Tag Archives: Kodak Ektar 100

Mexico City – Around San Angel, In Color

SanAngelMudanzas
San Angel Moving, Local and Long-Distance

I think this was a newsstand kiosk, but it’s painted to advertise San Angel Moving, in a very old-school style. One of their trucks was parked right next to it.

YellowHouse
Yellow Cafe, San Angel

I couldn’t help but photograph this bright yellow cafe/restaurant – what a cool building!

WildBrickHouse
Dance School, San Angel

Another building that cried out to be photographed – if it were stone and not brick, I would assume this was in Spain or Italy, not Mexico. It has a dance school inside, as well as a residence. Who knows how old it is?

CalleSanAngelUphill
Walking uphill, San Angel

A typical street in San Angel – those cobblestones could go all the way back to the 17th century. The neighborhood, today, is one of the most upscale in Mexico City, with many of the Viceregal compounds and ex-convents/monasteries converted into extremely private residences de luxe.

CuarentaYSeis
Number 46, Calle de la Amargura

 

BarbershopSanAngel
Barber Shop, San Angel

I just loved the old-school barbershop interior and the “Abierto, Pase Ud” (Open, Please Come In” sign on the door. It reminded me of the barbershops in the town I grew up in.

FountainSanAngelArtPark
Fountain, Plaza San Jacinto

The last time I was in Mexico City, this fountain wasn’t running. So nice to see it operating – it really brings the plaza together and makes it feel more alive, even when the  Saturday artists’ market isn’t running.

Victor – Portraits

Part of the reason for my trip to Mexico City was to see Victor. It’s a developing thing – we haven’t placed a label on it but whatever it is, it’s good. And he’s a willing subject for the camera, which is a nice change of pace from my ex.

VictorAtUNAM1

It was also an opportunity to test out the portrait lens on my Mamiya RZ67 (the camera is new to me, but the lens’ quality is known far and wide – I just needed to see for myself what it would do and if I liked it. I do).

We spent an afternoon wandering around the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) campus when I shot these.

VictorUNAM2

VictorUNAM3

This last one was taken with the 110mm f2.8 lens. It’s an equally good lens for portraits when you need something that gives a bit more background and/or a closer working distance, like this shot.

VictorZonaRosa

All images made on Kodak Tri-X 400. I really like Tri-X for the tonality it has, and the just-a-little-bit of tooth.

VictorUNAMDerechos

This very last image was made with the 50mm lens as an example of environmental portraiture. The film was Kodak Ektar 100, which I love for the color saturation and sharpness.

Portraits of Ordinary Objects

A couple more in the Ordinary Objects series.

Trashcan, Columbia Plaza
Trashcan, Columbia Plaza

I’ve noticed that as the series continues, my style of shooting it has evolved, which is a good thing. The photos are becoming more consistent, especially in terms of composition. The camera is placed on a level with the object, which usually means much lower than eye or even sometimes waist level, and more frontally square to the object.

Fire Hydrant, Vero Beach
Fire Hydrant, Vero Beach

The hydrant is in a suburban Florida cul-de-sac where the tallest things around it are date palms, and they’re not massed together to form a giant wall, so the lighting is direct sun, not a diffused sky. I’ve been looking at it and trying to decide how well it fits the series – I think it does on the subject matter and the compositional level, but until I shoot more objects in suburban or rural environments it feels weird because the background isn’t walls or windows or passing traffic, but grass and trees.

Portraits and Studio Lighting

Back in November I taught a studio lighting class at Photoworks. This was my first time offering this class, so the curriculum was a bit of a gamble – I started with foundations of studio lighting, working from hot lights on still life setups and a single light source, and built my way up to electronic flash systems with multiple lights. In this case, my students had the burning itch to jump straight to portraiture, as that was their primary interest. I had a wonderful bunch of students in the class and everyone brought something to the table.

The portraits here are taken by me of my students. The portrait of Joe was done to demonstrate side light with a large diffuse light source, and a reflector. For demonstration purposes I moved the reflector in and out to lighten and darken the shadows, and shot it with both high and low contrast. This is my favorite of the bunch – there’s three-dimensional modeling of his face with the light, but the shadowed side of his face is not lost.

Joe P.
Joe P.

Geraldine was lit to show soft, flattering light. This was the classic “butterfly light” with a large diffuse light directly above and in front of the subject, a reflector below to open up the shadows a bit, and then hair light and background light applied to create separation of the subject from the background.

Geraldine W.
Geraldine W.

The shot of Matthew was done to demonstrate that “edge lighting” look you often see in sports photos of young athletes in shoe commercials. Obviously Matthew is no longer a high-school football player, but the look is very masculine and rugged and it works well on him. This was accomplished with two equal-powered heads in soft boxes, placed behind the sitter, at 45 degree angles to the subject-camera axis, and then adding in a little fill in the front so his face wouldn’t get lost.

