Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Downtown Drive-by

Downtown Los Angeles from the 10 freeway. Despite what it may look like, no I wasn't snapping off shots at 65 mph — that'd be 105 kph for the metric set. 

This shot was taken during rush hour and traffic was grinding along at a slow crawl; so, I was snapping away at 15-20 mph [24-32 kph]. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but hey, what a gorgeous scene; L.A. at night. Yes, it's a little blurry, but I thought it might be slightly out of line to just stop the truck in the middle of traffic and step out for this shot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

          – Oscar Wilde

Walk By Abstract

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tiny Landscapes

A few leaves collected from around the yard, scanned on my flatbed scanner.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The insufferable arrogance of human beings is to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it were conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men's apples and head their cabbage.

           – Cyrano de Bergerac
                  (Histoire Comique des √Čtats et Empires de la Lune: 1656)

                     Educate yourself: Cyrano de Bergerac

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chicken Pie Shop

Found Film: 10 7 '02

Like stumbling upon buried artifacts, finding a roll of someone else's exposed film can reveal a glimpse into an unknown past. 

I found this roll of 35mm Kodak Gold 200 inside a Yashica 70SE, point-n-shoot camera, at a local thrift store. The camera was inexpensive and the thought of seeing what was on the film was irresistible. I will admit that the findings were less than stellar, but still worth the effort. I chose to post these frames prior to where someone had opened the camera back, hence the acute light leakage.

The camera's time stamp is dated October 7, 2002. I can't confirm the date is true, but I do know that Yashica's film camera production ended in 2005 and the 70SE was a latter model, so I'd say the date is near enough. 

After a little research, I found that these images — off-set frames and my post processed double exposure — are of a small restaurant in Long Beach, California; Eggs Etc. According to their website, Eggs Etc has been around since 1975 and is still serving up good food at 6th and Redondo Avenue.

Oh, and the Yashica 70SE, it's in great working condition.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

White-Handed Gibbon

This shot was taken at the Santa Ana Zoo using a Yashica 75mm-230mm lens [a M42 mount lens using an adapter to my Micro 4/3 format camera].

To find out more about the Santa Ana Zoo and their family of primates, go here.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm With The Band

An as of yet un-named band, these guys are some friends of mine that just love to make music. All are veteran musicians and love to make joyful noise. [from top to bottom] Bill Forth - guitar; Bill Hibbets - bass; Ed Donato - drums.

I'll point out that around Ed's feet, on the floor, are lots of bits of wood. When I first saw this I didn't think much of it, but soon realized that those were pieces of his drum sticks. Ed the Wood-Chipper, a true rhythm beast.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flux Along The River's Edge

Rivers are agents of entropy. Attempts to control and direct a river's flow are transient folly. Over time, its waters will conquer everything within its path.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beyond Instant Vintage: A Second Stab At Analog

Taking into account the criticisms I gave Analog in yesterday's review, I thought I'd play around with the program a little more and go through some multiple processes between Analog, Adobe's Photoshop [CS5] and Camera RAW [6.5]. 

As I mentioned yesterday, it would be great if you could use multiple filters for one image. An easy solution to this problem is to apply one filter, save the file and re-import the processed file back into Analog and use another filter on top of the previously processed image. One of the drawbacks with these filters is that they are templetes and you will get the same apparitions placed within the same position of the frame over and over. If you use the same filter on a series of pictures, they'll all end up with a cloned look. A way around this is to import a few of your original images into Analog upside down or sideways. The same goes for rough edged frames, the same quirks will occur in repetition. There are no varying algorithms happening here, just the same templates being used over and over. You may need to draw and erase into the rough frames to get a variety of looks.

I did mention that I used some Adobe products for this series of processing. Camera RAW 6.5 has a very nice grain filter for adding into images. This filter goes a little beyond just adding noise with Photoshop filters. Adding grain with Camera RAW, you can control the amount of grain, the size of grains and the roughness of the grains. Other Adobe features were used in the processing of these images, but for the sake of keeping this to a brief afterthought, I'll let you go explore on your own.

