Monday, January 31, 2011

Public Art Perspective

I spent the day at the Burnaby Art Gallery with my grade 6 class, and was inspired by hearing my students talk about meaning in art. As well, they worked on collaborative art using mixed media (including photography!) in small groups which was a wonderful process to observe.
Over the holidays I spent several afternoons wandering around the seawall in the sunshine and came across several pieces of interesting Public Art. I love to photograph public art. It feels like my own little art collaboration in a way. The artist creates interesting pieces, and I get to then come along and look at them from different angles, perspectives, and framing to create something new.
All of these photos were taken with my Olympus Pen F

I have no idea why this near-life size tank model sits in an empty lot next to the Olympic Village, but it's juxtaposition next to the beautiful water and downtown view has a clear message.

These chairs are by a French Canadian artist (I believe). I took a photo of this chair because I love the inscription - "Faire semblant de toujours" or "Make believe to always"... and the cyclical nature of it means that it can be read around and around (you know, like the song that never ends!)
Unfortunately since it was the last frame in the roll, the far edge was cut off (hence the odd shape). 

This giant bird can be found smack dab in the middle of the new Olympic Village. It is so strange to see something that is normally so small and cute, looking so massive and scary. I like the angle on the first picture, but the perspective of the second with the car and real bird flying in the sky.

P.S. Another beautiful day this weekend means that I have 2 new rolls of film waiting to be developed and will be posted soon.
P.P.S. My apologizes to anyone who now has "The Song that Never Ends" stuck in their head.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sun Hat

The combination of the sun reappearing in the sky today (after what seems like a long, gloomy week of rain) and a post on a Photography blog that I read about hats in photos, made me think of this picture that I really like, but I don't know if I ever posted. Taken with my Pentax K1000.
So on this sunny Sunday, a glimpse of summer just for you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


A good frost that lasts throughout the day is a rare sight during the Vancouver winters, and although I hate having to scrape it from my car windshield in the morning, I love the way it looks in the sunshine. I get nostalgic thinking about cold, crisp, winter days growing up in the Rocky Mountains.
Frost on the seawall adds a whole new element of interest! Especially when the temperature from one side of an object to another is enough to melt the frost or not; creating a natural line that is visually quite interesting. I also like the natural blue hue the combination of frost and water gave to the shoreline rocks.
All photos taken with my Olympus Pen F, using expired Polaroid ISO 200 film. No digital altering.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A little help from my friends...

... friends meaning my digital photo enhancing programs. I know, I know! First a digital camera and now photoshop?! (Well photofiltre actually, it's free and it's all I really need). What is this blog coming to?
Well the truth of the matter is, as I learn more about photography, the more my photos have become precious to me. When they don't work out, I have a hard time just letting them go... especially when they are so close to being good. This is where photofiltre comes in. Every once in awhile, some shots just need a little help... a simple "enhance colour" here or "increase contrast" there. Nothing major, just a touch-up. My friend Mandy once reckoned it to being "my digital darkroom". And since (for the time being anyway) I have to leave my developing up to the sometimes-not-so-professionals at the local Drugstore, this gives me back a little bit of control over my creations. And to me, they are just that... my mini pieces of art. I always wished I was better at painting or drawing, well, this has become that outlet for me, and I need that extra creative license sometimes.
These pictures were taken with my Canonet 28, using expired Fuji 200ISO film. I have been experimenting taking indoor shots with the Canonet because it has an attachable flash that syncs properly with the shutter. My lack of luck with being able to properly focus my Canonet gave these shots a sort of eerie feeling, and the expired film left the colour extremely washed out. But with a simple convert to greyscale with photofiltre -voila! Eerie, yet interesting photos - who probably never would have seen the light of the internet had it not been for photo software. Maybe some consider it cheating, I don't care... I consider it another tool in my art belt (and I am determined to stop feeling guilty or like a fraud for it!).
I am most certainly not saying that these are great shots... I just really like them for some reason.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shiver me timbers!

Can't you just feel the cold in these winter park shots? My family and I spent a lot of times lounging indoors over the holidays and decided one day to get the kids and the dogs out to the park for some fresh air and exercise. Well, by the time we all got bundled up, the various strollers, leashes and what-not figured out, the sun had gone away and small flurries had started to blow. But, since we had already put so much effort into getting ready, we persevered.
We did have a good time and laughed about it all when we came home frozen to the bones and covered in snow, but I also got a chance to take some shots in a not-so-favourable lighting... dim and grey. I often shy away from taking photos in this lighting as I find they sometimes come out looking flat. But as with the other challenges I have faced in this photo-adventure, I think I am finally figuring things out!
These shots were taken with my Pentax K1000 and with my Canonet. I was pleasantly surprised to find that several of the shots turned out really great! I am still partial to the Pentax shots over the Canonet, but I figured I would post both anyways. Enjoy :)

Pentax Shots

Canonet Shots 
(I got pretty frustrated out in the cold trying to focus the Canonet - it's not an easy feat, so there are only a few of these)

P.S. I am trying out a new photo size on this post. What do you think? Better size or too big? It's so hard for me to tell on my tiny laptop.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Facing my fears...

