Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays and have a happy New Year!

So I have been terrible the last few months at posting not only here but on Flickr as well.  Life has gotten in the way, I spent a month renovating my small condo and then had a few personal set backs.  But I am back now and slogging my way through getting caught up on my scanning and editing.  I still have quite a few test images for my Old Town project to work through including some Holga panos covering entire rolls of film (talk about a pain in the ass to scan and stitch together in photoshop!).  I have put on hold my testing of the new impossible films as I lost some of my notes on the images I shot and need to recreate the tests, plus with the weather turning cold I now have to deal with the added variable of temperature which these films are very sensitive to.  But have no fear I will get it finished eventually.

On the plus side I am heading out to San Fransisco for a week to visit my sister so hopefully I will have a ton of images from the trip soon.  Though it does look like it's going to rain the whole time I am there....

Well here are a few images to tide everyone over the Holiday season.  One image from my trusty Holga and two from my new Fujipet!!!!  I will provide a bit of a write up about this camera once I have run more film through it, buy my first impression is LOVE!!!

Here's to hoping 2011 is better than 2010!

Navy-Mem Station, Washington DC
Fujipet, Ilford HP5

National gallery Ice Skating Rink, Washington DC
Fujipet, Ilford HP5

Route 5, So. MD
Holga, Ilford HP5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First attempt using on-camera flash, high heels, and of course drag queens!

So I have pretty good experience using studio lights, I mainly use two soft boxes in my studio.  I mean really I think it's cool when photographers use 30 different lights and spend 20 hours setting it all up and adjusting the output of each light so slightly no one can really tell a difference.  Honestly two soft boxes and the occasional spot are pretty much all you need to create beautiful lighting for just about anything you might need.  My motto is to keep everything as simple as possible!

Moving on, I finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a flash to use with my Canon 50D.  I decided it was time to add some fill light to my available light portrait work, but of course it arrived just in time for the annual pre-Halloween Dupont Circle High Heel Drag Race in DC.  The event is basically a celebration of Drag Queens.  At 9PM they line up and run a few blocks.  Of course the real fun in the 2 hours before the race where they parade up and down the street in their outfits and pose for pictures.

So having never used on camera flash before I set out to learn in the trenches.  I set the camera to 800 ISO, played with the flash power and slapped on a diffuser.  For most of the night I was shooting wide open on manual with the shutter speed at 100 and the flash either at full power or 1/4 power.  I used full power if the subjects were about 15+ feet away and 1/4 power when they were closer.  That seemed to work pretty well.  I had the occasional over or under exposure, usually from misjudging the distance of my subject.  The main problem I had was with the auto focus.  Shooting wide open doesn't leave much room for error.  Of course I didn't catch this until late in the evening, once I did I started shooting at f11 and that gave me the DOF I needed to compensate for the moving subjects.  All in all I am happy with the results and love how well the night flash photography converts to B&W, there is just something about flash photography at night!  Honestly even though the costumes were beautiful in color, they just loose something with the flash lighting.

Anyway here are the images, enjoy!

All images shot on Canon 50D
Dupont Circle High Heel Drag Race

Friday, November 5, 2010

Failure, pretty clouds, and bird poop!

So this was supposed to be the post where I reviewed the various Impossible Project integral films, but of course I have been deathly ill all week and haven't been able to get all of the images ready and the review drafted.  On top of that I have started a complete condo renovation, mainly involving repainting every surface where I live, but also involving a new addition to the built-in shelving in my closet (formerly my darkroom, something had to cover the hole in the wall where my sink was).  So all that to say it will probably be another few weeks before I can get my review completed.  The good news I ordered a few boxes of the newest color film so I should be able to add that to the review and cover everything Impossible has released so far!

Until then here is one of my favorite captures from the past summer.  This is one of those that resulted from my habit of always having a camera on me, even if I don't plan on shooting.  On this day the clouds were so amazing I just had to take a long lunch from work and snap a few pics.  Enjoy and have a great weekend.  Think of me while you are out enjoying the weekend as I will be painting my closet so I can finally put everything that is currently on my living room floor back where it belongs :)

Holga w/orange filter
Ilford HP5

Friday, October 29, 2010

Accidental Art?

One of the unique aspects of photography is that you can shoot a ton of images of the exact same thing.  You can really explore a subject.  I suppose in the world of a painter this might also be true in that you can always add another layer of paint and cover up anything that doesn't work.

But any good photographer will tell you sometimes an image was just a plain old accident.  So the question always comes up is there an value in this?  One of the key skills of being a photographer is editing your work very critically, only showing the stuff that really works.  This is true for just about any form of art, but maybe more so for photography.  One of my favorite quotes from a good friend of mine is: "The difference between a good photographer and a great one is a trash can".  Implied in that is that a great photographer only shows the images that really work.  It might be then said editing is what separates a photographer.

