A photoblog of my life, with notes.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bo Shi Dun

My camera seems to be on the fritz (No offense, Claudia). My pictures are coming out slightly grainier than usual, and yes, I have checked the ISO. Although I blame my camera, the real culprit may be the constantly cloudy days here. Besides the grain, It's also shifting all of my images down, i.e., if I place the top of somebody's head right along the top of the frame in the viewfinder, the top of their head will be a full fifth of the way down the picture, which makes exact framing much more difficult. I'm having to zoom out and then crop in, which is dandy, except that I really like having a lot of resolution to work with.

That being said, here are some pictures
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A selection from a larger image of a tower that is part of a house in Boston, where I was over Thanksgiving break.

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I'm pretty sure this is actually the same house...

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Slightly warmtone picture of a tree in Boston. Boston is the one city I think I might be able to live in if I really really had to.

I am not a city person.

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Sidewalk in Boston, next to a community center. The lighting is really flat, I know.

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There's some of the color of the old images! Sunset on a wall, still in Boston. I probably should have just prefaced these pictures with the words "These are all in Boston," instead of introducing them as being in Boston individually. Anyway,
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Some flowers, in Boston.

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Sunset over a lake in Boston.

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Larger version (3MB) here!. That's not the full resolution of the image, but that one was something like 20MB, but that's just a little too big. It's a panorama of a building that I took from across a lake.

Although you might be expecting it, this next picture is not actually from Boston.

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Greta helped me take my senior portrait the other day (no, this isn't it), and we had some spare time, so we took a couple of pictures together. This is one of my favorites of the batch. I'll upload my senior portrait when I've figured out which picture it is.

Thanks for reading,


Portraits, Arsenic, and Tennis

An odd title, I know, but it's been a really long time since I put any pictures up and decided that I should return to the ancient and most honorable art of blogging. Without further adieu, le pictures:

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Mr. Stephen McVerry, stylishly posed in a autumn setting to... Yeah. It's his senior picture. I took it. He owes me a hi-five.

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Xiaoyu Chen, my Chinese teacher. He was dismissing his class for a break just as I walked by his classroom. We were working on portraiture, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to grab a picture. I eventually settled on a sepiatone because there wasn't enough contrast to allow for full desaturation. Since the image is slightly flat (we haven't had a good lighting day for about a month now), the sepiatone allows for a slightly rustic look, like something out of the 1800s.

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Just a cool picture of my lamp. I forgot that Aperture varied inversely with f-stop, and so, while taking this picture at f5.6 (which I thought was small aperture), I wondered why I had to put my shutter speed up so high (1/4000 second!). Silly me. I made the same mistake some days later, much to the amusement of my friends.

The next set of images are from the student production of "Arsenic and Old Lace," a play by J. Kesserling that was preformed recently here at Conserve School. I'll just let the pictures provide the commentary. I took over 400, and therefore these represent a small selection.

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Left to Right: Dick Fickling, Stephanie Spicer, Eliot Frost, Tucker Eibner

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LTR: Jasmine Zavala, Chris DeLong, Shay Gallagher
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Sam Eliot, my college counselor.

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Kegan Leizerman

In photography class (recently after the play) we had an assignment to take pictures of tennis balls in whatever creative way we could think up. Here was my entry:

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The background is penlights blinking over a long exposure picture, and the tennis balls are lit by a long-wave UV light that we borrowed from my Chemistry teacher.


Yay! I wrote 50000 words (plus about 100 just to make sure) in November, from the first to the 29th (I was done by the 30. Records include : Writing 7600 words on the last day, 560 words in 20 minutes. I had tons of fun, and my novel (rough draft alert) is avaliable to anyone who wants to read it.

Another update should come along shortly.



Friday, November 07, 2008

In the middle of National Novel Writing Month...

So, instead of posting a long and tedious rant about each and every image, I'm just going to upload a whole slew of them and let you sort through them. I'll put a little text underneath each, but only enough to let you know what's going on - I have 50,000 words to write in a month.

My friend Dick, holding a weather balloon we were testing in class - we were measuring wind speeds.

The teacher of that class, Robert Eady. I'm in three of his classes right now - Alternative and Renewable Energies (The one with the weather balloon), Chemistry, and Digital Photography. He's also the adviser for my independent study in using videogames to teach Chinese. The man does everything.

Same location as the last two. I shot (once again) through a cardboard tube.

Some mushrooms with a cloth "multiply" layer applied in photoshop.

A dandelion taken while backlit with fill flash. The next day we had two inches of snow.

Practicing some portraiture with my girlfriend. Thanks, Greta!

An interesting image with odd depth of field and color.

With some photoshop, a bad image of some forks becomes stock photography!

