a two hour tour

these are from last year, possibly the first time I came down to Santa Barbara for work, but maybe the second time. Not really sure. A bunch of the team came in at the same time so we could all meet each other and work in the same room for a bit. Coincidentally, I’m in SB right now for the same reason, 13 months later. I dragged my personal laptop down here just so I could blog while I was away from home. That’s not true I also brought it for Netflix. Anyway.

Had a thought today, as I was in the plane while we descended over the pacific. The approach to SBA is partly over water, and affords really nice views of the shore backed up by mountains. There was a perfect distance where the sky and the land and the sea were all even, and the photo naturally worked. The whole flight was one of those where the photos just jumped at me, so look out for those some time soon. Or later. Because the right distance is important.

When I’m taking a photo, I have to visualize, that is, kind of imagine what it’ll look like as a finished image. It’s mostly emotional, a response to the potential of the scene. It’s also something I have to be careful with, because the emotions I feel, as a person taking a picture, can be out of joint with the situation, but that’s another essay. So I take pictures by feeling.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.

The Waking, Theodore Roetke

And anyway, I also edit by feeling, at least at first. What makes it into the first broad set of selects is a simple ‘yes’. I take that and then refine it later. This set of pictures started out as 60, and you see here 12. So it’s not a small amount of work to decide what goes into any given post. This is where proper distance comes in.

As I’m editing, it’s important to see what’s in the picture, not what I wanted to see when I was taking it. It’s best if I can’t remember the previsualization at all. That way I can select the photos based on what works. BUT. If I try to do this too soon after a shoot, it’s a lot harder to let go of the things that I thought would be really good while shooting. It’s a kind of attachment that is hard to let go of.

In professional circles, they have the luxury of another person to do the photo editing. Sometimes several people. Photographer takes the pictures, sends in everything (or maybe a set of selects, I’ve never really worked with a photo editor). The editor can then assemble the photos into a story. They can do this quickly, because they’re not burdened with the emotions from shooting.

Me though, I work alone. Mostly because I don’t want to pay someone to edit my photos; the perspective of a good photo editor, just like an editor for writing, is invaluable. I’m about to start on a new project, and I might see about finding an editor to work with for it. Might be better for it.

Posted on 2023-05-08T07:36:37Z GMT

a walk in a storm

These are from the trip to OKC last month; I was staying in Mesta Park (well, not the park but the neighborhood). Decided to walk and get some dinner, and there was a huge storm cloud off to the east. If you’re not familiar with the weather in the middle, you might think that was cause for alarm, but almost as sure as water flowing down hill, storms in Oklahoma move west to east. This one was odd in that it was moving mostly to the south, but with a slight drift east also. I didn’t get rained on at all.

I should probably make a list of stuff to post here. I had a bunch of ideas for posts, photos I could put up, but that was a week ago and I have no idea what they were. I have a few photos from more recently, and probably a ton on the camera, and the stuff from mexico city, which will probably be two posts even though I know it would be better to make a really tight edit and put them all out in one post. One for the city and one for the pyramids seems fair, right? And then there’s a bunch of stuff in the backlog I haven’t touched. So. yeah.

I used to use the quick collection as a ‘stack’ to pull from, but now I don’t have that luxury. I have to make my own stack. I think the improvements to ingestion are probably worth it, but remembering stuff is hard. maybe I should make a blog notebook of ideas for things to write and photo sets I should post? They never line up that well, but maybe I could make the themes overlap a little.

It is a little weird to be blogging in the year of our lord 2023. It’s just an easy way to share photos that doesn’t involve becoming someone else’s product. I suppose I could do a newsletter? but nah, email sucks.

Posted on 2023-05-04T08:04:35Z GMT

Driftwood 2022

What can I say about Driftwood, year two? It was kind of perfect, in that way that throwing the same party all over again never is. I suppose the setup is part of it, so I’ll start there. In the hottest part of the year, out on the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta (“The Delta” to its friends), we all got together again for a weekend of swimming in and floating on the water, music and friends and good times.

To get there, you drive onto a car ferry because there’s no bridge. There was cell phone signal this year, but it’s pretty far removed from the world. Haul in your water, food, ice, tent, floaties, party favors, and haul out your trash. Our friend Jack has a plot on Bradford Island he graciously lets us come out to.

Jack’s place burned over the winter; the outhouse he had was gone, and a lot of his infrastructure was damaged, but he still had some solar, and threw up a new bathroom in a better spot. It was a lot clearer this year. kind of bigger open space, as opposed to just having a little area cleared. The main structure he had, an elevated deck and cabin, also made it through the fire, so we still had a place to cook and put up the PA.

It was also the first time Sophia played a set in ‘public’. Half an hour, in front of a dozen people, but I think it counts. She played for… 45 minutes? But all recordings of sets at Driftwood are cursed, so you’ll just have to imagine a 45 minute drum and bass set. Or you can go to this SoundCloud Mix where she recreated it later.

Speaking of cursed recordings, OTHA played for four? six? hours after that, just a truly epic journey of a set. We laughed, we cried, we sat and stared at the stars. Then, his hard drive crashed. Possibly after we left the island, I’m not clear on the finer points of it all. Technology. So you’ll also have to imagine the rest, too.

Posted on 2023-04-27T01:17:12Z GMT

the new camera (M11)

Just a quick post; these are from the first day I had the new camera (Leica M11) and took it out in the world a little. My little walk for sanity, as I’ve come to think of it. I’ve had it a month now, and I’ve got some opinions. With one notable exception, everything is better than the M10 was. Resolution, obviously, but that’s not even that important to me; I’ve had enough pixels since the d700 gave me 12MP. The battery is bigger, such that a whole day’s shooting will likely only require one. The menus are simplified, easy to use, and the wifi connection to my phone seems more reliable, too. The optical viewfinder is the same, excellent, the just best rangefinder. Live View is more responsive, both on the back display and through the Visoflex EVF (More on that in a minute). The shutter lag is the same, or at least I can’t tell a difference; if the camera is ready, and you’re fast enough, it’ll get the shot.

That is the camera’s one flaw though, that you have to make sure it’s awake. you turn it on and have to wait 3-5 seconds for it to be ready to take a picture, and what’s worse, the shutter opens and the viewfinder lines light up but it actually needs another half second to be ready. 3 seconds is an eternity. And the wake from sleep is also slow, on the order of 2ish seconds. Leica: please, dear god, figure your shit out. Nikon, canon, sony, even my dang Ricoh GR3, all get this right, ready to go in under half a second. The nikon is ready to shoot faster than I can roll my finger from the on switch to the shutter button. I feel like this is something I could fix with a couple weeks with the source code ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

A could other minor things: the internal memory is nice to have and has already saved my bacon once. I only took one card with me to OKC for a week, and that card started acting up on day one. 64gb, as it turns out, is plenty for a week in Oklahoma. The rear screen glass is nothing special; I can say this because mine is already cracked. Edit: turns out it was a screen protector the previous owner installed, which I discovered after my screen protector also cracked. Moral of the story: screen protectors suck.

Posted on 2023-04-21T08:02:09Z GMT

a few landscapes on the way to OKC

I wrote an essay to go with these last night, describing the parade of small indignities that happened while I was in transit, crossing SEVERAL MOUNTAIN RANGES in the time it took to watch a couple movies, but I decided I’ll just keep those to myself. Who cares? I’m here, the thing I was here for went fine today, and I’ve got a week to hang out.

Dad was looking at my blog earlier today and he thought there weren’t enough landscapes. I felt OK about that, but also I don’t just take photos of people, so here. A bunch of photos of not-people.

Posted on 2023-04-11T03:03:49Z GMT