An Interesting Rant

September 17th, 2014

D70 1618 An Interesting Rant

I read a blog post this morning that I found interesting and provocative. So I decided to take a break from posting Starved Rock photos and share that post and write a bit about it myself.

Go here to read the post by Randall Armor.

Ralph Gibson has been a “famous photographer” since the days when I was in photo school. As you can see from my self-portrait above, that was quite a while ago. Mr. Gibson is even older than me. And he’s famous, at least in the photo community. I’ve never met Mr. Gibson, though several of my favorite models have also modeled for him. I’m sure he’s a reasonably nice guy. And I often say that I’m sure he is an artist because I can only understand about a third of his photos.

But I have a pretty low tolerance for bullshit, especially the bullshit that tends to be all over the place in the world of art.

As to the whole digital vs film debate, I think it’s pretty stupid and pointless. Those are my cameras in that self-portrait. I know how to use them. The Leica was one of two that were part of my daily kit, along with two Nikons, when I was working as a photojournalist. The Leica doesn’t get much use these days, but I still use the old Speed Graphic to shoot with instant film.

All my life as a photographer there has been someone saying that the latest advance in photo technology was wrong somehow. Starting with “No professional photographer would use a camera with a light meter built in.” Of course, I started doing photojournalism with 35mm cameras when many were saying that no professional photographer would use that “amateur format.” All of that is just pointless hot wind as far as I’m concerned. And that includes the digital/film debate.

I have some very good friends who only work with film and consider digital to be an inferior way to make photos. I disagree with them, but we are still friends. Everyone is entitled to their choice of tools. That includes those who insist on using film. But it also includes me and others who have decided that digital cameras are the best choice for their use. It’s really no one’s business other than the photographer.

And I like to remind my “film friends” that it’s not really photography unless you coat your own plates. After all, if you just buy factory-made film, you are limited to what the manufacturer has decided will be the characteristics of that film and aren’t really in control of your process.

The debate is stupid. I’m sad that someone whose work I admire has displayed such a silly opinion. But I’m not really surprised to learn that he tends to talk a lot of the art-world bullshit. I guess that’s one of the requirements to become a famous photographer. It’s bad enough that the critics spout so much bullshit. It’s a shame that the artists have to get involved in too.

And that made me think of this WUMO comic from yesterday:


I also enjoyed the R. Crumb recording of Fine Artiste Blues that was quoted in Mr. Armor’s blog post. You might enjoy it too. Here’s a link to it on Youtube. I liked it enough to go ahead and buy the track.

Anyway, feel free to comment if you are so inclined. I’d particularly be interested in hearing from my friends who have met Mr. Gibson.

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A Second Day at Starved Rock

September 15th, 2014

D70 7299 A Second Day at Starved Rock

After our day of shooting with five models at Starved Rock several of the models had to leave to go home. But Kelsey Dylan and Claudine were able to stay for a second day of shooting.

D70 7351 A Second Day at Starved Rock

So Dave Swanson and I headed back into the canyons at dawn for a second day of shooting with two of the world’s best models. It doesn’t get much better than this.

D70 7381 A Second Day at Starved Rock

There are a bunch more photos to come from this great day of shooting. Here’s one of the other Dave hard at work with Kelsey modeling for him.

D70 7384 A Second Day at Starved Rock

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We Call Her Macaroni

September 11th, 2014

D70 3531 We Call Her Macaroni

The amazing beautiful model, Miss Macaroni, came to Ohio this week. So, of course, I took her to one of my favorite locations at dawn and she did a great job of exploiting her surroundings and producing wonderful photos. There are a ton of shots to share, and I’ve put this shoot into the que for future blog posts, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few of them right away.

D70 3375 We Call Her Macaroni

D70 3569 We Call Her Macaroni

There will be a lot more from this shoot to come when I finally work my way through all the other shoots from the past year. But enjoy this sample for now. Thanks Miss Macaroni for another fantastic shoot…and no falls this time.

D70 3730 We Call Her Macaroni

available light, figure in nature, MissMacaroni, nude | 1 Comment | Trackback

When Things Go Wrong Right

September 8th, 2014

D70 3101 When Things Go Wrong Right

I love it when things fail in an interesting way. That’s what happened here while I was shooting with Brooke and Romahni. The situation was a difficult one. It was dark in the cave and a lot lighter outside. But it was still, overall, pretty dark, so the exposure was long. The exposure for this shot was 1/5 of a second at f/3.5. The ISO was at 1600. Like I said, dark.

But my lens has Nikon’s Vibration Reduction which is usually good for 3 or 4 stops of steadiness. So that gets us to somewhere around 1/60 of a second in terms of controlling camera shake. But, obviously, the VR just wasn’t up to the task for this particular shot. But I like the result. I’ve found that VR tends to produce a very different sort of blur when it fails. It seems that parts of the photo are sort of sharp while other parts are blurred in weird ways. There can even be two sharp images, almost like a multiple exposure. And sometimes that makes something fun.

Anyway, I like this photo. And that’s all I really care about.

I’ve noticed this happening before and look for success in failure when it does happen. Here’s another photo with the same sort of things going on that I shot years ago with a fantastic model, Virginia Red. The shutter speed for this one was 1/4 second. I think I may be starting to identify a sweet spot for making this happen. More failures like these may be in my future.

