Tuesday, September 29, 2015

These two images were made on film that expired in 2001.  I was hoping to use it to experiment with long exposure, but the scene didn't lend itself to that procedure.  Instead, I used it to be sure the camera I was using was doing what it is supposed to do...it was.  What you cannot see here are the manatees who were swimming near the pier, and sounding ever few minutes with their loud exhalations.  You also cannot hear the guy who was not far away playing his Uilllean Pipes...a wonderful bagpipe sound that's more gentle than the Great Highland Bagpipe.  (Film)

Update.  It seems that Uillean pipes are usually played sitting down, so it must have been something different as the piper was standing.  I discovered that there are 16 varieties of bagpipes in the UK and Ireland alone and about 3 times that many in other countries.  Whichever kind it was, it was very nice to hear. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I have begun to experiment with neutral density filters to learn how to make long exposure photographs.  I don't know what's involved with digital cameras and this technique, but with film it's mostly a lot of careful calculation and consultation with reciprocity failure graphs.  (RF is the falloff of film's sensitivity with extended exposure that is compensated for with still longer exposure which  has to be fairly precise.)   To do this, I'm using my oldest medium format camera, a Mamiya C220.  The reason is that it uses no battery, so exposure can last as long as necessary.  This photograph was only a one second exposure, but I used a fast film (ISO 400) so couldn't extend the time given the brightness of the scene.  I'm learning.  More to come!  (Film, of course!)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

It rained the day before I made these photographs, but the sky remained sullen.  The ocean was also in a terrible mood hurling itself on the beach in a tantrum.  Not to be upstaged, the wind whipped water into froth and sand into stinging splatter. I kept forgetting to turn my peaked cap around when facing the wind so off it would go. I quickly developed Medusa hair chasing it.  It's also true that eyeglasses and camera lenses are inclined to attract vapor (thankfully, the camera ones have clear, protective filters). With all the cap chasing and glass cleaning, it's a wonder I had a moment to make a photograph.

The air was on the cusp of feeling cool, and on such a day at this particular state park, I was reminded of Cape Cod. It's the Atlantic Ocean's seashore in both places, and the dunes and flora are not too distant in character. In Florida, though, if I fail to dodge an aggressive wave, my toes don't suffer frostbite.  (Film)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's rare that I turn my camera on its side for a portrait view, but every now and then it seems to be a good idea.  I took this photograph a while ago, and only found it interesting enough to work with  today.  So, I'm posting it months after the fact.  But, if I said it had been taken today, it would be nearly impossible to prove otherwise! lol   (Film)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I always try to develop film on the same day I expose it, but sometimes I don't finish the roll then.  When I do, it often holds pictures made in another place at a later time..  This photograph was taken on September 14th, but developed yesterday.   It's a view from a bluff at Big Talbot Island SP that used to have a wooden stairway to the beach below.  But, the storms that caused the scores of trees on the beach to fall also destroyed the stairway.  Now, people walk around a fence intended to keep them back from the edge and clamber down a steep embankment.  I did walk around the fence, but did not descend to the beach.  (Film)

Friday, September 18, 2015

There is a beautiful area on the coast that's new to me, Hanna Park.  It's fee based (as are all the SPs in this area I think), but it's worth it.  There are 20 miles of trails to hike or mountain bike though that mileage is achieved by a lot of switchbacking loops.  It's also right beside Mayport Naval Base that is home to aircraft carrier sized ships and a Naval Air Station.  Had I turned my camera 90 degrees to the left, the ocean view would have included a warship heading out to sea.  I'll be back for more as soon as the weather becomes less rainy.  (Film)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

As I've mentioned before, this is a blog where photographs are posted more or less when they are made.  A web site is where only carefully curated work should be on view.  The point is that I may post photographs here of the same subjects that will be different, but not necessarily better.  It's a kind of visual journal that will be wearing a tuxedo one day, and a tee shirt the next.

