Thursday, April 29, 2010

When did you realize the power of photography?

I started taking photos when I was five years old. My parents got me a Kodak 110 camera, and I took many awful photos (you know, headless people, blurry close-ups, weird shots of things I liked). When I was 10 or 11 years old, I took a photography class in Middle School that taught us how to use a camera as well as how to develop and print our own photos. Can you believe the film we used was not 35mm? It looks like 120 film. Weird.

5th grade photos

Those were a few of my attempts. I remember feeling very uninspired, and we had to finish the whole roll (of 16, I think) within a day or two. It wasn't until we moved to Arizona when I was 12 that I held a "real" camera - it was a Minolta X-370. The other day, my dad claimed we lost a lens and had to buy one in Colorado. I remember it as - we bought the whole camera in Colorado. If we'd had it before, Dad - why weren't we using it?

Do you remember the first photo you took when you thought "wow! that's amazing!"?

My sister and I argued over who took this beautiful portrait of our other sister, R. She was 3 years old, had little blonde pigtails, and was holding a purple wildflower. The bokeh (not that I knew that's what it was at the time) stunned me. I'd never seen such a thing before! Her face was in perfect focus. I'll have to find that one and scan it... I'm sure it's nothing special - but to us, it was inspiration to take more photographs with Dad's camera.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

don't we all just need a little crazy?

Sidewalk View

This is my street. Obviously, it looks much more interesting using PX100 film than it does when I walk outside and look at it now. I wonder if I'll remember it as this idealized {sepia-toned} neighborhood, or the bizarre amalgam of families, students, and old folks from Poland that it is. When everything turns green again, as just happened last week {seemingly overnight}, I swear my heart feels like it might explode. Amazing, stunning - and all because of a few leaves. I'm sure it has something to do with living in the Arizona desert for nearly 20 years.

Tucson Sky in August

Photo from right outside my last house. I miss those sunsets! We had a trolley that ran in front of our house, which was interesting. We also had an ugly naked guy across the street. Seriously - I'm NOT KIDDING. He had one of those black screens on his door, seemingly having no idea that people can SEE THROUGH the screen, he would stand at the screen peering out onto the street wearing NOTHING. I mean, I know it's Tucson and it's hot, but dude, um, it's OBSCENE. Ah, the color of life. Sorry - no photos of ugly naked guy!

But I digress. In the last week we found a new flat that we'll be moving into in a month. A different neighborhood, different people, different crazy. This current neighborhood honestly just doesn't have enough crazy. And we need another bedroom (for an office! not another child!).

Monday, April 26, 2010

feeling overwhelmed

feel space {laughing buddha}

It's not that I don't often feel overwhelmed... I do. Sometimes I realize I'm reading too many blogs, following too many people (and I don't follow many, really) on twitter, looking at too many gorgeous photostreams on flickr - and I start hyperventilating thinking about all the things I could be doing that I'm not!  {along the lines of - why am i not sewing things to sell on etsy? why am i not practicing my photography so i take better exposed, better composed photos? why am i not exercising right this second? wait... when DID i last exercise? why am i not outside right now? when was the last time i went hiking? *is* there hiking around Chicago?}

Well, ok, in reality, although I do waste a lot of time, my husband is finishing up the classes he's teaching this week - lots of work - just got back from a conference, and my dad was in town all week for his own work conference. I haven't had much time to myself. Then there was that pile of computer components sitting in my living room (mentioned those a while back...) - my dad and I put it all together! In fact, I should be downloading drivers for the motherboard and video card right now. But I'm not.

The Impossible Project has released PX600 film, and I'm quite excited to try it. Of course, I don't have an SLR680. Have you seen what people have been paying for those things?! I'm not going to list my cameras (uh, today - I'll probably document them all in the near future, though). So what am I going to put that PX600 in?

Oh, wait - maybe I should throw some more photos in this post (now that I've bored y'all to death):

It's a faucet!