D20 1838 When Things Go Wrong Right

available light, blur, Brooke Lynne, nude, Romahni Rose, VR | 1 Comment | Trackback

Another Great Shoot

September 6th, 2014

D70 2594 Another Great Shoot

I have to take a break from trying to catch up on my editing and posting things I shot a year ago. I just had the chance to work with my favorite model, Brooke Lynne, who I don’t get to shoot nearly often enough. I keep trying to get her to move closer, but don’t seem to be able to persuade her to leave Minnesota. And she brought with her another marvelous model, Romahni Rose. Romahni’s home is Australia and she is touring the US and the world. I’m so happy that I got to meet her and work with her while she was passing through.

D70 2514 Another Great Shoot

So, with two of the best figure models in the world ready to pose for me, I decided to take them to the most beautiful place in Ohio, the Hocking Hills. We hit a couple of my long-time favorite spots and I’ll get to those photos in good time. But today I’m posting a few shots from a hidden, private spot that I’d never visited before. The place was beautiful and the models were fantastic. It was a great shoot and a great time. Thank you so much, Brooke and Romahni. You are the greatest.

D70 2584 Another Great Shoot

The shoot went very well, despite the weather doing a throw-back to mid-summer. Temperatures in the 90s and clear sunny skies were not the ideal conditions for our work. And today, the day after we finished shooting, the high will be 72 and it’s cloudy…perfect light all day long and a temperature that wouldn’t have melted us. So it goes. I think we still managed to pull it off despite the weather.

available light, Brooke Lynne, figure in nature, nude, Romahni Rose | No Comments | Trackback

The End of a Great Day

September 3rd, 2014

D70 7177 The End of a Great Day

I can’t remember a day of shooting that was more fun or more productive than the day when these photos and the ones on the earlier posts from this day were taken. It was an amazing day of shooting with a crew of great models. Kelsey wasn’t the only one to brave the waters to reach this last location. Claudine is always game to do whatever it takes to get a photo and she waded right in and joined Kelsey in this spot.

D70 7202 The End of a Great Day

And, of course, I did some work with just Claudine as well.

D70 7213 The End of a Great Day

When we finished we, of course, had to wade back out. Here’s Kelsey walking along a submerged log that kept us from having to go waist deep in the water. And you can see the rest of the crew being kept busy by my friend and fellow photographer, Dave Swanson.

The sad news is that this is the end of my posts from this day of shooting. The good news is that we did more shooting on the following day. The photos from the second day of shooting will be appearing here soon. Stay tuned.

D70 7139 The End of a Great Day

available light, Claudine, figure in nature, Kelsey Dylan, nude, Starved Rock | 2 Comments | Trackback

A Walk In The Park

September 1st, 2014

D70 7112 A Walk In The Park

Actually I should say, A Wade In The Park. That’s what we had to do to get to this great spot. It was a lot of effort, but it was worth it. I’m so lucky to work with such great models, like Kelsey Dylan, who are willing to go to the lengths needed to get the best photos.

D70 7125 A Walk In The Park

It’s also great to work with wonderful models who are not only willing to go to great effort to get into a great location, but are also talented and able to do a great job of posing and relating their bodies to the particular spot where we are working. Thanks, Kelsey, for the fantastic job you always do.

D70 7143 A Walk In The Park

Often it’s only the model who has to do the hard work while I just stand around and take photos of them while they do it. But, in this case I had to wade into a spot where I could train my camera on this scene. So I got to get wet too. Next time I’m bringing my Tevas to protect my feet when I have to wade.

More to come from this spot in the next post.

available light, figure in nature, Kelsey Dylan, nude, Starved Rock | No Comments | Trackback

So Many Models…

August 28th, 2014

D70 6857 So Many Models...

What do you do when you are in an amazingly beautiful location with five lovely nude models? Well, lots of things come to mind, but one of them is certainly to try to get a photo with all five of them at the same time. Pulling that off is a real challenge. Just so many variables to try to make work together. I think I did pretty well with this one, though.

D70 6923 So Many Models...

But most of the time I worked with just one model at a time. Sometimes two. That’s a lot easier to manage.

D70 7087 So Many Models...

With so many great ladies there to help make photos, most of the time I just had them take turns so everyone got into the act.

D70 7257 So Many Models...

This really was a dream shoot. Thanks to the fantastic ladies who made it possible: Ayn, Claudine, Kelsey and our two anonymous amateur models.

available light, Ayn, Claudine, figure in nature, Kelsey Dylan, nude | 1 Comment | Trackback

Oh That Light

August 23rd, 2014

D70 6928 Oh That Light

Ayn is the star of today’s post from Starved Rock. The light at this particular time and place in one of the canyons was just breathtaking. But it required some brave model to get into a difficult spot and be beautiful for the composition to work.

D70 6977 Oh That Light

Ayn volunteered for this difficult and dangerous assignment and, as you can see, she did a fantastic job.

D70 7046 Oh That Light

Thanks Ayn. You are fantastic. And that sunbeam…wow!

available light, Ayn, figure in nature, nude, Starved Rock | 2 Comments | Trackback

Shadows and Reflections

August 21st, 2014

D70 6733 Shadows and Reflections

Some more from the amazing shoot at Starved Rock. This time with models Ayn, Claudine and one who shall remain nameless.

D70 6673 Shadows and Reflections

The many little caves and openings in the rock, combined with many little pools of water…and some large pools as well…that you find on a good day when there has been some recent rain, provide great opportunities to play with reflections and the contrast of the dark caves.

D70 6812 Shadows and Reflections

When you have a bunch of great models who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the photos…well, the possibilities are practically endless.

Much more to come from this shoot. It was a great day. Stay tuned…

D70 6775 Shadows and Reflections

available light, Ayn, Claudine, figure in nature, nude, Starved Rock | 7 Comments | Trackback

About this Blog

Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

All photographs and written comments on this blog are protected by the copyright laws of the United States.


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