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  • Box Canyon #6 (Face)

    Posted on April 11th, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Box Canyon #06 (Face)

    Box Canyon #06 (Face)

    Another shot from Box Canyon. For somewhat obvious reasons this is subtitled Face. When I was young, in High School, I saw some Edward Weston prints. I think I’ve mentioned elsewhere how much this affected me. As I looked at more of his images I became particularly fascinated with the dune shots. While I did experiment with actual images from the dunes at Pismo Beach, I also looked at rocks and other surfaces with eyes that had seen the dune shots. Light and shadow, texture and smooth, all these things fascinate me. I hope you’ll be interested as well.

    I don’t think I noticed the shape of the face when I shot this, but memory is unreliable. I know that I used to climb between the rocks in Box Canyon looking for abstract compositions. This is from a 4X5 inch negative, so it’s certainly made with my Speed Graphic. I also had a Toyo 45C view camera at this time, but I didn’t take it out hiking. I love the Speed Graphic. I got it when I was in High School. I went to one of the old camera stores in Hollywood with my Dad. The guys at the store seemed very old, like they’d been in the store forever. I remember the sales person saying that the rear shutter curtain had been removed from the camera. He said that was a good thing, because no one had ever figured out a way to develop an image that had been exposed on the rear shutter curtain. Sort of an inside Speed Graphic joke. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but as I became acquainted with the camera I figured it out. Speed Graphics have a rear shutter, basically a long ribbon, also most lenses for the camera have a shutter. The rear shutter provided a 1/1000th of a second shutter speed, as well as other fast speeds, which was why the camera was called a SPEED Graphic. I must have got that camera about 1972, and people weren’t using the cameras to do press shots anymore, which meant that you didn’t need the high speeds from the rear shutter. Later on I put a rear shutter back into the camera so that I could shoot lenses that didn’t have a shutter. I wish I remembered more about that purchase, especially about buying the camera with my Dad. It’s been a while since I shot with that camera, but I still have it. Some of my favorite shots were made with that old Speed.

    My Speed Graphic camera with the 135mm lens, not the 65mm Super Angulon.

    My Old Speed Graphic

    As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.

    One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

    One more thing: I have more than 4900 registered users at this blog. Wow! Thanks for your support!

  • Rock House #2

    Posted on April 5th, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Rock House #2

    Rock House #2

    This is the second image I’m posting from this site. I think this image shows more about the house than the others I made. As I mentioned in the earlier post (Rock House #1). When I look at this picture I look for evidence about the house like the electrical conduit you can see in this shot. I really don’t know much about this site, so I try to extrapolate from the image. Look at the huge logs, I keep wondering where they came from, certainly they weren’t local. The house seems to have had two floors. The logs would have been the support for the second floor. I wonder what the house looked like before the fire.

    I’ve recently posted a couple of shots of a waterfall in Box Canyon (Box Canyon #1 and Box Canyon #2). Literally on the other side of the left had rock is this house, or what remains of this house. I came upon the place hiking down the canyon. I had no idea it was there, and there is much less than a quarter mile from where I lived at that time.

    Shot with my Speed Graphic of course. I think I used my 135 f4.7 Xenar lens. This probably, certainly, isn’t the best lens Schneider ever made, but it’s a lot better than the lens that’s usually found on a Speed Graphic. I started using a Speed Graphic when I was in High School, back in the early 1970s. I learned a lot about using big cameras through the problems I had. A big source of problems was the original lens I had, which was made by Wollensak. One of the things that makes large format shooting so rewarding are the great lenses, but not all large format lenses are good. Some of the early problems I had were caused by the shutter. I recently got a shutter speed app for my Andriod phone. I went ahead and got the optical sensor for the app; and I have to say it works great! I also really like the Color Temp Meter, Photo Tools, LightMeter & Lighting Studio. One more: Photog Companion, this has model releases that can be filled out on your phone or tablet.

    I’ll add more shots from the Rock House soon.

    As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.

    One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Rock House #1

    Posted on April 4th, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Rock House #1

    Rock House #1

    I’ve recently posted a couple of shots of a waterfall in Box Canyon (Box Canyon #1 and Box Canyon #2). Literally on the other side of the left had rock is this house, or what remains of this house. I know depressingly little about it, other than it’s called the Rock House. Sort of the obvious name. At some time there was fire and the place wasn’t rebuilt. You can still see the blacked surfaces on some of the timbers. The place is built out of rough hewn timber and actual logs. Much of the cabin is the native rock, and, perhaps some of the rocks mortared into the walls are local. The place is absolutely fascinating.

    I came upon the place hiking down the canyon. I had no idea it was there, and there is much less than a quarter mile from where I lived.

    I have no idea who owned the land. I have no idea when the fire happened. I don’t know when the place was built. In some of the shots you can see flexible conduit for electricity, but I don’t know if the electricity was put in later. I also saw a water heater, but that isn’t in any of my shots. Anyway I leave for you the mystery of the rock house.

