Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 A Good Day to Launch The Balanced Exposure Forum

I have launched the Balanced Exposure Forum!

With the encouragement of many Facebook friends, I stayed up all night long and created an online photography forum.  It wasn't that hard to do, but that's only because I know a little bit about how forums should work.

For many years, I was a moderator of the Acoustic Guitar Forum... the largest forum of its kind on the internet.  And with the permission of the AGF's owner and senior moderator, I borrowed their rules and regulations and modified it to fit my own forum.

I have not pulled an "all-nighter" in quite a while, but I was excited to get this done.  I contacted Network Solutions (where I host the Balanced Exposure website) and asked what it would take to have my forum server there and the cost was way too prohibitive.  After that call, I was feeling this forum was not going to happen.

But during my Studio Photography class last night, I was encouraged to seek out some of the other options to have a forum and I found a company where I could put the forum for free!  Well, it's not quite 100% free, but compared to the cost I was expecting, it's really quite low monthly.

I hope my students will utilize this new tool to communicate with each other and learn from each other.  I want them to post photos (hopefully using links to other sites like Photobucket, Flicker and others) and also to post classified ads if they are selling their used camera gear.

Stop by the new forum for a while and post something!  To see the forum, you must register as a user.  There's no cost to do that... you just need a screen name and that's why you need to register.

Click here to see the forum!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Goodall RCJC Guitar with Custom Slim Carved Neck

Years ago, I owned a "non-cutaway" version of this guitar called the Goodall RCJ.  It's a Concert Jumbo guitar.  I sold it not because I did not like the tone of Goodall guitars... I couldn't adjust to the chunky neck that it had!  It made it difficult for me to play compared to the slimmer Taylor guitar necks I'm so used to.  So I sold it to buy an R Taylor guitar instead.

I recently traded my maple R Taylor guitar for this 2007 Goodall RCJC guitar.  It's great!  While the R Taylor has better bass response, the Goodall has the kind of clarity and overtones I like.  It's a great sounding guitar.  Similar in sound to the R Taylor, but different as well due to the overtones.  Plus, this guitar has a custom slim carved neck!  That makes the guitar play as easily as a Taylor, but it has the distinctive Goodall tone.

According to Goodall, this hand-built guitar was completed on November 1, 2007 in Hawaii.  In 2009, James Goodall moved his company back to California and that's where current Goodall guitars are manufactured.  Back in Hawaii, he had perhaps 15 employees making guitars.  Today, there is a waiting list of over 2 years if you want a Goodall guitar because only James and his son Luke are making the guitars.

These are not inexpensive guitars by any means, but compared to other hand built guitars, they are very reasonable.

I'm enjoying the guitar and brought it into the studio to take a few photos so everyone else can see it as well.

Per the specifications posted by the seller of the guitar:

Wide bout: 15 7/8 inches
Upper bout: 11 5/8 inches
Waist: 9 15/16 inches
Depth: 4 3/8 inches
Length of box: 20 inches
Overall guitar length: 40 13/16 inches
Scale length: 25 1/2 inches
Nut width 1.75"
Saddle string spacing-2.25"
Solid East Indian Rosewood sides and two-piece back
Solid AAA Grade Sitka spruce top with abalone rosette
Curly Koa binding on body and peghead, with Ebony binding on fingerboard
Gloss finish, except for a satin finish on the Mahogany one-piece neck
Ebony fretboard with abalone diamond-shaped inlays
Ebony bridge
Ebony bridge pins with abalone dots
Ebony peghead veneer with inlaid abalone “G”
Chrome Gotoh 510 tuners with Ebony buttons
Bone nut and saddle

Mamiya RB67 Pro S - Medium Format Film Camera

Years ago, I had several Hasselblad medium format cameras as well as a Bronica SQ-Ai medium format camera. These were square format 2-1/4" x 2-1/4" (6x6 cm) film cameras.

These square format cameras were great for portable use, but the king of s
tudio cameras for medium format could arguably be the Mamiya RB67 camera. This is a 6x7 cm format camera, so it's a rectangular format that had a printable output closest to an 8x10 print.

While I never owned one in the past, I do now. I purchased this camera from a shop in Japan and got the 180mm lens from Hong Kong.

I was surprised that it only took 3 days to ship the camera from Japan to the USA and only 4 days to ship the lens from Hong Kong! That's probably faster than our own USPS could do it from one coast to the other!