Relying on clouds to make a pictures sing is pretty safe, but not very adventurous.  Here are two from Pumpkin Point that don't have clouds.  Maybe at another time, the water will be dead calm and clouds will be reflected in it, but that was not the case for these two.  Still, I like them for other reasons.(Film)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Other than the ocean beaches, the most fertile places for photographs around here are the tidal salt marshes to the north of where I live.  These two photographs were taken two weeks apart as of yesterday, Sunday, September 13th.  The top one is from the boat launch area at Cedar Creek Preserve which I've posted scenes from earlier.  The lower one is from a brand new boardwalk at Big Talbot Island SP.  What would we do here without those marvelous clouds!   (Film)

Friday, September 11, 2015

In 2001, I was spending a lot of time in NYC living with a woman friend.  On the Saturday following that horrific Tuesday, September 11th, we walked downtown into an area by the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue and 25th Street.  The walls were covered with messages, the sidewalk with candles and flowers everywhere.  I look at the pictures I took there every year.  They get to me as deeply now as they did when all this happened.  Here is one I've posted before.  There are several others I posted in 2011 if you want to scroll back to that year.  (Film)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The last two posts here have felt a little strange as they have emerged as a kind of time capsule...photographs from New York taken years ago.  This, photograph, however is once again from a nearby marsh; Dutton Island Preserve taken a few weeks ago.  I think I will have my darkroom ready to use in a few weeks to a month, and I'm really eager to print this series of tidal salt marsh images as well as a large backlog of photographs I've made since moving here.  Can't wait!  (Film)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I continue to find rolls of exposed film that have been stowed away in boxes I'm now unpacking,  Stupidly, I hadn't written anything on the paper that wraps the film, so I had no idea what I would find when developed.  I souped two such rolls last night, and still couldn't figure out when or where they were taken as I looked at them.  One roll was truly bizarre in a way that made me doubt I had anything to do with what was on it...strange patterns and shapes I didn't recognize at all.  But, the other roll was vaguely familiar and the two images below were the best of the ten.  (Film)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

We've lived in Florida for the past two years.  Only now have I been unpacking boxes to clear the room that will be wet darkroom in a month or so.  In one jumbled pile of stuff that must have been dumped from a drawer, I found a roll of exposed film that was unlabeled, so I developed it last night.  Below, is one of the four images it held.  I think I remember where I took this, and I remember it fondly...a little park a few miles from my NY home that was a memorial to a departed child.  Odd to be posting 'ice' in early September here with a predicted high of 90 degrees.  (Film)

Friday, August 28, 2015

In a way, it might be a better idea to wait until I've accumulated a lot of photographs from the marshes rather than post them right away.   But, as this is a blog that doesn't allow self-curated image groups the way a website does, it'll have to do.  Obviously, what I'm happy with today might be totally eclipsed by what I find next week, but so be it.  I'll just post the 'better' work when and if I make it.

This is again from Pumpkin Point.  As you can see, the tide was out, and the mud was just 'puddle wonderful' (e e cummngs).  Framed by leafy branches and ubiquitous Spanish moss, the marsh was still;  the silence broken only by egrets scolding each other over fishing rights!.  (Film)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I've been utterly seduced by the marsh at Cedar Creek.  I could return endlessly and find nuanced variations of photographs I've already taken over and over again.  I'll try not to indulge that impulse.  Here's one from yesterday.  (Film)

Update:  I posted an earlier version of this with a wider view that included part of some trees on the right, but all of the cloud on the right.  This is a revision without the trees.  I can live without the entire cloud.   This way also keeps the eye more centered which, I think, is better. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I was happy to find this tree though I didn't expect to find anything at all in the parking area at Pumpkin Hill.  My interest was in the marsh, but this skeletal relic got to me right away.  What is hard to see is the hawk on a branch in the upper left.  He just stayed perched with barely a twitch the entire time I watched.  But....at least I know he was there, and now so do you!  ;-)  (Film)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

I'm beginning to be aware of an attraction to the marshes here that I never expected would occur.  That impetus arises from visiting them frequently.  Between tidal fluctuations, and the glorious parade of clouds, there is a lot to savor that is constantly in transition.  Here are two more from Cedar Creek Preserve.  The first is titled "Six Posts, One Buzard".   The critter ignored me utterly, and I was much closer to him than the way this appears as I was using a very wide angle lens.  But his quarry was no mystery...the smell was not subtle!  (Film)

