Peace Village of The North

North Korea from the DMZ

I took a day trip to the DMZ which is the 2.5 mile (heavily fortified) buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea. It was cold, windy, and pouring rain. It just felt like a bad place. The village in the distance is called Kijong-dong or “Peace Village” but our American GI tour guides told us everyone calls it propaganda village. There’s actually no one living in the village. It’s just made to look like a bustling and modern city to entice South Koreans to defect to the North. Most of the larger buildings are hollow on the inside. They GIs could tell because the lighting faded from the top floors to the bottom. Smoke and mirrors…

Side Note: I shot this with my Lomo on Kodak Portra 400 because my 5D Mark II got soaked and stopped working a few hours into the tour. Doh!

Flight (Diptych)

I’ve been looking at these two photos for a while now and thought I would post them separately. They are some of my favorite shots from our trip to London last fall. I  was trying to decide which one I liked better and kept flipping back and forth between the two. Then I put them side by side and that’s when it hit me that they worked great together as a diptych. I’m not a master at diptychs, but I really like them. I don’t usually put black & white shots side by side with color, but I like the context of the two. Reminds me of our time traveling through Europe.

If you click on the image, it will enlarge to fill your screen.

Lady in Blue Walking Through

One thing that is nice about shooting film, (Kodak Portra 400 in this instance) is that it is what it is. With digital, especially RAW files, you have to always tweak something. Add a little contrast, desaturate the reds, add clarity, etc. etc. True, you can tweak film scans, but the basic color and tonal range is more there than a RAW file is right out the camera. Plus, shooting with that little Lomo, it just does magical things with the focus.

I shot this a week or so at the Portland Japanese Garden. Amazing place… highly recommend it if you’re visiting or haven’t gone before. Spring time is coming up and the blooms are quite beautiful here.

The Curved Staircase #1 & #2

We took the Metro to the Louvre, so I didn’t see this entrance staircase until I was leaving. It’s really a pretty incredible feat of engineering. The spiral staircase floats around a column that doubles as an elevator and connects the outside courtyard to the belly of the museum. Definitely go in this way if you ever go to the Louvre.

Looking Through the Pyramid

I finally got to visit the Louvre on our most recent trip to Paris. The museum is huge and holds an incredible collection of art, I barely scratched the surface of what’s there. I did get to see some of the famous works including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory of Samothrace. Seeing those was quite an experience on their own.

This shot is from inside looking through the Louvre Pyramid. A trick I learned from shooting with my iPhone is that you can put small camera lenses in places you don’t normally go with bigger cameras. I literally stuck the lens right under the base point of the Pyramid and shot upwards.

These next few blog post will highlight some of my favorite shots I took on my afternoon there. All these shots were taking with my Lomo. And don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed if you want to keep up with the blog from the comfort of your own RSS Reader.

Lomo and Me

An interesting feeling happened to me while I was in Paris. It’s a little hard to describe, but I just wasn’t feeling my camera. I was enjoying being there and the first day or two I had fun shooting. But very quickly, I realized I wasn’t enjoying lugging around a body and three pro lenses (or about $6000 worth of gear) all day. I wanted to lighten up. Take it easy. Relax…. I needed something simple. Plus, my 5D MK II is the camera I use for “work” and I was trying to be creative in a non “work” kind of way.

In researching where we were staying, I discovered that a Lomography Store was only a few blocks away from our rental apartment in the Marais. Lomography Stores sell all kinds of toy cameras including Holgas and Lomos. I have a Holga, but was never that stoked on it. It’s a little too toyish for my tastes. I like cameras that don’t have light leaks 😉

I had read about the Lomo LC-A+ a long time ago and really wanted one. They’re not too hard to find, but I never wanted one at the same time that I could buy one easily. Walking in to the Lomography Store, the right impulse buy happened at the right time and I knew this was the camera I wanted to shoot for the rest of my trip.

This camera is pretty basic and it’s not fussy at all. It’s really fun to shoot. One of the funnier things about shooting film again is every so often, I’d catch myself chimping after I clicked the shutter. Old habits die hard.

Anyway, these next couple Ides of May posts will be all Lomo and all film. Thanks for looking.