parking lots, roads, and clouds

I have a hundred things I should be doing, so naturally I’m finding some time to procrastinate instead, and throw up some photos from last June in Oklahoma. I have the schema designed for the parametric bags, so the data portion of the bag-o-matic is ready to go. There’s a ton of UI to build around it, just for the back end part, and I have to figure out how to pack all these irregular shapes onto 24” paper, because that’s the size of printer I could find. Prints on roll paper though, so at least I can go as long as needed in one dimension.

Anyway, photos. It was midsummer in oklahoma when I took these. The sky always puts on a show there. So much was weirdly unfinished, kind of on pause. I was definitely working the questions this trip. I think maybe I talked about those over in my newsletter, but as they’re proprietary to the workshop I learned them in, I won’t blab too much here. (Also don’t worry about the newsletter, it’s more or less dead. Blogs are the future!). Actually, it’s late, I’ma just push post and go to bed.

Posted on 2022-02-03 09:35:20Z GMT

it's tuesday, lemon

What a week, huh? I started it sunday, realizing that all my 2021 pictures were just sitting on my desktop, not copied to my backup storage or to the cloud. Then I realized that my network adapter stopped working when I upgraded my OS maybe a month ago. So, I got a new adapter, got things backed up, and while I was at it, found the missing pictures from 2008 (the whole year failed to copy to my backup drive when I was initially migrating to it way back in 2018, and I only noticed recently).

Whenever I plug in the old hard drives, there’s always a bit of faffing about, looking at old pictures. There are versions of things that have gotten corrupted, sometimes in interesting ways. Like you can tell some bits got flipped in one spot in the raw file, and then the file from there on is color shifted. it’s weird, and most of the time just a pain in the ass. Luckily, it only seems to happen to old nikon files, and I always have two copies, so all the ones that have gone to the storage appliance are good. For now. Bitrot will come for us all eventually.

Anyway, I also realized that with the OS upgrade my displays weren’t calibrated any more, and spent a good half an hour fixing that. So hopefully the colors and tones look good, and if they don’t, maybe calibrate your screen?

Looking at the old photos gave me an idea for a feature, though. Import and edit a folder and tell the story of what was happening as I remember it, kind of like a blog post after the fact (or 15 years after or whatever). Does that sound interesting? Or maybe just like, the most compelling single photo from the old stuff, without explanation. Maybe nobody but me cares about these old photos any more. That’s possible, too.

These photos (in this post) aren’t of anything, per se. Just four random ones off the top of the backlog that I didn’t want to let pass without posting. Will probably post something more interesting or narrative on the next post (or maybe it’ll be a bunch of parking lots in Oklahoma from last spring, I have that post almost prepped too).

Posted on 2022-01-26 08:42:39Z GMT

Oklahoma City, last May

This was back in the halcyon days, when there was no Delta in the US, and in fact it was months away in any case. Everybody I knew was getting jabbed and so we could safely hang out again. The first priority was to get out to Oklahoma and see my family. On that same trip, I got to see a bunch of my OKC friends; this is one of those nights. I’m working through the backlog, and since I’ve published a lot of landscape-y shots lately, I figured I could break it up with some portraits.

On impulse, I pulled down my copy of The Decisive Moment to page through and re-read the essay at the beginning. “Twenty-five years have passed since I started to look through my viewfinder. But I regard myself as an amateur, though I am no longer a dilettante.” The photos inside, still teaching me things. I’m 100% a ‘decisive moment’ photographer, which really means I was born about 50 years too late. I guess as long as I’m applying it within the context of now, and not trying to replicate Bresson’s or Winogrand’s photographs, then it should all come out fine, yeah?

Something I’ve been thinking about lately, that I got from a guy on youtube: the reward is the pictures. Most of this stuff, it’s going to be here on the blog for a while, and the very best, the ones that are part of a project, will make it into a print-on-demand book that then is printed tens of times, if that (there are, to my knowledge, three copies of my last book in existence). So, making the pictures better be enough.

I shot these, I’m pretty sure, with the Mitakon Speedmaster, a 50mm 0.95 lens. Definitely some softness and veiling flare to several of them. It’s also possible that I switched back to my Summilux when we got back to the house for the after party, just looking at these. Also possible, givent they allow smoking inside, that the veiling flare and loss of detail is just what the conditions allowed in that club that night. I need to play with that lens some more, is what I’m saying. I also have a version of it in 35mm X mount, for my fuji. I also really like that lens? They’re both interesting to use in daylight, wide open with ND filters.