So this brings us back to can an accident be art.  I think the answer is of course it can.  One of the truths about photography is that you have to be in the right place at the right time to capture an image in the first place.  You have to press the shutter release to capture the image, even if by accident.  I think this thought makes photography a lesser form of art to some people, I think this is what makes photography a relatively unique artistic medium.  It is nearly impossible to be lucky all the time, you can't teach someone to have an eye, and while everyone who owns a camera has probably had one of those accidental captures where they have no idea how they did it, the "photographer" will have a higher hit rate in general and also be able to learn from those accidental captures and use that information in the future.

Here is a recent accident of mine that for some reason has stuck with me, let me know what you think.  This was captured on a Holga camera.  I have been shooting a lot of panos on the Holga recently working on a slightly new technique.  While I was walking around Coney Island I decided that I wanted to shoot single images.  Now my technique for creating the overlapping panos in the holga is to set the film counter window to 16 and remove the internal masks.  This way I am shooting images slightly bigger than 6x6, but using the 6x4.5 counter resulting in uniform overlapping.  Well on this day I swore that I had returned the film counter window slder back to 12 and was happily shooting away thinking I was creating single images.  What I ended up with was 3 distinct views of Coney Island that I wouldn't have intentionally overlapped, but I kind of think it works.  Here's to happy accidents!

"Coney Island"
Holga, Ilford HP5

Friday, October 22, 2010

The art of the tourist

I know some photographers go out to create art.  They plan ahead, wait for the perfect conditions, and go out with the goals of capturing a specific shot.  I have run across some who believe that is the only way to create great images.  While I definitely set up shoots where that is the exact way I approach creating an image, more often than not photography is really just a part of my everyday life.  I enjoy always having a camera on me and challenging myself to capture something special from what ever I encounter.  If you have never approached photography like this I highly recommend it.  For one it forces you to accept the lighting conditions you encounter and really think about how to best use and expose for it.  You also have the challenge of seeing a scene for the first time and having to figure out on the fly if you can capture something special.  Often you might even be limited by the camera that you have on you.  The old adage of using your eyes to photograph every thing you see is also useful.  Just having a camera on you as you go through your day allows you to really look at the world around you and if you see something you can capture it.  This is how street photographers capture life so to those who practice that craft this is just how they shoot.

The idea of always having a camera on you is also great for the beginning photographer.  The idea is to always look at the world around you as a possible photograph.  Now for many of you the thought of carrying around your big fancy camera all the time doesn't sound very practical.  If this crossed your mind then I suggest you find your self a smaller lighter camera.  The Holga (a toy camera) is perfect just this purpose.  They are cheap (like $30), light (made of all plastic) and can fit in any bag you may have on you.  All you need is a few rolls of film (iso 100 and 400).  If you like instant results then an old Polaroid SX-70 or 600 camera could work as well.  The new Impossible films are getting more stable and easier to use (Check out my review and lessons learned on these film in two weeks right here).  And of course most cell phone cameras these days are pretty good (the iPhone cameras are especially fun, more on this in a future blog post).

This leads me to tourist photos.  If you practice looking for images in your everyday life this can translate really well to when you go on vacation or travel to a new city.  You can take your typical tourist photos like seen below, but sometimes even just using the right camera (in this case a Holga) can make the usual "Girlfriend in front on (insert iconic place here)" scene seem a bit more interesting.  Plus while you are being a tourist capturing the usual images you can also capture something more special!

"Kelly on Brooklyn Bridge"
Holga, Ilford HP5

"Brooklyn Bridge"
Holga, Ilford HP5

Friday, October 15, 2010

We dont' have to be lonely anymore...

So welcome to my first POTW (photo of the week) post, every week that I don't post a long boring diatribe on photography I'll post a new image.  They will come from the archives or the unending pile of current work. I had planned all week to start with an image that is on the website, but then I got off my butt and started working through the pile of negatives that I needed to scan and started working on editing a few images.  So here its is a new image fresh out of post!

This is an image that I personally just love, but for reasons that are unrelated to how successful the image may actually be.  This is a pretty common occurrence for us photographers, we fall in love with images for reasons that are not always related to how well the image works from an art perspective.  Now I have had it beaten into my head that you need to remove yourself from your images and evaluate them unemotionally and only display the images  that truly work.  I say rubbish!  Well at least I think it's important to allow ourselves to love an image just because we do.  I photograph my life, sometimes I strive to make great art from the everyday, but sometimes I am just recording moments that are only important to me.  This is one of those.  I actually do think this image works on all levels, but maybe it doesn't convey to anyone else the emotions I had when taking this picture.

