The Olympus Trip 35

So I took a little trip into my attic for something and like most people I’ve got a lot of stuff. My peripheral vision took over, and I got completely distracted by an old forgotten box.

In college, I was blessed with a bunch of film cameras and darkroom equipment that I got from the father of a family friend. I used a couple of the cameras at the time, but I haven’t looked at the stuff since then.

A Cult Classic 1967-1984

Immediately, I grabbed the sturdy looking metal one. I did a google search on the Olympus Trip and found a ba-jillion hits. So, you know what to do if you wanna learn more in – depth info about this wildly popular vintage point and shoot.

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Posed with Vintage Samsonite Luggage

It’s British, and it’s an easy vacation camera, originally made for people to take with them on their holiday trips. The camera grew in popularity in the 1970’s after the popular British photographer, David Bailey, starred in an advertisement.

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Elevated with a quality Zuiko Lens, and equipped with automatic and dependable controls, this compact camera is “so simple anyone can use it.” That’s good cuz I’ve been stuck in the digital world and haven’t shot film in about 7 years.

Locked and Loaded

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I hit up my local super center for film. From their very limited selection I bought the 4 pack of 35mm Fuji Film. I guess I’m not the only person stuck in digital. Who still shoots on film anyway, right?? (Lot’s of people!) I love digital, but film has a unique and rich quality that should never be forgotten.

The camera seems to be in good condition, except for a bit of grime that might’ve had some foam or something, which could possibly cause a light leak. All of the mechanical parts run smoothly and the film was very easy to load. Now all that’s left to do is start shooting. I’ll just shoot one roll for now and get it developed and we’ll see what this baby can do.

If Cameras Could Talk

You might want to search through your attic, or the attics of some old people. (Well, make sure you know these old people first, don’t just scope ‘em out and wait for them to head to senior night at the Bingo Hall.) Check out garage sales, and vintage stores on the Internet.

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Old cameras often come with an interesting history and can open up creativity. You never know what cool cameras are waiting to be found and what strange Trip they’re waiting to take you on.

And don’t forget to let me know about it . . .

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Red Morning Pictures

I was headed to the kitchen this morning when I saw a red glow shining through the windows. I grabbed my point and shoot camera and headed outside hoping I was quick enough to capture the red hue before it went away.

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Light changes quickly so I only managed to get one decent picture. It was a tad bit redder when I first saw it, but that’s still pretty red. I wonder what kind of particles were in the atmosphere to cause that color.

Lo-Fi Time

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For this picture I activated my “toy camera” setting and it gave me the option of choosing a warm, neutral, or cool tint . . . I went with warm. The warm glow in the sky was pretty much gone by this point, but maybe that filter helped some. I positioned my camera at my hip and snapped the picture.

I like how it turned out. I like all the vertical lines created by the trees in the background, and the variety of diagonal lines created by the yucca plants and that stick in the foreground.

LOMO Rules Followed

So, is it LOMO? I followed rules 1-3 that are specific to all photography, and I wont list them. Rules 8-10 also didn’t really apply cuz I didn’t worry about what I shot which means I obeyed them. I am focusing on the Golden Rules though, so I guess I broke Rule 10 a bit. Aside from them, I’ll focus on the following Golden Rules of Lomography:

4. Yes, I tried the shot from the hip. The composition turned out pretty interesting.

5. Approach the subject as close as possible. The sharp pointy ends of the yucca got me so I definitely obeyed this rule.

6. Don’t think. Done.

7. Be fast. And done.

Pics Before Coffee

My coffee was ready for me when I was done shooting. I love the feeling of productivity and creativity before I even get coffee into my system. Makes the coffee that much more enjoyable.

 

Finding Inspiration in Portrait Painter Kehinde Wiley

Until recently, I never really noticed the official portraits of the president’s of the United States of America before. Did you know that former President Richard Nixon’s portrait was painted by Norman Rockwell? That’s actually pretty comical. You might recognize the name of painter, Chuck Close, who did the scary pixelated portrait of former President Bill Clinton.

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Douglas Chandor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1945). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

And my favorite is the portrait of FDR, painted by Douglas Chandor. I like all the hands, the pencil drawing in the corner, the simple background, the rich depth of color, and how the suit was painted.

Portrait Painter Kehinde Wiley

The most recent presidential portrait of former President Barack Obama was painted by the talented Kehinde Wiley. I read an article on variety.com that said the background is made of foliage representing his Chicagoan, Hawaiian, and Kenyan roots. This colorful 7′ tall portrait made me curious about the artist.

