A Year in Film: Week 7

This was a difficult week for me to get motivated.  I love taking photos, but I don’t always feel inspiration to point my camera in a specific direction.  One of the hardest parts of making 12 images every week is just leaving your house.

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This is the first example of how hard it was for me to leave my house.
This is my neighbor across the street.
Light was perfect, the house was lit up but the sky was dark and interesting.
This house has a lot of character, which I love,
I also love that it exists because it means I don’t have to try as hard to “Keep up with the Joneses”
As far as houses go as subjects… this one is not that interesting to me
Though I do like how the shrub on the right helps the eye move around the image.
And the lines from the electrical wire draw your eye back to the house.

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My second example of how difficult it was to leave the house.
The literal interior of my house.
I worked surprisingly hard on this bad photo.
I went back and forth about 15 times between the camera and the plant to remove as many distracting details from the photo as possible.
I still missed a few things.
In my brain, this photo would have been at its best if it was just a field of white and beige with a splash of plant in one-third of the frame somewhere.
This almost happened, but it was a little difficult to capture.
The inside of my house was fairly dark, so the whites are plunged into shadow.
Whereas the plant is being bombarded by light, so to make sure the plant wasn’t blown out and completely white, I ended up having to make the rest of the house a little darker than I wanted.
Color film has more dynamic range than digital, but no amount of range of lights and darks will make this an interesting photo.

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f5.6 1 second

Okay!  Now a photo I like.
It started snowing in Portland and I was suddenly inspired again.  Over the last few weeks I had been keeping a mental list of locations that would be worth revisiting to get a photo.  This pool slide existence alone really stood out to me.
The snow helped make it way better.
I like that it is split into thirds.
One Dark third, where the subject pops,
The Middle which is neutral looking, but allows us to imagine what is behind it.
And the bottom is a nice field of white.
I also like that the slide is directly in line with the snow-covered shrub
And if you look close you can see that it is snowing in the top third.
I feel like this photo is a success in minimalism, and it is my favorite photo of the roll.

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f8 15 seconds

Every time I drive by this staircase my eyes are drawn up the zig-zag pattern.
I don’t think I captured it well from this angle.
It may be something I have to try with a different lens from the middle of 82nd.
I like the lens flare from the top right light.
I don’t really like how there is no obvious subject and the bottom third is out of focus.
This photo is missing something.

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f8 1 second

I love this Motel Sign, the colors and the shadows.
You can’t really tell that is snowing on me while I take this photo though,
so that is a failure.
I love that this place’s TVs are all in color, and I think the color sign is a very good use for my color film.
I don’t really love the angle I have of this photo.
In order to remove some distracting elements from the photo I had to get pretty close.
This photo would probably be made better if I went higher and got a better angle.

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f8 4 minutes

I had such high hopes for this photo.
I turned off all the lights except my fireplace.
I wanted to capture the coziness of the falling snow and the reflection of the fire.
The fire just looks like 4 orange dots in the bottom.
An interesting thing about this photo is that the exposure time was 4 minutes.
That is the longest time I have ever used to take a photo, so that is cool, regardless if the photo is interesting or not.
My vision of what would make an interesting photo didn’t really materialize.
Good learning experience.

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f5.6 1/30

The next morning I woke up early, energized by snow, and went down to the Zen Center next to my house.
I actually went with this little statue in mind.
I was glad to see it was covered so nicely in snow.
The sunrise, hint of orange and blue in the sky, really make this photo for me.
When editing the photo I also lowered the contrast to make the snow look more serene and powdery.
This photo pleases me.

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This is a real throwback to my palm tree photos from California a couple of weeks ago.
I got pretty low to get this photo, but I wish I got a tiny bit lower to separate the bottom-most thistle from the trees in the background.
I really like the clouds and the colors though, as well as the subject.
This single plant is similar to a nice five-stem bouquet, and I do remember my 7th grade art teacher saying that paintings of odd numbers of objects are usually more pleasing.
So… its okay.

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My intent with this photo was to get a bit more of a sense of the trail through the trees, as well as the bridge.
I like the colors and serenity, but it seems a bit too busy in the mid-ground.

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I probably spent the most time over the last few days editing and re-editing this photo.
I still don’t know if I like it.  But I do like the solar flare.
I think it may be a little too contrasty, I’m not sure.
I do like how the sun lights up the foreground and the hills are in shadow.
Seems like an acceptable photo, but nothing incredible.

