Thursday, September 12, 2019

Upcoming Exhibition at the MPLS Photo Center (and Touring Their New Space)

Yesterday, I stopped by the new space for the MPLS Photo Center. I hadn’t stopped in since they moved to 1828 Jefferson Street NE from their old spot off 94 and Broadway. Here’s my piece set on the floor for as I was delivering it for their upcoming exhibition:

Then I gave myself a little tour of their space. Here’s a dozen photos:

Shared kitchen space (reminds me of their old location).

A mixed-use room currently set up to seat 35 people for a lecture. Also can be used as a studio.

Another view of the lecture room.

Digital darkroom. (Click here for a larger version of this mini-panorama.)

Far end of the digital lab with a light table and scanning trays.

Proofing table and light table downstairs outside of the darkroom.
(That small space to the left appears to be a converted freight elevator.)

Outside the darkroom. One or 2 people were working down there, so I didn’t want to barge in and disturb them.

A large printing station in the basement.

Another view of that digi printing room with lots of banner prints on the table.

Back upstairs, the last space (besides office / meeting spaces) is
a gallery / teaching space / studio. It was currently being transitioned.

Backdrop paper currently sitting on that table.

A seamless mount up high in the process of being swapped out.

I didn’t get photos of all the spaces, but there’s a lot of exhibition space in the foyer and in hallways that lead to all these spaces on the first floor. I’m excited to see my work up here next weekend!

The opening is next Friday (September 20th) starting at 6:30 pm at 1828 Jefferson Street NE. I’m not sure when it ends (maybe around 8:00?), so I hope to be there shortly after 6:30 to check it out.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Quick Minnesota State Fair Project

Last month, someone from the Minnesota State Fair reached out to me to see if I could do a quick project for them. They needed 2 photos of local landmarks for a little "Minnesota history" shade structure on the north end. The fair ended last week, but I was able to stop with my boys during the fair to see what they did with my photos.

My 8-year-old standing next to 1 of the 2 structures on the plaza (the 2nd being farther off in the distance).

Above Henry in that last photo was an image I made of the "Pillsbury Flour" sign
(next to Judy Garland and Totino's Pizza - good company!).

On the other structure was my "Gold Medal Flour" photo (in the middle).

I joked with Keri (the person from the State Fair who I worked with) that these were some of the least
artistic photos I'd ever made. But it's what they wanted/needed for their designers to do their thing.

My boys loved seeing the Stenzel name in the credits.

Thanks Minnesota State Fair! Let me know if I can help before the 2020 fair!

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Some “Start of the School Year” Humor

This is a bit too real:

This one's not "funny," but I like it. (And the follow-up comment is funny...)

(A comment on that previous image.)

And finally, this BINGO sheet is fantastic. I’m lucky that I don’t have an over-abundance of useless meetings at Hamline University. In my late-summer meetings at CVA years ago, I’d have the majority of these squares filled in, although I don’t think I'd actually have a bingo in any direction:

Happy start-of-the-semester students and teachers!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

More Holga Shots from WI

Here’s a final assortment of Holga scans from my time spent in WI on a mini photo retreat:

Many of these were attempts to show how a Holga crops the final image (as compared to what one sees through the viewfinder), but I was able to show proper comparisons to get my point across in this post, so these were just some extras I put together to share.

See more in my first post of Holga photos (which teaches more about how Holga’s plastic lens and viewfinder work), and in this post about my photo trip.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Another Office Move

This past school year, I had an adjunct office all to myself. I don't think that's happened before at Hamline University (or any other college I've taught at, for that matter). Near the end of last semester, I finally started "making it my own" by slowly adding prints to a bulletin board in the corner:

Well, I just moved into a new office, so I had to take my things down on that board. Maybe I'll get "settled in" a bit quicker in my new (shared) office so I can enjoy some student work / test prints / random imagery on the wall before having to take it down again.

Goodbye Room 190. You were smelly, had stained desks, were
always hot... but you were mine. I'll sort of miss you. Kinda of. Maybe.

I've been at Hamline for 6 full school years now, and I think I'm entering my 5th office. (I spent 1 or 2 years in each of the 2 different offices in that odd DMA "lounge" room in the basement, then 2 years down the hall in the basement, then a year in the office I just moved out of, and now I'm in my 5th space.)

My new office has a welcoming (blank) frame, and a place for you to leave me things:

And the office map down the hall still has me in my basement office from 3 semesters ago:

I'm REALLY not complaining. This is the adjunct life, and I love it. It's always an adventure!

Happy back-to-school!

Monday, August 05, 2019

Awesome Hamline Students

This past semester, a few brochures for Hamline University appeared on my office desk. I was happy/proud to see a few (QUALITY) recent students of mine inside it's 17 short pages. I teach all the photography courses at Hamline, but that's only 1 or 2 courses/semester, so I really don't see that much of the student body each semester (about 0.75% to 1.5%).

