Sometimes I just have to shoot pictures. This morning was one of those times. Near where I park my car there is the apple tree that Grandma Thunstedt gave us years ago. And under the tree is a small patch of dandelions. And they were calling me this morning. The soft overcast gave me enough of a soft box and the jacket in the car let me lay down with my little Lytro® to get dandelion height. I will share some of my favorites. At times I poke focused on a leaf when the screen was not responding to my choice of focus on the “lacy” parts.
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We have a cactus, well a pot of cacti. Not really sure if it is one or a bunch. But just every so often, we get flowers. And they are gorgeous, as you can see for yourself. I was on my way somewhere in a hurry the other day during Holy Week and my wife called out, “It’s blooming.” So, I grabbed my Kaleidoscope shaped Lytro® and went to work. In five minutes or less, I had shot a lot. Then I was off to do my life stuff.
Parked later on my laptop, I picked a lot that I liked. And uploaded them. And now I share a few. I looked at the plant a couple days later and the blooms were just pale droops. Glad I could turn on the camera and just shoot.
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Years ago I was working on a film in New York City. Our location guy had been also working on a film for Woody Allen and said told us a story. According to my friend, Woody was shooting an exterior scene in Central Park, but had held up production because the sun was out and he wanted it behind a cloud, at least. So my friend was dispatched to call the National Weather Service contact that they had (pre-cell phones and iPads). He did not see any clouds in the sky. So he asked the person at the other end if clouds were coming. The response was no. Then he pleaded, “Do you even see any clouds on the radar?”
Well, if you are fan of Mr. Allen’s films, you will see a characteristic light, soft and flat. This last Sunday morning it was trying to rain at my house, but could not quite get it together to pour. So I dashed out to the lemon tree loaded with fruit and also beginning to blossom to try some shots. Here I present “When life gives you lemons, make light field pictures.”
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Not all cameras see up close well. In snapshot cameras, like the Brownie my family owned when I was a kid or event the famous Instamatic, the pictures were square, like my new Lytro®, but if you dared to get within a meter (about 39 inches for us Americans), it was game over. Blur, blur, and more blur. But my new lipstick pix machine invites me to turn on the creative mode and to move in really, really close, click on the screen to set focus, and shoot away. I had a minute in the patio of the local hospital yesterday afternoon to play with it again and found some evergreen shrubs in bright sun and in excellent health and shot a few frames. I post them for you now.
I got my degree in Biology from a department chair who was a botanist. So we did lots of field work with plants. I remember him with his Exakta and his close-up rings- I think- and wonder if his life of examination would have been much easier and more fulfilling if he had my current tool. Who knows?
(And btw, my wife did well and came home around 8. Thanks)
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Today’s quick pick is from a visit to a neighborhood store. (Not my neighborhood, or course. But, hey, somebody’s neighborhood.) I plan to go back there, so I won’t give the store name yet. I dropped by when they were closing. A million possible light fields, well almost. Here is the one I am calling “Remington Rand Revisited.”
The name in the title is not some relative from the old country, but the nonsense word spelled out by the upper six left hand letters from a standard keyboard. As you likely know, the arrangement of the keys was done this way to slow us down when we typed to allow the hammers to strike the ribbon, transferring the ink to the paper and then get out of the way of the next hammer. Believe it or not, I once visited a Beverly Hills house originally owned by the guy who invented the bell that would ring when you only had five spaces left on a line of typing so that you would not end up with a ruined paper and could hit the carriage return lever to rescue your typing job. That will not make sense to most of my readers, but just understand that those who were born in the mid twentieth century had other technologies to master before the iPad. We did drink much the same beer as you might now and did sing the rock and roll songs the first time they were popular. It was fun.
The work, albeit one.
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Well, it had to happen. Controlled light. A plain background. A good operator. A tripod. And so… they look like this.
Elmer is my friend from Minnesota who got laid off from his job at the Hwy 61 Filling Station awhile ago and now with be returning to the Hwy 61 Filling Station Show as soon as I can find the music and graphics files. He shot his first promo episode today, thanks to Laura León, his DP. I will share the link later.
Here are the publicity shots with the lipstick pix machine. (And the replacement lens cap arrived today. Very happy owner, btw)
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Living in flyover country in the sixties meant that we had to depend on others to explain the complexity of the world around us. Yes, we had network television and even a PBS station when it “came in.” But there were gurus that popped up from time to time. One was Marshall McLuhan. His one sentence summary was “The medium is the message.” He described cool and hot communications and we were listening. Take a listen on youtube.
So here is my proposal: that Melrose Avenue itself is the medium. Hence, it is the message as well. Have fun.
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Went to Starbucks for a coffee on Melrose and used my coupon for a free one. And I took the lipstick pix maquina along. Took a few pictures of Mandy the hair stylist and her scooter, explaining to her and her posse about the camera. I think that they will understand it better by playing with the pix. And you might enjoy them too.
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So this afternoon I did my walk DT. (Downtown LA for you folks not from around these parts.) I cruised up Olympic east to the Alley- Santee Alley, the home of all things for sale to the 99 percenters left in Los Angeles after the Occupy folks moved and unknown to the majority of those who live west of the 405. I followed the bubble gun vendor and managed to get a few frames below, talked with a smiling new friend named Nancy Miller wanting me to take a stress test, and in general being invigorated by all the activity of the hive of humans called Los Angeles. Sunshine and a good walk made my day better.
Here are the related light fields packed in their cute little viewer windows. Captions appears as you move the cursor/finger near the bottom.
We human types are wired for roughness. Benoit Mandelbrot and Nassim Nicolas Taleb introduced me to the term and now I see it everywhere. Took a stroll on Sweetzer on a sunny day and found some stuff with which to play with my cute little kaleidoscope camera. Or overgrown lipstick pix máquina. I loved the old tree trunks and some other elements. Just stayed in the range of exposure that worked and did not worry too much about the things I could not see. (Meaning the limited brightness range of the digital sensor – but who really cares?) It’s about light and color and roughness, not technically exacting pictures like in my other life with translites and motion pictures (Amazing Spider-Man) and television (Tonight Show). Just having a walk, taking in the world around me and loving it. As I write, Oye (Rosabel’s Cubarican Club mix) spins by Gloria Estefan. I always feel the beat way more than I can tell you how they make it. It is why beer joints at the beach are more popular than pilgrimages to desert monasteries, although we may find joy in both. Have a look.
(Remember to run your cursor near the bottom of the pix for a few words of explanation.)
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