Tag Archives: photography

A lot of work to mimic crappy photos from the 70s

Holga-ized Nikon image of a random mountain in Arizona.  Click to enArizonisize

Holga-ized Nikon image of a random mountain in Arizona. Click to enArizonisize


A long time ago, in a land far away, there existed a type of photography that used chemicals. Gas was cheap, the US congress had an approval rating above 25% and we had to wait hours, if not days to see what we photographed. The “good old days”.

Lenses were (and still are) sharp as tacks and the cameras used film, and the final image depended a lot of what type of film you used. You had to work hard to get a really sharp image.  Film grain and film size also determined the final results.

Cameras ranged from high end to what was basically considered toys, with plastic lenses and light leaks.

Artists would often use these cheap toy cameras to create art from the crappy images. You were limited to 12 shots per 120 size roll (24-36 with 35mm). You were a lot more careful what you shot, composing the image with an eye sharpened from years of spending money processing film to find you screwed up somewhere and the results were – at best – shitty.

Then along came digital.  Even the cheap cameras had decent enough lenses to take sharp images with nice color. Yes, film isn’t dead yet.  It’s in a medically induced coma right now, and time is running out.

Many of the toy cameras, Holga, Lomo, and others are still found, but processing is hard to find in smaller towns and doing it yourself takes a big chunk of change to get the equipment and more money for chemicals.

So digital is where it’s at…  and now with Instagram and Facebook, people are using apps to create the look of folder film based images, and going to a lot of work to take a decently exposed digital image and turn it into the by-product of a 1960s 620 Brownie camera with Meniscus lens. Yes, you can still find these cameras, good luck finding the 620 film.  My granny had a Brownie Hawkeye camera with flash. Nice big negative and processing was to be had at any drugstore.

There’s an interesting app I’ve been playing with for the Android called XnRetro.  It’s doing a pretty nice job of mimicking older cameras, especially those like the Lomo with their unique light leaks and badly masked film planes.

I also discovered XnRetro makes a version of its program for Windows, OSx and Linux.  I came across this app while looking at HDR apps.

I downloaded the desktop version and it’s essentially the same as the Android App. No annoying ads, tho. I applied a few of the filters to some existing images shot with the trusty old Nikon and nice results! I have been using it for Instagram posts lately.

Here’s a small gallery of the rework of some Nikon shots from October…



Posted in Android Apps, Equipment reviews, photography Also tagged , , |

Head shot special

To celebrate getting a studio space opened up – I’m running a head shot special Feb 25th through March 2nd.

More info here:


Posted in Models, photography Also tagged , |

I love old photos….

And Shorpy is one of my favorite regular reads online.

The above image is captioned: October 1939. “The Free children in doorway of their dugout home in Sunday clothes. Dead Ox Flat, Malheur County, Oregon.” Medium format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration.

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Signs of the Times


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Street Portrait gallery updated with more images

Added a few more images.. check it out!

Posted in photography Also tagged |

Street Portrait gallery online

My street portrait gallery, People of Occupy Austin, is online.

I’ve changed the way the images load, it loads low rez images at first to help speed viewing of the images.

Posted in photography, portraits Also tagged , |

Fauxtographers… and how to avoid.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to separate a “Fauxtographer” from a real working professional.

I once had a model’s escort say “Real photographers use Hasselblads.” Ugh.

For starters, NO REAL printed portfolio. Real photographers should have enough material to generate one, if not three or more actual, printed in a lab, bound in a decent binder portfolios.

Fauxtographers have lots and LOTS of shots with the same setting, model and lighting. No, seriously. Unless it’s an art series, in which case it’ll be bleeding obvious. (*See below)

He/She only has one camera body. Cameras break. A real photographer has backups. I have several camera bodies. At one time I had over 10 cameras laying around. Sure – only 4 or 5 worked. That’s because I abuse the shit out of my cameras. (NEVER buy a used piece of equipment from me.)

Fauxtographers will give you every picture they snap. A professional takes pride in his work, and not every click of the shutter will result in a worthy image. Be wary of a photographer that doesn’t take pride in their work and reputation enough to toss the bad shots.

Seriously, a Fauxtographer lacks the necessary technical skills so they shoot metric shit tons of images hoping one will turn OK good enough. A pro will shoot lots of images, but then damned near every one will be a good shot, so then it’s possible to look for exceptional images. Thing is, like stupid people, a Fauxtographer has NO IDEA they suck.

No workflow. Many Fauxtographers only use programs like piknic. Or Paint Shop Pro. Or… Real photographers use the best software tools they can get or afford. A workflow is transfer images into PC or Mac using something like Lightroom, editing n Photoshop. Etc. Beware photographers who keep all images in the camera.

Fauxtographers uncut professional photographers by a LOT. Example, my nominal day rate for commercial photography is 1200. A fauxtographer might charge 200 or less. It’ll show.

Some people will ask about lenses, labeling anyone who shoots with a particular lens a Fauxtographer. It’s usually about f/stops. Thing is, a good photographer can use a substandard lens and get wonderful images and a fauxtographer can use the most expensive F/2.8 VR lens in the catalog and still get shit for images.

So, how to spot one of these. Easy. Look at their portfolio.

Only online? No real printed portfolio?

Shows up to a meeting with a model and they have their camera with them. I’m serious. Like a young baseball fan who shows up to games with their little league uniform on, shows everyone they also play baseball. And they’ll brag about having the Nikon D3x or Canon Mark 5. Etc.

As if.

I have taken stunning pictures with a Nikon Coolpix.

It’s worse if the only samples the guy has is STILL IN THE CAMERA. Seriously.

I have 30+ years as a photographer. I’ve shot in LA, Dallas & Austin. I’ve met many fauxtographers and they fool a great number of people. Gimme a shout if you need pictures.

