I gotta pee.
I recently made the drive into Austin to attend an opening for George Brainard, a long-time Austin resident and amazing portrait photographer. George was showing his work as part of the inaugural FotoATX Festival, a month-long celebration of Austin photographers, currently open at libraries, galleries, and community centers across the city.
His work was displayed on the 6th floor of the new Austin Public Library, and this was my first visit to the building.
I made my way to the 5th floor via elevator, then walked up one flight of stairs to the top floor.
First things first. I had to pee.
I found a men’s bathroom right near the staircase, made my way through the door, found an empty stand-up, and took care of business. Whew! It was then that I noticed the glass-tiled wall behind the fixture and the amazing reflections of the long, thin pieces of tile in the chrome.
I finished up, got myself together, washed my hands then swung my LX100 from around my neck and shoulder, walked back and composed this shot.
Yes, it did feel a bit weird. No, there wasn’t anybody else in there. I’d have skipped the shot if there was.
The rest of the library is gorgeous, too.
Right before my eyes.
There are certain patterns – that I’m totally aware of – in the types of photographs that I make.
If one was to look through my Flickr stream (the one platform where I store *ALL* of my work) these patterns are quite recognizable.
One source of subject matter that I repeat with my images is words. Signage and grafitti, mostly. I think it has a lot to do with my interest in design and type.
They’re in front of us at all times. Guiding us. Informing us. Warning us. Making us laugh, even.
The people you meet.
This is José. He and his wife, Diane, lived down the street from us in Santa Clara. Super nice guy. Into film photography. He gave me a bunch of expired film from his fridge in their garage. I mean, how could you not like a guy that gives you film for free?
Over the years, whenever I walked any of our dogs around the ‘hood chances are we’d see one or two neighbors out talking, doing yardwork, or just plain fiddlin’ in their driveways. Little devil that I am, I always made a point of interrupting their day when the pups and I came upon them working.
15, 20, 30 minutes would pass as we talked about goings on in the ‘hood, local politics, and home projects.
Dogs are such awesome ice-breakers when it comes to meeting and talking to people. I mean, who doesn’t love dogs?
That’s the one thing I miss about California. People were always out. Here in Texas, in our new neighborhood, I don’t see as many folks dinkin’ around their yards.
I made this picture with a Holga toy camera. I still have that camera. And some 120 film. I should put the two together and stick it in my camera bag.
So many choices.
I’ve been digging through the ol’ Flickr archive, looking at pictures I made with film cameras about a decade back. They’re all digital scans from negatives I personally developed or paid to have processed.
The reason behind this dig back in history is I’m hoping to print and display a good number of these images at February’s meeting of the North Austin Pfotographic Society.
Every month the club has a member competition that’s usually judged by that night’s speaker. It’s a lot of fun to participate in the contest and each judge has their own personal biases, so you never know how judging’s gonna go!
During the evening’s meet and greet at the very beginning, a club member displays samples of their work in printed form. I’ve done it a couple of times in the past… the inaugural back in January 2017 and just a while back in October.
The February 2018 meeting is Oldies Night, so any 2 photos can be entered and the normal 2 year restriction is abandoned for this annual open-themed contest. Anything pretty much goes.
I thought it would be a great idea to display prints of my older work from the many film cameras I have in my collection.
Here are a few examples…
Perspective. Polaroid Colorpack II, Fujifilm FP3000B Negative scan. May 7, 2009.
Two boats, two trees, two pots, two crosses. Holga 120N, Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100. December 15, 2006.
One classy hoody. Canon Rebel T2, Kodak BW400CN. June 9, 2009.
Eye. Olympus 35RC. Kodak Ektachrome 160T – Xpro. March 10, 2008.
Not happy. Agfa Click I. Kodak TMAX100. December 28, 2007.
Expired. Minolta X-570. Ilford XP-2. December 5, 2006.
Art as art. Holga 120N. Kodak 400NC. October 20, 2006.
Waiting. Holga 120N. Ilford HP5 Plus. April 13, 2006.
2018 holds so much promise.
2017 was our second full year of Texas Life. We’re finally settled in.
And in that year I’ve met a lot of great people and discovered that there is much to see and do in Central Texas.
Retirement is definitely agreeing with the Mrs. and me. Our new home is more than we could ask for. There are just a few home projects left to complete.
There are plans for travel, not only within the Lone Star State, but to surrounding states and beyond.
I’m going to dedicate this year to improving my health. I’d like to live at least as long as my Mom. She reached 90 years old. The only way that’s going to happen is by making positive changes in my diet, committing to daily exercise, and striving to keep my mind active by reading, making art, and practicing guitar.
And, well, photography.
I’ve updated the ‘Galleries’ section of this blog with a selection of my personal faves from 2017. Check ’em out…
Making photographs through a toy kaleidoscope.
I first attempted making these little gems way back in April of 2010…
While digging through some boxes in the garage tonight I found a toy kaleidoscope.
I couldn’t tell you how it ended up in my possession, but it’s likely I got hold of it while I worked at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.
Forever the playful child, I had to try shooting through it!
I made my way in the house and pulled out the D-Lux 4 from my camera bag. I took a few shots at 16:9, then switched to 1:1 half way through.
The macro worked great on that little thing.
This time around the K-scope was out in plain site, on a shelf above my art table in the studio. And once again, I went into the house to grab the D-Lux 4, changed it the aspect ratio to 1:1 and switched film mode to Dynamic Black and White.
I found a few interesting items to shoot… random grey dots on a piece of white paper, a sheet of ABS with a little white spray paint on it, the home screen of my iPhone, and fluorescent shop lights in the garage.
Making it work was a simple matter of hand-holding the flat end of the toy against the front of the barrel surrounding the lens. The zoom function worked, as well, so getting in closer made for more options, composition-wise.
Very abstract. Very cool.
The Agfa Click – I.
Another fun shooter from my collection. A very cool, very simple little film camera made in Germany from 1958-1970.
It uses 120 film and has a switch on the lens barrel with three settings: two are aperture sizes, ƒ8.8 (cloudy icon) and ƒ11 (sunny icon), plus a yellow filter which is also ƒ8.8.
It uses a single fixed convex-concave meniscus lens, has a rotary shutter with a speed of 1/30th of a second, and the camera has a slightly arched back-cover that serves as a film pressure plate.
This little guy takes sharp pictures from about 5 ft. to infinity and I’ve even used hand-held close-up filters over the front of the lens for decent macro shots…
Flag, tree shadow