Monday, May 31, 2010

I Madonnari - 2010

Okay, I figured out how to put together my stop motion/time lapse video. It was a bit of work, but that was because I was learning as I went along. I thought I'd share a bit about the process.

First, you need a digital camera has a built-in intervalometer, or can be attached to an external one. Review how use the intervalometer, something I didn't do. On my first try at this, I'd set the camera to take 9 photos per second, essentially shooting in burst mode. This exceeded how fast the camera could write to my CF card and gave me my desired 300 shots in less than a minute.

We learn from our mistakes, and I learned to set the intervalometer to shoot accordingly. One shot every 5 seconds for twenty-five minutes. That got me to the 300 shots I wanted.

Some things to keep in mind when doing this:

1. Make sure you have a full battery and a back-up battery.
2. Make sure you have a memory card big enough to hold the data.
3. Shoot in Jpeg mode (I discovered that I can probably shoot in Jpeg medium).
4. After you've set your exposure, you want to leave the camera in manual mode to keep the exposure consistent.
5. Turn off the rear LCD display while you're doing this to extend battery life.
6. Have a good location and the time to do this. I needed about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time.

When all is said and done, pull your memory card from your camera and set your camera back to your normal shooting settings.

You're going to want to put the photos from your shoot in its own folder on your computer (more on that below).

It's important that you try to nail down your exposure as much as possible in the camera so you don't have to do it in post. You're trying to have as consistent a look to the photos over the length of time you're shooting. I know lighting changes, so that's a big challenge.

Once you're back safely behind your computer you can download your images. As I mentioned before, put your images in their own folder. This will make your life much easier. Keep everything together for any post processing, and for creating the stop motion/time lapse video.

I used QuickTime Pro to this. This meant upgrading, but that's a simple matter. An upgrade is essentially getting a key from Apple to unlock all the capabilities of the QuickTime Player (make sure your software is up-to-date).

Using QuickTime Pro the next step is to "Open Image Sequence" found under the file option. Set your frame rate. I decided on 10 Frames Per Second (FPS) - it makes the math easy, and was what I was after to begin with. Click on the first image in the folder you made for this. The program will then add every image in that folder (now you see another reason you want your sequence of images in their own folder).

Now you can watch what you've shot as a time lapse movie. Cool. Next step save this file. It will save as a .mov file.

In my little video you'll notice titles and music. That was added by using a program called Proshow Gold from Photodex. Note: I made the music first using a program called Mixcraft from Acoustica and added it to my Proshow project.

Proshow Gold and Mixcraft are PC programs. If you're using a Mac, you'd probably want to use iMovie and GarageBand to put your time lapse video together.

Ok. That's everything I could think of off the top of my head.

Oh, except time. You need to set aside a few hours for a project like this... shooting, and post.

Have fun...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday Afternoon

What a difference a day makes. I Madonnari is in full swing, and as you can see the crowds are out. As busy as it looks, I've seen in much more crowded.

It was a simple matter to find a place to park, and to walk around without being pushed or bumped.

As always, there's some interesting artwork. I'll have to make it back and see how things are progressing, or what they look like when they're done.

The finished artwork only has a life expectancy of a few days, as cars park here. In a week most of it will be just colorful dust.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sunset Mist

Photography is about capturing light.

A lot of times you end up having to work with the light you've got, but if you have the time, waiting for late afternoon light will make a world of difference.

Waiting around isn't the best use of your time. A better approach is planning out your shooting times. Early morning and late afternoon is prime time. If you can, this is when you want to be out with your camera.

Of course, depending on the distance to your shooting location, you need to factor in travel time, weather conditions, time of year, position of the sun, and when/where the sun will rise and set.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn't The internet makes getting all of this information a lot easier. You make a little check list, fill in the information and you're done.

Also, if you shoot a lot in close proximity to where you live, you just start to know this stuff. Why? Because you start to pay attention to it. And that really makes your life easier.

It's great to be able to anticipate the lighting conditions and know what location you want to be in to take full advantage of it.

Good light, a camera and some luck can go a long way.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Before the crowds

I made a stop my the Mission to scout it out... Nice and peaceful, it sure won't be like this for the next three days... It will be a madhouse.

I'm toying with the idea of doing some time lapse photography and making a quicktime video out of that.... It could be interesting. We'll see.

Got any other ideas?

His mind was like a wasteland, a place he'd roam for hours in search of something he could articulate...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Madonnari

It's that time of year again, and I'm trying to work up the energy to attend this event. Every year it gets just a little harder. This year should be interesting, as I don't live in town anymore and can't walk to the event....

