Friday, April 27, 2012

... oh... the active mind...

Before we moved to Paris I nearly sold my Nikon manual focus fast apertured lenses.  In fact, I did sell the incredible 180mm f/2.8 Ai I owned.  Fortunately, I kept nearly everything else, including the 24mm and 35mm f/2 Ai lenses, a 50mm f/1.4 and the very sharp 85mm f/2 Ai.

While visiting the Montparnasse Cemetery to say thank you to Soeur Rosalie, I took just a few moments to try my hand at making three images.  So far I have processed two of them and find that I'm very pleased with the results.

Montparnasse Cemetery

The technique is rather straight forward.  Take one Sony APS-C sensored NEX5 and mount up that nice Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and shoot it wide open (you might need a ND or Polarizing filter to knock down the exposure in full sun).  Put the camera into Manual exposure mode and meter the most important part of the scene.  Use that exposure for all shots in the sequence that follows.  Take a series of overlapped images somewhat near the primary subject, spilling the scene well beyond the subject so as to make sure you have covered the scene with enough room to work with.  Stitch the images using Hugin's latest version of open source software or the University of British Columbia's "Autostitch" trial version.  Save a sufficiently large result of the "Ransac'd" output (I like 6000x6000 pixels for the level of resolution I get in the final processed images).  Process to taste.

Yes.  I think the technique works.

Montparnasse Cemetery

It reminds me of shooting 4x5inch large format film using old fast optics shot wide open.  I LOVED those old cameras and lenses and sometimes miss the technique.  Alas, in the digital age my output has increased so dramatically that I can't go back.  So I'm very happy to have found a hybrid approach that helps me achieve the kinds of things I used to dream of doing in 4x5.

All it takes is a little vision and away you go!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time to get into the groove...

Now the my wife and I are settling into our new home I have a little time to expand my vision and see if I can't plan to make a few nice images.

First, I need to work a few new techniques to see if I can't express the previously un-expressable.

Weathered Whispers

I have to say, it's very exciting to be surrounded by so many incredible opportunities and such a wonderful sense of life and living.

The wine and foods here taste better than I remember them, and we were here only 7 months ago!

The shopping and walking is getting me into shape, I hope, for making the photographic connections into Paris' creative arts community.  I can't wait for our first serious shoot here.  It's possible that it'll be with the Steampunk folks.

Weathered Whispers

Oh man! this is just too good to be true... the risks taken and the work it took to get here are, so far, very much worth the effort...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Here we go...

What a journey!

My wife and I arrived in Paris earlier this week. Like my wife said, we'd take a couple weeks to do nothing but sleep. I sure feel tired.

I had taken a two month hiatus from taking images. It has been rough, from an artistic perspective. It felt like I was loosing my "vision", or at least it was becoming stale.

Yet, it was well worth taking a break to keep our heads down and concentrated on making the move as smooth and efficient as it was. We moved a few things into storage (a 10x10foot unit) and packed our entire lives into five 29inch suitcases. When the Big Day arrived, we climbed onto a one way flight to Europe (with IcelandAir) and went through Iceland customs where we received our Entry Stamp valid for our one year Long Stay Visa.

In total, the entire process of being laid off after 30 years of working in high tech, receiving our first bill for COBRA (WAY too high at $1100 per month), deciding to live a new dream, preparing and putting our house on the market, having it sell in 7 days!!!, flying to San Fransisco to apply for our visa in person at the French Consulate, finding places for all our things in downsizing our household, packing and making the Big Jump all happened so very quickly. It took five months and 10 days to change our lives in such a massively complete manner.

Once we landed and started to settle into our new apartment I felt inspired by the view out our front window. I had to create a new image.

la tour Eiffel ~ from the Age of Steam

This is partly what the world presented and what I saw in my mind's eye. It'll be interesting to see where this leads.