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You may recognize this house from before.
Does the snow make it any better?  I don’t think so.
One success here though, is that the photo is a bit more in focus than the other.
I mostly took this so I could have a before an after
I think I actually like the non-snow cooler light version of this house better.

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The colors on this photo work well for me:
Green, pink, blue.
I really love this plant, and I like the snow-covered flowers.
I think I missed focus on this photo though.  It isn’t quite as crisp as I want.
It could be focus or, I might need a faster shutter speed to make sure it is crisp.
Something to consider for when I take photos of plants in the future, is they move in the wind.

Well… I’m glad that roll is over.  Ultimately, I am happy with a few of the photos, and I am proud to have done this for 7 weeks in a row.  I only have a few more photos to take for my 8th week, so we can look forward to this continuing.  I also just bought another 5 rolls of film, so I hope to keep going strong.

I’d love to know if you like a photo that I didn’t like.  Until next time…

A Year in Film: Week 6

Week 6.  I’m still doin’ it!  This week the goal was to fill the frame.  It was recommended that you either get real close, or you zoom.  My camera can’t focus closer than 3 feet and has a fixed lens, so zooming with my feet was the only possibility, and taking photos of small things would simply not do.

I thought, I would just take photos of statues.

Then I took one photo of a statue, took one photo of a building, and then I considered it done.

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I saw the sun hitting this, saw that it was big, and saw that it was a feather…
Seemed like a no-brainer.
It definitely fills the frame.
It is just abstract enough to be interesting.
I like the symmetry, pretty okay.

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Alright, I filled the frame 2 times.
Great job me!
I like the boxes inside of boxes. The shadows also make boxes.
Turns out, shadows help make photos interesting.
I really love the window.
I maybe should have just zoomed in on it?

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We went from Hood river all the way up to Mt. Hood.
Trying for a landscape shot.
It is important to have an interesting foreground for landscapes.
I think the dead trees work.
From this angle, that mountain doesn’t even look that big.
Although, this photo may work better in larger print.
Those 2 tiny dots below the right tree are people snowshoeing.
So that ads a nice sense of scale.

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For this photo I was trying to get just three elements.
Tree/Snow/Sky.
I messed up by getting the hills in the bottom third.
I still like the photo, but think it could be cleaner if I tried a little harder.
This is an interesting case where I should have just set my camera on the ground instead of use a tripod.
I even jammed my tripod into the snow, but it wasn’t low enough.

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This sculpture is called “In the Treetops.”
It is right in front of a Buffalo Wild Wings.
What you leave out of the photo is often more important than what you include.

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f11 1/125

Light at the end of the parking tunnel.
This photo isn’t that exciting.
But I like the setting.
It is lacking somehow.
It could use another exciting element to the photo
Or it could be simplified somehow.
It would be more interesting if it wasn’t just pavement at end of tunnel…

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I went to my parent’s house to see their chickens.
I showed them my camera, ended up doing something weird,
And we ended up with a double exposure.
I have since learned how to do this on purpose.
Though, I think this turned out perfect.
Jenny is framed by Jenny and my mom.
It shows the process of gathering chickens as well as posing with them.
I like it.
I may try an entire roll like this in the future.
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f11 1/125ish for all chicken photos.

For film settings, I just set it once and then didn’t really look at it again
This whole chicken photo series happened in about 10 minutes.
I’m pretty happy with composition on this one.
Both chicken model and human model have their eyes open.
I’d like the background to be a little blurrier, but, I am happy that my lovely model is in focus.
If this was a real serious photo shoot, I would have had an assistant off camera with a reflector dish bouncing light at my model´s face to lessen the shadows, though I am happy with the result regardless.

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O I like this one a lot.
My father, the chicken whisperer.
I really like the framing of the tree in the background
Also, he looks so happy.

One thing that is tricky about film scans
Is the color of the scanned film is inherently yellow/orange
There is a surprising amount of color correcting I am having to do
And I haven’t figured out a way to make it consistent yet.
With a few more rolls to draw from, I will probably be able to set up a macro,
But in the meantime, the photos hue/color/temperature are going to be a little variable.

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Pensive Jenny and Chicken
I don’t have much to critique
I think the light is nice and I really like the chicken pose.
maybe would be slightly better if I adjusted my location so the pile of brown on the left wasn’t in the shot.  Overall though, I like it.

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I was enamored with this chicken
It is so poofy,
But I dont really like this photo
Too much dirt, not enough chicken.
I’m fine with the weird pose and angle though.
Would be better if I were closer.

