Torsten Kinsella of God Is An Astronaut

Torsten Kinsella of God Is An Astronaut

Taken at God Is An Astronaut’s August 16 show at the Nectar Lounge in Seattle, Wa. I’m still digging through the other pics to see if any came out useful.

Why night/low light photography is awesome

I find it’s actually harder at times trying to make something interesting in perfect daylight. The reason?

The light isn’t interesting.

Photography literally means “light drawings”, and if your light isn’t interesting, or the contrast between the good light and the boring light isn’t high enough, you are going to have a hard time making interesting photos.

At night, you’re FORCED to find interesting light, because it’s often the only light you have. A street lamp. A broken window in an old building that is letting the light leak through. Moonlight.

So yeah, learn how to coax the best low light quality out of your camera, get yourself a tripod, and get to it!

All photos by me, if you’re curious. Ask permission if you want to use them.

Best tripod for beginning photography

There are a lot of crappy camera tripods out there, made cheaply, that pass themselves off as useable. They’re not.

They are mostly lightweight piles of plastic junk that are a waste your valuable money.

My recommendation? Get a Slik PRO 330 DX. I owned and used for years the previous model until it disappeared to New Mexico with a friend, and I just bought the new updated model. It’s essentially the same tripod, so I’m excited that I can do some night photography again.

The primary reason I love this tripod is because it isn’t a plastic piece of junk. It has a solid metal head, with aluminium alloy legs, and if you take care of it, it will last for years.

The head, although not “pro”, is suitable enough that you’re never going to hate it. It’s sturdy and smooth, and will handle your SLR confindently and securely, without slipping. The quick release plate is very sturdy. It also has a vertical tilt handle in addition to the pan & tilt handle, which makes it easy to adjust.

While I don’t like the fact that this new one is lighter than my old one, which is an issue I think people mostly misunderstand, the potential downfall for that is made up for by the fact that it has quick release legs now instead of the old twisty screw knob-type. This makes the tripod much more user friendly and faster to set up and adjust.

To explain the weight issue, everyone wants light tripods because they have to carry them around. But extra weight means more stability, especially in windy conditions. Stability is the entire purpose of a tripod to begin with, so if you’re not a wussy and want images that are sharper, get a manly one. This tripod, it’s fair to say, straddles that line nicely, providing sufficient stability without being cumbersome.

The Slik tripod here isn’t the cheapest, compared to Wallmart cheap, but it’s not expensive either. At about $100, it’s a significantly better investment than any other tripod in that range.

All things being said, if you’re interested in doing photography, do yourself a favor and don’t skimp on your tripod. The Slick PRO 330DX is in my opinion the best initial investment you can make if you’re a beginner or enthusiast and you want to get serious about your art. This will start you off on a nice foundation, and still give you room to grow.

A beach photo

A beach photo

Just thought I’d share this photo with you. I took it on my vacation a while back. Enjoy.

Dave Brown AKA The Hulk

Finally got around to posting this from the premier of that Hulk movie with Ed Norton. Dave and I thought up the idea, and he was sufficiently brash enough to try to pull it off, much to the chagrin of his parents who found out post-movie.

I helped David select the clothing from some hipster used clothing store here in Spokane, then we appropriately ripped them to give them the impression of impressive musckulator-ness, and applied the green makeup. (Let me tell you, applying that kind of makeup to a sweaty dude’s back is not something that I want to attempt again for a very long time.)

Bridge of Sighs

Here’s a photo I recently took in Spokane. It’s a bridge crossing the Spokane river, with my buddy standing in as a model. And he was super. Yay for supermodels!

So I set the tripod up, facing down the bridge for the perspective shot. I have a bunch of Raleigh facing me, but they didn’t work out so well for what I was looking for. I then realized that he had on a white shirt under his jacket, and that I could blow it out with proper exposure and post-processing.

To get the color, I merely tweaked the color balance way off the charts toward that violet color, then desaturated it a bit.

What do you think?

Polaroid not dead!


And I’ll say it again, Yay!

According to the UK’s Independent, Florian Kaps, the guy behind Polanoid.net, has stepped up to the plate to save the beloved film format. After Polaroid announced in June 2008 that they would cease production of the instant film, it seemed that it was doomed to the history books as another victim of the digital camera revolution.

Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Now, I don’t shoot film much, hardly at all actually, but like all true photographers, I have a deep respect and appreciation for it. And if you’re going to shoot film, you might as well make it worth it by shooting medium or large format.

And if you’re going to shoot large format, you’d be crazy to not shoot Polaroid. I don’t know how guys like Edward S. Curtis and others managed to carry around glass slides all over the un-conquered earth, but I don’t envy them. Even in a studio, Polaroid film for a large format camera would be essential for me to want to do it that way. And if Polaroid is gone? Well, then, I have a hard time seeing myself shooting large format film any time soon.

But thankfully, Kaps has stepped up to the plate to take over production through the Impossible Project, supported by my favorite film company, Ilford.

They basically bought the entire Polaroid factory in the Netherlands, and have started researching more cost effective ways to produce the film that has remained essentially unchanged for over 40 years. It’s not an easy task, so they are asking support to reach their goals.

Their website has a sign up form where you can volunteer whatever resources you might be interested in giving.

It’s totally worth it to help out, because Polaroid film, which I guess should be called by its technical name “Integral Film” now that Polaroid is out of the picture, is totally awesome.

Also check out these resources: