Got a new printer - with a scanner

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Ken
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Got a new printer delivered the other day. Ain't doing much shooting so I figured I'd play with a new toy. Photo paper is still in the mail, though, so all I could do was set it up and not print anything.

Occured to me that since this is a photo printer, maybe it can scan photos too. I got some B&W prints I made in 1983 that I've been meaning to get scanned for years.

I grew up in southern California and spent a lot of time as a kid in Baja California. Loved it there. Loved the people. When I got out of college I was making a marginal living stringing for local newspapers. None of it paid much but I could work as much or as little as I wanted. If I disappeard for a couple of weeks, no one would notice.

So I scrounged up a couple hundred bucks and 20 rolls of bulk-loaded tri-x and drove the peninsula. See if I could get people to let me make some pictures.

This is the first time I've shown them on the internet.

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Andysnap

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That's an excellent set of images, very evocative.(y)
 

RaglanSurf

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Nick
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What an excellent set, a glimpse into a different world.
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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I'm going to ask for your indulgence. I was a newspaper photographer in the '80s and '90s. I walked away from photography pretty much entirely. Did something else.

But I've carried around my portfolio the whole time. Everywhere I've lived. 8x10s mounted on 11x14 matte board stored in a hard case. Maybe 50 pictures. Weighs 16 pounds. I'd like to share some with you.

You don't see a lot of local photojournalism these days. But back then, a metro daily might have 20 photographers on staff. Even the Podunk dailies I worked for carried 3-5 photographers. And there was always extra work stringing for somebody.

We shot everything. News, sports, government stuff, schools. Whatever they were writing about in the paper, we had to come up with a picture of it. Words and pictures worked together. I almost always traveled with a reporter.

I'd like to show you some of those pictures. Maybe talk about how they were made.

Let's start with Sports
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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SPORTS

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By volume, I probably shot more sports than anything. But there's not a ton of sports in my book. I was pretty good at it. But all that meant was that I could stay tight and in focus. I always got good shots, but rarely anything better than that. Helped pay the bills, though.

Didn't help that most of the sports I shot was at night or in the Kingdome. What a hole. What a freaking cave. I had a 300 2.8 and I used every bit to get 1/500 with Tri-x pushed 2 stops. Ugly stuff. Not fit to be seen anywhere outside a halftone.

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Once in a while I'd get to shoot outside during the day. Finally, both shutter speed AND depth of field.

This was shot for a feature story on the blocker, Mike Utley. (Right tackle if you're familiar.) Both the guys in white (Drew Bledsoe is the other) went on to have distinguished NFL careers. Couple of local boys. You could always sell that picture.

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Again, outdoors in daylight. I shot this with a Tamron 300 2.8. When I got that lens everything changed. Glass was sharp as a tack. But it wasn't as sturdy as a Nikon. Only took me a few years to destroy it.

I followed this kid from across the pool. This shot was made on the last stroke before my end. He was probably 8 feet away from me with that 300mm.

Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing. This was bright overhead sun reflecting in every direction. Tough print to make. But it was tight and in focus. Just what the doctor ordered.
 

Andysnap

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Excellent, very interesting and great shots.(y)
 

RaglanSurf

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Fascinating to see a working photographers output, it’s such a shame when you see sport shots in print now (newspaper) that they’re often just a grabbed screenshot.
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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PORTRAITS

While I shot a lot of sports, I found the process a little sterile. I knew the games, I knew the gear, stand in the right place and let the athletes do their thing.

But with portraits, you're stealing a little piece of someone's soul. There are cultures that believe that. And yeah, if you can do it right, you do. Just a little piece, and I'm sorry for that, but look at the picture we're going to put in the paper of you.


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I love natural, available light. You should always look at that as your first option if it's available.

This gentleman was the first black principal in some local school district. We made it in his living room while the reporter interviewed him. I loved those situations. No matter how hard you try, you can't be quiet enough, so I went the other way. I tried to be as quiet as I could, but I'd shoot a bunch of pictures. Generally a roll, sometimes two. It's awkward as hell at first, but then everyone settles into a rhythm and I'm just part of the whole. That's when magic is allowed to happen.

He was sitting in a chair opposite a window to the back yard. Indirect sunlight. I suspect I shot this with a 180mm 2.8. Best lens ever.


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Southern California terrain is canyons and hills. One Sunday afternoon a brush fire started in a canyon and swept up the hillside into a residential neighborhood. Destroyed some 20 homes.

I found Linden sitting on a sidewalk curb. He told me, I'm more tired than I've ever been.

They evacuated the neighborhood but I had credentials, so they let me in. Not all the homes caught fire. On my way out a couple asked me if I knew about a house around the corner at the end of the block. I said, the one with the pirate flag in the yard? YES, the one with the pirate flag in the yard! That one's OK.

So I got to deliver a little piece of good news that day.


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Sometimes there's just no available light. The only light I carried with me was a Vivitar 283. Had a home-made bounce card made of photo paper, photo paper box and gaffer tape. Held it on with a vacuum cleaner belt. Still have it. Carried 2 cords. One like a phone cord, coiled. Another long, 6m plain PC cord.

Like I mentioned, photographically, I'm Rip Van Winkle. When I woke up there was a thing or a group or a style or something called 'Strobist.'

This shot was made at a pipe-smoking contest. In a mall. Outside the tobacco store. Personally, I never acquired a taste for a pipe although I did kinda see the appeal of a good, aged Meerschaum. Apparently it's tough to keep a pipe lit. That's the contest. Last man burning wins. But it's a quiet contest. Appears to take concentration, patience and finesse. Entrants compete in silence.

I hooked up the long cord and sent somebody off to hold the flash behind him while I snatched a bit of his soul. I was a Strobist and I didn't even know it. Bet the guy didn't see all that coming when he walked into the mall.


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I always carried 2 cameras. I'd put a 24mm F/2 on one of them and on the other, something else. I love a 24. 28's not enough. 20mm, why bother? And this is one of the best things a 24 is good for. The environmental portrait. A person in a place. A thing in a place.

This was shot in the 80s. Sex Pistols, punk. These kids are siblings. Their father owned a shoe store on Main St, Someplace. He gave the kids a little corner of the store for them to sell punkwear. Within 6 months they took over the whole shop. Capitalist success story.


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Here's another shot made with that 24mm.

This is Vicky Aragon, first female jockey at the local racetrack, sharing a carrot with a mount.

The light here is all wrong, but she surprised me. She just did this and I grabbed it and then it was gone. Sometimes, a lot of times, you have to work with what you get because just getting it is never a given.
 
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Andysnap

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Great photos and great words, you write extremely well and your words fill the images with life. You should write a book (y)
 
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Great photos and great words, you write extremely well and your words fill the images with life. You should write a book (y)
Agreed 100%. There aren't many threads on here that I have enjoyed reading recently as much as this one.

A lot of the people who frequent TP could learn a lot here. I know I have, I'm just not sure I can put these into practice myself. I mean, not everyone can or it would be easy.

Thanks for sharing, Ken.
 
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Amazing. Wonderful pictures and a wonderful story. So evocative.
I grew up in a tiny village not far from Oxford, was very into motorbikes an doff-road riding and Baja was one of those places that my dreams were filled with.
I've never been, but have always wanted to go, and maybe one day will.
You've brought back a head-full of memories - very many thanks !
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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HARD NEWS

The gallery of horrors.

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I shot my share of stark s***. I don't show these around much. I figure if there's any context for it, this might be it.


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I won't lie, we kept our eye out for images of suffering. I probably told myself lies about why I thought people wanted to see this stuff. Convinced myself it was my job not to look away. I'm still mostly convinced.


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With hard news, I was never invested in the story like I was with feature shots. Things are unsettled, reporters are off talking with cops, or whoever. I'm on my own, just watching. Using one sense. I don't remember a lot of details about the event, but I can describe the details of making the shot.

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News Year's Eve, 1991. Reporter and I were driving from one party to another. Half smashed ourselves. I thought, holy crud, we're right on top of this, right in our beat. I want to shoot this. Told the reporter to go talk to the cops.