I've decided to post an alternate version of the 'lonely trees' picture of my previous post.  I absolutely cannot make a firm decision either about which is better or which I prefer.  I think it may be this take, but I'm not sure.  If you want to comment, please do. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I've started to get somewhat 'lucky' with places to photograph.  The luck stems from exploring the scenically fertile northern and eastern part of Jacksonville. Although pancake flat, isolated trees and meandering waterways in the tidal salt-marshes are visually interesting.  The sky, too, is often just as important as anything on land with  mid-day and afternoon clouds being very compelling photographic elements.   (Film)

Monday, August 3, 2015

In this part of northeastern Florida, cloud forms can be compelling.  As the terrain is so flat, they hold one's interest the way hills and mountains do elsewhere.   Tidal salt marshes really need their help except when the tide is out and what's in the mud is the subject (not too often!).   Yesterday, the sky was roiling and I found these two subjects.  Not long after, rain brought an end to my camera time.   (Film)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Yes, this is the ocean, but sand bar barriers block the surf.  The water here is often this calm except when coaxed by the wind to be more active.   Some would say this has no center of interest, and they'd be correct in a way, but they'd be missing the point.  A view like this IS a center of interest that lures countless multitudes to sit on the beach and let go of all stress while staring at it.  (Film)

This photograph, taken at the same location (Big Talbot Island SP),  has an obvious center of interest.  What you can't see nearby are the scores of fallen trees that litter the sand.  This little guy got separated from the rest of his bones.   (Film)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It's interesting to remember how rarely I used to use my wide angle lenses. Then, my favorite focal length for the Pentax 67 medium format camera was the 135mm.  That has changed dramatically!!  Most of the photographs I take now are with the wide angle 55mm and still wider angle 45mm lenses.  Capturing the flat landscape and the eternal vista of ocean and sky requires a different perspective than my long favored short telephoto.  Here are a few examples, some of which have been posted before, but not in a group representing a theme....a major drawback of a blog vs a website, but there it is.   (All are film)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Many of the places I visit with a camera don't change much until there's a new season.  Yes, light varies during the day, as do clouds and weather, but those changes don't necessarily invite a photograph.  A tidal salt marsh is much more active.  There's less wind on the water, so it's often reflective.  The mud at low tide is filled with detail.  As the water ebbs and flows, it creates its own patterns.  There are myriads of gorgeous birds who are at home there. Plus, the light, clouds and weather are just as varied as anywhere else.  So it's not surprising that I will frequently return to certain places in search of the interplay of those elements.  Here's a pier and gazebo that are often the hang of fishermen and crabbers.  Though this shot is moody, the place is attractive in nearly any light.  You'll likely see it again here.   (Film)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photographing the ocean and beaches can be challenging.  It's easy to make dippy, drippy sunrise and sunset shots....most execrable and treacly in color....but harder to evoke more refined emotions.  Two photographers I admire a lot do it very well....Robert Adams: mostly the beaches and ocean views near where he lives in Oregon, and Chip Hooper: mostly the California coast with excursions to other seasides.  Nothing I've done so far is on their level, but I'm trying.  I took this image because of the marvelous, wispy cloud, and the scale of the sky and ocean's vastness against the human's tiny presence.  (Film)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Here's one more from Friday's trip to Dutton Island Preserve.  There seem to be no end to the variations of sky, tide, and light.  This place really is an island in the middle of a tidal salt marsh. In fact, this photograph and the top of the previous two were taken on the little bridge that connects it to the mainland.  The vast marshland here sits between the ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway.   (Film)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Having found this wonderful island preserve, I will continue to visit it when the tide time, and sky offer variety as will often be the case.   It's only about a half hour away or less, and easy to get to.  For those who care about such things, this was taken using a deep yellow filter (Wratten #15), and a Cokin GND (graduated neutral density square glass filter that slides into a holder that attaches to the lens.).  The deep yellow holds back the blue sky without the surreal look of a red #25 filter, but still offers drama.  The GND reduces the light in the brightest part of the scene so that the film (or sensor too, I guess for a digicam) can register all the values.    (Film)

