Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Honfleur - Impressions of an Art Opening

I attended a fun photo opening at a very special little gallery in Anacostia last weekend. You can read about the Honfleur Gallery here. The show was a collaboration between 4 pairs of local fashion designers and photographers and was co-produced by Rachel Cothran (Project Beltway) and Heather Goss (Ten Miles Square).

WARNING: Photo Geek Stuff Ahead (Please feel free to skip ahead and just look at the photos.)

In my continuing effort to deconstruct the "art-gallery-event-opening" genre of photo journalism (just kidding - sort of - but see here anyway) I handheld my rangefinder camera set to f16 at 1/2sec. and finished off a role of Delta 3200. f16 gave me a DOF of between 8' and infiniti - so basically I just set it and snapped away.

The idea came from an image that I took while in the Dominican Republic. The image is sharp in places, but it also has a softness from both the DOF and from a slower shutter speed - probably about 1/30 of a second. I really found myself being drawn into the photo, and I wanted to try and recreate the effect - plus the rangefinder isn't a whole lot of fun to focus.

So ... here's a quick selection. The rest here.

... and one last photo, the only one of the bunch where I changed the exposure or focused - really just happy about this one, because I guessed at the camera settings based on the pics from the Easter shoot the previous weekend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Russian Easter

I've been doing a 4 week photo essay workshop with Frank Van Riper at Glen Echo Park, and it has given me a great reason to make some fun photos (not to mention gotten me back on my bike for the ride out to Glen Echo). I think that photographers at all levels would benefit from this kind of motivation - for this reason alone the class has been well worth the time and money.

For the class we are encouraged to come up with a set of photos (12ish) to form a narrative. I chose to photograph Easter mass at a St John, a Russian Orthodox church in North West DC. I had photographed the mass there 2 years ago, and I wanted to expand on the idea of those images by documenting the preparation for the holiday, and by meeting some of the people in the church community.

I photographed on two days. The first day I shot was the day before Palm Sunday when the church spruce up happens. I even got to ride the lift that was driven into the main gathering space to dust the chandelier and change the old incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient LED's - is their anything better than "camera privileges". The second day I shot was Easter mass, which is celebrated by candle light late on Saturday night. The bells tole as Saturday becomes Sunday and Jesus rises. (The Orthodox church celebrates Easter a week after the Christian church)

More shots here.

The first set of photos was shot with my Nikon F3 using a 50mm or 28mm lens with old school Kodak ISO400, C-41 type black and white film. The candle light mass shots were taken with either my Mamiya 7 or my old Canon L-2 rangefinder camera using Delta 3200. Using available light I hand held all the shots at f4 and w/ speeds of 1/15 or 1/30 of a second.

A special thanks to Father John and the church community who showed me around, and made me feel most welcome.