Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My roommate recently bought a used car, but he wanted to get a few parts for it. He decided to take a trip to the junkyard, and I tagged along just to take a few pictures. It was kind of interesting just looking at all of the old cars, trying to picture what had happened.


Some cars looked like they had collided with a telephone pole, with the front part of the car completely twisted and deformed. Others looked like someone had died in them (okay, so some of the deployed airbags could have come from people hacking at the dashboard, stripping it for parts---it was still eerie though). One car looked like it had bullet holes through the windshield.

Rows of Junk

I just thought it was interesting, since it was only the second junkyard I've ever been to. This one was organized into rows, and you could look up on their online database which car model you're looking for. The only other junkyard I've been to was back in Georgia, and there was no organization whatsoever. That junkyard only had dirt roads that always seemed muddy, and cars were stacked one on top of the other and off to the side---anywhere there was room, really. And the "database" was the owner, who just knew which cars were on his lot, and he had a pretty good idea of what parts were still available. If you called on a slow day, he'd even strip out the parts you needed for the chance of earning a tip.

Finding the right piece

And my roommate decided to dress like a hobo for the occasion, which meant wearing 3D glasses just for the heck of it.

I just found the junkyard to be both unsettling and fascinating. It was interesting to see people finding a mini treasure trove of parts that they needed, but on another level, it almost feels like legalized grave robbing (not that I would know what grave robbing feels like...although we did stumble upon an old slave graveyard out in the woods in Georgia. One of the graves was open, and we could see a skeleton inside. We kept daring each other to climb in--nobody did, but it still makes for a random icebreaker in a conversation to throw that out there).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lighting Class

So I just got back from a creative lighting workshop at Pictureline, and it was a blast. The workshop was led by Paul Van Allen, a Nikon rep who travels the country, teaching people how to use their Nikon gear. I was never a fan of flash photography, simply because I always felt that it was too harsh, washing out details and looking unnatural--well after tonight, I have completely changed my mind. Paul taught us how to set our cameras to trigger wireless flashes, and then we actually got hands on experience going to different stations. Each of the pictures below were ones that I took, but they are all based on lighting set-ups and compositions that Paul has displayed on his flickr account. The only exception was the water drop--that was taken with a camera that was already set up on a tripod (I believe that camera was a D300s), and I just had to put my memory card in. I still had to time the picture just right though. Anyway, here are the pictures--

The paint brush was clamped to a wooden dowel, with a bucket of lime green paint underneath. Right before taking the picture, you simply lift the bucket up to the brush to get the angle, and then time the shot to get a nice drip. I missed getting a drop of paint suspended in the air, but I still thought it was pretty cool.


Everyone was trying to get a perfectly suspended drop of water, but the line at this station was starting to get backed up. So I settled for this shot instead--I kind of like how the water is glassy smooth instead of rippling the way you normally see with shots of water droplets.

We all loved this station. And once you know how to do it, all sorts of possibilities just start to open up--I'm going to have a lot of fun with this stuff...