When you were mine

I've been limiting my color palette lately. I think if used on the right image, it enhances the narrative.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I've been mixing things up... When you've got thousands of images, it's easy to get bored and just want to delete the lot of them.

The goal for me is to learn and try new things. It's a process about discovery. It's a journey.

Aperture, DOF, shutter speed.... sure, they're important, but those are just based on math and the mechanics of the equipment.

Practice and experimentation.... that's how we transcend the mundane mechanics.... and the making pictures by the numbers mentality...


You'd better hurry up

I find the interior of these vintage automobiles just as interesting as the exteriors, though much more difficult to photograph.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

narrow streets of cobblestone

I've had too much time off work lately. Trust me, it's not a good thing. For one I'm not getting paid, and two, it gives me too much time to think.

The reason for all the time of is due to the recession, of course. It's a knee jerk reaction by management that hasn't got a clue on how to handle an economic downturn as severe as the one we're in now.

Thinking that you can "ride this thing out" and/or "it's just a matter of time until things get back to the way they used to be" is simply foolish at best.

Current economic indicators show that we could be headed for a double dip recession at best, or an economic depression.

International tensions are heating up, and I think what we're seeing now is mild compared to where things might end up.

We've seen what scarcity drives humanity towards. It's not pretty. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Back to the current situation. New solutions are in order. It's a different world, we need to adapt or suffer the consequences.

What does this mean? It means do things differently! We know what we've done before hasn't worked. I mean, what do you think got us into this mess?

Step back, reevaluate, and then, move forward. Don't waste this opportunity.

The question is, will the movers and shakers listen? I doubt it...

Ready to Cruise

Sometimes, when you need it most, you get good light...

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm flying

Changing up your DOF can produce some interesting results.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Liquidation Sale

When words and deeds don't match up you tend to notice. The same came be said of the news, and what is actually going on in the world. As the saying goes, "you gonna believe me, or your lying eyes?"

I'll go with my eyes...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Presented in digital

It's a changing world out there.... Everything we do is becoming digital, and it is by no means anything to be afraid of. We will, however, need to build and maintain a better infrastructure in tandem with this change.

Our current infrastructure will not be able to support a growing digital world, one that consumes more and more power.

This is the challenge of the day, made all the more difficult given the collapsing economy and fractured political environment of the times.

We need clear thinking on this, and we don't have it. At least not right now. It's a shame, as some well thought out, long term planning in this area will make all the difference in the world in the kind of future we build.

I'm afraid we're being neither penny wise and pound foolish in governing ourselves, or our kid's future. We're out in the wilderness, with no direction home.

These times are presenting us with challenges that we need to overcome, and opportunities we need to seize.

Are we up to the task?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fruit Stand

You don't have to go far to find inspiration. Images are all around you, just waiting to be captured. Just carry around a camera and free your mind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hood Down

It didn't stay overcast as long as I had hoped, but shooting a recent car show proved to be a rewarding challenge. It was just a matter of working with the light I had at the time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mighty Once Was

Mighty once was the State of California, or is that just legend?

The State has failed in its duties for decades and it shows in everything from the crumbling infrastructure to the failing education system.

We've become a nanny state bent on control, rather than good governance and we now suffer from the consequences.

"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, May 17, 2010

Love takes chances

I guess anything worthwhile requires us to take chances.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Got up and went

I'm happy to say that the car show was a big success. The day started out overcast, which is great for these type of events. Helps to control the light.

I was surprised by the turn out... There must have been five or six blocks filled with cars. Much more than usual. Given that half the stores on State Street have closed their doors, this event brought out a lot of people and gave them something to do that didn't cost anything....

Now, I've got to get busy and process all these images...

Hood Ornament

I'm going to try again with the car show. Leave it to me not to read the schedule correctly. The actual judging is today, yesterday they just had a street cruise which I missed.

The cars will be parked, so I should be able to get some shots. It's overcast, which is great for this type of event, as there won't be a bunch of glaring sun on the cars.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Street Ride

I haven't been to a car show in ages. Rumor has it that there's one today, so with any luck and good lighting, I just might be able to get some shots.

It should be interesting now that half of downtown is boarded up due to the recession. That should provide a stark background.

Update: 5/15/2010 - 2:30 pm: Just got back from downtown, and no car show! Not sure what gives... The website says that it was today, but nothing....

