Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Lens!

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, I got an announcement to make: I got a new lens for my Nikon D50. It's a Nikkor 18-200mm DX VR II. It's really great considering I've been using Quantarray lenses that were meant for my N65 for so long, but when my 70-300mm lens broke, I figured it was time to finally break down and invest in a new lens.

So... this is just a quick, image-heavy update on some of the pictures I've taken with the new lens.

What you see here is not what the camera does outside the box, I had to tweak the colors a bit. Nikon is GREAT for clarity, not so great for color hues. But the information is there, and all it takes is a few tweaks in Lightroom or Photoshop, and you're good to go.

Anyway, here are some pics:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One Year In Lexington

The Start of Something New

My last post was over a year ago. I almost stopped doing photography for a little while because I was doing so many other things in my life that taking pictures and this blog went on the back burner.

When I moved up to Lexington a year ago I thought I had found Heaven on Earth. Moving from Little Rock where the temperature averaged 98 degrees and humidity was at a constant 99%; my first week in Lexington was 75 with almost no humidity. Yeah, awesome... crisp air, blue skies... wow. Not to mention all the friends I was blessed in getting to know when I moved up here. I haven't had a weekend where I've been "bored" yet. God is good.

A Year in Pictures

Seeing as year has gone by, I'd like to present a few pictures that are from the past year in my life.

This year marked the first time in a long time that I've been to any sort of horse race. Keeneland is a twice a year tradition in Lexington, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. As you can tell, my camera did as well. This was one of the first big events I did when I moved up to Lexington, and it was a blast.

This picture is of one of my favorite places to visit in the Smokies, and, while it's not in Kentucky, it marked the beginning of some great friendships with my friends that I brought here. I'll never forget that fall retreat with Southland's singles group.

Ahh, the ice storm of 2009. It was a crazy winter, and this was definitely the climax of all that cold wind, rain, sleet, ice and snow. The storm had millions of people in the state without power for days on end, and was declared to be the worst natural disaster in Kentucky state history. I was still at work this week. Talk about an adventure.

This is significant for one reason: I took a picture of this exact same street about 6 years ago in B&W. Over the past 3 years I've been almost exclusively digital in my photography, but, due to some good fortune, I have happened upon some film enlargers. I'm working my way back towards doing more film, so be expecting to see more of it on this site. It's a long process to shoot, develop, and print images, but the final results are better than anything you can get from anything else.

Also expect to see a lot of unique cameras being used in this process. I've got two Kodak Brownie Cameras, one from 1909, and another from the 1970's that I'll be using in addition to 35mm B&W and 120mm B&W. It should be fun!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moving on, Moving up

So, I'm finished with my time in Little Rock, AR. Job wise, I'm excited to be moving on to Lexington. Photography-Wise, I'm excited as well. I wasn't that inspired to create, to photograph, to do much of anything while I was in Little Rock. Now I'm moving on though. I'm in a prettier part of the country, I'm in a place that I feel more free to explore, and I intend to do so. I really wish I would have done more with my camera during my time in Little Rock, but I didn't. Enough with regrets though. It's time to look towards the future. 

Recently, it seems as if I only take pics when I'm in Chattanooga. I really don't know why. I guess I just feel more inspired there. But that's really and truly a disservice to both myself and the viewer, because there are greater things than just what I can find in Chattanooga... I still maintain that my bridge is better than Little Rock's though :-D ... On that note, I've been "short-listed" for Schmap's directory of Chattanooga for my night shot of the walking bridge. I hope I get in it! 

Anyways, I also realized, while I get some great shots of flowers, I really do need to liven up my subjects a bit... Waldo the Ant was a great sport by hanging out on a black-eyed susan for me, but still, I need some people in my pics. 

Flowers are fun, but I'm trying to do more photography like Trevor Paglen. If you don't know anything about this guy, click the hotlink embedded in his name. He takes pics of really distant, mostly top secret, objects. Granted, I don't have a 7000mm Lens to use (nor could I afford one), and I can't take pictures up to 20 miles away from my subject, but I can take pics with my 300mm Lens and about 1/2mi away! I do what I can. His images are going to be much more blurred than mine, but still, I would like to continue to do images like this. I want to focus more on the voyeuristic nature of photographs with the anonymity that pictures at these distances allow without all of the chance of being caught photographing something illegal. With that said, here is one of my earliest attempts at it.

As I said, it was an attempt, and it's not meant to replicate him exactly, it's meant to take what he's done and modify it to something that's unique to me. While he's probably been doing this for a while longer than me, I must say that I did something similar a couple of years ago, and unfortunately it was printed in B&W and that print never made it to the scanner, so it's hidden away in the archives somewhere, but my professor liked it a lot, so, until I heard about Paglen's work, I just kinda stumbled around and tried to figure out how to do it. When I saw it, I was like, "Hey! That's what I'm trying to do!" and just went from there... to here... and beyond!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It May Be Larger, But I Don't Care!