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I got closer
And I really love this photo.
I like the chaotic framing with the chicken in the foreground
I like being on this side of the fence
I love the chicken model
I was also inspired by my friend Cody to make this a bit of a self portrait.
Also, the shadow could symbolize so many things.
Hand-turkey; me waving hello;
the chicken being trapped and foreshadowing for it being grabbed or pet
I think it makes the photo substantially more interesting and pleasing.

Though I would love to know what you think.

Week 7 is this weekend, and it is going to rain.  I find myself chasing the light or looking for more interesting light and colors recently, more than I am looking for interesting subjects.  The challenge is called “zoom burst” but that isn’t something I can do, so I am still undecided on my theme… I will figure something out!

 

A Year in Film: Week 5

Week 5. Oh what was week 5 again?  California two roll double feature!  I think there was a theme, like repeating patterns or something like that… I maybe took it into consideration, but didn’t want to be too restrictive on my photos.

These rolls of film were scanned by me, then digitally edited in Lightroom.  I probably went through the editing process about 4 times – this is tricky!  I started editing them like I would my bird photos, but that really detracts from the magic of film, so I restricted my editing to just the exposure, highlights/lights, shadows/blacks, and temperature correction.  I didn’t play with the contrast, clarity, vibrance, tone curve, or split toning like I normally do.  This is more or less “au naturel.”

Well enough technical talk, lets look at those photos!ROLL5001-2

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Uh oh, my first photo is the best one of the roll.
Its like when Chumbawumba makes an entire album but the best song is just the first track…

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That little speck in the top left corner is a guy on a bike.
I like the little valley; feel like composition is interesting.
It is just that the color seems a little off to me.
Too green?  It was soooo green though, this one proves difficult to deal with pre and post editing.

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What a happy little tree
Turns out I love Oak trees.
California is a pretty good place for them.
These first hilly oak photos were taken in a place called Coyote Canyon.
When doing landscapes the goal is usually to have distinctly separate layers.
I feel like this photo is almost there; I think this oak tree just needs a little bit of room to breathe on its crown.
If I were able to take the photo from a few feet higher, I’d be able to separate it from the smaller trees in the background and it would be a very good photo.

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This photo was tricky because I was shooting in the shade, but it was very bright on the hill.
Film is very impressive at how much detail it captures in the shadows, so I tried to expose for the sun and hope the foreground would retain some detail.
It did!  I really like this photo a lot (except I forgot to crop the black frame of the negative)
I love the path going from the bottom and then continuing on the hill in midground
I love the framing of the shadow and the little tree and white cloud framed in the center.
I am pretty happy with this one!

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I took this photo because the light was hitting the grass in a really nice way.
After looking at the photo, I don’t think this translated as well as I wanted it too.
Framing of oak and shadows is okay, composition is okay, just not exciting.

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f16 1/8

Photo taken in shade with no real interesting light.
I took the photo because I like the separation of the little trees,
though the ones on the right are a little busy for my liking.
Trail has some nice lines, but what it is missing is good lighting.

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Our second day in the bay area we went to Santa Cruz.
As I was waiting for my “California Omelette,” I noticed how nice the light was hitting this plant.
The sun-rays make for an interesting photo, as does the decor,
Though I am kind of torn on this, just because the subject is functionally just a potted plant.
One of the most important lessons I learned from this journey is how delicious avocados taste in California.

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This fisherman almost immediately started telling us ghost stories
I asked if I could take his photo and he said he wasn’t a “Wanted Man” so it would be ok.
He was nice, and I am really happy with how this photo turned out.
I need to just take more photos of strangers,
But they are hard to approach.
But I am usually happy with results when I do it.
I need to be brave.
B+ photo

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The fisherman told me this boat was haunted.
I like the colors of this boat; the splash of red at the bottom.
This photo gets obvious bonus points for having a bird in a corner.
(This may be the reason I took this photo).
I think this photo is okay, it doesn’t really tell a story, you can’t tell it is haunted.
But… I am okay with composition, and it is a reasonably interesting subject…
Not incredible, but not terrible.

