Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lydia's Photos Make It Into Another Gallery Show!

I'm soooo excited...I just found out that my photos made it into another gallery show! This month has been tremendously exciting!!!!!! I submitted three images to the NIGHT OF THE WITCHES group show at SHOTGUN SPACE. Each photographer was allowed to send in three images with a Halloween or Autumn theme. From all the submissions, 100 images were chosen to be printed and put into monster grids to be plastered on the walls of Shotgun Space for the October 31 exhibition. The prints will be sold in unlimited Ultrachrome editions of either 8 x 10 inches (for $25) or 13 x 19 inches (for $50). My fellow
PHOTOGRAPHY NOW group galley show cohorts Aline Smithson and Liz Kuball also made it into the show!

These are the images I submitted - I don't know if just one or possibly all made it into the show.

"Marcus Halloween" (Polaroid Spectra montage of my Mom, Dad, Me and Roxy taken approximately 5 or 6 years ago on Halloween).

"Carrie Redux" (Nikon D50 digital image shot last year at a Halloween party)

"Fall Daze" (montage of fall leaves shot with a Leica Mini Zoom on Kodak Ultra Color 400 film)

Here's info about the party and gallery show. Hope you can make it there. I was planning to go to the traditional WEHO Halloween Carnival but there's no way I'm doing that now that I got into the show! :-)

What: Night of the Witches Group Show and Halloween Party
Who: You! And your friends!
When: Halloween, 8 to 11 p.m.
Where: Shotgun Space, 2121 San Fernando Rd., Suite 11, Los Angeles
Why: To show great art, put on a great party, and provide archival-quality prints at an affordable price to the L.A. community.

Monday, October 29, 2007


On Friday night I went with my friend Stefani to the Getty Center's "Fridays Off The 405" event. The entire museum was open til 9pm and there was live music. The evening definitely attracted a well dressed, young, hip crowd. Even if I don't walk into a single gallery, I love visiting the Getty Center. The architecture, the grounds, the gardens, and the views (on a clear day you can see Downtown L.A., the beach, and the city). Getting to go there as the light changes from daylight to twilight to evening is even more special. My main reason for going was to take in the Edward Weston photography exhibit. The Getty ALWAYS puts on phenomenal photography exhibits. In the case of the Weston exhibit, not only are they showing Weston's work but they also have a few of his contemporaries (Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Tina Modotti) photos up as well so you can compare his work in context with others of his era. I especially loved a portrait Weston did of Lois Kellogg - a wealthy socialite who had an affair with both Weston and his female secretary/model. Next door to the Weston exhibit is "In Focus: The Nude" and they actually have up the famous Man Ray photo of the woman who's back is adorned to look like a violin. It was pretty cool to actually see that famous image in person. I also loved Imogen Cunningham's "Triangles" (seen here). They even have a photo taken by Edgar Degas that shows one of the models for his famous "After The Bath" painting. I wasn't necessarily looking forward to the Luc Delahaye exhibit entitled "Recent History," but was really blown away by the images that are the largest photographs that I have ever seen. According to the Getty website, "this series of large-scale photographs features significant recent events ranging from political demonstrations to natural disasters and evidence of war and genocides. While these subjects are known through the media, Delahaye's images propose a different view of them." And boy is that description right, even though the subject matter is mostly grim or political (just check out the titles: "A Rally of the Opposition Candidate Alexander Milinkevich" or "Aftermath in Meulaboh") - through sheer size, composition, and color - Delahaye pulled me in again and again. In contrast to the Weston images that are quite small - where you have to walk up real close to take in the details - the Delahaye images keep you at a distance. Walking up close to them is pointless. More from the Getty website, "By positioning himself at eye level or above, Delahaye engages viewers as direct observers. His images appear to be momentarily halted theatrical performances that are open to our participation. Their dramatic scale emphasizes the fullness and complexity of the events depicted and also gives us the opportunity to examine their details." What's so fascinating is that if these same images were in "Time Magazine," I probably would have passed through them quickly, but their giant scale in context of the gallery setting really gives you an opportunity to take in their beauty and drama. And unlike the images we're used to seeing in "Time," Delahaye's feel really fresh. Some photos are as large as 8 to 10 feet wide! For anyone that thinks that photography is a lesser medium than painting, go check out Delahaye's work. This image called "132nd Ordinary Meeting of the Conference" was my favorite. I'm even sorry to post this photo here because you just cannot get the impact from a teeny, tiny photo on the web. Really just go see it live. As per usual, I took lots of photos around the Getty. Although I wouldn't say I'm blown away by any of these shots (I have better ones from other days), I'm still going to post them for your enjoyment. I think my garden shots look pretty good, but the actual architecture ones looked better on my D40 screen then blown up on the computer. While the Getty always looks amazing, there's just certain days when the sky is a certain shade of blue or the clouds are perfect or the shadows are intense or you just capture a moment that is perfect. This wasn't one of those days, but even on a average day, the Getty still looks beautiful.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


