I’m all about lonely and melancholic photography this week — though more importantly — I’m really into the effective implementation of a deceptively simple concept as seen above. Like Nobody is there, this series by J Bennett Fitts steers clear of any human subject; this time with a slightly more ominous tone. The focus of No Lifeguard on Duty is the abandoned swimming pools found throughout the country, usually alongside a similarly neglected hotel/motel from the 60’s. Just in time for summer! (At least in San Francisco…elsewhere in the country a more appropriate summer image might have the pool filled with water and people frolicking about. Here, summer means cold and foggy.)
Swimming pools are signs of spiritual optimism, economic prosperity and the hedonistic good life, so the image of a pool dried up and cracked or half full of dirty water becomes a symbol of disappointed hopes and dreams. A sign on the wall by a pool that was filled in with grassy sod says, ”No lifeguard on duty,” which is funny at first, and then starts to sound like an ominous judgment about modern American life. Ken Johnson
Photographer Tim Navis is participating in The Mongol Rally, a drive from the UK to Mongolia. You can follow along at Tim’s Rubik Crew page. Seems like an incredible adventure, I imagine he’ll be coming back with some amazing shots, can’t wait to see them. And in case you haven’t checked in on Tim since we last featured him, here are a few of his recent shots to refresh your memory:
Somebody is there is a cool Flickr set by Yosigo. As the title so aptly puts it, each photo in the set has a picture of someone “there”, usually depicted from afar. The one on the end is from the related Nobody is there, where as you can see, no one is there. I enjoy photography based on simple concepts like this, especially when it involves the beach. Some of the photos are a little too post produced for me (heavy vignetting etc), but there are a number of pretty cool shots in both sets.
I came across Dutch photographer GoWithTheFlowEnzo’s work (not sure of his real name, only says “Robin” on the page) the other day and I’m really enjoying the color and style. According to the EXIF data he used a Canon EOS 450D for most of the shots. The crazy part is that he took a couple of them with a little Canon IXUS. See if you can spot which ones without looking at the EXIF.
Most have heard of The Manhattan Project — the program lead by J. Robert Oppenheimer to develop the first nuclear weapon — but few have seen what’s left of it. Today I came across Martin Miller’s photo essay — Slouching towards Bethlehem — which gives an inside view of the surprisingly intact facility where the project was based. I was immediately stricken by the aesthetics of this massive nuclear laboratory.
I’ve always wondered how much time and thought is put into the purely aesthetic aspects of military/industrial design. Were the engineers who built this place trying to make it look good? Or am I just appreciating the fruits of design born solely from the pursuit of functionality. At any rate, the photos are excellent and whether intentional or not, the design ethic at work in these facilities is amazing. Link
Some people that you randomly come across like Jason Cawood just go around and collect, take, and share great vintage images that i’ve probably had on my computer for awhile now and I don’t know which images are his or if they’re from someone else, either way these 2 from shopping malls always caught my eye. I feel silly tagging this post “1970s malls” hah! if someone actually searched for that i’d be pretty amazed, now the ISO50 blog has that covered. On a side note, I never remember Fairlane looking soo impressive.
So I picked up some Nikon flashes last week and have been having a lot of fun with them. I got the SB-900 and its little brother, the SB-600. I’ve been running the 900 attached to the camera (D80) and have the 600 as a remote slave using Nikon CLS. Using the multiple flash setup has yielded some really great results (see this post for some examples) but even with just one flash attached directly to the camera I’ve found it’s pretty easy to get great shots.
Just thought I’d post some random shots I got playing around to illustrate how easy it is to get decent stuff using a good flash. I didn’t do all the post-processing stuff I usually do so you could see the raw output (save for the first one which I color filtered inside the camera). These were all shot with NEF RAW in adverse lighting conditions, most in very low incandescent light. As you can see, just the single flash was enough to fully light the scene and balance the color. If memory serves correct they were all taken with the SB-600 attached the camera. Also check out Alex’s post on the SB-600 for some other examples. As I work with the flashes more this week I will post more examples and info.
Recently I purchased a Nikon SB-600 flash for my D40. I have never owned anything in the way of photographic lighting and I figured this would be a good first step. I’ve outfitted my studio with a good continuous lighting set up (for video), but photographic lighting has always intimidated me (in regards to complexity and cost). The SB-600 is a flash attachment that works with the D40 (thankfully) and basically just augments the existing flash. The big difference is the ability to adjust the direction of the flash, allowing you to bounce light off the ceiling etc. It also has more options and allows for more control than the basic flash.
Above I’ve posted two pictures, the first uses the SB-600 (pointed at the ceiling), and the second is just the on-camera flash. Neither has been edited. Given that I have no idea what I’m doing with this flash, I think the results are fairly impressive out of the box. Every time I’ve used the SB-600 indoors, the pictures reflect exactly what I see in real life. None of that blown out flash nonsense. The colors are correct, the light is balanced, and the level of detail is like nothing I’ve seen come out of my D40 previously. Of course, the SB-600 is no substitute for a real studio lighting setup, but it’s a great way to cheaply augment the power and versatility of your on-camera lighting situation.
There are a number of other options for speedlights of this kind. I chose the SB-600 mainly because it seemed to be the best fit for my relatively “low end” D40. It’s not too heavy and didn’t break the bank like some of the other Nikon models (the SB-800 for example costs more than my camera). It’s been very easy to use and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and easy way to improve their indoor photography. If anyone has experience with other models, Nikon or otherwise, I’d love to hear your thoughts or see some examples. I’m still learning how to get the most out of mine, but the potential definitely seems to be there.