K-scope, revisited.

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Hexagon city.

I had one of those days yesterday.

The weather was funky. Grey, foggy, drizzly. I didn’t want to leave the house. At all.

So I played indoors. It’s been a while since I put together the Leica D-Lux 4 and the toy kaleidoscope I keep in my studio.

Play. Play. Play.

I fiddled with that cool little combo for hours. Patterns, shapes, color. So much fun.

Play. Play. Play.

I attended a talk in the Spring of 1998 put on by the UCSC Extension in Mountain View, CA. The speaker was digital artist David Biedny.

It was part of their Creativity in the Digital Age series. I don’t remember much about the talk in general, but the one thing he said that evening that’s stuck with me all these years was that creativity and play go hand-in-hand.

So true.

2019 Gallery

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Faves from the past year.

Among photographers, I’m sure this is not uncommon – at the end of each year, I take a look back at my body of work and pick out the photos I like most.

My choices may be due to a particular memory, maybe the composition, or the planning that went into a particular photo. It could be the happenstance, the color, or perhaps the light. Maybe it’s the mood or a good story.

For those reasons and more, this group of shots – and a few others – are my favorites for 2019 – please, take a peek at my year-end gallery.

 

Walking among the dead.

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Austin’s history under foot.

I met Kevin Thomas at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin last Sunday morning for a film stroll.

It’s a place I’ve been wanting to shoot since I saw Kat Swansey’s cemetery shots in her IG stream and her recommendation for a visit to Oakwood.

Foggy and a little chilly, it started clearing around noon. The drive down I-35 wasn’t bad at all.

I brought along the Yashica-Mat 66. I loaded a roll of Tri-X 400 in it the day before. Everything seemed pretty normal. Sunday I couldn’t get the film to advance properly. Hmmm.

Also on hand was my little Instax Mini 8, and I burned through two packs of Mono Chrome. Got a coupla’ keepers.

I thought I was prepared. Apparently not!

The Minolta XG-1/24mm ƒ2.8 + mystery roll, too.

I had the Sony RX100MIII in the bag, as well. Sadly, when I tried to use it, I discovered it had a dead battery.

So, I shot bunches with the iPhone 8 and Blackie App.

I thought I was prepared. Apparently not!

It was a good 2+ hour walk.

On my way back home I stopped at Austin Camera to pick up the negs/prints from the 4 rolls of C41 I left there last Saturday. Pretty cool to see what they contained. Around 20 keepers, plus I still have to scan the shots from the Sprocket Rocket.

Bookin’.

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… and lookin’ so fly.

The Shutterfly book I put together using pictures from our Portugal/Spain trip arrived in the mail last week.

Except for a few text alignment issues and me not making the shot on the front cover large enough, it turned out pretty nice.

Love the materials they used for this basic order. The cover is quite thick, nice and glossy. The pages are sturdy and semi-matte finished.

I’m happy with the results.

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Moody.

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Willie, too.

I made it down to Austin this morning for a stroll with the PhotowalksATX gang. Simi had us meet beneath the sculpture of Wille Nelson, outside the legendary Moody Theater of Austin City Limits fame – attending a show there is on my bucket list – and by 8:30 am we’d reached a quorum of 8.

Besides Simi, I knew Michael and RJ (that’s his Kodak Pony, above) from previous walks, plus Ed, who I know from NAPƒS, showed up. That was pretty cool. George, Ina, Sean, and Timothy were the new folks I got to meet this time around. (I hope I got their names right!)

We started out by walking over to West Cesar Chavez St., stopping to shoot around Austin City Hall.

After that, we slowly made our way west on Cesar Chavez until we reached the Austin Library. We made our way to the butterfly bridge, crossed it then inched our way eastward on 2nd till we ended back at Lavaca Street.

I… found myself shooting in B&W mode. And square. A lot.

I took the GX8 and X100s with me, but used the Panny mostly and found myself shooting in B&W mode. And square. A lot. That’s okay, though. I got a few decent shots.

It was pretty close to 11 a.m. by then, so everyone headed over to the downtown Whole Foods for lunch. We had a hell of a time finding enough chairs to seat all 8 of us around the larger of the two sizes of tables they had, but eventually everyone had a place to sit and we ate then talked for at least an hour.

Great fun. Simi is awesome. If you’re in the Austin area, you should give this once-a-month gathering a try.

I headed out a little after noon, driving up Lamar until a left on 45th then a right on Burnet Road got me closer to my last stop. I finally dropped off the 4 rolls of 35mm C41 at Austin Camera. It’ll all be ready for me to pick up next Sunday. Yay!

 

Make it yourself.

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Large Format Notebook.

Here’s a little hand-made project I just finished. It’s a paper log for keeping track of large format images. A useful record keeping tool while out shooting with the Shen Hao.

The 4.25″ x 5.5″ booklet has a cover, a title page, 24 log pages, and 2 pages for notes.

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I saw a nifty product online called Analogbook and thought about making something myself, simpler and tailored for my specific needs.

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The booklet was easy to produce, with most supplies on hand and a few Adobe Illustrator files, although to be honest I did spend $13 on a long-reach stapler to bind them.

Nothin’ fancy, but quite functional.

Practice makes perfect.

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Seeing makes pictures.

I attended last night’s NAPƒS meeting to hear Ted Keller talk about “The Value of Practice.” It was a good talk and his experience with teaching/training was apparent.

It struck me how many of his theories and methods I’ve unconsciously used in my years of playing with cameras.

I am not a classically train photographer. I learn (even to this day) by research, applied practice, and a whole lot of intuition.

I like to play. Experiment. I also spend a lot of time looking at the work of other photographers. I read about photography. I watch videos. I make a lot of pictures.

And that’s where my interest in photography starts… with the picture.

… I’m convinced that paying attention, being in the moment, and seeing is even more critical.

Sure, knowing how to use a camera is important, but I’m convinced that paying attention, being in the moment, and seeing is even more critical.

I’m more interested in the act of making a photograph than I am in the technical details of operating a camera. I find that using extremely simple film cameras – like the Agfa Click I or the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim is a liberating experience.

See. Point. Shoot.

Modern cameras – in all their complexity – can be intimidating. And unforgiving. So Ted’s insistence that practice prepares one for being ready is absolutely true.

Just don’t forget to look around or you might miss the shot you were practicing to get.

One last thing… the member print exhibit. Patti Mitchell’s concert shots were stellar. To paraphrase Bill Bunton, “It’s easy to see why she consistently wins in the competition every month.”

Note: The last photo club meeting I attended was the second Monday back in September, the Round Rock Image Creators. I’ve only attended one Round Rock Photography Club meeting. Now that NAPƒS has split the competition to 1st Thursday and the Speaker to 3rd Thursday I’ll have to weigh which club gets my eyes and ears in 2020. Bummer.