Tag Archives: Photography

Photography Weekend

This past weekend, Flirt and I went to a “digital chicks” weekend workshop in Salado, Texas.  There is a guy who teaches photography at one of the local colleges and I’ve been on his mailing list for awhile because he offers several workshops a year and I kept saying I was going to do one of them.  So when a short weekend version became available within driving distance, I bit the bullet and decided to go.  My friend, Flirt, decided to go, too, so I was glad to have the company.

The workshop took place at the Rose Mansion, a charming little bed & breakfast in Salado with a variety of rooms available, some in their own seperate houses/homesteads.  Many are actual restorations of homes from the late 1800s and early 1900s.  It was a beautiful place…despite the summer temperatures.

      

The workshop had its highs and lows, but I couldn’t get past the fact that the instructor seems to think it’s ok to take a shitty picture because, “you can fix that later in photoshop!”  It should be stated here that I, up to this point, have not used ANY manipulation software on my photos.  The extreme of what I have done with an image on the computer is to crop it or the rare exposure adjustment by simply brightening the image a tad.  And I am a firm believer that there should remain a line between what is considered photography and what crosses over into computer-generated art.

Nevertheless, it was a dedicated time to reconnect with my cameras, some good tips on metering, and an opportunity to stay up late and unwind with a bottle of wine and conversation.  So, all in all, I’m glad I went.  :)

Things to Look Forward To

Sometimes, having something to look forward to is the only thing that keeps me going.  The day-to-day at work and sleep-filled weekends certainly won’t do it.  So, I wanted to take a moment to remind myself of some recently confirmed things coming up that I am excited about.

  1. Stephen Lynch concert this Friday – the guy is freaking hysterical. 
  2. Morrissey concert next Friday – I’ve been in love with this guy since I was about 13.  Age has been kinder to him than it has to me and he still has one of the greatest voices in music.
  3. A vacation day added to a holiday weekend – yep, I’m taking the Monday after Easter off to make it a glorious 4-day weekend.
  4. Girls Getaway Weekend – we missed it in 2008 due to a hurricane, so we’re doing it in May this year.  Added bonus is that we’re doing it over Memorial Day weekend so we get an extra day together to act like the silly girls we are!
  5. Photography Weekend Workshop – I’ve been wanting to sign up for this for the past few years but always managed to miss it.  This year, I’m registered and my friend, Flirt, has decided to join me.  We’ve already got our room booked at the B&B.  So excited!

So there.  Some positives in an otherwise dull existence.  😛

Saturday Plans

I’m up, a little later than planned, getting ready to drive out to McKinney to meet MrsDrillTeam at the Roundup on the Range to see our friend AggieR and her boyfriend compete in the chuckwagon competition and cookoff.  We went last year, mainly because AggieR wanted me to take some photos for them.  And surprisingly it was a lot of fun and really interesting to see how much everyone does to be “authentic.” 

After that, MrsDrillTeam and I are headed out to the McKinney Trade Days, since it happens to be this weekend as well.

The weather is lovely so it should be a good day for all, including my beloved Samuel L, who is finally getting a dust off.

Southlake

In all the years I’ve lived in the Dallas area, yesterday was my first trip to Southlake.  I met my friend, Red, there for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  We’ve both been in a funk and needed to get out of the house, but weren’t up for a full-swing social event with the whole gang.  So, it being daylight, I was brave enough to venture down the road less travelled.

The restaurant is located in the Southlake Town Square, which is a nice little area of shops all laid out like a little town of its own, back when streets were lined with shops instead of the giant malls and shopping centers we’re used to today.  Not exactly square though, don’t let the name deceive you.  It’s similar to what they have recently built in Garland at the Firewheel Town Center.  It’s a nice concept, but with the year-round Texas heat, it’s really only truly enjoyable on a cool day or evening.  But it’s great for running into a particular store without having to deal with the crowds or parking at the malls.

After lunch, we walked around for a little while, not really to shop, since neither of us can afford that these days.  I had seen the neat red brick Town Hall building when I drove in, and really wanted to get some photos of it, so we ended up walking there.  It was super bright, mid-afternoon sun…not the ideal time for photos, but I was there and I had my camera, so I had to at least give it a shot.

Definitely not a good time for photos with all that harsh light, but worth a return visit sometime in the evening light….when it isn’t so freaking hot outside, too!

It was good to get out of the house and out of hermit mode for a few hours.  Red and I are going to have to force each other to do that until this latest funk passes for both of us.

A Blue Ribbon Kind of Day

On My Own Time (OMOT) is a region-wide competition organized by North Texas Business for the Culture of the Arts (NTBCA) to exhibit the talent of member companies’ employees. There are categories for a variety of arts in both amateur and professional divisions:  ceramics, fabric, jewelry, works on canvas, works on paper, woodworking, and of course, photography.  My company participates religiously. 

