Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On The Road in Rural Wisconsin

I went camping with my family this past weekend. I made some "Rural America" iPhone photos while there.


"Halfway there."

"Rest Stop Overlook."

"Wisconsin Corn."


"Giant Pennyfarthing."

"Canoe Landing."

"Esser's Paint."


"Morning fog."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sensor Cleaning

My dSLR sensor was dirty. (Technically, the filter over the sensor, but whatever.) It had a lot of "schmutz" on it - that's a technical term that I share with all my students. Here, take this photo as an example: here's an unedited photo from my gallery documentation from the "Reverberations" show at Form+Content and Traffic Zone galleries earlier this year:

An overall photo.

Cropped in on some of the schmutz on the upper right.

(Click here to see all the fixed up photos from the "Reverberation" show of CVA Alumni.)

So I had to do a lot of cloning to fix up all those images. That was stupid. It was time to clean my sensor. I picked up the Eyelead SCK-1 kit online:

It's all in this tiny box.

The directions on the box. There were more detailed instructions inside, but it's basically "stamp the sticky bar on
your sensor, then stamp it on the sticky paper to remove any debris; then repeat on other parts of the sensor."

Inside the case. The white sheets under the handle are the viscous paper
used to clean the sticky bar after each use.

Close up of the sticky bar in it's little plastic case.

I was so nervous using this. I was always told never to mess with your sensor, but mine needed to be cleaned. I had tried gentle air-blown methods, but I never tried anything that was meant to TOUCH the sensor. I opened my camera, stamped the sensor, pulled it out, and stamped it on the viscous paper. The paper is REALLY sticky, and I really had to pull the sticky bar off it (but that makes sense - it needs to be stickier than the sticky bar so it can pull the schmutz off the sticky bar).

Honestly, the process was very nerve-wracking. I was afraid I was hurting my sensor. It was time for a test: I put the lens back on and took a photo of a white wall in my porch. I zoomed in on the photo and looked all around it. Most of the schmutz was gone! I saw a few more pieces, so I cleaned a few areas once more (remembering that schumtz in the upper right of the image means it's on the lower left on the sensor).

All done. A few pieces of viscous paper used, but plenty more left for future cleanings.

Overall, I'm really happy with the job this did. I'll use this again when schmutz starts to appear. Check it out here.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Selfie Sticks Everywhere

Everyone seems to have a selfie stick these days, even Darth Vader...

So far, this is the best/coolest use of a selfie stick that I've seen:

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

'Real' Meanings of Common Photo Terms

Andy Hutchinson recently shared the REAL meaning of common photographic terms. These are so spot-on it hurts:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

fine art photography: Long exposure shots of ocean piers or railway platforms in black and white. Nearly always practiced by photographers seeking to distance themselves from ‘ordinary’ photographers by the simple process of shooting mind-bogglingly dull subjects.

high key: Basically lone trees on snowy hillsides. Often attributed to shots after the fact because the photographer accidentally over-exposed an image and thinks the resulting shot looks ‘artsy’.

mono: Black and white effect employed by photographers in an effort to save an otherwise seriously flawed image.

foreground interest: Bits of wood, branches, seaweed, shells and other readily available detritus that a photographer can drag from its actual resting place to a convenient spot just in front of what they’re actually photographing. Most commonly employed by coastal photographers who will cheerfully drag a six foot branch for half a kilometre if it makes their sunset composition look a bit less dull.

glass: Hipster-ish way of referring to lenses.

HDR: An image produced by combining multiple exposures in the hope of visualising a bad acid trip endured during a visit to a brutalist east German shopping centre. HDR’s reputation in the photographic community is only marginally bettter than Gary Glitter’s in the music industry. Note: 99.999% of photos labelled HDR are in fact tone-mapped images, but the label has kind of stuck now.

boudoir: Slightly over-weight ladies wearing bra and knickers, posing awkwardly on brass bedsteads. Requires soft lighting, heavy vignetting and massive post-processing to eliminate all traces of humanity from the subject. The end results are usually about as erotic as a colonoscopy.

light-painting: Usually nothing more elaborate than a 30 second exposure of some bloke spinning some burning steel wool on the end of a piece of twine in front of a quarry or a bit of woodland. The end results looks like a long exposure shot of some bloke spinning some burning steel wool on the end of a piece of twine in front of a quarry or a bit of woodland.

surf photography: Photos taken from inside a breaking wave. The shot in question (taken on a GoPro by someone in 2-foot surf with a lot of time on their hands) is usually the only flukey keeper out of 500 exposures. The only exception to this rule is Clark Little who twats himself about in monster shore-breaks in Hawaii and deserves every bit of credit for popularising this now over-subscribed photo style.

street photography: Homeless people and street vendors photographed without their knowledge by people with Leicas and beards.

straight out of the camera: Just enough processing so that it doesn’t immediately look like it’s an HDR (see above).

night-sky photography: The Milky Way.

storm chasing: Photographs of adverse weather such as electrical storms and funny looking clouds. Seems to attract the most serious-minded individuals in what is already a fairly serious-minded past-time. Storm chasers use the term ‘core punch’ without the slightest trace of levity to describe the act of driving through the middle of a thunderstorm taking photographs as you go. I know, right?

travel photography: Holiday snaps taken on a DSLR rather than an iPhone.

film: Edgy dudes shoot on old-fashioned cellulose in the mistaken belief that it makes their photographs somehow more worthwhile than the average iPhone snap.

kit lens: Disparaging way of referring to the lenses that are bundled with DSLRs. Owners of said lenses are made to feel that they are inferior ‘glass’ (see above) that should be drop-kicked into a rubbish bin at the first opportunity.

drone photography: Cool way of flying $500 into a lake. [Note: See this post to see a guy nearly lose his drone in the ocean.]

bokeh: Japanese for ‘blurry blobs’.

trophy shot: This is photograph taken in a location that’s been shot thousands of times. Most photographers think they can do a better job than the other guy and so the caption for said trophy shot inevitably begins, “I know it’s been shot a thousand times, but...”

semi-pro: Once sold a canvas print to a friend of their mum.

pro: Stay-at-home mum who bought an entry-level DSLR to stave off the boredom and keep the PND at bay and now charges $300 to photograph pregnant ladies and family pets using only kit lenses (see above).

landscape photographer: Semi-autistic person who likes spending long periods on their own and didn’t fancy taking up fishing.

secret spot: Geographic location jealously guarded by a photographer because they are obviously the only person worthy of recording its majesty. Said location is often revealed on social media by a local who comments, “Isn’t that Little Squiggly Dell down the end of Browns Lane?”, followed shortly after by a, “Yes, well spotted!” said through teeth so gritted they might just crack.

Instagram: Place where photographers upload pictures of food taken on a DSLR while pretending they were shot on an iPhone.

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