Matthew F.
Matthew F.

The final photo of the day is our group shot. That’s me in the center, if you’re wondering. My fourth student in the class was Leslie, who is the one hiding behind Matthew’s shoulder.

Studio Lighting Class
Studio Lighting Class

All individual portraits were done with a Tele-Rolleiflex and the Rolleinar 0.35 close-up adapter, on Kodak Ektar 100 color film. The two black-and-white images were converted from Photoshop. Ektar is a good portrait film in natural light, I’ve decided, but for studio portraiture, Portra 160 is better.

Ordinary Objects, Italian Edition

As you may well know if you’ve followed my blog for some length of time, I like taking portraits of ordinary objects- things we see in daily life and ignore and/or take for granted, like pay phones, water fountains, traffic cones, and trash cans. I’ve photographed them in Paris, Toronto, New York, Washington DC and now Rome and Florence. They all have a common denominator of their base functionality. I think though that the Italian ones seem to have just a bit more flair and style to them – take a look and see what you think.

This fire hose connector is probably the newest thing I’ve photographed in this series – the copper connecting pipe has only just begun to oxidize!

Fire Hose Connector
Fire Hose Connector

In contrast, this trash can in Florence with cigarette butt receptacle is quite well-used, but still has style.

Quadrifoglio Trash Can, Florence
Quadrifoglio Trash Can, Florence

… as does this Roman bin across from the Capitoline hill.

Trashcan in the rain, Rome
Trashcan in the rain, Rome

The poor mailbox in Trastevere has been graffiti’d and stickered and it still soldiers on.

Mailbox, Trastevere, Rome
Mailbox, Trastevere, Rome

Don’t you wish all payphones were this glamorous (and as easy to find)? Here in DC when I went to find a payphone to photograph, it took me several days of looking before I ran into one. I saw this one on my first day in Florence.

Payphone, Florence
Payphone, Florence

I’ll include this because it has a very utilitarian purpose – it’s a street lamp. Granted, a 15th century street lamp attached to a palace, but a street lamp nonetheless.

Torch Holder, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
Torch Holder, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

A public drinking fountain. These were ubiquitous across Rome, in very much the same form, some in better and some in worse condition. But they worked, and the water was sweet and clean, always flowing, and free.

Water Fountain, Trastevere, Rome
Water Fountain, Trastevere, Rome

A lowly door handle – this one in particular is attached to a palace, but there were plenty to be found of similar quality on middle-class residences in both Rome and Florence.

Door Handle, Boboli Gardens
Door Handle, Boboli Gardens

And last but not least, a traffic cone. Well, in this case, a red granite bollard some four feet high and three-ish in diameter, in the entrance courtyard to the Palazzo Barberini.

Red Granite Bollard, Palazzo Barberini
Red Granite Bollard, Palazzo Barberini

Theater of Marcellus

Today, the remains of the Theater of Marcellus are visible beneath the fortified palazzo on top. At the time of its construction in 11 BC, it could hold 14,000 spectators. If the structural design looks familiar, it’s because it inspired the design of the Colosseum some 60 years later.

In the 1300s it was acquired by the Fabii family who turned it into a fortress. Later the Orsini family acquired it in the 16th century and hired an architect to convert it into a palazzo. The residential structure you see on the top three floors is that conversion. Today the palazzo has been divided up into multiple apartments. How cool would that be to live in a 16th century palace built on 1st century BC foundations?

Theater of Marcellus and Apartments
Theater of Marcellus and Apartments
Apartments over the Theater of Marcellus
Apartments over the Theater of Marcellus
Arches, Theater of Marcellus
Arches, Theater of Marcellus
Apartments over the Theater of Marcellus
Apartments over the Theater of Marcellus

Under the heading of “who wears it better?” – Which works better, the black-and-white or the color?

Theater of Marcellus, Detail, Black-and-White
Theater of Marcellus, Detail, Black-and-White
Theater of Marcellus, Detail, Color
Theater of Marcellus, Detail, Color

Immediately behind the theater is the ruins of the temple of Apollo Sosianus (so named for the man responsible for reconstructing it in the style we see today). There was a temple to Apollo on this site since the 5th century BC. It was originally outside the main city boundaries because it was a foreign cult, imported from Greece. It sits directly across the Roman street from the Theater of Marcellus. Because of the proximity to the city walls, the Senate chambers and the theater, many backroom political deals were struck in its chambers.

Temple of Apollo Sosiano
Temple of Apollo Sosiano

The three columns you see today were re-discovered and re-erected in the 1930s after the demolition of an apartment building to re-expose to view the Theater of Marcellus. The columns’ pieces were found in the arcades of the theater. While they have been placed on the pedestal and re-topped with their capitals and frieze, it is highly unlikely that they are in their actual original positions.