Shibuya

ShibuyaI’ve posted this photo here before, but never in black and white. I did some basic processing in Lightroom and it turned out well. Always one of my favorite photos from my time in Japan, no matter what the form.

Chris

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The World’s Best $40 Tripod

Photography can be an expensive hobby, but that doesn’t mean it has to be. When I’m not out being a photographer, I’m a full time college student in Southern California i.e. someone with a small income in a very high-cost place. A tripod is an essential tool in my photography arsenal, a $700 Gitzo tripod is not. But that’s okay!

When I started shopping around for a tripod I did have some minimum requirements:

1. It had to have a ball-head; a feature which I feel is infinitely more practical than constantly adjusting the vertical and horizontal axis separately.

2. Minimal plastic; plastic breaks easily and will just end up costing you time and money in the long run.

3. Must support at least 10lbs; the potential weight of my DSLR and film cameras with a zoom, or if I just feel like mounting a 10lb weight some day you know?

4. Had to be at least 60 inches tall or more;

5. Had to be under $100; keeping my wallet happy 🙂

I give you…the Dolica Proline 62″ ball-head tripod!

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For $40 you get…

-an alloy ball-head

-aluminum tripod legs

-a telescoping center barrel

-an alloy quick release plate

-micro-adjustable feet

-two built in levels

-13lbs carrying capacity

-VERY minimal use of plastic

-a nice carrying case

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The ball-head is very sturdy and the knobs are easy to turn, and..get this…not made of plastic! Notice however, that the legs join onto the center barrel at separate joints. On more expensive tripods there is usually one larger molded piece of metal where the legs attach.
Despite this, the tripod still has a relatively solid feel.

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The clamps for the telescoping legs are, unfortunately, made of plastic. I haven’t had any trouble with them breaking, but I also don’t abuse this tripod very much when I use it.

Buy if…

-you’re on a limited income

-you want the features of a more expensive tripod w/out the cost

-you don’t care about brands

-you want a reliable, but not overly abusable piece of equipment

Pass if…

-you want to shoot video…it doesn’t pan

-you shoot ultra-zooms

-you’re a gear snob

-you’re a professional

-you regularly run over tripods with your car

 

Thanks for stopping by today!

Chris

The Alley

Lately I’ve been experimenting with still-life and scenic type photography, where I use my tripod and take a long time composing the shot. I like the added ability a tripod gives you to be able to produce very sharp images in low light.

There is a pair of shoes hanging in the alleyway behind my house that I’ve been wanting to photograph for some time. The lighting wasn’t exactly how I wanted it today, but I thought I’d give it a go anyways.

I took two photos (with multiple tries per photo). This first photo is zoomed in closer which makes the shoes the primary focus, but I think I like the second one better with the full view of the alley. What do you think?

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Thanks for stopping by today!

Chris

Still life.

Gregory Crewdson  is one of my favorite artists. He takes amazing still life type photos using elaborate lighting and an 8×10 format film camera. The end result is incredible.

This year I got a tripod from my family for Christmas and I was feeling inspired by my current home of Los Angeles to try and take some similar photos. The three you see below were all taken after dark, but I can’t wait to do some twilight/sunset shots. There are tons of locations I’ve seen while out running all over the city that I’d love photograph in this way.

For these photos I used my Nikon D40 with a 18-70mm lens on my tripod. The exposures were between 8 and 20 seconds.

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The Church

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This is another photo from my latest roll of T-Max 400. I am very pleased with the tonal range and immense detail that film gives me. I shoot digital 80% of the time but if I’m going somewhere really cool specifically to take pictures I’ll always reach for the film camera first.

My Nikon N80 cost me $35 dollars on eBay, the lens was around $90. That $125 dollar combo made this photo along with a host of my other pictures. While some photographers think film is obsolete, others are helping it’s renaissance. As a student I cannot afford a full-frame digital camera that costs in the thousands of dollars. Film photography is a great way to develop your photography skills. It really forces you to think about the shots you’re taking and isn’t a pain in the wallet.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Chris

St. John’s Bridge

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The St. John’s bridge opened in 1931 and spans the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. It was designed by David Steinman, who also designed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On the east side of the bridge is Cathedral Park, which I visited on a rainy December day.

On the west side of the bridge is Forest Park, which makes for excellent photography. I love how it looks like the bridge just disappears into the trees. The Gothic architecture of the bridge towers is stunning. Steinman definitely knew what he was doing. This photo has a very distinct ‘mood’.

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Thanks for stopping by today!

Chris

Desolate

I took this series of photographs this November near my grandparents’ farm outside of Janesville, Wisconsin. Rural countryside in the winter, with the barren fields and pale sky, can feel immensely bleak; especially in black and white.

I used my Nikon N80 with t-max 400 film to take these photos. I think it was the perfect medium, given that a color photo would look almost the same that time year. In contrast to the landscape however, my grandparents’ home is extremely warm and welcoming.

Be sure to click the images to see full size!

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Chris