Tag Archives: camera

When “In with the New” Means Bringing Back the Old

The brass 1840s Petzval lens.

The brass 1840s Petzval lens.

The Petzval lens was developed in 1840. The brass fixture was pretty simple in design — especially compared to what’s available today — and its speed made it perfect for portrait shots. While it has been surpassed by many models after it and the digital revolution, Lomography has found a place for this oldie in today’s photo world… to the tune of over $1 million in donations to bring back the old.

So what does a lens from 1840 have to offer us now? Take one look at the results of this brass lens, and you’ll understand why some photographers still use some of the old models.

By flickr user Jonathan Wong.

By flickr user Jonathan Wong.

By flickr user Alan Butler.

By flickr user Alan Butler.

By flickr user hdll88.

By flickr user hdll88.

By flickr user micmicmor

By flickr user micmicmor

But Lomography has found a new crowdsourced way to raise awareness and funds to bring it back. The camera company recently launched a Kickstarter page to begin remaking this ancient relic for digital SLR cameras. The Kickstarter campaign currently has 11 days left and has raised $1,182,391 from 2,860 backers. Their goal was $100,000.

A New Market With this kind of a response, it begs the question — who’s pitching in? Where did this massive funding come from? Clearly Lomography has a sizable following based on their reaction from this project, but let’s think deeper. This kind of thing might catch on for other models and companies.

One of the most profitable e-deals in recent years involved the selling of a popular photo editing app, Instagram, to social media giant, Facebook. This merger solidified this trend’s potential, and Lomography’s Kickstarter campaign shows that it’s still growing strong.

An example of a typical Instagram photo with filter applied.

An example of a typical Instagram photo with filter applied.

Instagram appeals to anyone wanting to share photos, but specifically to those wanting to share photos that look like they were taken 50 years ago. The app’s photo filters allow the user to fake the look of an aged photo by accentuating colors or placing film borders around their iPhone snapshots. Why did this catch on? The same reason Lomography saw this as a viable crowdsourcing opportunity.

I’m Guilty…

It’s true. Even I have gone the way of Instagram. (The evidence: http://instagram.com/amklann) The app has been really denounced by a lot of photographers, but the tide is turning, and some are realizing that for anyone wanting to share their views, it’s worth trying.

The Future of This Trend

It’s no doubt that with the success of Lomography’s Kickstarter campaign, this trend will continue. The big picture: this shows there is major interest in old film technology being brought to digital world.

A fellow photographer on Deviantart who shoots with some old equipment suggested that the Kodak Aero Ektar lenses could be next. Not only are they cheaper than the reproduced Petzvals, but they have many of the same beautiful features.tumblr_ln5vhrgLV31qekrnyo1_500

Hey, we can dream! All of the photographers who either (like me) came about after the digital shift and were either too cheap or too lazy to pick up the old ways, or those who gave up their film equipment during the transition are no doubt excited for this opportunity.

What old equipment are you dying to use with your digital SLR?

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Shooting From the Hip – Chicago

Recently my partner and I drove across the country from Massachusetts to our new home on the West Coast — Seattle. Along the way, we found ourselves in places we never thought we’d step foot in. Chicago was an amazing city that felt so cosmopolitan. It’s like a warmer, more spacious version of New York… with a much nicer coast. And the pizza… Okay, so they aren’t that similar.

But one similarity came in how I photographed this city — from the hip. Shooting candid shots of passersby is one of my favorite things, especially when you’re in an environment where people are dressing to be seen. Check out these classic and sometimes quirky views of the “Windy City.”

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Abandoned Philadelphia

Philadelphia is much, much more than old brick and cheese steak.

This week, I took my first trip to the Cradle of Liberty; Birthplace of America; Brotherly Love; etc. This was the last major city on the eastern seaboard I hadn’t been to, and I was pretty excited to photograph all the ordinary yet beautiful things in the city that make it a little different than D.C. and Boston, but little did I know how different my view would be.

The Philadelphia Coal Piers, according to Gjfoto, were used to refill ships’ supplies of coal. The ruins are covered in graffiti and progress in a staggered linear fashion, making for a disorienting and beautiful find, right off the highway.

