Wicker Park is a neighborhood in Chicago something akin to Williamsburg in Brooklyn or Midtown Sacramento. I stayed there the last time I was in Chicago and really enjoyed the area, lot’s of great restaurants, bars and clubs. A great electronic venue, Sonotheque calls Wicker Park home along with my new favorite, Rodan. We ended up there last night, great atmosphere / people / music.
Please excuse the watermarked image, I found it on google and really liked it. I decided against bringing my camera on this trip just to keep the rig to a manageable size. But I did find some interesting shots of the Wicker Park neighborhood here.
Have start getting ready for tonight, see you all out at the MOMI.
This post is from my friend Forrest who does a lot of lofi photography stuff. On top is his modified Holga and the bottom is a shot taken with it. I love how the exposure extends all the way to the edges.
"We all know the Holga can create some amazing 6×6 images, but did you know it can also use 35mm film? With a bit of ingenuity, foam, and tape, a Holga can be outfitted with 35mm film to create some spectacular photos. After developing, you can scan your negatives to catch the full effect of the Holga 35mm frame."
The Lomography site has a page about the Holga 35mm mod process which can be found here.
Design is alive and well in Prague. There seems to be a very strong street poster scene there and unlike in San Francisco, the posters are actually well designed. I am not sure if this is a function of the fact that most designers in California are busy at agencies doing web design or that Prague just happens to produce great print designers. Whatever the case may be, it was great to be able to walk around and observe my favorite design medium in it’s natural habitat: pasted up on walls and poles, wet, decaying, torn, and looking magnificent. The great part is that no one seems to be taking down older posters so in some places the posters were stacked almost two inches thick. Some of the front layers would be torn away exposing layer after layer of old posters beneath, amazing stuff.
After going though all the shots from Prague I realized how many I had to posters so I decided to split the post off into two parts. I will be posting the other shots from Prague tomorrow.
My brother and I made the long journey home from London via Chicago today. I’m now safely back in San Francisco sitting in the studio wondering where to start; so much to do after such a long time away. Always sort of bittersweet to come home after seeing so many beautiful things in so many new places. But it is nice to do some laundry and take a decent shower. My friend Franklin made a good point tonight: traveling somehow makes you at once appreciate your home and long to travel more. Sort a paradox I guess, or wait, is that a Catch 22? I met so many people while I was away who would ask where I was from and when I told them they would almost always say how beautiful it was here or how they had always wanted to visit. It made me realize that I probably don’t get out and appreciate the city I live in as much as I should. I spent every day I had in those other cities trying to cram in as much as I could, to "see it all", meanwhile I probably haven’t even begun to experience half of what San Francisco has to offer. Such is life I guess, the grass is always greener, or perhaps we juts desire the strange and unfamiliar.
I still haven’t posted the shots from London and Prague as the past week has been really hectic moving around a lot with spotty internet access. But I will be sure to get them posted over the next couple days. Prague and London were incredible, so many amazing things to see and photograph. I can’t wait to start sorting through the shots and processing them, but sleep comes first. I don’t think I’ve had a decent night of it in over a month. The shot above is from Prague, they have a really cool street poster scene there, lot’s of great stuff plastered up all over the place….More to come.
Amsterdam is really an incredible place. Unfortunately it rained a lot this time around so I didn’t get as many shots as I had hoped. I wanted to make up for when I was there last year; my Lomo broke down and I dropped and broke my Nikon digital in Spain so I came home with only one roll of usable film. The sun did come out on the last day when we rode out to the Amsterdamse Bos and visited Museum Plein so not all was lost. The clouds there are something else, like a painting. I have to admit, I am not quite as inspired but the scenery there as I was by the things I saw in Asia, but that’s probably due to how similar in appearance and feeling Amsterdam is to San Francisco. The last shot is of my friend and fellow designer / photographer Jorge Calleja and was taken by my brother Dane. That’s also Jorge’s Eames chair up top.
I am writing this from my hotel room in Prague where it’s a bit overcast but otherwise dry and a lot warmer than I had expected, looking forward to getting some good shots here. I’ll be preparing a post on Sweden as time permits.
If you ride about an hour outside of Amsterdam you’ll find a very large forest park called the Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Woods). It really is an incredible space; a vast network of open grass fields that seem to extend to the horizon punctuated by strips of densely wooded forest and murky canals. The above panorama was taken in five shots on one of the larger fields at the center of the forest. I’m in the process of going through all the shots from Amsterdam, will be posting more soon.
A lot of people have been asking about my photographic process for this trip so I thought I would break it down in a post. As Paul Simon before me, I got a Nikon Camera. A Nikon D80 to be exact. I don’t particularly like it, but unfortunately I didn’t realize that until after the return period had expired. That fact aside, I have been able to coax some pretty satisfactory results out of it with a lot of post work. I am usually shooting at around 800-1000 ISO with Aperture priority fixed at F2.8 for shallow depth of field and quicker exposures for the low light stuff. My main gripe with this camera is the hopelessly inferior auto focus system. It simply DOES NOT WORK. Everyone has been raving about Canons so I think I’ll make the switch in the coming year some time. I have been lusting over the EOS 5D ever since my friend Simon showed me the shots he got with a borrowed one. Really incredible stuff.
I am usually shooting in FINE JPEG as opposed to RAW just to save space. Once in Photoshop I do a lot of color correction using the Shadows, Midrange, and Highlights sections of the color balance dialog. I think that’s the key to really getting the pictures to pop, you have to adjust all the ranges independently. That’s when you start to get some really nice cross processing / Lomo vibes going on. Next I like to use dynamic lighting to bring the range out. The dynamic range of a digital CMOS sensor is nowhere near that of film. Using software effects like Adobe’s Shadow/Highlight or Nikon’s D-Lighting can simulate an expanded dynamic range in a digital image without crossing that thin line into the unnatural looking world of HDR imaging (a technique that intrigues me on a technical level but that can feel overdone and synthetic). Of course, the end result of all this is a rather processed looking image, something some people don’t appreciate but I myself enjoy. People tend to bad mouth digital post processing but this has never made much sense to me. Processing is a huge part of analogue photography but people don’t seem to have much of a problem with that fact. Needless to say, the results I have achieved on this trip have made me a convert to digital photography as an artistic medium. Before I used my digital only for work tasks like product photography and such. Now I feel like I could get away solely with a digital SLR and never look back. I would miss the unpredictable, organic nature of film but I wouldn’t miss the all the extra time and money that goes into analogue photography.
In case you missed the reference in the title, here’s Paul Simon’s Kodachrome, a song that always makes me lament the fact that I was born about 20 years too late.