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Is this photo Cliché?
It must be, because I like it a lot.
Things it has going for it:
It has 3 objects, odd numbers are pleasing.
Rule of thirds (nothing is directly in the middle)
Framing: the middle palm is framed by the outside 2
Nostalgia: it reminds me of how warm and nice Santa Cruz was.
Things going against it:
Uhhh… I don’t know, being critical of your own work is hard sometimes…
It might have been good if I did f22 and tried to get everything in focus

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I like this a bit, though I bet this photo has been taken thousands of times.
I like that the rocks leads in a reverse c shape
I like that there are cormorants and a gull throwing its wings in the air
This photo could be more interesting if it had a long exposure and the waves were smoothed out and ghostly.
Also, the angle isn’t that exciting; you can’t really tell there is an arch.
This photo is okay but nothing special.
The horizon at almost half with a boring blue sky was probably a mistake
Framing/composition could use some work on this guy.

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This was a bit trickier photo of the same arch rock
I set up the camera and waited for a human to occupy the gap between the two rocks.
I knew it would be mostly a silhouette because I was shooting into the sun.
This photo has some pleasing blur/glare/lack of sharpness due to the sun reflecting straight into the lens.
Composition seems pretty strong. I like the repeating lines of sand/water/rocks.
I think this photo is pretty good.

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f11 1/30

This is a eucalyptus tree and it smells amazing (though you can’t really tell digitally).
I thought the light was hitting this tree in a nice way and I liked the texture of the bark.
And the smell was great too.
Now looking back at this photo though, I don’t really think it is that exciting.
Light and texture are there, but not really sure how I feel about the subject.

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Bubble guys!  These guys had big buckets and made even bigger bubbles.
It was a difficult scene to capture
Though I do like the composition
It is nice to have subjects doing something in frame
And having an object lead you across the frame.
I don’t really like that I cut off a person on the left… A little more in or out would be better.

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I tried again when the kids had gathered.
I am glad I waited a few minutes and tried a second time because I like this one better.
Kids having a good time.
I also like it a little further back and having the bubbles against the trees makes for a bit of a better composition.

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f8 1/60

Before the wedding we headed to IN-N-OUT
And we LUCKED-OUT
We were greeted by a pre-Quinceanera party.
This girl matched the restaurant’s theme perfectly.
She was also happy to let me take her photo.
I also like the kid in the back left.
I am happy with this shot, though shooting into the sun and having the face be in shadow makes the photo a little less crisp feeling than I want.
Overall, pretty good though.

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f8 1/60

This photo is okay.
I think the photo I should have got is the kid in the black jacket and glasses playing the drums.
He has a sweet mullet that you can’t really see.  I should have just gotten closer.

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I took this photo mostly for the cool Palm tree
But thought it would be enhanced by a model.
I love Jenny’s glasses and her shadow in the bottom left.
I also like how the shadows play on her dress just highlighting her face/necklace/and bracelet.
We practiced posing a lot with a cell phone first, and I am happy with how this turned out.

My last photo in CaliforniaROLL6009

f2.8 1/15

Well this photo was a mistake
I mean, I took it on purpose, but I was tricked by taking cell phone photos out the window.
I don’t think I focused this one when I took it.
I don’t like it at all, muddy colors, out of focus, not crisp, not interesting.
Oh well, can’t all be winners.

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f8 1/60

Back in Portland
I have driven by this structure a lot and it fits my alternating pattern theme that I neglected in California.
I thought the most interesting angle would be from underneath.
It is pretty interesting, though I don’t really like the white sky above…
I should have waited for clouds or underexposed or something.
It has potential, I may try again in the future.

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I loved the clouds and sky and wanted to take their photo
But then I thought just a photo of clouds wouldn’t be interesting enough
Well then with that logic this is very interesting.
And also disjointed and chaotic feeling.
Is it bad? Is it good? Is it art?
Yeah, probably.

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This was more of a proof of concept photo
I had rushed photos previously where the subject was out of focus and wanted to try again.
Moving objects are difficult.
On this one I had to lower the aperture so the shutter speed could be high enough to stop the action and not blur.
Though with a smaller aperture I have a smaller window where the subject will be in focus.
So I pre-focused my camera for the little bike on the asphalt and did my best to take a photo when the cyclist was right over it.
Not incredible photo, but it was crisp, so I am happy with that.

 

Overall, California photos are very pleasing to me, I feel like I am improving, and I am still having a really fun time.

I just did a chicken photo shoot, and some other random stuff for my next roll of film, so look forward to that in our next episode.

I appreciate all of your comments and feedback in whichever forms you give them to me.  Thumbs ups, shares, comments, I love it all. Thank you guys for reading!

A Year in Film: Week 4

And what a week 4 it was!  All of these photos were taken January 28th.  I got through a whole roll in one long day and I was very proud of myself.