Mamiya is still manufacturing these cameras, but now it is known as the RZ67 Professional Pro II D with additional electronic features not found in the original RB67 system.  You can even buy a digital back for this camera and get medium format digital images!

I doubt I will ever shoot with this camera, but I purchased it so that the students could see what a medium format camera is all about. It will be kept in the classroom for all to see.

Crown Graphic Special 4x5 Film Camera

When I was growing up, I played with this camera. My dad had one just like it. When I moved to California, I asked my dad to UPS it to me. He did. Since moving back to Illinois, I have never been able to find it! I think it got "lost" when moving back!

I've always felt bad for losing my dad's camera and decided that one day, I would buy another to replace it. So here it is... a Crown Graphi
c Special 4x5 sheet film field camera! This one is actually in better shape than my dad's camera. My dad passed away quite a few years ago, but I made good on my promise (to myself) to replace it.

I'll never shoot this camera, since it is film, but I will keep it and cherish it anyway. I have it in the classroom for all the students to see and admire as well.

Edit Note:  Turns out I never lost my dad's camera!  It was in a box stuffed in my garage all these years!  Found it again.  So now I have two 4x5 cameras!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jessica And A Fender Telecaster

Recently, I had a photo session with my model Jessica to create a photo for the next Balanced Exposure ad which will run on CBS Local.  Since we had some extra time, I had Jessica try out my Fender Telecaster and snapped a few shots of her.

She was photographed against a green screen, so I "extracted" her out of the background and added her to a variety of backgrounds which were purchased for green screen application.

Which do you like best?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Two Days In Racine Wisconsin

My friend Jim and I spent two days fishing in Racine Wisconsin on 10/2/12 and 10/3/12.  Our friend Manny joined us on 10/3/12.

On 10/2, we fished hard from 4:45 AM to 9 PM with just a break for lunch and dinner.  We continued on 10/3 from 5 AM to 12 noon.  We each lost one fish, but the only one caught was this 28 inch, 10 lb female King Salmon (Chinook).

We put the time in, but the bite was tough.  Not many other people out there seemed to catch anything, so getting at least one isn't bad!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

No Fish - But What A View!

My friends, Jim, Manny and I went back to Racine Harbor yesterday and tried our luck again.  But this time, nobody caught a fish.  In fact, most everyone out there didn't catch one either.

But it's views like this that make going out there worthwhile even if we don't catch anything.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fishing Again at Racine Harbor - Racine Wisconsin

Once again, I went fishing out at Racine Harbor.  I was able to land two King Salmon this time but lost another one.  I had set my drag a little too low and as I was adjusting it, the fish decided it was time to jump and spit the hook out!  I knew I was going to lose the fish right after I had hooked it... I could just feel it was going to happen.  At least I was able to get two though!

The first one was a 7 lb - male, King Salmon (Chinook) and the other was a 12 lb, 32 inch female King Salmon (Chinook).

Special thanks to my friend Mike whose invaluable tutoring has led me to fishing success this year!  I am extremely grateful!  Thanks Mike!

Photos taken by my friend Jim who was out there with me.  The camera was my Lumix DMC-LX5.

I'm headed out there again tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fishing at Racine Harbor - Racine, Wisconsin

My friends Jim and Manny and I went to Racine Harbor this morning to try our luck.  Before Jim and I got there, Manny reported over the phone that several fish were already caught by others who were there before us.  After we got set up, in just a short time, Jim caught a nice 10 lb. female King Salmon (Chinook).  That fish did a number of aerial somersaults for us!  It took a while for Jim to land it!  Later, he caught a smaller fish, but lost it just before we had the chance to net it.

The winds picked up later and the entire harbor emptied out except for the three of us.  Eventually, we decided it was just too windy to continue.  Jim filleted his fish at the fish cleaning station on site and we headed for breakfast.

Still wanting to catch something, I suggested we head to Kenosha Harbor to give it a try.  We didn't catch anything, but we saw several fish jumping.  The fish were not ready to bite.

We'll try Racine again next week if the weather permits!

The Racine Harbor had a very nice fish cleaning station (see photos below if you aren't squeamish.)  Like last week's fish, this fish was loaded with eggs!  Manny took the eggs and it will become bait for the future.

I've already eaten this fish!  Not bad at all!  I find that if you take off the skin of a fish, a lot of that "fishy" taste (and smell) goes away with it.