See you in a while, and thanks for reading!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Playing with a Camera

Just to prove to you that this post is actually about what I am telling you it is about in The Title, I will present to you two pictures that will not only astound you, but also... well, okay, no, they're just pretty cool pictures. Anyway:

I have a whole collection of these - basically, I take a long exposure picture (usually with a small aperture) , and adjust the focal length while the shutter is open. Basically I zoom in while taking a picture. What you get, then, is a zooming effect. I plan to work on this and hopefully I can get an image that exhibits a perfect zoom (right now I have a problem with lingering on one or more locations in the zoom, which means that the subject, as in this picture, is clear at one point. A perfect picture using this effect would have a smooth zoom). Either way, I am still a fan of this picture. Pictured is Bill Meier, then Chris R.

Next picture, please?

Ah, yes. Muffins. Yummy yummy muffins. Pictured is Kathy P., with muffins. (The muffins are on the plate). This is because they are yummy muffins. I also think it's a good portrait.

I found a Pringles tube whilst on a recent camping trip (exploration week, where the entire school [~150 students] goes on trips depending on their class. Seniors went canoeing in the Boundary Waters) and decided to take pictures through it (the Pringles tube). It makes a very interesting effect, almost like a solid vingetting or inner frame. I may experiment with other salty food boxes on a later date. Pictured (for the second time this post!) is Chris R.

This picture is currently my desktop. I took it at Northland College, and it's pretty much a normal picture - no fancy whitebalances, apertures, f-stops or shutter speeds. It's a little overexposed to bring out the dark undersides of the clouds, but otherwise this is pretty much as I saw it.

Pretty cool, a?

My friend Zach and I in a tree. Greta took this picture. It just seems like a picture that would go on the cover of a yearbook or something. A little touch-up with the dodge tool on Zach would probably do the picture some good, though.

Not a spectacularly interesting image in terms of color - I think the entire picture could be characterized as "brown". I could probably bring the contrast up here, too - the histogram shows three little mountains all on the left side. But whatever. It's a pretty awesome mushroom.

My photography teacher, Robert, was talking to us just the other day about taking pictures from interesting angles. This is Opal (the girl from the golden picture two posts ago). In terms of most interesting hair, this picture wins so far.

It's interesting how this picture looks so much like a reflection. Look closer - the highlights on the top and bottom pencil don't match up. In fact, these are just two pencils sharing the same piece of lead (a good trick to make it look like the pencils are perfectly balanced). I just like the optical illusionness of this picture, and the fact that it's so hard to tell that something is off without being told so.

I took my friend Isaiah's senior picture in exchange for a handmade walking stick. I have two more pictures lined up - one for a bunch of stuff from China and one for, so far, an "awesome hi-five".

For my (almost) black+white picture of the post, here is my friend Will T-W as an 1860's soldier. Except that he's wearing a t-shirt. And the hat is totally not from the 1860's.

The beard is, tho.


So I'm having some problems with my computer - I'ma wipe the hard drive tomorrow or the next day. Photoshop crashes whenever I open more than one picture. Anyone who has checked my website knows that my uploader (puTTY) crashed whilst updating my website.

Anyway, I'm also not doing so well - I spent the day in the health center with a nasty cold. Doing better now, tho - Greta brought me some tea and stuff. Being sick is great for catching up on stuff, though. I wrote my college essay.


Thursday, October 02, 2008


I took a walk the other day with Greta, and we grabbed a few photographs just as the sun was setting over Big Donahue Lake. Romantic night, really.

The clouds, about thirty minutes before sunset. I had to stop and take a picture because it looked like someone had put dabs of white oil paint on a pure blue canvas. That or photoshopped them in. You never know in today’s world. Anyhoo, I took a couplea pictures and this one is so far the best. No photoshop, either (except for a little cropping).

Here’s the sunset I was talking about. &hearts& Wisconsin fall.

Same sunset, same lake. Oh man was that a cool sunset. No photoshopping on either of these images. Just pure awesome.

Here’s greta. I wouldn’t have put this one in (it’s lacking something in the intensity department), but for the sloping background. I almost didn’t notice it at first, but it’s there. It’s a perfectly fine image until you notice that the horizon is at something of a 20o angle. Greta, in this picture, thought I was still taking pictures of the sunset. It just shows you how candid shots give the photograph a little more realism than one where the subject knows that they’re being photographed.

Here’s a better one of Greta. She was trying to get away from the camera (in a joking way, of course, I wouldn’t put these images online if she minded), and most of the shots I took around this one came out really blurry. This one was taken just a few minutes before sunset. I would have put it first, but the sunset pictures were just too good. Not of course, as beautiful, however.

