Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ann Arbor's nascent Crappy Camera Club

checking out the goods
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Last night I hosted the 3rd meeting of the Krapppy Camera Club, and 7 of us gathered at my house to swap stories, fondle each other's cameras, exchange ideas, and to look at each others' work.

One of the things we did last night was to present our photos that were done as an assignment since the last meeting. It was so interesting to see how each of us not only chose our subjects, but the type and subject of the poetry that we based our photos on. Linda had some really nice Holga work.

What impresses me most is the level of photography/artistry that exists within this group. Definitely proof that crappy camera (or toy camera) does not equate into crappy images. As the group gets more momentum and participants, I think we could really do an amazing show somewhere.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

At last

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
At last, my anticipated photographic debut in a glossy, slick magazine. Traverse magazine used three of my photos for the article on Hine's Emerald dragonfly. That was cool. I never expected the article to include a fair amount about me, so that was a pleasant surprise. I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday to get the copy hot off the newsstand, and told the clerk how excited I was to see my photos in the magazine. She agreed, but probably thought I was pulling her leg.

Traverse is one of those magazines where it would be a delight to be a staff photographer. Really upscale articles mixed with touristy stuff and beautiful homes, etc. I'm pleased with the article they did on Hine's Emerald, and hopefully it will boost public awareness of the endangered species in Michigan.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Paw Paw Barn

Paw Paw Barn
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Yesterday, Marjorie and I went on one of our one-day wonder road trips. We took mostly back roads, going up M52 to Stockbridge, then some really back roads, going through Leslie, then through Mason, Charlotte, and over to Holland. From there, we went south to South Haven, Benton Harbor, and est over to Hartford, Paw Paw, Augusta, and finally home on I-94. We put on about 400 miles, and saw a lot of sublime things that one can only appreciate driving around. The flock of turkeys with several toms all puffed up; beautiful fields of crops just coming up; vineyards with the carefully managed vines; old decrepit barns --some on their last "legs", and others not decrepit, but painted and kept up (like the one shown). The amazing county courthouses in these rural counties - where the county seat is not necessarily a big place, but the solid limestone or brick buildings give a sense that government matters; the significant number of Tacquerias in areas that depend upon mostly Hispanic laborers for the production and harvest of our fruits and vegetables; the beauty of downtown Holland, and the fact that there is so much one can see if you really look.

It was a fun trip, and Marjorie photographed 11 theaters, including an unexpected drive-in in Van Buren Co.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Going with the Flow

Fleming Creek
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
On Monday I went over to Fleming Creek at Parker Mill in late afternoon to shoot some photos with my Diana camera. Yes, that "toy" camera. I wanted to capture some long exposures of Fleming Creek to give it a dreamy flowing look. That of course, requires a time exposure on the "B" setting, which also requires some sort of sturdy support. Oops, the Diana does not have a tripod socket - imagine that.

So, I cobbled together a tripod attachment point using Velcro and an old flash holder. It actually worked pretty well. This photo was taken on Arista 100 film, using the sunny setting (f16?) at about 6 seconds. Not too shabby, and I think my mission was accomplished.

Here is how I set up the tripod mount:

on a tripod....

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Twenty-dollar beauty

Twenty-dollar beauty
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Sometimes I luck out on eBay... this Nikkormat FTN body -virtually flawless, great working condition was $20 + shipping. I never had one this good when I paid a lot more. I once had a Nikkormat FTN, an FT2 and a Nikkormat EL. The old FTN was all-black, and well-used. I'm sure I paid at least $75 for whichever one was cheapest, and a maximum of $125. All were sold several years ago, as I acquired other Nikons I liked better, or to pay for lenses. This one stays....

Monday, May 15, 2006

Uptown Bar, Downtown Monroe

Watering hole
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
This was taken in Monroe, MI on May 6. Marjorie and I drove down for a couple of hours of shooting, discovering interesting little things about the city. I shot a roll of Eastman5222, which is rapidly becoming my favorite film. I tried using HC110 developer (dilution B) and guessed at 6 minutes, because there are no guidelines for this film as a pictorial film, other than what is on Digital Truth. I think I guessed pretty close, as the negatives looked good and scanned wonderfully. I'll try 5 minutes another time and see how it compares.