Do I have a problem? Why do I keep wanting to photograph fixtures? Oh, hey, there's this cool bathroom over at the park... but anyhow... Here's a sign that I've enjoyed for the last couple of years {but just photographed last week}:

Trim 'N Tidy Cleaners
(this one is 600 film in my dad's SX70, Alpha 1 Model 2 - he brought it for me to use! seems to have a problem with the gears sticking - the mirror got stuck after one shot)

The weekend was cold and rainy, so I didn't take any photos. Sad, I know. This week I'm hoping to get out to the Chicago Botanic Garden!! How many cameras should I take? Oh, and can you believe my mother asked why I couldn't just shoot digital? I'm feeling misunderstood.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh, why can't I get these right?

the neighbor's tulips

Spring Sandal

I now have an SX-70 to use! This one is a Model 2 (with rather icky leather, to be honest), and I'm not sure how much I like the cream-colored plastic. Nonetheless, at least I can shoot some film again! I needed to try out the camera, so I ran outside and took a couple shots. NOT SO GOOD. I know. You don't need to tell me these aren't stellar shots! The sandal/foot shot would be 20x's better at least if I had some colored polish... but alas, I don't own any.

Of course there are no magnolia trees (or anything much blooming for that matter) on my block. I really have a lot of trouble with 600 film for some reason. I tend to get somewhat blurry shots (is it the nd filter on the film pack?). Well - at least I know the camera works (for now). Maybe I'll have a chance to take some more inspired photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

keeping it in perspective.

Magnolia Tree in Spring

Ah, spring is here. See the proof? A blooming magnolia tree! Amazing, amazing. Honestly, although I'm not a "pink" person, after a long, cold winter these trees make my heart leap. This photo, shot with my Polaroid ProCam on Image film is currently sitting on my {again messy} desk. Yes, I did clean off the desk a few weeks ago, but it is hideously messy again. Taxes due this week (must get those in the mail tomorrow), tape from a recent package sent, the Real Simple magazine that arrived just today... At least the magnolias make me smile.

Then there is my SX-70 land camera. Sitting sadly in the corner of my desk. Soon after my last post, I got a little over-zealous and decided there were some shots I wanted to try with the PX100 film. Rushing to get another pack of film in the camera {it was getting late and I needed to make dinner, etc.}, I carelessly left the camera on the edge of my desk. My desk has wheels. Slight breathing, bumping, walking on nearby floorboards all make it shift slightly. Can I just say, "oops," or "I'm an idiot?" So, my camera FELL OFF THE DESK. Yes, it's my own fault. If you knew me, you'd know that I was the kid with the Barbies still wearing their original clothes, the My Little Ponies with hair all combed properly, my CDs and DVDs always, always in their cases and nearly unscratched. Yes, I'm messy and I hate to clean. But, I don't drop my cameras!

Cut to the chase, you say? Yes, it is broken. Oh, how my heart dropped out of my body when it fell so loudly, so awfully onto the floor. I was so excited to have someone notice my photographs for once - oh, they only have a few comments and a couple "favorites" on Flickr. I'm also the girl that nobody ever noticed. Smart, shy, aloof... and nobody ever listened. So, to me, having this camera break... so soon after we'd met, was devastating. Nobody noticed me until I took Polaroid photos. My digital photos are nothing to write home about.

I spent the next 24 hours trying to fix the SX-70. I don't have a repair manual, or probably the patience, to fix it. I checked eBay hundreds of times looking for a good deal (yikes, these are currently going for CRAZY prices for un-tested cameras). Luckily, I suppose, I didn't have much time with this camera. I didn't get as attached as perhaps I might have if I'd had it for years. Perhaps I can get it fixed {i am impatient}.

It's ok. I can't shoot my PX100 film right now, and I'll have to wait for more fun experimentation (that Showerhead shot was my very last). It's just a camera, though. And there are many, many SX-70's out there, even if I've damaged this one beyond repair. I feel ridiculous mourning the loss of a camera when there are so many awful things going on in this world. Just because I was noticed once, briefly, is no reason to get attached to a "thing."

Why did it happen? Perhaps because I suddenly felt proud of myself {hubris}? Because I was forgetting what is important {relationships}? Because I was rushing {haste makes waste}? Because I was not being present.

I need to have "be present" tattooed on my body. Where I can see it everyday. No, really - I'm serious!

be present. be happy. live life today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Flush...

I just finished my first pack of PX100 film from The ImPossible Project today. These are my three favorite shots:

trowel and brush (first)


Self Portrait

I had quite a bit of difficulty shooting with this film outside, and even on my back porch. My indoor shots definitely came out with better tones than the outside photos. The top photo of my trowel and favorite brush (um, archaeologist here...) is washed out. I made a second attempt, but it was worse, despite trying to darken it and keep it warm while developing.

