Monday, April 21, 2014

Panchromatic - Mama, don't take my Kodachrome(TM) away

In the early 1970's my father was employed by WEA (Warner Brothers, Electra, and Atlantic) Records in Toronto.  In early April, 1973 he had the opportunity, after work, to tour Columbia Records.  It was my understanding at that time, that Columbia Records, in Canada, pressed the vinyl for WEA.

He arrived home late that evening.  In the morning there was an album on the kitchen table, an album they were pressing the night before.  It was Paul Simon's There Goes Rhythm Simon, an album that was not yet released.  A 14-year old kid that wanted to expand his record collection was surprised and delighted to have what no other kid could get.

The first hit single from the album, Kodachrome, became a huge hit that summer.

Kodachrome goes #1 on the CHUM 30 (July 7, 1973)

Kodachrome film would later become a huge hit with me when I owned my first SLR.  As the song tells us "it gives those nice bright colors".

From my friends I learned that you could push the film ISO from 64 to 80 and get the colours to pop even more.

As a kid that grew up with black and white photographs and black and white TV, colour was very exciting.  I still find it tough to enjoy a modern black and white feature film or a modern black and white photograph.  My usual first question to a black and white image is "can I see the colour version?".

There are always exceptions where black and white has a place and sends a dramatic message.  First exception: The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.  The reasons are obvious.  Second exception... can't think of one.  I'm kidding... there are tons of reasons.  Just don't tell me it gives a "classy look." Rather, I'll take colour pictures for it "makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!".

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shooting Level - Portraits at Precious Pastime Photography

My daughter, Angela, recently had me come over to help her create an updated picture for her About page on her website.

I was immediately sent home to get my camera kit when I showed up empty handed. I guess I figured she had all the right gear.

Seeing me struggle with my new camera (D7100) Angela elected to re-configure it, setting it to manual and setting up the exposure, white balance, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and focusing mode. Then she mounted her primary lens. Angela had never used the D7100 but found it all too familiar with the her other Nikon gear. In addition, she knew her studio lighting conditions.

With some elementary high-level instructions she had me snapping away. In the end I had selected my favourite image from the lot but she elected a different image.

After the session with Angela my grandson came out to investigate and I took the opportunity with the studio set up to get in front of the camera with him and put Angela to work.

In the end Angela and I had discussed these images, among others, talking about camera angles for portrait images. We had recently listen to Peter Hurley discuss this topic in his work. He appears dead against upward portrait shots (can't argue with him there) and he's against downward portraits too.

Reviewing his impressive on-line portfolio I could not find anything but straight-on shots.

I think the slight angle downwards, as with the image of my grandson and me, works very well. However, it has been stated that I'm bias when it comes to images of my grandson.