Monday, July 13, 2015

I was looking at thumbnails of my photographs when I came across this one.  I've no idea why I didn't post it or even consider it for tweaking.  It was taken at the 'boneyard beach' on Jekyl Island where the remains of scores of fallen trees litter the sand for hundreds of yards.  I've posted other photographs from there earlier on this blog, but not this one.   (Film)

Friday, July 10, 2015

I've wanted to photograph lily pads for years, but never found an arrangement that 'worked'.  This sorta does, but not so much for the plants themselves.  I liked the design they presented in front of the wooden walkway that rimmed the little park on the St. John's River beside a small marina.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I've been starved for settings that would inspire photographs, and yesterday I found one not far from home.  It's the Dutton Island Preserve and it's a gem.  Despite the ubiquity of salt marshes here, they're not easy to access.  Most are curtained from view by private homes, and the rampant shrubbery that borders most roads.  So, finding this little oasis was a real treat.  And, because salt marshes are tidal, the view can be infinitely varied depending on when one visits.  (Film)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The loblolly bay is a tree I'd never encountered in the northeast.  It has a chalky white textured bark and sports a white blossom in this season.  The trouble is that, rather than have the blooms all emerge at once, the tree doles them out one or two at a time.  There is one here, but it's much harder to see in this photograph than it was in 'reality'.  At least there was a subtle difference in value between the leaves and the other foliage which I exaggerated as much as I could making this print.  (Film)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I try very hard to find 'diamonds in my own backyard'.  It isn't easy here.  I had the idea for this photograph a while ago, and then saw someone else do something similar (hey....it's all been done at one time or another by somebody!), so I decided to claim my version in my own backyard.  For those who know something about cameras, a light leak is a bad, bad thing.  It means a seal is compromised in some way, and light hits the film or sensor that isn't supposed to.  I thought titling this "Light Leak" was appropriate.  That fence just ain't gettin it done.!  ;-)   (Film)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The word 'clabbered' is new to me.  It means mottled, and in this case it refers to a buttermilk sky.  I wasn't even exactly sure what a buttermilk sky was until I saw this and figured it must be one.  As I've noted, the sky here can offer an endless display of interesting cloud forms except on the all too often boringly bright, clear, blue, cloudless days. Florida is not called the sunshine state without reason.  I prefer clouds!  (Film)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I got to the beach earlier this morning than I did a few days ago.  The sky brightened gradually until sun-up and then at a faster pace.  When watching it rise close to the horizon, its surprising how quickly it moves away from the 'edge' of the ocean.  That people thought the earth was flat is easy to understand, but when, instead, one realizes that that speed is the planet's rotation, it's quite astonishing.  (Film)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Photographing directly into the sun is a dicey proposition.  It's likely that there will be flare, glare, and lens artifacts.  Exposure, too, is problematic as there is no light source that's brighter.  To get other parts of a scene to render their normal values is beyond the reach of 10 zones.  So, it seemed a good idea to not even attempt a photograph with a large tonal range, but instead to try something more limited and dramatic.  This was photographed at about 6:45 AM on Jacksonville beach.  (Film)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Other than the Atlantic ocean and its shore, the natural environment of Florida is utterly alien to what I lived with until two years ago.  In the Hudson Valley, you could swing a cat once and find 360 likely images.  Here...not at all, except for a very angry cat.  The forests, if you can call them that, are really jungles cluttered with an ocean of palmettos and a sea of impenetrable low lying plants.   So, I have to look elsewhere.  That search has expanded my appreciation for subjects I might not have stopped for in the past.  (Film)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I rarely if ever include people in my pictures.  While photographing this view, the fisherman walked by and I asked him to stop.  I was surprised that he did, and didn't waste his time.  I took this picture immediately and thanked him.  I had more luck than he did, I think!  I may do more of this sort of thing!  lol   (Film)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

At some of the ocean front parks here, there are rather long walks through the dunes and sea oats to get to the water.  The paths are clearly marked and there are sections with boardwalks and railings.  As in all the parks, walking on the dunes is either prohibited or discouraged.  Thus, they retain the plantings that hold the sand in place, and provide seclusion for nesting birds and wildlife.  This photograph was taken from a boardwalk on Little Talbot Island at the very southern end near the mouth of the St. John's River.  (Film)