I still stand by my previous suggestions for the makers of Analog and put these accompanying images up as samples of possible results from an updated version of Analog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Analog: But Does It Play?

For the past few years I have felt some envy of users of the Hipstamatic app for iPhone and similar apps for Android. I don't have an iOS or Android phone; not for lack of want, but I just have not made the jump to a 'smart phone' and think it will be some time before I do.

Although I do shoot film — do some cross processing, utilize Redscale, C-41 B&W and expired films — the idea of playing around with those 'instant vintage' filters just looks like a lot of fun. With the advent of Apple's apps for mac store,  low price apps for workstations/notebooks has come of age. Today I bought the app, 'Analog' [ironically with a copycat 'Leica' logo]; considering the small fortune I have spent over the years for various imaging programs, Analog's price is nominal; $7.99

Reviews for Analog report it to be like Hipstamatic, but one of the first things I noticed is that it does not give the feel for film grain. This is the key to Hipstamatic's success, synthesizing the characteristics of film's chemical anatomy. Although Analog is fun, I don't think it has reached it's potential. The filters are a little too plug and play and do not utilize the potential of the Mac's processing power. Perhaps a grain filter, the ability to add in some random scratches, fades and sun spots all with the ability to vary the depth and location of these effects would be a good addition for the next version; how about layering filters too? Another feature that really seems to be absent within this app is the ability to save the processed image to variety of file types. Analog easily received the .tiff file of this photo [the above piano — originally shot as a RAW file], but does not give the option of outputting the file to it's original resolution and size or any other file size choices. 

Of course, I could do all this in Photoshop and achieve all the effects I have mentioned, but for casual users, all those point and shooters, who won't or can't fork out the cash for a powerhouse program, let alone, spend the time to learn how to use it, a few tweaks need to be made before Analog can truly be compared to Hipstamatic.

Keep playing.

ps. The photograph above was shot with a C-mount cctv 'toy' lens. The characteristics of this lens account for the centered depth of field and vingetting; those effects were not created in Analog nor Photoshop. The effects within this image created with Analog are the light leakage, and frame. Some color fading was achieved with Analog's 'Kyoto' filter, but I felt the color fading went too far and depleted the 'life' of the image. Yes, I played around with the image a little more in Photoshop to add that life back into the image.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ancient Faces

Marbles from the Getty Collection; The Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, California.

To find out more about the Getty and it's collections, go here.

Cool Shoes #1

I saw this gentleman walking around yesterday and his shoes just screamed out, "photograph me!" I don't know why. I just had to do it. So, acting as a bit of a nonchalant stalker, I waited for my moment. I think the red running pants have a lot to do with the overall look that caught my eye, but I think those shoes would go with a variety of outfits.

Pacific Park

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Muscle Shell & Other Seaside Encounters

I had mentioned last month that my Lumix GH1 had gone a little haywire. After some consideration, and an estimated repair cost, I felt it was time to move forward and update to the newer G3 camera body. All my old lenses fit the new model, so no need to shell out the green for a kit lens.

I've already posted a few .jpeg images from this new set-up, but here's the first set of images using the upgraded Camera Raw 6.5 (CR 6.5) via Photoshop CS5 (PS CS5). The unfortunate thing about upgrading digital equipment is, as it was with my situation, it may also involve the cost of upgrading software. If I want to shoot in raw file format with the newer technology, PS CS4 just won't do it; CR 6.5 is incompatible with any version of Photoshop prior to CS5 and the G3 RAW files require the newer CR 6.5. Perhaps there are advantages to the newer software, but it would be nice if there were choices in such matters like not having to expend budgets when you would rather not do so. Fortunately, the cost of a PS upgrade isn't as big a hit as is the original cost of entry.

If you're ready to make a jump to new digital camera equipment, here's Adobe's list of cameras that will need the Camera RAW 6.5 upgrade.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011