There will be a Part III, which is an interview with Alla Tsank on how she evaluates photography and she is one of two judges for the Festival, so her insight is informative.
I will cover some images today. I used two extreme lenses this year. I did some pano's with a 600mm, I stitched a 15 image pano of the SF skyline, but it locked up my computer, ran out of memory when it hit 8.9gigs. I'll keep working on it so stay tuned. The other lens was a 24/1.4 which I forced myself to shoot wide open(1.4) as much as possible. I have started doing this one lens thing, forcing myself to think more about the image and less about the tool. I find the thought process interesting, and realize you can get caught up with lens fog, forget about the imagination. When I first started photography, I had a Yashica TL Super with a 50mm lens and I used it for everything since I had no other lenses. Captured some great images, and my favorite image of all time. It is my favorite not because it is so wonderful, but because I was so taken with it when I saw it, I can still recall the thrill of seeing it. Never had that intense a feeling again about an image. It was a landscape of the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma, the light was low and to the right, and the image of mountains and lake looked like a painting with the wind blowing small waves on the lake.
I knew nothing about photography, did mostly black and white not because of interest but I was in the Army and could not afford color, and a darkroom was available on the base, so I processed the my film in the darkroom to save money. I rarely shot color, and on this occasion I did, saw the slide, and began a quest to figure out why it looked so great. Ah, my discovery of light, been on that quest ever since. Later, I bought my first "second" lens a Soligar 180mm, thought it was huge, and loved it for the compression.
Back to the single lens thing. I think it is a good idea to periodically use only one lens, especially if it is a new lens. Take it out, put it through your paces, see where it works, stretch its utility, makes you a better photographer, and is much more useful than simply reading a review and assuming you know how to use. Personally, I like lenses that create strong blur, Zeiss 100/f2, Nikon 200/f2, 24/1.4, 85/1.4, all these lenses have a special look much like my old M6 did with the leica lenses. In a recent blog, the images at Point Lobos were all taken with a 100mm/f2, at 2. If you are going to Europe, Africa, Alaska, or some other place on that scale, take everything you can carry, but for your near home shoots, places you like to go, take one lens, spend a day with it, get an intuitive feel for its potential. The lack of complication you will enjoy, and the creative stretch is also fun. Try it.
So the Art Festival is not a great setting for photography mainly because of the light. It is normally sunny, sun high in the sky, and everything is blown out. See last years photos, really had to stretch to get something decent. This year my real focus was getting the interviews for my podcast, getting some insight into the photographers that get accepted, the way they thing, tools they use, places they shoot, imagination they employ. So, image capture was secondary, but I did use the single lens thing with the 24 at the Festival and the 600 in the evening. The first was with the 600 of two sail boats on the bay. Not complex, but I liked the black and white version toning it down.
Next two are of the festival, with the 24, my excuse is the light, but the real reason, I just was more interested in the music than dealing with strong sunlight. Not a good attitude but true.
The above guy was the victim of bad wine and sunlight with loud music, knocks everyone out.
I sort of liked this shot, saw it, took maybe 5 and liked this one the best. Would have liked more people close in but they were either on top of me where you could not see anything or too far away. I set the magazine up with the cup, should have use a wine glass. Finally, here is an image of Alcatraz with a sailboat, lighthouse light, all compressed with the 600 through some fog. Not really a keeper but fun trying to catch that light in the lighthouse. I can focus on small things, once spent hours in Bermuda watching a lizard stalk and eat ants, it was like wild kingdom to me. My wife almost called the house doctor.
I have posted the interview with Cali Hobgood-Lemme already, but for those who missed it, she is the photographer who won "Best in Show" for photography as well as overall artist. Quite an accomplishment for a photographer competing with 274 other artists. Her photography can be found at photographsbycali.com, and I will embed the audio again in this blog or you can click on it in the sidebar. She is quite interesting and her work is very unusual.