    Shot with my Speed Graphic of course. There are shoots made with my 8X10 camera, as well as the 4X5, I might add those later. Regardless I’ll add more shots from the Rock House soon.

    As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.


    One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Box Canyon #1

    Posted on April 1st, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Box Canyon #1

    Box Canyon #1

    This is about the same location of Box Canyon #2, but of course there is just a trickle of water. It’s amazing to think about: all this area is sandstone, laid down as ocean floor. Then it rises up and is sculpted by water. Photography gives me the chance to appreciate the beauty that time and water sculpt. I wonder if I would have learned to see the beauty in these places if I had never picked up a camera. I’m still learning to see, and to write with light.

    I came upon this place while hiking down the stream. It’s invisible from the road. The Rock House, which I’ll be adding to these posts in a few more days, is built right against this stream. It must have been amazing to live in this house during a big storm.

    As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.


    One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Box Canyon #2

    Posted on April 1st, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Box Canyon #2

    Box Canyon #2

    This is another shot from Box Canyon, one of my favorites. There are a lot of places in Los Angeles that have good waterfalls and beautiful streams, in season. The thing is that most of the year this stream is a trickle, or even dry, but after a rain it’s quite impressive. Since I lived just a few hundred yards form this stream I could go there when it was good. I counted once, after a big rain you could see seven waterfalls from the road in Box Canyon.

    The only bad thing about shooting steams in Los Angeles the presence of poison oak. Anywhere there was water you also found poison oak. Sometimes it seemed like I was always scratching.

    As you know I’m adding these images to my blog as part of my re-do of my fine art portfolio pages. I’m also doing it to make these images available. If you’d like an archival print of this shot, please order with the PayPal link. The image will be about 11X14 inches and mounted on 16X20 cotton rag board. I’ll even throw in shipping, if you are in the U.S.


    One more thing I wanted to mention: I offer several workshops at my studio in Indianapolis. I hope you’ll check out the workshops at http://www.siskinphoto.com/workshop.php.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Box Canyon #3

    Posted on March 31st, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Box Canyon #3U

    Box Canyon #3U


    I’m making two versions of this image available today. As before these posts are part of my on going update of the fine art part of my site. If you’d like to purchase either version of this shot be sure to use the PayPal link below the version you want.

    These images were made form the same negative, taken with my Speed Graphic. The place is in Box Canyon, which is between the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley. One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is how many really wild places there are inside the city. Of course wild can be interpreted in several ways, and some areas, like Laurel Canon have been wild in nature and in people. Box Canyon is a little like that: very rustic with a wild population. I lived there for several years, and I still miss it. I’m adding more pictures from this area, so I hope you’ll keep looking at my site and the blog.

    The first version of the image uses false color to make the image much more dramatic. I like both versions. I’ve written about the technique I used on this image before, so if you’re interested in the technical details look at this link: http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=431

    Below is a more neutral interpretation of the negative. All photographic printing involves interpretation; even a “straight” from a chemical darkroom involves choosing a paper and a contrast. Of course Photoshop allows us more room for interpretation, which can be a good thing.

    Box Canyon #3

    Box Canyon #3


    If you’d like to buy a print of either or both versions of Box Canyon #3 please use the PayPal links. You’ll get a print mounted and matted to 16X20-ready to pop into a frame. Why not order one now?

    I’m offering several workshops on my site; why not visit now? siskinphoto.com/workshop.php
    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Old County USC Medical Center #1

    Posted on March 4th, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    County USC #1

    County USC #1

    If memory serves, and I hope it still does, this is the old County USC Medical Center in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the great things about going through the files for the fine art page of my site is that I get to revisit my older images. I believe this shot was made with a 65mm super Angulon, on my Speed Graphic. I really like the combination. The 65 is a little tough to focus on the Speed, and you have to drop the bed, but it does create a great super wide perspective. The lens has great quality so you also get a great large negative, great combination. One of the other things I like about revisiting old negatives is that I can reinterpret them with the tools in Photoshop. Frankly, this image benefited from a little reinterpretation.

    I shot a couple of images at this hospital. I expect I’ll add a few more at a later date. The thing is that I only shot exteriors. It was the inside that held the real drama. This was one of the scariest places I’ve ever been. The ground floor had the jail ward, incarcerated and hospitalized at the same time, which can’t be good. I visited a friend there, not in the jail ward. The hospital had wards of patients, rather than private or semi-private rooms. Some of the equipment looked as though it was left over from WW1. The operating theater was used to film the Dr. Kildare series, which give you an idea of when it was new. There is a new County USC medical center now. I wish the people who worked at the old building, and at the new one, wellness.

