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the curve of the baylands




the curve of the baylands

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

This is the last, non-travel, just-because-I-like-photography photo I took. It’s from 2010, and last summer, at that. Almost 7 months ago.

It’s not particularly impressive, to be honest. I like the colors in it, but the curve of the water didn’t turn out the way I wanted and I’m not sure if I wanted a longer or wider lens. Just not quite right. But when shooting on 5×7 and you only have 1 lens you don’t have much choice or mobility.

My love of photography is just coming back now, but it’s been, figuratively and literally, a dark time for my hobby – my passion – for a while.

Maybe I’ll go back to the baylands and see if I can get this done better with different equipment…

foreground




foreground

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

There is a really great spot north of the Golden Gate Bridge, to the eastern side, that offers a really spectacular view that is not photographed nearly as often as from, say, the Marin Headlands. Not that it’s inaccessible or anything. It’s on the grounds of Fort Baker.

This particular night, the sky was not cooperating, going from a solid gray in evening to a very slightly textured look as the night went on. While I’m happy with some of the photos of that night, they didn’t feel like anything different than what I could get on most nights.

So…I decided to try something different.

I had to use a flashlight to even see these plants in order to focus on them. And I opened the lens wide so that I could blur out the bridge just a bit.

I’m not sure it’s even a good photo, but I like it, and it’s different, and sometimes we have to make ourselves try something in order to keep our minds fresh.

grass




grass

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

It’s funny how one can get so bored with the same thing that he or she starts seeing it in whole new ways.

As I’ve mentioned before, I walk to and from work most days. I bring the camera along, but I have also mentioned before that it’s not exactly the most exciting of routes and I kind of run out of ideas at some point.

This particular day, I managed to get out the door a bit earlier than usual (which means I left on time) and the sun was still quite low. I have pictures of sun on knurled wooden fences, on rocks, etc. But this one of the shadows of grass on the sidewalk, which I apparently didn’t quite get right on the focus, stood out to me when I was scanning. I also did something during development that made it a bit grainier than usual.

But the shapes and light really did something for me, I’m quite happy with this. Perhaps there is still some creativity left in me…

tree monster




tree monster

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

There is a certain set of developers out there based on the agent pyrogallol – more commonly called “pyro” developers. No, they do not catch fire as a way of creating the image :-).

Along with being incredibly toxic (and absorbed directly through the skin – wear gloves!), they are also staining developers. The idea is that it gives excellent sharpness including sharp grain, but the stain then “fills in” the gaps between the grain. This means a very sharp image, with relatively low grain.

I took this image while walking through Stevens Creek County Park. Tri-X film is especially susceptible to the stain, and I decided to leave the brownish color in the scan.

What impresses me is that there really is a great amount of detail in this image – I think the “tree monster” still shows up quite well despite all the grass, branches, and moss. The tint is possibly a bit gimmicky – I’m not sure yet. It’s more than just doing sepia-toning.

I really do enjoy doing photography while hiking, and taking along a medium format camera, shooting basically with guesswork (sunny-16), is very satisfying even if some of the results aren’t great.

helicopter trails




helicopter trails

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

One of the wonderful things about film photography that I really enjoy is the kind of mystery about the results. You literally have no idea how it’ll turn out until you not just get home but develop the results. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes you missed the shot that you wanted.

Last night, even though I was shooting digital, I got the mystery, but sadly also got the disappointment.

Getting star trails – where the stars turn into lines streaking across the sky – via “stacking” is done by taking a series of photographs of a shorter duration, each with a little tiny streak. Then you put them all together and all those small streaks become long ones.

Once you get your initial exposure settings down, you just start shooting. Sometimes it’s 12 one minute exposures, sometimes it’s 60 one minute ones. Both are for an hour of time and star trails, but done very differently.

You don’t know the results until you get home, though, and use the software to stack everything together. Unfortunately, I did sometime wrong, I guess, and the trails aren’t that prominent. In this one, only Jupiter, which is far brighter than other heavenly bodies, came out and it’s a small streak at that.

The helicopter that was flying around looking for a wanted man (what a night) made for some interesting results, but the star trails bit didn’t work…oh well.

master




master

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

This is the fencing around a building that caught fire…probably a year ago. It’s been quite a while for the renovation, of course, and it’s been locked off like this for some time. They have finally started work, and the bricks in the background are from ones ripped out by the renovators and contractors.

I’ve had a chance to photograph this building quite a bit. It’s on my way to work, and it makes for good fodder when I’m carrying my camera around with me. I am pretty happy with with the sharpness of the image, with the fence in focus and the bricks much blurrier.

In this case, I think the combination of the low-grain film, shallow depth of field, and sharp lens worked really well.

for sale




for sale

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

As I have mentioned in the past, I bring a camera just about everywhere I go, and have one in hand while I am walking to and from work, in particular. I walk a relatively mundane, residential route to work, basically the same route, and the truth is that even when I’m in full “there is a photograph everywhere, you just have to look for it” mode, I do end up taking a lot of the same photos.

I’ve walked by this truck for sale a number of times, wanting to find a good way to take its picture. It’s at a gas station literally right at the corner from where I live – maybe 500 feet. It’s this big, old (but not classic-old) truck. Probably a major gas guzzler, and the kind that has little hope of selling unless a buyer is needing something to haul stuff.

I think I might have finally found an angle that works. I wish a bit more of the FOR SALE could be read, but it’s there. And it’s been fun doing straight black and white lately.

Slides will be next for my camera…

sitting room




sitting room

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

This post is not really about the photo…of course, I think all of my photos on flickr are great (or at least pretty good, since I only upload those that I like and think are worth showing to others), but something weird happened.

I got my first flickr comment spam on this photo. It has since been deleted, and the flickr account is now gone, too.

It was a fairly well-worded one. My photos show up on facebook eventually, as part of my news feed. Someone apparently got to this photo somehow, and wrote something along the lines of:

“nice photo, very calming. I wish that everyone used their FB name on flickr, too – so much easier to find people! Comment on one of my photos in return or I’ll come and get you!”

kaiyen, which I use on flickr, is kind of an internet alter ego that I have. And of course on FB I am listed as Allan Chen. So that was rather specific. Also, it’s common to expect that if one comments on another’s photo, there should be at least some perusal of the former’s photostream and make comments, if possible. Not a requirement, and failing to do so doesn’t justify retaliation, but it’s not abnormal.

However…the one photo the person had would generally be considered not safe for work (NSFW) unless one worked in a pretty private location. And if you read the caption for the photo there is a reference to some singles site and how to find her on it.

And now the account is gone. I did a quick FB search of something along the lines of her flickr name to see if I found some crazy, in appropriate profile but no dice.

I think…I think I got comment spam on flickr. Weird.

airport roof, Bangkok




airport roof, Bangkok

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

I took this photo quite a while ago – back in March of this year, 2009. It is of the airport in Bangkok, which we were in and out of a few times as we traveled through the country for a week. The architecture, as you can see, is pretty interesting, with these big sweeping shapes of what looks like fabric around an overall metal framework.

I am putting this up on my blog because I like the photo, certainly. i was very pleasantly surprised and pleased with it when it came up on the monitor after scanning.

However, I’m also blogging on this because I was invited to a group named something like “Fine Art of Flickr.” The idea that spawned the group is that only the finest of flickr photos would be invited in.

The fact is, there are so many of these “best of” and “the art of” kind of groups that there really is no such thing anymore. If there are 1000 members of the “finest of flickr” group, and there are 5000 photos (and that’s a pretty darn low ratio), for instance, are they really the finest? Would this photo win a juried contest?