Monday, April 27, 2009


Had intended on visiting a marina first, when along the way this wonderful boat graveyard presented itself. This is where the 17-35mm really shined. Razor sharp images and the ability to get the whole boat in the frame with very little else just really made the whole time there perfect.
To me, ruins/wrecks are far more interesting than new/shiny things, so I spent more time and got better images from the graveyard than I did at the marina!


Nikon and Kodak again. 35mm focal distance. I liked the way the sky came out.


More with the Kodak 400CN. I was using the 35-70mm f/2.8 lens which is such a wonderfully sharp lens I doubt I'll ever get rid of it. I did pick up a 17-35mm f/2.8 lens that I used at the marina to capture overall shots, but for he time being, at 70mm this shot is just about perfect.


Although my Pentax had longer reach lenses, I brought out my Nikon for some up close images of the planes at the airfield where the skydivers were.
While I normally use Ilford for my Black and White work, I'd used up what I had at the marinas earlier in the day. What I had left was some Kodak 400CN 'professional' B/W film.
I have to admit, it's not bad for cheap drugstore film, the sepia tone isn't as obvious as in the Ilford's and the grain is finer, making it good for detail work, as pictured here. I will be using it some more as the spring continues.


Also her first jump, and was she ever happy, after the landed that is. I spoke with her as shewas getting suited up, and she was having serious second thoughts about doing this. However, she was the head of a fundraising organization there that day, so she pretty much had to go.
As you can see, she was happy after the landing, so all's well that ends well.


It occured to me that the guy on the right looks a lot like Vlad Putin.


Of course, not all the people had perpetual smiles on their faces, you had guys like this who were clearly exhausted after jumping and cleaning up, all day long.
This image hasn't been re-touched as far as the neon colours go, they really were that bright and garish.


As the image so clearly demonstrates, there were a lot of happy divers at the meet. She had just returned from her very first jump and the emotions are plainly obvious.
I couldn't have picked a better day to go shooting. Bright blue sky, wispy white clouds and plenty of afternoon sun.
Forgot the sunscreen so I ended up looking like a roast lobster, but all in the name of photography...


Was out this weekend looking for a boatyard to photograph and at the end of my day, happened upon a skydiving meet. I shot a ton of pictures and felt only very few are worth keeping. Movement is difficult to capture well, especially if it's in three dimensions.
The entire group was extremely friendly and professional. I look forward to meeting up with them again.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Okay, this image is more art than photography. If you couldn't tell, I have photoshopped the original image, taken with my FED-3 Russian rangefinder camera, and turned it into a painting.
I had gone to an 'Earth Day' event at a local community college, and they had hundreds of little white tents where people sold their wares, and companies showed off their 'Green' technology.
The FED-3 has a prime lens, and I haven't really got a handle on how best to utilize it. The lens gives images that are razor sharp, but the camera is finicky, leading to extra time spent composing and prep work, thus losing the shot.
I'm thinking stationary people are this camera's party piece, but I need more work to be certain.
In any case, the image, while nice, just looked better converted in PhotoShop, so I posted it here.


There is a famous cemetery in my city. It closes at 6pm. The rest of the cemeterys in town do not close. I'm guessing the famous one wants to keep their zombies from wandering away.
I only realized the famous one closed at 6pm, when it was 5.45pm and I wanted to visit it. They have far more statues, outlandish monuments and mausoleums than the one I visited, but this one was open, and that was a plus.
The centerpiece here wasn't the main focal point of the shot. I was actually more interested in the cloud pattern behind it, but in conjunction with the spire, it turned out well.


"They're coming to get you Barbara!"
In retrospect, it would have been cool to have some zombies in the far distance of this shot, they'd show up as black humanoid blobs with the bright light of the day.
Note to self, bring zombies next time for photoshoot.


In between bouts of rain, we will have cloudless skies and 80 plus degree weather. Visited a local cemetery in the afternoon with my Nikon, and managed to get some nice images.
I only have the one lens for my Nikon, the 35-70mm f/2.8. It's an extremely nice lens, even more so for it being free, but it lacks in range, and I keep wanting more lenses for it.
However, being limited in reach, it's forcing me to rethink how to capture a shot, and I think that the lack of lens options for the Nikon is making me a better photographer.


