Isolationist Vibes (Cont’d)

Taking a small break from my April series of “stuff I brought into isolation with me“, and getting back to the vibe generally: Here are some owl photos. I started seeing this guy (these guys/girls?) our first week at the cabin, but have only been quick enough to grab the camera twice, so far. The most recent of such instances, it also happened to be snowing, which made for some pretty dramatic images when the owl flew from one perch to another. After sharing a couple of these with a friend, he told me that it is good luck to see an owl. I had never heard this before. But I’m hoping that he is right and that good luck is on the horizon.

 

 

Canon 5D x 50mm f/1.2

My most used rig.

I love this camera and lens combo. I have been a Canon guy since before the digital era, and this 5D is my favorite camera I have ever owned. My 50mm f/1.2 is essentially glued to this body. It is not the most versatile lens, but in my opinion the quality of images that it produces makes up for the extra work required to get the shot. I did a cheesy unboxing video over here, the day that this body arrived. I was super stoked that day, and have subsequently been stoked every time I feel the shutter click. In case it is not already clear, I heavily endorse this setup.

Canon AE-1

Canon AE-1 (with 50mm f/1.4): This kit is very similar to the one that I used in Jr. high when I was learning how to use an SLR. I picked it up a few years ago, with this project in mind. Since then, I have collected a few additional lenses (thanks Mike), and amassed a stack of exposed yet undeveloped film at home. The great thing about shooting film is that it causes me to be much more selective about what I actually snap. I have been observing my new surroundings for the past month, and finally broke out the 35mm this week to start documenting some of my favorite aspects with film as well. Here are a couple of more from a bygone era of normalcy.

New Decade

It was kind of cool to wake up to the sounds of fog horns on the East River Saturday morning. It was one of those days where it never really rained, but everything was wet all day. It has officially been three weeks since surgery. I’ll be starting regular PT week after next. I have enjoyed the steady return of my mobility, and decided to capitalize on it Saturday after spending some time with PJ. I drove to the Tarrytown reservoir and took a lap on the reservoir trail. I wished so badly that I would have brought my real camera with me. Instead, all I have are these mediocre-ish cellphone snaps. The fog transformed the depressing dead-looking winter woods into a nearly silent ethereal dreamscape. I felt like I was walking through an Isabel Stahl photo.

Switching gears completely — One of my 2020 goals is to get back on the horse creatively. As a part of my end-of-year and end-of-decade reflections, I became painfully aware of  how drastically my time spent being creative has waned over the past several years. One decision that I have executed to proactively kickstart said goal, is taking a break from Instagram. I disabled my account shortly before midnight on Dec 31. It was an idea that I had been leaning toward for a while (since the app was acquired by F@#$book).

When the app first came on the scene, I feel like it actually may have helped my creative juice via the inspiration I gleaned from the photographic works of my peers and acquaintances. In the past couple of years it seems to have devolved into the same torrent of internet diarrhea that is F@#$book. Having so much additional down time lately while recovering from surgery has intensified my awareness of how much time can be wasted mindlessly scrolling absolute nonsense (yikes!). Some people do dry January. I’m doing ‘gram-free January. So far I don’t miss it at all. I’ll re-evaluate on Feb 1. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll find the juice to expand the content on Jake.News beyond monthly playlists and the occasional book review, hehe. I realize that the ‘blog’ as a format has been dead for a while now … oh well.

For now, please enjoy this set of photos from my walk through the woods in the fog.

 

New Gadget

While I’m very underwhelmed with all of the new crap that Apple unveiled this month, I couldn’t be more excited about the new Canon 5D. When it was announced a few weeks ago, I pre-ordred one the same day. I love my mkiii, and the mkiv has all of the stuff that I wish the mkiii would have had. Anyway, it arrived in the mail today and I decided to do this corny little unboxing video. My daughter loves these kind of videos for some reason. She usually watches ones about lego sets or play doh. But maybe I can get her stoked about cameras if I show her this vid.

Watch me mumble to myself about my new camera below, sexy slow-jams for background music and the whole 9 yards.

