Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Small Victory

This week, I took the 5D out to go another round with the video function. I spent one afternoon just playing with the camera trying to get interesting shots and was pleased with what I got in some daylight experimentation.
But the real question was, "How can I get visually pleasing results in low light conditions?" I found out about Canon's new firmware from a friend and downloaded it. This allowed me greater flexibility when I shot. I now have the ability to choose ISO, aperture, and shutter settings. Here is the results I came up with. I am not there yet, but I am 1 step closer to a solution.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fragments create Fiction

My process usually begins from the outside in. I've been told that it's uncommon, but that is the way that photographs speak out to me. It begins with a place I come across, without looking for it. As I drive home late at night, I will catch a strange light at the periphery of my vision that screams out to stop and take a look.

There is only a hint of story in my mind, just a foundation, an aesthetic, a stage for a drama to unfold. I then carry it in my mind and wait for an idea to formulate. I was told once that an interesting portrait begins with an interesting location. The question, is the frame an interesting one before you put someone in it. I work from the larger picture and if the story is to be told, the details reveal themselves.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fixed Photo Adventure

Last sunday, I spent the day with a gang of teenagers obsessed with "fixie"s. Single speed, no brakes, balls out bike enthusiasts who want nothing more than a stretch of road to mash(speed down) or a curb to trick. I decided that it had been to long since I had got down with the local boys to shoot the teen throttle. I wanted to begin a series that took an inside look into the lifestyle of local teenagers who have passions of their own that revolve around bikes, music, and brotherhood. I didn't have any idea how grueling 25 miles on a fixed gear could be. The photo session was funded with skin of my backside, but I got what I think is a good beginning to a vibrant series. I plan to do a couple more rides and plan on shooting the boys rehearsing music in their make-shift practice spaces.

There bike club is the first fixed gear bike club in Long Beach. I helped them establish outreach to the community by creating a blog for "Ride Long Beach". Here is their link-

Friday, February 26, 2010

Video Dreams and Noise Nightmares

Because of all the hooplah regarding "to motion, or not to motion", I took a couple of cameras that incorporate a video option and put them to a test in an extreme light situation. I went down to the train yard after dark with a friend to work on an idea for a music video incorporating a 5D and a Flip. When we went to shoot, it all looked great in the viewing screens. Even though we were dealing with a night situation using only existing security light, the screen gave the impression that all was working beautifully. The footage looked amazing as we shot it. Then I took it home. Upon playing it I found a sadly different story. The image was much more unstable and the footage looked hideous because of the digital noise. This was the result of both cameras. I expected this from the flip, but not the 5D. I was dissapointed and depressed. It seemed my hopes of having a camera that is capable of hard travels and extreme lighting conditions dissolved into the night sky.

I am going to try running another test this weekend with some sort of fill and hopefully a way to figure out how to get better control of the image quality while maintaining some sort of light and mobile system. Maybe the 5D wonder camera isn't as limitless as I had hoped. Or maybe, and I want this to be true, there is something that I missed, some information that will make my video dreams come true?

Chalk Hell

Last night a friend and I worked for another 12 hours on the second installment of the chalk-drawn animation episode of "Gun's Don't Kill People". We spent, what seemed like eternity slowly drawing, shooting, and then erasing each individual frame of the 10 seconds we had in the end. Animation isn't really difficult, especially if you are working with someone who is experienced at it. But it is extremely time consuming if you want the motion to look natural. We shot 200 hand drawn frames which now brings the total of the sequence to 720. We have one last installment to go which should bring the total to near 900. Stay tuned in dear listeners. I should have a link to the finished project in about a week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chalk Talk

I spent 12 hours in front of a chalk board to attempt to create an animated sequence to attach to a phrase for an experiment in motion. The idea was to use the chalkboard as a background to visually attach it to a schoolroom to make light of it. Because I am not known for my sketching skills, the rudimentary renderings lent themself well to the idea of a childlike message.

The treatment of the visual story was designed to create a feeling of the noir genre. The story will seem like a sort of french crime thriller that turns into a zombie movie all drawn as simple as possible. The phrase I am working with is- "Guns don't kill people, zombies kill people."

I will be working on this for the next couple of weeks. I will link it to the blog when it is completed, but here are a few stills.

Rock-For All Ages

Saturday was a milestone moment for a group of neighborhood teenage boys whose passion is music. The two of them have been pursuing a life that the internet has redefined, the life of a rock musician. This lifestyle has changed dramatically from the way it was only a decade ago. In fact the passion has actually come full circle from where it was three decades ago when the punk scene was emerging.

The defining moment for these two was their involvement in a music project with the San Pedro punk-rock icon Mike Watt. His first band the "Reactionaries" recorded their first album in 1979. To commemorate 30 years since it's creation, the S.P. community formed a collection of bands to re-record the album.

These two boys were chosen to play bass and drums in two of the bands. This is a small account of their experience of being kids in a grown-up world. I found the experience to be challenging, to walk the fence between a snapshot designed and a candid moment.