Thursday, April 26, 2007

Painting with Light

This is an example of "painting with light." There are four light sources in this photo, if you include the streak of light from the car passing in the background. I set the 4X5 Speed Graphic, with 90mm angulon lens, on F 16 after focusing on the ground glass with the lens fully opened. I then locked the shutter open. The first light applied to the scene was a powerful flash about 60 feet away to the left. I was not in the car for this exposure (I was firing the flash). Most night light sources are point sources, which can be easily imitated with flash as long as it is fairly far away from the subject. With the F stop and distance, it took five flash firings to reach the correct exposure. I hid behind bushes to give the light some shadows. I then moved to the car with a large flashlight and hid below the dashboard level in the front seat to illuminate the weeds and ground to the right of the car just outside the open door. The estimated exposure for the flashlight was 3 seconds, so I moved the flashlight back and forth accordingly. The last exposure was by the map light in the front of the car above the windshield. I metered this exposure and moved myself slightly during the exposure to leave a blurred but humanoid image. This isn’t intended as a self-portrait. It's really a photograph of you in the car, you know, you, the reader. But you didn't show, so I had to stand in.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Walter Sprouse's Birthday Party

This is a photograph from one of Walter Sprouse’s birthday parties. One day Walter just showed up at the hollow (a group of houses, and a small community, in a hollow that ran up the side of a small mountain, on Route 29 south of Charlottesville, Va.) and after introductions, started playing his banjo and singing very old songs.
It was the kind of simple music associated with the early 1900’s in the Virginia highlands. Walter’s birthday became a yearly party at the hollow, where Walter would play for hours, and everyone else would “kick back.” Walter seemed to feel quite at home with the younger folks. He had a very gentlemanly demeanor and his main interest, second to his family, was the old songs. The photo was taken with 35mm camera and Tri-x film.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quiet Lately

While I live in Charlottesville, I have lots of connections with Virginia Tech. The connections include two members of my family, and there are many graduates of Tech where I work. In fact, many of the structural engineering studies at work are done in conjunction with engineers at Tech.
The son of family friends was one of the lucky students who survived being shot. He used his foot to block the door so the shooter couldn’t come back in after reloading. I can’t imagine recovering from just witnessing something like that. He was shot through the arm, but the bullet missed an artery, so he’s mending.
I won’t add anything more about my thinking, etc. There's enough to read on the net already. But it has caused me to refrain from the usual posting.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anywhere But Here

I entered this combination of images in a show for "manipulated digital" sponsored by It certainly didn't win anything, but it was fun to do. I threw it together in a few hours from a old postcard I had. The photo of me was taken in my office. I used a floor lamp for the light source, and I just made sure the shadows were consistent with the postcard. "I'm ditching this so-called town!"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My Chair in the Woods

“My Reading Chair in the Woods”

For a time I lived with two roommates in a house situated on the edge of a dense woods. It was truly cluttered with smaller, early growth trees, vines and lots of ground growth. I took to reading in the woods and had a few chairs scrounged from a junk store placed in spots on the hill above the house. Other than the chair, there was not a single man-made item in view.
After setting the book down one day, I looked at the chair and book in the mottled sun. It seemed luminous, so I brought back the trusty Speed Graphic and grabbed the image

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Two Photographic Approaches

I’m basically a ghost which has learned to post to the internet.
So, no surprise, I was haunting my usual route, down through the twisty alleys, underneath the warmly lit windows. Rounding the corner, I came across what appeared to be the “Good Book” in a window. A weed grew, in an unlikely spot, directly below. And, even though the god of art said “never center,” the god of circumstance everlasting, chose the middle path.

This would fall into the photographic category of “found art” or “street photography.” Basically, the photographer comes across something interesting and documents it. I’ve also been interested in arranging elements and then photographing them. When combined with time exposure, it is possible to imply motion in a still photograph, or compress the passage of time to a moment, as in the image below. It was a time exposure of about 2 minutes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

John Farr's Blog, FarrFeed

Photo by John Farr
One of my favorite blogs is FarrFeed (“Living Planet Mystery Tales”), written by John Farr. I’ve known John since the time we were both living in the flatlands of the Maryland Eastern Shore. John, and his wife Kathy, moved to the very non-flat lands of Taos, New Mexico. There’s quite a story behind this move, and John turned it into a book called Buffalo Lights. John’s usual discussion topics are the stories that unfold inside and outside the windows of his adobe mansion, floating above the desert.
John is an excellent photographer, and you can check out his pictures by going to his “fotofeed.” The photo above is a sample of what you’ll see.