Meetup: Jul 30 • 1 – 4PM • Smiley’s Public House

Posted by on July 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm.

Whether you’re a registered marathoner for this year’s cycle, a past marathoner, on the waitlist, interested in film photography, curious about 12×12, or just tagging along with a friend, come and join the fun!

Wouldn’t it be great to meet some of the marathoners that you’ll be running next to at the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon before the actual event on August 6th? To share tips, get advice from those who’ve done it before, size up one another? ;o) Well, we thought so! Exactly one week before this year’s cycle, we’re all going to gather at Smiley’s Public House, a stone’s throw from the Burrard Skytrain Station.

RSVP and we’ll have a name tag ready for you. See you all THIS Saturday!

Six by Syx: Tip #4 Exposure Compensation, Fill Flash & ND Filters

Posted by on July 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm.

To help prepare you for the marathon, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor and 2011 12×12 judge Syx Langemann offers up a 6-part series of tips and tricks to get you through Saturday August 6th.

Coming to a ‘correct’ exposure may not always be easy. However, if you follow last week’s tip, then you should at least end up with a photo. It may not be the prettiest photo you’ve ever created, but it’ll be something.

Creating a final photograph that is similar to what you envision in your mind’s eye is dependent on your exposure values. Finalizing these values requires an understanding of how these numbers effect your exposure, as well as how they affect the artistic properties of the photo.

In fact, we need to know them well enough to bully and push them around to get what we want via the exposure compensation button, and if that falls short, we may need a little extra help.

4. EXPOSURE COMPENSATION, FILL FLASH AND NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS

Film has a bit more latitude than our digital sensors. Therefore, having an exposure that is slightly on the ‘+’ side of ‘0’ or neutral isn’t bad. It essentially burns more information into the film. Some cameras may have an EXPOSURE COMPENSATION button, some don’t. If a button does exists, then you are able to lock in + or – values that apply to your meter and affect the exposure level of your photograph. Riding the line and/or slightly pushing your exposure can yield some great detail in your prints.

No matter how much exposure compensation or corrections we try to make in the camera, we cannot fix for the contrast in a scene without help from some form of bounce or an artificial light source. Essentially we need to fill in some of the shadows to reduce the contrast of the scene. This is known as FILL FLASH. Due to the great number of different camera types and flash types that are being used during this marathon, it is difficult to address any one specific system. However, the concept is the same from point-and-shoot to SLR. If the flash is attached to the camera and as long as it reads TTL -Through The Lens (thyristor flashes will also work), then the flash will emit only the intensity of light that the camera is asking for. Basically a TTL flash will output power based upon the camera Aperture setting. So popping my flash up will give me less contrast by filling in the darker area of the exposure. For more advanced flashes and cameras, you may also have a Flash Compensation Button that will decrease the flash by a few stops in order to leave some of the character of the shadow in the photograph.

If we decide to use flashes then we’ll have to understand a little about sync speeds. Sync speeds refer to the maximum shutter speed that you can use your camera when also using a flash. Most cameras drop the shutter speed to 1/200th of a second or so. Some sync at 1/60th of a second. These sync speeds are going to be a limiting factor when calculating exposure while using a flash. If you make the decision to use a flash to fill in the shadows of a scene, you need to be aware that the shift of your shutter speed may cause gross over-exposure. With the shutter speed slowing to allow for the flash to occur, the ambient light – bright sunlight, burns out the photograph.

A higher aperture would need to be used to balance this movement out, which then calls into question the power of your flash and the distance of your subject. Basically, things get quite a bit more difficult throwing your flash up on bright sunny days if you want to use lower aperture values or your subject is too far away.

This brings us to the last part of this tip which is NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS. These are filters that can be purchased to ‘subtract’ the amount of light entering the camera. The filters can be purchased in different increments from -1 stop to -10 stops. The use of these can help you control the bright sun coming into your camera, which in turn can offer you wider apertures for shallower DOF or longer shutter speeds to capture movement.

This week’s 3-part tip involves shooting in bright sunlight and some of the problems that we might face. Next week we’ll deal with low light and fun flash tricks.

Have a question or comment? Leave us a note below.
Click back next week when Syx shares Tip #5 & 6, the final tips before marathon day!!!

Known for his Classically Twisted Nudes that push the viewer to discover new views of beauty, Syx Langemann has been photographing his own unique world since 1993 and can be found at Vancouver Photo Workshops teaching students how to capture theirs.

Syx is also one of the judges of the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

Six by Syx: Tip #3 Exposure 101

Posted by on July 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm.

