Another New Book- Gathering Calm by Bill Schwab

Yay! Another book through Kickstarter has arrived today. This time it’s Gathering Calm – Photographs:1994-2004 by Bill Schwab. This and the accompanying print were rewards for backing the Photostock workshop facility. 

  

Bill is a friend and a phenomenal photographer, and the organizer of Photostock, an annual photography festival in the north woods of Michigan. When Photostock started it was just a dozen folks camping on Bill’s property. To support the activities of Photostock, Bill built a workshop facility with classroom and wet darkroom space. Today it’s grown to perhaps 100 people gathering at The Birchwood Inn in Harbor Springs, Michigan, for a three day weekend in June. 

New Book, Surf Site Tin Type by Joni Sternbach

This arrived in the mail the other day: my autographed copy of Surf Site Tin Type by Joni Sternbach. She’s an amazing photographer who over the span of several years and thousands of miles went around the world photographing surfers and surf culture using vintage camera gear in wet-plate collodion. 

  

The print accompanying it was a bonus for participating in the Kickstarter campaign- an image of Duke Kahanamoku’s surfboard. 

I’ve added a bunch of other books to the catalog here, and re-organized it to make it less painful to scroll through and find something. One of these days I’ll even find the time to finish cataloging the back-issues of Photographers International I have listed.  

World Health Organization

I previously posted some b/w abstracts of this building, taken on a cloudy, rainy day. Here it is on a glorious, cloudless sunny day. Yes, that actually is the color of the sky; no Photoshop trickery was used to create that.

PAHO/WHO Building
PAHO/WHO Building

I love the dramatic contrast between the clear, textureless blue sky and the geometric dynamism of the brick latticework over the building facade.

Commuter Diary – part 6

Looking down on the platform from the top of the escalator feels like you’re about to plunge over a precipice into an unknown below – will it be a deep pool, or full of jagged rocks? Will there be minnows, or will there be sharks?

Over The Precipice
Over The Precipice

Perhaps the most interpretive, impressionistic image of my commuter diary so far. Another long exposure where I panned the camera along with the train as it pulled in to the station. The panning along with the motion blur and the different lengths of time moving vs still give a uniquely layered image that requires you to engage and investigate to understand. I’m getting more and more intrigued by this style of exposure – the truly non-literal photograph.

Arriving Train, Friendship Heights
Arriving Train, Friendship Heights

Riding the down escalator with the shutter held open leaves nothing constant except the passenger in front of me. The changing perspective of the descending escalator puts the station entrance above where you would expect it to be.

Riding The Escalator Down
Riding The Escalator Down

a far more literal, sharp, precise image of a departing train. This is the first image in this series I’ve done with a tripod, because I wanted to catch the back of the train with some clarity before it departed. I’ll try it again later handheld and see which I like more. This has its charms even with the sharpness because the lights moving in a straight line are in some ways more forceful and direct.

Departing Blue Line
Departing Blue Line

Changing Light- Glass Cubes

this is a brand new office/retail/residential complex here in DC. I pass it all the time on my way to and from work, social outings and various and sundry obligations. I’ve seen it in all kinds of light, at different times of day. I particularly like watching it come to life as the sun goes down.

Glass Cubes, Evening Light
Glass Cubes, Evening Light

The color changes as the sun goes down and the lights go on. At any time, the abstract geometry of the place makes it highly clinical, but the mood shifts. It actually looks more alive at night.

Glass Cubes, Night, Face
Glass Cubes, Night, Face

A different take on abstracting the geometry of the space. The glowing red exit sign adds a tiny touch of humanity in what could otherwise look like a set from Tron, the movie about a virtual world inside a computer. 

Glass Cubes, Exit Sign
Glass Cubes, Exit Sign

And now for something not entirely different – collecting!

It’s been a very long time since I collected any additional CDVs. Perhaps a year or more. So I was overdue. Here is another one of my circus freaks (I’m using the period appropriate term for them, no disrespect meant to any little people who might find the term offensive): Admiral Dot, a contemporary and colleague of Tom Thumb. This is my third CDV of Admiral Dot, but the first one to have the photographer identified on the verso. The other two were from negatives sold to E & HT Anthony who then reproduced them with their own stamp, no other credit supplied.

Admiral Dot, by Bogardus
Admiral Dot, by Bogardus

I’m really starting to think of these circus performer CDVs as a subspecies of occupational image – they’re showing the performers in their stage attire, doing what they do to get paid. It’s not exactly the same thing as a cobbler with a leather apron, some awls and a shoe, or a cooper with a hammer, metal hoops and barrel staves, but nonetheless, they are enacting for the camera that which they do professionally.

Towards Emmitsburg, Maryland

I’m not normally a landscape photographer. In a conversation on Facebook, I had posted this image and said that I didn’t normally think of the Rolleiflex as a landscape camera, mostly because that’s not the way I use it (street scenes, portraiture and architecture are what I shoot 99% of the time). Several people responded that it is a great landscape camera, and they’re right- no general-purpose camera is defined by/limited to one specific genre. I wouldn’t try and shoot landscapes with a Yashica Dental Eye, but it’s an extreme example of a specialist camera built to do one thing and one thing only. A Rolleiflex is NOT a Dental Eye, so it can, and does, do perfectly serviceable landscapes. In fact, as with most things photographic, the limiter is the operator of the camera, not the device itself.

This is a winter landscape, looking from a rest stop along Route 15 toward Emmitsburg, Maryland. If you look carefully, you’ll see two church steeples peeking over the tree line in the middle distant background. While I don’t know that those specific churches were there at the time of the Civil War, the landscape still looks and feels much as it would have in 1863 as soldiers marched to and from the Battle of Gettysburg, a scant 14 miles away.

Towards Thurmont
Towards Emmitsburg

I had someone else comment that the image looks “washed out”, and asked if I was using outdated film. No, I’m using in-date film, properly processed. It’s a winter landscape, with just a few tones in the scene, and a color palette of grays and browns. That’s pretty much exactly how it looked that evening.

Winter Thistles
Winter Thistles

These thistles were part of the field you can see on the near edge of the pond. I saw the sun backlighting them and got up close to give them that silhouetted rim-light, with the lens flare from the sun coming directly into the lens. It would have been nice to actually get MORE lens flare, but that’s a testament to the lens design that it doesn’t.

Photography, Alternative Processes, Really Big Cameras, and other cool stuff

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