If you are a cute potential model, it’s free. I do not charge models for photoshoots.

Posted in Fauxtographers, The Stupid - it burns! Also tagged , |

Model Search in Progress

You might have noticed it on the home page, the menu item “Models”… here is where I lay it all out for potential models who want to work with me in any project I have up my sleeve.

I’ve changed my business model a bit. I’ve decided it’s not ethical for me to try and charge models for test shoots or portfolio shoots. I’ll be photographing models for their portfolios ONLY if its someone I wish to photograph.

I’m also deciding to include some of my milder nudes into my online portfolio as soon as I can lock it against minors viewing it…

Anyway, back to the search I’m running….

During such searches, I always have to deal with the GWCs* who love to wade into the modeling waters and take a nice, long dump upstream form where the rest of us have to drink.

(* GCW= Guy With Camera. Not a true professional photographer. Closest to being a professional photographer they’ve gotten us buying a camera that didn’t already have film loaded into it… )

I’ve fielded a few possible replies already – but there was one which tipped me off there are several GCWs trolling the free ad sites right now. Several ads are tipping me off. It’s the ad which doesn’t come right out and say they’re looking for girls to get nude (naked) but it’s their intention. They often run scam ads to attract models hoping to “con” them into posing nude, usually without stating he’s wanting nude models. Watch for terms like “comfortable in own skin” as a tip-off. These guys only serve to scare off what may otherwise be a decent model…

One could, I supposed, list with the BBB but they really do not police photographers except those who do weddings & portraits.

I’d use a site like One Model Place except I feel they charge a bit too much for the responses I typically get. There I usually get models contacting me but they wish for me to pay for the privilege of photographing them.

I only pay models when I have a paying gig myself. I only use models I’ve shot with before, and I shoot only Trade For Prints with models now. If I need some models sight unseen, I’ll call an agency.

So, if you are a model reading this… what can I say except I have 30+ years as a working pro. I’ve dealt with editors and art directors and had my work actually published in magazines. I’m also a writer with lots of published work. Also, having to go through editors and end clients.

“Publishing” isn’t worth spit if it’s just your own website. Get a set of images past an art director & editor.. THEN you are published.

If you are a model reading this, PLEASE do not contact me for only paying gigs, I will not use you unless we’ve shot before on a TFCD(*P*) basis.

Yes, we have to make a living, but I’m in business and I have to make a profit and I simply will not shoot a model and pay her unless we’ve shot before.


Posted in Advice, Models Also tagged , |

9/11 Sparked Decade Of Madness Against Photographers | Pixiq

Ten years ago today, terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, suddenly turning all photographers into suspected terrorists.

But there has never been any evidence that terrorists used cameras to document their targets before striking them.


But despite this logic, police and security guards still associate photographers with terrorists, including an incident last month where a professional videographer was arrested for allegedly making bomb threats after he was confronted by a security guard for videotaping the outside of a building.

It’s been a decade of madness, escalated by the fact that almost everybody is carrying a camera these days. It is just now that the ACLU has begun an aggressive campaign against this insanity.

The truth is, this ongoing war against photographers has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with the fact that we all have access to the internet.

For the first time in history, we have true Freedom of the Press through blogs, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and more recently, Google Plus.

And that’s a freedom that scares the hell out of authorities.

via 9/11 Sparked Decade Of Madness Against Photographers | Pixiq.

Thankfully, my type of work does not being me into contact with the people who suspect all photographers to be terrorists… It beings me into contact with models who suspect all photographers, period.

The modeling world spreads disinformation even faster than Fox News.

However, I read blogs such as “Photography Isn’t A Crime” and I get angry as our basic civil rights are eroded by the Jack Boot mentality, not just from police officers, but from the average citizen. The people of this country are becoming more and more fearful, and they express this fear by becoming antagonistic towards those they suspect.

To some extent, the US went through this in the 1950s with the Red Scare.

We got through that as a nation, hopefully we’ll get through this. In the 1950s we had Senator McCarthy being the rabid dog jerk who drove so many people into fearful fits of apoplexy about communists. In the 2000s, we have Faux News, Rush Limbaugh and scores of other demagogues driving people into fearful fits.

No matter what, there will be people, morons all, who will latch onto the most insane idea if it reinforces their own inner fears. The more enlightened way is to face your fears and defeat them. Religions and politicians all try to get your cooperation by invoking a fear in you.

It’s a sign of insanity.

Posted in censorship, dementia, morons, politics Also tagged , , , |

A nice, inexpensive 6x6cm camera

Nope, not a Hasselblad

Back in 2000, I felt the need to get back into the darkroom. I was still shooting film – but I wanted something bigger than 35mm. I was introduced to the Kiev cameras.

Beth - Agfa-25 studio shoot

My first one was a basic model, the Kiev 88. No hand crank, basic Hasse-style A100 film backs. It had some issues, like a copper focal-plain shutter and reflective interior. Once I stopped all the light leaks and reworked the interior, the images were startling sharp and vivid. I mean, with Agfa-25 film in my studio, I got very good images.

I’ve had occasion to use a real Hassie, never owned one. This is very similar, except in one important way.

Where the Hasselblad has a shutter in the lens, the Kiev is a focal-plane shutter. The Hasselblad can sync with a strobe outside at any shutter speed (thus controlling ambiant light in the shot*) the Kiev 88 can only sync at 1/30th.

This beast is HEAVY. Be prepared to use a tripod while shooting. Especially compared to a DSLR.

Thing is – I haven’t really done a lot of photography with this Kiev for a while. That’s gotta change here real soon!

Posted in Equipment reviews, Photo Lessons, photography Also tagged |
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