Ok, so maybe not a fear so much as an aversion. Low-light photos are a challenge; nighttime shots seem down right impossible to me. But how will I ever learn if I don't try right? This blog is all about experiments, exploration, and experiential learning... so even though it resulted in well over half the shots not turning out, the few shots that did work made it totally worth it! And it gives me just the slightest bit of hope that this is another obstacle that I will eventually overcome. Christmas lights are also a great motivator cause they are so pretty! 
All photos taken with my Pentax K1000

Christmas lights Close-Up

Noah's Arc across the pond

Candy Cane Tree

Sliding Penguins - aka Fun with Shutter Speeds!
The last shot was taken with the lowest shutter speed possible so that I could capture each of the penguins and the water all in one shot even though they only lit up one at a time. Without a tripod, I am amazed that this even worked out! Super cool!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby it's cold outside...

One of the challenges I face is taking pictures in low light; especially indoors. I always struggle with getting the right shutter speed and holding the camera steady enough (cause I don't often pull out the tripod). I have had varied success in the past (here and here), but still shy away from indoor shots. But over the holidays while we were spending a lot of long lazy days inside, I just couldn't help my shutter-finger from snapping a few shots.
Here are a few taken with my Pentax K1000 (who has been neglected in the last few posts). She is my workhorse, old dependable... she never seems to fail. Even with random mystery film, I got some relatively clear, decent shots. I think the warm cozy glow of the Christmas lights help (for the record, there wasn't a lack of lights around my Mother's Christmas Wonderland... she goes ALL out!)

Still to come: shooting Christmas lights, at night, outside! (I know... Shut the front door right?!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Oooh that satisfying click

Since I have been contemplating moving my blog space, I have been holding off on posting, thinking that I would be changing soon and so I might as well just wait until the new blog is set up. Well, I recently got back the roll from my Olympus that I have been trying to finish off since the break, and I am so excited about some of them that I can't wait to post.
When I got back from visiting my family over the winter break, I came back to a Vancouver filled with bright, sunny days and clear, crisp weather. It was time to get back outside and start snapping photos. In a previous post, I shared a few photos taken during those lazy sunny days that were taken with my Canonet 28 and some expired Polaroid brand film.
Well, I have developed the habit of having a few rolls of film on-the-go at the same time in different cameras, and sometimes even venture out armed with more than one of my beloved babies (a heavy habit to carry around for the afternoon, but amazing for learning about my different cameras!). These photos were also taken with expired Polaroid brand film, on the same sunny day, but with my Olympus Pen F instead. The differences in taking photos and in the final results are interesting. My Olympus is so much easier to focus and to adjust and it has such a satisfying click when I take a shot. In this respect, the Canonet pales in comparison to the Olympus. And though the Canonet is unpredictable, from time to time it does turn out a few gems (simply because they are so unique).
Now I usually try not to use photo software, the fact that I am at times using unpredictable films, that I get my photos scanned directly to cd at the local drug store (which takes away any expert colour adjusting in the development process), and that I am still learning, means that from time to time I do like to do a simple "revive colour" with photofiltre. It's like my digital darkroom that gives me a little more control over the creative process. I refrained myself from using any photo software on these (other than cropping them out from their half-frame companions) because I wanted a true comparison between the Olympus and Canonet shots. My own personal library will feature mostly the colour revived versions to compensate for the expired film.
 - it's funny how the thing I loved so much about the expired film on my Canonet is the thing that I feel takes away from the photos on my Olympus.

Also still accepting suggestions for blog space names... cause anything I can possibly think of is already taken - including (just for the fun of it) seriously!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Should I stay or should I go now?

I am considering changing the name of this blog (though it would require me to relocate and leave behind all my previous posts). I feel like I have out-grown this space because it was originally created for me to explore and learn about shooting with my Olympus Pen F. However, since that time I have fallen in love with photography in general and have acquired several cameras (film and digital alike)... so I feel that myolympuspenf.blogspot is limiting, and maybe slightly confusing to new comers.

Taken with my old point & shoot digital
so that I could get in all my cameras!

 Advice? Should I stay here? Should I consider a new more broad space? What should I call it? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Throwing caution to the proverbial wind...

So I was about to give up on my Canonet 28 because of it's lack of manual controls, difficulty in focusing, limited lens, and general unpredictability, until... I got back this roll of film that changed my mind. The ironic thing is that actually by today's photography standards not a single shot in the roll would be considered a "good photograph". But thanks to two of my favourite, inspiring film photography blogs - Dream Camera and Black Eyed Angel, as well as my new found addiction to flickr (with such amazing groups as Grainy, Blurry, Yet Good), I have come to appreciate and love the glitches that come with shooting film; not in spite of the "faults", but rather because of them. This roll from my Canonet 28 is case in point.
Sometime ago, my mother unloaded a whole bag full of film from the fridge at her work because it was simply not going to get used up. It was a mish-mash of film that I am sure had been sitting there for at least 10 years. A few of them were in boxes with expiry dates (averaging around 2007), but others were just rolls in their canisters with no expiration dates to be found. Well, I figured... one of the reasons I love shooting film is because of the element of surprise, expired film is like walking on the wild side, throwing caution to the wind, dancing with the devil! ... ok, maybe I have gone too far there, none the less, I figured... why the hell not.
These are a few of my favourites from that fateful roll. I think the expired film gives them such an "old" feeling. Like I had found a box of long lost photos in the attic that didn't quite make the cut to be put in the family photo albums.

And I am actually kinda proud of my little Canonet 28, she did alright in the end. More from this roll and the holidays to come soon enough...