Yesterday was the last of it: oil leak, timing belt, and today the clutch. All fixed. The car hasn't run so smoothly nor moved so surely for a long while.
I was stuck at home, but the restriction gave me focus while I wrote code.
To celebrate my new clutch: a double-double, protein-style.
A few days before I failed to go to the show at the SF Legion of Honor, Garrison Kiellor ran the following poem on his daily radio show, which I only heard via podcast later. By further concidence the poet, Howard Nemerov, is the brother of photographer Diane Arbus and uncle of Amy.
(Republished here without permission but with great admiration. Buy the book!)
Unable to get into the Monet show,
Too many people there, too many cars,
We spent the Sunday morning at Bowl Pond
A mile from the Museum, where no one was,
And walked an hour or so around the rim
Beside five acres of flowering waterlilies
Lifting three feet above their floating pads
Huge yellow flowers heavy on bending stems
In various phases of array and disarray
Of Petals packed, unfolded, opening to show
The meaty orange centers that become,
When the ruined flags fall away, green shower heads
Spilling their wealth of seed at summer's end
Into the filthy water among small fish
Mud-colored and duck moving explorative
Through jungle pathways opened among the fronds
Upon whose surface water drops behave
Like mercury, collecting in heavy silver coins
Instead of bubbles; some few redwinged blackbirds
Whistling above all this once in a while,
The silence else unbroken all about.
This was the first day I really started feeling comfortable with the 5D the first day I really got to use it uninterupted for more than three minutes, heh. Some may think I'm being stodgy but I've decided to attempt, whenever possible, to use manual exposure. This after years and years of AE.
I've been trying to come up with the best workflow to accomodate both B&W and color digital work.
I think I've managed somewhat to come to terms with a seeming paradox in working with B&W: when you're snapping a pic, obviously the world in front of you and visible through your viewfinder is in color. When I work digitally, and of all color photos, I only occasionally feel the urge to remove the color. Yet when I shoot B&W film, I never feel as if the color is somehow "missing."
My conclusion so far is that the paradox is illusory, a byproduct of the work process and the fact that neither the color photograph or the B&W photograph are the things being photographed. As the old Winogrand saw goes: they're new facts. Once you see a color photograph, already made, it's harder to think of it as anything else. Seeing the photograph is a new experience, one that is like seeing the things photographed while photographing, but... not the same. And that this surely has an influence on the way photographs are redacted from contact sheets and so forth. If they start B&W, they are B&W. Color, color.
What this leads to is trying to find a better, more conscious workflow. My newest attempt is to work on better mastery of Adobe Bridge, and a greater use of "raw" camera images. The advantages of raw in this context aren't the ones usually cited by raw devotees: i.e., greater exposure latitude, color white-balance readjustments, or avoidance of compression artifacts. Instead, by using Bridge color profiling, I can quickly assign and view lots of images in B&W or color, all at once.
Bridge, in tandem with "Adobe Camera Raw" (aka "ACR") , has three useful tools for this. One is the ability to do a RAW-to-Photoshop conversion in ACR, then apply the same conversion rules to any number of selected raw files in Bridge (not available for JPG files, alas).
The second tool is the ability to save such profiles on disk for instant recollection. I have several profiles on my computer, both color and B&W varieties. For example, the color balance for certain location which I visit often (such as my office) I keep stashed in such a profile. This saves me the trouble of messing with WB whenever I have occasion to shoot there. I also keep a few different B&W profiles: simple, high-contrast, high-key, low-key, negative.
Combining those two tools can be very useful for previewing the results of a day's shooting. For example, I can just open the first picture in the folder from Bridge, load a B&W profile into ACR, then click "Done" then, back in Bridge select all the photos in the folder, call up "previous conversion" (or if no tweaks were required, just call the profile by name), and all of the Bridge preview images will shift to match the B&W profile.
It's surprising how the overall complexion of the shoot and tellingly, the images that I find myself selecting can be changed by doing this color assignment before I start examining the photos one-by-one.
The images can still have their color profiles changed at load time, of course. The data's all there. Contrast can be changed, color can be re-introduced, whatever. And individual images within that folder can likewise have their previews altered. The preview assignment is just a starting point.
The last tool, which I haven't been able to force myself to use in any strong way, is Bridge's ability to automatically apply color profiles on a per-camera basis to any new images that might come from that camera. So as an example, if I wanted all of the photos from my Canon to be read as B&W (or hyper-saturated, "cross-processed," whatever), I could load an image from it, set up the profile in ACR, and then grab "Save as Default Profile." All subsequent new photos from that camera would be previewed that way.