"We don't have to be lonely anymore..."
Nikon FM2N, Ilfrod Delta 3200 @6400
And don't forget to check in on GreenSt's Filckr page every Tuesday for new images.  Also if you like this blog please choose to follow it or put a link on your blog.  If you put a link on your blog let me know and I'll return the favor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spooky Show II @ LightBox

The show is up!  I had a piece selected so if you can make it out to the gallery please check it out.  If you can't make it then check out the images HERE!

In other news I am in the middle of scanning a bunch of film keep an eye out over the next few weeks here and on GreenSt's Flikr page to see the results.  Also check out the Flickr page to see the images uploaded on GreenSt's Flickr Tuesdays.

This Friday will start my Photo of the week so check back in at the end of the week to see a highlighted image of current work or something from the archives.

Here is my image from the show:

"Electric Company #4"
Holga, Ilford HP5

Friday, October 8, 2010

Family Portraits on the Farm!

I recently had the pleasure of shooting some family portraits for an old college friend, Romi.  The awesome part was that the shoot was part of  a long weekend visit and Romi and Family were more than happy to do the shoot informally!  Romi and her husband Andrew (everyone named Andrew rocks!) have two beautiful children Kalan and Gavin.  As many of you may know shooting children can be difficult, especially in a formal studio setting with a limited time frame to work in.  So having parents willing to trust me and go with the flow is a luxury and really in my opinion the best way to have a chance to grab something special.

This was a first of this kind of shoot for me.  I have worked with a few families in the studio, but never had I worked on location (in this case their beautiful historic Farmhouse in VA).  Hearing horror stories from my other photographer friends about trying to get children to cooperate had lead me to realize that trying to force young children to focus for long periods of time with parents and photographers trying to get that perfect image with all involved smiling on cue was a recipe for failure.  So I have always wanted to try an informal, available light shoot.  Just me and my camera and the Family on location. If I could get the whole family to relax and get used to me pointing a camera at them I figured I might be able to produce some images that were much more than simple images of a family all smiling on cue.

So the first day of the weekend visit I made sure to have my camera with me at all times.  I took a couple hundred images that day.  Almost all of the them terrible, but my goal was to just get everyone used to me with the camera.  And I did capture two lovely images that you could never duplicate in the studio.  The first is of Kalan passed out on the couch after an afternoon at the pool, and the second is of Gavin helping Dad prepare for dinner.

The morning of my last day visiting ended up being the big shoot.  The weather as expected was terrible for photography.  It was over 100 degrees (did I mention the beautiful historic farm house had no AC?), the Sun was bright and harsh even at 10AM when we finally started shooting.  And on cue Gavin had a melt down with in 5 minutes because he had no desire to wear the nice polo shirt his Mom wanted him to wear.  So I asked Romi if I could go off with Gavin alone and see if I could win him over.  Once I had him by himself I asked him what he wanted to wear, his soccer uniform he replied.  Perfect! Then I asked him what he wanted me to photograph him doing, he decided posing on his bogey board in the middle of the lawn..Brilliant! I sure would have never thought of that :)

Next up he played with his cool dump truck, and then onto T-ball practice.  The Holga came out for these images.

at this point the whole family was watching and I grabbed a nice simple image of Romi and Kalan.

Then it was time for some bike riding and Dad stepped in to help.

Now these images may not be fine art, but they are images that are showing the Family as they are.  So they are unique and special in that way.  Personaly I find these images more meaningful and more likely to be special over time.  There is a bit of a snapshot of this families evberyday life here, something they can look back on a still be transported back to this time in their lives 10 years from now.

Next it was time to play soccer and Kalan joined in.

All during this time I was making a deal with Gavin, if we did what he wanted for a while, maybe we could do a few with his sister and then the family.  When it was time to pair up the siblings I managed to grab some really special images (with the help of some obviously funny antics from the parents going on behind me, maybe one of these days Romi and Andrew will tell me exactly what they were doing behind my back that was so hilarious).  In these images I managed to capture a few brief moments where Gavin let his guard down and you can see how much he loves his little sister.  Kalan was never shy about showing her love for him.

Up next came some serious tree climbing.

And then it was time for some portraits of the whole family.  The bright background actually provides the perfect distraction free background.  I love having the children in trees in between the parents.  I also love how again you see this natural family dynamic in an obviously posed image.  Kalan is staring lovingly at Dad, Gavin as usual is in his own world, and parents are doing what they are supposed to!  Put it all together and I think it adds that extra something and gives you a more true glimpse into this lovely family.