My favorite is the shower head shot. Yes, that water is on, and yes, I was standing IN the shower when I took it. I've been wanting to take that shot for days, but hadn't had the guts to do so until today. I think it was boredom that made me do it.

Go here to see the rest of the set! I've written notes on the flickr pages about my experience with each of the photos (what I remember; I wasn't being especially scientific about it). I did get frustrated a bit - especially with my last outside shot. But, I'm not ready to give up. I'm inexperienced with the film and with the SX-70. This is only my fourth film pack. Oh, and let me tell you - these are better than my first set of 600 film. I'm not even going to scan those! Might be a problem with my nd filter (a film pack filter).

I've also been experimenting with my Spectra System:

Front Steps

Honestly, I'm enjoying my cheap Spectra! It's definitely awkward to hold (especially while carrying a toddler), but I like what I've managed to get so far.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Etsy Finds {Pretty Camera Bags}

Amazing! I had no idea there were so many options out there for fun, stylish camera bags. Yes, I mean besides throwing your camera in a super-fancy purse wrapped in a diaper/scarf/t-shirt. So, here is Part Two of the Camera Bag for Women list { edition}. Find Part One here.

Janine King Designs carries laptop bags, iPad cases, purses and totes, as well as camera bags - all with many wonderful fabric choices. These camera bags are about 9"x9"x5" with a messenger-style strap.Fun, huh? I love that fabric choice. Don't worry if this one doesn't suit your fancy - she's got many more colorful options. Just go check out her shop. These are usually $70, but some are currently on sale for $60.

Gypsy Rose Handbags offers multiple sizes of SnugglensTM camera bags - mini through large! So, if you're looking for a bag that will only hold your dSLR, or maybe even an advanced point-and-shoot - Gypsy Rose Handbags might have something for you. Again, these bags are messenger-style with colorful fabric flaps.
Above is "asian splendor" in the small/medium size - 9"x9"x5.5" - this should fit just a couple of lenses and your dSLR perfectly. I just love the snap closure to keep everything more secure:Isn't this mini one just adorable?

Gypsy Rose camera bags cost between $70-$120, depending on size. Check out this large version:
Is that not amazing? Look at all that stuff in there! This one is 15"x9"x5" and is a diaper bag/camera bag combo.

Martilena Handmade Bags sells laptop bags, camera bags, pouches, and even lens sleeves. Hmm. I might need some lens sleeves, just for fun.
The Slim Moxi bag runs 9"x8"x5" and is a messenger-style bag with a long, adjustable strap. There are three pockets on the exterior - two open slots in the back, one zippered under the flap in the front. These are custom-made bags, and you can choose any of the cotton print fabrics from that are less than $10 per yard (there are a LOT of options). You can choose black, brown, charcoal, or bright red cordura fabric for the exterior, and you can choose the interior color as well.Here is the larger Meridian bag (10"x10"x7"):There are a few other size options, and these bags are priced between $55 and $95 each, depending on size.

Ketti Handbags does not currently have any camera bags listed, but I saw one the other day that was so fun I just had to save it as a favorite! These are also custom-made bags, so if you are interested, just send a message to the seller.

This bag is a purse-style bag, and so cute! It's 16"x11"x5" with three separate interior compartments, the center one large enough for a Canon 5d. Made of cotton upholstery fabric, this is not likely an especially water-resistant bag. Since this sold before I managed to write up my Etsy findings, I do not recall the price.

Xcess Rize Designs is yet another Etsy store with camera bag offerings! Jackie also sells yoga mat bags, Kindle/ebook Reader bags, as well as combo bags (camera & laptop!). Xcess Rize camera bags are messenger-style bags with customizable flaps and adjustable straps, ranging in price from $70 to $130.

Here is the small Hobo version (11"x9"x4" - $70). I like the fabric combination on this one (although I'm a bit concerned about that lens without a cover in the interior photo below - eek).

Here is the laptop/camera bag (18"x11"x5" - $130). It's crazy how much stuff you can cram in there, isn't it? I'm not sure I'd want to put my laptop in a bag with my camera and accessories, but it might be a great bag for a student who carries both often.

Xcess Rize Designs has medium-sized bags as well, if you're looking for something a bit smaller, and you don't need the bag to hold your laptop.

Would you believe that I used to carry my old SLR (pre-digital) in a small, soft-sided cooler? In fact, I bet the camera is still in that {purple} cooler.