    If you’d like to buy a print of Old County USC Medical Center #1 use the PayPal link below. You’ll get a print mounted and matted to 16X20-ready to pop into a frame. Why not order one now?


    I’m offering several workshops on my site; why not visit now? siskinphoto.com/workshop.php
    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Vocative

    Posted on February 1st, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Vocative

    Vocative

    This is another image from my fine art micro portfolio. As with most of these images it’s named for a part of speech, rather than called light refracted through a plastic ice cube. I think that the title Vocative is much more, well, evocative.

    I enjoy the process of looking through the microscope and other special micro equipment to find the beautiful and the unexpected. You can find worlds in a piece of glass or an insect wing.

    This image was made with bellows and a 28mm Schneider Componon lens. I think the aperture on the lens was about f16, but of course the working aperture was much smaller. The digital camera makes it easier to work with microscope lenses and other special optics. A few companies, like Zeiss and Schneider have made special optics for the purpose of photographing microscopic images, but there are actually many choices. You can use the objective from a microscope, with out the rest of the scope, or you can use an enlarger lens. Some of the best lenses are older fixed focal length Nikon lenses, like the 35mm f2.8. Smaller focal lengths give greater magnification, so a wide-angle lens can be a great choice.

    If you’d like to buy a print of Vocative use the PayPal link below. You’ll get a print mounted an matted to 16X20-ready to pop into a frame. Why not order one now?


    I’m offering a class in working with micro equipment on February 28, just a few more days. You can sign up for just $175. Unlike so many photo safari trips you can go back to the land of the very small again and again. The equipment is not expensive, and this is an opportunity to have a guided tour. This workshop will give you the keys to unlock the doors. I hope you’ll join us! Use this link to find out more about this workshop and to sign up!

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

     

  • El Matador #4

    Posted on January 26th, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    El Matador #4

    El Matador #4

    Another shot of El Matador, this has been named #4 or long exposure for a while, so I’m going to continue referring to it as #4. This is a very long exposure, which is why the surf has the ghostly effect. I’ve always liked the shot, but I like a lot of the stuff I shot at this beach.

    It’s another shot I made with the super-wide camera, you can see more about this shot by checking this other shot from El Matador:

    I also wanted to tell you about Living in Los Angeles. Often people forget how great it is to live there. I got up early and drove to Mt. Pinos, a little more than an hour from where I was living. I spent the morning cross-country skiing. I left in the early afternoon and drove down to El Matador. Did some body surfing. I was actually in the water when a pod of dolphins went by. Try to do that anywhere but Los Angeles. No picture of the dolphins. Stayed at El Matador to watch the sunset. When I was growing up San Onofre was the family beach. I learned to surf there, then we spent summers at Manhattan beach. I choose El Matador as my beach, everybody should have a beach.

    If you’d like to buy a print of El Matador #4 use the PayPal link below. You’ll get a print mounted an matted to 16X20-ready to pop into a frame. Why not order one now?


    I’m going to give a Micro-Photography Workshop soon (http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3105) and another Lighting Workshop, probably in March. Please check them out. You can find out more about my workshops, and access some FREE Classes at my website.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below:

  • Union Station, Los Angeles #2

    Posted on January 21st, 2016 John Siskin No comments
    Union Station #2

    Union Station #2

    Another shot of Union Station in Los Angeles. This is a beautiful place fallen on hard times. It’s still busy, but people in L.A. don’t use transit service like they do in New York, and trains just aren’t part of the mix in California. Still I’ve take trains out of here a couple of times, and it’s always interesting. It’s also a fabulous place to shoot, but don’t take my word for it-look for Union Station on television. It’s used for a lot of shoots. Consequently the management is difficult about using a camera, and won’t let use a tripod at all. I really like the way the super wide effect changes this building, and I also like the way the people appear in the shot. I particularly like the child on the left side of the frame.

    Super-wide Camera

    Super-wide Camera

    This shot was made with the super-wide camera I build. I used the same one for shots at El Matador and other places. I’ve included a scan of the original negative so you can see the way the lens cuts the corners off on a 6X6cm piece of film. This was always an interesting camera to use. It wasn’t possible to really predict hos the camera would see, or even if the negative would be sharp. So it was always exciting to see the film. You can check out an article I did on making cameras at this link. I hope you’ll check it out.

     

    original scan

    original scan

     

    Just so I’ve mentioned it my family’s company Angelus Furniture built the benches and some of the other furnishings in this room.

    If you want a print of Union Station, Los Angeles #2, use the link below. I’ll send you a print mounted and matted to 16X20 inches. No additional charge for shipping in the U.S.


    I’m going to give a Micro-Photography Workshop soon (http://siskinphoto.com/blog/?p=3105) and another Lighting Workshop, probably in March. Please check them out. You can find out more about my workshops, and access some FREE Classes at my website.

    I hope you’ll also check out my books, use the links below: