Sunday, August 17, 2014

Rust Never Sleeps


I remember buying the Neil Young album "Rust Never Sleeps" and never really thinking much about the meaning behind the title until I was reviewing my shoots from this year.  For me, the title applies to both my artistic endeavors and technical skills. My infrequent shoots created by my diminished desire to create something different has also caused me doubt when using my speed lights. If you review my images since the beginning of this year you'll notice that a majority of them were either shot using  Available Light, or Natural Light which brings me to my latest shoot.


I messaged one of my new Instagram followers to see if she was interested in helping me out scrape the rust off of my skills; she agreed.  It turned out that her family, including her, babysat my co-worker's 4 year-old son since he was a baby.


The town she lives in accounts for 55% of all Roses grown in the United States, so my first thought was to shoot among the Roses.  I wanted to shoot early so I could use my speed lights, but just in case it was too bright I also packed my Alien Bee 1600.


On the early drive into town, I noticed that the roses were no more than 2 feet high, which really didn't fit my theme.  So we drove to the local AMTRAK station and as we parked we encountered a fair amount of vagrants. We left the parking in search for another locale.


We shot at four locations all within a block of each other.  On some images I used an SB-900 in an Apollo Orb, other images I used a 4' x 6' 1-Stop Scrim and others was either direct sunlight, or reflected sunlight.


The next four images below were shot with my Nikon D700 dSLR and with my Nikon F5 film camera loaded with Ilford XP2 Super 400.


Erika on Film 1


Erika on Film 5

As we were packing up add heading back to our cars, I noticed a gently-used clothing store and had Erika ask the owner if we could shoot inside.  


After arriving home and reviewing the images I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  It was a casual shoot with the simple premise of "Shooting for Fun."  No expectations, no preconcieved ideas, aside from the Rose theme, and be spontaneous.


Erika was very patient and took direction extremely well. She also did her own make-up, which is always a plus when I choose a model for collaborative shoots.



The "rust" may not be gone, but at least it slowed down for a bit on this particular day.

Roses are Red, Violet is Blue


It's been over a year since I've had the opportunity to shoot with my friend Rob. Recently, Rob invited me to tag along on a shoot with a local Hair and Make-up Model, Melissa "Violet". Usually I don't shoot during the week, but I recently purchased 5 rolls of Lomography CINE200 35mm film and wanted to test it out. CINE200 is cutdown Tungsten movie film packaged for 35mm camera use similar to the CineStill 400T film I shot last year. Taking Rob up on his offer to shoot Melissa gave me the opportunity to shoot both rolls of Tungsten film and compare the nuances of both brands.


I met up with Rob and Melissa at 6:30 and loaded a roll of CineStill 400T shot at 200 ISO. With the sun setting, I figured it would help balance the Tungsten Film. We moved pretty quickly and I shot through 36 exposures within an hour. For me, shooting film is a more thoughtful process than shooting digital, mostly because of the Picture Preview capabilities with digital cameras. Film makes me pause and consider composition, shadows, poses and the color palette of the surroundings.


I then loaded the roll of CINE200, shot at 100 ISO, and shot for about 40 minutes. I rewound the film and opened the back of the camera, only to close it quickly when I realized the film was still on the take-up reel. After closing the back and rewinding the film, it was still on the take-up reel. Similar to the big fish that got away, I'm sure "that" roll had the best images. After several attempts to rewind the film, I pulled the roll out and threw it on the ground.

I then loaded a roll of Portra 160 and shot for another 40 minutes with no issues when rewinding that roll of film. (The two images below are Portra 160)



The following weekend, I jumped on the Vespa, loaded up another roll of CINE200 in the F5 and shot around downtown Bakersfield. (The following 4 images are CINE200)





I had both rolls developed at the local Walgreens and after viewing the images, I wasn't impressed, but after viewing my buddy Rob's images I think I need to be patient and have an actual "film lab" develop the images.

What Did I Learn?
  • With respect to shooting both Tungsten Films, nothing really and I'll chalk up the CINE200 incident as a fluke since it didn't happen to Rob or me on my second attempt.
  • Pay for a real film lab to develop your film, the One Hour places are very little Quality Control.
Last, but not least an Outtake from the shoot with Melissa Violet
Dance: Outtake
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