Friday, May 14, 2010

No worries here

Getting out and lost in the moment is a perfect way to enjoy the day...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Capturing the Action

When the great recession hit, the bottom fell out of my micro-stock sales. It wasn't a gradual thing, no, it was as sudden as driving off a cliff.

My sales fell to nearly nothing. During the subsequent year there have been some sales, but nothing to write home about.

There are no indications that things will get back to the way they were.

The market has changed... It's a different world, and we've got to adapt.

I completely stopped putting any effort into micro-stock. I haven't submitted an image in over a year. That doesn't mean I've given up on photography... I love it, and have just used different venues, mainly flickr, to share images.

Lately I've been thinking about slowly getting back into micro-stock. One reason is because I'm finding myself with more time on my hands due to unpaid furloughs at work, and the other is that I like the forced discipline. Setting goals, and pushing towards them. I know it sounds strange, but that's how I roll.

So, now I've got to get some fresh images (or inventory as I call them) and get back into the game.

Sunset Shots

I recently sat through a Juried Exhibition that was just short of brutal. The purpose of this event is to get constructive criticism to help photographers improve their images.

There was plenty of criticism from one particular judge who was on top of his game when it came to nastiness. It wasn't that the criticism wasn't warranted, it was and the comments were valid.

The problem was with the delivery of the criticism. I feel that you don't want to put people on the defensive, but at the same time flaws need to be pointed out.

I don't advocate treating people like children. This is a delicate situation that needs to be handled with some tact.

What was missing was the tact. I'm not sure how you handle a situation like this, but hopefully an isolated incident won't take the fun and sense of purpose out of a club dedicated to photographic endeavors.

Get up and go

Sometimes you just have to force yourself to be motivated. Fighting crowds and traffic isn't fun, but the payoff is in the results...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

'Till we meet again

I wasn't sure what you'd said when you left... I'm sure your return will make everything clear...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Window Blue

I took advantage of a recent afternoon off and went on a little road trip to test out my GPS unit. It worked perfectly, correctly tagging images from even the most remote locations. Nice.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fosters Freeze

Another recession casualty. We stopped by to have some lunch, and everything seemed fine, that is until we parked the car and took a closer look.

The menus were still hanging, but the dust on the counter told a different story. This place has been closed for a while.

It was strange. The napkin holders, cups, straws and condiments were still in place on the counter. It was as if you could place an order and wait for your meal, though there was only one table left on the inside and most of the posters advertising the specials of the month had fallen off the walls and were laying on a dusty floor.

Like a scene from a sci-fi movie, all the people were gone, leaving most everything in its place. The monster this time was the recession, and it has sucked the life out of this place.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The new big thing

If this is the latest thing.... We've had enough... 'tis best we hope for that which we see not, and with patience wait for it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I thought so

I took some time off the grid and the troubles of the world quickly melted away. When I came back, our woes had gotten worse.

It's obvious from the outside.... All is right with the world, and our troubles are of our own making...

We're broken.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sailing Groovy

The boats are out racing again bringing with them the carefree reminders of Summer days.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Out of commission

Hard to believe an organization doesn't take proper precautions to protect itself. .

-- Post From My iPhone

Update: After nearly four hours, I'm back in action. What a way to run an outfit.... It's true what they say about government. Be afraid, very afraid!

Elvis is everywhere

It's starting to feel like Summer. That rain has stopped and people are coming out to enjoy the warmer weather. Time to get the camera clicking...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Breeze Catcher

She stood alone, reminding us of an earlier time...

Monday, May 3, 2010

I just can't stay

What am I doing here?

I should be racing down an empty desert highway at 100 mph playing Ballad of a Thin Man....

Not stopping until I run out of gas, never turning down the music until my ears bleed...

'cause something is happening here, but I really don't care what it is...

Do you?

On Holiday

A place where common sense seems to have gone...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just walk away

I haven't done any street photography in a while, so I went out and did just that. What amazed me was the lack of life on the streets. It was odd, there were so few people around.

The weather wasn't bad, so the only explanation that I could think of was all the closed stores and the bad economy (one in the same really) have sucked the life out of things.

To me, street photography needs to tell a story and it sure did.

"The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’" - Bob Dylan

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Palm Reading

Hmmmm.... Advice on all matters.... Let's see... What should we do with the crooks that got us into this mess? I guess that as long as there's greed in the world, we're bound to repeat our mistakes.

Just can't stop

Hard to believe that the I Maddonari is only about 3 weeks away. Not sure I'll shoot it this year...