Saturday

Passport to My Neighborhood - Loosing a Friend




When last year I posted about a grove of California Buckeye Chestnut trees I accidentally discovered in 2013 and how this small piece of land, one square acre among the fields of vineyards, felt like stepping back to when Pterosaurs’ ruled the sky and Dinosaurs roamed the landscape. So when the opportunity arose last weekend I returned for a visit to observe the seasonal changes of a magical plot of land I had been in love with and to see my friend.




Walking softly on new ground cover soaked in the night’s dew which loomed amidst last autumn leaves thickly covering the ground, I made my way past low hanging branches and those that had fallen and scattered throughout the place. 



The Nature Conservatory Lyman Memorial marker





Even though the trees still had no new growth, it was still a mysterious and magical place as when I was here the first time. Momentarily patches of golden light dappled the ground with warm golden sunlight which had broken through the mist still lingered amid the trees.







I had returned not only to see the changes but also stand before a majestic California oak tree I called my friend. It may be hard for some to understand that I call a tree my friend.



My friend, the majestic California Oak tree


As I make my way through the random maze of trees, I came to stand before the great one, only to discover, he no longer stood proud and tall, reaching for the sky. 










Now before me lay the fragmented pieces of what is left of the trees upper right side that shattered upon impact with the ground. Even now, the remains gracefully lay in an abstract pattern amidst other fallen pieces, creating an incomplete maze. I take a few more pictures, as if documenting a crime scene. 












Though very saddened at the loss of my friend, who much older then myself, for had seen the valley’s fields around him cleared of trees and rock, and replaced with countless rows of grapes for wine. 


Soon I shall return to sit among the fallen limbs and branches and let time pass slowly, listen to nature.



All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved








Wednesday

The Markham Vineyards’ iPhone Exhibit




I am please to announce that I am taking part in the Pixels iPhone exhibit, along with sixty other entrees, being held at the Markham Gallery, located within the Markham Winery,  St. Helena. There will be an artists’ reception on Saturday, April 18, 1 PM, with many artists’ coming from various parts of Europe and America. The exhibit will be up from January 17 thru the end of December, 2015.


    


    

Preparations underway at the Markham Winery’s Gallery


In preparations for the exhibit, Knox Bronson, iPhoneographer and curator of Pixels at an Exhibition website, has been working endless hours since learning of this wonderful opportunity only three weeks ago, which was brought about through Baron Wolman intervention. In less than two days all available exhibit slots were spoken for, once Knox announced  Call for Art .


Before the agreed date of arriving with the art works, Knox had been working endless hours bringing it all together, so that last week Candace Nirvana, Marie Smith, and myself have been helping with matting and framing the art. On Saturday, the day hanging the show, Heather from Markham Vineyards, along with Yoni Mayeri joined us assisting to hang the show.



The Markham Wiinery


Should you find yourself in Northern California, please consider stopping by and do not forget to also check out some of the wonderful wines offered at the Markham Vineyards, which was established in 1879.


Markham Vineyards website
2812 Saint Helena North Highway, 
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-5292

Pixels at an Exhibition website



All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved








First Friday of the Month - Toronto HipstaPak


After uploading the Toronto Hipstapak to the Hipstamatic Classic camera and shooting my first handful of images, I reacted to the results of what I was seeing, no different then The Kingston Trio 1958 lyrics Tom Dooley; “Hang down your head Tom Dooley, Hang down your head and cry.” But judging a book by its cover without further investigating it’s content, will mean that we will never discover a treasure that is hidden within. 



Toronto combo: Le Allan lens with Queen West





While we certainly were given more with the Toronto Hipstapak then just a lens and film, with an additional three new flashes with geometric patterns, it was the Queen West film I was disappointed in when combined with the lens it was paired with. Many of the Hipstamatic community mobile photographers were waiting very long for a Black & White film, I cannot help but wonder if this is what they wished, a washed out Black & White film that has too many similarities to another HipstaPak, The District combo. The similarity to The District combo is a washed-out Black & White but the difference is that The District has a blueish duotone and the Toronto does not, but this is where my disappointment ends.









All image above are Le Allan lens with Queen West


I also discovered that the Le Allan lens with Queen West film produces a special effect that is subtle but still noticeable. I’m referring to the double exposure effect that acts like the Tinto 1884 or Sergio lens, by being only evident in the outer circumference of the area that remains unaffected, as you can see in the following images.



See upper left, lower left and right where it more noticeable 




Upper left store window and shadow of car, including rear bumper




Telephone pole and roof of building


When the Queen West film is paired with other lenses, like Lowy or Helga Viking, we have a beautiful Black & White image with no side effects. Matter-a-fact, most lenses combined with Queen West are a good combination with moderate style differences between them, which we expect.



Non-Hipstamatic image converted in Oggl to show
Queen West paired with Lowy lens


It is the Le Allan lens that produces the faded tones and when combined with other films in the Hipstamatic collection, we are in for a pleasant surprise. With the Rasputin film the lens produces a nice faded warm tone, representing an old photograph. The Le Allan lens is also very good when paired with the C-Type film, Blanko BL4, or Uchitel 20, as with about 30 other films of the 50 that are currently available.



