Thursday, February 2, 2012
Having built good rapport with some key people who abide by the same discipline of photographic interest as myself, I've adopted a spot in the ranks of a very active and very enjoyable troupe of photographers with a penchant for adventure. I'll skip the verbose theatrics and simply state that they are THE urban explorers of the greater Baltimore area. While I've run across many who explore in the region, these folks would be the first that have clearly taken their discipline to the next level, and I am many time thankful to be welcome among their ranks.
Possibly the most interesting, most telling indicator of this mutually appreciated sense of accomplishment is the general lack of urban exploration we ever necessarily feel bothered/compelled to do. Our meetings have taken on a pretty standard formula at this point - we meet at a predetermined location, usually somewhere public and relatively low key, and although our initial intent may be to venture elsewhere and explore, our track record has us more frequently sticking to that initial location, chatting for hours about our adventures, our feats, our achievements, the stories, the memories that are the greatest treasures we own, maybe wandering a bit off the beaten path from where we started, usually with a couple beers in hand (or in stomach), and after hours of regaling each other with our privately treasured tales grand idiocy for sake of getting "that image", we part ways and look forward to meeting the next week. There may or may not be some happenstance train hopping that takes place in between.
So yeah. I aim to stick by these guys for a while. Now onto photography things.
During these meetups with the new photography/adventuring troupe, I've been relearning the art of night shooting all over again. My process in post used for low light but still daylight images simply did not work for night shooting whatsoever, bringing forward far too much noise of the unattractive, blotchy color kind. It took some time and a lot of play to figure out how to achieve the look I was shooting for without butchering the quality of the image, but I'm pretty sure I'm at that point now. It simply required two leaps of faith - the abandonment of RAW and trust in native red channel fidelity. Basically, a step back to my former, 2004 self's style of shooting with just a little bit of an edge from years of learning and experience.
Yet again, Olympus' JPG engine continues to impress and make it very hard to justify the hard drive space that would otherwise be consumed by RAW. Against all logic or understanding of the engineering behind imaging technology, I'm simply getting cleaner, equally tweak-able files out of calibrated JPG files than with RAW. Some of this has to come down to a lack of responsible RAW processing on my part, but at the same time I managed to manipulate RAW just fine back in my GF1 days and that RAW fidelity is trumped wholly by JPG resiliency from the E-P3. Sorry, engineers/fauxtogs/GWCs, Olympus got JPG right.
Tonight, Kyle, the young fellow I randomly photographed a couple months back and somehow managed to engage in a strong, lasting friendship, is due to come over and let me experiment with my shoddy, poor-man's budget studio setup. I really am glad I've made good friends with Kyle... not only is he a good friend, but he's a reliable exploring partner and an engaging model for studio work. And when the camera is put down, he's still down for random movies, hookah, wine and pasta dinner. The perfect partner for any photog.
He's not even judgmental about being placed in front of a wrinkly bed sheet thumb tacked to a wall and a pair of Walmart special tin shop lights with 100 watt halogens in them. What a guy!