To help prepare you for the marathon, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor and 2011 12×12 judge Syx Langemann offers up a 6-part series of tips and tricks to get you through Saturday August 6th.

This is the third in our series, and this week we are going to talk about exposure. Exposure is the foundation from which any great photograph is constructed.

Once we have locked in the ISO of the film that we are using, the only two exposure tools available to us are the Aperture and the Shutter Speed. Let’s chat a little about each tool.

3. EXPOSURE 101

APERTURE refers to the size of the opening inside the lens. It controls the intensity of light that enters the camera. Technically, we can use this to help control the exposure values. By using a smaller hole in the lens we will need a longer shutter speed; the larger the hole in the lens, the shorter the shutter speed we need. Creatively speaking, aperture controls our Depth of Field. Depth of Field (DOF), relates to how much of the image is in focus from foreground to background. The lower the F-number, the larger the hole in the lens, therefore the shallower the DOF.

SHUTTER SPEED refers to how quickly the curtains open and close – how long the film is exposed to light. Based upon the ISO, the aperture and shutter speed are balanced to make a correct exposure. Shutter speed creatively controls motion in our picture. If the shutter speed moves fast it can stop motion, but this will require the correct aperture value to make a correct exposure. If the shutter moves slowly, the aperture can be ‘closed down’ (the F-number moved up) to correct the exposure.

When you are shooting your camera on a Program or Automatic mode, the camera is basing the exposure on the reflected light in the scene. It comes to the ‘best’ exposure value based upon an average grey to ensure the photograph is not over or under-exposed.

Our job is to balance the aperture and the shutter speed to get the picture we want, both in exposure value and in creative outcome. As long as we balance the numbers so that we can see a ‘0’ or ‘neutral’ exposure within the viewfinder, then we should have the correct exposure. However, we need to be aware of the combination of numbers that we are using to ensure that our photos are creatively successful. Again remember that a correct exposure is based upon an 18% grey. So as long as your scene contains both light and dark values, the camera should be judging the scene correctly. Look for this in your view finder:

By adjusting the aperture and the shutter speed, we will eventually come to a middle ground where the exposure should be correct.

So try this (you don’t even need to shoot the camera): Just move the camera around a scene from dark tones to light tones and watch your meter move. Then try to balance out the aperture and the shutter speed numbers so that the meter in your view finder is at ‘0.’ Then mentally trip your shutter. That should be a correctly exposed photograph.

Next time we will discuss a more advanced way of thinking about your exposure, but practice up, cause Tip #4 requires complete understanding of this one. See you next week.

Have a question or comment? Leave us a note below.
Click back next week when Syx shares Tip #4. You won’t wanna miss it! 

Known for his Classically Twisted Nudes that push the viewer to discover new views of beauty, Syx Langemann has been photographing his own unique world since 1993 and can be found at Vancouver Photo Workshops teaching students how to capture theirs.

Syx is also one of the judges of the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

2011 JUDGES

Posted by on July 18, 2011 at 1:47 am.

Fiona Forbes
Co-host, ShawTV’s Urban Rush

Described by Hollywood guru Larry Moss as a woman with “chutzpah who reminds me of Lucille Ball,” Fiona co-hosts the award-winning entertainment talk show Urban Rush.

After being told by Regis Philbin that “You’ve got something kid!” she has gone on to receive accolades such as “Favourite TV Personality” and numerous other Reader’s Choice and Industry awards.

Fiona has done over 15,000 interviews with top names from the worlds of film, television, music, literature, sports and pop culture. Along the way Fiona has been schooled in politics from Arnold Schwarzenegger…music and hockey from Michael Buble…booty-pops from the Pussycat Dolls and learned to play the drums with GLEE’S Cory Montieth.

 

Syx Langemann
Instructor, Vancouver Photo Workshops

Syx has been creating arresting images and photographing his own unique world since 1993.

His models often find themselves in strange angular poses, gently contorting and twisting to fit with the frame. His Classically Twisted Nudes challenge the viewer to discover new ways of seeing beauty. This work has been exhibited at the Douglas Udell Gallery, used on the set of The “L” Word, and published in international magazine Skin Two as well as The Photo Fetish Anthologies 3 & 4.

He has worked with many different subjects over the years. Recent projects include: No Graffito & Once I Was a Camera which explores his own version of street photography and the formal construction of images.

 

Samir Maktabi
Co-organizer, FotoMarathon (Copenhagen)

The original and oldest of its kind, the Danish FotoMarathon, which runs both a 12-hour & a 24-hour version concurrently, held its 23rd iteration on August 27th, 2011.

Samir also manages Photomarathon.com – an umbrella site for all the photo marathons around the world that provides assistance to anyone interested in starting one. In January of this year, Samir helped organize the first ever photo marathon in the Middle East which took place in Cairo just weeks before the public uprising.

Samir calls himself a “serious amateur photographer” and has over 10 years of photography under his belt. He also blogs about his craft and teaches classes on model photography and other subjects.

 

MYSTERY JUDGE (Revealed 11.09.25): Dan Jackson
Freelance Photographer & 2-Time 12×12 Marathoner

A 1995 graduate of Emily Carr University of Art & Design’s photography department, Dan began his career working in editorial portraiture shooting local and int’l personalities.

After shooting over a hundred covers for publications in North America and Asia, he now works primarily in advertising and art direction. His background in fine art and art history remains the cornerstone of his picture making process and give his work an illustrative and painterly feel.

In 2000 he founded Studio 730 which operates as a commercial photo studio and exhibit space. Recently Dan began writing and illustrating a book based on his grad thesis and hosts an annual public exhibition and open house every June at Studio 730.

Six by Syx: Tip #2 Load It and Leave It

Posted by on July 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm.

To help prepare you for the marathon, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor and 2011 12×12 judge Syx Langemann offers up a 6-part series of tips and tricks to get you through Saturday August 6th.

Welcome to the second tip installment of Six by Syx. I assume since last week you’ve all checked your batteries and/or gone and bought some new ones, so now let’s take the next logical step.

With DSLRs, workflow is different than with film. We charge the battery, empty the card, put it back into the camera and away we go. We know that the camera will be shooting to the card as long as there’s room on it. There’s no way for the card to be inserted into the camera incorrectly. However, with film this isn’t the case. Loading the film incorrectly will cause you to miss the ‘lead’ and result in a roll full of black frames, essentially a whole un-exposed roll of film. Loading the film properly is paramount to you having any pictures at all.

Once the film is loaded properly into the camera we need to tell the camera what ISO that roll of film is so that the meter reads correctly. In the film world you cannot change your ISO from shot to shot. Once your film is loaded, you are locked at that ISO for the whole roll of film. The only exposure tools available to you would be your Aperture and your Shutter Speed. So this tip is:

2. LOAD IT AND LEAVE IT

When you open the back of your film camera, your unexposed roll of film is usually loaded on the left side with the uptake spool on the right. Usually there is a little coloured line or mark of some kind to let you know how far you should pull the lead or ‘tail’ of the film and where is should be placed. Some cameras want you to manually feed the lead into the spool; other more automatic style SLRs will complete this process by itself given that you have placed the lead of the film in the correct spot.

Unfortunately there is no visual confirmation that your film is loaded properly unless you are actually loading it manually and you can see that it’s done correctly. You need to be careful and maybe even load in a test roll or two to make sure that you are doing it properly. We have a few weeks yet until the 12×12, so why not put a few rolls through the old camera. Test things out. Practice.

HINT HINT – you will be shooting Kodak Ultramax ISO 400 speed film. You may even be able to practice with the same film!

Have a question or comment? Leave us a note below.
Click back next week when Syx shares Tip #3. It’s gonna be a good one! 

Known for his Classically Twisted Nudes that push the viewer to discover new views of beauty, Syx Langemann has been photographing his own unique world since 1993 and can be found at Vancouver Photo Workshops teaching students how to capture theirs.

Syx is also one of the judges of the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

Six by Syx: Tip #1 Check Your Battery

Posted by on July 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm.

To kick off the one month countdown to this year’s cycle and to help prepare you for the marathon, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor and 2011 12×12 judge Syx Langemann offers up a 6-part series of tips and tricks to get you through Saturday August 6th.

So you’re excited. You’re dusting off the old film camera, cleaning the lenses and packing your bag with the essentials you’ll need to compete in this year’s 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon (#12x12yvr for all the geek folks). Then consider this series of posts your film photo check list.

This will be a series of tips & tricks you’ll need to shoot your 12 exposure roll of film with confidence and not end up with 12 blank frames that will put your philosophy degree to work trying to convince the judges that it was a conceptual decision.

So first let’s start off with something very basic. Seriously, so basic that you’re going to read this and say…”That’s not a tip.” But if you don’t start here, you’ll be stopped short of completing anything.

1. CHECK YOUR BATTERY

The last thing you want to do is start a hike on a hot day without water, and this is just as important for your camera.

Let’s be honest, most of us haven’t been shooting film that much since the last 12×12. In fact, some of us may be shooting this camera for the first time in order just to compete in the competition. Either way, batteries lose their charge even when they are not being used. Batteries can lose their charge on the shelf, that’s why they have ‘best before dates’ on them.

The battery in the camera will allow you to turn the camera on, it will assist the shutter & mirror, and if you have a motor drive or a display of any sort, the battery will be used to power these.

You need these in order to shoot, so please check you battery. Maybe even treat your camera to a fresh new battery to ensure that things are working properly.

Have a question or comment? Leave us a note below.
Click back next week when Syx shares Tip #2! 

Known for his Classically Twisted Nudes that push the viewer to discover new views of beauty, Syx Langemann has been photographing his own unique world since 1993 and can be found at Vancouver Photo Workshops teaching students how to capture theirs.

Syx is also one of the judges of the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

Walking in Marathoners’ Shoes

Posted by on July 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm.

I’ve always known that no matter how many 12×12 marathoners I spoke to, I’d never truly understand what it was like to walk a mile (or two or three!) in their shoes. That was why a week after last year’s cycle, I decided to tackle the challenge myself. My good friend & Zufaller Valerie McTavish had just recently gifted me her pristine Pentax K1000 and I couldn’t wait to snap my first shot. I announced my little adventure on Twitter, invited everyone to send me themes, and I had the most amazing fun with Morten in tow.

After a grueling day on the streets of downtown Vancouver, I had what I thought were 12 beautifully captured interpretations of the first 12 themes that were sent to me that morning. Beaming with pride, I pranced over to the London Drugs PhotoLab at Granville & Georgia with an excited anticipation I had not experienced in quite some time. But I fell off my cloud with a painful thud when I started winding back the film and felt no tension whatsoever. I could feel the blood drain from my face when I came to the realization that something had gone horribly wrong. I still clutched at a nugget of hope as I handed my roll of film to Shirley behind the counter but lost my grip when we soon found out that the roll had never even advanced to its first frame. I blinked. In that second I saw my entire day fast-backward as if it had never happened. It didn’t matter that my brain had turned to mush from brainstorming or that my feet had grown two sizes from pounding the pavement all day because I had nothing to show for it. Someone had brutally punched ‘Delete’ and everything was gone. I blinked again.

Now nearly a year later I can still feel the invisible scar left by that deterring first experience. No one will ever accuse me of not knowing what it’s like because those memories are seared into my brain. The thrilling highs and the horrible lows. Oh yes, I was seasoned and if you lent me your ear you’d probably never get it back.

The Canon A-1 in use circa 1981

I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to commit myself to another full-day challenge. But then a couple of weeks ago I got an email from Christine Rondeau who had a gorgeous Canon A-1 kit to donate to 12×12 and I felt the pilot light ignite again. Look at this camera! Who could say no to this?! Its original owner (and Christine’s father) was kind enough to share a photo of himself at Belgium’s La Citadelle de Dinant circa 1981 with this historical gem, which has travelled all over Europe, South America, Australia, and on many, many camping trips. I was smitten.

On Canada Day, I loaded up all the gear and with great determination made my way back downtown for Round 2. Was I setting myself up for another KO? I put another call-out on Twitter, booted all my apprehensions to the curb and waited for another set of 12 themes. I hope you find some enjoyment in the results below!

Disclaimer: I am not by any means a photographer. Even in the old film days I just pointed and shot. You could aperture me and shutter speed me to death and my eyes would still be glazed over. I welcome any feedback or tips that you may have so feel free to start a discussion in the comments section!

If you want to experience the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon yourself, make sure you are in front of a computer by 8pm THIS Wednesday July 6th. ONLY 60 tickets will be released and you’ll need fast fingers if you want to secure your spot in this year’s marathon.

I look forward to meeting everyone on Saturday August 6th, 2011!

Theme 01: Snarky assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 02: Monkeys assigned by @penguinstorm via Twitter

Theme 03: Racy assigned by @jonah_lewis via Twitter

Theme 04: Patriotic assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 05: Ouch assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 06: Red, White & Purple assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 07: Something Old assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 08: White Taxi Driver assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 09: Oh Hai assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 10: Urban Jungle assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 11: Soft assigned by @365photos2011 via Twitter

Theme 12: Irreversible assigned by @AnnyChih via Twitter

Captured with the bonus frame on my 12EXP roll of film: Self Portrait

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