Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fun with my new Fujifilm Instax 210 camera!

My wife knows how much of a camera junky I am so it didn't surprise her when she saw the Fujifilm Instax 210 on my Christmas wish-list.  I snapped a few candid photos on Christmas day, but haven't taken more than a package of photos with it so far- I'm still an Instax Noob.  With the time I have spent using it, here are some first impressions:

1. It's HUGE and bubbly.  I mean,  it's as big as a Nikon D700 with the optional grip.  It honestly looks like a compact camera that was sprinkled with bread yeast and baked at 350 degrees.  It covers my whole face when I have the viewfinder up to my eye and Haley laughs at me to boot.

2. It's made in China.  Fit and finish on this camera tells me one thing: this is a toy and nothing more. Plus it requires 4 AA batteries... C'mon!

3. The settings are very limited.  If you don't want the flash to fire- too bad unless you're outside where there is adequate light.  There's no way of turning the flash off.  You have two different focusing lengths (.9-3m and 3m-infinity) and three exposure settings (light, normal and dark).  It might sound like I'm complaining, but the simplicity, believe it or not, is actually kinda cool.

4. The viewfinder is way off when composing a shot at close distances.  To frame the shot properly, the user has to adjust for parallax.

5. The photos develop fairly quickly.  Within a couple of minutes you'll see a decent image and by 5 minutes, it's looking pretty damn good with decent contrast and color rendition.

6.  It's fun!  I mean, the instant gratification of seeing a photo on physical medium is almost magical.  There's nothing quite like a photo being ejected by your camera right after the shot. The vintage qualities in a more modern body will be a lot of fun to use for portraits or personal work.

Winter storm Euclid dropping 6 inches of snow.

Poor Haley- just another victim of parallax.

The very first photo I took- whoa overexposed!

Just seeing what happens if I cover the flash- nope too dark! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dining room renovation.

A month ago, I began a do-it-yourself project of cosmetic renovations to our blah dining room.  Since we moved into our house over 4 years ago, I've always disliked the room- mostly because of the paint but also because it was just plain boring.  After watching enough HGTV to make Martha Stewart gag, I decided to take the leap and do the renovations myself.  Not having any real experience in cutting/coping moulding, I was a little nervous.  After the first weekend of crown going up, I was confident in my skills to finish the rest of the room myself.  Things I did to the room were:

Add 4" crown moulding
Add 5 1/4" base moulding
Chair rail that extends into the pantry hallway
Decorative boxes to give a wainscoting effect
Paint the walls , ceiling and trim
Give the chandelier a makeover with a bronze spray-paint
Remove older, partially see-through blinds for new wood blinds

Here are the before-and-after pics...

...and the finished room.

Monday, December 10, 2012

One million bubbles.

Last Friday I came home from work to find the house eerily quiet.  Only a faint humming noise could be heard in the distance.  I put away my lunchbox, took off my shoes, hung up my jacket and headed upstairs.  As I got closer to the sound, I heard Leah giggling and water splashing.  When I walked into the bathroom, I saw a mountain of bubbles exploding from the bathtub and Leah was having the time of her life!  I ran downstairs and grabbed my camera to take video of her splashing around.

One million bubbles plus one happy girl equals a pretty sweet moment that I'll never forget.

Photo and video taken with the Fuji X-Pro1. Video edited with Final Cut Pro X. Music by Elizabeth Mitchell.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Backyard film fun.

When I first started to get more serious in photography, the images that I loved the most were my most edited ones- the ones with the least amount of natural anything. I used to over-process them to the point of absurdity. The vibrancy and contrast sliders would be maxed, skin looked plastic from too much smoothing, people were so sharp it looked like they were cut and pasted into the photo. Shooting RAW made me plain lazy.

In walks a Nikon F100 and I'm in love.

No more relying on software to fix mistakes. The photos are natural, organic, real and most of all, I love the old-school-meets-new-school process. I shoot, develop, scan and upload. Then I do some minor tweaks in Aperture and upload to Blogger. The process is fun and great images are so much more rewarding.

Photos taken with a Nikon F100 with a Nikkor f/1.8D lens and Kodak Portra 160 film.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Leah on Kodak Portra 160.

Over the past few weeks I've been burning through some 35mm Kodak Portra 160 to see how I like it compared with Portra 400 and 800 films.  I've only partially scanned one roll of film so far, but from what I can tell, it's amazing!  I overexposed it by one stop using both the Nikon F100's built-in light meter and the Sekonic L-398.

Leah was particularly happy on this backyard excursion because the temps were finally warm enough for her to run around and let loose.
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