Monthly Archives: December 2010

Sometimes you just bring the light with you.

Madam is a happy model, originally uploaded by Stephen Foster.

Today I start a 17 day rental of a Nikon SB-800 flash from BorrowLenses. Already I know I’m going to send the Promaster I’ve been using to the E-Waste collection.


Wind Power, Altamont, California

I made this photo in March or April of 2006; prior to acquiring a DSLR camera. I used color transparency film, then scanned to digital format. I since processed for monochrome.

I think I used ten or fifteen frames from the one location (stopped on the side of the road) and experimented with framing and selecting out various elements. I expected to get two or three good frames from a single roll of film (36 frames). Yes, that’s a lot of film to burn. But, if I got the one or two that make my heart sing, it was a good investment.

I visualize before shooting, as I’m instructed by The Ancient Ones, but usually find I’m getting nowhere with limited access to the whole field of view. These towers are on private property and I do have to get to other duties, so what I can do from the fence will have to do. Given those limits, I can still search for the interesting images by turning, looking up or down or shifting the view and focal length to see what presents itself. The process only got easier with digital because frames are cheap (like zero) and disposable; the new discipline is to hang on to the images long enough to view them on a good monitor.

Eventually, one must call on yet another discipline: the willingness to ruthlessly cull out the failures. I take my time, but the end result is I discard (delete, trash, deep-six, toss, send-to-oblivion) most of the frames I shoot. A 4GB memory card holds 240 frames on my D200 – a dozen keepers is about right. It’s not waste, it’s experimentation.

Light Enters Where It Will

Joe Shoong Chinese School, Locke, California

When I look at my favorite photos, I feel what I love about them. Attempting to describe that feeling usually escapes me.

The light that comes inside is softened. The shadows are comfortable and welcoming. The highlight is rounded, feathered at the edge. The color of the walls is itself, not some blaring caricature of yellow.

Rain Approaching, Grand Canyon

I posted a trio of photos on Flickr with this title. This one hasn’t been viewed, as of this writing, which may be why I bring it up.

Photography is how I explore light. It is as simple as that. What light does when it strikes a surface; how light is broken and scattered onto surfaces; and the emotions that light can elicit are the stuff of my fascination.

The way the lone peak is lit, while all else is shadowed plays one of my favorite themes; it’s the kind of thing I hope for whenever I carry a camera.

My notes on this day’s work are missing: I think this is Brahma Temple.

Madam, Ready to Go Out

Madam, Ready to Go Out, originally uploaded by Stephen Foster.

I think my wife is in love with my camera. I’m pretty sure my camera is in love with her.

Still Life in Messy Sink

Still Life in Messy Sink, originally uploaded by Stephen Foster.

A long time ago (4 years) I bought a 4×5 Crown Graphic. I did not have funds to buy a box of 4×5 film, so the salesman threw in a roll of 120 to put in the roll film holder.

I have a strange relationship with film. I used to declare that digital photography would save the planet from film’s toxic runoff. Now I’m nostalgic for film. I also have this silly notion that shooting film confers better street cred.

I will comfort my self that if I get a good photograph it was the correct choice.