So far, I haven't been able to bring myself to follow such a one-size-fits-all strategy (though I suppose the built-in "natural" default is also a one-size choice, if you think about it). Though that has a certain appeal, my real interest is just in understanding the pictures better I'm not all that interested in being a fundamentalist.
It was late. I had some new lights. And a haircut.
Part of my weekend was spent scanning the 645 negatives shown here (and the rest of the 220 roll these are frames 17-20) somehow they'd fallen through the cracks in my workflow. I found the processed roll sitting in a box atop my monitor, where it had probably been resting since March. Oops.
I just received a new ANR glass for my MFHolder, so it was a good time to try it. The glass mount is a huge improvement over the little "T" holders.
I haven't run any color neg in quite a while, and have been slowly working-through my stockpile of Ektachrome. Not sure why I bought some NPH back in February, but here it is. I think maybe because I believed it would have better latitude in the snow. Frustratingly, since Calypso stopped running C-41 the closest lab that will take it (and not send it away) is Keeble & Shuchat, half an hour from here.
I think I prefer the E100 after all, but I've picked up a couple of rolls of the current Fuji 400 just in case it's better than the NPH.
Every weekend I tell myself I'm going to see the Legion of Honor Monet Show, and every weekend: not.
I awoke this morning at 9AM with the same intent and it's already 1:30. It's an hour drive & I need a shower. Instead I've been scanning negs, watching vids, listening to podcasts, and the next thing I know... not that it's been time ill-spent! And later-on I've got a new bit of company: a boxful of back issues of Private were delivered last night, fotografie e surrealismi in bianco e nero. Still unopened.
"Monet in Normandy" ends next Sunday so the pressure will be on. This coming week promises to be a busy one, with art and technology events scheduled for every night but Monday. Next Saturday will have to be focused on getting out early, taking the kids, and heading not only to the Legion but also the SFMOMA Weston/Modotti show and making one of my periodic pilgrimages to 49 Geary and its stack of good revolving exhibitions. Gotta beat contemporary art into 'em while they're young, I say.
A couple of days back I was part of an informal web conversation about "Creative Commons" copyrights (spurred by a publisher who had grabbed CC-marked images off the web and republished them for a profit without clear notification to the owner). A predictable pro-CC argument came up: that somehow using a CC notice, rather than the traditionally-restrictive "All Rights Reserved," would encourage the publication of images from artists who might otherwise never get a venue (The takeaway: one should be honored when their otherwise-unknown creations have been found worth stealing?).
Similarly, last week I finally got to listen to the entire "Google Print Panel" session at the Commonwealth Club of California, in which it was suggested that copyright-free publishing was crucial to get "those little books that every publisher had rejected but that just might become the Next Big Thing" out to the public.
They both seem like the same argument, both using a straw man. Maybe someone will create some amazing but unrecognized work, and maybe open publishing would help that one person, but does this speculation really justify the wholesale dismantling of the entire copyright portfolio for all other authors? Maybe it's a convenient, publisher-coddling fiction. If anything, it seems to me that with the ease of modern web publishing, those independant and small creators are actually the ones who need a full suite of copyright protection, not the mega-corporations.
CC and "open publishing," from my view, offer creators nothing, other than reduced paychecks. They are not about "enabling" creativity, but rather de-valuing it for the sake of publishers (including web-portal publishers like Google/Yahoo/MS, who as far as I can tell have largely co-opted the notion of "web sharing" by creating behemoth databases of "contributed" data which they in turn own an ownership which is the source of their great wealth) publishers who continue to charge the same amounts for their products containing images and other works that they haven't paid for, benefiting from the protections of intellectual property laws that they've convinced their suppliers to abandon.
I'm surprised that I haven't yet heard of a celphone manufacturer whose marketing deliberately capitalized on the lo-fi character of cel cameras. To my eye they have a lot more potential than the standard toycams of the past 30 years (Lomo, Holga, and Diana clones of various stripes) ever had.
Note: I'm deliberately shifting my web habits, and henceforth plan to be posting more photos here on Photorant than on flickr.
Printing more, too.
Ah, those scamps at foto8. No sooner have the pixels dried from this previous post than I receive the latest "Industry" issue of EI8HT, in full-color glory and sporting a Polish mine worker on the cover, shot by Vaclav Jirasek as part of a series that follows on the heels of an earlier one, which he made in the 90's in black and white.
To turn the ironic screw just a wee bit further, the same issue of EI8HT contains more George Georgiou photos, this time also working in color, from the streets of Kiev. "In Transit" indeed.