Thursday, December 29, 2011


"September 2, 1880" (Polaroid Spectra, IP PZ 600 Silver Shade - Cincinnati, Ohio, May 2011)
"Stadium" (Polaroid Spectra, IP PZ 600 Silver Shade - Cincinnati, Ohio, May 2011)
Some shots taken early last year at the Cincinnati Reds ballpark. K and I took in a game after she had run the Flying Pig Marathon. Shots are taken with a Polaroid Spectra camera, using the then-current iteration of Impossible Project's Silver Shade Film. It was a hot and humid day, and the IP film was having trouble with the heat, creating the washed out, yellow tones. You can get some interesting effects with this film, but it was and remains a very unpredictable and inconsistent medium.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Even though I started this ride as a country boy in Toughskins, at this point I'm a confirmed city boy, through and through.

Still, there is something that draws me about the rural Midwest landscape. There is a beautiful longing and loneliness in these spaces.

"Strata" (Canon 40D, EF 70-200mm f/4L @ 400 ISO, Wisconsin, November 2010)

Homestead (Canon 40D, EF 70-200mm f/4L @ 400 ISO, Wisconsin, November 2010)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Silent Night

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes to all.
May you be well, safe, warm and sound. And may you and yours always find your ways home.

"Sentinel" (Canon 40D, EF 70-200mm f/4L @ 800 ISO, Wisconsin, November 2010)

Friday, August 19, 2011

OOFF - Experimenting With Abstracts

Memory of Twighlight, Chicago IL
(Mamiya RB67Pro, 90mm f3.8, expired Polaroid 669 film, Epson V600)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Learning To Play With New Toys

A few of the first shots from my "new" Mamiya RB67 Pro.  The Holga is a total medium format gateway drug of a camera.  It's is very fun and gets you to appreciate the possibilities of the larger negatives, but it is not exactly a precision instrument.  I was looking for something that would give me better control and the RB67s have a good rep and are going for a song on the used market.  I picked up a body and standard lens on eBay and a couple more lenses from  The Mamiya is a complete monster, it's got to weight at least 10 pounds, and is built like a tank - not exactly a street shooter - but so far has been living up to its hype.  Shooting with it is a lot more involved than with your standard 35mm slr, but I can't argue with the end results - big, gorgeous negatives.  What's not to like?

Garlic Scapes, June 2011, Chicago IL
(Mamiya RB67Pro, 90mm f3.8, Fomopan 400, developed by, scanned self w/Epson V600)
The photos were taken in my apartment's backyard, over the fence into our neighbor's garden.  The back yards of the neighbors on either side of our place put our backyard to shame.  On one side, we have a landscape artist whose place could be featured in a magazine.  On the other side we have an older Cuban gentleman, who has cultivated about a third of his yard into a lush garden.  He is getting on in years, but you will still see him most afternoons puttering around with his wide, floppy straw hat, his cigar, and his khaki shorts.  (We should all only hope to be so cool in our old age.)

Saturday, August 6, 2011


A couple of my youngest brother's spawn, including my most recent nephew.  He was supremely unimpressed with his uncle, as you can see.

Chill'n at Grandma's House (Panasonic GF-1, 20mm f1.7 @ 400 ISO)
Cute kids, bro.  Good for you they take after their mom. ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fly Me Home

Lake Union, Seattle, Washington (mid-2002)
(not sure of the camera or lens used here, probably shot on some crappy supermarket Fuji Superia 200)
In a (probably fruitless) effort to actually get my photographs organized, I've been going back through my image archives and doing some long-overdue editing. (Read, killing of my babies, my babies I tell ya!!) Actually exercising the delete key has been depressingly easy.  Why did I keep taking pictures when I clearly sucked so badly at being a photographer?  Pure stubborn contrariness would appear to be the only credible answer.

Anyway, as I have been sorting through there have been a few images that still make me smile. Not always the best technical images, either.  Case and point is the photo above - the grain is ugly, the composition questionable and the lens flare unintentional.  Still, the light and the mood of the image for me really strongly evokes Seattle and makes me homesick and nostalgic.

