Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dear Kerby,

For a few months now I have had a problem with my new (digital) camera. I sent it in with the battery and charger so that they can find the problem and get it repaired. I did not get the charger and battery back when they sent me the camera. This can be a problem. Not having my new camera made me want to take time to shoot some rolls of film. Yes, I did have my older digital camera I could use which I have been using sparingly. I have been watching/following some advanced photographers on YouTube as they talk about film photography. These photographers have some lessons I can relate to. The topics they talk about can be translated to digital photography because the techniques go above boundaries.

I have been with a local camera club for quite a number of years now and I have learned a number of lessons about how to handle a camera in manual mode as well as things on my own. I know about film speed/iso, aperture/depth of field, and shutter speed. These three things can be summed up as the exposure triangle. With my first digital camera I never thought about any part of the triangle. I let the camera do what it needed to in full auto mode. By my second digital camera I started to learn about parts of the exposure triangle. I have not quite mastered all three parts.

Shutter speed keeps giving me problems. In my mind I do not know correct timing for the right exposure. I always relied on the few second image review after taking the photo. I could then gauge if I needed more or less time so that what I was photographing would become correctly exposed, in my eyes. This is not an accurate way to take a photo because I lose time when reviewing and might miss something perfect. If I was to set the camera up like it was a film camera I would not have the advantages of instantly reviewing the shot. Film cameras sort of have the all or nothing feel.

The other day I came across a photography term called sunny 16. If you do not know what the term is then take time to watch this video. After having the video explain the technique I discovered a new way to look at the camera. I am slowly trying to find the correlation between the items on the exposure triangle. I like a shallow depth of field (F/4 or lower) for most of my photos. If I use a shallow depth of field to take my photo with a low iso (400 or less) then I try and calculate the correct exposure time. The sunny 16 gives me a jumping off point on how to calculate for the correct exposure.

I am going to keep a small notebook in my camera bag from now on so that I can have the sunny 16 rule with me as well as write down things that work or do not work for me when correctly exposing photos. Not everything works the same for every photographer. It all depends on your individual artistic style of taking photos. Sometimes you just want to take a correctly exposed picture and other times you want something more artistic. I find myself in a happy medium between the two nowadays.

Hoping to share with you what I learn along the way.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Exposed

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dear Kerby,

In the late '90s somewhere between 4th and 5th grade I got to go on another summer vacation. Summer vacations were a regular thing for me, even if it was only a week long. I remember spending time Salem, MA. It was only about a day or so but none the less it was still enjoyable when I was that young.

The town had some sort of antique/resale shop that peaked my interest. I got a few things from that shop. One of them was a hefty, metal peace sign belt buckle. The belt buckle was hand made in fashion with the hammered metal feel. When I got home I knew the exact belt I was going to use the buckle on. This belt came from one of the novelty venders at the county fair. It had a stamped design of eagles all around. I even had an arrow head eagle buckle on it. This buckle was no more. I took off the old buckle to use the new peace sign.

I had many problems with the belt buckle when I was using it at school. The buckle would come unattached. I remember in P.E. I had to keep adjusting it. I adjusted it so much that the teacher was wondering what I was doing. With this problem I stopped using the belt and the buckle. Years later after I started college I rediscovered the buckle. I got a belt that fit me. This made all the difference. The buckle never slipped off. The belt became something that I wore with every outfit I owned.

Recently, I got my Fitbit and I started watching what I eat. I was not "fat" but I was not in the most healthy state. This resulted in the belt and buckle not fitting quite right even though it was as tight as can be. I gave in and got a new belt. Along with the new belt came a new belt buckle. I ended up ordering this belt from Foster Weld and a customized copper wooden buckle from Shop Joyo.

Yes, I did mention that the belt buckle was customizable. I had some song lyrics from a Kimya Dawson song put into the wood. When read sideways the belt buckle reads "I am grounded   |   I am humbled    |   I am one with everything" These lyrics from the song are with me wherever I go. I am reminded to be better and do better. Overall, it is a fun song to sing as are all Kimya Dawson songs. I am sure that I will not buy a new belt or belt buckle for years.

Talk to you later, Bluelaugh

Peace

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear Kerby,

The one thing I like about film is that no two are the same. You can get the same roll of 120mm Portra film from Kodak, but it might turn out a little bit different due to the camera. The camera might cause light leaks and other things that make it unique. My medium format (120mm film) Holga is unpredictable because it is cheaply made. This might result in light leaks and other such unpredictable things with the film/camera.

If you work with film quite often you get to know a Fuji from a Kodak or any other brand. Some can look at a photo and tell what specific Fuji film is used. It takes the right kind of eye to know this. With current versions of photography, the goal is to capture the best crisp, correct exposure on a picture. For myself, it is hard to tell what type of digital camera took the photo by just looking at it.

In my mind, I want to take a series of photos, like you would with a roll of film. I would then edit them with the same filter/effect for every photo. My editing program of choice would be Lightroom. I have some presets I saved that look vintage and or film like. Right now my go to is a matte film look of some sort.

It can be hard to find the right black and white settings/film to suit my style. If I ever find the right settings I would love to shoot in black and white again.

Overall, I would like to take more “snapshots” in my daily life.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Load Up

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Kerby,

I do not know if you have ever heard about MorningStar Farms, Boca, or Gardein before. These are all companies that produce vegetarian food. The first company I got hooked on was Boca. The Boca company makes two veggie burgers and a chicken patty that I was introduced to. These were the basic of my existence when cooking on my own while living at the dorms. I later found MorningStar Farms products. The MorningStar Farms company sells more than burgers. They make meat crumble for tacos, chili and much more. They also make meatballs, breakfast sausages (links and patties), veggie dogs, bacon, and other varieties of meatless style meat. Some of the MorningStar Farms products can be stand alone like the ribs with sauce or in a recipe like the meatballs. Gardein is very Similar to MorningStar Farms except that is has beef tips, veggie fish, turkey cutlets, and fancy main dishes.