My friend Lawrence talked me into trying out as a game show contestant on LINGO, hosted by Chuck Woolery on the Game Show Network. I'd never even seen the show before we tried out, but we made it through the casting and got onto the show. If you watch the episode it looks like we're having a ball but honestly the entire experience was miserable and stressful and we lost. We were at the studio for about six hours, the only food on hand was crap candy and chips that I avoided eating because I like to eat healthy and I didn't want a sugar crash not knowing when we'd actually be going on air. Once the taping began, the producers kept commanding me to talk louder (quite a shock since I feel like I usually have the most booming voice in any group) and directed me that I should actually shout across the stage as though the mics were very far from me. And at every break they kept telling me to amp up my enthusiasm and presence because I guess I wasn't being dramatic and exuberant enough for the LINGO audience watching at home. Then once we were done, we found out that our "parting gifts" were crummy LINGO t-shirts that were too big for either of us to wear! When we left the taping, I was starving and had a killer migraine from not eating for hours. And then to top it all off, the production company didn't even notify us when our episode aired!!! Luckily a friend of Lawrence's just caught the East Coast feed of the rerun and informed us in time so I could DVR it. The only cool part was Chuck Woolery was really nice and laid back. Screw LINGO, the only game show I really want to be on is the $25,000 Pyramid if only they'd just bring the show out of mothballs. But if they do, I hope they don't prop up Dick Clark to host! Here's a clip of us chatting with Chuck and trying to figure out one of the word puzzles.

Friday, October 26, 2007

He's A Real Doll

I recently used my old Six Million Dollar Man doll for a lighting exercise and I absolutely love the shots I got. Who knew that old Steve Austin (aka Lee Majors) was so versatile! And he was a really great model - he never complained, never needed a makeup touchup or even a bathroom break. Gosh I love shooting objects vs people. Now I just have to find a Jamie Summers doll (the old school Lindsey Wagner one with the blue jumpsuit) on ebay or something and then I can really have some fun. When I played with Steve as a kid he was very popular with all my Barbies - for awhile he was the only guy in town 'til I got a Sport and Shave Ken doll (the one with the unruly 70's mop of wavy brown hair). But that didn't stop Steve from going on drives with Barbie in her Dune Buggy, having late night visits at her tri-level Townhouse, taking vacation jaunts with her on the United Friend Ship, or even having sleepovers in her pop up trailer or Country Camper RV. Ah the 70's. I want to make greeting cards or stickers or iron transfers or something really cool with these Bionic shots. Here's one mockup I did tonight.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CUSTOMER "SERVICE" aka "Who's On First?"

I bought my Sony HC1 HDV
video camera from the Sony Outlet Store in Camarillo this past summer. They have really good deals on Refurbished, Open Boxed, and older models. Looking to add a wide angle lens attachment to my camera, I called them on Wednesday. Here is a pretty close version of the actual "Who's On First" type exchange between me and the salesgirl.