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Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama (2018). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

A Combo of High Renaissance, late French Rococo, and the 19th century

I looked him up and discovered some really impressive artwork. His skill shows that he has a lot of training. He often recreates artwork from historical master painters, and updates them according to the statements he wants to make. I like his version of Jacques-Louis David’s painting, Napoleon Crossing the Alps

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Jacques-Louis David’s version

He used the same composition as the original but with a few changes. In a detail, you can see his humor represented through little sperm swimming around in the background. I love the clothes his random and anonymous subject is wearing. And the gold frame is so impressive. I would hang that in my house. 

While his statements are interesting, thought provoking, powerful, and contribute to the final look of his art; I’m really attracted to the visual part of his paintings. Just stare at the two paintings and study them for a while. 

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Kehinde Wiley, Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005, oil paint on canvas, 274.3 x 274.3 cm (108 x 108 in) (Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York) © Kehinde Wiley

His work is intricate, bold, strikingly colorful, powerful, and beautiful. He’s definitely a contemporary artist worth studying. He shows you how to be inspired by other artists and also how to make it your own. He started making strong statements through his artwork while studying at Yale. And he gets to go down in history as a portrait painter for an American President. Check out his confident self portrait of him in his studio at his website.

Controversy

As always in art and anything really, controversy follows Wiley’s portrait of the former President. I think that’s what makes art great though; it stirs up conversation and ideas.

What do you think about Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Mr. Obama? The former President seemed to like it, and was his usual joking self poking fun at his ears and gray hair, while complimenting the integrity of the painter. 

How about that? Pretty sharp. – President Obama, upon viewing his portrait

My LOMO – Inspired Digital Photography Manifesto

I knew a photographer who loved shooting on her Holga toy camera. At the time, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a toy camera, but her pictures always turned out really cool. A few years ago I purchased an Action Sampler.

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Action Sampler, photo from lomography.com

It takes four pictures per exposure. I carried it around for a while and shot pictures obeying The Ten Golden Rules, and the promises that are specific to the Action Sampler. I still need to finish my rolls of film and get them developed. Until that happens I have a burning desire to take the kind of low fidelity pictures you get with toy cameras.

Can LOMO be Digital?

A lot of my digital photos remind me of the pictures that you get from toy cameras. So, I’d like to work on an on – going series of pictures inspired by the LOMO – style. Both in camera and in post processing. With my DSLR and with my point and shoot. Any way that I can achieve the style is acceptable, with the goal of staying as close to true Lomography as possible. So, Let’s take a look at the 10 Golden rules.

The 10 Golden Rules of Lomography

1. Take your camera everywhere you go.

  • Not a problem. All photographers should make this a rule. The moment I leave home without it, I’ve missed picture opportunities.

2. Use it anytime, Day and Night.

  • Another easy one. Both day and night offer all kinds of different lighting and subject opportunities.

3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but a part of your life.

  • Done. Photography is a part of my life.

4. Try to shoot from the hip.

  • A lot of toy cameras don’t have a viewfinder. So, it became popular to shoot from the hip. I do it sometimes. I also try to shoot from above, from the side, and upside down. Being open to any vantage point can produce interesting possibilities. But for Lomographic purposes, it’s gotta be from the hip.

5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as closely as possible.

  • I often try to get close to my subjects. I might be able to get closer though.

6. Don’t think. (William Firebrace)

  • This one is hard. I can’t help but think. I’ve got a brain and I try to use it. But, this is a great rule to attempt to follow. If you don’t think, you just shoot, you’ll end up getting some cool surprise pictures that you wouldn’t get if you sat there thinking. Sometimes, you can think too much.

7. Be Fast.

  • Sometimes you gotta shoot fast or you’ll miss it. This world speeds by and everyone tends to rush through it. There’s a time and place for waiting for the decisive moment. Just like there’s a time and place for those quick pics.

8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you’ve captured on film.

  • This is inherent in film. You just don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve developed your film and spent time in the darkroom making test prints. You can also do this with digital. That little screen isn’t giving you an accurate view of your image anyway. Ignore the screen and the histogram and just shoot. The surprise is really fun when you’re checking out your shots later.

9.  And you don’t necessarily have to know afterwards either.

  • This is something inherent to Lomography. Often times, you’ll produce images that are abstract, blurry, out of focus, strange colors, etc. You might never know what that photo is of and that’s part of the beauty that attracts me to this type of photography.

10. Don’t worry about any rules.

  • Being a practiced photographer, some rules just get obeyed naturally. But I love the idea of letting go and just shooting. Forget rules. This ain’t Group F. 64.

Rules are Meant to be Broken

Since rule 10 says not to worry about rules, then I have the right and the responsibility to break the rules. Which means that shooting an analogue style of photography with a digital camera is a big rule breaker. I think that as long as I try to stick with the original idea of Lomography, which is basically experimental and creative, then I’ll be ok.