Greta managed to get the camera from me for a bit, and got this one of me. Beginners luck, I say, for such a good picture. Note that I have a goatee in this picture. I actually don’t anymore. I called it a “try-beard” and whoever gets that reference gets enormous bonus points. Anyway, I shaved it off on this last Friday morning. Nobody noticed, or at least commented. Maybe I’m just that bad at growing facial hair?

Honestly, I think this one was also taken by Greta. It would make a really cool desktop background.
Next week: Exploration of the Boundary Waters and trips to college!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fun with light

My friends Eliot Frost, Dick Fickling, and Zach Strauss spent a class period playing around in our school’s darkroom with a red penlight and a white penlight. Pretty much, we had a lot of fun and ended up with some pretty cool pictures to show to our Digital Photography instructor. Our results included the following:

This is Eliot, with Dick and Zach using the penlights in a strobe-like fashion. There’s a certain symbolism to the white and red lights here. Think about it - Hell is classically red, and Heaven is classically white or blue. In this way, red and white have come to symbolize good and evil, respectively. I like these images because they take a human form (in this case, my ex-roomie), and split their face between the two. You’ll see this especially in this next photo.

I’ve always thought that Dick, pictured here, has an excellent persona and face for pictures. Whenever I take a picture of him, he seems to have an intelligence and depth that comes out well in the pictures. In real life, he’s pretty cool, too, but anyway…
So here in this picture there’s more of that red-blue that I like to talk about. He’s lit from below here, which gives a mysterious, flashlight-under-the-face Halloween look. With the hood and totally black background, he looks like someone you’d be wary of meeting on a darkened city street.

But then I guess he looks like that anyway. Just kidding. Kinda.

Here’s a shot that I think Zach took. It was a bulb-exposure picture, which means that the shutter was open as long as Zach kept his finger on the button. Basically, dick stood in the middle of the room and I traced him with the aforementioned red penlight. I’m not really sure what kind of symbolism this picture has, or even what it means, but it’s a cool picture that I had fun taking.

9900K M2 is the secret here. For those of you who don’t know what 9900K M2 means, it means that I whitebalanced my camera to something blue, and it told me that I had a really hot light (9900K) and it was blue (obviously) and so artificially put in an M2 color filter. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, tough cookies. This is my good friend Opal, for those of you who don’t know her. In this picture, the pine trees in the background look like bright golden sparks, which certainly is appealing to me. Opal certainly seems happy.

This is ninja (and my unsaturated picture of the post). He’s a little ninja from Ninja Town, that Dick bought for me for Christmas(?) last year. One of our assignments for digital photography was to take pictures of a small object and photograph it in various settings (With a focus on the lighting). I took a lot of pictures of Ninja, so I’ll skimp on the commentary a little.

This picture is done in the same style as the traced picture of Dick, above. Same penlight, too.

My good friend Keegan helped me out with this one. We thought it would be funny if we had a bunch of people ‘praying’ to Ninja, so we got some volunteers.

Ninja surrounded by his slain enemies; a true warrior of the night.

Keegan came up with this one of Ninja hanging by his feet from a tree. Fun with depth of field!

You’ll either get this one or you won’t. It’s a Bruce Springsteen(sp?) album cover, except that instead of a red hat, there’s Ninja. Fun times.
My friend Berndan Krull is pictured. He’s cool – he lives across the way in Donahue house.

Now we’re done with Ninja, and on to a picture of a mushroom. Everyone always tells me not to center things in pictures – it makes the picture uninteresting and bland; a cupcake without rule-of-thirds icing. Sometimes, however, there’s something to be said for placing the subject right in the middle of a picture. The way I see it, there’s a specific feeling given to each area of a picture. I’ll divulge my feelings on the issue, and feel free to comment. A subject placed in either of the top corners, facing across the picture (upper-right corner facing left or vice versa) is a subject with a distance to cross. It has to make its way across the picture, and often this gives that subject a feeling of flight. A good position for birds. If the subject is in the top corners and facing either toward the camera or has no face to speak of, then the photograph is given an air of freedom; the subject is above the average and emotionally higher. If the subject is placed in the bottom corners, an opposite effect is achieved. The subject seems to have weight and certainly gives the image more gravity. See the picture of Dick lit from both sides (#2 from the top). Anyway, to the point, if the subject is in the middle, it gives it a feeling of importance and significance, which I find amazingly appropriate for this little mushroomy specimen I found on a log.

Now if I just spent more time thinking about getting into college…

Here’s a crop of a picture that I really like. I got the sun shining through a tiny hole in a leaf. Shows you just how bright that darn sun is.

I’ll leave you with this interesting creature. If your computer is at the same resolution and everything as mine, then the bug pictured here is lifesize. If anyone knows what this is, please leave a comment. It looks like a cricketwasp and if nobody corrects me then that’s what it is. I love language.


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