Friday, June 24, 2005

Photography and Knitting Report

I'm modestly pleased with my camera work lately. Well, not so much the work itself as the fact that I've been able to stick to my goal of putting the knitting needles down and working on prints or taking pictures.

Usually, I'm a street shooter, mostly because I don't have a studio. When necessary, my living room can become one, especially since I have lovely north light and am on a high floor.

C needed a new headshot, and so up went my Wamsutta seamless drop (which doubles, don't you know, as a bedsheet) and out came my full battery of lighting equipment (which appears to the naked eye to be desk and floor lamps). Here's the result, my favorite and his.

Portrait of Chris, June 2005

It helps when your subject is cute as all get-out.

I also had a studio assignment for work. In this case, the subject is a variety of products we sell online, for an ad in the university magazine. Our line-up is going upscale, with better clothing and higher end stuff like wines and jewelry. (Guess who took the photo on the wine label?)

I never knew, until I had to do it, just how tricky it is to do a good shot of a product, let alone a group of them. You can't just put the junk on a table, take a picture, and call it a day. Every wrinkle, speck of dest, bumped corner or scratch is magnified tenfold. And if you don't light it properly, it looks like somebody's eBay post.

Working in tandem with Katie, one of my favorite coworkers ever, we got this.

NAA Online Products Magazine Shot, June 2005

Katie, bless her soul, did all the legwork for getting props and such. Our set up on shoot day was about three hours, the shots themselves took less than two hours. And, like C's headshot, this was done with no professional lighting equipment. What did we use, then?

A former colleague had Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) and as part of her therapy kept one of those full-spectrum light boxes in her office. She left it behind, and it turned out to be a marvelous source of fake sunlight, no gels or warming filter necessary.

The flowers, by the way, were left over from the 50th reunion party held in this same room. They were nearly dead but don't look half bad out of focus, eh?

Never let a mere lack of equipment and experience get in your way.

Make Two

The Polar Princess Hat (thank you, Cheryl and Jon - your suggestions combined led to the new moniker) still has no face, but it does have one ear and will soon have two.

Jack the Teddy Bear needs eyes and is unassembled, but is stuffed and sewn. I also have to finish inscribing the little wooden heart that will go inside his chest, and which (unless C rips open the seams in a fit of pique) will never be seen. But I'll know it's there. I think I may also embroider my initials on the butt. Steiff does a button in the ear, and after almost three months of labor I want similar recognition, but in my own fashion.

Buzz's mittens are next, and also something for me: socks.

I asked for suggestions about sock knitting ages ago, and boy did I get them.

Sir Edwin demonstrated socks on two circulars, and I was mightily impressed. Faustus, a trustworthy fellow if there ever was one, seconded the motion. And I had votes for the time-honored dpn school from people who sure as hell ought to know, like Felicia and Tricky.

And after all that, I've decided to do what I usually do. Go off in a direction that nobody recommended and which will probably prove troublesome in the extreme, but which right now seems romantic.

I'm knitting socks as directed by Mary Thomas in Mary Thomas's Knitting Book.

Do you know this book? Miss Thomas published it in 1938, and I've fallen in love with it through a shockingly inexpensive Dover reprint. It's thorough, illustrated with adorable line drawings, and written in the sort of firm, no-nonsense tone you'd associate with Mary Poppins or the dear, late Queen Mother. It is the oppositie of hip, funky, and now. That is and will forever be a siren-call to me.*

As soon as I get a pair of US #3 dpns, Miss Thomas and I will be convening in my wing-backed chair to begin socks according to her method which, she says, "Once learned...will never be forgotten." How could I resist?

*I don't know what it is about me and the stiff-upper-lip wing of British womanhood. Penelope Keith, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright...there is nothing like a dame, but there's nothing for me like a Dame. Ladies, if you're reading this, you give me heart flutters and I am yours to command.


Anonymous said...

Franklin, as gorgeous as your new shots are (including that of the very handsome C), you're taking alot of the mystery out of life here.
It's not as if I was unaware of artifice, but your shots are so, well, artful.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, he's cute. And that's natural light and no retouching, eh? So, how in hell did you take the photo without melting into a little puddle on the ground first?

Shit. I need a new camera.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he is very cute...tough job taking photos of that huh??...

I like the reflection on the table in the "collage" photo.

Anonymous said...

I hope you have a wonderful time at the Sheep Thing. Your report on it and your pics will be my trip there. Its a hell of lot too far from Edmonton Alberta to NY. Your artistic photos are one of the reasons I felt you were worthy of the scholarship. And watch for those spinning wheel pushers, first it's a wheel, then roving and fleece, then a loom....there's not end to it.

goblinbox said...

C is for cookie!

Anonymous said...

So if you like Judi Dench, et al, have you seen Ladies in Lavender yet? I saw it this weekend and it was pretty good. Particularly if you like 'stiff upper lip' Englishness. And there is a cute boy in it (washed up on a beach, no less).

Not sure Judi can knit. Or is the struggling with dpns a sign of how distracted she is by said cute boy.

dragon knitter said...

i'll tell you what, judi dench is it! that lady has more class than notre dame (no pun intended, lol). there's something about classy ladies, british or not, that just make me wanna be one when i grow up. and not one to take bull either. dixie carter (or at least her character in designing women) would take no guff, and chew a man out in such an eloquent and elegant way that he would feel it necessary to thank her for the chewing. just too too (forgive me, i couldn't resist)