Might be more of these oldies to come.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Holga 120N, Kodak T-Max 400
(processing by; scanned with Epson V600)

An early spring shot from my neighbor's garden.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


A little experiment with the Holga and multiple exposures.
Holga 120N, Kodak T-Max 400
(processing by; scanned with Epson V600)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"12" (Panasonic GF1, 20mm f1.7 @ 400 ISO)
At the SeaTac airport, waiting for my flight back to Chicago after spending the weekend hanging out with the family at my parents' house in Olympia, Washington.  Found this and a few similar examples on a early morning trek around the nearby fire roads.  This seems to be the result of either: 1) an artistic and bored lumber worker, or 2) a really out-of-the-box thinking tagger.  Ran across several of these stylized numbers painted onto stumps on my morning photo safari.  No repeat of the numbers and they did not appear to be sequential, at least as far as I could tell.  Maybe an art project from the local college?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ride Report: 2011 MS Tour de Farms

Day 1, Rest Stop #3 (came back through twice more - once for the 100-mile loop, once for the 125-mile loop)
Panasonic Lumix GF1 20mm f1.7 (all other photos taken with iPhone 3Gs)
The weekend before last I participated in the Multiple Sclerosis Society's "MS Tour de Farms" bicycle charity ride.  It is a two-day ride that is held annually in DeKalb, Illinois, which is about 70 miles west of Chicago.  This was the first year that I did the MS ride, but it probably won't be the last.  Near perfect weather was just the cherry on top of a really fun, well-supported event.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coit Tower

Coit Tower, San Francisco - Holga 120N Portra 400VC, color conversion via PS CS3
This is another Holga image from the trip K and I took to San Francisco last November.  The original of this is a color image.  The color image is fine, but the color distracts from what I think are the cool elements of this shot - the textures and patterns of the tower and sky, along with the compositional framing coming from the tower base and the tufts of trees visible to either side.

In color, the shot is okay, but a little flat.  In black and white, I think it really comes into its own. Here is one of those situations where the digital darkroom kicks the wet darkroom's ass without even trying that hard.  Once scanned, I can take the color image of this shot into Photoshop and not only convert the image to black and white, but do it in a way that allows me to simulate the effect that would have been achieved by taking the shot on black and white film with color filters.  For example, in this case, I dropped the reds out of the image before conversion, which gives an effect similar to having shot the image with a red filter - darkens the sky, emphasizing the clouds.

Black and white films provide a feel to the image that can't quite be matched by the effect of a color conversion (black and white film has a very broad tonal range, for example - broader than color film and much broader than you will get with a digital camera).  I like shooting black and white directly, but when shooting color its nice to know there is the option of producing the end image as black and white.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Rudder on a walk, Panasonic Lumix GF1, 20mm f1.7
That would be me, for posting pet pictures.  But come on!  The dog's adorable.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Simplify, simplify, simplify . . .

Chicago Board of Trade Building (aka "Wayne Tower")
Agfa B-2 Cadet Box Camera, Kodak 120mm Tri-X 400
Developing and lo-res scan by
I picked up an old box camera awhile back on eBay.  It cost me less than $20.00, including shipping, and was in great shape, especially for something that is probably better than 70 years old and is basically just a cardboard box wrapped in thin leather.  I had seen some really interesting shots in the Box Camera Revolution Flickr group, and wanted another "toy" camera to go along with my Holga.

This is a shot from the first roll I put through the camera.  I haven't shot anything else with it yet, because I wanted to see what came back.  The image above is just a lo-res scan emailed to me from the service that I send out for developing (the negatives will be coming shortly by mail).  This is just the straight lo-res scan file. I didn't even correct the horizon tilt, which is probably going to be an ongoing problem with this camera since you frame the shot by looking down through a little offset mirror.

