This update to the new Squarespace platform has forced me to do some tidying up, continuing my recent trend of cleaning house. So I’ve been looking through the blog’s history. I had never realized this but the very first thing I ever posted was a piece called Through my Plasma Screen, following Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. The images were missing from the post — orphaned since I had moved away from Wordpress a year and a half ago — so I decided to load the series in Lightroom and reprocess them instead of simply uploading the original versions.
Like most of the world at the time, I had followed those elections closely and was completely taken in by the ideals and the promise embodied by Obama at the time. I came very close to jumping in the car and driving down to Washington for the inauguration but sanity prevailed and I stayed home.
On the morning of January 20th however, as I sat down to watch that historic broadcast, I had an idea: I would shoot the television screen. I would use a telephoto lens and shoot those television images as if I was looking through a window, framing my own pictures within the display. I gave myself some strict guidelines disallowing any sort of manipulation of the feed, no PVR, no rewinding for a missed shot. This would be treated as a live view of the event.
So I sat there on my couch for 3 hours, dangling a 70–300mm zoom, barely raising my eyes from the camera, living the action from a viewfinder.
I like that shoot. The images are pixelated and grainy and messed up but they remind me of that day’s intense sense of exhilaration. And when I look at them they very much feel like my own pictures, like my own chosen moments, framed and captured as I would any other event.
They’re now back on their respective page, out of oblivion and completely re-tooled: Through my Plasma Screen.
Not a political statement btw. Just a brief moment in history.
It’s cold. Crazy, insane C.O.L.D.
I killed the starter in my girlfriend’s car this morning and had to push it out of the driveway to get the kids to school. At –24ºC everything grinds to a halt, liquids get viscous and anything you touch feels brittle. I have very few things booked this week and nothing that requires shooting. January just freezes life entirely.
I’m doing research these days, testing things out for a few projects on the way. I’m shooting video for the first time in years and have been rekindling an old romance with Apple’s Motion software. It’s still as slow and unstable as I remember but I love the results I’m getting. I’ve also been diving deeper into Lightroom’s processing abilities, trying out various colorization schemes and image treatments. It’s good to get away from old reflexes once in a while. It can be way too easy to just settle and do the same thing over and over again, get lazy and complacent. I might stumble along the way but that’s how you learn new tricks.
Yesterday I did an “all about me” shoot. I needed to fire up the strobes and get the speedlights going just to get the kinks out and keep my motor running. Robert Boyer has some great lighting posts on his blog right now and they’ve been stirring the “flasher” in me… The strobist kind, it’s cold out remember?
But I didn’t book anyone or prepare anything elaborate and just went with the model on hand: your’s truly. Yup, sorry about that. So if you want to see great lighting, great pictures and models that are seriously easy on the eyes… head on over to Robert’s blog because this ain’t it. It’s more like visual brainstorming. Some of the processing might be overdoing it but it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the exercise.
A note on the two images at the dining room table: the first was shot with the X-Pro1, the second with the X100. They look pretty damn close to me. So when I say I use the X100 as my 35mm lens, I’m not kidding. It holds up just fine against its older brother.
P.S All processed from JPEG except the two at the dining room table.
UPDATE: added a photo shot today, inspired from a Twitter conversation. It’s the last one on the page.
Just messin’ around: X-Pro1 with 35mm Fujinon at f/16, 1/125s ISO 200. BX500ri in a Portalite medium softbox high and on camera axis. Bare SB-800 camera left zoomed at 105mm.
Old J66 Polaroid camera and yours truly making a complete fool of himself.