It's too bad Kodak does not market this as a still film. It's sold as movie film stock. I think I'd better buy a 250 foot reel from Film Emporium.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

one of many kisses

one of many kisses
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. May 13, 1978 seems like such a long time ago, and I guess it is-- over half our lives. Adrienne and I were married between our junior and senior year of college, because it seemed like the thing to do. I guess we were right!

Her cousin Chris Murphy, shot the wedding photos for us on Ektachrome slide film, and I'm glad he did. I scanned in a few slides today, and the colors look like they were taken yesterday.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

hands --like ours but different

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
This morning was atypical. A large male low-land Gorilla from the Cincinnati Zoo arrived at the loading dock of the Museum, and I was asked to document it for the UMMZ. Unfortunately, I did not bring my D70 or even my little coolpix today, so I had to resort to a 2MP Fuji Finepix that sits around my office. It did the job, but it was painful. This is an unusual occurrence, and I spent 45 minutes later in the day taking photos of Collosus up in the Mammal Division. Most of those shots were taken on film, except for a few that I did on the 2mp camera. The one above is of the gorilla's hand, desaturated, duotoned, and saved as an RGB image. I'm hoping the shots on TRi-X come out anywhere near what I imagined.

This was a rather awesome experience. Being so close to a lowland gorilla, and being able to photograph him at will gave me a profound appreciation for their similarities and many differences from us.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Small Shows

Matt Exhibit 1
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Today I attended the artist's reception at Bombadill's Coffee House in Ypsilanti. Matt Callow's "Ypsilanti Through a Pinhole" exhibit is hanging there, and Matt was on hand to answer questions and chat. It's always fun to see his work, and there were other photographers there, so we had some good conversations. Ross Orr (another Flickrite from Ann Arbor) showed up and brought along some of his interesting pinhole cameras, and it was a pleasure meeting him in person.

These small shows are a way for photographers to showcase recent work to a variety of people, and considering the paucity of gallery space (for photographers) in our area, I commend the local businesses that encourage such displays on their premises.

Best of all, Matt sold at least three images today. Now, let me see... I guess I need to do the same soon...

Saturday, May 06, 2006


yellow waves
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Familiarity with a place is helpful. Being able to visit a particular area on a regular basis means that one is more likely to get the kind of photograph that one wants, rather than being stuck with whatever presents itself when one is just passing through.

This farm is a good example. I first noticed the yellow fields of canola about 4 years ago, and took some photos that first time. They were ok, but I felt I could have done better. Of course, by thye time I got my slides processed, the canola flowers were gone. Then another year they grew something else, and another year, I just missed the flowers. This year, I drove past and saw that the flowers would likley be at peak within a week or so. In addition, the field was on the other side of the farm from where it had been before, making for a potentially more scenic shot.

Yesterday, Marjorie and I drove out in late afternoon, and everything looked pretty darn good. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put my tripod in the van, so I had to use a fencepost for support. I plan on going out Sunday morning with my Pentax 6x7 and taking some shots on transparency film...and use a tripod.

The point is, familiarity with your subjects will improve your photography. The best shots of anywhere are most often taken by the person that spends a lot of time there. So, find your favorite spot and keep shooting.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Seeds of Change

Amazing -- it was just a few weeks ago that the maples were resplendent in their spring finery -- their tiny red flowers heralding the arrival of April. Within a few short weeks, the leaves are emerging, and a big seed crop is on the way. These maples in Nichols Arboretum will soon be fully leafed out in a week or two. Things happen SO quickly. I'm glad we have cameras to document these changes.

  Posted by Picasa

Dogwoods in Nichols Arboretum Posted by Picasa

Trilliums in my backyard -- I love this time of year. Posted by Picasa

I love May. The variety of green hues, fragrances, flowers, and the sheer emergence of life is invigorating. My macro lenses are going to be getting a workout this month...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Good News!

Emerald eyes
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Last week I sold several photos to Traverse Magazine for an upcoming story on dragonflies that will appear in the June 2006 issue. I have had photos appear in several publications, but this was the first time I've been paid for my work that has appeared in print. I had photos in the Ann Arbor News about 5 years ago for a story they did on me and macrophotography, some photos in a book on Great Lakes Ecosystems, and several shots in the Detroit Athletic Club Magazine. I have always enjoyed the lush photography in Traverse Magazine, so this is a treat to be featured there.