re-photography (sort of)

re-photography, as a genre, is usually about finding an old photograph, going to where it was taken, and making a new picture. It’s a study in changes over time. Some of these aren’t that, exactly, but I’m quite sure they’re a in a long line of pictures of the same subjects, things that have been photographed ad infinitum, just over and over and over.

So anyway, it was thursday, I had to mail the camera back the next day, and I hadn’t planned anything. But for some reason I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before, finally drifted off around 4am, and then woke up to my alarm and realized I was going to be completely useless if I actually tried to work. So, instead, I took a sick day and went back to sleep. Woke up around one and decided to make use of the time I had. I called a lift and had it drop me off near chrissy field.

there’s definitely something about photographers that makes us want to both go to see the big stuff, the landmarks, the most interesting parts of the world, while also wanting to do something different. Go to a place that’s literally one of the most photographed objects in the world, and try to find something new or interesting to look at. It helps when the light is ‘bad’ because all the obvious sweeping views are cut off at the knees.

It also helped that I had a bunch of focal lengths to play with; 15, 21, and 50mm, with the 15 doing a lot more work than I’m used to doing with it. through-the-lens viewing is rad. I don’t want to be too anal retentive about most things, but my compositions are usually very precise. or at least I want things in the picture to be there I put them, not cut off weirdly at the edges.

But sometimes in the end you go out to the stupid place everyone else goes and you take the stupid picture you’ve seen a million times, just to get it out of your system, like a song stuck in your head. And along the way, since you’ve got the camera out, maybe you see a few other interesting things. Maybe the bad light is just mood, from the right angle. sometimes, just getting the camera out and putting it to your eye is enough to get the brain in gear.

of course, I don’t think anything here is terribly original. It’s not like I’m the first person to notice how cool the symmetry of the girders under the arch section of the bridge is, or the surface texture of the rust on these old anchor chains. Still: there are many like it, these are mine.

Posted on 2023-08-24T07:54:49Z GMT

another art party

Akhil does these pretty regularly; because of weird blog time dilation, this one is getting posted a month after the last one, but the parties themselves were more like 6 months apart. This one was a little more low-key; I knew maybe half the people, and we rode bikes to get there because it’s mad close. Close enough that when I realized I’d forgotten my cigar at home, I went back to get it. I showed three pictures; one from amsterdam (I know, I’ll start blogging those next) and two from running around shooting with the z8. I just really liked that camera.

I used the Z8 with a leica M mount adapter to shoot all of these; it did really well in pretty tricky lighting. Nothing is perfect (and no digital camera will ever have the highlight detail of color negative film, unfortunately), but this is great. The manual focus lenses also performed pretty well; I was worried the screen wouldn’t have the resolution to really nail focus, but all of this was wide open, and all of these are what I would call ‘acceptable’.

Which brings me to the big reveal, and why I’m publishing these now instead of something else: I don’t think I’m gonna be a Leica guy any more. On the internet, we joke about types of guys, there’s a wife guy, there’s the flashlight guy, and in photography circles, there’s the ‘leica man’. He drinks the finest coffees, he has only the best glass. Does he take photographs? Probably not! Can you tell I’ve never really liked that association? Love the cameras, hate the baggage that comes with them. Well. Sometimes love the cameras.

The M11, I was cautiously optimistic at first, but the slow to turn on thing just reminds me every time I pick it up that it’s not really up to snuff. I’m a quick draw artist, gotta get the picture now. if it’s on and ready it’s pretty capable, but I think I need some time away from it, because it’s not ready too much of the time. Hopefully Leica will address the boot time with a firmware update and I can come back to it, or maybe they’ll have a -p model that doesn’t have the silly always-open shutter. Maybe both! Who knows.

Anyway, good party. There were a couple musical acts, a couple short films. Very chill. I think there was a reading of some description that I didn’t get because I was outside smoking. My fault, sounded like a good story from where I was.

And then, I rode home.

Posted on 2023-08-08T08:40:30Z GMT

shooting from the driver's seat

Couple days ago (thursday?) I had to go into the city to pick up an air compressor. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a big shop tool. Powers other kinds of tools, like nail guns and die grinders and pretty much everything else. Nice to have around the shop. Anyway, I looked at the route and instead of taking me across the bay bridge, like I’m used to, it said that it was 10 minutes faster to go through marin, to 101, and then south over the Golden Gate. So that’s what I did.

Now normally, I would look at a set of directions like that and say, oh, it’s probably not worth saving ten minutes, or, surely it can’t be that much better, but this time, I’d just gotten a rented camera in the mail. I’m trying out the Nikon Z8 over the weekend, and so a creative ‘shortcut’ was just what the doctor ordered.

The z8 is a remarkable camera. The autofocus system is incredible, but also incredibly complex. I never really got into all the focus tracking continuous blah blah, even back when I shot an F5, so this thing might as well be an alien space ship from that perspective. When I put it in single point servo mode, though, it’s incredibly fast and accurate.

These pictures were all shot with that camera and the 40mm f/2 nikkor. This sample I like a bit better than the one that I rented with the Z7 when I tried that camera. From a moving car, sometimes things are a little blurry. I’ve always liked shooting from the car, driving or not, and this camera does it really well.

Everything about it is fast as fuck. turns on fast (looking at you, Leica), switches between back lcd and viewfinder fast, shoots 20 dang frames a second if you’re into that sort of thing. The exposure meter hysteresis, the time it takes to react to big swings in light values, is also super fast. This is important when the camera is in your lap, and you try to quick-draw to get a picture of something you’re passing on the road.

After this little jaunt, I put on an adapter that lets me use the camera with my m-mount lenses, and it’s actually also really good with those, just like, manually focusing. I wish there was some kind of focus confirmation, instead of just the edge detection it has. Maybe there is and I haven’t found that setting yet! who knows.

Anyway, yeah. more as it develops… probably back to leicaposting soon.

Posted on 2023-07-29T21:16:02Z GMT

kj's ikebana class

I wrote a thing about this class but I hate it (sometimes I am a bad writer!) and so here are some photos of my friend KJ’s ikebana flower arranging class. This was when I was in OKC last march, for Jason’s thing.

Trying not to think too hard and just push publish.

Posted on 2023-07-26T08:30:32Z GMT

little walks for my little remaining mental health

Been trying to get out on walks more often lately, not just like, the half mile to the little bodega I like, but longer peregrinations. This wasn’t recent, was in fact last year. The little walks, though, they do seem to help.

I haven’t been neglecting this here web site on purpose, I promise. A lot is going on, and also I seem to once again be in that place where I can’t make any photos I don’t hate. the long dark tea time of the soul. It’ll pass, and then I’ll look back at the stuff I was doing now, and be like, that wasn’t bad at all. Or maybe it is and I’ve finally lost the plot. Can’t lose it if you never had it, I suppose.

Posted on 2023-07-21T08:08:54Z GMT