Anyway: next post will probably be landscapes from oklahoma, from this same trip, since the last trip I didn’t get out at all.

Posted on 2022-01-18 08:49:23Z GMT

Leaving Palm Springs

Drive, then fly. Palm Springs is a weird little town. There are these huge mountains, snow on top, and it seems like every single architect that’s worked there in the past century or so has asked themselves, how can I block the view the most? How can I take the best thing about this place, all this great nature, and get in its way?

I’m not mad about it. Most places are either like that or empty. LA, on the other side of the mountains, is like that. I dunno, something about the scale of Palm Springs is off. These were all shot the day after the last post, getting to the airport and getting on a plane to Oklahoma. Which didn’t seem like the best idea even then.

I’ll save you the suspense, though: we made it through the whole trip without getting COVID, mostly because we didn’t do a lot and wore n95 masks when we had to be inside and/or around people. I didn’t get to see my family because they all had omicron, and same for my friends. Going to a bar to see who I run into, which is normally a favorite home activity of mine, was out of the question.

Even with all that caution, I feel like I’ve used up all the reserves of good luck I might’ve had stored. Going to just stay home for a while, let this wave pass. I’ve got plenty of photos on the backlog to post…

Posted on 2022-01-07 09:31:12Z GMT

5 time (winter light)

“You should blog more,” the windmills told me. Not really, I’m not Tony Pierce. But I should. There’s a huge mountain of backlog again, although somehow I’ve been posting some of it and not removing it from at least some of the stashes I have around; big, loose edits I generally do when I import stuff, so it gets synced to lightroom cloud. So it’s a bunch of work to figure out what’s been posted, but I know these haven’t, I just shot them yesterday.

Speaking of lightroom and clouds, there’s a new feature in lightroom’s selective edits panel, that lets you magically select the sky. It made editing these a ton easier, lemme tell you.

I shot these while we were ill-advisedly driving on Dec 23rd, christmas’ eve eve. 12 hours for what is normally an eight hour drive; we were going to fly home, but tickets were super expensive; we started looking at nearby airports and included socal, so there we were, chasing a $600 discount. Should have just flown, losing a day and gas and hotel at both ends and it’s pretty much a wash. at least I got some good pictures? Sophie drove while it was light, and I drove in the dark. Her night vision is great, and it makes her nervous when I shoot and drive, so it works out.

What else? we’re in OKC for xmas and a few days. Not seeing many people because COVID OMICRON, and the people we do see will be seen outside. Both of us are at three shots and a recent case of delta, so probably at peak immunity for this wave anyway. Not that means much, but layered on all the caution we can muster while still living our lives? I think it stands as reasonable.

Sorry for the typos, I’ve been up since two timezones ago yesterday morning and only got 4 hours of sleep in the hotel last night for unfun reasons. I really wish there was a way to know when you’re booking online if the beds are actually comfy? like I don’t care about most amenities, but that would be nice. I’m not asking for a Kluft (one of which I tried, after asking the matress salesperson his favorite; I almost fell asleep on it instantly, as if it was drugged; for $20k it better come with drugs). A decently up to date holiday inn has a fine bed that I can sleep many hours on. Not last night.

At least today was pretty easy, brain-wise. just had to be in the right places at the right time, not take off my mask on any planes, not even for the lovely in flight coca-cola, which is somehow better than other coke. Just up and down and out, a little light reading, a little Train to Busan which I’ll probably finish watching tomorrow.

I did enjoy driving this time, though. Even though the conditions after the sun went down were pretty bad. It was raining the whole time I was driving basically, real downpour for a lot of it, lots of traffic. Not the worst driving conditions or the worst traffic on an interstate in the middle of nowhere, but both were top 5 for sure. I like situations like that though, it’s just you and the road really, and a place you’ve got to get to. Mind wanders, and you think about old stuff and new stuff; how towns are settled or how boundary conditions affect mask sealing or whatever comes to mind. It’s like being a little high? but also not at all high, because if you stop concentrating on the important things at all, you die?

I think it’s sort of because the stuff that’s at the forefront is so rote, the background thoughts are more noticable? or possibly it’s the shower thought phenomenon, where there’s a bunch of white noise and other sensory input, and it’s feeding the creative background machine somehow? I don’t know.

I’ve babbled enough, and I need sleep. I might come back and try to knock this into something more sensible tomorrow.

Posted on 2021-12-25 08:20:01Z GMT