Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Army and Happy Flag Day!

I thought I'd revisit two older photographs in honor of the United States Army's 235th birthday and flag day today...

Since June 14th was the Army's birthday well before it was ever Flag Day, it is only fitting that I post a photograph for all those Soldiers, both men and women, who have and are currently serving in the Army first.

And now for the flag, the flag of the United States of America, the one in which all of its citizens pledge an allegiance to the republic for which is stands, as one nation under God, that is indivisible no matter how controversial the subject may be,with liberty and justice for ALL...

Happy Birthday to the Army of the United States of America and Happy Flag Day 2010!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two of my photographs will be published...

It's been a while since I've had anything published, so when I read the call for work for a new collection of toy camera photography book last year I knew I had to submit some of my photographs.
The great people who are responsible for the book, put out a call for the book over a period of several months, looking for work in different categories, only one of which interested me.
I submitted two photographs in the "portrait" category and much to my surprise got them both in.

The first photograph was one of a friend and now fellow veteran Charlie Nichols. I first met Charlie while we were on active duty, and made the portrait of him while I was about to leave my active duty tour. I have felt that my photography is rather autobiographical and therapeutic in a way too, so it's really no surprise that I made his portrait at the end of my tour.
I really wish I was able to make more portraits of the wounded Soldiers I had worked with and gotten to know during that time, but I guess was compelled by some kind of professional courtesy or not wanting to invade on the privacy into the lives of the Soldiers I was helping take care of; of course there was the geography too, with me in Utah and the Soldiers in my platoon being in one of 10 other states. It's not that I didn't make any photographs at all of these Soldiers, in fact I made photographs of nearly all of them, but unfortunately they were for work and not art.
I was fortunate enough to be able to do some photography for the unit, even though it was anything but artistic. When a Soldier would in process into the unit, I would make a simple portrait of them that the platoon sergeants and case managers would use for memory purposes, because after they in processed, we would rarely see them. The platoon sergeants and case managers would use the photographs I made in the information sheets they kept on each of the Soldiers in their platoons. I know it was very useful to them and I glad I could find such a way to incorporate my photography into the mission.

But back to the portrait of Charlie..

Charlie was a part of a unit that had been mobilized in Afghanistan, he and four other Soldiers in his 40 Soldier unit came back with some form of cancer.

The other portrait I submitted to the book was from the fly fishing project I have been working on for the past couple of years. When I made this particular portrait it was my first trip to the Green River her in Utah to fish. I made this portrait within the first few minutes of the journey down the "A Section" of the Green, the only section that seems to face directly east. The walls of the canyon that surround the Green are pretty steep so unless the sun is directly over head there is little opportunity for any really good light. At least that has been my limited experience with the river.

The book is scheduled to published soon, so look for an announcement here, so you can buy your copy...

I'd like to thank the selection team for selecting my photographs, I appreciate the work they have done and look forward to seeing the final book when it is published.
I'd also like to thank these two men for letting me photograph them and for being a part of my photographic journey..

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Birthday Project Continues...

I know I haven't posted a new photograph from this project in more than two years, but it doesn't mean that I haven't stopped doing it.
This year marks a special edition of the "Birthday Project", in that this year Mirinda turns 40, so in an addition to the annual photograph I am going to post several of the photographs from previous years.

For her birthday this year, we wanted to have a big party, with cake, drinks, good food, and as many of the wonderful people who have touched our lives and hers. We wanted to have a pirate theme and we also rented a bounce house.
The photograph was taken just after we bounced for the first time that day..

The 39th edition of the project was taken slightly after her actual birthday, a lot closer to mine actually, but here it is...

Over the years I have used many different cameras for this project, from an SLR, to a Holga, to a point and shoot, which has been the main camera I have used for this project, but with this photograph I used the camera on my cell phone. I really like this one, because it was pretty spontaneous, we were waiting for our order to come, and I remember thinking how good the light was there and had to have to make a photograph of her.

If you have been following the "Birthday Project" since its inception, you have seen the following photographs:

@ 38
For my 37th birthday Mirinda wanted to do something special for me, so she colored her hair my favorite color, red.... Thanks SEXY!!

The photograph I did of Mirinda for her 37th birthday is another favorite of mine, largely because where I made it at. Can you guess where we were on her 37th birthday?
It was our first time there, and the first time either one of us had been there in 20 years or so...


I usually make the photograph on or very close to her birthday, either at our home before we go out to dinner or before the party we are having for her that day, which is the case for numbers 36 and 35.



Prior to the 35th edition of the project, I was still experimenting with how to shoot the photographs for the project and what not, so they are all a little different...



