Photography Rediscovered–Back To The Digital Future

Years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to be a fairly serious amateur photographer transporting two 35 mm Nikons, lenses, filters, etc. on cross-country motorcycle trips.  

Real life intervened and my interest in photography faded.  When digital cameras became the norm, I stepped back in, but mostly to use “point & shoot” techniques to produce “documentary” photos of graffiti, abandoned shopping carts, and blight scenes for blogging articles.  I did manage to evolve to documenting various community work projects as a means of escaping the Petaluma Blight Beat.

Recently, Nina Zhito persuaded me to sign up for a photography class (“Capturing Great Moments in Great Light”) at the Petaluma Arts Center taught by Frederic Larson

Of course there was “instruction” in the formal sense…

Plus, there was field work–in the rain–to put some of the techniques to use…

I won’t be so hyperbolic as to say that the class was transformational–but it has pointed me in a new direction in terms of how I will spend my time.

One of the immediate consequences for me was to start a photo blog as a companion to this site.

Check out The Petaluma Spectator Photo Blog to see if I learned anything!

  • Additions to the photo blog will be infrequent (it takes time for the “good stuff” ) and I will change it from time to time as I continue experimenting.
  • I will also be going through my inventory of past Petaluma photos to see if, by accident, any qualify for the new photo blog. One has already made it.

Thanks again to the Petaluma Arts Council and to Frederic Larson!

By the way, just to prove that old habits die hard, I did take note of a graffiti tag on the sidewalk  just outside the building and made a photo collage placing the tag on the door…

Oops! Did I just tag the Petaluma Arts Center??

A Mysterious Face In The Bucket

This post is a break from my Blog Break to briefly report on a recent experience generated by my photography class at the Petaluma Arts Center.

I was practicing various settings, shooting macros, and all that technical stuff to see what worked for me and what did not. On a recent rainy day, as I was coming inside, I decided to shoot a quick pix of a bucket that was collecting rainwater.  I gave it no thought whatsoever. I just wanted to see how the camera captured the light on the water surface–no attention was given to framing, composition, etc.

Later when I downloaded it, it drove me crazy…

 ©2010 Frank Simpson

So what is the source of the face?

  • Do we in fact have spirits lurking in another Petaluma dimension (past, present, or future) trying to communicate with us?
  • Is this part of a new campaign for or against the water rate initiative in November?

Can you figure it out?

It was not my reflection as I did not look through the viewfinder. I just held the camera over the bucket and took the pix as I was walking into the house. It was intended to be a throw-away test photo.

There is a simple explanation (and it is not Photo Shop) that I will provide after the class is over. We finally figured it out. Frankly, I am glad we did as it was starting to be just a little too creepy.

To see a larger version, click on the photo above.

See You In June! (After the Elections)

With much to attend to on the home front–gardens, rebuilding a patio, photography class–I will not be posting new material  for the rest of May.

However, I will be selecting and posting photos for the 2010 photo page.

If you are curious to see some of the initial photo “archiving” for 2010, go to Pixels of Petaluma (2010)

St James…Community Garden May Report

By way of a brief update, I can report that the St. James Community Garden in Petaluma continues to “bear fruit”–or, to be more accurate–potatoes!

In addition, volunteers have started work on the two remaining sections of the garden.  (Photos Below)

To view a photo album documenting the work to date, go to Community Garden At St. James

First Potato Harvest

Ground Preparation For The Last Two Sections