All images below taken with a Lumix DMC-LX5 camera.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Final Night Photography Class for 2012

Last night was the last night photography class for 2012.  Here's an image from that evening.  Chicago looks really nice at night!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

14 lb - 34 inch - King Salmon - Kenosha Harbor

Last week I reported that I finally caught a fish out of Lake Michigan after years of trying from the piers and never getting anything.  That fish was a 21-1/2", 2 lb Northern Pike.  Well, today, my friend Jim and I went back to Kenosha Harbor in Kenosha, Wisconsin and tried it again.

This time I caught this monster... a 34", 14 lb King Salmon that's just starting to turn bad!  Jim helped again with netting the fish after about a quick 3 minute fight.  I lost another fish just a short time before this one was landed.  It looked to be a brown trout, but it broke off just when it was perhaps only 10 feet away from me.  I was really disappointed.  But moments later, this fish tugged at my line!  Initially, I thought it was another brown trout, but advice from others and looking closer at the fish's photos, it's definitely a King Salmon.  Check out the black jaws... it's a trademark of a King Salmon.

After getting the fish home, I filleted the fish to find that it was a female LOADED with eggs!  We are going to use those eggs the next time we go fishing.  I gave half of the fish and the eggs to Jim and I kept the other half.  Since the fish isn't fully turned yet, it should be ok to eat... I hope!

This photo was taken once again with my LG cell phone.  Not bad for a 3.0 Megapixel camera!

The photos below were taken with my Lumix DMC-LX5 camera (it's around my neck in the photo above!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Friday, September 07, 2012

The "Skunk" Is Over! - Northern Pike Caught at Kenosha Harbor - Kenosha Wisconsin

For years, I have been "shore" fishing Lake Michigan in hopes of catching a fish.

Sure, I can catch a fish when on a boat in Lake Michigan because the captain sets up the fishing lines in the right depths, uses electronic fish finders and trolls the waters moving the boat at around 2 mph.  But to try to find fish myself from the shores of Lake Michigan meant I was on my own to entice fish to bite my lure.  For years, I never caught anything.  I was always "skunked" walking away with nothing.

Still, I kept going out there in hopes that one day, I'd get a fish.  Well that day was yesterday!  While hoping to catch a Salmon, I happened to catch this guy... a 21.5", 2 lb Northern Pike!  This guy hit my line fast and hard.  At first, I wondered if I had a fish on the line, but after reeling in the line, I knew I had a fish as it was fighting back trying to get the hook out of its mouth.

When he was netted and brought in, he tossed and turned in the net and actually spit the hook out.  Good thing we had a net!  My friend Jim was with me and did the netting for me.  He also took the photo of me with my cell phone camera since I didn't have my normal "fishing camera" with me.

It didn't take long to catch this fish once we got started fishing, but that was the only fish we caught all morning.  We were out there for 4 hours.

We'll try it again next week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Night Photography of the Chicago Skyline with Balanced Exposure Students 8-27-12

What a great evening!  Thirty-five of the Balanced Exposure students joined me as we learned how to photograph the Chicago Skyline.  It was a "sell-out" event and I had to turn down quite a few students who wanted to attend, but 35 is about the limit I can handle and teach properly.

I will offer this again in the future, but due to most of my evenings being taken up with classes at the school itself, this evening was the only one I had open for 2012.

These images were taken with a Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens.  The moon photo was taken with the Nikon D4 and a 300mm lens borrowed from one of my students.  It's been cropped tight, but we can still see the craters on the moon.  Too bad it wasn't a full moon, but it was still fun to shoot it.

Professional model Jessica joined us as well so the students were able to try photographing a subject in the foreground while continuing to get a great skyline in the background.

We all had a great time and we will definitely do more of this kind of location classes again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fishing with Balanced Exposure Students - August 26, 2012

Another outing with Balanced Exposure students aboard Lucky Dog Charters!

While we did not have the quantity of fish that the last outing had, we got a lot BIGGER fish instead!  In all, we landed 10 out of 11 fish with many of the fish in the 6 to 15.5 lb range with the largest caught by 14 yr old Matt!  He's holding it in the group photo below.

We got two Rainbow Trout (one was mine) and eight Lake Trout.  I ate my Rainbow Trout yesterday and I can tell you it was VERY GOOD!  Not "fishy" tasting at all.

All images taken with a Lumix DMC-LX5 camera.