Monday, September 22, 2008

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

So I haven't been adding new posts because my laptop is being repaired. I had a really awful couple of days last week. I spent $10 on laundry only to find out it was all still wet (mind you i only have enough clothes for one load). After getting home, I found that my laptop stopped working. Then my alarm was unplugged and I didnt wake up until 7:50 (which is enough time to get there.. IF i had a ride.) My roommates left me there and didnt even check that I was awake or not, because they thought I left earlier. SOOO. The part on my laptop that went out was the logic board, it costs like $900 HOWEVER!! they are only charging me $280 to fix everything wrong with it entirely (which is a lot more than $900)

Good things come in interesting packages i suppose, I will have a refurbished laptop and all my data is safe and secure. No images for now. Sorry... :(

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Shooting (for fun - in the rain)

So we got bored for a bit this weekend. Went grocery shopping, got a lot of food. Went out in the rain with cameras and flashes. Not a whole lot to say, but I wanted to post some rain/night shoot images.

.. and of course there's always more at my photobucket

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Friday, September 12, 2008


At this moment, I am sitting in a "book mill." It is actually what used to be the Montague Mill. It is now a small bit of stores. This is a used book store. They don't really have many books, none of the ones I wanted to pick up. I just ate Thai food at the cafe next door. It wasn't really strict Thai though, my roommate got a curry chicken sandwich and I got "udon." Im guessing it was Thai udon. Thin regular noodles served cold with peanuts and ginger everywhere. It was the best thing that I've eaten in this state. It was incredible. I should have taken a picture of it, it was also presented nicely. There is a running river right next to the building, and I did snap a couple of that. I will edit this post later tonight and add the image in. It really is beautiful and it makes me feel so calm being here.

Yesterday I borrowed my roommate's car and drove down to a mall closer to springfield. I picked up a couple of books and got lost. It was hands down the biggest mall I have ever seen. Its like they saved all of the civilization from the entire state, just for this mall.

We get our film back from processing sometime next week. After that I might have to submit it before scanning and wait for it to be graded or whatever they want to do with it before I can scan it and post. They are positives and they are 6x4.5 so you can just hold them up to the light, no prints are really needed. I also got to use a canon 5D today on assignment. They let us use 1 camera for 2 people and told us "you have an hour to get 15 high quality pictures each using various shutter speeds, apertures and ISO speeds. Have fun" Which meant 1 picture every 2 minutes. I took 43 pictures total (same picture different angles).

Later tonight I am going with a group of friends to get out of Turners Falls to eat tofu for dinner. I figure its a good note to end the week on, Thai food and Tofu. Mmmm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Assignment(s) and Internet

So, I just got home from our first assignments. We spent a day in "Historical Deerfield" taking specific pictures that are suppose to show how well we can use lighting. It was a good amount of people's first time with a SLR camera. I'm interested in seeing how well other people's photos came out. I know mine are going to come out well, and not because I'm cocky or arrogant, (which I am for the time being) but instead because of everything I went through to get them to be good photos. I waded through a river with about 20 pounds of gear that can't get wet. I walked across algae covered, fallen trees which made bridges for me, and I think compositionally I did well also. I can't wait to see the prints, unfortunately I won't able to post them for some time after that, when I get them scanned. So, my first two rolls of 120mm film is happily developing right now. I am still covered in mud and I'm a little damp still and I'm really really sore. School tomorrow at 8!! "personal development class" I get to have existing work critiqued. Hopefully I can get some prints tonight though, otherwise I can only get 1 piece critiqued and I have to let people touch my laptop in substitution for a print.

On the upside (even I kind of ended that with a up), I now have internet at MY HOUSE. Thankfully.. Finally.. I no longer have to go around town connection hopping to check email.
OKAY, I'll leave this post here for today, but I figured I'd add an image for fun. This was something we took last night using a timer on the camera taking the picture, a long exposure after the timer, and after we set the timer on the cameras on the ground after we knew the camera taking the picture was counting down. If that didn't make sense.. I don't really know a better way to explain it, because it was about that complicated/silly.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Unfortunately, they don't shell out all of the equipment at the same time. They make us really want it for a couple weeks. We are only using 4 rolls of film in this camera this year, or at least in this 'phase,' but they want us to get onto digital fairly quickly so it might be for the year. However there are still bigger cameras we get to use. This is a Medium format camera. It is the Mamiya 645AFD. It comes with two lenses. 80mm (which is an incredibly wide angle on this camera) and a 150mm (which is a medium distance lens). We only received the film backing. It is interchangeable with a digital backing. So, in essence we can use the same camera for both film and digital, which is really neat. We also got a Light meter and a tripod. The tripod weights 6.5lbs. Which I'm guessing that the camera weighs about 4lbs with batteries. Its certainly not a camera for leisure hiking. If its to be taken outdoors its more for fine art landscape than anything else. Its a portrait camera. Later we get the Canon 5D, which is one of my favorite cameras. Its light, (not as light as my rebel xti) and it has a full frame 35mm digital sensor (my rebel xti has a 1.6 times smaller sensor - meaning it gives you more zoomed-in or cropped view with all the lenses used on it). Having a full frame 35mm digital sensor means its like taking pictures on a real 35mm camera.