We were there for probably 5 minutes. Cold outside. Really cold. Dialed the 283 up to full blast. Stark.

I put the film in my pocket. Don't know if the reporter ever talked to the cops. Souped it the next work day, but by then it was too old. Never ran. Just as well.

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I went out with a group from the mission with hot food for people living on the street. They set up tables and the homeless appear out of the night, then disappear back into it.


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Hellacious winter storm brought the cliffside down on a beach cottage in the Pacific Northwest. House was empty at the time, no one hurt.

Next day we went out to shoot storm damage. Owner showed up. Apparently the house had been in the family for 3 generations.

I saw this shot before he was in it. There's an overhang on that porch and he was in that shadow you can see on the wall. I wanted him to move into the sun so I could get the shot framed this way. C'mon. Little more, little more. There. Then he put his head in his hands. Bang.

I was standing next to another photographer who had a Pulitzer Prize on his mantle. I got this shot and he didn't. Neener neener.
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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KIDS

Let's lighten it up a little bit.

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I shot a lot of pictures of kids. Management encouraged it and I was happy to oblige. As much time as I spent around kids with a camera, I'd probably be profiled as something these days. Nope, just fun pictures.


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I was the pied piper. Kids like to have fun. Kids are curious. And I was the most interesting thing going on right now. Guy from the newspaper. Show me something. I'll help.


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In a box. The mime thing. Trying to see it. Trying to get it right.


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I love this picture. Family was out clamming and dad was feeding this little guy right off the beach.


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I felt bad about this one. Still do. But let's be honest. That's how we felt about this. Me and Little Miss Des Moines both. Sometimes the truth hurts.


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Tough guys in the strobist tradition. You notice how many of these pictures were made with that 24mm F/2?
 
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RaglanSurf

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Fantastic set of images and great insight into recent history.
 
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Des
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Great thread, both the images and the context. Superb stuff.
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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MISCELLANEOUS

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On Thursdays we ran a food section. Grocery stores ran their ads on Thursdays. Had a little budget. Had fun with it. Let me get some studio work in. When my career was winding down and I was flailing for stuff to do, I thought maybe I could do some of this kind of work. Looking back on it now, what I thought was pretty good really isn't.


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This was for the food page. Onions. I don't know if I was a starving artist. But that's the people I hung around with. Writers, dancers, sculptors, chefs, you name it. I happened to know a woman who owned a pretty elaborate clown costume. Janet. I told her I was thinking about this shot and she was all in. I've used this picture as my avatar in some places. I wonder whatever happened to Janet.


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I tell myself I don't like this picture. It's a cheesy example of a cheap effect. But I've kept it around all these years. Its flaws make it interesting. The extension cord on the floor. The highway in the background. And, of course, the lady.

This is a local woman who had a near-death experience, saw God and came back. You'd think that would be a little humbling. But no, she wanted to go big. And I let her take me there. She called the reporter who did the story that went with this. Wanted to know if he'd help her write a book. Lady was a bit of a crank so he turned her down. She found somebody else. Made a zillion dollars.
 
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Mark
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@drsilver

The man on the porch shot is truly exceptional as are many others, great work. I do fear your Images are hidden away a bit in this sub forum, I only stumbled across it by accident!
 
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drsilver
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Ken
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WILD ART

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For a variety of reasons, sometimes we had more space than stuff to fill it. So they'd send us out for wild art. Just come back with a picture of something.


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This is in San Diego. In November. Nobody but locals on the beach.


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I'm just wandering around. Looking for something to shoot. I'm up on a pier watching the surfers, watching the people, watching the weather, just watching. This was grab shot. Sports skills can come in handy in everyday life.


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I'm at the Kingdome just setting up for a game. New York Yankees are in town. I don't know who the girl is. Little Leaguer of some sort. Out of nowhere, Yankees manager, Billy Martin, picks her out and tells her, let's go in the cage and hit some Big League pitching. She was firing line drives all over the park.


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Big wheels all around at the monster truck show in a parking lot at a mall.


