Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Well, I got my refund, and bought another GR-D. This one is completely brand new. After more than one day of shooting with it, and with the addition of the WONDERFUL 21/28 Voigtlander Cosina hotshoe-mounted viewfinder, it's the perfect stealth camera. Silent and lovely. All of these shots were taken with it, and more or less straight out of the camera, with very little post-processing. Shot as black and white.
Life is peculiar but lovely.
I went to an animal shelter this weekend that housed almost entirely cats, around 90 or so. Most were awaiting adoption, but many were separated by cages, suffering from debilitating respiratory conditions, mange, and FIV, feline immunodeficiency virus. Yes, cat AIDS. I had no idea it existed either.
This camera is also great because its deep field facilitates using reflections in shots... I'll have to play around with this concept more in the future.
Assignments are often really absurdly fun. Even when there's no cat AIDS involved.
The Texan is a completely life-changing, positive experience. I'm so proud of the entire photo staff, and honored to be a part of this incredible group of committed, passionate people.
You read correctly. Robert. Fucking. Redford.
Hold on. Man. I'm still excited about it, two days later.
Redford was in town promoting the movie Unforeseen, which he produced and a UT grad alum directed. It's about Austin real-estate development and the ecological implications on Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer.
I got a chance to talk with him after the press conference was over, told him that he's one of my heroes, and his work is a constant inspiration to me. He just thanked me and said, "How sweet of you to say!" and cracked that great, craggy smile that made him a star. Even at 71, he's one of the most handsome people on earth. It was like meeting Zeus.
I had 26 seconds of time from start to finish to make this portrait.
Why only 26 seconds? Two television stations got short clips recorded with Mr. Redford (complete with cute improvs from Redford, like "I'm Robert Redford, or at least I was this morning.") and I finally managed to grab him on his way out, and asked if I could take his portrait for the paper, that it'd only take 2 minutes of his time (I actually meant 2 minutes, too. I don't need a ton of time, just more than 26 seconds.) He obliged me, very kindly and humbly, and I made my dozen exposures or so, before he was whisked away.
Lens flare fucked me, but that was me being dense and using my zoom rather than my prime, and not putting the spotlight behind his head. A little photoshop made it look a bit better, at the cost of some shadow detail. If I'd had another 26 seconds, I would've had something quite a bit better, heh.
It basically made my year.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Ah, an ode to David, ahem ahem...
Seriously though. My best buddy in the world (a.k.a. hetero life-mate) David came and spent the few days of my birthday with me. Sleeping on the floor with naught but a few scant blankets and pillows! Hardcore, dude.
I've known David for a looooong time, since 7th grade. There's only a few friends I've had longer than Davey, and I haven't kept up as well with anyone else. We even look similar, so we're told (and I've started to believe it as well.) Dude knows me, in a nutshell.
The most curious and wonderful part of our friendship is that even separated by a thousand miles, we've grown up in much the same way, had many of the same realizations, and come to many of the same conclusions. We're always able to relate to each other. Cue sappiness: the best reason I have to believe in the concept of "soul mates" is this Fry-lookin' kid. He's about as good as they come.
Thanks for spending my b-day with me, David!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
20 years down... X to go!
Yesterday was my birthday. I'm genuinely happy with the state of things. I feel like this is an excellent transitory period in my life. I've faced, dealt with, even conquered so many challenges in the past two years. I think if someone had told me how unbelievably difficult life as a college student would be when I was in high school, I would've stayed in bed for a week. That's not the whole story, though... college is also incomparably wonderful. If someone told me the sort of things I'd be doing in a few years when I was a wee sophomore in high school, well... I probably would've stayed in bed for a week also, because the waiting would've just killed me! Hah.
It's also hard to believe that the bulk of the Good has arisen directly from my experiences with photography. Places I've been, things I've done, people I've met... all because of Dennis Darling's photography class and the Little Nikon That Could, my D50.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
My GR-D is back on its way to NY, and I'll likely get a better deal this time from popflash. My 21/28 CV viewfinder came in, and it's really a beautiful piece of glass. It's going to go great on the next GR-D.
It's strange... I can look at all of these recent crazy events as maddening and grievous setbacks, or I can laugh it off and think of the whole thing as interesting. Flavorful. My life is getting spicier by the day.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Bad news, folks. Very bad news.
