Posts by russmorrisphoto

Somewhat obsessed with taking pictures since 1964

Round Two.

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Another outing with the Fujifilm Instax SQ10

I got out for a stroll around neighborhoods east of Georgetown’s Town Square yesterday.

My original plan was to shoot the monthly Pistons on the Square car show with the newest camera in my collection, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 – and that did happen – but I also brought the Fujifilm Instax SQ10 to fiddle with, as I’ve not yet really put it through its paces.

The SQ10 is a cool little camera, but it poses some challenges… it doesn’t have a viewfinder and the rear-facing LCD is so small that it really makes it hard to frame-up a shot with any kind of accuracy.

I’m not totally fluent with the interface and the shutter button system, so getting used to how the camera operates will take some time.

It’s great to be able to take shots without printing right away. I’m still working on determining the difference between what I see on-screen and in a print of that edited image. I’m finding some of my prints are a lot darker than what I see on the LCD.

I like this camera a bunch. I’m sure it won’t take long to conquer these small annoyances.

 

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Plastic Fantastic

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What’s old is new… again.

I haven’t shot 35mm film in quite a while, probably around 10 years. I still have all my film cameras and a healthy stash of all kinds of expired film. No excuses, I’m just not into it these days. It’s 2017 and I know a lot of folks are seriously into film, and I get it, but it is expensive to process and the good-image-to-bad ratio is kind of a deal killer for me.

At any rate, I did like playing around with ’em. This Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim is a cool little totally plastic 35mm shooter.

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The VUWS needs lots of light, as the aperture is fixed at f11. The focal length is 22mm, a nice, respectable wide angle. The shutter speed is not too bad at 1/125 second, but with all this goin’ on, ISO 400 film is still the way to go.

These are scans of prints, 13 shots taken in San Francisco for World Toy Camera Day way back in mid-October 2008. I used Kodak Elite Chrome 100 slide film and had it processed C-41 instead of E-6. Love the color shifts!

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Maybe I’ll load this guy up the next time I get out shooting…

An oasis of cool.

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Cars and Coffee Austin

There’s a monthly car show held at the Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis called Cars and Coffee Austin. It’s an easy half-hour drive from the Circle-M Ranch. Torri and I haven’t been to the lake yet and I wanted to check out both the car show and scout the restaurant.

I went as a participant in a North Austin Pfotographic Society field trip and did manage to find two folks, Josh and Clay, while walking the grounds.

The car show was quite big, with a mix of classic cars, trucks, motorcycles, and a lot of newer model high-performance automobiles.

And it was hot. High 90s if not into the low 100s. I wore my large-brimmed straw gardening hat, shorts, and a loose fitting light-colored T-shirt. I almost wore flip-flops, but opted for slip-on Skechers. Good thing… the car show was split between pavement and a dirt lot.

I shot with two cameras, my trusty LX100 and my good ‘ol GF1, with the Pinwide Slit and the Lensbaby Composer Pro/Sweet 35 combo. I got around 150 shots total, maybe 15 or so keepers.

The coolest part was doing a little panning as cars departed the area. Josh and I stood in the shade of some trees and bushes, leaning on a few good-sized boulders strewn along the side of the road. There’s a pedestrian crosswalk at the west end of the showspace on Comanche Trail, so the cars would let folks pass, then jump on the accelerator and fly by us.

I got a few decent pans with a cool blurry backgrounds using shutter priority, setting the LX100 to a super slow 1/8 – 1/15th shutter speed. I also attached an adjustable Neutral Density filter to the lens, hoping to coax a wider lens opening for greater depth of field on a very bright day.

Josh and I headed up to the Tap Room at about 11 a.m. to see if we’d meet any other club members for lunch. That’s when I caught a glimpse of Clay a level below taking pictures.

We noticed the Tap Room was closed, so we made our way downstairs and bumped into Clay, deciding instead to have lunch at the Oasis. Inside. Where it was air conditioned.

Good food and conversation lasted a little over an hour, learning more about the guys over lunch, and we had a great view of the lake t’boot.

Torri n’me are definitely going to head back to the Oasis for lunch in the near future.

Going To California.

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7 days in July.

It’s funny, ironic, what we remember. We took a trip to California mid-July, stayed for week, visiting family and friends.

We also hit our fave restaurants, drove through the old neighborhood, and checked on our old home. We lived in that tiny little house for 28 years.

My memories of California life some two years after moving to Texas had become somewhat rosey, romantic. As we drove around, it just seemed like the area looked a bit worn down.

