Autumnal Views

Being in nature during these crazy times has really been a game changer. B and I are entering the third consecutive season living in the Catskills (not counting March as part of winter, even though it was still snowing a lot). Fall can be a tricky time emotionally. It is a signal that winter and cold are around the corner. But there are plenty of trade offs: wearing sweaters, enjoying a fire in the evening, all of the fall spices, football (even though my team may not play this year), and last but not least, the autumnal foliage. The changing leaves are so beautiful, even from the windows of our house. By nothing other than dumb luck, we bought a place that is literally steps from one of the best views (my very biased opinion) in the Catskills. Even though Britt and I have been insanely busy with work and are spending all of our free time working on the house, Britt convinced me to do a golden hour walk to the lookout. It was generously rewarded. Thank you, mother nature for all of your dramatic autumn glory.

This timer shot might be one my favorites of us in recent history

Blue Hour in the Catskills (Part 2)

Continuing with installment No. 2 of this series, here are some photos from Friday night. I’m pretty sure this is the last set I will post of images shot around the yard (don’t hold me to that). The top two photos in this post are my favorite from this set. In the top photo, I really like the contrast of the warm bokeh from the pathway lights next to the ethereal cool tones of the dandelion seeds.

I like the photo below for the super shallow depth of field. Normally I think it would be overkill on an image where the subject is so close. But when shooting after nightfall, there aren’t a lot of options other than to have the aperture wide open. It this case, it almost creates the sensation of being submerged in water. Further, I shot all of these at a much higher ISO that I would normally ever use. The resulting effect is a grainy look (often referred to as “noise”). Aside from photos shot on film, I’m generally not a fan of noise in my images. In this case, I feel like the texture actually adds something to the overall vibe of these images.

Blue Hour in the Catskills (Part 1)

People rave about photos taken during golden hour (also called “magic hour”) and for a good reason. They are beautiful. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo in golden hour light. And when you see a really good one, you can feel the warmth from it pouring straight into your soul.  The time of day that seems to take a back seat to golden hour in terms of photog popularity, is that of blue hour. I think that part of what makes both of these types of photos special (as is true with any really good photo) is the emotional reaction that they evoke in the viewer. Seeing a golden hour photo that has been done right, is like being wrapped in a fleece blanket that just came out of the dryer. For blue hour photos, the sensation is typically much different. Similar to the project I gave myself in April, I’m going to spend the month of June practicing blue light photography here in the Catskills. I won’t be posting every day, but hopefully a couple of times per week, depending on if I get anything worth sharing.

The shots in this post are a few that I took the other night. None of them are amazing, but I feel like they set the tone nicely. Here goes!

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 Isabella 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

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan5

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.

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan6

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan8

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).

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan1

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

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan2

Lola waiting for her mom outside of Jubilee Market

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan3

shotbyjake.com-35mmscan4