Graflex Speed Graphic Medium Format Film Camera

Graflex Speed Graphic with 135mm f/4.7 Lens

Medium format 4×5 and 220 film camera with 135mm f/4.7 lens made popular in the 1940’s

If you study the history of photography from it’s first shot through today’s almost incalculable iterations, you will see the art form takes on an enormous range of artistic expressions. I’m actually proud to say I started off in the age of film photography. I know what it’s like to have to be super intentional about the exposure, about getting it right the first or second time because film cost a fortune, and getting it developed cost even more. I also know what it’s like to take a photo and not see the results for a week or more (that was probably the worst part about shooting film back in the day), which made improving as a photographer a slower, more intentional process. Looking back at all that film I shot, I know it helped me tremendously when it comes to shooting in today’s digital world.

My grandad was a photographer as well, and he of course also did all of his work in film, but it wasn’t the 35mm film I grew up shooting, it was a medium format, 4×5 film, and still popular 220 film roll that he used. The one 4×5 negative I still have of his is this self-portrait, taken with the very camera showcased in this post. It was taken back in the 1970’s (when you kept cameras for more than a year or two), back in a time when these were called “self-portraits” not selfies.

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Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8 TLR with Xenotar f2.8 80mm Lens

Rolleiflex Camera

A classic. The original Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8 TLR with Xenotar 2.8/80mm lens and yellow with the green gel filters and closeup lens.

Project 365 [Day 145] Photo Editing Day for Project 365

Project 365 [Day 145] Editing Day for Project 365 on My 27" iMac

Today was editing day for Project 365. I am truly amazed at how difficult it has been to keep up with this seemingly simple task of taking one image a day for 365 days. I have managed to keep up ok with actually taking the image, although some days it has come right down to the wire, but trying to keep up with posting said images has been a difficult task. I could have made it a little easier on myself and just posted raw unprocessed iPhone images on Instagr.am every day, but that just isn’t my style. So this photo above is, yes, a photo of my office where I am processing my photos, but that’s what I did today. To see the other P365 (or posts) images just go to the gallery at http://p365.me  over on my Flickr site where they are arranged day by day.

Please Welcome My Nephew to the World of Photo Blogging

Jacob Marchio Working on His Blog

I’m so excited to see my nephew, Jacob, starting his first blog, so everyone please jump over to his newly created blog at www.JacobMarchio.com and add it to your reader or leave him a nice comment on his first post. After saving up and getting his first Digital SLR camera, a Nikon D3100 (see the post here where we went to pick up his camera), he quickly realized that he wanted a place to post his photos other than his Flickr account page where it is sometimes hard to write in a whole lot of detail.

At this point I have helped a lot of people setup a new blog, but I am not sure I have ever had someone this excited about getting started. His blog will generally be posts about his photography and his interest in astronomy, and for his age, he is quite a talented photographer and astronomer. I am really looking forward to seeing how his blog develops over time, I hope you will check it out from time to time as well and give him some nice encouragement along the way.

Update on Photo Project 365 from March 2012 :: P365.me

Project 365 March 2012

Just wanted to post a quick update to my Project 365 (also known this year in the gallery as P365.me :2012), which was started back on November 29th 2011. Today makes Day 127 on a project that has been on My List for years and years now. Taking at least one unique photo every day seems to be a simple, easy thing, but in reality when you really start to attempt something like this you quickly see how many things can get in the way. Honestly the only thing making this possible for me at this point is my iPhone, otherwise, time would have its way. I would say 80-85% of all my P365.me images have come from my iPhone, and without it, this project would most likely be all but impossible. For a more detailed explanation visit my Project 365 page.

The image above represents March 2012. This is one reason why I really wanted to do this project and stick with it. It is a snap shot (literally) of a month in time. I try to make each shot unique, but when you get buried into the depths of routine sometimes it hard, and you end up with a lot of shots in the car, and of the dog. The cool thing is, I can remember every single shot, where I was, what I was doing, and so on, and I can do the same thing for shots I took 10 years ago. Images are such a powerful reminder of time and place.

[On a side note, I have several pre-dated posts that go along with this one that are finally ready to go on the blog. Between that and me having to manually re-code each blog post from my transfer from wordpress.org to wordpress.com my rss readers are going to still get some old updates. I’m sorry for spamming my rss readers, I wish there was a way for me to change it until all the updates are done, but there isn’t, sorry. I’m trying to get all the posts updated, time permitting, so it will stop hammering my rss feed.]

Most Beautiful Dogwood Blooms of any Recent Spring in Auburn

Dogwood Flower Bloom in Spring

OK, so this will probably be the last post of the Spring showing our Dogwood bloom or our Wisteria, but I just love the colors so today it’s my Photo of the Day and my P365 :2012 photo [Day 114]. I don’t know if it’s all the rain we got over the winter or that I’m just another year older, but this Spring has been the most beautiful I can remember in a long time. The Dogwood blooms around Auburn were, and still are spectacular this year. The one pictured above is from our yard and is just screaming of the beauty of creation.

This photo was taken handheld, and is seen basically straight out of my Nikon D7000 camera body, with a little added saturation processing from Adobe Lightroom. You can see the full exif data from over on my Flickr site. The background blur comes from the lens I was using, a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G version (a very fast and inexpensive prime lens), shot almost wide open (i.e. f/1.4) so the depth of field was very shallow. The purple and green, two incredible contrasting colors for a white flower, come from our purple Wisteria blooms and the trees in the background. This wouldn’t necessarily be considered macro photography (see my previous examples here), but it was shot at the lens’ minimum focal distance.

Hope you have been able to get out and smell the roses this Spring, even if they are in the form of Wisteria and Dogwood blooms.

