Our photography class met for two field trips during the past ten days. These trips gave me a chance to make photographs outside my normal stomping grounds. The images I created are uneven at best, but I'm generally pleased with my progress. I'm learning to shoot more film, to take the time to be creative when composing an image, and to watch for the unexpected.
Mac and I arrived early for our Sunday-morning field trip to the east bank of the Willamette River. We'd hoped to shoot some shots at sunrise, but the overcast skies spoiled our plans. Though I didn't produce many images I liked, I learned a lot.
Here are three of the photos I took that Sunday. The first is a semi-distorted wide-angle shot of Mac and Warren, our instructor. The middle image is from a series that I made of a warehouse. The final image shows Portland -- and the Hawthorne Bridge -- at dawn.
The Thursday evening field trip to downtown Portland was much more exciting. I had't done much night photography before, and I was worried that the yellowness of the lighting would ruin my photographs. Most of my photos were of objects in store windows, though, and the light wasn't much of an issue. The photolab was able to correct for any yellowness that occurred.
Two of the images that I like best from this trip are of open areas. The first is the courtyard at Trinity Episcopal Church in northwest Portland, the second is brickwork in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The most exciting part of Thursday's field trip was the opportunity to shoot human forms. Note that I say 'human forms' and not humans. We stopped in front of a shop window filled with mannequins. I lingered much longer than the rest of the class and was left behind (as Mac has learned, it takes me a l-o-n-g time to compose an image). I didn't care. I'm pleased with the results:
After viewing the images of the mannequins, I decided to try my hand with real, living human beings. Kris and I had dinner with Cari and Chris (and Kaden and Emma) on Saturday, and the children obliged me and my camera.
I learned a valuable lesson: if your composition is good, if you're getting close, if you're using lots of film -- none of it matters if the quality of the light is poor.
Because it was dark and I wasn't using tungsten balanced film, I decided to use my camera's flash. As these photos indicate, this was a bad move:
I would have been better served by making due with the room's incandescent light.
As my relationship with Canby's Quickstop Photo develops, they're learning as much as I am. They ran some tests for me using the various color filters in their processing equipment, and Tom (the fellow who helps me) found the results were instructive for him, too.
Tom told me that most photolabs aren't able to make prints from the entire negative frame; in landscape view, some information at the top and bottom of the frame is lost while making the print. I have two photographs that I'd like except that they're clipped at the top. A check of the negatives revealed that the framing of these photos does allow for a margin in the image. I challenged Tom to produce prints for me that didn't feature clipped ends, and though it was difficult (and expensive), he succeeded. The old images are on the left, the new images are on the right:
I feel my photography skills have improved during the past six weeks, but the amount of knowledge still to be acquired seems daunting. Still, I'm enjoying myself, and feel challenged, and that's all that matters, right?
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Seventeen I've been lukewarm about 'Lost' until now. The most recent episode, though, was simply outstanding.
2004 — Two Boors Two semi-fictional character sketches. These are based on real people, though the details are not wholly factual.
2002 — Insomnia It's late on Tuesday and I can't get to sleep. This happens from time to time, generally after I've had too much caffeine or after I've napped during the day. Neither of those happened today, so I'm not sure why I can't fall asleep.