The original goal for this week was “Wildcard, photographer’s choice.”  I chose to try to get some nice landscape type photos out of Forest Grove.  This worked for a while, but it is hard to always see a good photo, especially 12 in one general location… So after a while I headed back into Portland.

Another thing I should mention is that this would have been done last Friday, but my favorite photo store’s printer broke, so I ended up buying a scanner.  So all of these photos are now painstakingly scanned by me (wow, it takes more effort than you would guess, like 10 minutes a photo).

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I like the reflections a lot,
The flooded road is interesting
But light isn’t incredible
Pretty dull, nothing really pops.
Passable photo.

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My friend Michael Cavanaugh  and his Northwest Topographics series continues to inspire me to take photos of buildings.
Especially this building.
I like the lines from the railroad track
I like the way the white cube sits on the green grass
Though I wish the green grass and that line was a little more prominant
Pretty happy with this one.

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The goal of this photo was to get an interesting tree silhouette
The tree shape is interesting
Though the photo is less exciting than I thought it might be
This is a good tree though, it inspired me to try the photo from a different angle.

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I sure am glad I tried this from a different angle
So far, favorite of the series.
Love the strong yellow line and straightness of the road
Tree frames the barn and only other prominent item in photo well
Pretty pleased with this one
Though these road landscapes are kinda cliché… This road landscape is mine.

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f8 1/60

This is my first self portrait.  You can tell if you look real close.
I like the colors
I like doors
I like that it says “Lust Dinner”
This photo is okay, though, again, photos of doors seem not super exciting,
it is interesting enough, and the sharpness of the photo pleases me.

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f8 1/60

Another photo taken for the writing on the wall
I love the bacon art
Also the dumpster text is interesting.
When taking the photo I was waiting for the little kid in the bottom of the bus to look at me
I think composition in this photo is pretty strong.  There is a lot to draw eye around photo, but I think there is a bit too much sky.
Though I do remember moving my body to include a bit of the barrel and wall on the left.
Interesting enough, though light is kinda drab.

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f/16 1/8

I felt so fortunate to come upon this
I had the photo all set,
Then I apparently got distracted by a guy who wanted to talk about how cool my camera is.
I remember waiting for a few minutes for people to clear the shot… I don’t have any idea how I got this person with the backpack in the frame.
It is a glaring error on my part.
They are also wearing a bright teal jacket which I de-saturated just because it makes me so angry… ughh… this photo… so much potential…
It is still pretty good, but it could be better.

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This car was interesting enough for a second photo.
This is solid and timeless and is in a no parking zone, so that is nice
It is just okay though.  Nothing incredible.

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I was losing light, but this cool sculpture came with its own lighting
Behind it is a tattoo place that used to be home to Portland’s Most Nobel Prize winningest scientist, Linus Pauling.
It’s the Alpha-helix
Oh yeah and there is a mermaid behind it
And I waited for them to open the door to get a photo of someone going/coming
Turns out… it was too dark, though it is nice to get a chandelier in there.
pretty ok/interesting photo.

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Well, when I took this photo, I wrote “three amigos”
Not a good sign.  I only see 2.5 out of focus amigos.
Street photography is going to be hard.
Moving objects are tricky, especially if they are not moving on a parallel plane.
I need to remember to be careful as I open up the aperture.
f4 leaves a pretty shallow depth of field.
Another question to ask, is would this photo be good if it was in focus?
Probably not, but it would be better.
Also, I don’t really mind the out of focus telephone pole on the right… This was purposeful, I’m reasonably happy with framing and composition actually, it just feels bad to feature a Mc-Minimums so prominently without receiving any compensation for it.

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f2.8 1/30, forgot bulb mode, oops

Ooooops.
I installed my cable release for this photo,
But then I neglected to change my camera settings to bulb mode
And I shot this night photo at f2.8 at 1/30th of a second.
The bottom, much better, photo was shot at f11 for 34 seconds.

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WOW!  I love this photo!
I am very pleased to have such a good result come out of this.
Really pleased.

Good week 4 all things considered.  I think the main thing I learned from week 4, is if you find a good subject, feel free to work it a bit.  Don’t just take one photo and move on to the next thing.  See if you can frame it differently or compose your shot in a more interesting way, look at it from as many angles as possible to have a better chance of getting a good photo.

Week 5 I took two rolls of photos in San Jose for my long weekend trip.
These are coming soon!