I work second shift, so I usually don’t get home until around ten or so. After the perfunctory visit to the magic rain box to scrub the kitchen stench off my carcass, and a modicum of relaxing…it’s usually around eleven. I do this six nights a week, which leaves only my one day off really for taking photos in the daytime. That’s not to say my day off is the only time I go out with my camera. I pretty much take it with me every time I leave the house at night to go get smokes or whatever from the mini mart, or just to go shoot photos of empty streets under moonlight or whatnot.
I have lots of photos from the past year or so I’ve really gotten back into photography as a hobby again. There’s a lot of daytime stuff from my days off, and some of it I guess I like well enough. I mean, I’m always posting the shit here so it goes to figure I kinda like it, right? So there’s that stuff, and then there’s the ass ton of night photos I have. Mostly they sucked because my point and shoot digital cameras weren’t very good at all under low light conditions. But a few weeks back I got a DSLR and it takes much better night photos. I’m sure it will take even better ones once I get the ISO, exposure time and aperture adjusting stuff comitted to memory. As it is, pulling out a manual and trying to read the motherfucker under dim streetlamp light just aint working. Especially when you’re old and half blind in the first place like me.
But yeah, here’s some of my favorite nighttime photos taken with my newest camera. I realize entirely that photoediting software can make fucking anything look like anything, but these are all lightly post-shot edited. I’m not an authority on really anything, and certainly not photography, but it’s always been recommended to me that you do your editing in-camera, and focus on composition instead of worrying about tricking your image out to the max later on.
I first got into photography right around the time when digital cameras were becoming a consumer item in the late 90′s, though I never owned a digital until 06 and it was a cheapomatic. Still, to this day I miss all the fun I used to have with my manual film camera, and in some ways I wish it were logistically feasible to just go back to shooting with my much beloved Pentax K-1000. But still, stuff like editing software is cool too and I lightly adjusted these photos a bit while in a couple of cases whacked them with a single image HDR script, and a Toy blur effect. All in GIMP, which is pretty much my favorite photo editing application since I never bothered to learn Photoshop. And plus, just on principal I’m against anyone charging that goddam much for a piece of software; when there’s free and open source alternatives that can do 90 percent of what it does-and 100 percent of what I’d be using it for anyway. Seriously, fuck Adobe. Oh, wait, they hold the monopoly on flash players and the open source Gnash flash application isn’t that great yet. So I had better watch what I say. Adobe roolz. Whatever you do go and pay 800+ bux for photoshop and stop pirating copies off of TPB for fux sake.
That said, well the original point there at least, about editing-photographers have been editing their photos post-shoot for pretty much as long as there has been photography. I remember when I discovered solarization and the Sabattier effect and sought out (fruitlessly unfortunately) someone with the right alchemical knowledge to go along with their D.I.Y. darkroom to perform such magic on my photos back in the day. Nowadays it’s just a slider and click away. But the fact is, image composition has existed for millenia prior to photography, and it’s roots in nature are as old as time itself. I’m in no way saying this to infer that I know fuck-all about composition. I don’t really, there’s people who go to school for that shit and I’m just a hack trying to follow the rule of thirds and whatever “golden ratio” I can squeeze out of the viewfinder into my picatures. Which, really, aren’t much more than snapshots posted by some dude who works in a kitchen for a living in NE Pennsylvania. I’m just a big fan of images that convey a sense of tension. And I try, in my own stunted way to model those compositional elements in my own stupid photos. But I’m just saying. In an age of iphoneography and oversaturation of modded out images that may or may not be evocative to begin with…it’s important to remember that it is possible to make shit look neato, or as the kiddies nowadays say “epic”, using quaint little things like an eye for composition and lighting. It don’t cost nothing, and you won’t find it at an app store. Then you can go and mangle up your image however you want in an editor and it’ll still look pretty fucking cool, or cooler if you know your shit with your editing software. And believe me, there are some amazing people who do incredible editing work-but the core photo they’re working off of is always quality to begin with.
Just please, puhleeeezzze, stop trying to make those pictures of your shoes or you and your bestie look like they were taken in 1978. It’s only allowed if you’re actually shooting to film using an actual old Holga or Lomo. If you do it again with your iphone I will come break it and take pictures of you crying..
Anyway, enough with the yapping. I hope I didn’t build up to a major anticlimactic ending with these photos because they’re not all that great. But, you know, it’s my fucken blog and I’ll post them anyway.