I recently started a photographic lighting course at Photo Center NW which is a quick 15 minute walk from my apartment.
I’ve been wanting to get more into portraiture but all of my experience is using available light. After purchasing a few hot lights followed by some Alien Bees strobes I messed around a bit and then left the lights on my shelf to collect dust. It turns out that lighting is a bit more complicated than I thought. I’m also the kind of person who learns best when given a basic introduction to a subject so I don’t spend forever wandering around the starting line trying to decide which direction the race is run.
The first assignment was a still life using continuous lighting. I decided to use paper negatives run through my Super Cambo 4×5 for the assignment as its a lovely medium for taking photos of things that can sit very still. Using a view camera is tricky business so its often a good idea to take a number of digital shots first, chimp, and then try to convert seven stops of exposure between ISO 200 and ISO 3 in your head.
An amusing side effect of taking photos of an onion with a 600 watt light (at ISO 3 you can’t afford to diminish the intensity of the light in any way) held relatively close to the subject is that the heat given off by the lamp begins to cook the root vegetable. By the end of the 3 hour session required for the shoot my apartment smelled like fry up.
Here are a few outtakes.
For Christmas my girlfriend and I give each other an experience rather than an object. We do stocking stuffers but our main gift to each other is something to remember. This year her gift to me was a trip to Portland, Oregon.
Portland is a quick 3.5 hour train ride from Seattle so its a little silly that I haven’t visited in the nearly 3 years that I’ve been living in The Emerald City. The Seattle metro area is considerably larger than Portland’s and there’s a hell of a lot more money here than in PDX. My girlfriend likes to refer to Portland as Portajuana as people head south of the (state) border to drink heavily, buy things, and go to strip clubs.
To be honest I didn’t take many pictures. This trip was time to spend with my girlfriend, not time to go out and do the photographing of things. The process of looking is something you can share but once you start peering through the viewfinder you’re in your own little world. I don’t think that photography isolates you from the thing you’re viewing, in fact I think it makes you intensely aware of it, but it does bring down a curtain around you.
I spent more time taking pictures with my iPhone and posting them to instagram. I think my next post will be the instagram photos and some thoughts I had about photographing socially.