June 6th, 2010

Houdini & I

Morning Meditations

Fairly mellow evening at work yesterday; this is a good thing.

Watched quiet a fabulous light show on the drive home, to the north and west of us. So no surprise when at some point in the wee hours, a Border Collie attempted to hide underneath me in the bed. Not underneath the bed. Me. Rolling basso profundo Sky Grumbler voices accompanied that light show. Didn't last particularly long, didn't blow over rapidly either. Thus a bit tired this morning. Not bad.

Will be heading out soon to feed the Horses and Hogs; I'll leave the Goats and Kids for Herself. Then put together the camera bag including the two disposable underwater cameras for the experimental photography. Unless there is more lightning about I intend to try this experiment regardless of light, as in even if it's still overcast I want to try this. Partially this is because my source to a pool with the requisite privacy to work on these shots is about to thin out. The friend whose pool we will be using (with friend as 'lookout' in case family show up unexpectedly) is embarking on a marvelous professional opportunity. The opportunity also happens to be overseas, so access to that pool will be significantly curtailed for a bit.

Their abode will not be vacant, as family will be staying there. Just, not sure family is willing to be front people for the specific genre of photography.

Sort of on that note, though obviously I'm not feeling particularly 'blocked' here, today's LJ Writer's Block prompt, Say Cheese asks: Do you generally like or hate when people take photos of you? Do you feel anxious when friends post pictures of you online? Is your first inclination to link to them or hide them?

Don't hate it, might like it (depends on the photo), and not so much on either linking or hiding. It's a very general response, not a lot of detail. But hey... now, self-portraits, that's a different matter. I do them periodically, and there are more than a few I've not posted anywhere.

Photographic Meditations

Working with film is an exercise in delayed gratification, which is a lesson it took me a long time to learn. When all one has is film, it doesn't seem to be such an exercise. One knows film must first be exposed, then processed, then the images may be worked up further in any of the various means. Usually this meant prints of course, before the advent of scanners to digitise images, though it could be a 'slide show' of transparencies (and hence the calling of a 'power point' presentation as a slide show). I've worked with film for the majority of my time as a photographer, and I've worked with film in the past five years since acquiring my Nikon D70s DSLR. I will also be the first to tell you, I've not shot as much film since 'going digital' as I did before.

Along this line, last year during the summer I eyed the pool at a friends house and pondered some of the imagery I've seen where photographers worked underwater with their models. I'm not discussing either artistic or scientific open water photography here of coral reefs or fish or underwater wrecks, though those qualify as well. I am thinking about nude figure work, and the fact that this friends house and therefor pool are rural, secluded, a good environment for an experimental stretch.

So I priced waterproof housings for SLR, DSLR, and even some of the housings for point-and-shoot cameras and... um... wow... maybe not so much for an introduction. How, then to experiment with a new environment? Walking through a CVS Pharmacy store I found an answer. Inexpensive (as in less than $20 US) disposable use-once underwater film cameras. Designed for fun and family amusement, for folks who may not be thinking Oooo, Art, and very available. First step in this experiment even involved simply purchasing one for my friend to use when they entertained nieces and nephews to see what the basic quality we'd be obtaining would be. Paid for the processing as well, as this is part of my experiment.

Pleasant outcomes; a packet of family memories, a series of images to examine and project possible outcomes. While picking up prints for last year's Necronomicon Art Show, I even found some more of these same type (different manufacturer) cameras at my lab, on sale. On sale because film 'out-dates' at a point in time. It is after a a product of chemistry, and such things do change over time as entropy effects them. However, as all students of photography know, how film is stored also effects that out-date business. My lab stores their stock in climate-controlled areas, so I knew these outdated cameras hadn't been exposed to excess heat or humidity. And I store my film in a refrigerator after purchase, sometimes even in the freezer. This greatly prolongs the actual service life of the chemistry.

I bought two.

And then, we ran into scheduling problems between model and site availability and weather and... then along came winter. Sure, hard-core Polar Bear Club members may think that North Central Baja Jorja's winter was mild in terms of swimming in a pool. We aren't Polar Bear Club members. Then along came Spring, albeit slowly, slowly. And Rhona told me the pool is warming up nicely. Then she got her job offer, teaching overseas. It's good, the homestead stays in the family for now since her parents will move in. I've met, and like her parents, however I'm not sure I care to ask if they should like to host a nude photography session in their pool.

We jumbled some calls, and some schedules, and today we eyed the sky a bit skeptically due to major clouding and an 80% chance of rain, and we still brought together photographer, model, and two 'lookouts' for a couple hours of work in the pool.

Let me tell you, for the two of us in the pool, it is work, too. First of all, hind-brain must kick it in and remember to advance film/cock shutter between frames. No, first of all one must remember that there are only a limited number of frames that may be shot while holding breath. Second of all, remember about advancing film. Third, figure out how close one may get with a fixed-focus camera. And then get going with the general concept of what poses (if we may so call the body stance floating underwater) we want, and shoot away catching breath between three to four frames.

And then we get to wait on taking the film to the lab for processing. Which really means in this case Tuesday, because tomorrow is another Stay Late day in my role as Perioperative Registered Nurse (and major income source), which are averaging five hours past normal end of shift time. Therefor, do not count on taking film to lab tomorrow, Monday. Tuesday, much more likely. Which means Thursday or Friday for pickup.

However, not all the cameras working today went underwater. I brought along the D70s thinking after the film ran out I'd work from the pool-side. Herself suggested she'd work on the basic concepts I wanted from poolside while Dee and I worked in the pool. When she wasn't distracted by a truly beautiful butterfly that found the wet edge of the pool a delightful source of hydration she did get some interesting photos. A few are of the 'session'; those are for future reference and sorry, not public consumption. Others, though...

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I could say this one image makes the day worth it. There's some truth in that. However, there are more even from the side of the pool, and there will be more from inside as well. All in all, a worthy experiment. Many thanks already delivered to all involved.

Oh, and a two-hour nap in the afternoon as well. Did I mention that underwater photography is work?