So we've got a medium format camera, we're getting a full-frame 35mm camera, and we get to play with the large format 4x6 cameras that don't really have a reason to leave school. First assignment is kind of chinsy and mainly to get everyone on the same page. We're taking a group fieldtrip to "historic deerfield" to take specific pictures. The pictures are meant to be exposed both correctly and intentionally incorrectly (2 stops over and under exposed) to show we have control over our exposure. Our other assignment is on the same trip, and its to talk about directional lighting. We have to have some specific subjects which are front lit, back lit, and side lit. Film is due to be turned in by 7:45 thursday, trip is on wednesday.

Other than that.. most of my first day was a bit boring. Getting everyone on the same page, because not everyone has used an SLR or a dSLR camera. No one has used a Medium format camera that I have met.

P.S. This is on my wish-list.
The tripod they gave has a head like that, but mine doesn't really have a head yet, and mine weighs a lot less. I love my tripod. Its something I planned on getting before I came out but didn't.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First week

After a long day of mostly sitting in airplanes and toting a 50lb bag with wheels and a 20lb bag without, I finally arrived to my destination to discover that my 80lb, overweight bag had one of it’s handles torn off of it (guessing because the bag wasn’t meant for 80lbs and someone held it by that handle). My roommates that were already out here had spent the day in Boston and picked me up. The rest of the bag broke getting it out of the car. Its pretty much useless now.

I don’t have internet at home yet, nor TV. We have a tv and an xbox that my room mates brought, but we don’t get channels yet. We might not have internet at home until near the 20th. I live in downtown, but that doesn’t mean much. Downtown here is seven blocks long and there are only stores on one street; Avenue A. There are a lot of vacant buildings on that street. There is one Subway, one chinese food place that has some bad rumors about health code violations. Not that I minded, it was very good when I ate there. I don’t mind eating strange meats, I just wish I knew what they were. If they’re serving cat, I would like to know that what I’m eating is cat, so I can order the cat next time. Cats seem cleaner than chickens anyway. I’m sure thats a very disturbing thought to a lot of people, but I don’t really mind strange foods, if it tastes good and wont make me ill, I don’t mind eating it. I'm mostly joking by the way.

But getting back to the town. I can sum most of it up in three words. It is small. The year is split into four “phases”. Towards phase three and four, a car will be a lot more vital. For the first two it will be alright to get around by room mates. However, for my sanity, I want to try getting one as soon as I can, or at least a bicycle if I have to last more than a month.

We get our equipment tomorrow. $30,000 entrusted to us for ten months. A medium format camera with replaceable mediums; film and digital on the same camera, and a Digital SLR camera. Tripods, flashes, radios, solid studio lights and much much more at our hands. Very exciting.

The orientation was set up into two sections per day. The first section was a good two or three hours talking about the rules and the handbook. The school is mostly run like a business so that photographers are prepared for the ‘business’ world. Every afternoon was a different public speaker. Mary Ellen Mark on Wednesday, on Thursday there was a man who’s name I forgot, but he was not a photographer, he was a popular motivational speaker, on Friday, my favorite, Gary Land spoke and told his life story and told us how he made a lot of his most popular photos. You can simply google both of those names and a lot of things should show up.

I miss San Diego a lot, but definitely not for the weather. Its rained twice already and its still been hot, but not nearly as hot or humid as San Diego. I wouldn’t miss it as much if I had a mode of transportation though, or at least I don’t think I would. Its just such a small town, there’s just nothing to do. I finished my book, “Kafka on the shore”. Megan gave me the title and I wanted to get it for the plane ride. A lot of the metaphors and themes seemed to pertain to my life, but then, a lot of books are like that.

I don’t get reception in a lot of places, but I get it at home, so you can call me. School gets out at about 5PM and I should be accessible after that. I stay up pretty late normally, I don’t know if that will change when school starts, it seems like I will need a lot of recuperation sleep for a while when it starts, just to get used to it.

I wish I could talk to cats. There are a lot of stray cats around here. There was a character in the book I mentioned which could talk to cats. I am actually in a cafe right now. Its named The Rendezvous, there is a cute little calico outside. It is an interesting cafe though. I think people come here more for the alcohol than the food, and there isn’t any specialty coffee, just house blend and to tell the truth the beans were roasted for too long and they were very bitter, barely held any coffee taste at all. I don’t think there is much else to do here but drink. Drinking really isn’t my forte. I drink unsweetened tea and people tend to look at me funny, their tea is mostly sugar. In the phrase Sweet Tea, sweet really isn’t an adjective anymore, tea is more like the adjective there, but “Tea Sweet” doesn’t really work as well.

On the upside, Its very beautiful here. Here are some of the photos I've taken of the river and the bridge. Mind you, I fell in this river taking some of these, So I hope you like them.

The two people here are my roommates. I was shooting against the sun with a flash.

and if you're interested, theres more here on Photobucket

As far as food and money, I spent a lot on start up things; more towels, blankets, a dresser, essentials, but thats alright because we have enough Ramen to last us for a long time if it comes to it. I have about $150 to last the rest of the month, and that should be enough to get by.

Well I shouldn’t spend too much time on this. More soon, probably not until I get my internet though.