The light leaks are from the film roll not rolling up tight on the uptake spool (known as a "fat roll"), which allows light to get in from the side when taking it out of the camera.  I will have to see if I can increase the tension on the spools a little more to try and cure this.  It looks like almost all of the shots came out a bit underexposed as well.  Other than choosing a higher speed of film, there is not way to adjust exposure values on the camera.  It was designed to take pictures outside in bright sunlight on the slower films available at the time.  I used 400 speed film, but it was a grey, overcast day, and I took these near sundown as you can see from the streetlights being on.

I am looking forward to getting a look at the actual negatives from this roll.  Now that I know that the camera is functioning properly, I can take it out with some more film and do some more experimenting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Holga Crane

Holga 120N, Kodak Portra 400VC

I think I am getting the new scanner that I got for Christmas figured out.  This is a new scan of a Holga 120mm film shot that I took at my in-laws' awesome backyard last November.  Scanned with an Epson v600 and using my new custom film holder from

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicago Photography Assignments

I am starting to get back into the regular shooting swing, and I have a couple of "new" cameras to try out, including a neat Holga wide-angle pinhole that I received as a Christmas present and just haven't had the time to really learn how to use yet.

In addition, I find myself getting bored with the same old, same old places and things to shoot.  In an attempt to break out of my location rut, I sat down and brainstormed a handful of photography "assignments" for myself.  I'm hoping to check these off as the summer goes by, and hoping that by posting them here, I will be more inclined to actually follow through.  In no particular order:

Location/Subject Assignments:
  • Meadow Lake Wind Farm (Northern Indiana) - this is a huge (crosses three counties) wind farm in the northern part of Indiana.  K and I first saw this when we drove to Cincinnati earlier this year for K's spring marathon.  I took a few crappy pictures from the freeway rest stop, but they were nothing worth posting.  Would love to take a half-day to roam around some of the back-road highways to get some more interesting images.
  •  Chicago Botanic Garden (North Chicago) - this is often the turnaround point on my "go to" weekend bicycle ride, but I have never actually gone through the gardens as the bike route basically cuts through the back service access road.  Kind of cliche - oooh, pretty flowers (yawn) - but the landscaping of the gardens is actually very cool and this might be a good place to really put my "new" monster medium format camera (a used Mamiya RB67 Pro) though its paces.
  • Still Life/"Studio" - I want to try out some basic studio lighting techniques, and since the dog is wiggly, the cats uncooperative and K only allows herself to be photographed under duress, I figure I will adopt the time-honored tradition of all budding photographic geniuses: hang a sheet, stick some flowers in pot and snap away.  This also provides an excuse to visit a weekend farmer's market for "subjects."  Hmmm, still life with cupcakes . . . 
  • Architecture Tour - when K and I first visited Chicago, we took the Official Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.  It was October, and really cold, but some of the pictures that I took on the tour I still think of as some of my best Chicago architecture shots, and one hangs in my office and continues to get a ton of compliments.  The perspective you get on the buildings is awesome, and you just can't recreate it from the shore.
  • Night Shoot - I have been scoping out a few locations to try and do another night photography session.  I went out recently and took some hand-held night shots at a local carnival, but before that it has been over a year since I specifically shot at night.  That time was on the Lakefront for some fairly typical city skyline shots.  Now I have a few more interesting subjects in mind (hopefully) and just need to find the time.  This is another thing that I used to love to do, but have not done nearly as much of since I switched over to primarily digital.  I think that part of it is that I have just not been very happy with the results I'm getting from digital.  I want to go back and try again with some film (and my new medium format toys).
  • Street/PJ - one of my favorite things to do when I first started getting serious taking pictures was just wander around downtown Seattle and shoot the people and events of everyday urban street life.  Some of my favorite photographers specialized in street photography, and I still find myself walking around going - that would be a cool shot.  The problem is I'm only thinking about shooting and not actually shooting.  Why?  Well, usually when I'm downtown and out of the office, I'm on my way to court and in a suit.  Somehow, while no one looks twice at a 20-something guy in jeans and a t-shirt snapping away with a camera on the street, the same is really not true for a 40ish guy in a suit.  Prescription, bring a change of clothes for after work photography or just set some time aside on a weekend to head downtown or to one of the local festivals.
Process Assignments:
  • Shoot More Film! (especially medium format and 35mm slide for cross-processing) - I've still got a bunch of old, expired film stock, as well as some tasty new 35mm and 120mm rolls that are just languishing away in the bottom of the freezer.  Also, I think I found a good source for relatively cheap 120mm processing.  Time to start whittling down the supply.
  • Home Develop My Black & White - cheaper and faster than farming it out.  Besides, me and the dog need something to do while K goes running on Saturday mornings.
  • Open An Etsy Shop To Sell Prints - I have no allusions to ever making a living off of photography, but perhaps if I could just subsidize the habit a little bit my credit card bills would  be a lot less horrifying.
So that's the wish list.  Let's see how many I can get checked off before Labor Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Science of Chocolate - The Hipster(matic) Edition

