Sunday, January 27, 2008

Growing in Photography

You don't take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it.
Author Unknown

After my accident I received a bit more then I thought I would for the payoff of my car. While the majority of it went to my new car, I decided to complete building my digital darkroom. That meant finally getting, Alien Skin's Exposure 2, a plug-in which simulates a number of film stocks and a smaller camera to carry with me for everyday use. Luckily by becoming a long distance student I was able to get an academic version of the plug-in and after extensive research I decided to go after a Panasonic DMC-FZ8. Again, the universe smiled on me and I got my hands on one for a reasonable price. What I wanted the most was the ability of a camera besides being smaller was to shoot in RAW and this had it as well a electric viewfinder. But best of all it has a Leica lens. I love the sound of the shutter when I take a photo, it reminds me of the film cameras I started shooting with. Finally I have the B/W Styler from the Plugin Site. So this weekend while the rains continued (along with more flooding), I was able to work on the wedding I shot last weekend using versions of film stock in the plug-ins. It was incredible, it was like being back in the darkroom minus the chemicals (I kind of miss that, but with the asthma I developed in moving to California, it became a no-no after two years). I found that I use the black and white settings slightly more from the B/W Styler. I had also tried the DxO Film Pack on a trial basis. It is good and more reasonable cost wise then Alien Skin Exposure 2, but when I tried the Alien Skin Exposure trial, I really fell in love with it. The photo above was done with the B/W Styler (taken this evening after a major rainfall with the sun setting). It allowed me to set it up with T-Max 100, and as a silver gelatin print, but with a saturation mask that allowed some of the yellow from the original color photo to peek through.

As you can tell from the paean to my digital darkroom, I've finally found the bridge between the film and digital world. Now I just need to keep studying, taking photos, refining technical skills and hopefully I'll find myself growing in photography.

Because the photography process is that of beauty and beast, here is Stevie Nicks, "Beauty and the Beast":

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Coming and Going

To be on a quest is nothing more or less to become an asker of questions
Sam Keen

One of the reasons I chose a Jeep was because it would help facilitate my travels with my camera gear and the pup. I'm especially lucky that when I adopted Bella 18 months ago she turned out to be as eager to go on quests as I am. So imagine her delight this morning when I took her to a local dog park I had found out about. The problem where I live is that there are very few areas that will let a dog run off the leash, so she had a ball being free. I have to laugh though. For many years because I did travel so much I was more of a cat person(very easy to care for). When I moved to California, my roommate Brian turned out to be allergic to cats so I had no animal presence for a time. So when the opportunity came to adopt Bella, I did have to think about it because I do like to travel so frequently. What can I say, I'm blessed to have her on my journeys when I can take her and I've found ways to have her cared for when I cannot.

Since rain is continuing (we had a wee break this morning), I'm catching up on the reading. I was given "The Secret" for Christmas, so I'm going to read it and see if it is worth all the hullabaloo that has surrounded it.

Since I'm on a Beatles jag this week, one of my favorites, because the song and the video echoes so many the reasons why I'm a traveler, "Across the Universe":

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dribs and Drabs

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

It's been raining in here in California and is supposed to continue for the next several days. I'm missing the sun. I'll be heading to Arizona in three weeks for another visit with family, so that should help.

Since I'm on my first day of four off, I'm not doing much. I've actually been looking at guitars. I play, but gave my guitar to my nephew for college since he didn't have one and hadn't replaced it, but finally plan to.

I picked up a Sony Walkman MP3 to use with the Jeep (I think I may be one of 10 people in the country who didn't have one). So I've been downloading a variety of tunes (especially classic rock and straight classical). It's fun and I'm finding some unique music out there.

To celebrate the guitar, George Harrison and a cast of stellar supporting musicians, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps":

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Love and Loss

Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Someone I know and am close to is ending a relationship and is going through the usual questioning process about love....Hopefully today's quote is a reminder of why we risk it.....

Like many people I was stunned by the loss of Heath Ledger today. I don't usually put out public adulation, but I was a fan of his work from early on. Lost potential is sometimes the saddest thing of all....

The Beatles, "I'm A Loser":

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Night and Day

night and day you are the one...
cole porter

Just a quick note. I've been busy with shooting a wedding, school, work and playing with some music, especially some Broadway tunes and Cole Porter. Scratch me and you'll find sap emerging by the gallon.

Hope everyone is enjoying 2008 so far...

John Barrowman and Kevin Kline in the movie De-Lovely, "Day and Night":

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Ride Continues..

Life is a zoo in a jungle
Peter De Vries

It's been a fun almost two weeks since I last posted. Life's been a continuing ride and a bit of a jungle. We've had storms which created a lot of extra work at the clinics for various reasons. I also ended up with an infected tooth which resulted in a root canal today. Needless to say, I haven't had as much fun as I would have liked the last 12 days, but it's looking up. I'm also starting a correspondence course in photography which came recommended and I think is going to be helpful to help me with some learning needs I've had.

For relaxation I've started looking at Vietnam for the the spring while I'm still out on the West Coast and doing London in the fall instead. I've found a couple of basic budget approaches that would allow me to do some wonderful photography in Northern Vietnam. I'm especially interested in Halong Bay and some of the hillside tribes. People might think I'm crazy trying to plan a move to New Jersey also for the summer/fall, but my feet are especially wanting to wander overseas. I'm putting it out there and I trust the universe will help me pull it all together.

Jethro Tull, "Bungle in the Jungle":

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

What A Ride!

Hope you're all rocking out on the first day of 2008. I'm just working on photos and enjoying the sunshine and warm temps after playing in the snow yesterday.

To start the year a video from a singer I've seen frequently at clubs and who is from my home state of Michigan, but who hasn't been really fully discovered yet:

Michelle Penn, "Maybe Now":

Maybe Now

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