Here's another shot from my growing collection of photos captured using the techniques I wrote about in my previous post. This one was captured using a 70-300mm lens on a Pentax K1000 body, and the shot was (once again) about an hour long. At this point, I'm trying to figure out how long of an exposure is actually necessary to get a usable image, as the paper actually stops darkening at a point. Hopefully I'll be able to travel around a bit this week, and capture some even more interesting images!
I'm working on perfecting a photography technique right now that I've never actually seen done before. Based on the readings of a technique called Solargraphy, in which one documents the tracks made by the sun using a homemade pinhole camera and photographic paper as a film medium, this method I'm developing now harnesses a similar quirk of the photo process.
Photographic paper, the stuff that black and white photographers use in the dark room, is usually extremely sensitive to light, as it is developed and fixed in chemicals that bring out an image captured in a matter of seconds on the paper. But because it is so light sensitive, photographic paper also darkens when exposed to sunlight, which (in a sense) overexposes it to the point of visibility. Solargraphy utilizes this same quirk of the paper to let it act as a negative, capturing an image over the span of a matter of months. But Solargraphy uses a tiny pinhole, which lets in a minuscule amount of light. What if you used an actual camera, with a wide-aperture lens?
This is the result. Each one of these images takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to capture, depending on how bright the sun is. The "negative" that is created on the photographic paper is extremely impermanent, due to the fact that it cannot be fixed to halt any reactions that might occur. You basically get one chance to scan in the negative, after which the negative becomes even more faded from the light in the scanner. The images created with these methods are ethereal and oddly timeless, using unorthodox techniques to call back to a time when photography was much more inconvenient and difficult to master. It's a far cry from the digital cameras that we're so used to now, and it really makes you appreciate just how special the art of photography is.
I'm not sure I'd say that I invented a new technique. In all honesty, I'm not that clever. Someone must have done this before me, I simply can't find any record of it. Still, on a personal level, I came up with the idea on my own. And sometimes, experimentation of this sort is worthwhile to achieve results such as these. There's nothing fancy about this. No film is used, no developing is needed. Chemicals are unnecessary, and you only get one shot to get things right.
Spring in San Diego is a beautiful sight to behold. For most of the year, this lovely city is usually blanketed in a layer of brown and tan, due to the fact that we normally have very little water to let things grow. With the high amount of rain this winter though and a general warming trend, things have started to sprout. This is a perfect time to get out and photograph the green and rainbows of colors blossoming all around.
This photograph, though taken in August 2008, reminds me of this time of the year. It's a great example of using bokeh to enhance an image, and is one of my favorite stylistic tools for general use in photography. It was captured in Julian, California behind the Julian Pie Company restaurant on Main Street.
I am in love with the desert. I can't stop thinking about it, as silly as it sounds. For me, the desert is a place where you can go to feel free. I'm not talking about big hoards of people in trailers with off-road vehicles tearing up the landscape. I'm talking about a preserved wilderness, with the only human intervention being the occasional hiker, and the lone SUV or Jeep that travels down a sunken wash. It is here that solitude exists, and rises to glory. Conditions can be rough. It can get pretty cold at night, and dangerously hot during the day. But in the desert, you've gone back to an earlier time. Camping out, you live like people centuries ago went about their daily lives (to a degree). You're alone with yourself, and it is marvelous.
I'm lucky enough to have amazing friends who will go with me on crazy adventures to this vast and unpredictable wilderness. And they're even more amazing for putting up with my constant need to snap another photo. If I could change anything, my only wish would be to get out there more often, and for longer periods of time. Whether you've brought an entire expedition's worth of supplies and equipment, or you're simply living off of what can fit in a backpack or the trunk of a car, every excursion into the desert is truly an adventure for me.
I love adventuring. It's probably one of my favorite things in the world. Planned or spontaneous, I'm almost always sure to have a good time. And a large part of the fun for me is photographing as much of the adventure as possible. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, considering that most of the adventures I go on happen at night, things aren't always as simple as they seem. Thankfully, I've gotten unnaturally good at capturing this world in pitch-black conditions. And with the right tools, it's possible to get some truly unique results.
This photo, captured in slightly moonlit conditions in Sunset Cliffs, San Diego, demonstrates perfectly what our eyes are missing once the sun goes down. And it wouldn't have been possible were it not for my new trusty tripod, the Zipshot by Tamrac. Don't get me wrong, it's still somewhat cumbersome having to carry around a tripod. But this is the smallest and easiest tripod I've found so far, and with a little practice, it does a lot of what I need a tripod to do anyway. While I'm not going to pretend that taking photos at night is easy, or that managing a full kit with the smallest load possible isn't difficult, having enough practice can result in magnificent results. And at this point, I can only hope to further improve my skills and camera hardware in order to find the perfect balance between portability and function.