Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Interlude: Great Smoky Mountains, Day Three

Posted in art, awareness, family, Jason Gray, learning, links, photography, science, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 13, 2016

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By Day Three, my morning ritual of waking up to a rooster distantly crowing (I must say, much more pleasant than an alarm clock) and getting the coffee started was firmly in play.  My cold still lingered, but the medicine that we picked up on our way back from Newfound Gap was working well, and I was looking forward to a relaxing day in the “big” city.

If you’ve never been to Gatlinburg, it is a real treat.  For those of you readers familiar with Branson, Missouri, it is sort of like that, on steroids, in the mountains….  As much as I thought I might scoff at this town (due to its unabashed pandering to the wallets of travelers), I actually really enjoyed it.

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Interlude: Mississippi River Flood, Winter 2015-2016

Posted in art, awareness, F-Stop Gear, Jason Gray, learning, manual focus, photography, prime lenses, science, winter by Jason Gray on June 10, 2016

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This Interlude is a catch-up on some work that I did after the historic flood of last winter.

From The Weather Channel website:

The Mississippi River at St. Louis crested New Year’s Day at its third highest level on record (42.58 feet), less than a foot shy of its April 28, 1973 flood crest (43.23 feet), but well short of the record 1993 crest (49.58 feet). 

The St. Louis flood wall, as well as the Metro East St. Louis and Fish Lake levees protect the area to a river stage of 54 feet, which is 4.4 feet above the 1993 record crest. The river’s fast currents and high levels prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to shut down a five-mile section of the river to navigation near St. Louis.

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Shutter Speed

Posted in 35mm, art, family, Jason Gray, learning, links, perception, photography, science, technique, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on May 21, 2016

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A beginner’s guide to shutter speed.

What is shutter speed?

When the photographer aims the camera at something and takes a picture, he or she is making an exposure.  An exposure is the net result of a combination of several mechanical, chemical or electronic factors working together in unison.

An exposure fixes an image in time, and can be considered “proper”, “under-“ (meaning too dark), or “over-“ (meaning too bright).

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the three primary adjustments that affect exposure.  In a proper exposure, a change to any single one of these will necessitate an equal and opposite change in at least one of the others.  This truth is known as equivalency.

The simplest definition of shutter speed is that it is the length of time that light is allowed to enter into a light-tight box (known as a camera) in order to produce an exposure.

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General

Aperture

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A beginner’s guide to aperture.

What is aperture?

When the photographer aims the camera at something and takes a picture, he or she is making an exposure.  An exposure is the net result of a combination of several mechanical, chemical or electronic factors working together in unison.

An exposure fixes an image in time, and can be considered “proper”, “under-“ (meaning too dark), or “over-“ (meaning too bright).

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the three primary adjustments that affect exposure.  In a proper exposure, a change to any single one of these will necessitate an equal and opposite change in at least one of the others.  This truth is known as equivalency.

The simplest definition of aperture is that it is the opening in an otherwise light-tight box (known as a camera) that allows in light to enable exposure.

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College For Kids, part 1

Posted in art, black and white, film, learning, photography, science, technique by Jason Gray on August 24, 2014

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For two weeks at the beginning of August, St. Louis Community College at Meramec was transformed into the College for Kids. Offering K-8 classes for gifted students, the courses ranged dramatically from chess instruction to animal demonstrations. As far as I could tell, I was the only educator representing photography this year, which explained the roughly 64 kids that came through my classroom. My three classes were Alternative Photography (1st week), Funography (2nd week), and The Photographic Series (2nd week). The experience was completely exhausting, but fun nonetheless.

Results after the jump–> (more…)

St. Louis Camera Club and the Camera Club Council of St. Louis

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cover of St. Louis Camera Club newsletter from 1945

By the time of Thomas Easterly‘s death in 1882, St. Louis had burgeoned as an important center of portrait photography in America. It’s no surprise then that soon thereafter, an organization would be formed that would unite picture makers in and around the city. By most estimates, the St. Louis Camera Club was established before 1892 as a community for photographers (to interact, have their work critiqued, participate in exhibitions, and partake in expeditions afield); this is a tradition that caries through to today. (more…)

St. Louis and the History of Photography

Posted in art, awareness, black and white, film, learning, photography, science, technique by Jason Gray on January 23, 2013

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St. Louis is a city rich in history, which locals are proud to espouse. However, most residents are not aware that the city’s relationship with photography dates back almost to the beginning of the medium, and that Mound City photographers have contributed a great deal to its growth. From expeditionary visits from famous photographic artists, to internationally recognized, local camera clubs, to picture documentation firsts, St. Louis has a lot to say “cheese” about. With this year’s relocation of the International Photography Hall of Fame to our downtown, I figured that it was high-time we took a multi-part look back at this proud heritage.

1. Thomas Martin Easterly

2. St. Louis Camera Club and the Camera Club Council of St. Louis

3. Ansel Adams in St. Louis

4. The Kids Are Alright: Anna Kuperberg and Lewis Hine

Flaws of Perception

Posted in art, awareness, black and white, perception, photography, psychology, science, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on March 3, 2012

Some would argue that human beings are essentially social creatures. However, while socialization is undoubtedly intrinsic to human cohabitation, it is an internalized motivation to distinguish oneself from “others” (people, businesses, the environment, etc.) that drives modern civilization and distinguishes humanity from most of the rest of the natural world. As early as six months of age, human beings exhibit a behavior known as the “Other-Race Effect”, or ORE, which can be summarized as the diminished capability of a person to recognize faces from races not one’s own.* Flaws involving facial recognition between humans of different races have been observed and hypothesized about since 1914**; is it possible that humanity’s tendency toward elevating itself above other things is a relatable feature? What about in art, could the misrepresentations of one race/sex by another be an extension of this inherent problem of the mind with perception?

Annie Leibovitz; Pocahontas (from Disney Dream Portrait Series), 2008

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Mimetic Imagery

Posted in art, photography, psychology, science by Jason Gray on February 5, 2009

 

“The results reported here offer empirical support for this general hypothesis and specify three particular processes that can be found in imagery, namely Figural, Symbolic and Mimetic.  In the Figural Process an image descriptively depicts the scene or object referred to by the stimulus word.  In the Symbolic Process an image illustrates (stands for or symbolizes) the concept communicated by the stimulus word.  In the Mimetic Process an image is constituted of the envisioning and/or enacting of a human experience or behavior suggested by the stimulus word.” (17) 

From “Definition and Measurement of Three Processes of Imagery Representation: Exploratory Studies of Verbally Stimulated Imagery” A study by Mary Marks, Desmond Cartwright, and John Durrett, Jr; 1978, for the Institute For the Study of Intellectual Behavior.

 


The above quote was the general findings observed in the scientific study conducted by Marks, Cartwright and Durrett, Jr. to determine how mental imagery is stimulated by different words and word sets, and how connotation affects the response.  They tested their hypothesis by constructing tests designed to (more…)