Monday, December 7, 2015

I'm Tweeting Now









I have started up a Twitter account, where I will be posting a photograph from the archives every other day or so, along with any tweeties about other photo biz, and also info about select jazz gigs I'll be playing. The longer rants and raves, and series from shoots/trips, will continue to be posted here from time to time as usual.

You can follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MDWhite1013

Oh, the photo above is from Florida City, FL, 8/2008. A sledgehammer thunderstorm had just passed by, and I was at a red light, witnessing this incredible orange sky. The cross road is US1; Key Largo is 25 miles left and Miami 25 miles right, with the Everglades five miles straight ahead.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

35mm B/W, Plaquemines Parish

Some results from a recent Saturday spent shooting in lower Plaquemines Parish, around Venice, looking for a few wetland-y photographs to add to the pile for The End of the Great River. I have no idea what motivated me to shoot an entire roll with a dark red filter, but I left it on for the whole day. The film is Kodak Tmax 400 (the old Tri-X Pan film), and it's gotten a little too grainy for its own good, or too grainy for 35mm. I think from now on it's going to be worth the few extra bucks for Agfa APX 100, which to my eyes has far more variety in tones, and practically non-existent grain, even for 35mm. But anyway here are six of the Tmax 400 roll that didn't turn out looking like a Rorschach test. The red filter really only works in bright open sunlight, otherwise it's useless. In the shade, the blacks have no variety at all; an exposure made under the pavilion at Venice Marina worked OK (seen below), but I made six or seven shots under shady oaks at Fort Jackson and they turned out to be trash. (In the future, along with the Agfa APX I'll go back to the medium yellow filter, which allows far better variety of tones, while giving the desired effect of darkening the sky and giving it some detail.) What I got out of the day was that in using the dark red filter, stopping down evened out the exposure and the difference between the sky and the ground. The second photo here was taken on the tripod from my pickup truck flatbed; it metered at 1/60 @ f/8, but that exposure left the sky too bright with no cloud detail and a slightly blown out horizon, even though the central patch of marsh grass looked great. Stopping down to f/11 fixed the problem. At the time I thought I might be on to something, so I bracketed exposures like that for the rest of the day, and the stopped-down frames were always the ones that looked better. The old Canon F1 can still be a nice little camera when it wants to be, and I'm still hooked on the big clack it makes when pulling the shutter, louder than cocking a 12-gauge shotgun.






Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Katrina +10






The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is coming up (August 29th), and the internet has been very busy as of late posting myriad "then-and-now" essays and photo collections that are supposed to be showing how far we've come, what we still need to do, and what has been forever changed. I'm really not sure how I feel about all of it at this point, but I do agree that many things are gone and aren't coming back; in spite of that, I think New Orleans is in much better shape than people predicted it would be ten years ago.
My contribution here is a simple 35mm black and white photo that was taken September 26th, 2005 in the Lake Catherine community. We were making our first visit to the island to see what little remained of our island home, which mostly vanished in the storm, along with about 600 other homes in the area that just seemed to evaporate and leave nothing behind but empty pilings. This view normally would have shown a row of happy camps and piers looking out onto Lake Pontchartrain. Instead you see what Katrina did to our island. The high water and strong wind on the flag were caused by Hurricane Rita, which made landfall 300 miles away in Cameron Parish the night before. I still miss living on the island and think about it pretty regularly. I remember being able to jump in the boat and zip down to the marina at Chef Menteur Pass for breakfast; sitting on the back porch watching the clouds go by on the lake. I remember we figured eventually when we got a home in Algiers Point we'd keep the camp for weekends. The lot where our camp used to sit is now completely grown over and inaccessible. The bayou in our backyard is probably still filled with debris, no longer serving any purpose.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Three Slightly Weird Photographs of New Orleans Botanical Garden

Photography instruction books and real estate companies that hire photographers will tell you over and over to never make photographs in midday sun, due to the harsh shadows and unattractive  lighting that supposedly results. However, I have found that using a polarized filter and waiting until the sun is partially eclipsed by small passing clouds that act as giant flash diffusers gives the photographs a strange, surreal quality that transforms what would normally be standard over-lit souvenir shop postcard shots into imaginary sets for some unrealized, wacky Ken Russell movie. 
No Photoshop Lightroom shit here at all; just the circular polarizer and the sun being directly overhead, partially hidden by a small cloud. 




Sunday, May 17, 2015

Grand Isle: 120 Film Series


Results from a film roll shot in Grand Isle on May 8th. These have been added to the growing LA 120 Film Series gallery on the my website. More from other locations will be added this summer as I go on other trips. (Click on photos for larger view.)







Monday, February 16, 2015

Mardi Gras 2015: Endymion

Crowds enjoyed perfect weather for this year's Endymion parade on February 14th. I had a good spot on Orleans Avenue and a 200mm lens, and got a few good snappies when I wasn't begging for beads. Happy Mardi Gras! (Click on photo for larger view.)