"Me: Hi, I wanted to see if you had the wide angle lens attachment for my Sony video camera.

Salesgirl: Okay. We sell wide angle lenses but we don't sell any attachments for them.

Me: No the wide angle lens is an attachment.

Salesgirl (reiterating and sounding annoyed): We sell wide angle lenses but we don't sell any attachments.

Me: You don't understand, the wide angle lens is THE attachment. You attach it to your lens and you get a wider angle of view.

Salesgirl (snapping and even more annoyed): Give me the model number and I'll see if we have it in stock.

Me: VCLHG0737X or VCLHG0737Y.

Salesgirl: Yes we have three in stock.

Me: How much are they?

Salesgirl: We cannot quote prices over the phone.

Me (thinking back to last time I was in the store looking at the VCLHG0737Y and remembering it was somewhere around $75 bucks): It is $75?

Salesgirl: It's less than that.

Me (thinking, "hmmm does that mean it's $74.99?"): Okay, thanks. Since you have three in stock I won't have you hold it. Bye."

In the Sony Store's defense, I have encountered several employees there who are young but actually very friendly and knowledgeable. But isn't it FUN when you're dealing with salespeople these days and they just repeat the "mantra" they've been training with and don't actually use any common sense.

D40 Rocks!

I bought my first digital SLR, a Nikon D50, two years ago. A year later I sold it to purchase a higher level Nikon SLR, the D80, that offered more manual controls (like individual f-stop and shutter speed thumbwheels instead of sharing one - something that allows me to shoot a lot faster and more intuitively), a larger screen (ALWAYS a plus), more individual focusing points (which give you a LOT more control), and more megapixels (jumping from 6 to 10 - but actually this wasn't a selling point for me because I'm fine shooting at the 6 megapixel setting). So when the cheapie, low end Nikon D40 was released this year, I didn't really give it a second look. Why would I be interested in a camera that was a dumbed down D50, when I'd already sold that camera off?! It wasn't until I read an article by Ken Rockwell that I decided I just HAD to get a D40. Since I've gone back to SLR shooting after putting my Canon AE-1 Program away in the mid 90's, I've learned so much from reading Ken's website. His articles have really influenced my buying decisions and how I look at gear. Even though Ken shoots with some really expensive, high end cameras like the Nikon D200 and Canon 5D, he kept writing again and again how he would always grab his lightweight, small D40 to shoot. And he kept posting photos taken with the D40 and they looked amazing. So I picked up a barely used D40 with the 18-55 kit lens on Nikonians "I Want To Sell" forum and I'm sure glad I did. My intent was to use it as a second camera body so I could have one lens on my D80 and another on my D40 and not have to keep switching. A perfect example is when I shoot signs - for a wide shot I'll have my Sigma 10-20 on the D40 and for the close-ups of say individual letters, I'll have my 18-200 or another lens with a more telephoto range. But actually what I'm finding since I bought the D40 is that it's the first camera I grab when I want to go to parties (I can stick it in my purse and not mind the weight at all), or when I'm going to be walking or hiking somewhere because it doesn't weigh me down at all or hurt my back to carry it for hours. It's REALLY light and I'm not kidding. Before I would have probably grabbed my Nikon Coolpix S2 - this little point and shoot camera - but for just a little extra weight I get MUCH better pictures and total manual control. Also thanks to Ken Rockwell's recommendation, I picked up the tiny SB-400 Nikon Speedlight (i.e. flash) that was designed for the camera. I bought it used on Nikonians for $95 but new it's only a little bit more. What's so great about the flash is that it really offers so much more lighting control without adding any significant bulk or weight to the camera. AND it allows you to shoot extremely wide (even using my Sigma 10-20) and NOT get the shadow of the lens in the shot. The only downsides to the D40 are that it only has three focusing points (something I can live with, but many I do miss all the focusing control I have with the D80), and that lenses that don't have internal focusing motors (like my awesome 50mm/f1.8) can only be manually focused. But the battery lasts a HELLAVA lot longer than my D80 - I can shoot for days without charging. In fact the first day I had the camera I accidentally left it on OVERNIGHT and I STILL was able to shoot for a couple hours with it the next day. Pretty amazing! The D40 is a great way to get into SLR shooting without spending a ton of money (right now I think you can find them new or used from $400-500 INCLUDING the lens). If you want to get more megapixels (10 instead of 6, and more frames per second ability), there is a slightly more expensive model called the Nikon D40x. I shoot mostly manually (or at the very least on Aperture Priority) mode on my D40, but seriously, even if you've never used an SLR before and have no idea what "metering" means, you can pick up the D40, use it on full AUTO mode, and get great photos. Go buy one!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reflections On Opening Night

