Saturday, February 25, 2012

Portfolio Shoot from West Hollywood

For the past month and a half, I have been trying to build up a decent archive of images to work from instead of working roll to roll. I have gone about three times and have about one or two more shoots that I am planning before I stick with just printing my pictures, but it seems that I am kind of limited to the kind of pictures that I can take and where I can take them from. Here, I will show you some of the worse examples. These are still on the better than snapshot side, just not good enough for me to stick in my professional portfolio.

These ones are more or less are not as good because I dont have enough want and balls to get a better angle. Maybe they might even be better if I had stuck my camera on my monopod and set the self timer. I can probably get a more interesting angle that way.

These three are just subject to location and patience. The first one I was able to squeeze my lens in a spot  not blocked by a chain link fence. the second one is the real test of patience. I was waiting for a good 5 minutes just to be able to see the kodak sign, but was unable to get the theater half into the shot. Also the security guard wouldnt let me rest my monopod on the floor even though it had a rubber stop on the bottom. The third image was location. For some reason these old theaters have huge giant trees in front of them. NOt very easy to get a shot without a tree in it. The Mayan Theater has that same problem even though it has a ton of decorations on the outside.

These last two are pictures I think I am going to use for my project. The shot of the Disney Hall especially will be in there. There is almost no way you can shoot that place badly even if you try. The black spot on the left hand side was from a light leak on my Lubitel from the red window on the back. I'm going to crop it out by printing the rest of it bigger using an easel. 

Well, if anybody has any tips for taking better ground level shots, leave a comment. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh so torn.,,

Over the past few months, I have been going back and forth on when I am going to get a digital camera.

I already know which one I plan on getting. well, even that is a toss up. I want to get a Canon 20D, but I'm not too fond of the EF-S mount. I haven't done enough research on whether all EF-S cameras have  half size sensors or the size that was used on the 10D. I don't really want to have the option of being able to use alternate mount lenses than my film camera.

I'm getting off of my original point here. I'm not too ready to jump into digital yet because I am doing perfectly fine shooting film and have no real reason to shoot digital yet. I also find myself forcing myself into starting to work when I don't have a decent portfolio set up yet and no solid direction.

I'm going to push this moment off for at least another month and focus on my classes and working on my compositions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yashica Mat EM Test Roll 1

I picked up a Yashica Mat EM on Ebay a week ago and when it came in the mail I decided to run a test roll through it before I went on my big shooting extravaganza in Hollywood this past weekend.  Unfortunately for me, from the results I got I wont be able to tell if I will be able to use it all for my big portfolio project.

When I got the camera in the mail, I was checking out some important issues such as all of the knobs and buttons along with timing a couple of the shutter speeds. It turns out the shutter was sticking on every setting while the aperture and the focus knob were moving just fine. I looked up the issue on Google and found out it wasn't too difficult to fix the issue. 

After putting it back together I ran a test roll and here are the results.
This was the only one that came out some type of sharp, but when it was scanned that big light spot showed up that I didn't see in the negative.

This was just a throw away picture but came our really cool.
I think I'm just going to have to bracket with the focusing to see what the accurate distance on the focus knob. I'll be developing roll number 2 from the Yashica Mat on Tuesday, which should give me a better idea on how its working.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stone Brewery

This past weekend, I drove up to Stone Brewing Company in Escondido. I really had no idea of what the experience would be like since I have been only to Bootleggers in Fullerton and Alcatraz at the Block in Orange. It was much more than I expected. 

These are my buddies Charlie and Zach while we waited in line for tickets to go on a tour of the warehouse and brewing facilities.

The main part of the building is their bar and restaurant with almost all of the taps at the bar dedicated to beer that is made on location. They had a few odd styles that I hadn't heard of or seen at Total Wine which was kind of a surprise. The first one I tried was their Black Double IPA. It was nice, thick and still had the IPA taste along with a bit of a chocolaty flavor. and the other was the 15th anniversary Imperial Black IPA. if you couldn't tell, I love most pale ales. I'm no beer connoisseur so i wont pretend to be one. I love drinking beer as long as it tastes good and that is all that matters.

I managed to take a great shot of their bar. What I didn't know until I developed these pictures was that I got a great shot of their logo that was stamped on the wall in the back.

We went over to the garden next, but unfortunately all of the pictures I took on my 35mm weren't too hot. I took a set on my Lubitel which I shall be developing in the next day or so. When I have those pictures, i will make a specific post for that, since their garden over there was amazing.

When we got to the brewery, we had set a reservation for their restaurant and it turned out to be at least an hour wait to get a table. So, around this time our buzzer went off and we finally sat down. The interesting part was when we got tickets for the tour, they were for the tour two hours in advance and by the time we sat down, we only had an hour to eat.

This restaurant is really expensive, IMO. The cheapest item on the menue was 15 bucks and everything averaged between 17 and 25 bucks. The reason these places cost so much is that everything was made and/or produced in San Diego County, where Stone Brewery is located. I went with a $17 buffalo burger. It was pretty darn good, but I expected it to be a giant sized burger. It was just a normal sized one.

This guy was on our table over at the restaurant inside Stone Brewing Co.