This year, I entered two of my photographs in the Color Photography category.  The definition they used for “professional” was that you earn money for your work.  They had left out the word “regularly,”which was part of the definition last year, so I decided to be brave and enter the professional division.

There are 3 outside judges from the art community in North Texas who judge all of the entries and select 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each category and division.  Photos of all of the entries are also placed online on our intranet for employees to vote.  During this time, the art is also on display at one of the main campuses for my company for employees to view and vote.  The employee vote determines the People’s Choice award.  First place in each category as well as the People’s Choice award from all member companies are invited to display their artwork at Northpark Center in late Septemer.

So today was the Artists’ Reception at work, where they serve us cookies and punch and announce all of the winners.  The peanut butter cookies were fantastic, by the way.  But even better than the cookies was the fact that one of MY photos, Down to the Wire, won FIRST PLACE in the Professional Color Photography category.  Me = ELATED!

I am so proud I could burst.  I am now an award-winning photographer.  Woooohoo!

winner!

Zut alors!

Well it is official.  I’m going to miss Cat’s big 4th of July bash at the lake for the first time.  It sucks and I’m bummed about it. 

But, I’ve got to keep my job.  And since this is MY project, it’s not like I can run away for the weekend and put it off any longer.  Testing starts, worldwide, on Monday, whether I’m ready for it or not.  So I’ll spend the weekend making damn sure I’m ready.

I dug my hole.  I made my bed.  I had my cake.  However you want to say it, it’s poor time management skills on my part, mixed with a little too much faith in others.  There has just been entirely too much going on lately.  Hell, I’ve had the first 2 discs of the final season of QAF here since Tuesday and haven’t even been able to touch them.  That’s just…wrong.

I’m hopeful I’ll at least find some time to drive over to downtown Garland Saturday evening for one of the 3-part city of Garland celebrations.  Might be some good photo ops there with the little street fair going on and such.  And, of course, there’s that nighttime Plaza Theatre shot I want still.

What you gonna do with all that junk?

Well, I got the equipment.  Still haven’t determined whether it was a good deal or not.  She had tons of stuff, that’s for sure.  But after spending a few hours digging through the boxes, a lot of it seemed to be either stuff I wouldn’t necessarily need, things I couldn’t identify, and junk.  I knew, from Tom, she was hoping to sell it all at once for $300-400. 

There was no way it would be worth $300 to me.  Granted, she had 3 enlargers, but only one of those looked to be in good working order.  Those, plus 1 small darkroom light, what I believe to be a film wash, several enlarger lenses, enlarger contrast filters, several timers, plus quite a few film reels and tanks were the main items I was interested in.  She also had some color equipment but I don’t know enough about that to judge what I was looking at.

I knew she didn’t want to piece it out.  And I knew I wasn’t willing to spend more than $150-200 because that’s how much I felt would be useful to me.  So Tom agreed to pitch in another $150 and we’d buy the whole lot.  He wanted a few items that I wasn’t interested in.  Plus, he wants the large format negative holders, film tanks, etc.  Well, I should say he wants ME to have them because he’s got several (ok, dozens) of older cameras that he’d like to try shooting  with.  And would like me to have the necessary equipment to do development and printing for him. 

So, we loaded everything up in the back of Tom’s truck and brought it back to my house.  It has now taken up residence in the car part of my garage, forcing my POS out into the driveway for now.  Tom has another enlarger that he was forced to purchase to get a lot of cameras that he wanted.  So he’s giving me that, too!  I hope to start going through all of it this weekend and getting a good inventory of what all is there in addition to sorting out what I know I want and what I’m unsure of.

The challenge of it all will be clearing out a place in one of the rooms in the garage to put all this stuff until I’m in a position to start doing something with it.  I’m not leaving my car in the driveway long term for this.

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She had some other nice antique furniture and stuff in her garage from her parents’ house.  Two cool olive velvety chairs that I might buy…just have to figure out if I realistically have a good place to use them.  And she had one of those old (and this one is reeeally old) sewing machines with the big iron foot peddle.  It’s absolutely gorgeous!  I don’t know where I’d put it, but it is sooo cool.  I know my mom would love it because her mom had something similar.  I told her about it last night and she wants to go look at it when they come up to visit on Monday!  lol

1st rolls from the Holga

This past Sunday I had plans to go shot a roll or two of black and white in the Holga.  I wasted the first roll of ISO100 because of the damned foam in the camera getting rolled up in the film and forcing the back of the camera off, exposing the film.  (Didn’t I say this was a cheap plastic camera?)  So that left me with one roll of ISO400 to use on a bright sunny day.