A break in the labyrinth, halfway through.

A break in the labyrinth, halfway through.

Sunlight seeps in through breaks in the concrete walls.

Sunlight seeps in through breaks in the concrete walls.

Some areas are murals, plastered in detailed works of urban art.

Some areas are murals, plastered in detailed works of urban art.

The pier goes on for quite a ways, leading into new corridors and hallways.

The pier goes on for quite a ways, leading into new corridors and hallways.

Dark tunnels through the pier are covered in bright spray paint.

Dark tunnels through the pier are covered in bright spray paint.

Secondary secession: the process by which nature reclaims spaces.

Secondary secession: the process by which nature reclaims spaces.

The front of the coal pier ruins. Dirt pathways run past this place, where four-wheelers and dirt bikes speed back and forth, leaving tire marks through the trash and graffiti-covered tunnels.

The front of the coal pier ruins. Dirt pathways run past this place, where four-wheelers and dirt bikes speed back and forth, leaving tire marks through the trash and graffiti-covered tunnels.


Canon 7D Video – 50mm 1.8 Lens – HD

Playing around with a Canon 7D that I use for work occasionally. Certainly blows my old xTi out of the water! I’ve been considering upgrading just for things like this, but haven’t yet. Not too sure I need it yet… but in the meantime, it sure is fun to take HD video! I advise watching it at 1080p and 0.5x speed.


The Faces of Worcester

Here’s the first installation of the series of portraits, (which I’m calling for now) The Faces of Worcester. They’re shot with my Canon 50mm 1.8f lens on overcast days. I make a conscious effort to not photograph anyone I think might be a student. I ask just about everyone I pass. If they seem upset, busy, or entirely unwelcoming I don’t bother. Otherwise, I simply ask them if I may take their portrait.

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Most people were fine with the idea, and it didn’t take me long to rack up over two dozen shots. The ones that decline, I wish a good day to. Usually even if they didn’t want their picture taken, they would inquire about why I was doing it, which I thought was funny.

Two things I learned today: women are way too self-conscious and Clarkies can be stuck up.
Most of the women I approached (or at least a larger percentage of them than of men) declined. I asked an older woman wearing a magenta suit jacket covered in gold broaches; she said she was too old and just waiting for the bus. She then asked my reason. I told her that I find people fascinating. She restated her previous comment, and I replied “Everyone is beautiful.” Another woman who looked Afro-Caribbean had a similar response and said that her hair was a mess. She said she would next time.
Another younger woman I asked completely ignored me, which only happened that one time. I watched her for a moment and then saw her walk onto campus.
Something else I’m learning: this project is making me less guarded. I feel like since I’ve been living in Worcester, a larger more urban area, I’ve been harboring this wall of sorts. It’s a feeling I think I should have being in this environment. Oh, don’t make eye contact unless you want to engage someone. Don’t engage anyone. This is helping me to realize how unhealthy that is. Most people are awesome.

I want to add more about my encounter with each person, but I already feel like I could write a book’s worth about each one of them. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with this series and also how I want to connect them. By emotion? How should I crop them? Sometimes someone’s outfit adds a lot to their presence; sometimes their face is the focus. Any input is appreciated!


Photos: Week 3 (More Light Graffiti)

Some more light graffiti for your viewing pleasure… Like my other experiments with light, I always try to use it to interact with the environment and illustrate something intangible. Here, it’s music. It’s creativity. My B.C. Rich Bich was very cooperative for the shoot. I used a pen with a changing LED light in it for the light source. Frank, expect this one to be printed for class (or at least one like it)!


Light Graffiti

Here are a few examples of some of my photography, specifically a technique called light graffiti or light painting. By leaving the shutter open on your camera and using a mobile light source in a dark space, you can pretty much transform any area into your own canvas with which you can interact.

Spinning Out of Control

All you need is a camera, a stable place to put it, and a light. Any flashlight or even a cell phone will work, but LED lights create very vivid effects. Strobe lights and glowsticks are also fun to use. Let your imagination go wild!

On Fire

Created using an LED light and my fisheye lens.

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For more of my photography, check out my gallery at www.aeroartist.deviantart.com/gallery

Smokin'