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Before – Through the Windshield

This picture reminds me of Lomography. I took it through the windshield of a car and I didn’t do anything to it. It’s straight from the camera. In the photo below, I adjusted the exposure and color temperature in Lightroom using the “auto” feature.

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After – Through the Windshield

I like them both and I think they qualify as LOMO – inspired Digital photos.

Have you ever shot on a toy camera, or have you ever made your own pinhole camera? Do you think that an inherently analogue style of photography can be created digitally and be taken seriously? I guess we will soon find out . . .

100 Days of Learning T-Shirt Art Project

My best friend is a grade school teacher and asked me to work on a school art project with her and her daughter. Of course, I’m always down for art. Her daughter is also an artist and we have a lot of fun making art together. We brainstormed for a couple of days and got a practice shirt out of the way, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

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Diamond

Finally the idea hit to use her kitten, Diamond. I recently took some pictures of her with plans to do a drawing so that was Puuuurrrr -fect. Haha, yea I went there. Based on the ideas we talked about during our brainstorming sessions, I came up with this design.

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Shirt design and sketch of Diamond

Everyone loved the idea so we got to work. We planned on using those two butterflies but they didn’t make the cut. I put my drawing of Diamond under the shirt and traced it with a pencil. Then after I added the sun I got started adding the fabric paint.

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My girl helping me out

I’ve never heard of this 100 days of learning thing, but I guess it’s something schools do when they hit 100 days in the school year. You have to use 100 things, so we glued a bunch of little diamonds.

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Diamond posing with her shirt

There’s Diamond checking out her portrait. She was upset that I made her quit messing with the shirt and look at the camera.

My friend thought about saying something along the lines of “being brighter.” So it seemed appropriate to use lyrics from Rhianna’s song, “Diamonds“: Shine Bright Like a Diamond. It’s also consistent with her personality.

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t-shirt drying

I forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt. We just added some more diamonds and the words “100 Days of Learning,” inside the sun and I wrote her name on the back. I also forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt I made for her mom. Haha, I was getting tired.

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The teacher’s shirt

I added a bunch of yellow, orange, and blue lightning bolts all around the shirt to represent all the electricity from the brain power. It still needed something else though. My friend finally came up with a really good finishing touch: At the bottom I wrote in blue paint, “Leads to a Brighter Future.”

These shirts were a lot of fun to make and I love supporting art and education.

TV Shows to Binge . . .  TV Shows to Savor

claire huxtable

The Cosby Show, Claire telling her son in law off

Before the Internet made our tv shows available anytime, anywhere, anyhow, we were forced to wait for it to air or wait to rent it at the video store. Put through torture by the dreadful cliffhangers that caused fans to yell out in anger all across the country because we’d have to wait for months between episodes and seasons to see what will happen.

I like that we have both options because I love tv and and I work a lot of shows into my schedule. Like a deliciously prepared meal, some shows must be savored slowly so that you can fully appreciate it. Other shows I just don’t care how good or bad it is, I’m binging.

To Binge or To Savor … That is the Question

Stay tuned for my personal opinion of Binge worthy shows and Savor worthy shows. I’ll start with Shameless because that’s what I’m currently taking a mini binge break from. I sprained my ankle pretty badly Monday night and I spent all of yesterday watching season 8 of Shameless.

What’s really crazy is I sprained the exact same ankle on the exact same day 15 years ago . . . Whoa . . .

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Joey Lawrence from Blossom . . . famous Whoa quote

So, If you’re a big tv geek like me then this long post is for you.

 

Shameless – Binge

Shameless

photo from Hulu.com

I never got around to watching Shameless until about a year ago. I was looking for a new show and decided to give it a shot. I started out at a snail’s pace and only watched one episode at a time and I didn’t watch it often. After I finished the first season, I was hooked and I flew through the next 6 seasons. I was willing to wait for season 8 since it hadn’t even aired yet. But it’s available on Hulu now, and thanks to my generous friend I get to commence binging. I made it to episode 7 last night.

Sons of Anarchy – Savor

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FX

This is high quality and must be savored. Each episode pulls me in and when it’s done there’s no way I want to rush through that. I like to think about the story line and heal from the trauma I was put through. The acting and the plot line are well done and they’ve pulled off that biker mentality superbly. With moderate viewing I have made it to season 3 episode 5. I’ve heard that the later seasons aren’t as good, but that’s ok. I’m in for the ride good or bad.

When Calls the Heart – Savor

when calls the heart

Hallmark

I was hesitant with this show. It seemed like it could possibly be good but the description and the picture just didn’t grab me. I finally gave it a shot and am I glad I did. It’s such a calm, relaxing, and happy show. I watch an episode every once in a while because I don’t want to rush through it. It’s a good family show and it’s great for getting the shoulders to go down. The romance between certain characters builds slowly and encourages the viewer to take their time and enjoy the story.

