Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photography, and Experimentation

Years ago, I used to do some photography.  I got a Pentax P3N for graduation.  It was an SLR(you could see through the lens). I used that camera to great advantage.  It used film, which was really the only option at the time.  Even by 1995, when the first digital cameras began to show on the market, film was by far a better option.  The problem with film, of course, is it's expensive.

**Note: If you don't feel like reading a boring post, I understand if you just skip to the photos.**

Photography, like anything else is only mastered with practice, trial and error, and patience.  The nice thing about film is you had a lot of detail that digital cameras could not match.  That is, until the past few years.  Once cameras began getting to 8 or so megapixels they began really catching up on film.  Now there are cameras with more than 40 megapixels(those are medium format cameras, whereas professional 35mm type digital SLRs are getting 24 megapixels)...that's a lot of pixels.  Now digital is as good or better than film.  My own camera is fairly moderate in the megapixel department, only 12.3.  That is 12.3 million pixels, or dots of color.  That is plenty for a 16X20 inch enlargement.

With film, you could shoot black and white and develop it at home if you had the right chemicals and equipment. I still have most things necessary for a darkroom.  On the other hand, you had to work a lot harder to do color photography or just use commercial printers.  You had very little control over color film and printing, unless you were willing to spend lots of money...I've never been burdened with excess cash, so that was not an option.  In fact, in the dark days of my college career and my "in-between college time" I found it easy to buy film, but harder to develop.  So, since developing film cost so much, photography slowly inched its way out of my life, though I still longed to do it.  

Enter the digital camera.  I can take lots of pictures.  I can screw up repeatedly and not have to pay one little bit for my mistakes, printing only the pictures I like.  Also, now I have a darkroom in my living room, or any other room of the house I choose to sit in.  I can choose black and white or color or tweak the colors to unimaginable heights and hues.  I love digital, even though my old photography professor continues to swear by film.

I used to experiment quite a lot with my old P3N.  I did light painting and photographed lightning and in general did a lot of fun things.  I even bought a slave.  NO, not a slave person, but an optical slave for a flash.  This allowed me two flashes.  One on the camera and one placed elsewhere with the slave.  It would flash as soon as it sensed the flash from the one on my camera.  It added some options for me.

I found the slave a few weeks ago.  I had two flashes, but I thought both were dead...turns out only one was dead.  I tossed the old Ansco and kept the one that had originally been on my P3N.  Last night I put it all together and played.  While Cora made some hair bows, I was doing some photography.  I was attempting to synchronize the two flashes.  The only way I could do it was by setting the flash to sync with the rear shutter.  Oh, well.  I DID use the flash for some fun shots with an extended shutter speed.  Here are a few of the experimental shots, which are only for the technical aspects of the photo (syncing and making sure the other flash was indeed flashing at a time that it could be seen on the sensor).  They aren't pretty, but they show what I was trying for.

 A little fun with a flash.  Below you see the extended shutter speeds I was dealing with.  Cora was an unwilling model.
 Below you see the old flash, and below that, attached to the tripod (the little square thing) is the optical slave.
 Here it is so you an see the full flash effect.  unfortunately, it does not work the way I had hoped, so it won't be used for much in the way of portraiture.
 The flash color was a bit blue, so I changed the color in the computer.
Here is the final, retouched, and textured photo, and the only one that I would normally show, but I thought maybe those of you who think I am a good photographer might like to see some of the trial and error that I go through from time to time to get what DOES come out.
I hope you all have a great Sunday!