You'd think that being a "Holga Master", I'd have more with the Holga, but as it is I just have the one. I remember this one pretty well, it was a Saturday, and we had quite the birthday date. We got all dressed up, Mirinida in the gown she's wearing and me in my "class A" uniform to attend the ballet, her favorite, "Swan Lake", then off to a wonderful dinner, then we finished the day at the military ball, which, I had told her, that it was held on her birthday just for her.


The first installment of this project began with her 31st birthday, but I am unable to find that picture, but I still remember what she looked like then...

Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane, and thank you Mirinda for being my wife, my muse, and for letting me photograph you.

You I love...

Paint Your Holga

In 2007 I wrote an article on how to paint your Holga, that was published in Light Leaks magazine, which I put on my original website, so I thought I'd put it here too.

I used to think that black was a great color for a camera. Every camera I have ever owned has been black, but deep down I have always wanted a red camera. That’s when I looked at one of my many Holgas with a sly grin and knew that my wish for a red camera would come true.

The things you’ll need to paint your Holga include:

  1. Your Holga camera
  2. A plastic primer, I like Rust-Oleum’s “Plastic Primer.” You can find this at most hardware stores near the spray paints.
  3. A multi-purpose enamel spray paint, in the finish of your choice (I like glossy). While I have never used plastic model paint, I have heard that it comes off easily, so using this method the paint will last a good long while.
  4. Masking tape or blue painter’s tape, in whatever width you have available, the wider the better.
  5. An all purpose cleaner, to remove duct tape residue if your Holga is an older one.
  6. An X-acto knife with a fine point bade to cut away some of the masking tape on the smaller areas.
  7. A ball point pen

The first step is choosing the right color for your Holga. As you know each Holga’s characteristics are very different, so choosing the right color is very important.

If your Holga is an old favorite it probably has a lot of duct tape residue, which I would suggest cleaning up before you begin. I have found that “Thoro” works well and doesn’t harm the plastic. If your Holga is brand new, cleaning it isn’t necessary, although you should remove the two stickers that are usually on the bottom of a new Holga.

I would recommend that you remove the metal clips that keep the back on, by using a fingernail to pop the smaller clip and slide the clip up.

Taping your Holga is probably the most tedious, but important step. A good tape job will mean the difference between a good paint job and a sloppy one. Typically, I tape the upper portion of the Holga, to include the lens barrel, as well as the aperture indicator (the sun or overcast icons), the tripod hole (if you have an “N” model), and the film counter window. Remember that the taped parts of the Holga will be black. Pay close attention to the viewfinder, especially when taping the back side. I have found that layering it helps; wrap the tape around the widow making sure that it is sealed well.

Once the rear part of the viewfinder is covered well, cover the rest of the camera well enough so that paint is unable to bleed through.

For the film counter window I take a strip of masking tape and use it to trace the outline of the window, if you trace it enough the outlining area should come off easily.

If you want the Holga name plate to show on the front you can use the same technique to tape and then cut some tape away from the sides. Brand new Holgas will likely have the nameplate covered in a clear plastic tape, so this isn’t necessary. For the winding knob, take a stip of tape and place it along the bottom of the knob, feed it along the knob and advance the knob while feeding it along the bottom. Fold in the remaining tape so that it covers the top of the knob. If you want to paint the top of the knob, make sure the tape is on tight enough so that paint doesn’t leak down the sides. I would suggest trimming any excess tape that is above the rewind knob, by doing so it will ensure a better covering with the paint. You can paint the entire knob, but I have found that the ridges along the edge are difficult to cover with both the primer and paint.

To tape the lens barrel, take a strip of tape long enough to go around the lens at least twice. If your tape is at least two inches wide, fold it over to cover the lens element. If you have the lens cap, I would suggest you put it on before you begin to tape the lens. If the folded over tape doesn’t cover the lens entirely then add more. It’s better to be safe than sorry before you begin working with the paint.

By this point your Holga should be covered with tape and is now ready to be painted with primer. Beyond following the instructions of the primer, I would suggest you allow it to dry at least 24 hours before you apply any paint. When your Holga is primed and dry, you can apply the paint. Again, I would suggest following the instructions per the manufacturer. My only suggestion beyond the manufacturers’ instructions would be to do a third coat if your Holga isn’t completely coated. Once the tape is dried completely you can take easily remove the tape by carefully peeling away the layers, let it dry for a couple of days before use.

Now that you have a Holga that has a bit more personality than it did before I am sure your photographs will too!

Have Fun!

The following detail pictures didn't make the final article, but I thought they'd be useful.