Wednesday, February 08, 2006


(now with more crunchy faux-Holga goodness!)

Back at it in the coffeehouse. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear pwns your sorry white punk ass. And some days you just don't know what you got till you look at the 100% crops on the monitor.

Don't ask me why, I just like this shot. I almost deleted it cos of the missed focus. Now I'm glad I didn't. Either it looks something like a faux
Holga (sans wonky optical errors from the shitty plastic lens, monster grain noise, light leaks and come to think of it that whole Holga-esque je ne sais quois randomness that you trade off for the massive PITA of processing craptacular 120mm shots from a $15 plastic film body) ... or I'm merely deluding myself that it's worth anything.

I should go ahead and toss it into Flickr's
How Crap Is My Picture? pool and find out.

This is one of about a half dozen mad hot evening baristas in Amante. This kid kinda resembles Keanu Reeves, except for the part where he's a tad more Asian, about twenty years younger, considerably cuter, oh yeah and he has about ten times the brains and tons more personality, too. So come to think of it he really doesn't resemble Keanu much at all, unless you squint a bit and he doesn't open his mouth.

Attempting to do some sort of 'day in the life' deal, on my ride into breakfast I took some shots I thought would turn out faboo of pink morning alpenglow on the snowy Indian Peaks... only to later discover they were an overexposed blown-out white mess. sigh...punk'd again by my complete lack of technical skilz.

I spent most of yesterday deleting captures off the Nikon's compact flash card and certainly missing some fine shots in the process. I'm getting to that 'knows-just-enough-to-be-dangerous' phase, although in my case it's more of 'knows-just-enough-to-throw-herself-under-the-bus'.

I was also tasked with shooting our office building by one of the business partners. I honestly cannot think of a less photogenic subject than our office building, added to which this is quite possibly the worst month of the year to shoot it. Normally shooting photos is a cathartic, zen-like process that I find both meditative and stimulating. However, during this project I vacillated between utter boredom and seething irritation. There is absolutely no angle from which one can shoot this perfectly banal Honda Civic of a building and have it look like anything but a white concrete shoebox. All the vaguely promising angles from the eastern elevation (looking towards the mountains, yo!) suck because that entire half of the building is awash with crap-o-rific toolsheds, storage crates, electrical boxes, shipping containers, chemical tanks, poles, wires, plumbing lines, and any amount of pseudo-industrial manufacturing site shizzle that would take me fifty years plus a hundred times more Photoshop knowhow than I currently posess to deal with. This is the only shot I took that I didn't loathe on sight, tho it did take me over an hour to crop / clone out the front end of the QA director's grey 1996 Camry, a whole new theme in the saga of irritants (uh, yo genius, why dincha just go ask her to move it...?):

Also took some captures of yesterday's sunset because it was the only thing that didn't suck about standing in the parking lot in front of our office building with $1500 worth of camera equipment and no clue. Despite the fact that you really know it's the beginning of the end when you start to shoot sunsets. The clouds were much more amazing than these let on, partly because I was too lame and silly to bust out the tripod and do a real job on it:

playin' with some different exposures here.

then I busted out the wideangle and tried to get a little creative with some different lighting. I really like that Amgen building across the street, particularly during sunset / dusk with all the reflections and the wild greenish lighting from within. Someday when I'm a real photographer (and to erase the bitter memories of the rest of this shoot) I'm gonna go all Architectural Digest on this sucker. It'll help once they get all the construction piddle and cyclone fence cleaned up off the east side.

now where was I before I went off about the building shoot? Oh yeah, the coffeehouse.

Here you are, a study in different Kelvins. This may look heavily postprocessed, but aside from a tiny crop and a one stop exposure comp to rescue a bit of shadow detail, it is untouched, and also exactly sums up what the lighting looks like from within this place. I've been trying unsuccessfully to capture it for weeks. I was highly pleased with this result, although I took about fifty shutter releases to get it, using an impromptu table tripod hacked out of a lens hood, some gloves and a paperback novel. It amuses the other patrons no end to peek at yours truly, a mildly unhinged looking character dressed in
hobbit trousers and those screaming neon 2nd-gen Sidi Dominators, hunched over like some mad scientist at a corner table, futzing around taking random snapshots that don't look like they're aimed at anything in particular.

I don't even want to discuss how many shutter releases it took me to get the aperture, depth of field, colour saturation, white balance and exposure to resemble something I liked on these godsbedamned liquor bottles. I love these bottles. I HATE these bottles. One day I may even take a decent shot of these bottles. For now, this one will have to do.

O right, and having 2 cute baristas doing their thing in the foreground doesn't hurt either. Amante seems to have hired one of every ethnicity. Gotta keep Wonderland Lake's desperate housewife population happy! Last night's shift featured the chirpy Italian lad with the Colgate smile (who happens to be a mountain biker also) and our Asian Keanu-semi-lookalike friend from the first capture up above. This cat's hair has a personality all its own, and mad props to dude for just rolling with the flow and letting it be all badassed with its Al Einstein-esque ways. No, gentle readers, this is not
Guido Hair, it's waaay too style-optional for that. This has that perma-mega-bedhead 'screw it man, I'm too hungover to find a comb' kinda mojo. Rock on dude, college life sure is grand, ain't it?

And when you just can't get it right, and don't have the brains, fortitude (or the right curve adjustment wizardry) to rescue it in post?

Right on, you gots it, when that white balance and saturation gets all up in yo' grill, you just go ahead on and convert that uppity bizzatch to mono! It's how all the hipstahs, trend-friends and the merely-wannabees are rollin' these days:




Blogger Marty said...

Well, you can tell that I'm completely beyond hope, because I shot a sunRISE, and out my bedroom window, no less. Send me a straitjacket!!

Daaaaamn, as usual, I wish I'd been at Amante with you!

Are you around on Friday night?

8:43 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

I ran out of time earlier, but I wanted to say that this posting made me laugh. Many of our assignments result in large quantities of boredom and irritation. :-)

By the way, have you seen Martini's blog today??? That guy is living the phat life.

9:58 AM  
Blogger jdub said...

A highly valuable lesson I learned from my pops concerning photography was this. The difference between a professional and an amateur is this. The pro never shows 95% of their shots. Amateurs will show you everything under their goddamn umbrella.
On that note, I love the first shot. Awe what the hell, the other ones are alright too... For a building, well, thats a tough one. That is one FUGLY building.
The prose, as per usual, is genie! Can't get enough. "Like keanu, but not really, but sorta kinda..."

7:56 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

Hey girl,
check this out...

and I thought YOU were a Campy freak! :-)

4:16 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

You're a clever writer, and I really like your photos. I wish I had your tech knowledge and skills.

10:06 AM  

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