This was a really fun event that K and I went to put on by the Illinois Science Council. One of the development scientists from the Blommer Chocolate factory here in Chicago (I bike by this on my commute almost every day) gave a presentation on The Science of Chocolate.

It was great, even though it felt a little like high school chem lab all over again. We got to do a few "experiments" and even a chance to make our own chocolate (moral, best leave the chocolate making to the professionals). And, of course we got to eat a lot of chocolate.  This really made me want to take the factory tour.  Lots of nerdy enjoyment (and a location that also provided for beer), what's not to like?






Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Science of Chocolate - IL Science Council Event

It's science! Tasty, tasty science.

Some Hipstamatic shots from the event to come soon.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Polaroid Digital Conversions And Thoughts On Digital Editing

One of the things that I love about film is that by picking the right type of film, camera and processing you can get results "right out of the camera" that would take a lot of work to recreate in Photoshop. However, this feature of film gets a little fetishized on a lot of the analog photo blogs that I follow. For some, "straight scans" are the holy grail, including some where only unadjusted scans of wet-printed photographs are legit, and everything else is somehow "cheating."

My view is a lot more flexible. Even my "straight" scans usually include adjustments for color, contrast and some sharpening to adjust for the the loss of sharpness you get when you scan any image. I also like playing with my images, sometimes engaging in some heavy (perhaps even heavy-handed) digital processing. Really nothing I do isn't something that someone highly proficient in a wet darkroom couldn't reproduce, but since I have no desire to become a wet-darkroom guru (and certainly no time), I'll stick with my digital toys.

Below are a couple examples of some heavy-editing experiments that I did awhile back, using scans of some paper Polaroid 100 packfilm shots, which I had scanned with my regular flatbed scanner. K hates them, but I like the effect. I wouldn't want to use the effect on every photo I took, but I think it works for these.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Zipper

The Zipper: Memorial Day Neighborhood Carnival (Canon 40d, 17-40mm f4.0, handheld)
This was my favorite Carnival ride when I was a kid.  It's just such a gloriously evil, nausea-inducing blast.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Life Cycle Of A Photographer

This is pretty great.  I am somewhere past "The HDR hole," but I keep falling back into the "Dammit, I suck" valley.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cool Bicycle-Related Animation

The Cyclotrope from tim Wheatley on Vimeo.

Obviously, this space has been very quiet in the past few months.  Work has been crazy, I've been doing very little photography-wise and I've only recently gotten back to bicycling to work regularly after the bout of deep-winter snowstorms.  (Aside: "thundersnow" is some crazy s%#t!)  Saw this though, and had to pass it along.  Really fun and impressive.

Hope to get back to the blog soon, but I make no promises.  Mostly what I've been wanting to do lately is just curl up with a good book or play with the dog.  I love Chicago, but the winters out here can get pretty tedious.  We are up into the 60s today, though, so hopefully real Spring is right around the corner.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Holga

Here are a few photos of the Chicago skyline and waterfront.  These are also from the first roll that I shot with the camera.  I think I'm hooked!