I eat these products more than anything else because I find it easier than making a vegetarian recipe. From time to time I make things from scratch when I have extra money. It can add up when you need to buy individual ingredients for every meal. Sad. I like making a veggie meatloaf from scratch. Not many other things do I make from scratch unless it is a special day. I have used the recipes on the websites from Gardein before but that is different than than from scratch.

When I got my new issue of the vegetarian magazine I saw an ad for Lightlife. The ad features a ground beef/meat crumble option. This made me think of the other meat crumbles by the previous mentioned companies. For some reason I had to research Lightlife and find out if they are just a copy of a vegetarian company that already exists. The more satisfying thing that they do different is a veggie style lunch meat. Part of me thinks that this will not be the best thing ever but I am still curious to have a taste. Luckily, sites like these show you where you can buy their products.

The vegetarian isle seems to be growing after I found out which local store (Kroger) sells products from this newly featured company (that had been around a while). Most stores near me that have a vegetarian section do not feature vegetarian items like they would with other products. It might have to do with not many people in my area being vegetarian. At times if I do not take time to look for vegetarian products I will miss them (that is how small the vegetarian section is). When I was living in the dorms I had stopped into an unfamiliar grocery store and it took forever to find the vegetarian section, but I eventually did.

Not sure what new vegetarian company will emerge next. When they do I hope that they make a product different than what is already in stores. Some times I guess it is the Pepsi vs Coke debate all over again.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Not Meat

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Kerby,

For my birthday I got a new camera. The Nikon DF has been super fun and easy to use digital camera. I am loving it. I have been using a lot of different lenses including my Diana Super Wide and a Diana glass lens. Knowing the basics of the lenses on the camera give me more of a challenge to make my photos interesting. I enjoy the more snap shot artistic looking photos. To tell you how much I love this camera I recently purchased a battery grip and two batteries for the grip for longer shoot times. Currently waiting for the grip and batteries to arrive in the mail.

In the past year I tried to use the instant back for my Holga and got some bad results. I also found out that Fuji was stopping production of its peel apart film, the film that works with this accessory. This Medium format Holga has not been in use since someone (meaning a film lab) developed my negatives wrong. Matt Day did a review on the Lomo'Instant Wide camera and I kind of wanted to try one out after the review ended. Most likely the only way to try out the camera is to buy it. I do not know anyone that owns this particular camera. I do like that it uses the Fuji instant wide film instead of the mini.

I went searching online for a camera that takes the instant wide film other than the Fuji brand Instax cameras and found a few that I am exploring. One of the cameras happens to be the Belair camera with the instant back while the other is, you guessed it, the Lomo'Instant Wide. I have pros and cons for getting a modern instant camera.

PROS

  • I will have a modern instant film camera. It is hard to find film for my other instant film cameras.
  • Both cameras have interchangeable lenses.
  • The cameras use the instant wide film.
  • Lomo'Instant Wide comes with colored flash filters and a splitter for creative multiple exposures. Overall fun accessories and experimentation.
  • You have a lasting memory.
  • Similar to an SLR camera.
CONS
  • The cost of having to buy film.
  • What to do with all the photos after they are taken.
  • It is not digital. This means that you can not experiment and delete pictures. Once you click the shutter you better like your picture.
  • How often will the camera be used?

By no means, if I get this camera, do I see this camera replacing my Nikon. I tell people I have various cameras because each one produces a different outcome.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

Out of Film

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dear Kerby,

Several years ago when I first was writing letters I shared my coming out story and how open I was when I felt free to be me. At that time in my life a lot of things were about being open about my sexuality. I wrote several letters taking about sexuality. Things have changed since that time on my own in college.

After dating a few guys and having an ex I found a man that I do not want to give up. The good things I love about him outweigh all the not so good that comes with him. I have been seeing him since 2013 and continue to see him on a somewhat regular basis. Things have changed over the years. This relationship is a difficult thing between us. He never gives up on me; some days I would like to give up on him (I come close) but never do. He is always on my mind through the good and the bad.

This summer I started another job and that means new people in my life (on a regular basis). My coworkers have some interesting conversations about the opposite sex and relationships. I feel like I am back in high school. A coworker asked me earlier this week if I had a girlfriend. I told her I did not have one. Then, they asked me when the last time I had a "girlfriend" and I told her it was the night of the 8th grade dance. I knew this girl for years and it seemed important to have a date to the dance but we hardly danced together. It felt awkward. Another coworker invited me to her birthday coming up in September. She asked about me bringing a girl. I never once mentioned my boyfriend. I do not know why.

Telling my coworkers I am gay is not one of those things that comes up when my (straight) coworkers talk about their significant other. Sometimes I find it a tad hard bring up in a conversation. By no means am I afraid of who I am. I feel it is no body's business but mine who I date. I have to live with my choices. If you see me with my boyfriend or find out about him somehow then that is fine. Feel free to talk to me about him if you want. I will not get upset. When I am with him we are not the couple to show public affection. The most you might see us do is holding hands. His hands are the best because they fit right inside mine. You might just think he is a friend. I might have to correct you on that, if I feel like it.

In a few weeks time my current job will be gone and I will be around a new group of people. I am not sure what to say to them. I might feel the same way as I do now because who I am inside is not rapidly changing even though my life on the outside is.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh

More Than Friends

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Dear Kerby,

Even though the attached picture is out of focus, I somehow think it is the best photo in the set of photos that I am currently editing. This does not mean I will be taking all out of focus photos from now on.

Talk to you later,
Bluelaugh







Fuzzy Love