To end the shoot we went on a short hike around the property.  It was hot, everyone was getting tired, but the children were now having fun and comfortable and I got this!

For me this was THE image of the shoot.  It is one of the best family portraits I have ever shot.  You have this perfect representation of this family.  The strong, loving, protective arms of the parents representing their love and support of their children.  Yet the parents faces aren't shown.  Honestly their hands are all you need to understand how Romi and Andrew feel about their children.  You also understand that these are parents who are not overbearing, they see their children as individuals and allow them to be exactly how they are.  You see Gavin off in his own world, this is very much Gavin.  Kalan is quietly experiencing everything, happy to be with her family and finding enjoyment in every new experience.  During the walk she picked flowers and they make the perfect appearance here.  The only direction I gave the family was to stop in a patch of shade and then I started shooting.  I saw this immediately and grabbed it.  I knew then that I had something special.

I grabbed a  last image with the Holga.

The gear used for this shoot was a Canon 20D and a Modified Holga from Holgamods.  The majority of the shoot was done with the Canon.  As a solo shooter digital just allows for a smoother and quicker work flow.  In retro spec I wished I had done some more work with the holga and explored overlapping images of each of the family members.  I plan on heading back down to work with the Klears soon so hopefully they will be happy to let me experiment with that.

I think the main lesson learned is to not have to much of a plan going in, when you are working with many individuals and especially young children it may be better to just go with the flow and see what you get.  having parents that are willing to allow you that freedom is key, they may not get the perfectly posed images they might have wanted, but they will get some lovely images of their family as they are and personally I think those are family portraits that will stand the test of time.

Hey if you just want images of the whole family on a silly blue background, perfectly dressed up and all looking right at the camera smiling on cue, I can recommend "Glamour Shots by Deb" at your local mall or Walmart.  There is no sense paying a fine art photographer to create shots that a 14 year old kid can make while working his summer job!

Keep an eye out for the next article from GreenSt detailing Andrew's testing of some of the Impossible films starting with PX100 First Flush and the new PX100 Silver shade as well as his first tests of the new PX70 First Flush color film.

Also check out GreenSt's Filckr page every Tuesday for Andrew's weekly uploads of new images from current shoots and his archives.  Tell him what you think by leaving comments and favoriting the images you like.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

GreenStPhotography Relaunched!

Welcome to the official re-launch of GreenStPhotography on the web! If you have been following this blog recently you have probably noticed almost weekly changes to the design.  That has all been me editing the look of the blog as well as how it was organized to get ready for the launch of my newly designed website.

The plan going forward will be to use each website for a specific purpose.  The webpage will act as my portfolio; it will be updated least frequently, but will have links to some of my current ongoing photography projects.  Flickr will be a place I will load much of what I am shooting currently, the projects I am working on, and some of my favorites from my archives.  The blog will be a place I will share my thoughts about photography as well as a place to share my favorite images.  I plan on doing a monthly article that will either feature a recent shoot, tutorials on post processing, camera and film reviews, and possibly the occasional interview.  I will also post a weekly favorite image from my archives or just what I shot last weekend to show you what I am up to.

So here is the link list, please book mark one of them or all!

GreenSt's web page
GreenSt on Flickr
Follow GreenSt on Facebook

Next Friday (the 8th) I will post my first monthly article.  I will walk you through a recent family portrait shoot I did and discuss some of my tips for this type of shooting.

Here is a new image for you from where I work.

Holga w/orange filter, Ilford HP5

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


All the entire TOYCAM Book Team Blake, Bill, Jose, Jason, Gregory, Ben, Leah, and myself are pleased to finally announce the publication of the long awaited book!!!!

We would all like to extend a heart felt thank you to the entire toy camera community who supported this project from the start almost 16 months ago to now. None of this could have been accomplished without all of your enthusiastic support.

I would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the entire book team for your dedication to this project. You have helped make this project much more than I ever envision 16 months ago when I proposed a book project on I can't tell you what an honor it was to work with all of you!

Ok so here are the links to purchase your copy of the book:

Purchase the softcover version - CLICK HERE (SOFTCVR)
Purchase the hardcover version - CLICK HERE(HARDCVR)

For more information about the book and project checkout the WEB PAGE! The page will have more content soon so keep checking back in.

On another note, you may or may not have heard that the final copies of the book I received had an issue with the cover (see the image below and notice the stripe of dark blue around the illustrations that should not be there on the bottom book). We believe we have corrected the issue, but as the team has already spent quite a bit of money on proofs already we have decided to release the book without ordering another round of proofs. Ben is confident that there is no way this will happen with the new books. But if you do see this please let us know ASAP.

