Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sunny 16 Saves Lives

Well... At least it saved mine several times.

The sunny 16 rule is the go to rule for when you are out and your light meter dies or breaks at one of the most inopportune times. The type of exposure you get from using this method is the same as if you were to use an incident light meter, one that measures the light falling on the subject as opposed to being reflected and bounced off of your subject. If you have a light meter, the incident meter is when you put the white semi-circle attachment over the light sensor.

How does the sunny 16 rule work?

On a completely sunny day, you set your aperture to f/16 and your shutter speed to the same speed as your ISO or the closest speed up. For example, I use ISO 400 film so my camera would be set to f/16 with a 1/500 shutter speed. For ISO 100 you would do f/16 at 1/125 and ISO 200 would be f/16 at 1/250. That's it.

Easy right?

There are some variations of this that you can take advantage of. You can keep the same exposure value but you need to change your aperture because your subject is closer and you need less depth of field. You can do that for example, with ISO 400 instead of f/16 you can do f/11 at 1/1000 shutter speed. You're opening up your aperture one stop while speeding up the shutter by one stop as well to keep the same value as sunny 16. To go one more than that, you can do f/8 with a 1/2000 shutter speed. As long as your camera has the faster shutter speeds, it's all possible.

What if it's not such a sunny day? Well, you can still use the sunny 16 rule with some slight modifications. Is the day just kind of cloudy or is it straight overcast? if its overcast, you would want to keep your shutter speed the same, set to the shutter speed closest to the ISO number, but you would want to open your aperature one or two stops to f/11 or f/8 and shoot away. For sunset, you might want to go three or maybe four stops up to f/5.6 or f/4.

Here are a couple examples of shots I took while using the sunny 16 rule:

For more information on the sunny 16 rule or a very similar looney 11 rule (for taking pictures of the moon)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Black and Whites Chicago May 2013

Being a ridiculously huge pro wrestling fan, I try to get as much of the behind the scenes psychology I can. Much of this psychology can actually be translated into the real world and what you do in your life to screw yourself or, in better cases, move ahead. The man that I get the best behind the scenes info is from former VP of talent relations and the former announcer and voice of the WWE, Jim Ross (aka Good Ol JR). His biggest piece of advice to all of the young talent on the WWE roster is to maximize your minutes. Well, when I went to Chicago back at the end of May, I made sure to do the same.

I know I've mentioned it several times by now, but I only had six hours to spend in a town I'd never wanted to visit before. My biggest draws were train stations and giant metallic beans. With that in mind, I searched the internet and found out two locations that directly matched my criteria, Millenium Park and Dearborn Station. I hope you all get to enjoy at least Millenium park someday, and Buckingham fountain just a few blocks south. Two places that have invaded my thoughts and dreams since I visited them.

Front Door of Dearborn Station. Now a retail shop. Bummer.

Huge amphitheater adjacent to the big bean, the Jay Pritzker Pavillion. They yelled at me for walking on the grass. I made sure to take a few extra steps before getting back on the sidewalk.

The Giant Bean, AKA Clouds Gate. Looks much cooler in black and white then in color.

The tower of Dearborn Station. There used to be a roof cap on the tower until it burned down in a fire. It was more dull to look at now that the building was turned into a retail strip mall. Very depressing.

A stellar view of the Downtown sky from the Jay Pritzker Pavillion. I took this while standing on the grass while the gardners were working as mentioned in the above image. It couldn't have been a better looking day. Now if only I had brought my filter for a more dramatic shot.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pasadena in the Fall

This weeks post is a short one. I think I only took my film camera on this trip, so I don't have much to work with. But the lack of photos doesn't mean I wasn't able to find interesting places to take pictures of.

Several months ago, I visited the town of Pasadena. Its right on the skirts of the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley. The downtown area, where I was this trip, has a great old town vibe. With a city hall that looks rivals most state capitals, a huge park(that has a summertime theater), and a couple of great gastropubs and bars, including Congregation Ale House, Haven and a Stone company store, there is something to do for everybody.

