Photo Notes

April 11, 2016

Box Canyon #6 (Face)

Filed under: Fine Art Portfolio,Landscape Photography,Large Format Photography — John Siskin @ 2:56 pm
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!

April 5, 2016

Rock House #2

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:

April 4, 2016

Rock House #1

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:

April 1, 2016

Box Canyon #1

Filed under: Fine Art Portfolio,Landscape Photography — John Siskin @ 1:01 pm
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

Filed under: Fine Art Portfolio,Landscape Photography — John Siskin @ 11:44 am
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:

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