The drought restrictions, I’m sure, had a lot to do with the overall appearance of yards we saw in our daily meanderings, but things just did not seem the same.

Heartbreaking.

Even so, I was still able to find glimpses of beauty with my camera while walking around my father-in-law’s neighborhhood…

Cool little gizmo.

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Top Notch.

I’d been wanting to make one of the Top Notch Hot Rod Drive-ins for a while now, yet another Austin Summer tradition to experience.

I recently added a Fujifilm Instax SQ10 to my camera collection and Top Notch seemed like a good event to see what kind of pictures I could make with it.

The camera is a little different from other instant cameras Fuji sells. It produces square images, hence the ‘SQ’ in the camera name, and is capable of taking pictures, saving them on an added storage card, then going back later and editing each shot, using in-camera filters, tweaking exposure compensation, and adding vignetting, then printing them.

At around $12-$17 bucks for a 10-pack of film, this feature will (hopefully) lead to fewer wasted shots!

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Fujifilm Instax SQ10

There’s a smallish 2 13/16″ by 1 7/16″ display on the back of the camera that’s actually fairly clear when framing or chimping and the interface is pretty easy to navigate, both physically and digitally.

The shape of the camera is a little odd, and kinda’ heavy, but considering all it needs to contain and the functions it performs, seems there was little choice.

The lens has a 28mm focal length, uses a ƒ2.4 aperture, and captures images at 3.69 megapixels.

The physical print is 2 13/16″ wide by 3 7/16″ tall and the image size is 2 7/16″ square.

The digital images can be transferred from the storage media, which is a MicroSDHC card that came with a SD adapter.

It’s a pretty cool little gizmo, actually. I took about a dozen shots at Top Notch and the above three were my faves, so I printed them last night and scanned ’em this morning.

Like I said, pretty cool.

Good eye.

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Contemplative photography.

Last night I learned a new word, er, style, uh, process… hell, I don’t know what it is, but I learned about it on Facebook after joining the Austin Street Photography group, posting one image that was a fairly representative example of my idea and style of street photography, then being politely informed by one of the admins that, no, my image did not conform to the group rules.

I posted a link to my Street set on Flickr so he’d understand that my participation in the group would be futile as all of my work has the same outward appearance and definitely wouldn’t be following group rules.

The admin, Patrick, asked if I’d looked up Minimalism or Miksang. Minimalism is kind of how I’d describe my work. Probably not all of it, but there is a hint of minimal in a lot of the images I’ve made. Miksang, on the other hand, seems to sum up my style entirely.

Well, Miksang-like might be a more accurate description of my way of making images. I’m not religious, spiritual, or anywhere near meditative but there is a certain zone or mindset that I get into when I’m waking around with a camera. I intentionally slow down, look around, see, notice. Everything. But from a playful, off-beat, and humorous perspective.

Defined

From Wikipedia, Miksang is a “Tibetan word meaning “good eye.” It represents a form of contemplative photography based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, in which the eye is in synchronisation with the contemplative mind. The result of this particular perception of the world, combined with photography, produces a peculiar and open way of seeing the world. Miksang pictures tend to bring the observer back into the original contemplation state of the author of the picture. The pictures can bring one back to a purer perception of reality that is often neglected. Miksang involves nothing fancy, no special setup; only a visual capture, in the proper state of mind, of everyday’s reality.”

Describing my work has always seemed difficult. Now, at least, there’s a word I can use when explaining my personal photographic style. Who knew?

Learn more

There a lot of internet resources available and a few books on the subject have been published, and naturally, with a little bit of searching you can find plenty of videos to watch about Miksang…

Web

Nalanda Miksang International
http://www.miksang.org/m/index.html

The Miksang Institute
https://www.miksang.com/

Miksang | Flickr
https://www.flickr.com/groups/miksang/

Miksang | Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/miksang/

Books

Opening the Good Eye
http://openingthegoodeyebook.com/

Looking and Seeing: Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography
http://miksangwayofseeing.com/

 

Studies in black and grey.

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Street art.

While we were in California for a recent visit I went for a walk around my Father-in-law’s neighborhood with he and my wife. My intent was purely photographic.

I took a lot of pictures of the usual flowers and interesting parts of houses as we walked and noticed that cracks in the streets had been covered, no, painted over with slurry in a most artistic way.

A good 100 yards of these random strokes stretched down the street and I started shooting them from different angles, trying my best to avoid the sun through the trees landing in the viewfinder.

I’m pretty sure the person who provided this service was more interested in covering cracks than creating pleasing art, but I was quite impressed with the work they did.