For a few Night Shots more…

These are a couple of shots from my last walk around night time Lancaster.


I was thinking the other day that these might look pretty good as wood block prints, not that I have the time for such a project just now. Perhaps it is something to consider for a future project.

-Allen

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Chickies Rock Park

Overview of the Susquehanna River from Chickies Rock.

This is a small set of photos I took in Chickies Rock Park in Lancaster County last month. I put them in black and white in order to give them a little bit more of a timeless feel, and because converting an picture to black and white is a good trick when working with high contrast images.

Tree on Chickies Creek.

The best camera is the one you have with you, and I suppose that goes for lenses as well, but I still wish I had brought a wide angel lenses for this shot of the tree and it’s reflection. Oh well, there is always next time.

Ruins of a 19th century iron works.

I am something of a sucker for old and ruined buildings.

-Allen

From humble beginnings…

Tortellini with Arugula, Tomato, and Basil.

This is the first practice image for a food project that I’m going to be working on with a few other people in the near future. I think it came out well enough considering that I was just about to eat it. I’m excited to get more practice doing food photography because it’s a field that I want to do a lot more work in. And it provides leftovers!

It should also be noted that I withheld such puns as, “A taste of things to come,” “Something to chew on,” and “Food for thought.”

Your welcome.

-Allen

 

 

The Library of Congress on Flickr

I’ve been using Flickr for about a year now, and I find it a great place to come across new and interesting photographers. I have a few of my own images up there as well, but not as many as I should.  Anyway, a few months ago I came across the Library of Congress Flickr photostream,  and it is truly one of the gem’s of Flickr.

A brief snippet from the LOC’s profile explains what they are using Flickr for, “The Prints & Photographs Division takes care of 14 million of the Library’s pictures and features more than 1 million through online catalogs. Offering historical photo collections through Flickr is a welcome opportunity to share some of our most popular images more widely.”

There are news photographs from the early part of the 20th century. This collection has almost 10,00 images in it, mostly from glass plate negatives. A few of the negatives have cracked, and were placed back together to show the image. These pictures show all the important people and events of the era, from sports stars to world leaders to the First World War and the suffrage movement. They also show a lot of the smaller things, the daily lives of people and the noteworthy but not famous people.

Choicy Au Bac — Houses Burned by Germans. circa 1914

Shad fishing, fishers and catch, circa 1910-1914.

The German Crown Prince, circa 1914.

There are also historic photos, such as a collection of photographs of Abraham Lincoln. These photos stretch over a period of his life, mostly 1860-1865, and you can see just how much the stress of being the President during the Civil War aged him.

Abraham Lincoln, 1860.

Abraham Lincoln, 1865

FSA/OWI Favorites is a small collection of images from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression, and later the Office of War Information (OWI) from the Second World War era. There are over 170,000 images in these two collections in the Library of Congress archives, though only a hand full are shown here. Some of the photographers  in this gallery include Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Gordon Parks.

Chicago, Illinois. In the waiting room of the Union Station. Jack Delano, 1943.

Roadside stand near Birmingham, Alabama. Walker Evans, 1936.

There is a lot of pictures of what could be called “Americana,” from baseball to Jazz. For example, there is a picture of Babe Ruth after he knocked himself out chasing a foul ball in 1924, and a portrait of Nat King Cole playing the piano in 1947.

Babe Ruth knocked out, 1924.

Portrait of Nat King Cole, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947, by: William P Gottlieb

These few images just scratch the surface of what is available to see. There is some really great stuff that the Library of Congress put up on it’s Flickr stream, and they add new photos all the time. If you are on Flickr you should really follow them. You can see all of LOC pictures here.

-Allen

Lancaster Nights, Continued

I just wanted to put up a couple of photos that I took last weekend. These are in my “Lancaster Nights” series. I like this project because it is something that I can work on almost any night. There’s no prep work, no travel time, no pre-planning, all I have to do is step outside with my camera and walk. It’s a good project to keep me working.

Lancaster Nights 44

Click on the photo to see it larger.

