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Photo a Day Challenge: Day 18

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 18 - Tree Reflections on Ilford Delta 100 filmTree Reflections - Irvine, CA
Friday, August 30, 2013 at 6:42pm
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For Day 18 of my Photo a Day Challenge, I had a new lens to play with on my Mamiya RZ67. I'd just purchased an excellent condition 180mm f/4.5 lens off eBay (which is about equivalent to 90mm or so in 35mm format). This is high-quality glass for a whopping $66.65 including tax and shipping. Man, I love buying film gear. The digital guys can keep lining up to pay $2,500 for a new lens with less resolving power than this, I'll stick to my cheap old gear.

Anyway, I digress.

My girlfriend and I ventured to a nearby park here in Irvine with a small artificial lake. Surrounding the "shores" of this lake are some beautiful eucalyptus trees so common in this area. My plan was to photograph some of the water foul or the fountain in the center of the lake. But when I arrived, I was immediately drawn to the reflections of the trees in the water. From our vantage point the trees were backlit, which created some awesome contrast in the water surface. At first, I didn't want to take this photo because I'd just recently done something with a water surface and plants reflected in a body of water. But the contrast and abstract shapes were just too enticing.

I didn't want any rocks or animals disturbing the reflection but I did want some ripples to create interesting lines out of the tree trunks. I moved along the edges of the lake, trying different shooting heights all the while, until I found the right framing. Reflections can be a little tricky to meter because of the movement of the water, but I was able to calculate my exposure at 1/250 of a second at f/11 with no filters.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 17

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 17 - Morning Shadows on Door on Ilford Delta 100 FilmMorning Shadows on Door - Irvine, CA
Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 8:03am
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Day 17 of my Photo a Day Challenge and I was up early to catch the first light. I decided to venture back to the Irvine Ranch Historic Park near my home because I'd yet to really explore the area in morning light. I had a roll of Ilford Delta 100 film in my camera from the previous days but with only 3 exposures left.

Eventually I found my way to the back end of the park where there are some very old homes lined up side by side. Most of them were blocked off due to renovations, but I found one with dark green walls and a white door that had some interesting shadows on it. I liked how the shadows here hinted at the overhang covering the porch and that the angle of the shadows gave a good indication of the time of day. I wanted to leave a little bit of mystery as to what might be behind the viewer's back, so I positioned myself square with the door as if walking right up to it. Perhaps there's an open prairie behind me, perhaps there's a bulldozer.

The porch was set up in such a way that I couldn't get very far back from the door and still maintain the proper shooting height. This meant that I had to use my wide angle 50mm lens on my Mamiya RZ67. I knew this lens, like all wide angles, would create at least a little bit of distortion in these perfectly vertical lines. As you can see in the shot, the door has a bit of a fisheye look to it. Normally this doesn't show except for when you have clearly defined vertical lines to reveal it. I'd rather have perfectly true verticals here, but beggars can't be choosers. A little bit of distortion is no biggie. I metered the scene at f/11 at 1/250, no filters.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 5

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 5 - Doorway at Night on Ilford Delta 100 FilmDoorway at Night - Irvine, CA
Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 11:06pm
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I love a good nighttime black and white photo. I've taken a few myself previously, but I'd yet to try a nighttime shot on this photo a day challenge. So for Day 5 of this challenge, I packed my gear up for a late night shoot.

I didn't have the luxury of staying out all night, so tried to find something close to home. Something within walking distance. I'm sure I looked a little weird crossing a busy Irvine street on a Saturday night carrying a tripod, but I'm long past that stage of my photography career where I care about looking nerdy. Now I'll even sport a photo vest without a second thought.

Just across the street from where I live is a Catholic church. You may be picturing a classically designed structure with a steeple and all, but I'm sorry to say this building isn't so...picturesque. It really looks more like a school or a shopping mall. And, like all things in Orange County, it's Tuscany style.

So as I walked the grounds of this church, I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for. A good hallway or a lone streetlight maybe. Something. Anything. This is a pretty big piece of property and although it's Irvine (the safest city in the country), I still got just a tiny bit creeped out all alone there. Way across the parking is a statue of some catholic saint which is nearly life-size. Seeing that silhouetted against the night from the corner of my eye scared the crap out of me. But I eventually found my way to an interesting archway perfectly framing a door and window behind it. I composed and exposed 2 identical frames (just in case one gets damaged in developing).

It doesn't look like a church in the photo, but that's alright. I'm pretty happy with the simplicity of this composition and I like the contrast created by the single overhead lamp. The exposure was f/4 at 1/2 second. No filters.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.