Archive for February, 2009

Playing with Lights

From Playing with lights

Such good models….Watching TV in the background

Well, I finally did it. I got some “professional” strobes. Well, at least that’s what Alien Bees says. I got two lights, light stands, a reflector, a boom arm, and wireless triggers all around.

I don’t think that it will be possible to really describe just how awesome these lights are compared to using my two small strobes with crappy intermittent wireless triggers. It totally rocks.

From Playing with lights

Barbie thinks they rock too

Once the kids are in bed, I’m out of models. So, Barbie had to do.

From Playing with lights

You want me to what?

The lights have way more power than I think that I’ll need in the near future. For these pictures I was shooting at 1/8 power out, and f/8, 1/250. I’m pretty pleased with that. If I need to light up a few kids, I’ll have the juice and if I need to spray and pray with a young one, the lights should be able to keep up.

Now I need to practice. When our new one arrives, I want to get pictures with all of the grandparents. I don’t know if they’ll like it, but I’m sure that I will.

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Piano at Sunset

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Piano at Sunset

Continuing with my playing with Chiaroscuro (or pseudo-chiaroscuro?), this is our piano at sunset. This was taken with my digital camera and processed (in Aperture) with the red filter for B&W conversion. I think that I like the “mini” direction this is moving in. I’ve got several shots that are waiting for me on film, but none with a red filter. I’ll need my tripod for that, and that will be a bit more challenging with the little ones (especially around dinner time).

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Piano at Sunset, detail

A detail shot of the music holder and shadow. Should I have tried this at a different angle? More dead on? Again, processed with the red filter during monochrome conversion.

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SoFoBoMo Theme

I’ve signed up for SoFoBoMo (the Solo Photo Book Month) project. I’m not sure of the theme though. Since I’ll have a new born daughter, perhaps a new life theme? Or a juxtaposition type theme (big/small, young/old, etc).

I had thought about doing a theme on chiaroscuro.

Chair legs in morning (scan of print)

I’m not sure. We have a piano with lots of little detail that just lights up when the evening sun hits it. I guess that I’ll keep running with this idea, at least for a bit.

Maybe I’ll be able to convince the financial committee that with the new baby, we need a set of lights and non-crappy remotes. Mmmmm, lights….

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Prints from Summer vacation

Life Buoy
Life Buoy

Going through my negatives, I found these two that I wanted to print. The one above, “Life Buoy” was particularly difficult on me. I’d like to get the water on the top to have a bit more detail, but I’m pretty happy with the rest of the picture’s tones. Since I’m still pretty new, I’m not 100% sure how to go about this. Should I burn it in? Try pre-flashing? Just leave it alone? Hmmm.

Stella Magnified
Stella Magnified

I think that I’m pretty happy with Stella Magnified. I think that it might be about 1/2 stop light, but I’m mostly okay with it.

One thing that is not obvious from these scans is that the pictures are askew on the paper. I printed at 6×9 on 8×10 paper. I can’t seem to align the paper correctly. Bummer. I’m using an easel, but something’s just not working.

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Stella Red Riding Hood

Stella Red Riding Hood
Stella Red Riding Hood

A few weeks ago I picked up a new enlarger found on Craig’s list. While I was picking it up, the person that I was buying it from asked if I wanted a hand painted muslin backdrop. She had made this as part of her master degree program. I got it for a song of $20. I’m sure that the girls and I will have a bunch of fun with it.

Now if I could just get them to cooperate with me….

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And now for something completely different….



It’s been a long time. Maybe the long winter is getting to me, but I couldn’t resist shooting these flowers that Sarah brought home. And in color even! The nerve….


I do have some film waiting to be developed. I’ll be very interested how these turn out in B&W.

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More Champaign at Night

Merry Ann's Diner
Merry Ann’s Diner

I had a chance to grab some pictures in the snow the other night in downtown Champaign, IL. These are scans of the prints that I made with the new (to me) enlarger. I am particularly happy that they turned out okay. I was shooting Tri-X 400 at EI3200. I wasn’t sure how long to develop, but based on my EI1600 development trials I shot for 1.5 hours with 5 min agitation intervals. Let me tell you, that was a long time. The highlights got blown out, density wise, and I should revisit that.

Here’s a picture with the blown highlights.


On my test exposures, that I developed at the same time, the highlight density was 1.36 for zone 8. I think that if I can that back to 1.2 or so, I’ll have my time for EI3200.

I could try to burn in the lights to the right, but I kind of promised myself I’d avoid dodging and burning so that I wouldn’t spend a tremendous amount of time making prints. I guess rules are made to be broken….

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