Rewind: Weezy F2.8 Baby

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Hip-hop artist Lil Wayne headlines the America’s Most Wanted Festival at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, Ill., Saturday, August 10, 2013.

In honor of hop-hop artist Lil Wayne’s triumphant Chicago-area return tomorrow to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, I dug out this set that I shot almost a year ago to the day at the same venue for the Chicago Sun-Times. As with most concerts, I was given the first three songs to get whatever I could of the spectacle before being whisked back to the venue gates by Live Nation reps. Due to a communication breakdown with the aforementioned reps, however, I only got escorted to my shooting position at front of house (the sound and lighting board control area) about 20 seconds before Lil Wayne began his set, leading to me juggling lenses and extenders in the pitch darkness as the audience screamed into the humid air around me.

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Wet Plate Journey

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Bronwyn Coffeen and John David Mercer pose for a wet plate collodion portrait on their wedding day in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, July 19, 2014. The 8×10 tintype image was produced using a vintage 1896 view camera with an 1880 brass petzval lens.

The technical journey photography has taken me on over the past twenty years has been nothing short of remarkable. I’ve gone from shooting 35mm film on a Canon AE-1 for the Block Jr. High yearbook, to shooting on my first digital camera in high school that had a whopping 1/3 megapixel (yes, one-third of one megapixel) resolution, to clacking away at ten frames-per-second on the latest Canon 1-series digital bodies. While digital technology has allowed me to obtain images that would have been impossible to capture as cleanly on any other format, there’s something about the digital workflow that lacks soul. I can’t hold 1′s and 0′s in my hand. I can’t accidentally drop and scratch a .jpeg file. I can’t smell a histogram.

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A Summer Goal

01_lightning_070214Lightning strikes the Willis Tower following a severe thunderstorm as seen from Solidarity Drive, Monday, June 30, 2014.

When I first captured lightning striking the antennae of Chicago’s Willis (Sears) Tower late in the season last September, I immediately made it a goal to capture that image again, but from a cleaner angle and with a cleaner lens!

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Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Tips And Tricks on July 2nd, 2014. No Comments.

Collodion Decanting Rig

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A collodion decanting rig facilitates removing collodion from a bottle without removing the sediment which settles to the bottom as the collodion clears.

In my seven months practicing wet plate collodion photography, I’ve continually struggled with a way to remove the collodion from the bottle I prepare it in without including any of the sediment which settles to the bottom as it clears. Of course, it’s critical that none of this sediment ends up in the collodion you plan on using on your plates, because it causes all sorts of contamination issues with your images and chemistry.

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