I had the awesome opportunity to photograph CERN Laboratory and the Large Hadron Collider. The image pictured is of the CMS detector, part of the experiment that proved the existence of the Higgs Boson, a particle which gives matter mass.
Most photographers will tell you that a 50mm lens is the human eye equivalent. Further proof that I’m not normal. When I look through a viewfinder and then take the camera away quickly and back, or alternate closing one eye, 50mm doesn’t match how I see. Do things seem closer or farther away to you than a 50mm lens?
When I took my pilot’s license medical exam, they had a system of testing your peripheral vision. basically something would slide in to view and you’d have to note when you could see it. The doctor remarked I had unusually wide angle field of view.
Perhaps this is why I like to print so huge. a 40″x60″ piece seems so much more full of life to me. I can live in the image longer, and appreciate it more fully. I’m also the guy that doesn’t mind sitting in the front section of the movie theater (though I do get a crick in my neck if too close).
Maybe that explains the 138″ video wall I built, the 4 foot by 7 foot lego mosaic, and the desire to get this denali picture printed 20 feet wide (it is a composite of over 600 images so there’s enough detail to do it!)
I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights. Before Iceland I had only seen a slight glow in the sky of Alaska. There are lots of timelapse videos on the internet but it’s hard to get a sense of speed given they have sped up the video so fast. My brother in law was also curious about how fast auroras move and asked me to get a real time video. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to given I didn’t know how bright they’d be. You have to have a shutter speed of at least 1/30th of a second to shoot video which is 900x less light than most of the 30 second exposures you see of auroras. But I gave it a shot. I cranked the ISO all the way up and used the fastest lens I could rent on one of the best low light DSLRs currently made. Here’s one of the clips I shot of a pretty large solar storm hitting the earth. I saw it dance and shimmer faster than this a few times and slower than this a lot.
What verbs come to mind to describe the way it moves to you?
Normally I think of diptychs and triptychs (of the same photo) as a solution for making larger pieces than a printer can print. However, a customer asked me if I could do a triptych of my lakeshore image at a size that I could print a single piece at, so the split would be purely aesthetic. I have to admit I was skeptical, but I’m actually quite pleased at how it came out. I compensated for the gaps in the images so the lines in the image continue without jumps. What do you think? Do you prefer one of the triptychs or the original?
I was at a talk at Charles Hartman’s gallery a few months back with Julia Dolan, curator of Photography at the Portland Museum of Art. The discussion turned to what to do with photos after your death and some photographers in the audience were of the mind to “burn the negatives” so no more prints could ever be made. Dolan suggested the importance of them being willed to a photographic preservation trust with the instructions to be used only for academic study, because it’s very interesting for researchers to see the process by which a photographer works. Do you shoot a wide establishing shot, then pace around from different angles, only to end up shooting the flower from underneath? or was it the first shot you saw that was the winner?
So just in case you become famous, buy another 3TB hard drive and save those “good” “adequate” and maybe the terrible ones too. Drive space is cheap and it often costs more time to dither about which to delete than it does to deal with storing more files. Or just clean everything out, make history think you only ever took great shots and make it easy to find those great shots. Not that you’ll care as you’ll finally be catching up on sleep after a lifetime of photographing sunrises :)
With the official totals for my recent trips hovering around 38000 and 40000 images, I find myself despairing over how many “good” photographs I have. Around every corner in venice is a beautiful scene with a canal, a building that is slightly off kilter being held up by petrified wood piers, some beautiful flowers in the flower boxes (I think about 20% of Italy’s GDP is spent on flowers in windows ;) ) However, with such similarity it’s hard to pick out which if any, are “great”, which means to me, that they aren’t great. A great image leaps out at me and grabs me by the lapels (Perhaps my problem is that I’m wearing tshirts while editing my photos which don’t have lapels). In wildlife photography, there’s so often a decisive moment, the lion leaping the river, or the kingfisher caught midflight, that says THIS ONE. Although as a counter point, I have a lot of lion images from africa where they are just sleeping, that are “good”. So again I’m faced with what do I do with the images that are nice, that collectively help to tell the story of a place but aren’t going to be featured in the gallery. In a world that has so many great shots, my good shots are competing for the ever shortened attention span against images that probably have a whale breaching in one of Venice’s canals. Of course these “great” images might not represent that slurry of tastes and sounds that embody a trip to venice, because they are so apart from the normal.
I think the good vs. great tension is present in our lives as well. How do we savor and appreciate the good moments in our life, when the media is only talking about the great moments the celebrities are having? Does hearing about the royal wedding diminish the memories of weddings we’ve been to? I hope not, though I fear that the age of omnipresent information allows us to compare ever present good against a presented great. Even the great moments in our lives when patched together would make an impressive slideshow, but would present a wildly inaccurate story for posterity, as I think the good moments in my life are much more me.
Sitting on a bed when your body thinks its 3am is like an alcoholic sitting in a bar.
Once you’ve bargained with yourself that a short nap won’t hurt your adjusting to the local time the first thing to go is your inhibitions to snoozing or resetting the alarm for just another hour more. You may get woken up by the hotel staff who don’t expect you to be sleeping at that time of day. You slur your speech and say anything to make them go away and return to that siren call.
If you can’t tell, I caved and slept for a few hours after arriving here in Johannesburg this morning on a +2 days set of flights from Portland, Oregon. I suspect I’ll still be able to sleep tonight, then it’s off early to the lands of no internet. Catch y’all on the flip side.