For years now, I’ve been obsessed with night photography and long exposure. Though heading into the night with my camera doesn’t suit me as well as it once did. I have been blessed with a relatively spacious balcony, oversized windows, and a roof deck open to me at any time of the day or night, with more and more time spent on the patio and the onset of after-dinner laziness keeping me from going up to the roof. I’ve been experimenting with using my windows as a sort of filter. I set up a shot that would test my manual focus skills and my patience in waiting for the shutter to open and close. Not to mention the amount of time it takes for the image to appear. Though not long by any stretch. It seems like forever when you’re just standing there waiting for something to materialize.
At the moment, long exposures and night photography are what is driving my passion as I still have so much to learn and mistakes to make. And as frustrating it may seem at times. Learning new things has always been and still is a driving force in creating any form of art.
Though it’s only been a few days since we moved into the new Condo, I’ve quickly taken advantage of the roof deck, the amazing views, and floor to ceiling windows. As the credits were still rolling on a rather inspiring art doc. I mounted my camera, set my ISO to 200 with an f.9 at 30 seconds. Though I shot this through the window. Surprisingly, and perhaps due to the absence of a flash, had no glare. Prior to our move earlier this week, I had been using my camera sparingly. Perhaps the move and the new surroundings will warrant more use.
As I continue to experiment with light, composition and my imagination while trying to adapt to a two cups of coffee a day routine. I find myself trying weirder and more unorthodox ways to create images that will hopefully stand. I started the idea by borrowing some of the empty bottles, jars and vases stored in the kitchen, The ones featured below were shot while inserting my Canon 15mm fish eye lens in a vase and placing it directly on top of an object. Luckily, I was able to both fit and remove my lens and camera without any damage. I like how the vase somewhat served as a filter.
I have a habit of overthinking. When I get something in my head or get passionate for something, I go all in. Being that I’ve suddenly decided I wanted to get back to taking pictures, (Not that I ever really stopped.) I’ve been spending a lot of time watching videos about composition, lighting and long exposures. So, as I lay in bed last night, I began to think of that box of matches we have. The ones we use to light candles when our farts are particularly foul. There I was, unable to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wanted to capture those matches. So, after I got up this morning, showered and enjoyed my first cup of coffee, I got to work. After a few, less than satisfactory attempts, I finally captured the matches as I had imagined as I lie awake the night before.
When I got up to go to the bathroom before leaving the Starbucks headquarters located in the SODO area of Seattle, my wife looked up at me and laughed before asking “Are you going in there to take pictures?” I frowned as if to I was reacting to some ridiculous question from a half out of her mind crazy lady. “Pffft” I quickly replied as I rolled my eyes before wandering towards the facilities. Though relieving myself before the ride home was my key reason for my sudden departure. My wife’s knowledge of how incredibly predictable I can be, had me reaching towards my back pocket to ensure I was indeed carrying my iPhone.
When you enter a room, whether it’s a cheap hotel, a lavish ballroom, someones living room or a bathroom. You are sure to get a sense of what went into the thought process and overall design. Bathrooms are by far the most overlooked when it comes to proving anything more than the basics. However, when you walk into one where you can tell a lot of thought and artful attention went into creating a space that is often overlooked when it comes to art. So after making my deposit, thoroughly washing and drying my hands. I took a moment to capture an image of the sink that extended throughout like a brook and the lighted mirrors that adorned the wall above. Note the contrast and shadows disabling the flash gave me.
I took this one today while admiring the cool little nooks and crannies of SODO Seattle’s downtown Starbucks headquarters. Just a reminder that, no matter where you go, there’s always an opportunity to be creative.With just a little post editing in lightoroom, I added some texture by slightly adjusting the contrast, shadows and highlights of a picture I took with my phone.
I was enjoying my Chi Tea and downtime at Rochester’s Minnesota’s Forager Brewery when I left my seat for a quick bathroom break and tour of the facilities. Most of what I found was a designers wet wet dream. Form the cool architecture, extra nooks and crannies and magazine inspiring design, I was inspired to fire off a few shots from my camera. As I’ve grown to love shadows and contrast, I find myself leaving my flash in the bag, if taking it along at all. As I made my way back to my seat, I noticed these tea cups / lights hanging from the ceiling looking quite artful. As my days as a studio photographer seem to have come to a close, I’ve found solace knowing I’m still inspired to capture and document my surroundings.
I’ve started to gather pictures for a book I hope to publish before the earth or yours truly goes “Kaboom!” It’s one of two projects I’ve had in mind for some time. The working title is “Bystander” which will focus on my years photographing and interacting with bands, musicians and artists within punk, hardcore and indie rock over the years. It will hopefully include anecdotes about the artists , as well as various quotes from the many interviews I’ve done over the years. I’ve already got someone to write the foreword and ideas as to which photos for the front, back cover and inlet will be. I’ve been posting about four pictures a day in one of my facebook folders. Allowing you to see new material on an almost daily basis. I’m posting a link below and welcome you to both visit and comment whenever you see fit.
Thanks to the to the advice and guidance of a friend and gifted artist, I’ve decided to embark on selling prints of some of the many images I’ve shot over the years. Though still very much in the idea stage. I’ve begun to reach back to some old favorites, look into possible places to print and the right website to host my images. I hope to start small with just a few images, ones picked with the customer in mind. (Not necessarily my favorites, but ones that might appeal to a broader audience, while still reflecting my overall style. Below is an image taken back in the early nineties with a Nikon EM film camera and 50 mm lens. Special thanks to Jenn for the inspiration. You can buy her prints here. It Does Art
Whenever leaving home with my wife. she always conducts a thorough search of what travels through the front door. “Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Cell Phone? Check.” Anything beyond that, though, gets serious scrutiny. With my computer, hard drive and oversized headphones already packed and prepared for our end of the day stop for coffee and several hours of power writing and internet obsessive searching, the mere mention or sight of my camera bag usually brings on a scowl and interrogation as to what the hell do you need that for? (Now, granted, over the years I’ve added extra lenses, flashes and other tricks of the trade to my arsenal. Thus adding noticeable weight and the need for a bigger camera bag.)
However, despite a growing bag of tricks and a hard drive that’s busting at the seems, I still live and see through a photographers eye. After decades of shooting, I still feel the draw of documenting the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. Still, that look I get from my wife coupled with the desire to travel light, I’m learning to enjoy things with documenting them. And while I often regret leaving my camera behind, having my cell phone handy allows me a little creative relief. I snapped these shots just off 6th Ave. in Tacoma while returning to our car. It reminded me of my younger days going to hardcore shows throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.