I had a little accident a couple of days ago, stumbled on a stair and fell quite badly. After a couple of hours it became evident that something was wrong with my right hand. A quick visit to the hospital and an x-ray revealed a small fracture. After getting home it started to hurt a lot and I spent a whole day in a grounded position in a comfy resting chair with support from people around me and a supply of painkillers. Suddenly I got an urge and a desire to watch movies and online stuff I had previously missed.
So I started taking a look into some photographic youtube channels I had heard about previously, and skimmed through.
#1 : In particular this one.
"The Art of Photography" is run by Ted Forbes, a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable photographer and visual communication professional from Dallas, Texas. He has produced this now for several years, resulting in 164 (as of today 2013-12-01) podcast episodes covering a very wide range of photographic subjects. This is a treasure! I had the great pleasure spending this miserable day watching 15 of these episodes and have 149 more to go for another rainy day!
Anyone being at least just a little interested in photography should take a look at this wonderful youtube channel! (And it is available on iTunes too, and on this website).
Another fantastic site to visit again and again is .....
#2: Zack Arias from Atlanta, Georgia.
The blog is updated a little infrequently but there is so much material in there. Always something you have not read yet. In particular the "Photo Critique" sessions are a fantastic. To go through all this material will take several days.
And finally the half-crazy but very entertaining Kai Wong from Hongkong and the
This site is quite well-known for many photographers around me and the atmosphere and the playfulness of the material is always very entertaining!
Of course there is an abundance of other photographic stuff online to watch. But these three are my favorites, at least when I am sick at home and need to educate myself and get entertained at the same time.
I guess you already know this.
#1: Pictures get taken if you have a camera at hand.
#2: You don't need a fancy camera to get good pictures.
Old wisdom which may need to be reiterated. I always carry a camera, sometimes a small point-and-shoot but lately quite often a film still camera with a prime lens and an extra roll of film. I almost always use a Crumpler rucksack to be able to pack my work things, and this fantastic sturdy thing also gives a lot of extra room and protection for a camera. And I could of course (and sometimes do) use my cellphone as a backup.
A couple of days ago I was at an office in downtown Stockholm at a high floor, handling my paid job. Suddenly a dramatic sunset light spread outside. I took a very quick coffee break and visited the top floor balcony and took this picture with my tiny little and non-fancy point-and-shoot. No hesitation, just take the picture! This light lasted for 15 minutes, no more.
The day after I took a walk home. Now I had my big fancy Nikon D700 in my bag. I don't use it very much these days but it is a fantastic tool to use in weak light . The Vasabron bridge is one of the most beautiful in Stockholm in my humble opinion. I pass this bridge almost every day. Familiarity acts as a "blocker" for me and this often prevents me from seeing things. This evening however offered this special dark late autumn light. Just get the damn camera out of the bag and take that damn picture!
A couple of years ago I visited the marine acquarium in Thorshavn, Faroe Islands. A very beuatiful place! I managed to take some pictures including the one below featuring a healthy cod. Upon returnin home the picture landed on my flickr page and then I forgot about it. More than a year later I discovered that this picture had been added to Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia (english and german versions). And nowadays it is easy to use Google picture search for me to find out that this picture has been shared on hundreds of websites around the world. The majority of these have followed the copyright and added a CC BY-SA compliant cred text.
The great surprise came yesterday when I found out that also the European Union added the picture to their official material on fishing policies in the Baltic Sea!
Lesson learned: It is smart to let your material float around to get cred and your name mentioned. It is not so smart to be anxious and try to defend you copyright with all means using an "All Rights Reserved" approach, with ugly watermarks etc. This is at least true if you are an enthusiast/non-professional (such as me). I think even professionals could think similarly in many cases. Never forget that marketing and defending licenses is hard work and may cost you a lot of money. By utilizing open licenses you get a lever which can be very useful. After having done so you may start open doors for some real business...
Now is the season when you could possibly start life as a mole. Or maybe go into hibernation as a bear. At least here in my hometown Stockholm. I have a little routine which I perform every saturday at noon: To open my window, pick up a grey card, a light meter and measure the light. I got LV 9. This may not mean so much for my non-photograping friends but I can tell you this is seriously dark. Actually darker than regular dawn or dusk light at summer (when the sun is somewhat above the horizon). When taking pictures with a film camera it means your options are a little limited. Unless you pop in some high-sensitive film and stick to push processing.
Now we are entering the dull season again. Normal people do not take many outdoor photographs with some exceptions for non-normal people like me. Black-and-white film subject to heavy push processing is a nice companion but sometimes a digital camera is an alternative. I have lately found some tricks which can transform some of the ugly "digitalness" of digital pictures in darkness into something quite beautiful. It is of course digital craft involved here, but it gives very pleasant and "film-like" results at some times.
(The trick involves using the Nik plugin set for Lightroom. Try it!)
A couple of days I took a walk to a beautiful view of Stockholm, not far from where I live. It is getting seriously dark at evening time now and I pushed my camera to very high ISO settings. The result was not really technically perfect, quite grainy and some banding which was not a surprise. But after a little "washing" in Color Efex the picture got quite a new character. I kind of like it!