35mm scans

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When I started my 35mm slides project, I got the camera before I had a chance to order any slide film. I was so stoked to try out the camera and get familiar with its feel and function, that I wandered into a Duane Reade down the block from my apt and bought a 4-roll pack of Fujifilm color negative film (Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400 iso, to be exact). Believe it or not, you can still pick up 35mm film at most of the pharmacies and even a lot of the corner bodegas in NYC. No guaranties that it hasn’t expired. But hey, at least it is available! Anyway, I brought the AE-1 with me almost everywhere for a week or two after I loaded the first roll of film. The POS scanner I have doesn’t really do these images justice, but here are some of the prints anyway. The green hue is not some sort of VSCO filter. This is actually how they came out. There is something really fun about having to work for the shot, and not knowing if it is going to come out or not. So, yeah… Film.

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This is one of me that B took. Not bad! Focus is sharp, but exposure needs work (to be fair, I guessed on the exposure settings before I handed the camera to her).

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I can tell by Lola’s yawn how over it she is

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Lola waiting for her mom outside of Jubilee Market

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Johnny McCormack

Hailing from Auckland NZ, photographer Johnny McCormack came onto my radar this week via Juxtapoz. Jux highlighted a series that McCormack recently published entitled “Homecoming.” While the set could readily be dismissed as just another minimalist collection of cool tones, I really enjoy this project. I admit that part of the allure for me personally is the way that the images of the snowy mountains lit by low winter sun resonate with my fond memories of growing up in the Rockies. Personal sentiments aside, I think that the aesthetic presented in this collection has the ability to evoke a certain mood in anyone. McCormack describes the project saying:

HOMECOMING stems from the ‘out takes’ whilst travelling internationally to shoot commercial and editorial work for over a period of sixteen consecutive winters. Shot on the outskirts of the pacific rim, paying close attention to the notion of a return and yearning for ‘home’ a body of work began to unravel.

Being far from home, finding solace adrift in strange and incongruous territories, places of wonder and curiosity – the photographer attempts a sense of belonging via his lens while living and operating within transient circumstances.
The resulting landscapes evidence places of retreat and pilgrimage – for the viewer, potentially to also find a way to return home.

[Images via]

Old School Transparency

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Last summer I saw some atypical wall art (in a bar, in Jersey) that caught my attention and got my creative wheels turning. In this bar is a light box hanging on the wall with 35mm slides mounted under glass. The slides are backlit by they light box. I liked the way that it made me get up close to see what each of the individual images were. I decided that I wanted to replicate the piece, putting my own spin on it and using my own images. This was part of the impetus of picking up a manual 35mm camera again this year for the first time in probably 20 years. It has been a lot of fun shooting with that thing, even though it is one more camera to lug around. I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible though, using only a 50mm lens and shooting mostly natural light. This way I can avoid being weighed down with extra glass and strobes.

Last week, I had the first roll of slides developed. There were a couple of images that I really liked. But, for sure Sturgeons law was in full effect. I put together a little makeshift light box to get an idea of the aesthetic. Just for fun, the top image is linked to the full resolution file. I had to compromise on the image quality quite a bit to get the file size small enough for a manageable upload. But I feel like there are still enough pixels to get the gist. I also included a couple of details in the images below.

After shooting 2 or 3 more rolls, I plan to start building the light box. Stay tuned! Ha.

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De La Weekend (America’s Cup)

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The weather here has been a bit bananas. It rained for about 10 days straight and didn’t break 60 degrees. Then Sunday happened. The forecast all week was heavy rain for Sunday. Instead we got sunshine and breeze. I normally don’t care for the breeze. But America’s Cup happened this weekend. I generally try to avoid gatherings of 30k or more humans in public spaces. But when sailboat racing happens in my neighborhood, it is kind of hard not to step out and take a gander. Also, B used to race sailboats. So I had a front row seat at one of the world’s premier sailboat racing events and expert commentary from a sexy woman. It was actually pretty awesome. Here are some snaps–

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