together and out to the mailbox in time. Sometimes my people call me for a summer session or maybe a September sort of thing but mostly, they wait until pretty much the last minute. By then, the ‘last minute’ part becomes a dance with the weather… I always advise putting a few dates on the calendar so that when it rains, we have a second chance already set aside.
We had a cold, sunny day at the end of November for this session… this favorite of mine was sort of between the takes and I love the way it shows a real, fine family working together to get it done. ;0)
Seattle’s Pike Place Market is always a draw for me when I have a little spare time… sure, it’s crazy crowded and maybe a little too full of tourists but something in me enjoys watching the hustle. Camera-wise, it takes me to other places in my life like the flea market near my apartment in the French Quarter or the older parts of Coney Island… there’s a little ‘midway’ about all of them.
These two ladies had found a less trammelled space for a conversation and coffee. Out that bright window is Elliott Bay and Puget Sound full of ferries and small humped islands… on a sunny day you can see the incomparable Olympic Mountains. I imagine it was a fine view for the silent parts of a conversation.
Me, I just like to watch the world go by.
Apparently, I am an easy mark for any technology, old or new, that gives me a way to see. This last Sunday I had the pleasure of taking a full day workshop from a very talented photographer, Jan Sonnenmaier. She is a woman I have known of for years and I am sorry I haven’t done more to get to know her before now.
Jan teaches an iPhone camera workshop. Keep in mind that for a few years, I have taken a rather dim view of the whole idea of camera phones. I just didn’t get what the fuss was all about. Until now. My new iPhone 4s has more than twice the megapixels of my first pro digital DSLR. Besides the whole file size issue, it also has some of the most nuanced options you might ever hope for. Jan introduces the best apps and goes into the guts to show you how it all works.
Long story short, I now have a small presence on Instagram @joeytallboy and a fantastic array of tools in my pocket… can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
New tools, old tricks, I guess… I joined the ranks of the iPhone Tribes yesterday and while I haven’t done much communicating, you can bet I have been trying to become one with it’s camera. ;0)
In my camera history, I have always roamed my own house and yard to try out any new gear… film, lenses, cameras… it’s a really good way to see how something new is going to translate for me. These are everyday places for me. I am used to the light and the shadows… the moods of my home.
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised and very happy to have a new voice in my bag!