I have never invested in a good photo printer at home. If I need to print I resort to labs, friends or just skip it altogether. Producing good looking JPEG pictures is also satisfying and requires some serious skills to get it right.
But sometimes you need that paper feeling. As as substitute for printer I have now grown a habit of using POD ("print on demand") services which allows you to print high-quality books in small series for a very modest amount of money. Blurb is my choice of service and it has really delivered when I have tried it before. A cool thing is that this kind of print is actually cheaper than doing the prints yourself! Maintaining a printer at home, buying expensive ink and paper is serious and expensive business. Of course you can get supreme results if your material is good and your skills are sharp enough. But a printed book is an alternative!
My book for this year contains 54 of my better pictures and the price is around 50 EUR. That makes about 1 EUR per picture! And this book can be taken anywhere as a nice showcase. It is also challenging to produce for a format of such good-looking character: A hard cover book with of almost professional kind.
And honestly I don't think I will sell so many of this 50 EUR books... but it is present on the Blurb "Book Store" service for anyone to look at. I have also prepared a slightly smaller book which will sell at 20 EUR. (Smaller pages, soft cover but same number of pictures). This is a book I intend to use as giveaway to selected friends and I may even hope to sell a copy or two. It is christmas time soon!
Over a month has passed since my last post. It has been hectic weeks in which I have managed to do some photographic things while at the same time being very busy with my paid day job.
I have got the opportunity to prepare a small set of workshops for beginners in analog photography. This is really a nice challenge! The target group will be a younger audience, typically persons having done some digital shooting on mobile or with a camera. And suddenly they inherit an old hard-core full-manual Contax from their grandparents and feel tempted to start using it. This requires some skills which I learnt as a teenager some 40 years ago and these skills are not really easy to get without at least some hands-on guiding.
I have also done some shooting. Mostly analog. Autumn mood is now coming, it is getting dark and colorful.
These padlocks can be found at the top of the bridge Västerbron in central Stockholm. Loving couples attach the padlocks and throw the keys into the water some 30 metres below.
Autumn leaves and colors is a major cliché. I have (too) many pictures of this kind. Irresistible to take these pictures but they get quite boring. But this picture has something I like. It is a digital picture and it has been postprocessed using a very cool and useful LR plugin (Color Efex Pro) which gives a slight tint of "analogueness" which I really like.
While strolling around the City Hall I suddenly found this little girl.
Harsh concrete and a face appearing from nowhere.
Just an experiment with film and (digital) toning.
I recently bought a vintage Nikon F camera, mainly to keep as a "starter item" for my future photographic museum. Well there is a long way to go to reach this goal, but there is a little "collector bug" in me. I do sometimes look at various auction sites, ebay etc for various interesting cameras. The Nikon F is a real classic camera being used in wars and other rough environment by photo journalists in the 60's. The Vietnam war in particular.
The camera I bought has the "plain prism", i.e. no light meter at all. It is totally mechanical. Measuring light has to be done using various memory rules such as the Sunny 16, the rules the older generations used, sometimes very successfully. I find this an interesting challenge and have now shot one roll and a half. Of course you may use an external handheld lightmeter instead. This is what I used to do in the 70's. Nowadays my "cheating machine" is a small compact camera with good spot metering. Works like a charm!
This is a collection of some outdoor shots and pictures from the marvellous Grey Friar's Abbey in Stockholm. No light meter, just Sunny 16! The indoor pictures required a combination of a very steady hand, rather fast film and some luck!
During my motorbike trip this summer I brought an old film camera and a couple of film rolls, including a roll of Portra 400. Expensive and presumably very good color film. "Highest resolution in 400 ISO" according to Kodak advertisement. I did not develop the roll myself since I do not trust my abilities in C-41 do-it-your-self processing at home, so the film went to a nearby lab. And then I started scanning the film. Well not really scanning, I am still using my DSLR setup with Lightroom postprocess which I wrote about a couple of months ago. And my god, getting good results in terms of color accuracy was a seriously difficult problem.
For some reason the pictures I took were of a special kind however. A bunch of old vintage cars from a local classic car parade and some seaside landscapes in the wonderful town of Vadstena. Some errors in color processing create unexpected results, creating these "retro" and "lomo" effects which could be rather pleasant after all. I will however be very careful if starting using color film for more serious work.
And now let's look back at all those color prints I ordered when I was young. Ordering prints was not expensive, but in retrospect what did you really get? Color shifts, shitty exposure, you name it. I have never ever tried doing any serious self-managed analog processing of color negatives, so now finally I took my maiden voyage as a conscious photographer in the world of color film photography.
First the vintage cars. This is great fun. Color shifts don't matter so much... A hippie bus!
A very blue old classic. Everything else went blue as well ....
I like this one!
And now for some reflections!
And some more.
And now for some other pictures. Well, I really recommend a visit to Vadstena! The town is centered around a 13th century monastery and situated at one of the most beautiful large lakes in Sweden. It is a place for retreat and regaining spiritual forces. The nuns of the monastery knew this 600 years ago.. A motorbike trip in 2013 is also a good option.