By the time we got our food, it was about 15 minutes before we were to go on the brewery tour. Needless to say, we shoved the food down our throats and got in line for the tour. Unfortunately the tour only had three stops and we didn't get to go up on any of the catwalks, presumably for safety purposes. I did manage to squeeze off a couple of good shots while on the tour

This guy was on the first stop. Was a great subject, since he did not move around too much when I made this picture.

This was at stop Number 2. Behind us, there were these two kegs on a lonely pallet.

Well... That was how I spent my last Saturday. If you would like to check out Stone Brew Co, head on over to their website here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Results from Lubitel Shoot

Last time, I was describing my new old camera, the Lubitel 2. I got a little too technical even for me. I went shot at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which seems to be my most favorite place to shoot, and I have some results along with some pros and cons of using a completely manual camera. I have yet to edit some of these pictures because at least one of them will be used for my project and I am printing it out in the darkroom and not on the computer.

In this first image, it gives me a great idea of what to expect from this camera.  There are a couple of issues, but the most major one is a quirk of having a camera with a hole in the back for viewing the image number, and that is the vignetting. You can really see the big spot on the bottom left corner and slight darkening on the other three corners. Another hard issue is the viewing screen. When I was trying to frame  the image, I had to guess with over half the image because all I could see was the outline of the lens. It didn't fit the screen. I just happen to be good at aiming. An acquired skill from playing a lot of Duck Hunt on my NES 20years ago. Other than that, the image looks sharp enough to me.

This self portrait of myself was an interesting shot to see after developing my film. It shows the very point of why film is such a great medium. I can't see this being done on a digital camera unless you combine two different images. In order to take an image on the Lubitel, you have to manually cock the shutter and then hit the shutter release and then wind the film to the next position. What I did was take the first shot by accident which was my image in the upper left corner, and then I forgot to wind the image to the next shot and I hit the shutter open again. 

My last two images are just so so for me.
I scanned this one because the cars looked a little like toys, and it is a great shot of the front of the concert hall.

This one was another double exposure taken from the garden/courtyard on the backside of the concert hall. I guess i wanted to take another self portrait since I had screwed the last one up and I forgot to wind it to the next shot again. In this image, I was trying to capture a bee, but I don't think I got it.

All in all, I think i got my moneys worth for this camera, and I will most definately have to trade off week to week between this camera and my new old Yashica Mat EM, that should be arriving tomorrow.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Camera

Well... not a New new camera, but rather and old camera that is new to me. I've been frequenting a local photography store and checking out their used cameras. Most of the time their prices are a little steep, and its very understandable since they have to keep their bottom line. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a very interesting camera called a Lubitel 2.

Now, I have been studying twin lens cameras for the past 2 months or so, because i am naturally progressing from 35mm to a 120 film size. Its kind of the easiest way to progress with picture composition and overall quality without shelling out a crapload of change on cameras like a Mamiya 7 or a Hasselblad. The Lubitel 2 is an incredibly inexpensive camera that gives an entry level experience into twin lenses and was almost as fun shooting as the Yashica Mat i check out from school.

So, this camera is fully manual. No shortcuts here, my friend. In order to take a shot, the shutter has to be cocked. The shutter speeds go from 1/15th of a second to 1/250th of a second with an extra bulb setting. Not really too much to work with but that is where exposure compensation comes into play. The aperature settings go from a slow f4.5 through f22. There is very little in the way of getting any fast moving shots, but if you are a patient person, that should be no problem and just use this for still life, snapshot, or anything creative. 

There is a waist level viewer with a flip up loupe for focusing, but I don't like the missing grid lines on most other waist level viewers. Its a bit harder to compose your picture.

The biggest confusion I had prior to shooting was the lack of an ISO meter. This is because there is no light meter and you should be using an external meter for setting the exposure. I think I goofed a bit since my light meter was my Canon Rebel and it was set for ISO 400 and the film I used was 100. One stop up shouldnt hurt the images thought.

I used Fuji Neopan 100 film and should be processing the film today and shall post my results and see if I will go out and shoot with it again.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Portfolio Concept

About a week and a half ago, I had to choose the rough concept I will be using for my portfolio project. It was a little tough for me to choose since my semi-adhd mind likes to chose everything over one subject.
At first I chose to shoot at the California spanish missions, but ended up not being able to come up with a way to convey them in my images.

I changed it to El Camino Real and was going to convey the pilgrimmage the spanish priests and other travelers used to make from the start to finish. While I was thinking that through, it dawned on me that would be a larger project than my class is looking for and would cost too much time and money that I dont cirrently have.

Just a few weeks ago, I was chatting with a coworker, who was a former photographer, and he mentioned checking out some historical theaters in Los Angeles. I thought about it for a second and remembered how much fun it was every time I take the Metrolink to Hollywood and look at Pantages. It also feels like a natural fit to document places I love to visit. I might get better work out of this.

So, my subject starting off this project is to document, compare and contrast the different architectural styles of theaters and music halls. I'm not sure where this will take me, other than to New York for a few days in April, but it seems very interesting and very difficult. I also seem to forget that my overall subject matter will change over time. I might have to settle specifically with movie theaters or maybe even music venues. Time can only tell.