First, good news: I got a used Ricoh GR Digital! I shot with it for all of about two hours before the optical assembly's servos jammed, or somehow did something to break such that I cannot use the damn camera. What a bummer... I really, really loved using it, it just felt right. So I'm sending it back to the guy, getting my money back, and buying another. Here's a few shots from it from my one shooting session.
Not the greatest, but then again, this is from the two total hours I had to shoot with this amazing camera. I look forward to the next unit!
Here's the really bad news, though. My D50 is broken. Really, really broken. The worst part is that it's completely mysterious as to how it happened... I returned from spring break, took my D50 out, put it on my desk, uploaded photos, everything's fine. I don't really touch it the next day, because I've got my new Ricoh to play with (until it too breaks). Today, when I was leaving, I pick up my D50 (which has not left the desk where I set it), and realize that there is a HUGE CRACK in the screen! I'd show you a picture, but, well... so the glass is broken, the screen is broken, and because the D50 is a consumer camera, I no longer have access to vital camera functions via the menu system, I can't review or delete photos, and I can't even format my SD card. How did it break? I have no idea. My personal theory is that someone came in the room while I was gone, knocked it off, it fell on the screen and broke, and the perpetrator, aghast, simply set it back on my desk, as if I wouldn't notice. It's always possible someone maliciously broke it, as well, but I'd rather doubt that theory.
In any case, I'm distraught. No digital camera means I have to rely on my film cameras now, and frankly, I can't afford to buy and develop film. To be honest, I'm really shaken up... my camera was practically an extension of my body. An extra eye connected to my hands. I feel lost. But it's just a setback, I'll be back on track soon enough, I hope... I'm not sure how, but I'll get by.
I've got at least enough digital material backlogged for another blog post or two, and after that, I've got six rolls of Tri-X to develop and scan.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Hell of a weekend... I shot five assignments. Three for the Texan, two for John Foxworth's ad supplements. My classroom is my camera, and class starts at 9 am, Friday morning. I love what I'm doing, where I am, and how I feel. I feel like I should be tired, but I'm not really. I feel like my grades should be suffering due to all the time I spend on the Texan, but they're not. In short, life is good. It's a good wrap-up to my weekend, and a good wrap-up to my 19th year of living. Strange, to think that being 20 is just around the corner... what a lame birthday. I plan on inaugurating it with a complete day of self-documentary, so get ready. Due to it being such a boring year (almost as bad as 19), I'll do something special to kick it off right.
But I digress. This first picture was from a play I photographed, The Lonesome West. There's a great story here... this may have been one of my favorite assignments ever, and it took a grand total of 5 minutes from the time I pressed the shutter release to the time I was done. I show up about 45 minutes to the Hyde Park Theatre, speak to the director, who beckons me back into the theatre and pulls two actors aside to do a "scene that isn't in the play." Yes, this director is so pro, he's using my photo op as an opportunity for additional improvisational rehearsal with his actors. Truly, Ken Webster is a worthy director (and a voice actor in Metroid Prime 3 WHAAAAT? Well, that's what I get for IMDBing him). Not since Fr. Sessa have I seen such a confident and capable director. Anyways, five minutes taking pictures, and they have to open the house, so I'm on my way. Exciting stuff.
Softball is profoundly lame. I really can't hate enough on this sport and these girls. Due to the high chance of sounding extremely misogynistic about this, I'll say no more. But damn. I'll stick to baseball.
More Obamarama... this time the story was on the student-run campaign efforts taking place on campus. Obama's people have space rented downstairs in the Dobie Mall, full of hard-at-work political science and business majors. It kind of turns the stomach, and reminds me why I'm not in business school. At least they're working for Obama.
Cyclists really are some of the nicest people around. They're a little weird at times, and seem to be obsessed with funny clothing and their equipment, but I suppose the same could be said of me. I've decided that I really like taking portraits of people in their environment... they fit nicely into it, they compliment each other. Future idea for a photostory series, perhaps: People Where They Work. It's been done to death, but it's still a captivating idea.
Kris Straub! Scott Kurtz! I finally met both Kris and Scott (Scott and Kris) at STAPLE! this weekend, and it was basically exactly what I had expected. They're both incredibly nice, natural, funny guys. Scott and I had a longish conversation about college papers, college comics, PvP, WoW, and a few other things. I've been reading his comics and blog posts and listening to his podcasts for so long now, it felt completely normal talking with him. It's too bad the pre-ordained knowledge was so one-sided, otherwise I'm sure we could've talked for hours. In any case, STAPLE! was another fine, free experience courtesy of the Texan.
Good. Fucking. Times.