Hart of Dixie – Savor/Binge

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The CW

Another show I was hesitant with. I was a fan of The O.C., a show where a lot of people working on this show came from, so I finally gave Hart of Dixie a chance. It’s classic romance and it’s well done. I love the small town quirkiness and the southern charm of their characters. I savor it because it’s only 4 seasons long, but I also binge at times because I just gotta know who’s gonna be with who. You get the best of both worlds with this one.

Weeds and Trailer Park Boys – Savor

These two shows are short and very captivating and entertaining. Both have a lot of seasons to enjoy and make great filler in between longer shows. Weeds is deceptive because some episodes end with this massive cliffhanger, but I go ahead and wait because I like to enjoy the suspense of finding out what Nancy is gonna do. And Trailer Park Boys is a show I’ve been working on for 7 years. No rush. I’ve even skipped around and repeat watched my favorite episode: season 7 episode 4, the one with Sebastian Bach.

Party of Five – Savor/Binge

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Columbia Pictures Television

I was never interested in this show. I finally gave it a chance recently. It was sorta interesting and I slowly watched the first 3 episodes and then gave up. It just wasn’t captivating my attention. Until I read a well written and thorough review by Vinnieh that changed my mind and talked me into giving the show another chance.

I’m glad I did. I got so hooked on the show that I sped through the first 3 seasons. I started to slow down in season 4 because there was so much to savor. Now, I’m trying to get my mom to watch it because It’s a great show for discussion and worth the time to get to know the characters and see how they grow through the years. I just started season 5 and I’m definitely putting on the breaks and slowing this one down to savor.

The Ranch – Binge

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Netflix Original

I was a fan of That 70’s Show until I watched it so many times that I can’t stand to watch it anymore. But they’ve given me something new to enjoy in The Ranch. It’s not a great show. I hate how every episode has such a depressing ending. I also think that they’re not taking full advantage of the talent of the actors.

Despite those two complaints, I keep coming back for more. It’s a pretty funny show at times. They’ve got a few lines in every episode that actually make me laugh out loud. I don’t feel like I need to take my time with this one. I just download every episode and binge.

Barry Corbin is in it too and never disappoints. I will say that Ashton Kutcher plays Colt kinda like an older and country Kelso, and his accent isn’t great . . . but he’s really acting his butt off, and I think he’s doing a pretty good job. And for you fans of That 70’s Show, you get to see Red, Kitty, and Fez.

Sherlock  – Binge/and Repeat for Savoring

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BBC

This show is awesome. Steven Moffat is involved and you can see his influence. I absolutely love Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson. And the guy who plays Moriarty is so freakin’ scary. He’s like a nightmare. I love this show and it’s so funny. I binged the first few seasons and re-watched because it’s a buffet fit for British Royalty.

Doctor Who – Extreme Savor

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BBC

My mom binges this show like nobody’s business. She isn’t really a binge watcher, but she’s got zero self control with this one. I’m the opposite. I watch this show so slowly because, like the Matt Smith Doctor, I don’t like endings. I don’t want to rush through this show and not have anything new available so I go really really slow. One, maybe two episodes every few months when I’m in a Doctor Who mood.

TV . . . For Homework?

While these are not the only shows I am watching, I am going to stop here anyway. For you artists out there, remember that tv isn’t just for entertainment; it’s homework. Study it! You can learn and be inspired from well done television. Pay attention to the directing, the writing, the acting, the set design, the incorporation of the soundtrack, and the lighting.

I’d love to hear which shows you binge and which shows you savor! Do you prefer one method of watching over the other, or do you like having both options depending on the show?

Shooting with the Dynamic Monochromatic Filter

I love walking through the woods near my house. Yesterday was sunny and warm so I decided to see if I could find something to take pictures of using the Dynamic Chromatic filter on my point and shoot camera.

Texture

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Texture can be an interesting subject to focus on. Remember those baby books that have the different textures you can touch that are soft, rough, smooth, bumpy, cracked, etc? You can find an endless variety of textures in the woods. I really like the different types of bark and weird knobs and growths that show up on trees. Regardless of the environment you’re shooting in, see how you can get creative with texture.

Light

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Since photography is drawing with light it’s very important to pay careful attention to your lighting. Spend time getting to know light. Learn about color temperature and pay attention to where the sun is and what kind of photos you can get at different times of the day. You might also enjoy reading books for inspiration and a deeper understanding. Start with Science for the Curious Photographer.

Aperture

One thing I like to play around with is my depth of field. If you’re new to photography you should definitely get familiar with aperture. It controls blurriness and the amount of light that enters your camera.

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photographypro.com

I had fun shooting with the Dynamic Chromatic filter. I hope you get out there and experiment with your filters and with texture, light, and aperture. Have fun shooting.