Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Driving in NYC

It's not necessary.  You certainly don't need a car here, and I've never missed owning one ever.  Nonetheless, there are people who cannot live with out them.  They are a part of the landscape, as no street is complete without them lining the sides.  Here are a few from my normal neighborhood night walks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Uncovering The Magic

In a recent post, I spoke about scanning the 'duds' - those photos which came out either way too overexposed or underexposed.  I showed examples of an underexposed Polaroid, and my scanning methods used to uncover the magic hidden within.   Today I'll share one which was overexposed, a Type 600 version of Impossible Project's color film (a 'skins' version with animal print frames).  My cameras are sx-70's, so this film will result in an overexposed image.

The original

The original cropped, after adjusting data in the individual color channels.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Two Cameras, One Scene

On the left, my Holga with Polaroid back and homemade filter.  Held together with a bunch of rubber bands and electrical tape.  On the right, my Arunas cam: a cigar box pinhole with Polaroid back.  Both sitting on a seawall, ocean in the background, my mini-recorder weighing down an unpeeled Polaroid in the foreground.  Taken with an sx-70 camera 2 months ago.

Taken with the camera on the right.

Taken with the camera on the left.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

That Blood Moon

The other night we experienced a total lunar eclipse of a super moon. (This is also known as a Blood Moon.)  I'm not usually one to take the usual photos of things like moons, or sunsets, or rainbows, or other similar subjects, but never say never.  In fact, last week, during the Pope's NYC visit, I did actually take a photo of a rainbow.  It was not your standard rainbow, but one that was in the formation of a halo, encircling the entire Madison Square Garden area about a half hour before his arrival to give Mass there.  And then, this Blood Moon hits town, and darn if I didn't walk up to the the corner and aim up there and get this one photo.  It's certainly nothing, compared with all the wonderfully lit and detailed images I saw friends, even non-photographers, uploading on social media, but I do like it, nonetheless.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


From acid, to butter, to mild vanilla....

Tourists checking out fake goods on Canal Street, NYC

Weeds growing out of a sidewalk against a cement building.

Apparently a crash test dummy has made off with the cab.

A member of my toy collection.  Hitting the sauce again.

Art gallery on the Lower East side of Manhattan.

Beach Pavillion on the New England coast.

Paste up on the old Tennessee Mountain restaurant in Soho.  
It's sadly since become a Crocs store.  :(

Foggy dirt road captured on Redscale film.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why Scanning Film Is An Endless Task

There's a reason my film scanning is a never-ending process. First, I am always taking pictures, so the rolls of film and stacks of polaroids continue to grow. Second, since the majority of my cameras are low end and quirky, they can cause double exposures, uneven spacing between frames, and, due to unsophisticated or absent focus/aperture controls, too dark/light and/or blurred images. All these lend to far more time necessary in the scanner with each of these types of images as I attempt to find and make a picture.

Generally, if I take a photo with a sophisticated camera (ahem, I have only one, the Pentax 67) then scanning is a breeze. I can do an entire roll of film in a couple of hours; one evening. With the lo-fi cameras, I spend more time first making a 'reality' scan of the image "as is", and then doing multiple variations of the same image through adjustments to each of the color channels in attempts to 'find' a better photo, more detail, or more character and soul. I may also increase or decrease the saturation, or convert it to black and white, and save all these versions for later comparison.

Pictured above is one of my recent scans. It was an image taken last month in a plastic camera with an attached polaroid back. The film was a black and white Polaroid type which expired 9 years ago, and while I should have shot this as a long exposure, because it was very early morning, very cloudy, and I had a dark filter over the lens, I forgot. All this resulted in an underexposed photo with barely any image, as you can see.

It doesn't end there, however.  All's not lost.  There's nothing to lose in trying to pull something out of these types of images when scanning. Sometimes I find my best images this way. Lightening it, manipulating the color channels (I always scan as 24bit color, even if it's black and white) and other adjustments will cause distortions, and exaggeration of the film emulsion's aberrations, and the dust particles, but all that adds to the character.  The following are three of the 5 or so variations I made of the above photo: