Photography: Playtime

February 27, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

     I'm a huge fan of Sacramento photographer Tim Engle. As our mutual friend social media exemplar Thomas Dodson likes to point out, Tim doesn't just talk about it, he actually does it all.

     Whether for his clients or for the photographer-fans he mentors through his Meetup group Click Monkeys, Tim demonstrates a versatility and energy for photography that is exceeded only by his enthusiasm for sharing. And he makes it all look so easy. How does he do that?

     Part of it, of course, gets to years of experience, of having done a lot and made more than a few mistakes along the way. The other part, equally important, is an ongoing excitement about the act of photography, and an interest in experimenting and playing, and just seeing what comes out in the end.

     At this point in his career, Tim has some photo playtime advantages not available to all of us - among them, a fine studio, and a seemingly infinite lineup of beautiful young models who are eager to be photographed by him. It's always fun to see his latest work, the moods and madness his creative brain has conjured up.

     Participating in his workshops is an excellent way to catch the creative spirit. But that doesn't mean any of us must wait for an event to exercise the photographic muscles.

     Personally, I have two studios and a variety of sets. There's the garage, where I can open the main door and turn the whole place into one huge lightbox. Then there's the card table in my office. Enhancing sidelight from a glass door makes it the ideal spot for shooting food. Add a speedlight and I've created a  most satisfactory product display set.

     The fact is it doesn't take much to create interesting photographic venues in a variety of locations, all scant seconds from my desk.

     All that's lacking is a model. I was pondering this challenge earlier this week, when I suddenly realized I have a most interesting model right at hand. It is a circa 1920 Model 1 Remington portable manual typewriter. The first such ever made.

     According to the Wall Street Journal, vintage typewriters are suddenly all the rage. Ergo, the perfect model.

     And so my Remington and I spent a fascinating afternoon together. I cleaned off my oak desk - the perfect vintage background - and shot the old machine with four lenses and a variety of lighting set-ups. I tried to see what I could do with shadows, with a macro lens, with the reflections of keys on the shiny metal typewriter body. Two hours flew by in a nanosecond.

     I had such fun. I learned a few things. Among them, when I viewed the images I learned I had not exhausted all the possibilities, and I hadn't quite captured the machine as I had hoped. So it could be Model 1 and I are in for some more fun times.

     Because I also learned what every child already knows - the best way to learn is to play.

 

Remington Model 1

    

 


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