Day 24 – Oh God…I Left My Camera At Work…but…

So I left work today with my friend Dwight driving me to the garage where I had winter tires installed…with studs. Studs. Chicks dig them. They lock the doors where I work as soon as everybody’s out the door. So the door was locked, and the only people who have keys are nameless and totally unapproachable. That’s when I realized…

I left my camera at work.

My 5D2 and 24-105 lens and 70-200 lens were locked away by nameless, unapproachable people. I felt naked. Alone. Estranged. Disconnected. I was a mess. I picked up my car and cried all the way home.

When I got home, I looked at the dining room table and saw it. It was my 1D2. An older camera, but state of the art in its day. Only 8.5 megapixels…but 50,000,000,000,000 focal points. And that’s a lot of focal points. So I grabbed the camera and a couple of lenses and headed down to the car without even showering the smell of IT off my body. (That’s information technology for both of you who, I’m assuming, have lives.) I haven’t used it much because some of its functions are still a mystery to me, but the shots I’ve gotten with it that are…droolable.

This camera still rocks.

I also left behind my photo book with a list of the images I want to capture (Not that I’ve followed it much anyway. I take a mindless approach to my art. Ask any of my writing students.) So, I drove around the city, a city drenched with rain, rain that wouldn’t say, “OK…you’re wet…I’ll move on.” It was nasty clinging rain. The kind that sticks to the earth like a big ball of snot droplets.

That kind of rain.

But I kept driving. And driving. And thinking…I’m hungry. And I have to run tonight. And do a workout. And eat. And take a picture and blog it. And Skype with my daughter. And buy a bottle of wine. And a box of cereal.

It took half an hour to find my picture. From a distance, it looked weird (which I believe I’ve been called lately for reasons I’ll keep to myself) but I knew it would look even weirder up close. So I parked my little blue Accent and walked over to the weirdness with my 1D2 and a 1.8 50mm lens and started taking pictures.

I was going for texture on this one. And the incredible design. And the contours that can make it just about anything your imagination conjures. It is so organic. And it evokes images of condoms. But that’s just me. And apparently, to a few people who obviously know me too well…I’m weird.

OK…both of you…my cherished readers…what do you think it is?

Mystery

Day 18 – Bokeh

In photography there’s this thing called bokeh with about 50 million different pronunciations, so I’ll let you pick your own. I pronounce it bokeh. I comes from the Japanese word “boke” which means blur or haze. Which is exactly what photographers use it for.

We photographers sometimes like to make things blurry. I’ve felt this way since the 60s but I didn’t realize then that being a hippie was so damn bokeh. I’m not a hippie anymore but bokeh is still a hell of a lot of fun.

The idea is to focus on a subject that you want to capture in correctly/creatively exposed, correctly metered, perfectly white balanced, sublimely composed and infinitely interesting, and say to hell with the background.

Like, what’s all this background behind my pretty piece of wood? Go away background and stop competing for attention with my pretty piece of wood!

That’s essentially what it boils down to. You want the viewer’s eye to dwell on the subject and you don’t want the background to draw the eye away. If you’re taking a picture of a pretty piece of wood and there’re trees and water and dancing naked ladies (naked men for the ladies) in the background…well…what are you going to look at?

The water of course. Not the pretty piece of wood. So, here’s what you do: You use a shallow depth of field, which means you focus sharply on the subject and not so sharply on the background. In fact, you focus so un-sharply on the background that it’s almost entirely out of focus. It turns into shapes…sometimes circles, sometimes diamonds, sometimes just blurry shapes that may or may not look like anything but shapes.

And how do you achieve a shallow depth of field? For an in-depth explanation, go to Cambridge in Colour. If you really don’t give a shit, then the short answer is…magic.

Yeah…magic.

I love bokeh shots. They have this steamy cool quality that grabs me by the ass and shakes my world. So, today I went down to the river and got out my 70-200 lens and tripoded it (after kissing it and caressing it, of course).

And took a picture of a pretty piece of wood.

Bokeh 2