If you are coming from Downtown LA, you can easily hop onto the Metro Gold Line. Then you can sit and relax instead of sitting in the traffic. By freeway, it's directly off of the 210 and the 134 freeways. Pretty convenient.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Film on the Open Trail ...... To Nowhere!

This weekend, I'm going to be returning to the San Gabriel mountains to hike my favorite trail, The Bridge to Nowhere. In anticipation, I would like to share some film pictures I took on my hike in March. One of the main reasons I keep coming back to this spot is the unpredictability that you don't normally get, say at some of the other trails like over at Griffith park for an example or the Gaviotta Wind Tunnels.

This trip feels like It might be one of the more difficult times I will have up there since this is the middle of July. I have a few ways that i'll beat the heat. First off, I will be taking two 1 liter bottles of water, my trusty Noble Ale Works trucker hat, SPF 50 sunscreen, a killer slipknot handkerchief that I will be wetting and then tying around my neck to block the sun and keep me cool, and a nice sack lunch to enjoy on the bridge at 8:00-8:30 AM, if not earlier, while watching the bungee jumpers.

I'll be taking my trusty $20 Rebel Ti film camera with me again to catch as much interesting and odd as I can. But until then, I'll leave you with these pictures.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Test Roll From San Pedro

One of the benefits to living in a large metropolitan zone is that several iconic places are easily accessible. That can also be a downside unless you know how to properly utilize what you've got. I find these places as prime locations for testing out new equipment.

With my trip to New York looming, I was looking into getting a new film camera. One that was more accessible to my needs and allowed me to shoot faster while getting the results I was looking for, ie contrast. I really want a rangefinder, but there was no chance on my budget, so I settled with a Canon AE-1, a very prevalent camera to find.

One day I walked into my local camera shop to check out their large format cameras and to see if they had any deals with the classic cameras. Lo and behold, they had Rolleicord. A Rolleicord was the inexpensive version of the Rolleiflex, which was a popular camera used for press photography and has probably the best glass for a Twin Lens camera. The only difference between the Cord and the Flex was a slightly lower quality lense, the Cord only went to f3.5 instead of f2.8 of the Flex (one stop slower), and the Cord had a winding knob instead of the leaver. For me it's fairly insignificant since I can make the most out of what I have (As seen with my Holga shots Here and Here.)

After a lunch run to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, and a bowl of ramen at the ever so wonderful Santouka Ramen, I drove up Western to San Pedro and to the Korean Bell of Friendship and a slight detour to the loading docks for the cruise ships.Take a look.

The last two shots were on the butt end of the roll. The first is one of my friends at work and on the second is on the trail to the Bridge to Nowhere. In case you're wondering, the color stripe in the photos were scanning errors from my scanner. I have no clue what was going on that day because my last set of scans came out wonderful!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fireworks Extravemaganza 2013

The Fourth of July is one of my top two favorite holidays every year. The main reason is probably the same reason most guys will give, Fireworks! I love me some controlled explosions put on by incredible technicians and outstanding choreographers. There is only a couple of places in the country that can offer that experience, one of them being a couple miles down the freeway from where I live, Disneyland.

This was my fourth year specifically watching the fireworks at Disneyland. My first two years were from the Brookhurst St/ Interstate 5 overpass. It has one CLEAR view, plus or minus some smog. Last year, I stood on the Ball Rd overpass directly behind Disneyland's office buildings. the view was incredible, but I saw myself wanting more.

This year, I perched myself on the top level of the Mickey and Friends parking structure. You can pay 15 buckaroos, or you can do what I did, I parked in the neighborhood and walked about five to ten minutes to the structure. I got there around 8:00 PM, and there were people already setting up camp. I walked about halfway down the structure as far away from everybody as I could. I setup my tripod and my camera and the rest is now history.

The only unfortunate part about watching the fireworks here is that you cannot hear the music track that plays to the fireworks. Not so important, but you do get a quite different experience. But if you don't like to be elbow to elbow, I wouldn't recommend it. That happens to be the busiest day of the year, or at least it was when I worked there.

Test shot to see how my night photography is.

Spot floodlights coming from Fantasmic.