Non-Hipstamatic image converted in Oggl to show
C-Type Color film paired with Le Allan lens


The three flashes, Spiro Gel; Cubic Gel; and Triad Gel create geometric patterns when used to capture the image. Of the three, two, the Cubic and Triad Gel randomly rotate when applied. 



Le Allan lens with Queen West without flash




Le Allan lens with Queen West with Cubic Gel flash




Le Allan lens with Queen West with Spiro Gel flash




Le Allan lens with Queen West with Triad Gel flash


These three flashes with their geometric treatment will work for those into special effects, as for me personally, they are no more then a gimmick. 




          Final thoughts

Both the lens and film from the Toronto Hipstapak are worth considering, when paired with other lenses and films. As to the three geometric flashes that are included in the HipstaPak, I can only say that some will like them and others not.


Bottom line, if you desire a lens that produces washed-out tones and a film with good Black & White contrast, then the Toronto combo is a good investment.


   


   

Le Allan lens with Queen West



          Notes

All photographs were taken with the Classic Hipstamatic Camera and there was NO post processing was applied to any of the images featured in this review.





All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved









Saturday

Another Path and No New Years Resolution


At my age, a New Year Resolutions has little meaning and really serves no purpose than an act of amusement. Resolutions tend to limit ones broader vision into a narrow one, for one sees the goal as a single path to achieving it and being blind to the road less traveled offering other possibilities that lead to the same conclusion. 


Resolutions are merely sets of goals we hope to achieve before the end of a year and unfortunately most resolutions are created in haste with little regard to the success in attaining it, therefore most fail before having even reached mid-year.


As an alternative, consider living each day with open eyes and arms, embracing what life offers and to live each day to the fullest, for once the day is gone, it is gone.



Magical Forest


If you would like me to suggest a New Years Resolution, here it is. To remain true to ones creative belief and vision.


It is imperative for creative individuals not to loose sight of ones creative direction, yet at the same time it is also very important to remain open to new ideas. For incorporating a different concept with ones’s vision does reveal artistic growth, but one must first explore the various possibilities and how they can be incorporated in ones current work before embarking on a new path and discarding one’s belief and vision.



All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S or 5S by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved








First Friday of the Month - Oakland HipstaPak



Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film


After making my purchase of the Oakland HipstaPak and taking my first picture, there was a long silence. While my first reaction was sadness, I still went on a 3½ hour trip, taking a number of photographs with the new combo pack.


I wished I had the same weather conditions as the previous day, I accepted a most cloudy day, with a rare moment in which the sun crept through the cloud layer for a brief moment. While shooting with the Oakland HipstaPak, had a quick look from time to time at my camera roll, only to feel disappointed by the results with the Jack London lens and Telegraph film. For it appears once again Hipstamatic has released another HipstaPak which is nothing more than a cyan color filter we already available find in many other applications like VSCOcam, AFilter, and many other applications.






Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film


When I look at Oakland and Yosemite HiptaPak and compare the two, there is little difference between them. There is also no difference when using Helga Viking of Jack London lens, when compared with the Telegraph film. Now to be fair, lenses are usually the weaker part of a HipstaPak and films achieve a greater range when the lens is combined with other films. No other lens then the Lowy stood out as being acceptable for the Telegraph film.



Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film



Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

You can see the rosy color shift with the Oakland HipstaPak


Before I had ventured out to test the Oakland HipstaPak combo, I normally do a primarily a test using Oggl, by selecting other lenses and films in combination with a new HipstaPak, but that was not possible this time, as our Internet was down, so all photographs taken were with the Oakland HipstaPak on an iPhone 5S.



Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Again notice the rose-pink color shift on the white walls










Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film


Once back home I had a hard look at all the image, then had a quick look using Oggle with a non-Hipstamatic photograph to see how the image converts when applying a lens or film from the Oakland HipstaPak with another film/lens combination.


After testing the Jack London lens with all other films, my findings is that the lens renders all films mostly accurately, as if one were using the Lowy lens, just that Jack London also slightly lightens all images, resulting in faded colors, Lowy does not do this.



Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: camera - PureShot, normal

Look at how Oakland renders the building and sky with the Oakland HipstaPak
when compared with a non-Hipstamatic photograph rendering the image normal




Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

Notice the shifting of the colors brought on by the bluish-rose tone




Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: camera - 6x6, normal


As for the film Telegraph, it too was disappointing as its lens, Jack London. Now last month the Dalston HipstaPak with the Hackney film, produced a large range of variations when combined with other lenses and therefore made the Dalston HiptaPak a better purchase.



Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film




Top left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Top right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film
Bottom image: camera - PureShot, rendering the colors normal




Top left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Top right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

Please look at  the clouds and how they are rendered and look
unnatural especially how the colors shift from one tone to another.

_____



          Final thoughts

I do not like having to say a product is not worthy of your attention and money as in this case, and while these words are my personal opinion, I have done my very best to remain objective.


Several times before I stated that Hipstamatic is intellectually adrift, having lost their creative edge. While they could not continue down the road developing anomalies of special effects as in earlier years, they had to make a change, unfortunately what they produced in 2014 remains mostly uneventful.


Recently Hipstamatic reached out to the Hipsta-Community and asked for suggestions, all I can recommend is that Hipstamatic has a look at the history of photography and the photographers, their equipment and methods for inspiration. I wish Hipstamatic to succeed. I hope that 2015 will find the year the crew will find its creative vision and regain the trust with its customers. 



All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved








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