Sunday, February 24, 2008

Something Different From Me

For some time, I've wanted to try shooting female nudes, and more specifically, I've been interested in trying what is called "Boudoir Photography." For one, I want to know if I am any good at it, and do I have anything to offer that makes my work stand out from others? I don't want to be a glamor photographer, nor do I expect to try and compete with the pros out there, but I am interested in trying out some techniques and seeing if in fact, my results might be worthwhile, and if the person posing would be happy with the results. Another thing -- the internet is awash with skinny, siliconized women, and I'm not interested in that. Real women with real figures that can be photographed in a way that brings out their best, and leave some imagination for the rest. Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned, but leaving some things to the imagination is better than showing every detail. To me, that's what eroticism is about.

So, last week, a friend of mine who was willing to be a test, spent the better part of an afternoon at my place and I shot mostly with my Nikon D-70 and an assortment of lenses and filters. I probably shot a few hundred exposures, and was really happy with quite a few.

My lighting setup was pretty simple - two fluorescent bulbs with white umbrella reflectors, a large piece of white foamcore, lightstands, a backdrop for some shots, and a tripod and a stepladder. With the space available in my living room and the limited size of the paper backdrop, there is only so much I can do. Some shots were done on the couch, which worked out very well.

I decided to forgo using flash, even though I have it available. I wanted the softer look of the lights, and that is why the tripod is so important. So is making sure the model stays very still. Overall, we were both happy with the results, and the time just flew by. I realized that I have to keep things simple and not try and do too much right off the bat, but note what works and what doesn't. This is a learning process for me, too.

Here are a few samples from the afternoon. Of course, if you are a woman and reading this, I'd like your feedback, and if you are local, and might like to pose for a CD of images, contact me and I'll see what we can arrange.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bowling Night - No Digital

Last Friday, I was invited to accompany Adrienne and her co-workers to a few games of bowling at the Ypsi-Arbor lanes (the one with the cool sign). Since I am currently putting my shoulder and right arm through physical therapy, i didn't want to upset anything by bowling with it. Truth be told, I really suck. But since I might bowl once a year, what can you expect? Instead, I decided that I would bring a bag full of cameras and shoot film instead of a ball. My cameras of choice:
  • Nikon N8008 with Fuji Neopan 1600, 50mm f/1.8 and 24mm f/2 lens, no flash.
  • Nikon FG with SB-16 flash and Ilford Deltapan 400, 24mm f/2 lens
  • Holga with Fortepan 400 and external flash

So you see, no digital camera, just the gritty nuance of black and white film. I had a good time, and my favorite shots were those done with the N8008 and the Neopan 1600. The 24mm was a better choice than the 50, if only because it captured the lanes better, and manual focus works better in dim situations (it is an older lens converted to AI).

The results, or at least some of them:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Yet Another Blow - Polaroid is Dropping Film


According to the Boston Globe story, Polaroid is going to stop producing films within the year. That includes the facilities in the Netherlands and Mexico that produce the consumer films. I suppose one could say that it was inevitable, but maybe Fuji will acquire the remaining technology from Polaroid. There are a bunch of highly-regarded fine art photographers that use large-format Polaroid film for their work; photographers that use the 600-series films for a variety of projects, and the artists that use emulsion lifts and transfers as their main biody of work. It's a shame that the films will die. Polaroid execs are quoted as turning to LCD TVs and digital cameras. Great...just what we need - another brand name stamped on electronics from China. It's too bad that the company that was once at the apex of inventiveness and technology (not to mention stock prices) has turned into a dim shadow of its former self. It would be easy to blame the digital revolution for Polaroid's demise, and of course it has had a major impact upon a company that once employed 15,000 in Massachusetts. I think there still has to be a viable niche market. I have to wonder if it can't be possible for some company to acquire the plants that make the film and run it as a boutique operation. Come on, Kodak... time to get even and buy that Polaroid technology...

So, if you stock up NOW on Polaroid film... you'll be okay for another few years, until it degrades and is no longer usable.
Damn. Edwin Land, R.I.P.

Fotolog's piece in the 20x24 inch Polaroid camera.

Another article from CNN online. It's about time that some people acknowledge the unique uses and qualities of Polaroid films, and that for those applications there is no other alternative.

Eric Zechar says it well, and what makes a Polaroid image so special.

02/25/08 additions:
A short video on CBC, which is pretty good!

Save Polaroid Site