Drove down to Ann Arbor for a quick day trip. After trying to get our polaroid film to work properly, we decided that the city didn't leave us as inspired as we had hoped. Instead, we took a drive down one of the roads leading out of Ann Arbor without a plan. Eventually, we came across an area that looked great for droning. We called it a day after raising some concern from a pair of geese.
After returning home, we proceeded to destroy 16 rolls of film. We soaked film in solutions containing wasabi, NyQuil, melatonin, and other chemical odds and ends. I'm particularly excited about a concoction containing Absinthe and another with NyQuil, melatonin, and vitamin C.
Saturday was the first studio shoot for the Cardinal Photography Student Association of the Winter 2017 semester. The goal was to get students acquainted with the studio, SVSU’s equipment, the backdrops, etc. I’m very excited to shoot in the studio for the next couple weekends. We will mainly host our meetups in the studio this semester due to the cold; however, if we were going to do any sort of travelling, we should have done it this weekend, as it was very mild with the continued presence of the fog we’ve been seeing lately.
The equipment in the studio is absolutely unbelievable. Some of the softboxes are taller than I am. I mainly used one of these softboxes for lighting during the shoot. For the polaroids, I hooked up a strobe directly to the lens on my Mamiya! Very excited about the potential of working with newer lighting equipment with older film cameras.
Afterword, we edited a few photos as a group. I quickly demonstrated an overview of editing techniques in lightroom. We went into a classroom, put on some Ed Sheeran, and went through the global and spot editing options. After editing, we took a short trip to Midland with the goal of taking my drone up. Unfortunately, the fog was pretty harsh, even just a hundred feet up. Drones don’t work the best in reduced visibility conditions. Overall, though, a very satisfying day.
Usually, I burn through one or two extra shots of FP 100c before getting a decent exposure; today I nailed every one. Metering through my Canon 7D Mark ii provides a much more accurate exposure reading than the light meter inside the Mamiya's chimney finder. While this is a bit disappointing, it is hardly a setback. If anything, I will be much more likely to take a shot with my Mamiya now that I know I can simply meter with my digital camera and get an accurate exposure.
Most of our time, aside from that spent driving around, was spent on Belle Isle. The atrium was absolutely beautiful, and briefly fulfilled my desire to shoot inside of a greenhouse. One of my favorite shots of the day is the drone photo taken over the atrium with the Detroit skyline in the background.
I finally finished my 5 rolls of Illford hp 5 plus. It didn't take very long, and I'm assuming most of the shots didn't turn out. I'm hoping that the most recent roll, at least, is properly exposed. Very excited to get into the darkroom and start processing some of these negatives!
Film is an exciting medium. More so than digital, it is a blend of mechanical, technological, and organic. Actually physically manipulating the film by soaking it in various substances, exposing the film to bursts of light, and altering the chemistry involved in processing all seems very exciting, adding to and rejuvenating my interest in photography. I have soaked one roll of 35mm film in hot saltwater and lime juice, and another in Captain Morgan spiced rum. Waiting a week before shooting will be a bit painful, but I’m very excited to see the results!
Today I met up with members of the Cardinal Photography Student Association for a photo walk through the Midland Tridge nature trail. Again, I'm not too invested in producing landscape shots, and I think the area lends itself very nicely to portraiture. Lots of tall grass for foreground bokeh, thick wooded backgrounds, and the winter sky creating some absolutely beautiful soft light. Today I was fortunate enough to have some fantastic models who were equally good company.
After making a stop and dropping off everyone at SVSU, I drove into downtown Saginaw. Originally, I wanted to take the drone out for a sunset flight, but there was a compatibility issue with my memory card (and I didn't want to risk losing all of the photos I had taken up until that point). Instead, I found an abandoned building. Lots of interesting glass textures, overgrown barbed wire, and, of course, boarded up windows and doors. Of course there are nicer parts of downtown Saginaw, and these locations deserve an equal amount of attention. On this specific day, I had planned on flying over these places, but that'll have to wait for another day. I'll be in downtown Saginaw more, as I'll be working for the Saginaw United Way. Very excited to work in downtown and contribute to a community leading organization.
I've had some free time this week. Classes haven't really started, not a huge workload soo far, and I start my new job next week. So I drove to Bay City and Saginaw, making a point to stop and see the small things. Interesting doors, windows with grates behind them, details that I feel like I gloss over whenever I'm trying to find somewhere to shoot.
I feel like I can shoot anywhere and come away with something. Instead of driving 8 hours to a cool location, I want to drive around and find a way to create interest in the scenes that I see so often that their photographic potential is obscured by repetition. I want to get away from the kind of thinking that says, "Imagine the photos you could get with a model in this scene," or, just generally, fails to make the most of the location due to imagining the potential possible with an unlimited amount of resources.
I made a point to drive around without scoping out the areas online. I stopped at random places because I thought something looked interesting. I don’t normally dive into a shot without planning it out, but I did today.
I stopped by a church that I would have loved to drone over. Unfortunately, there was a school almost attached to the church, so I wasn’t going to push that. As I finished taking a photo of the church doors, apparently the students were let out for recess. I drove away, figuring that questions would be raised by a random stranger taking photos literally yards away from an elementary school. The door photo turned out pretty well, though.
I had really wanted to take my drone out today. It was borderline conditions out, just a bit too windy for me to comfortably fly. Part of my shoot today was wasted in trying to find a good location prior to realizing the poor flight conditions.
Overall, I forced myself to shoot in new conditions today. I made something out of these random and frankly looked-over locations.
Images from the 3rd of January. These were shot on the 3rd of January. Now it’s the 9th. The Bay City state park was almost completely ensconced within a fog. I created some very clean looking images, as well as some murky tones. Very versatile weather to create interesting compositions.
Now it’s the 9th. I don’t believe I’ve taken a photo since this shoot, but I’m really anxious to start working with the CPSA and doing studio shoots. So far it’s been a slow start to 2017, but I feel as though this semester, and overall this year, will bring with it an increased focus on photography. Not just on the technical or compositional aspects, but the sense of community created through bringing photographers together through the CPSA. There is an entire world of artists out there, working to put their content into exhibitions and online spaces. As an aspiring technical writer, I feel as though dedicating energy into communicating visually brings exponential benefits not just to my ability to create images, but to my ability to work in a professional environment as a communications specialist. That sense of professional development, along with many other things, is what I’m getting out of photography right now.