Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Night Holgas

The fireworks display in Worcester did indeed happen...it stopped raining just in time, really. I bought several rolls of color film to try in the Holgas. It's amazing how fast the fireworks display went by without even actually seeing it. Well, I saw it, but because I was running around from spot to spot with the tripod and camera bag, it feels like it was over in an instant. All I remember is holding the shutter open and running thru some semblance of counting in my head. Then a precise 4 counts for the winding between exposures.
A holga recreation of my current header image...

To see the photos in the grid above bigger, go to my pbase galleries. I can't figure out how to make things clickable in this blog.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

India: More scans

The kids scaled these large metal "buoys" in a split second to peer down at us. We had just been let off of the boat, so that the crew could dismantle the boat, float it under the bridge, and then reassemble it on the other side. Due to the layout of the land, these metal buoys were the only shelter to find- and we were all desperate to pee, after being on the boat for several hours. No one wanted to pee with such an audience, so we pretended that we were simply looking..and then we noticed that we hadn't been the first ones to consider the area a toilet. The ground below was a veritable mine field of human feces.
The day of the camel ride ended here- at a place created for the tourists to "camp" overnight. It was a huge enclosed area of the desert with many large, permanent tents. Although visually striking, the real reason I was up so early shooting was because it was so cold I couldn't sleep any more. I was frozen. That night I had slept in all the clothes that I'd brought along, and in my gloves, too! The gloves were the only residual New England thing I had with me as I had been expecting a warm climate in India. That didn't really happen. It is my understanding that the desert climate is much different than other areas in India, but I didn't know that before going. Well, ok, I had read that the desert can be cold but I didn't believe it.
The camels were a litle intimidating, but I couldn't resist getting just a little closer...
I mentioned before that I only saw about 3 pet dogs in India. This was one of them, although how much of a pet he really was I can't say. But, he did have a leash, and was desperate to play with me!
This place in Pushkar stopped me in my tracks. Old, worn, beaten, blue and had an odd geometry for my eyes. Despite the human-less appearance, this was actually a huge feat to accomplish. The road was a main one, and was very busy with cows, locals, and tourists.

Friday, July 4, 2008

India: Negative scans a half year later!

When I renegotiated my work contract with WSC, from 12 months to 10 months, my goals were two-fold. One, I needed the time off in order to shoot and edit weddings. Two, I wanted time to devote to my personal projects- whether that is house stuff or photography work. I found myself sitting here on this drizzly 4th, pondering my "summer TO DO list", and was pleasantly surprised to realize that I am actually in a position to start really working with my India negatives. See, when I came back from India and had the color film processed at LB Wheatons, I asked for small (4x4) work prints to act as my "contact sheets". My intent was to choose negatives to scan after looking the work prints over. However, my scanner was acting odd with the actual negs, so instead I did quickie scans of the work prints. Yikes. It makes me cringe to think of it, but it was all I could do at the time. NOW I can take the time to scan certain negs individually and then work with them in Lightroom and Photoshop. In all, I will probably scan about 100 images, and follow that up with cleaning them of the dust, adjusting colors and levels, etc. The negatives, for some reason, seem to be very, ummm, irregular. I don't know how else to describe it- they have lots of "dirt" on them that isn't dust (see example series below for a before/after example from one). It's patchy cloudy stuff, and it is all over. If anyone has any ideas, I am listening. It took me several hours to scan and clean about 10 images. Eventually, I will have several of them printed. If not for a show of some sort, then at least for my house. I have to see these printed! BIG.

The initial scan...(above)The final image- cleaned up a bit!

I am pleased that between Photoshop and Lightroom, I can get what I want from the negs. I am just surprised by all the mess on them, seeing as they look ok on the light table and they didn't print that way from LB Wheatons. If it wasn't for my wanting to control all of the details to each image, I could simply have them printed by LBW "straight". But I don't want to do that. It makes me shiver to think of doing that and going back and forth over print pickyness (on my part) to have things re-done exactly the way I want.

This one (above) from Varanasi is definitely growing on me. It's interesting how my feelings about certain images will change over time. In a way, I am glad that it has taken me 6 months to get to this project.

The children behind the Taj haunt me. This little girl followed me (and probably every other tourist) as I walked along this barbed wire fence. She had asked for money earlier, when there were several children begging me for money. I gave them some, and one of the boys grabbed it and ran off, leaving the others to want MORE money. The begging was one of the most heart breaking AND annoying aspects to the trip. We were advised not to give money (and this was the only time that I did) because you can't help them, really, and you will continue to be inundated by demands.

I photographed lots of Dogs in India. They are all strays, people there don't have pets like we do. (Well, I did see 3 pet dogs, but that was over a span of 3 weeks, and multiple locations!) I imagine that they are all exhausted from simply existing. The dogs and cows eat garbage, so the good pickings are random for them.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dog Park Holgas

Boy, have I fallen behind on the dog park negatives! I just scanned images that have SNOW in them. Hmmm. And I have a few rolls still waiting to be processed. Ah, well, life does get in the way sometimes- until this week, I haven't had time to do my own projects. I have had weddings every weekend, and thankfully the next one isn't until July 19th. So a few of the dog park photos were kinda interesting- I will post a few.

For anyone who doesn't know, my holgas are cheap plastic cameras that use medium format film. They can't be controlled like normal cameras, you have to guesstimate on exposure time and focus. It's a riot! I plan to take them everywhere with me. AND in the future, I will bring packets of developer, fix, etc with me and process the film before I fly home. After the India disaster (fogged film from airport radiation) I would rather exercise more control over my film fate.

The holga (above) was accidentally left on "bulb" for a few rolls. Most of them are trash, but this one caught my eye. It took a bit of tweaking to get the image to appear, but I could see it on the negative so I knew it was there.This girl comes every weekend with her Boston's- they are a bit more wired than my three!Another from the "bulb" accident negatives. I like how the dog is streaking thru and leaping out of the frame.

This was an interesting catch- the dog looks like he is stopping quickly. I like the raised paw and the shadow, plus the clarity to the body and the motion blur to the ground.

This one almost looks like a double exposure to me- the fur texture of the bigger dog is almost identical to the grass tone and texture. And it's a self portrait!

By the way, I may have killed my flash last weekend shooting at the park. I always have it on the cable (like in the shadow above) and it slipped and fell...into the stream. A $500 flash on a $25 camera. Ah, well.

Tonight I will load the holgas with color film and head to Jonathans to do long exposures of the firework. They should be right next to his place, I figure that the deck at his house or Stephens should be about right to get the perspective I want. I don't really care about fireworks, but I want to see what the holga can do with time exposures for things like that.