Finally if you purchase a copy please do send me your reviews and comments. You can post them here or send the to me at The team plans to add a review page to the website so get your reviews in!

From the entire team, we hope you enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Friday, September 10, 2010

TOYCAM - a slight delay

I just got the shipping notice from Blurb. My copy of the book is scheduled to be delivered on the 16th. Since we made changes from the proof copies. I wanted to spend my money to ensure that all is well with the book rather than have all of you order copies only to then tell you we found a major issue.

So I am pushing the official release date to the 17th. Keep in mind this is only if there are no major problems found with the printing. Judging by the proof copy I don't see any problems.

I am sorry for the delay, hopefully this is the last one I have to announce :)

Thank you all for your patience!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TOYCAM - Release Date is....

We have set the release date for Monday September 13th! There is a chance that the date could be sooner so check back in often.

The final edits have been sent to the book designer. We are also working on the webpage where we will have pics of the actual book, links to Blurb, and eventually a few words about how the book came to be and some lessons learned for the next group of volunteers. We are also hoping to get feedback from all of you and we plan on periodically posting it up there as well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TOYCAM - The Proof Book is in hand!

Here are a few teaser images from the proof copy of the book! All in all Blurb has really improved the print quality over the last few years. The book looks great! We just have a few tweaks to make and the final round of edits (we did make a proof print a bit early to make sure the images would print correctly). I still think we are looking at release the book for sale by th end of the Month or the first week in September at the latest. Please link to this Blog and spread the word around!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More from Rachel's wedding...

Here are the last few images that I liked from My good friend Rachel's wedding. While these may not be art, I think these images show how just taking a Holga and a few rolls with you, you can capture some lovely moments from your every day life. I can't speak for other photographers but I love to always have a camera on me. You can really learn allot even if you are shooting the every day or aren't trying to create the perfect image. I find that I often learn some of the best lessons when photographing a situation like a wedding from the guest seats. It forces you to take the most typical of photography situations and try and make something a little more special. Finding small moments and framing them quickly is a skill that requires practice and patience. And of course I threw in a quick arms length self portrait of me and my hot date :)

Holga, Ilford Kodak Tri-X, Silver EFEX Pro

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More from the Hair ball...

Here are some more images from the Hair Ball at Merriweather Post Pavilion in MD. I think these combined with the other two give a pretty good look at the environment and people. I guess they work pretty good as a group, but these 3 don't work as well as stand alone images as maybe the two from my last post does.

All images taken with a Holga
Iford HP5, Silver EFEX Pro

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rock and Roll Ain't noise Pollution!!

Well I haven't been good this summer about posting in a timely manner. I have hundreds of images back logged to work through. It seems I have been spending more time shooting and having less time to post process. I can't say I'm complaining, but being a person who likes to keep on top of my to-do list I can't say I am happy with the length of the list right now. I guess it's better than not having any images to work on :)

I have also been suffering through a massive heat wave here on the east coast. It has been about 3-4 weeks since the day time temps haven't been below 90. This wouldn't be a problem, and actually would have been great for getting a handle on my to-do list, but 2 weeks ago my AC went out and I have been waiting for a replacement. On the plus side I now live in a sauna and am sure I've sweated off quite a few pounds. I have to give a shout out to my girlfriend Kelly for allowing me to stay with her periodically so I can cool off. To bad that she lives a 3 hr commute away from my work :(

Anyway here are some images from the Hairball in MD from a few weeks back. I'm still working through a few more images. These were both taken with my Holga. I have also been playing with combining my typical more traditional approach to image editing, i.e. sticking to darkroom techniques like contrast control, dodging and burning, and using a more digital approach like toning and using Sliver EFEX Pro. So on these images I used a Silver EFEX Pro filter and a photoshop sepia filter. Let me know what you think.

Holga, Ilfrod HP5
Silver EFEX Pro

Monday, July 12, 2010

TOYCAM Update!

I hope that everyone is as excited as I am about the nearing of the publication of this book. I just sent out that 98.5% final version of the book to the team for their final edits and comments before we print the proof copy. I could have the proof copy in my hands as early as next week :)

A while back we released the design for the dust jacket of the book, it was met with mostly positive comments, but we did notice a few comments about the color orange. We were a bit divided on the team as well. It seem orange is one of those colors that people either love or hate. So we decided to change the color and ended up going with a blue that was inspired by the numerous shades of blue found on Diana's and all of her clones. We also reduced the size of the illustrations and added a few more. Other than that the cover is essentially just like what we showed you all a few months back.