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And finally, this one. I shot this for a class in college. I minored in Industrial Arts. Literally, shop class. Machine shop, drafting, small engine repair. Lot of football players in the program. They also had the best photo lab on campus.

It's pretty close to where it started and pretty close to where I'm starting over.

Whenever I talk photography these days, first question is always, what kind of pictures you take? I haven't really had an answer to that. I've taken pictures of a lot of things. All kinds of pictures.

Now I think I can say that I shoot Wild Art pretty much full time.

Shameless plug. Check out the Wild Art thread. It's stalled right now, as you'd imagine, but I'm putting new stuff there.
https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/unlimited-wild-art.707802/

I put this under the film topic because ... that's where it should go. Everything here is from a scan of a print.

I read the threads in this topic. There are great discussions going on. I am so glad that film is still alive. There are people here who know their stuff. If you're looking for help with cameras or chemistry I'm outclassed. But I've looked at a lot of negatives. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Bump this thread.
 
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Dave
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I put this under the film topic because ... that's where it should go. Everything here is from a scan of a print.
Digital scans. ;)

Pictures are pictures IMO, I don't care how they are made. More on TP should see this thread because it's about more than photos on film. :)

Keep on posting - wherever you want to. (y)
 
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Richard
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Just when I was lamenting over the dearth of local photojournalism, I come across this. Pictures from Kentucky. Mostly wire service shooters. They got stringers all over the world. Good stuff.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2020/05/kentucky-photos/611371/
There‘s also NYT Lens section, which I think is free to read unlike the rest of the NYT:
https://www.nytimes.com/section/lens

and blog:
https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2018

and this side of the pond:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photography
 
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Nige
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Richard
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Nige
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Though that’s behind the paywall for me, admittedly only £0.75 a week at present. The ways of the NYT paywall are a mystery to me, sometimes I get access, sometimes not. I subscribe The Guardian partly because it’s a ”freemium”available to everyone everywhere with ads which I like to support in a small way :).
I think you're allowed a certain number of articles a week before it locks you out. I don't subscribe or anything.
 

AZ6

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Great photos. 'Proper' photography, to me. ;) (No I know but y'know'...)

There's an honesty about such pictures that I think is rare to see these days, what with the incredible capabilities of current digital cameras, and so much post processing/software. If a film shot wasn't perfect, you just had to live with it. Under/overexposure, too much/too little contrast, scratches on negs, processing inconsistencies, etc etc etc. Kids today don't know how easy they've got it blah blah blah (soz wrong thread).

I love this kind of observational journalism. Today, we seem to get mainly 'bystander' pics from 'phones etc, or 'hero' shots where lots of work has gone into making the image. Gone, it seems, are the days of a wandering photographer with their cam, just shooting as they went. You don't seem to see the evolution of a story, as much. And environmental portraits; here, you just get what was there, nothing added. Now, it seems to be all about setting up a shoot to get one pic. I dunno. We see a lot of technically much better stuff, but does it have such a depth of Humanity? Maybe I'm just viewing things through a 1970s starburst filter...


You notice how many of these pictures were made with that 24mm F/2?
I've always loved a 24mm. 28 was never quite wide enough, and 35mm I've always considered a bit 'meh'. Prefer a 50 for that little less DoF. A mate used to work solely with a 35 and an 85, but he was always having to step back, and back, and back. I've always loved that exaggerated perspective a 24 gives, which is used to great effect in the shot of the little girl on the balance beam, particularly. Lovely.
 
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Peter
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I did local Press Photography since about 1968 and went full-time Freelance in 1970 -- never made a 'Fortune' though - I had to become 'Self-Employed' -- the 'Best Bit' was that I could buy my Hasselblad and such and put it down as 'Tax Deductible' over several years ! All the local newspapers except one have gone broke that I worked for. Every Local Freelancer has gone broke now -- no more work as the Newspapers get FREE Photos sent in . Even their Staff Photographers have been made Redundant. The Chief Photographer of the 'Free Sheet' Yellow Advertiser here in Essex is now a driver for a FUNERAL Company ---
 
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