Brendon Kearns

photoweblog

Tag: Color

Life in Australia: Summer of 2012

I’ve been carrying around the mju II now and again for the past few months- when I returned from Byron, I decided it was time to clear out all the stray C-41 around the apartment.

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I should have some more posts coming soon as have a few rolls of E-6 slide film in need of development and an assortment of black and white that I’m in the process of scanning. Recently, I purchased 2 big boxes of travel slides from the 60’s, a collection of negatives from WWII, and an assortment of Australiana- stay tuned.

More mju II Color

Since acquiring the mju II a couple of months back, I’ve been exploring color a little more than normal with some accumulated portra stock from my fridge- I find its handling better than my GRD III for speed out of pocket. If I use my three middle fingers when reaching for it, I can be opening the clam shell casing and have it ready to fire by the time I can get the viewfinder to my eye.

When it comes to analog AF’s, I hit the jackpot this weekend when I found a Ricoh FF3 Super and a series one Olympus mju for $6 each in the second hand goods store for the Cat Protection Society of New South Wales. Normally I assume every Salvos and St. Vincent’s across the greater Sydney area has been cleaned out of classic camera gear by the type of old men that rule the Ultimo Camera Fair thrice a year but I guess no one thinks to wander into a place like the Cat Protection- I only ended up there while trying to find a half-gallon canning jar to mix up Philly Fish House Punch in for the coming summer- not an easy find out in Oz.

Dolmades in Glebe

I recently acquired an Olympus mju II and have been enjoying the new found freedom from manual focus, allowing a return to a more reactive and looser style akin to when I bought my first DSLR.

In celebration, I thought it would be good to drop the M6 for awhile, put aside the black and white film stock, and try to get outside my normal ways and means of capturing photographs to make this small Paul Graham inspired series that I’ve dubbed “Dolmades in Glebe”.

Despite the camera’s outward appearance (which looks a lot like a cell phone from days gone before smart phones) it handles surprisingly well and I’m generally pleased with the quality of shots I’ve got back on the initial test roll. If you look close you’ll notice it even has the option of imprinting the date onto the shots via its quartz date functionality- I’m assuming my model is from ’96 as this is the default year it loads when the batteries are replaced.

Sydney Mardi Gras: Part I

I made it out to Mardi Gras again this year- I shot most of the afternoon with the M6 but swapped over to my GRD III for the night shots akin to what I had done last year.

The digital came in handy as I still dont feel confident in my ability to shoot with a flash.

It was good to have the display screen to see my results straight away and correct for distance versus flash strength. In addition, I had picked up an external view finder six months ago that made framing a lot easier, I updated the GRD’s firmware before I headed out hoping to try out its subject tracking focus option but in the end it was too much thinking so I swapped back to snap focus, set it to 1.5 metres and put it out of mind.

Based on gut feel, this year’s Mardi Gras had a way lower turn out- that made it hard to do a repeat of last year when the main drag of Oxford Street was so congested that I was able to run loops through the back lane ways and find plenty of material.

I’m also getting a little worn out on street photography, I think I need to find a singular documentary style project to work on for awhile although I’ve got no idea where to start finding some suitable subject matter.

I’ll try and get the rest of the shots developed, scanned and posted within the week.

Rolleiflex By The Sea

I went out to Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi and brought along an old Rolleiflex TLR that I had picked up about 8 months ago off a Canadian camera collector- I ran a couple rolls of Velvia 50 medium format through it just to get a feel for the handling.

The focus is much slower, the camera bulkier, the view finder is backwards (i.e. left is right) and the metering not as exact- even the square framing is a change- not to mention the 80mm focal length which feels telescopic compared to my usual wide angle lens.

When I switched from digital to film, I found that it forced me to think and plan ahead more in getting ready for a shot since I could no longer rely on auto-focus or a rapid fire shutter release- I’m willing to bet if I spent more time with the Rolleiflex I would find a similar gain in that it brings a new mode of working.

Found Photography: Sea Breeze

Print I pulled out of a box

Did a quick Google search on Sea Breeze Hotel but came up with a ton of results, too many to sort through so that makes it photographer and location unknown

Back of the photo has it dated at January 1962

Hunter Valley, Sydney and London

I headed out to the Hunter Valley for a conference at the end of June packing the OM2n with my cheap as 28mm 3.5

I spent the next roll taking shots of my room, a winery, the trip back to Sydney and some late night flash shots around Enmore after checking out Lucien Alperstien’s opening night

Then when I was able to continually forward the frames ad nauseum I realized the roll never caught on the winder- I had effectively been shooting nothing

But I took the M6 out to try my hand at shooting a mix of whatever film was left in my fridge at 400 or 800 ASA

Some dude’s bad ass Ute

Spent a little time trying out some Velvia 50 at the end- I had e-mailed Joel Meyerowitz about a year ago when I first was getting into street photography, I only half expected him to ever get back to me but he actually got responded within a day offering some practical and useful advice- namely, to try to rangefinder if I havnt yet and give Provia, Velvia and Astia a shot to find what works best

In hindsight, it seems like really obvious advice from him, but at the time I was roaming around with a 450D and a $100 nifty fifty having only flipped it into manual mode a month or two prior

I still dont feel like I can shoot color- I cant ‘see’ my shots in anything other than black and white, I have a bunch of 400 speed fuji superia I picked up cheap that I intend on using for practice when I have the time to really get into it

I flew off to the UK for business and managed to snag a couple days at the end for some shooting

Found some good signage whilst in London

Jumped in while he was posing for someone else- I was thinking of getting a few cards made up for moments like this so I can get some photos back to people who might be interested

I snapped this outside of Flat White in Soho– the only decent place I was able to get an actual flat white Aussie style

They have these bikes all over London- I think the way it works is if you have a UK credit card you dip it in the machine, grab the bike, and it charges you from then until you return it to another bike station around town

Framing up the shot

Not sure what was going on when I shot this one, but I liked it concept even if it failed in execution

These last two are probably my favorites out of the London shots- of the two day’s worth of free time, there was only an afternoon in which I wasnt too jet-lagged, hungover, busy saying hello to old friends or pre-occupied checking out the London Street Photography Festival to do some actual shooting

With its wide sidewalks and packed CBD I found it an entirely different shooting experience than Sydney

In some ways it left me feeling like Sydney was lacking in that the more people you have packed into a bigger space all going off in their own worlds the greater the likelihood for potential shots, but in other ways I felt like all the time I put in working for every shot I could work out of Sydney paid off- I think Sydney is a great place to learn street photography in that its extremely safe for a city of its size yet its still personal enough an environment that you have to be super sensitive to the feelings of your subjects in a way you could probably get away without in a London or NYC

I began reading Teju Cole‘s Open City on the flight over and just finished it off tonight, I found it as awesome as the reviews pumped it up to be and thought it worth mentioning since he dabbles in street photography himself- while the book has little to do with photography, if you are interested and looking for a hard copy in Oz you might have to wait until September before you can get it anywhere short of Amazon

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