I don't know about you guys, but winter is going way too fast for me. I have a lot of projects that I was planning on getting done before Spring arrives (such as transfer all those home movies to DVD and get the kids' scrapbooks updated from when they were 5), they still aren't done and I have a busy couple of weeks coming up. Unless we have a really snowy April, by the time my upcoming plans have taken place, we will probably be wearing shorts and hanging out in the yard because it will be nice enough to do that. Then new projects will have a way of politely announcing priority, such as gardening and yard work, planting flowers and making rhubarb crisp. If they don't get the proper attention at the right time, we all know who moves in: the Weed family and it is extremely hard to evict them once they've established residency.
I realized after a closer look at the calendar that I will miss seeing Charlie Parr when I am in California. He's actually going to be there the night before I arrive and then the next gig he has is in Los Angeles. My workshop will have started by then and even if I was open, I am WAY too chicken to drive a car in Los Angeles. I've never been there but I have heard stories and I am pretty sure I should never operate a motor vehicle there unless something weird happens and I move there or something. I'm not even sure Minnesotans are allowed in L.A. Except if you're a celebrity like Charlie. So that is a bummer but maybe by some bizarre coincidence he will fill his open night with a show in the town I am staying in. That would be pretty awesome and amazing. I will be sure to tell you if it does happen.
I am back at the Minneapolis Photo Center these days scanning more film. I have to tell you, I am still a big believer in film. Even though I love the instant gratification of digital cameras, when I can force myself to use the film camera, I am always happy with the results.
Last Fall when I was up north, I set my alarm for way too early and hardly slept a wink because that's what happens when I know I have to shoot in the morning. I am so worried that I am going to sleep through my alarm or that the alarm won't go off that I toss and turn all night and am usually relieved when the clock finally says 4:30 or whatever time I need to get up. So anyway, here I am, my first morning and I get all my stuff and get to the parking lot and start walking out in the dark. I find a spot to plunk down the tripod and what do I see blasting right through the sunrise sky? A big, old uninvited contrail. This one was of the variety that sticks around forever and ever. So this guy announces that he's staying till at least lunch time and I'm wondering what to do now? So I decided to do a little experiment to blog about. I shot that big ole' contrail sunrise with all 3 cameras I was lugging with me. We'll talk about why the 3 cameras another time. So the question is...which is better: 35mm film camera, medium format film camera, or digital camera. Of course the scans don't look quite as good as the originals, they are a little darker so I'm not sure this is a fair comparison. Also, slightly different lenses on each camera. At any rate, leave your comments if you'd like and weigh in your opinion. I would love to know what you think.
Ok, here are the identities revealed:
#1 is medium format with Velvia film
#2 is digital
#3 is 35mm with Velvia film
Sometime last year, The Minneapolis Photo Center (www.mplsphotocenter.com) came across my radar. I learned that if I became a member I could gain access to their medium format film scanners. This is a big deal because I am sitting on a lot of medium format slides that I would like converted to digital format so I can have access to them on my computer. If you've ever needed a slide scanned, you might be aware of the cost to do this. The higher resolution you want, the more it costs. I wish that I would have bought the old Nikon 9000 ED scanner when it was still for sale, but even now a used one will set you back at least $3,000. New it was retailing for around $7,000. So thank goodness that I am able to get access to this piece of equipment at the MPC and the only cost to me is a minimum 6 month membership. With membership running at $25 a month, $150 for unlimited slide scanning is a great deal.
If you live in the Twin Cities area and are a photographer, I highly recommend coming over to check it out. Besides having film scanning capabilities, they have fully loaded iMacs with all the latest photo processing software, a variety of studios to shoot in, and a darkroom that I haven't yet ventured into.*
This is a very nice place with lovely ambiance. The loft-like studios and spaces are beautiful and have oversized windows which the sunlight pours into while also offering interior areas away from exterior lighting sources. There is usually music playing, candles burning, and coffee, water and snacks available. It kind of feels like hanging out at a cool friend's apartment.
In addition to these facilities, they offer a number of beginner and advanced classes for the photo pro or enthusiast and they also host a number of photography related group meetings and events. I recently decided to give studio lighting another swing. I have to admit being pretty shy about photographing people but they made it great fun. I'm not sure how much credit I can take for these images. Someone else set up the lighting and the models a/k/a teachers and assistants were very willing to do anything you asked them. It goes to show how a good support team can make a person look great whether you are a photographer or a CEO.
I'd like to say a big thank you to these models for letting me post images of them here. They are Rich Ryan, Katherine Tolene, Luis Rodriguez, and Jonathan Pavlica. Also a shout-out to the founders/owners of the MPC, Abby and Orin Rutchick, who I am pretty sure are the poster models for Minnesota Nice.
If you have few moments, please stop by the teacher/assistants' photography websites to check out their work:
Rich Ryan, www.richryan.com
Katherine Tolene, Katherinetolene.com
Luis Rodriguez, www.luisrodriguezphoto.com
Jonathan Pavlica, www.pavlicaphotography.com
* The last darkroom I was in (not here) had a resident T-Rex centipede that scared me out for good. Ok, maybe he was only 5 inches long but his running along the darkroom sink and disappearing into some crevice in the wall burned a video image in my mind that can replay at the push of a button even today. I pretty much swore off darkroom work after that, but I might give it another go if someone goes in before me to make sure the coast is clear.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.