Lancaster Nights 47

I don’t know what, if anything, I’ll ever do with these images, aside from posting them to flickr. Maybe thats enough. It’s a good project, not perfect, but good.

 

-Allen

 

My Bathroom, My Darkroom

In school (by which I mean my post-secondary education) the darkroom was always one of my favorite places. I loved watching the images appear in the developer bath, it always felt a little magical. I found the whole process to be very contemplative and even meditative. The darkroom was a quiet place where I could concentrate on just one thing, making a good print. The photographing was done, I couldn’t change the negatives, all I had to do was print the pictures. Not only was it something I loved doing, but it was also a nice change of pace from my dorm.

It should be noted that not one thing in this photo was my fault. I just lived there.

I am not saying that I dislike using digital technology, I like it very much in fact. I am probably better using digital, and defiantly faster when processing an image in photoshop as opposed to using an enlarger. But there is one thing that I always did like better about the chemical darkroom, that I always ended up with a print.

I have so many images that only exist on a computer now, thousands at least, that I have never seen except on a backlit screen. I always tell myself “someday, I will print this,” but then I move on to other projects. I do believe that I will one day go back and print my best or favorite images, but with the darkroom process you have no choice but to make a print. I truly believe that seeing the finished print is an important part of the photographic process, and that you can’t really “know” an image until you have it printed out and look at it for days or weeks or more.

So I have decided to pull my old Omega Enlarger out of the closet and hook that bad boy up! One nice thing about renting in Lancaster PA is that rent is pretty cheep and we have a place with an extra bathroom. A couple hoses, some plywood, and a few rolls of black duct tape and I’ll be in business. I have some chemicals floating around my studio from a couple of years ago (I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out) that may or may not be any good now. Only one way to find out!

"my enlarger"

Soon…

I can’t wait!

-Allen

Friends and Family

I have felt for a long time that I my friends and family would make an excellent photo project. I think that they are interesting people with interesting stories. Not the kind of stories that get made into movies, at least not the kind of movies that most people go to see, but interesting in the way that real life is crazy in a normal kind of way.

There are a lot of pro’s and con’s to doing this kind of a project, which is why I have put if off for years. One of the main points that held me back is that I didn’t know exactly how I want to present everyone who would be in the project. Should I use black and white or color, candid or portrait photos, staged or natural surroundings, I could never decide.

The images in this post are not at all final; really they are more like the preliminary sketches a painter would make before even touching a canvas. Right now I just want to see what direction the project takes on its own.

I have been taking snap shots of my friends for years, and one of the challenges I’ve always had is that much of the time we are indoors or its night-time and the available light is very low. I have innumerable slightly fuzzy images of all my friends and family, and although they sometimes have their own pleasing aesthetic, soft focus is not the direction I want my project to go. So to compensate for this lack of light I have been trying a few work-a-rounds.

A couple of weeks ago I came across a photographer who was using an extreme amount of black in his black and white street photos, and the dramatic feel of them stuck in my head. (His name is Rinzi Ruiz, and he lives and works in L.A. You can see some of his work here on his website, and more on his Flickr stream.) So when I went home a few weeks ago I decided to give this look a try and set my camera on it’s lo-key mode to see what happened.

I like the overall effect, though I’m not sure it would be applicable to my entire project. It is extremely dramatic, and I like the silhouettes and the way that people sort of fade away from a few highlights into the inky backgrounds. I think this image would look great printed large.

When I’m around them during the day, I try to follow my friends outside whenever they go, and sometimes I’ll encourage them out the door just to try to get some decent photos. You would think that getting people’s photo’s in daylight wouldn’t be that hard, but with work and other obligations it’s not all that common to be hanging out until after the sun goes down. We are somewhat people of the night.

I took the color out of this image because it seemed more distracting than anything, but I am still interested in using color for the project and will try more of it in the future. I like that this image is a little less candid and is more directly acknowledging my presence at the time.

I don’t know if these are any of the photo’s that will eventually be used in the final edition of this project. It’s entirely possible that the project will not look anything like either of these, but it is a good place to start. Even if these just turn out to be pieces of my own nostalgia, there are worse things to have made.

-Allen


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