The Reel Deal

And speaking of vintage technology…. with the lightbox setup already in place, I figured there were some other vintage tech items to photograph.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

I’d recently purchased a 16mm film reel from Urban Ore as a prop. So I tried a few of the yellow/blue polarizing filter shtick like with the cassettes.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

The effect isn’t as dramatic, because there isn’t enough of the clear plastic to do the rainbow effect. But I did like the general hues given the background.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

I also really like the plain pattern of the film with the backlight peeking through and the slight curve of the lines.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

I also had a good time playing around with the film leader.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

Unfortunately, my light table is too small to show the entire reel.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

Dropping a color gel behind the setup added a bit of drama.

16mm Movie Reel

Looking at some of these, I thought they might work well as book covers, so I made up a simple mock book jacket as a sample of how I think these images could be used.

This Week in Stalking Google….

It’s been awhile since my last posting. One of the snags I ran into involves some Microsoft products, I subscribed to Office 365 for the promised unlimited storage only to find the limit was 1tb. I had switched to using MS Word to write these and other posts. I was also in the process of digitizing my slide library which is stuck where I left off when I couldn’t upload anymore.

Google Self Driving Car (Michael Halberstadt)
Google Self Driving Car (Michael Halberstadt)

In any case, it’s more of the same. I’ve been stalking Google, especially their self driving cars. There seems to be a lot of interest in the editorial market for such photos. Following a few news stories I figured out where the Google X labs are and how to find the self driving cars. I’ve contacted the press agents for both Stanford and Audi trying to get official access to their self driving car projects, but didn’t get the answer I was hoping for. Think I’ll have to stalk them too. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my crappy videos I made as well.

Turns out Google has a presence I didn’t know about here in my fair town of Alameda too. One of their X projects is an “energy kite” that blows around in the wind and gathers electricity. Google bought out Makani out on the old Naval Air Station. At one point heading back from Rockwall, we saw one of the kites out on a mast being worked on.

Makani, Alameda (Michael Halberstadt)
Makani, Alameda (Michael Halberstadt)

I’ve been trying to combine shticks and raised the pole up a few more places including Ebay in San Jose (right on the Campbell border). I spent an afternoon walking around downtown San Jose and the SJSU campus with the pole as well.

Ebay Campus in San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Ebay Campus in San Jose, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Via a stock request site there was a flurry of requests for Monterey. I was working down there anyhow not too long ago, and made a second trip to try my hand at a stock video request. As it has been slow recently I’ve also been going through old video clips and cleaning them up and uploading to YouTube. My video experience is pretty limited, but I’m amazed at the technical quality that one can get with a tiny off the shelf mirrorless camera.

I went up to the Mormon Temple in Oakland on a particularly clear day. And after some rare cloud and rain action, I returned the next evening. Got some good San Francisco, Oakland cityscapes. I’d known about the location for some time but forgot how wonderful the view can be. And for Oakland it’s a safe place and apparently they are photo friendly there.

Mormon Temple, Oakland, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Mormon Temple, Oakland, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

There was a request I read about looking for stock photos of the Pacific Heritage Museum. I opted to take BART and combine a few projects. I also have a client that advocates for regional planning and public transport. I had already spent an afternoon shooting stock video and stills of the Oakland Airport Bart extension. But this time I opted to drive down to San Leandro, park (for free) and use my virgin Clipper Card to BART into the City.

BART, Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
BART, Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

I was really surprised how much I liked downtown San Leandro. It’s an old blue collar Catholic suburb south of Oakland. After finding a good all day parking spot about five minutes walk from the BART station I came across the Casa Peralta. It’s the once grand house of a family that had the Spanish land grant. The building has a funky aesthetic, lots of custom Spanish tiles portraying Spanish history. Many of them are broken. But the thing I was especially impressed by, is that it’s neither all spruced up, nor completely dilapidated.

 (M Halberstadt/Urbantexture.com, Michael Halberstadt, M Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Vandalized interior of Oakland’s Historic 16th Street Train station /Michael Halberstadt, M Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)

That’s to say, so many cities that aren’t that rich in history are making these little footnotes of architectural heritage into a centerpiece that’s been all glammed up. Or on the opposite end of that spectrum, cities with big crime problems have these great architectural gems that have been not only neglected but purposefully abused. As an example I drove past the old train station in Oakland the other day, passing the historic 16th Street Station vandalized and covered in graffiti. Casa Peralta stood proudly middle class between those two extremes.

Casa Peralta, San Leandro, CA (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)
Casa Peralta, San Leandro, CA (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)

Funny thing was when I got to the Pacific Heritage Museum, it was in the middle of changing out exhibits. The walls were empty. It’s kind of an interesting space, rich in history. But I think I can mark this down as a fail. I also walked over to the Wells Fargo History Museum and took some photos.

Pacific Heritage Museum, San Francisco, California (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)
Pacific Heritage Museum, San Francisco, California (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)

The most likely success of that day was the photos of the interior of the Ferry Terminal. That’s still a popular subject. The little mirrorless camera thing has greatly improved what I can do in such circumstances. Years ago I photographed from the same vantage points with my Canon 5d. One of those photos managed to get in a National Geographic publication, which sounds alot more interesting than it was. Thing is without a tripod I couldn’t get some of the shots I was looking for. With this little camera, I have a little bean bag that I can rest on things like the railing and make long exposures and video.

 (M Halberstadt/Urbantexture.com, Michael Halberstadt)
(M Halberstadt/Urbantexture.com, Michael Halberstadt)

In the tear sheets department, I’ve noticed something curious. The tiny amount of medium format film photos from a vacation I took to New Orleans in 1999 have been surprisingly successful. The same photo that was licensed for a Dutch translation of RJ Ellory’s “A Quiet Vendetta”, I just found being used as the cover for the York notes guide to Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Screenshot (94) Streetcar named desire tear sheet

Once again, none of this is in chronological order. The contents are as I remember things and may not be accurate. Read at your own risk.

Book Cover Concept: Girl with Bike

Girl with Bicycle Book Cover Concept (Michael Halberstadt)
Girl with Bicycle Book Cover Concept (Michael Halberstadt)

One of the sources for image requests I subscribe to was looking for a photo of a girl with a bike. They had a sample photo that looked promising: it was that of a girl, face not visible and a black English three speed bike almost identical to the one I had in storage. They wanted it to look like spring. The sample photo also showed blue skies and a patch of green sorrel in the foreground- something easily found at the park near me. As it happens I have a girl (my lovely 12 year old daughter Ella.) The request called for spring dresses, something Ella didn’t have, but my wife Bridget sent out an email to friends for said garments (ironically several of the mothers in our group wear the same size as my 12 y/o daughter!) And within a few hours we had a selection of spring dresses. Regrettably my seemingly perfect bike in storage turned out to be unacceptably rusty. I’ll have to have it fixed up, it’s my all time favorite bike. Fortunately I had yet another similar bike- a modern copy of a Dutch bike (made in Taiwan for what it’s worth.) Bridget did a little art directing, I think the photos turned out pretty well. We’ll see what happens!