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To My Surprise

A couple of years ago I opened an email from a curator at the Smithonian Institution. Preparations were underway to open their National Museum of African American History & Culture and she was asking for permission to use a photograph that I had taken in 1970.

Let’s go back 45+ years. Then I was a student at the University of Michigan and a volunteer for the University Activities Committee. I was assigned to cover the Martin Luther King Jr memorial concert where the popular Fifth Dimension would perform. I was armed with a press pass and free to move throughout the huge stadium. But I was careful to avoid annoying the audience as I roamed around the stage area to get to different vantage points. And so I took a few dozen rolls of film that evening.

In 1970, as a 20 year-old youngster this was just plain fun for me. Nonetheless it amazes me that an event from long ago resurrected itself so many years later.

Anyway, here are some of the shots from that evening that led to the inclusion of my photo in one of the Smithonian Museums.




This photo has been on display at the NMAAHC of the Smithonian


Billy Davis Jr and Lamonte McLemore

Lamonte and Marilyn McCoo


Florence LaRue and Marilyn McCoo

Ron Townsend


Florence LaRue

Billy Davis Jr


I was able to speak to the group briefly backstage after the concert


And I was lucky enough to get their autographs too.

Using Smaller Frames

On my computer desktop, I have a folder labeled “To Be Printed”.

Every once in a while as I’m editing my photos, I’ll drop a copy of a favorite image into the folder. As the number of images within the folder grow, I feel compelled to make prints and get them up on the wall.

Years ago I realized that I didn’t have to always make huge prints. By printing smaller sizes more photos would see the light of day and keep from setting my wallet back too much.

To make best use of the limited wall space, I started to use sets of identically sized frames. They are light weight with glass or plexiglass to protect the prints and easy to hang.

A few of the favorite photographs get special treatment – they are printed in a larger size.



these are all 4″ x 6″ prints



here is a small section of the wall with three different sizes



these are all 8″ x 8″ prints



these two prints are mounted in larger 16″ x 20″ frames



this single print is 24″ x 36″



So get those images out of your “To Be Printed” folder.

When your “To Be Printed” folder gets filled again, you can simply change the photos.

Remember that you don’t have to think big; smaller sizes make attractive displays.

UnFramed

23rd March 2021

Bringing the Feel of Paris to My Living Room

As the river Seine flows from central France to the English Channel it disects Paris the City of Light. In turn, the river is responsible for the large number of bridges that connect the two sides of the city – known as the left bank and the right bank.

By far, my favorite is the Pont Alexandre III, an elaborately decorated structure with gold colored statues at both ends, intricate sculptures arranged along the width of the arches, black elegant light posts, a generous pedestrian walkway.



I took this photograph of Pont Alexandre III in 2008. Notice how the gold painted sculptures contribute to the bridge’s beauty.


I decided to add a touch of Paris to our home and had the photograph made into a large canvas print. It is a wraparound canvas – the image edges fold over the internal wooden frame to create a simple hanging piece. The canvas print now decorates our living room.



Here’s a close up of that canvas hanging. Its size is 36″ x 24″. You can see that the print closely resembles the original digital image taken in 2008.



Moving even closer to the canvas you can see more of the bridge detail. Despite the rough texture of the canvas print surface the detail remains quite sharp.



From the above photo I enlarged a small section. While you can clearly see the textured surface, you can also see how the print retains its sharp detail.



What’s your favorite vacation spot? You can easily bring your past travels into your home.
Don’t let your photos sit in a proverbial shoe box. Get them out of there and show them to the world.



Zooming In

18th March 2021

Zambriskie Point is of my favorite areas to visit in Death Valley. I am awed by its magnificent landscape created by millions of years of erosion. When climb the steep path from the visitor entrance, you’re immediately greeted by the heavily textured, sandy colored alluvial fans.

This day as I walked up the path I could barely see two people standing on one of the flat areas in the distance. They looked like ants on the rocks. The juxtaposition of the tiny figures against the huge backdrop of these badlands was an interesting view.