Yes, it's true, The Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock, AR is bigger than Chattanooga's Walnut Street Walking Bridge. Bigger is not always better though. This "Big Dam Bridge" takes some serious shortcuts in trying to be the longest walking bridge in America. For one thing they extend the bridge walkway for several hundred feet before it ever reaches water... bloody cheaters... Anyways, it's a big bridge... check it out:

Regardless of what you might think, this bridge ain't got nothing on my Walnut Street Bridge. It may be third in the list, but at least it doesn't cheat. by adding on extra footage over ground... Plus, there's nothing to do on either side of the Big Dam Bridge... Chattanooga's bridge has downtown on one side and Coolige Park on the other... Anyways... Just to prove my point, here's a picture of the Walnut Street Walking Bridge in Chattanooga... Notice the air of coolness that this image has over the Dam Bridge:

If you need more proof, look back a few entries to my Light Writing shots... That's Chattanooga's Bridge baby! So anyways, I say that all to say that I don't care how big your Dam Bridge is, Arkansas, Chattanooga's will always be better in my heart.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Loser

I found myself explaining my favorite picture to a friend of mine the other night, and I thought to myself, "That'd make a good plog post!" so here I am plogging about it.

The picture is entitled "The Loser" (no, it's not a self portrait). As you can see from the image above, it's a very simplistic image, but it holds a lot of personal value. The picture was taken on Cumberland Island off the southeastern coast of Georgia. I was a sophomore in college at the time, and I was going through some difficult times. My YTD (year to date) consisted of: 2 car accidents, a serious breakup, random girl drama, being screwed over on a photography deal, and that feeling that something wasn't right with the group I was hanging out with. All of that made my Spring Break choice to go to Augusta to visit my uncle and travel to Cumberland Island a welcome relief.

On the trip from Augusta to the island, my uncle and I ended up in a car accident (nobody was hurt and no cars were totaled) which ended up causing a lot of stress on the trip. Fortunately for me, this meant that I got some good quiet time to myself. I have a lot of good pictures which will inevitably find their way onto this plog at some point in time, but for the sake of this entry, "The Loser" is my focal point.

So, I decided to take a hike up the island on our one and only full day on the island. I went alone, leaving my uncle to relax on the beach. I probably hiked for about 3 miles before I saw a stallion and 3 mares off in the dunes. As I looked up the beach, I noticed that there was another horse galloping towards me. As this horse approached the three mares ran off over the dunes while their stallion stood its ground. It became apparent to me that this was not going to be a friendly confrontation. I had kept my camera in my backpack until this time because I was using a film camera and I had "enough" horse pictures already.

In terms of location there was the inland portion of the island, the dunes with the three mares, the stallions, me and then the ocean. So here I am with two very angry stallions about to face off, and my only choice is to stand there and watch. If ever there was a time when God wanted me in a place for a reason, that was definitely one of them. Of course, now you must be thinking, "why?" and I'll tell you why.

They started fighting. It wasn't like something you'd see on the Discovery Channel, but it was a fight nonetheless. They were rearing up and hitting each other with their hooves and sand was flying everywhere. After about 5 minutes of this a victor was determined. The horse who stood his ground kept his mares, and the one who had galloped down the island just to face this other horse was the loser.

I looked at this horse as the other stallion trotted over to escort his mares away and began snapping pictures. There was a sadness in this horse. We both knew he had lost. I was trying my best to remain relatively motionless. I didn't want him to get mad at me for being there to witness his defeat. I was planning an emergency exit strategy at the same time too. It mostly consisted of running into the ocean and praying that he wouldn't follow me... To my good fortune, that never happened.

The poor horse watched as the others continued to recede into the interior of the island. Then he turned and began to walk away. He came pretty close to me, sniffing some scat left as a territory marker by the successful party. It was as I was snapping these pictures that he paused and looked at me. I stopped what I was doing and looked into his eyes. It was then that I realized that we both knew what it meant to lose. All of my struggles of the past year could be summed up in that bout. I gave him a knowing nod, and he turned and walked back down the island the way he came.

As the horse walked away I got the final picture and bade him Godspeed. I will never forget that moment. Losing is a part of life. I've known that for years, but, after witnessing that situation, I feel okay with it. I know that no matter what happens at the end of the day I can always turn around and walk back down that beach, and no matter the shame I feel at the time, there will always be a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You Never Know When Someone Might Be Watching

"You're a weird photographer," the text message read. I paused in the hall, looked around, and wondered from which vista I had been spotted as I took my shot.

I guess it's true, I am a bit of a strange photographer. I will lay prone on the floor if it gets me the shot that I want. I take pictures of random things that most people don't find interesting or important. I am known for taking some pretty morbid photos as well. On one particular adventure to Cumberland Island, I was caught taking pictures of a bird that had died on the beach and, for some reason or another, had no eyes. There wasn't any other damage to the bird that I could see. I wasn't about to touch it... but that didn't stop me from getting in close and getting some pretty cool shots.

One of my first set of morbid photos that I can remember was from way back in high school. We had a "Wildlife Management" class where we did everything from learning how to rappel (which we did off of the school's football stadium) to trapping and even taxidermy. That's right, taxidermy... you see where I'm going with this. The stench was awful, but the pics were so cool. Fortunately for you I don't have my favorite picture anywhere near my computer (I was using film) or I would post it on here. Maybe one day I'll dig that up for this blog. That'd be great.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Night Life

Recently I had a chance to go hang out with one of my roommates and take some pictures at night in downtown Chattanooga. We decided to be a bit creative and try light writing. We were both interested to see what we could come up with. These images are the first of what is sure to be many series concerning light writing techniques. Anyways, here's a look at what I've done:

I'm getting the hang of it! I know that a lot of people use these images in stop-motion animation sequences (example: Sprint commercials), and I think I'd like to do that eventually. If anybody has got any good ideas please let me know. With this type of photography my only limitation is the cover of darkness, and night shots in Chattanooga are beautiful as it is...