Krystal

Something like 17 years ago, I met Krystal in Kuala Lumpur. We have been friends ever since, and when she asked if I could take some photos for her graduation I said yes. A quick trip to Hermann Park, some generally cooperative skies, and a break from too much heat all worked in our favor. Afterwards, it was beer-thirty at The Flying Saucer. A good day indeed.

Krystal

Krystal

Krystal

Krystal

What a semester!

Yesterday marked the end of what I can safely call the hardest semester I have ever faced. There is always some concern about how well I did in at least one class, and in keeping with that fine tradition I will sit and worry until grades post. As it stands, I know I passed both labs. Fluid mechanics ate my lunch, dessert and all, and then stole my bicycle before it burned my comic book collection. Never before have I encountered such a demoralizing class. Never encountering another like it would be quite all right with me. Design II was a fun class, but my capacity to choke on exams is surpassed only by Tony Romo’s ability to choke in the red zone. I doubt my grade in there reflects how well I can solve those problems when I am not in the process of taking an exam.

Anyway, grades will post and I will know how things went. Hopefully, I will be a senior next semester – a full eleven years since my first attempt at a BSME. To say I am ready to be finished with school would be the understatement of my life.

Now, it’s time to enjoy myself for a little while before I get back to the grind.

Update: I didn’t make it through Fluid Mechanics. A D+ is the same as an F to the engineering department, so I won’t be graduating before I’m 30 now. B in three classes, B- in one, and D+ in the last.

2010 BP MS150 = Completed

I survived! Next year, I’ll definitely be doing it again.

Right now I’m too busy to type a blog-specific post about the event, so I’ll just link in what I wrote over on Google+ here (pics included)

Click It!

Gaby strikes again

Kodak Portra 400 is a magnificent creation. I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the range of tones it delivers is nothing short of spectacular. Kodak did it right when they created this emulsion, and as long as they keep making it I will keep buying it! Sure, I will shoot other color films – slide or negative – but if there is one I make sure I always have on hand it will be Portra 400.

On the same outing as my first-ever attempt at portraiture using my little Kodak Retina IIa, a folding 35mm rangefinder that has been out of production since 1954, I shot a roll of Portra 400 with Gaby. With the Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/2.8 lens mounted on my Mamiya C3, a twin-lens reflex camera that is at most a decade younger than the Kodak, it is really hard to go wrong. Of course, if you happen to have had another lens mounted recently you might have forgotten to lock the lens and allow light to strike the film plane. It is even possible that you fail to notice this until you have wasted three frames of your favorite film. Fortunately, Gaby was happy to pose for the missed shots again and I could not be happier that she did.

Gaby

Gaby

Gaby

Portraits with the Kodak

General street photography has been the primary use of my Kodak Retina IIa since I first bought the German-made folding 35mm rangefinder. The internet is full of wonderful portraits taken with similar cameras, and since the Kodak packs a very sharp Schneider 50mm f/2 lens I decided to see if I could achieve pleasing results if I used it for portraits. Gaby made for a gorgeous test subject, and I’m pleased to report that this little pocket camera is quite capable of delivering great results.

Gaby

Gaby

Gaby

Gaby

Gaby

Chicago

Last weekend, I took a trip up to Chicago to hang out with my friends Ella, and Lianne. While I was there, and they were occupied at a workshop run by Brooke Shaden, I wandered the city with my camera bag and my go-to travel duo: a Kodak Retina IIa and Mamiya C3. I met some cool people there, and got some nice negatives out of the trip.

Tracks into town

Tower

Ella and Lianne

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Jump

Olivia

Ashley

Subway

Subway

Sara

Kodak’s Portra 400 color negative film stands on its own. It doesn’t need my praise, but it’s going to get it anyway! I love this film. I really, really do – especially in my medium format camera. Such wonderful skin tones, and a great latitude in a wide range of lighting conditions. It almost seems to understand mood, and respond with appropriate tones. Here’s Sara again.

Sara

Sara

Sara

Sara

Sara

4×5 Portraiture

Back before Christmas another case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome flared up and I found myself the owner of a large format camera. As any home-developing film photographer does, I admire the work of Ansel Adams. Unfortunately, I live in Houston – the least geographically interesting city in the hemisphere. I decided that since it takes hundreds of dollars in diesel to get myself out to places I’d like to shoot landscapes I would give large format portraiture a try. The film developed nicely, and quick flatbed scans reveal that the negative information should come out pretty awesomely on paper when I print them in my darkroom. Sara was awesomely patient, and wonderfully still while I was composing, focusing, and then finally taking these photographs. I’m pretty happy with the way they came out.

Sara

Sara

Sara

Not your typical trip to Vegas

This year, I did what many do for spring break and headed for Vegas. The major difference was that I had no intention of attempting to find out exactly how much I could drink before being hospitalized, or doing something brain-dead like going all-in against a World Series of Poker winner. No, my mission was to visit my friend Lisa and take some fun photos in the desert around Vegas. Armed, as usual, with my travel duo (Kodak Retina IIa and Mamiya C3) I did exactly that. Some of the resulting negatives will certainly find their way onto my wall.

Red Rock

Yucca

Lisa @ Red Rock

Red Rock

Rock

Brush backed by mountains

Lake Mead

Intake

In the dam

Last Call for MS150 Donations

In roughly one month, I will drop everything but my Windsor Fens and pedal my way from Houston to Austin. The ride is one I’ve made with the assistance of hydrocarbons many times, but this will be the first time I’ve done it under my own power. What would drive someone to do something so seemingly insane? Raising money to help those who suffer from multiple sclerosis sounds like a good reason to me – a good enough reason that I not only paid the BP MS150 registration fee, but donated another $100 myself.

Initially, I was going to ride this event alone. As time went on, it started to make a lot more sense to join a team. Looking through the teams that were still open for new riders I came across one that caught my eye: Band Against MS. Why that team? Many years ago, when I was a young boy living in Midland, TX, my parents took me to see Alan Jackson in concert. It was a great show, and the first concert I remember attending. Clay Walker was the opening act at that show and a few years later he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Clay Walker started Band Against MS in 2003; in 2011 I joined the team.

If you have a few minutes to spare, and are willing to part with a few tax-deductible dollars, click here and then click on the donate button below my picture. As of this post, I’m 60% of the way there with a month to go. If you have more questions about what the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is about, and how the donations are used, two informational PDFs are attached below:

How the Money is Spent

How Your Money Helps

Return top