 

My equipment was a Sony NEX-7 camera with a medium 18-200mm zoom lens.

This is the image that I captured of the couple.

The EXIF data tells me that the lens was zoomed to 44mm.



 

The above photo was the only one that I took of the couple.

When I viewed the image in my “computer darkroom”, I wanted to see how the scene would look if I had used the zoom feature of the lens. I magically zoomed by cropping the original image.

The result is that the the couple and the rocky landscape show up in much more detail.

Which one do you preferr?



While I like both images, I prefer the zoomed in version. This is an example of composing your image after the fact.

Snapshots

20th February 2021

 

I’ve taken an awful lot of photos over the years – some were for professional purposes, some as obligatory family responsibilities (wedding, birthdays, etc.) and some (many, many, many) for my own pleasure.

 

In this last category are a group that I consider fun photos. I’ve put a large number of them into my snapshot gallery.

 

I’m happy to share them with you so please click here and I’ll take you to see them.

Low Light Photography

30th March 2019

It’s Dark Down There


Mammoth Cave National Park, located in central Kentucky is the world’s largest system of caves extending more than 400 miles. On a recent trip with a few of our grandkids, we stopped there for a few hours to explore some of the caves.


here are the grandkids adorning the park sign

at this entrance way we had to descend about 30 steps

We arrived at the park too late to reserve a spot on one of the various guided tours. Instead we opted to take the self-guided tour.


The beginning of the cave entrance is lighted by daylight with handrails and a cement walkway. Continue walking and the outdoor light slowly disappears.

Electrical lights provide the only illumination inside, but they are relatively dim. We were surprised by the width of the cave at this point – about 30 feet side to side.


As you can see, we’re walking alongside the cave walls. The pathway is mostly hard dirt but there are cement pavers in some parts of this cave.

At this point, the cave widens considerably and the ceiling varies between 30 and 50 feet high. You’ll also notice that this area is well lighted.


One of the park rangers points out this small bat hanging from one of the cave walls. He tells us that there were hundreds of the bats at one time but they are no longer found in large numbers.

This part of Mammoth ends after about one-quarter of a mile. As we turn around and walk back towards the entrance way you can visualize the darkness of these caves.


This short clip shows the large size of the so-called “ampitheater” within the self-guided tour cave.



The steps from the cave. The self-guided tour is an easy way to explore Mammoth when you’re time limited.

Here is the wife and grandkids relaxing after their cave diving experience.



For those interested, these photos were taken with a Sony A7 III camera using a 24-240mm lens. In most cases, the ISO setting was 16000 or 32000 and taken handheld with a shutter speed of 1/15 or 1/30 and aperture as wide as f/3.5. I think the photos are of pretty decent quality considering the cave environment.

 

 



 

 

 

 

Brightening My Winter


Winter weather in Michigan consists of lots of snow, cold and blustery temperatures and dark, gloomy clouds for weeks on end. You can imagine that I’d welcome getting away for a few days to a warm and sunny place.

Luckily, it’s just a three hour plane ride from the chills of Grand Rapids to swaying palm trees of Ft Lauderdale. I’m happy to feel the warmth and see the cloudless sky after quickly changing my attire into shorts and a t-shirt. Then I’m off to Everglades National Park.

As usual I have a camera in tow. My goal is to photograph the snowless foliage that lines the paths along the Everglades. Without any fanfare, below is a group of pictures that help to shed the Michigan winter blues.





















Of course the Everglades has much more to see and explore than its amazing foliage. I’m also a lover of birds but I’ll save those photos for another article.

 

 



 

 

 

 

Iceland – a city view

15th October 2018

Reykjavik – the capital


Like many others, I have a bucket list of places that I’d like to visit. Over the past few years, my list has grown shorter as I work my way around. But high up on the list was my wish to visit Iceland. Early this month I finally made the trip to this island nation that sits way north, close to the Arctic Circle.

