Archive for August, 2008

Documenting Champaign, IL

I’ve started my project to document Champaign, IL. I’m sure that I’ll bleed into Urbana as well. Jim Talkington over at has started a “soft” group project documenting the places we live.

I was able to get out during lunch today and managed to get a few pictures of the University farms. The University of Illinois is located both in Champaign, IL and Urbana, IL. The two cities are essentially abutted next to each other, and not separated by any distance.

This will be an interesting project for me because:
1.) I’ve only lived here for 9 months and
2.) This is my first attempt at some sort of cohesive project spanning any length of time (save vacations).

Here is a barn on the University farm:

University Barn

And a silo:

University Silo

While I was driving around trying to find something I wanted to shoot (I’m very self-concious about walking around in public with my gear), I saw this horse “playing” with what looked like a hippity-hop. He was thrashing the thing around like crazy the first time I passed him. By the time I returned, he was sort of running out of steam. I stayed in my car, rolled down the window and started to shoot. Once the shutter tripped it was (apparently) prime-time again. He started going nuts again.

Horse "Playing"

Odd, but I guess that’s part of Champaign too.

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Illinois State Fair… Almost

We went to the Illinois State Fair this past weekend. It was the first time that I’ve been there. Truth be told, the place was huge. There was a tremendous amount of stuff to see and do. We were there for 4 hours, but we could have easily stayed longer.

It wasn’t a very good shooting opportunity for me, so no joy on that front. But, here are a couple of pictures that I had taken from the “Taste of Champaign” in June.

Both are taken on Ilford XP2 Super 400 film with a Pentax K1000.

Fun in the Bounce House:

Bounce House

In the Crowd:

Taste of Champaign

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Ebay and Cameras

I was reading a post over at this morning about a $50 film camera contest hosted by Brian Auer. Brian had a link to cameras on Ebay for $50 and under. I moseyed on over to check it out.

Why is it that all of the listings for cameras on Ebay read something like this:

“Great camera, excellent condition, minor scratches (blah, blah, blah)” and then have pictures taken by Mr. Fuzzy? Honestly, what am I supposed to think when I see this? Especially cameras that appeal to photographers, and not just the general public, such as TLR cameras.


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Noise in the shadows

Now, let me preface this with: I don’t think that I’m pixel peeping. That being said….

When I was converting this picture to black and white, I was looking at the picture at 100% while adjusting the black levels.


You can see the noise in the shadows of the arms. I’m not sure if the noise is due my camera or something else.


So, I tried to remove the noise with Noise Ninja. This was a mistake. The noise was actually helping to prevent banding. The banding is more prevalent on the arm on the camera right.

So, I’m stuck. I have seen this in other pictures as well, and can reproduce pretty much at will. I’m not sure how well the affects show up for this post, but it’s plain as day on my monitor at 100%. So, experience tells me that were I to print this, I would see this, and I would never be happy.

Not sure where to go from here. (Insert tongue in cheek) Buy a new camera?

(Here’s the noise reduced version)

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Portrait contest at DIYP

This certainly isn’t new news, but is giving away 3 copies of Portrait Professional 8 (more info here).

Being a sucker for free stuff (especially photography related), I entered 2 pictures. One for the B&W portrait and one for the color portrait.

The B&W:


This is my oldest daughter. I was trying out a lighting mod I had made out of PVC pipe and a shower curtain. She was moving around and moved mostly out of the light. A happy accident.

I’m actually a bit disappointed at how the deep shadows on camera right turned out in the conversion for flickr. There is detail in there, but it seems to have been mashed a bit. While I’m a bit disappointed, I don’t want to spend anymore time on this picture. While I like it, my wife isn’t fond, and so it’s future lies in eating up hard drive space. Never shall it see ink printed onto paper.

The color:


My middle daughter. I will rightly admit that this is one of those pictures that I’m biased towards. Other people probably won’t have the same reaction but then again I’m emotionally attached. Love it. Of course, I also know how difficult it was to get this shot too. Another reason I’m biased towards it.

That’s it.

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Start of a Photo-A-Day, sort of….

This is my start of “A photo-a-day.” In practice, I’ll probably make it “a posted photo a day during the week.” I’ve been following a number of blogs for quite a while, and have admired the daily posting ability of the blog The Daily Photography of Andreas Manessinger

So, here’s to it.

My first picture today was taken this week at a local park (Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, IL). It was a tough day shooting. I went out over my lunch break, so I only had a bit of time. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving, I dropped a lens. Nuts! Fortunately, it was my old 135mm lens for my Pentax K1000, as opposed to something newer and more expensive. I’ve got a replacement coming from A used Pentax 135mm f/3.5. It’s supposed to be sharp, but I won’t know until I can shoot it myself. Until then it’s hope and pray.