After going to the Julia Dean Gallery the past two years and always looking up at the photos on the wall and hoping and dreaming that, "one day one of my photos will be up there," it finally happened.

Julia Dean Gallery - Photography Now Opening Night

Julia Dean and Me

My fantastic teacher/mentor/friend Aline Smithson and Me

Photography Now Group

Ray, Lydia, Aline, Derek

Sharp, Me, Sonya, Mike

Sharp Squared

Me, Jim, Nancy, Dad

Dad and Me

Me and my photos

S and L

Daniel, JR, Sonya, Mike, Lydia, Sharp

Me, Lawrence, Dan

Me and Uncle Myles

Me and Charlotte

Charlotte and Sharp

Kim, Cheryl, Susan, Sharp, Lydia

Dee, Lennard, Lydia

The show opening was hectic and lots of fun and I'm so glad that I had a video camera running the entire evening so I can take it all in again. I'll post a quicktime soon of 3 hours cut down to like a minute or so. Thanks so all my family, friends, associates, etc who came to support me and check out the show. If I had to do it all over again, I would have mic'd the area near my photos so I could have listened to all the chatter later - good, bad, indifferent, whatever. I put the video camera in my corner for a little while and captured some really interesting comments so I would have loved to have heard more. The thing that suprised me most about the reaction to my photos is that women seemed to like and respond to my distressed cars the most - and I NEVER would have guessed that in a million years. In fact the one photo I thought people in general would have the most difficulties with - a VERY distressed Ford Econoline van - turned out to be the one that people seemed to like best. So you never know. The show is up til Nov. 30 (what would have been my Mom's 76th birthday), so check it out if you can.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Malibu Fires + Sun = Fantastic Beach Photos

As everyone knows, fires are ablazing all over So Cal. As horrible as the fires are, they do one good thing - they make the atmosphere have this unbelievable warm orange glow all around Los Angeles, and taking photos at the beach has been a treat thanks especially to the fires raging in Malibu. The fires also bring out more red and purple tones in the clouds. I took all these photos on Sunday in Venice and Tues in Santa Monica.

Venice Beach, Sunday Oct 21, 2007 (Nikon D80 with Nikon 17-55 f/2.8)

Santa Monica Beach and Pier, Tuesday Oct 23, 2007 (Nikon D40 with Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ED II)

For the first time in my life I actually walked under the Santa Monica Pier and I was struck by how beautiful it was under there! It was a strange mix of total calm mixed with the occassional rush of surf. The grey/brown tones of the wood were occasionally broken up by a glint of golden sunlight pouring thru. And there are these two orange boats under there adding an interesting spash of color.

As it got darker, I headed over to eat at Coast (formerly Pedals) at Shutters on the Beach for a quick dinner before heading over to UCLA for my Advanced Lighting Class with George Simian. I handed off my camera to the waitress and set it to use a little fill flash so you could actually see both me and the sunset. As it got later and later, the pier lights and some beach lights came on giving the beach an interesting glow of green and neon.