From Detroit, you can reach Iceland in about six hours. That makes it a shorter flight than one to either London or Paris. Ahead of time, I understood the weather to be quite variable but on the wet, cold and windy side. When I arrived in early October the temperature was about 40 degrees but the strong winds made it feel much colder.

I was prepared for the rain but wasn’t for the cold and wind so ended up purchasing a warm winter parka before setting out to explore Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and main city. Its population of 125,000 represents about 1/3 of the entire country. It sits along the western coast and is surrounded by beautiful mountains.






















I hope you’ve enjoyed the colorful and picturesque city landscapes, architecture and very walkable areas of Reykjavik.

 

 



 

 

 

 

Tag Along Pal

09th October 2018

Just Migo and Myself


I just hopped off a plane after visiting with two of my long time friends – one in France and the other in Belgium. On the flight back to the US, I shortened my bucket list by spending a few days in Iceland.

I had company on this trip – my grandson Verek’s fluffy partner. Migo was my traveling companion.

Both Migo and I got to visit some of the well-known places in Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and Reykjavik. Here are some of the snapshots of Migo that I brought back for Verek.






















Verek now has a scrapbook to remember the travels of Migo.

 

 



 

 

 

 

Fuji Instax Cameras

29th March 2018

Instant Cameras on the Comeback Trail


When I was growing up, Polaroid instant print cameras were very popular.

After I bought my first SLR, my next purchase was the $19.95 Polaroid Swinger. The size of a small loaf of bread, the Swinger produced small black and white prints (about 2″ x 3″) in a mere 60 seconds. Instead of spending hours in the darkroom to see the results of my picturetaking, the Swinger provided me the instant gratification that today’s digital devices now deliver.

Before I knew it, I had several Polaroids in my stable of cameras including the OneStep as you see on the right. This model popularized the square 3′ x 3″ format prints in both black and white and color.

For many reasons by the start of the year 2000, the Polaroid Corporation was on a downhill slide and its bankruptcy claimed their instant cameras and film as a casualty.


At about this same time, Fuji was developing their Instax line. Fuji has since introduced a series of cameras that are tailored to multiple markets. Various models of the Instax are available in many different sizes and dozens of bright colors as you can see below. They include models for children, teenagers and millenials. I had a chance to see many of these models and displays at this year’s annual Wedding & Portrait Professional International Convention and Expo where I learned about Fuji’s continuing commitment to instant photography.

 

Instax film is available in several different sizes and with colorful borders.

The board on the right shows a set of instant prints that might be displayed for an engagement – in real time.


Instax Square SQ10

 

The Fuji rep showed me one of their new models. It’s called the Instax SQ10 and Fuji dubs this an instant print camera with digital features.

As its name suggests, the prints are about 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ square. The SQ10 has a digital sensor so it can capture images to a microSD card. You can edit and or enhance the images using the builtin LCD monitor. The SQ10 has 10 builtin filters and adjustments for brightness and vignette. Lastly you can immediately print one or more copies.

The SQ10 has a fairly fast f/2.4 aperture with autofocus, a builtin flash, a self-timer and automatic ISO setting from 100 to 1600. The film is packaged for 10 exposures.

The suggested price is about $230 and film about $12 per pack. For more information please visit Instax Square SQ10.



Instax Share SP-3

 

The rep also demonstrated the Share SP-3. This is a small, portable printer that uses the same square film as the SQ10.
It’s aimed at users who want prints of their smartphone photos. To use it you first install the SP-3 app onto your smartphone. The app then establishes an integrated Wi-Fi connection from the SP-3 to the smartphone.

The app offers several ways to customize the prints. There are adjustments for brightness and contrast, color and special effect filters, conversion to black and white and multiple ways to combine two, three, four or nine images on a single print. Additionally the time, date and location can be added to the print.

The SP-3 also lets you print images from a Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and Google Photo account so you can share prints with others.

The suggested price of the SP-3 is about $180. It uses the same film as the SQ10 costing about $12 per pack. For more information, please visit Instax Share SP-3.


 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

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