Spring has arrived here, and of course that means unending days of rain, rain, and more rain. Well, a good photographer knows how to work in and around the elements, so here's my contribution to that.
This was taken wiht my Nikon N4004, Ilford XP2 Super ISO 400 B&W film, and my 35-70mm lens set to Macro with an f/stop of 2.8.
I am given to understand that the XP2 Super isn't true Black and White film (since it can be developed via the C41 process) but the results are the same. I love the grain effect this film gives me.


Continuing with the red theme, but adding a bit of life. This is an old image actually, for my last photography class a few years ago. I stumbled upon it while looking for something else and thought it would make a good addition to the journal.
aken with my old Samsung GX-1L on a sunny spring day. Tamron 300mm lens, which isn't the sharpest in the bunch unless you know how to use it. I got lucky with this shot that day. Until I adjusted to the Tamron, most of the shots with it were close to useless.


Using an R72 filter, normally reserved for IR work (see elsewhere on this journal for proper use ) I cut down the exposure time to just 1/6 sec at a local cemetery to get this "gates of hell" look.
Will post some other cemetery images soon, a little more cheerful (?) than this one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Nothing special, just a little Church I found on the way out of town. The sky was a brilliant blue, the breeze was just so, and the lighting was perfect. As always, look at the bigger image for better detail.


This house was near the area where I found the ruins. It was difficult to find an angle that wasn't obscured by something, but I think it turned out well. After looking over the image again, I'm struck by the fact that the house looks like a toy, something Barbie and her friends might have for the summer.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Detail of some of the woodwork in the mansion. I used ambient light for the warm look. The interior marble and woodwork was in better shape, no doubt due to being protected from the elements, but it was still in rough shape.
This was shot using a macro lens, hence the shallow depth of field.


It was difficult to find an angle that could show the size of the mansion. I didn't have a lens with a wide enough view to capture the entire building, so I started with parts of it.
Sorry about the bright blue sky, it really was that colour and I tried to tone it down.
Marble plating here, but the roof was slate tile and the windows leaded glass (several of which were broken out)
Details abound, the kind not seen in modern buildings.


Once again, the as-shot colour image didn't do what I wanted it to, so I turned down the colour. The wood (I can only assume they were oak) banisters were covered in torn and moldy velvet, the wrought iron scrollwork was rusted and pitted, but the marble was smooth.
The walls were a mix of murals, tapestries, oak paneling and marble.


Just a detail of the many marble columns dotting the land. Virtually all of the marble I touched is rough and pitted, betraying the lack of upkeep, and yet, underneath the rot and decay, the beauty is still there.


This is part of the staircase that lead to the garden. It's overrun and in disrepair now, as is virtually everything there, but as you can see, the marble is holding up reasonably well.
Everything was made of marble. Everything. In some places it was marble plating over standard brick, but in other places it was solid marble.
I can only imagine the cost involved to truck that kind of stone to the top of a mountain back in 1912 (I saw a foundation stone with the date on it.)
This image was taken in colour, but didn't convey the feeling I was trying to capture, so I converted it to black and white.


I want to point out that this is not the mansion I found, this is just the stables, which should give you some idea of the imensity of the area.
The stables were not behind the mansion, but rather a good 1/4 mile away nearly hidden by overgrowth.
I am not often at a loss for words, but the sheer scope of the area (after some reasearch it turned out the original land encompassed nearly 1000 acres) coupled with the magnitude of the decay completely shocked me. All I could think about as I wandered the forgotten lands and buildings, was Percy Shelley's poem about Ramesses the Great.
The most famous line from that work is "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"


On a jaunt to the mountains this past weekend, I stumbled upon a semi-abandoned mansion on a mountaintop.
Although in poor condition, the underlying beauty still shone through. For example, this cherub was on one of the interior doors.
It's a little grainy as I had to crank up the ISO (to 1600) to be able to hand hold for the shot under natural light, but I feel it works.