I went out to Firewheel and then drove through downtown Garland and took quite a few shots on the various colored lomolitos, but haven’t finished any of them completely yet.  I did finish the roll of 120 film however.  And had the foam issue again but just kept shooting through it (thanks to taping the back of the camera on so it couldn’t come open again).  The problem with that was, when it came time to remove the film from the camera, the foam was wound up in the film.  So I pulled it as tightly as I could and sealed it and crossed my fingers that most of the film was covered well enough to prevent exposing it further.

I found a place locally that could develop 120 film, so dropped it off on Monday and just picked it up today.  Considering it was my first 2 rolls ever on medium format film AND on this crazy camera, I’m pretty encouraged by the results.  Especially for the color roll.  The b+w roll was pretty crappy because most of it was way overexposed (due to the film speed and the light leaks from the foam issue…lol).  I just got a contact sheet of it but got prints of the color roll.

Here’s a couple of my favorites:

I had to order more 120 film from B&H because it’s so hard to find it here.  At least any variety.  Should be here by Friday, just in time for a weekend of picture taking during Dr H’s visit.  We’re going to the Wildflower Festival on Saturday, so I should get some good shots there hopefully. 

Mini photo expedition

Forgot to mention, I did manage to find a place to take some pictures in Plano Tuesday after the eye doctor.  Went to a park and finished off a roll of 35mm, the 120 film in the Holga, and several shots in the various lomolitos colors.  All this in way less than an hour because it was HOT as hell (and ridiculously humid) that day.

I went by Wolf Camera afterwards and confirmed that they do NOT process medium format film on site.  Has to be sent off and takes about 2 weeks.  Well, that sucks.  I want to see the results of the first roll before I take more.  So I got the name of a pro place that does medium format.  Not sure if they do it on site or not.  I would think so, but I’ll call tomorrow to find out.  Er…make that today.  Hopefully they do, and if it doesn’t take too long, maybe I could actually have the film back by the weekend.  In time to go shoot some more this weekend.  *fingers crossed*

Hello, Holga!

More new toys!!!

After looking at various models and kits, I finally broke down and bought a Holga.  I’ve been browsing a ton of pictures taken on Holgas and they (the good ones, that is) are amazing.  They have such a soft focus and timeless quality that fascinates me.  The vignetting is fantastic, too!  They are basically crap cameras with a bulky plastic body and plastic lens.   Seriously, this thing comes with a roll of black electrical tape so you can tape up all the light leaks and keep the back from falling off.

I got the one with the color flash on it.  It’s my very first medium format camera, so I’m excited about that.  Although, processing and printing may be a huge pain in the ass (and the checkbook), but I’m not going to let that discourage me.

I wanted to get out this weekend and play but the weather didn’t cooperate on Saturday.  Sunday I had other things going on, but did snap a couple of pictures with both it and my lomolitos (disposable lomographic cameras with color flash).  Because there are only 12 shots on the roll, and the uncertainty of developing and stuff, I have been much more restrained in using it than I would normally be with any of my other cameras. 

Since the Holga’s “effects” differ from camera to camera, I plan to shot a roll or two through it before I even bother with the tape or any other modifications.  I fully expect those test rolls to be crap.  I’m thinking, since I’m spoiled with my meters in my other cameras, I’ll over or under-expose everything.  But as with anything else, the more I do it, the more I’ll get the hang of it. 

I have a followup eye appointment in Plano tomorrow so think I’ll pack my cameras up and, if the weather cooperates (supposedly more rain tomorrow), I may try and find a place nearby to blow through a few rolls.  Wheeee!

Hockey & Rediscovering old passions

Well, my Stars lost in OT yesterday.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.  They put up a good fight, but it was too little too late.  Colorado won the series and advances to the second round.  Dallas, once again, has an early playoff exit.  It’s sooo frustrating to have a team kick ass all season only to go down like that.  And to not be able to pinpoint the cause of it is even more mind-boggling.  We just didn’t play our game from the start.  And by the time we finally put a solid 60-minute effort on the ice, we were down 3 games.

Oh well.  At least some of our young guys got some playoff experience under their belts.  Better luck next season.  You’re still my boys!

I’m having a hard time staying motivated at work lately.  Not sure what my problem is.  I’m in a funk, I guess.  All I want to do is stay home and sleep. 

I’ve been browsing flickr groups lately and really enjoy seeing some of the fantastic photography that can be found there.  It’s making me really miss the times when my day didn’t feel complete unless I’d been out taking pictures or spent hours in the darkroom (trying to) perfect my prints.  I miss the feel of my old Pentax in my hand.  I miss looking through the lens and waiting for the right moment.  Framing a shot.  The sound of the shutter.  I miss the excitement of waiting for the film to develop.  The smell of a darkroom.  The feel of a wet print.  I miss the satisfaction of capturing that rare fantastic image.   

