Photography from Qixotic Imagery

Splits and moves and GoAwayDaddy

Unless you’ve been off the internet for the last month, you are aware of the bad behavior of GoDaddy’s CEO regarding an elephant hunt that he went on in Zimbabwe back in March.  There was, to put it mildly, much controversy over the act and his subsequent rationalization of it.

This blog was hosted by GoDaddy until today.  I was already uncomfortable with the companies ‘sexist’ attitude in their marketing, relying on ‘in your face’ cleavage in a frat party environment.  This recent episode unsealed the deal for me.  I’ve moved this blog, Qixotic Imagery, from GoDaddy to BlueHost and so far I am glad for the change.  The people at BlueHost are helpful when needed and their cPanel application is fairly easy to understand and navigate.

As part of this move, we’ve split our food photography work from here and are hosting it in the Food Photo NYC blog, dedicated to our quest for great tasting and seriously healthy eats.  Please come over there to follow our efforts.  We will be posting photographs and recipes of our journey to healthier eating in an attempt to postpone our own expiration date.  We will also point you towards the wealth of information that we find from our interaction with other healthy food bloggers and dietitians that we are meeting.

The rest of our photographic efforts we will continue to post here.  Such as the blue eyed fur ball at the top, in a photograph by Linda.  This is Serina,  back in 2008 when she was still healthy and had her sight.  She was the runt of her litter, had some health problems throughout her life and about two years ago developed serious asthma for which she was treated with steroids to keep her breathing.  She lost her sight to glaucoma and finally succumbed a few weeks ago, over a year after we thought she was a goner.

We’ll miss her, although our other three cats have gotten used to being the only things of importance in the world.  Oh, wait, they already thought that…they’re cats…


When We Could Stay Up All Night and then All Day…

Color negative converted to digital image with photoshop cs5

This is my friend Kinsgley, as we were back in 1965, looking at the side of St Paul’s Chapel from a window in Schermerhorn Hall at Columbia University in New York City.

He was a student there and his father was on the faculty with an office in Schermerhorn Hall; in a tiny closet with a stone sink, we were allowed to make a small darkroom.  At the time, it was the only such facility available to us and every day after work and after the professor had left for the day, we would be there developing film, making prints and much of the other stuff college age students did when no adults were around.

Kingsley lived nearby on 109th Street but I was living in New Jersey and had to make the trip into the city each time we met to work on photography.  I was working at a variety of non-photography jobs and would go from work to the city, spend the entire night in the darkroom, get home to grab a few hours of sleep and then head to work.  Nights at the darkroom were pretty regular, the jobs…not so…

One morning at sunrise, Kingsley was staring blankly out the window and I was staring blankly into a viewfinder.  I don’t even remember the camera except from the negative size, it was 2 1/4 square format.  I came across the negative while rummaging in the archives.

click for the technical stuff about scanning color negs

Einstein and the Three Sisters

Using the Einstein 640 in a group portrait

While visiting friends in Charlottesville over the Holidays, I shot this portrait of their three daughters.  I’ve taken pictures of the two younger ones before, the most recent for the family’s Holiday card.  But directing three subjects at once requires skills that I am still in need of and it’s even harder when trying to control the lighting, wrestle with the camera and exposure and keep the subjects in frame.  Fortunately for me, the models performed as if they’d done it all before…which, of course, they had. the Einstein part and some technical stuff after the break

Overcoming Reluctance via a Bare Naked Lady

We’ve shot landscape, nature, still life, sports, architecture, interior design, macros, abstracts and portraits.  With the exception of portraits, and sports from a distance, none of these require getting too involved with people.  The portraits that we did were of friends and people that we know, so there was already an element of familiarity and relative comfort.  Our photographer friend, Neal, has been doing a pretty nice job of shooting models and on several occasions we have helped him as studio manager and assistant.

I noticed that I was reluctant to get involved with the actual picture taking which was not in character since I usually dive in with no trepidation.  I had assisted for several fashion photographers in my youth and I was aware of how it worked, but the first time we shot together, and it was my turn to work with the model, I got flummoxed.  It felt like I had no control of the shoot; not the model, not the lights, not composition, not even exposure.  So when Neal set up a second studio shoot with a figure model, I decided that I better take advantage, get over my discomfort and try a couple of ideas.  Sort of ‘deep end of the pool’.

One concept that I wanted to try involved shooting through this patterned piece of glass.  It has been stored and been moved around our place for years and was most recently moved a couple of weeks ago.  As we were carrying it around, we saw its potential and so we brought it down to the studio.  It looked like a dressing room or shower door, so curtains seemed appropriate as a background.  I suggested it to the model and she agreed that it could be an interesting shot.  Big moment.  She dons her ‘costume’ and steps behind the glass.  I start to direct, she responds and we are making pictures!

What changed?  I think it was mostly the fact that I had a shot in mind, a pretty good idea of what was required for the setup, had tested it the day before and the only major challenge this time was interacting with the model.

It’s strange having a nude figure model in the studio.  There she is, an attractive young woman standing starkers on the set and all you are thinking about is how the light should fall on her figure, where the flash units need to be placed, how am I going to trigger them all, does her lipstick complement her hair (it didn’t until post) and how to keep that piece of glass from falling and turning the shoot into a slasher flick.  I know we didn’t get them all right, but enough so that we could sense the competency and make a few interesting shots.

The other concept we had involved green screen again and compositing and will be the subject of a future post.

Technical details and some variations on the theme after the jump