Auburn Tigers Football vs Florida Atlantic Game 4 :: Photos

The football game yesterday was the first night game of the year and I ended up leaving my camera in the car, so I was left with taking photos of the game using my iPhone. I can’t wait to see what kind of camera the iPhone 5 comes with (reportedly it will be a great 8mp sensor), because the more I use my cell phone for actual serious photographic purposes the more I have grown to like it. Sure my Nikon DSLR would have done a better job overall but I was thrilled to have my phone, and not have to lug around a heavy body and lens for once. It also still proves the old adage that the artist is in the person (or the photographer) not in the camera.

Anyway, it ended up being one of the more enjoyable games we have been to this year. We didn’t get sunburned, die from the heat, or stress over the game (though we really don’t do that anyway). We did however get to see several friends around the tailgate areas, like Courtney (see her blog here) seen below with Deborah, and we ended up leaving early enough to get to see the end of the game from home. Normally we would stay but since I had to be at three services and a mission meeting early today, we opted for watching the end at home. By the time the next home game gets here against Florida I will have been to Uganda and back. The Florida game is actually the very next day after I get back from 36 hours of travel from the other side of the world, hopefully I will just be able to stay awake for the game. In the mean time enjoy some iPhoneography below.

Understanding Exposure is More than Just Point and Shoot

I thought I would do a little photography 101 slash book review for this Saturday’s post. Only one more week before Auburn opens the 2011 football season so today is sort of the last “free” day before the fall goes into full swing, so to speak. The changes in photography over the last 10-15 years has been amazing to watch, and I’m glad I started shooting when film was the only option. Just about anyone can pick up a digital SLR today that is capable of taking photos that weren’t even possible a few years ago. Thankfully, it still takes more than just a finger pushing a button to take shots that look like more than just vacation photos. It’s quite possible to take great shots with a point-n-shoot and lousy shots with a professional camera (my nephew who is 12 takes amazing shots with his $150 Canon PowerShot SD1300).

One of the aspects of photography that attracted me to the art years and years ago was how easy it was to take a photo, and how hard it was to master the art. Just like anything worth doing, it takes a lot of time, study, experience, and a determination to get beyond the basics. One of the very basics of photography, and also one of the most difficult to master, is exposure. There are three basic elements to exposure in photography that make an image possible. These have never changed since the very first piece of film was exposed to light. For a “proper” exposure you need a combination of aperture (lens opening), shutter speed, and ISO value (film or sensitivity speed). Today’s cameras all have what is called a “P” or “program” mode that automatically calculates all three of these in an instant and creates what it thinks is the proper exposure. The only problem with that is the meter always exposes for a “middle grey”, or average, which attempts to take every lighting situation in the frame, average it out for medium, and that’s the “proper” exposure. That not necessarily bad, or wrong, and it’s probably how about 90% of all images shot are taken, but it also doesn’t always make the most exciting photograph either.

The two examples above I shot in the fading sun over the Atlantic, and both are considered to be improperly exposed according to the camera meter at the time. One is significantly “over exposed” (too light or bright) and one “under exposed” (too dark). I took several shots back to back and the “properly exposed” shot was quite boring. I love how both of these shots show a different mood and many different details. What often determines a “proper” exposure is what you are trying to create when you take the shot. What story are you trying to tell often determines what exposure best portrays your vision when you pull the trigger.

If you are interested in learning more about exposure and how light is used in creating an image I recommend the updated edition of Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson. I have no affiliation with Peterson but I did read his first edition that came out many years ago and recently finished the updated version published last year. Peterson goes through an easy to understand explanation of how to best use exposure in your photography beyond just pulling the trigger. Anyone who is interested in improving their photography should start off with Peterson’s book and move out from there, it’s a great place to start.

Camera Gear Scattered All Over the Place :: Saturday Summary

This week for my Saturday Summary I don’t have a whole lot of pics that weren’t already published in some form or another, mainly because the week has been so incredibly busy I haven’t had time to take as many shots this week as I have in the past few weeks. After going back and forth with what to take to Uganda and what to leave here, I’m finally packed and ready to go.

I think one of my favorite pics in this set is the one from the Atlanta airport I took on Thursday as I drove around in circles and my camera gear spread out all over my desk. I was really looking forward to hearing all about the team’s trip but as usually in Atlanta you can’t stop for one second until someone can actually put a bag in your car. Hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend.

Outtake Photos from the Week of July 10th :: Saturday Summary

I love how different every single week of life is, even if you work from home and rarely leave, each week presents it’s own challenges and smiles. I LOVE my nephews smile in the photo above. This is such a typical summer afternoon for a 5 year old in Alabama. This short recap of the week below saw everything from a wedding to meetings on multisite and church planning to rain. I find the more I make the effort to actually carry my camera with me the more I remember about what actually did happen throughout the week. One of my favorite shots from the last 7 days besides my Nephew Isaac is from the wedding I shot last weekend in Opelika. The shot below where she is walking out the door of the church is almost mesmerizing to me. It’s like she is walking out of the church and into heaven. The huge difference in light between the inside and outside of the front of the church makes for, to me, a great blend of blown out light and minute detail (see more details on Flickr).

One more week here in Auburn before our team leaves for Uganda so after that I’m not sure what my blog posts will look like. The camera shot of the camera, a Fujifilm Finepix x100, below is something I got for my trip to Uganda. This is my first small compact camera I have ever owned, and I hope it’s worth it since I traded in two of my Nikon camera bodies to get it (although one was a film camera and I’m not sure I still count that one). For those x100 enthusiest out there you can follow x100 pics from the x100 tag from now on. Have a great weekend everyone.