I’ve been away from my SLR for so long, it no longer feels like an extension of my hand.  Now I’m clumsy and hesitant with it.   And I reeeeally want to buy a digital SLR.  I’ve had my eye on one for awhile, but can’t justify the expense of it at this point.  Too much debt as it is.

I’d like to start going out for the sole purpose of shooting again.  About the only pictures I take lately are from random social gatherings and hockey.  And while that’s still fun, it doesn’t carry even remotely the same level of satisfaction.

I’d like to pick a location, an area of town, a subject, or something each weekend and just head off into the wild blue yonder with my cameras.  Maybe baby steps are better….maybe once a month.  I don’t know yet.  We’ll see. 

I do know that it is one of my greatest pleasures and I’ve been denying myself for far too long.

Dallas World Aquarium

A little bus picked us up from the office today and drove us to the aquarium.  Yes, go ahead and get all of your “you ride the short bus” jokes out of the way.

We got there around 11am and were taken to one of the event rooms and served an incredibly good lunch.  No, we did not have sushi.  The food was excellent though.  I had no idea their catering was so fantastic. 

After lunch, we were allowed an hour and a half to roam the aquarium before we had to be back in the room for our “activity.”  I had not been to this place since almost 6 years ago.  Calling it an “aqaurium is really misleading because, while it does have quite a few of those, it also has a big rainforest type place with all kinds of other animals.  The first time I went, I thought it was nice, but nothing fancy.  And certainly not worth the cost of admission to go again. 

Since that time, they have apparently made quite a few changes and additions.  And the hour and a half to explore was nowhere near enough time, IMO.  I had gone in armed with both my digital and 35mm cameras.  I made it a point this morning to clean my lenses, make sure I had plenty of film, grabbed my polarizing filter to help with the glass glare, and put fresh batteries in the flash.  What I failed to do was realize that the actual camera battery in the 35mm had not been changed in some time.  I got there, loaded it up with film, threw it and my digital on my shoulders and went off to take buttloads of pictures. 

But…you guessed it.  Shortly after turning the 35mm on, the battery died.  And people were making fun of me for bringing TWO cameras.  Now I don’t look so silly, do I?  😛

My little midrange digital still manages to impress me (or I impress myself sometimes.  Little bit of both, perhaps).   It was my step up camera from the last one.  The plan was to use it for a year or two and then step up again to a full digital SLR.  I’m itching to get one, but have to save up the money first (not to mention pay off some debts). 

Anyway, back to the zoo/rainforest/aqaurium place.    I had to rush my way through to get back to our department thing so didn’t really get to spend as much time in each area as I wanted.  They had the obvious:  fish and sharks other sea creatures.  But they also had birds and snakes and flamingos and storks and jaguars and spiders and monkeys…It was a really cool place and I plan to go again soon.

Back at our department thing, I ended up winning one round of the trivia ($25 Visa card) and getting second place in the “Guess How Many POUNDS of Candy Garfield* Has Distributed Over the Last 3 Years” contest.  I guessed 1200.  The correct answer was 1500 I think.  Either way, another $25 Visa for me.  YAY!

*Garfield is a coworker who has a little table outside of his office, constantly filled with all kinds of yummy treats.

Stuff Portrait Friday

I’m late, but it’s my first time to play.  So go easy on me.

I’ve taken the pictures, honest.  But downloading them requires me to leave my fetal position and go to the other computer.  I’ll add them here later.  Promise. 

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Ok, here goes. 

My trunk (at a weird angle, but I was too lazy to open the garage):

My dishes (I have 2 sets, the black Mikasa ones being the more formal, the Warhol’s Marilyn stuff for everyday):

 

And finally, alcoholic beverages of choice (7&7, Turkey & 7, or the dirtiest martini…I affectionately call them whores…you can make):

Afternoon plans

A hotel in the area is having a free garage sale today and Tuesday for guests at their hotel and any others displaced by Katrina (they are estimating we will have atleast 20,000 evacuees in our area by the weekend).  They’ve apparently received an overwhelming amount of donations so far (so much so that they are taking over a floor of the office building next door) and are in need of volunteers to sort everything.  They had people helping all through the night.  I’m taking off this afternoon so am going to head over there to pitch in and do whatever I can to be of use. 

I would really like to bring my camera(s), because I think this is the kind of thing to be captured.  But I don’t want to offend anyone either.  I’ll leave them in my car until I see how things go.

I’ve just recently learned about “Stuff Portrait Friday.”  It sounds like fun, so I’m going to start playing.  It will be a little later today before I have a chance to do the assigned photos, but I’ll get them up as soon as I can.