Tyler even has a camera in hand! Nice!

Sophie and Hanna on the same page.

Waving the pom pom under the speech bubble on the back cover is another familiar face.

Nice work, students!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pink Panther: Smile Pretty, Say Pink

Here's a fun Pink Panther cartoon from 1966 about photographing in a National Park. Lots of camera gags:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Holga Tests

I got my Holga negatives scanned over this past week from my mini getaway as part of my faculty grant 6 weeks ago. Part of the grant allowed me to shoot, process, and scan a few rolls of medium format film shot with my Holga (a plastic "crappy" camera that embraces light leaks, vignetting, and mistakes that we use for a quick film-based project in my Digital Photography II course at Hamline University). I was able to spend time (and film) figuring out what is actually captured on film vs. what the viewfinder shows, how close you can acceptably focus, and where different focus "icons" actually focus.

First, I started by setting up a shot with the Holga, and then photographing what the viewfinder showed me with my iPhone so I could compare them once the film was processed and scanned. I had to zoom in just a bit with my iPhone to have my digital image framed the same way as the Holga viewfinder. Here are a few pairs showing the Holga image first:

Outside my cabin with the Holga.

iPhone shot. I captured a little more (but not much) with the Holga.
A known issue. But surprisingly similar - I thought it'd be more dramatic.

Looking up the chimney of the other cabin on the property.

Again, just a bit of a wider shot with the Holga, but not dramatically different.

The driveway.

Much less sky, and much less foreground in this iPhone shot vs. the last Holga shot.

All of these were not nearly as different as I thought they could be. The Holga shots were a bit wider, but not by much.

The cabin I stayed in was in a heavily wooded area with a stream running through it (see this video I posted earlier this month to see what I mean), but just a mile away I found an open field to help illustrate the Holga's lens's depth of field at different focal points.

Focused to infinity. Note the sharp trees in the distance.

Focused as close as it goes. The foreground is just a bit sharper, but the background
is much less in focus. More dramatic in the background than in the foreground.

A GIF showing a bigger slice of each image overlaid. Watch the background go
IN and OUT of focus as the foreground (much more gently) goes OUT and INTO focus.

I created another helpful GIF to show what the HOLGA SHOOTS compared to what the HOLGA SEES compared to what my IPHONE SEES. Here's a Holga photograph I made looking up into a yet-to-be-fully-assemebled teepee on the grounds where I was staying:

I also made the same shot with my iPhone. And then I made a slightly zoomed-in shot on my iPhone that was cropped the way I saw it through the Holga viewfinder. The most helpful GIF I made is when I overlay these 3 images:

First rectangular shot was what my iPhone saw at the same spot where I held the Holga.
The second square image is what I saw through the viewfinder of my Holga.
The third (slightly skewed) image is the resulting Holga shot.

The biggest thing I take from these 3 images is that even though the Holga viewfinder ALWAYS shows less than what my iPhone sees, the final image captured on film appears to be very close to the focal length of my iPhone. (I have an iPhone SE for what it's worth. I have found the focal length to be equivalent to 29 mm. Newest iPhone models with 2 lenses have a wide angle around 26 mm and a telephoto around 52 mm.) That final square Holga image is just about as wide as the initial un-cropped iPhone image (if the top and bottom were cut off to make it a square). This is very helpful to me and to my students. It's a decent visual definition of what the Holga will actually capture: "about as wide as an unzoomed iPhone shot from the same vantage point, even though the viewfinder in the Holga is showing a tighter cropped version."

I shot the last roll once I was back home because the final morning of my stay in Wisconsin was a rainy one. I got out a tape measure and tested just how close I could be to my subject with it still being sharp. In case you're not familiar with a Holga, the lens has these 4 symbols to represent where to focus based on the distance to your subject:

Single person: 3 feet. Small group: 6 feet. Large group: 15-18 feet. Mountains: anything farther.

I measured a shot exactly 3 feet from the film plane while focusing as close as it goes:

Our front planter, 3' from the film plane. Sharp.

I framed it like this, with the flowers or planter being slightly cropped off on all 4 sides. The closer
you focus, the wider the "actual/captured" Holga image, despite what you see in the viewfinder.

Looking through our rose bush, with the closest flowers just 18" away. Too close. Too blurry.

Close-up of left side of that last image showing out-of-focus flowers on the right,
but flowers on the far left are far enough back to be back in focus (around 3').

One more from our front blvd garden where I had framed the light pole
on the very far right of the viewfinder. So no surprise it appeared to be
*near* the right edge, but not *at* the right edge as I had framed it in the viewfinder.

I have a few more Holga images I’ll get fixed up shortly to share, but these images in this post are the ones that I’ll be able to use in class to help my students work through some of these focus/framing issues with these fun plastic cameras. I have more examples as well, but what's posted here is a good start.

Click here to see my first post with a lot of images from my mini “photographic lighting camp” in a cabin in Wisconsin.

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