Monthly Archives: August 2013

Photographic Difficulties at the MCA

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO.

MCA Entry

Another one of the notable works of architecture in Colorado, David Adjaye’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is most definitely on my list of favorite architectural works. It is incredibly difficult to describe what makes the building so unique and beautiful, and is even harder to photograph. In person, the building has this great sectional quality where different areas look down to different things, and little nooks have hidden views, and natural daylight permeates through the black glass box. The building is small and rather simple, but at the same time is somehow complex…? Now, I know what you’re thinking:

“Way to go, idiot. What the hell does that even mean? Simple but complex? You think saying contradictory things makes you sound smart?”

Yes, but I have proof of what I’m talking about. Here is a series of photos of essentially the same space from different angles:

interior 1

Can you kinda see what I’m referring to? Even though the above images are all of the atrium-like core space, they each show something almost completely different.

interior 2

Above is the same space shown from the basement level. I suppose I mostly feel as though all of the images I captured are simply mediocre. BUT… when combined…. they create a SERIES of mediocre images!

Wow.

interior 3

Okay. Dumb jokes aside, this is a really nice building. I don’t understand art, but they have it here. So you could look at that. But, honestly, if you went just to see the building you would not be disappointed. There is even a bar on the roof terrace that over looks part of the city. It really is an awesome place that was just really difficult for me to capture in photographs. In fact, my most favorite image from the trip was this one:

Chair

Yep. It is just a chair.

colorado photos

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Light Painting in a Haunted House

Light painting is one of the most fun things you can do with your DSLR, and it is one of my favorites. I usually like to have a small army of helpers carrying different sized flashlights to draw and outline different things. But, when bored, you can set the camera timer, grab a light, and go to town!

OH!

If you’ve never done light painting before, it is very easy to do. All you need is a reasonably dark space, and then you just have to set your camera up for a very long exposure, place the camera on a sturdy tripod, and then draw in mid-air! There are no real rules when light painting, but the best results come from experimentation.

sister 1

This image of my little sister was made using the light-up portion of the toy from the post about the concrete iron man head. Because my eye-sight isn’t so great, I accidentally focused on the wall behind her instead of her face. The key to this type of photo is making sure that the subject stands absolutely still.

Omars in the hall

I don’t know what the technical name for this type of photo is, but I like to call it “ghosting”. Using my old DSLR, I use the flash-based focus system to essential take selfies of myself in different locations of the hall while my other DSLR is capturing the image over about 30 seconds.

Omars in the bathroom

The trick to ghosting properly is to try not to overlap the locations in which you shine the flash on yourself. It does still look very cool when the multiples of the same person overlap, but it can get very messy very easily. I’d really love to do some more ghosting with a larger group of people.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call the Ghost Busters…

Design Work

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Rooftops and Randoms

My grandma is in town visiting from Texas and, though she’s lived in Colorado longer than I ever have, she still likes to visit all the popular tourist spots. So, while visiting Pearl Street in Boulder, I brought along my camera to capture some precious memories (<-that’s lame). When the camera wasn’t pointed at my family, it was pointed toward the sky.

roof detail 1

Sometimes its fun to force yourself to photograph just one thing. In this case, rooftops.

roof detail 2

The goal I had set for myself was to depict rooftops without ground lines in every image. This next one got close to cheating, but no ground line = no fault.

pearl street

I like to do little exercises like this occasionally to force myself to think more about composition and less about subject matter. I’ll also sometimes set my camera at a certain focal length and not change it for the duration of the trip. It forces me to photograph things other than my go-to, architectural perspective.

roof detail 3

Sometimes these little exercises just make you notice things you probably wouldn’t have.

Roof detail 5

And other times they’re a way to test your abilities.

roof detail 4

Sometimes you just have to break the rules you’ve set up for yourself. In this case for neons.

neon sign detail

Annnnddd display heads…

display detail

The glass blocks and brick work are just too cool, right? RULES OF THE EXERCISE BE DAMNED!

colorado photos

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Concrete Experiments: The Super Hero Edition

When I was in my final semester of my undergraduate career, my friend Kenneth and I participated in an independent study about concrete casting. We learned a lot about the material properties of concrete and it’s ability to react with it’s mold/form to create different finishes. Through our experimentation and research, we found that when concrete is formed using a plastic mold it takes on this high-gloss, almost polished sheen and is absolutely beautiful when executed correctly.

You can see the blog from the independent study by clicking here.

I also recommend checking out Kenneth’s portfolio by clicking here. There are quite a few lovely projects within.

So, while walking through Walmart I came across an Iron Man toy and decided to experiment using it as a mold for concrete. The following is the process of making this Iron Man themed paper weight:

process

1a+1b: Find, buy, and play with the Iron Man light-up toy.

2: Split Iron Man’s head in two (using a hammer if necessary).

3: Fill Iron Man’s head with concrete and re-combine the two halves.

4: Using a small saw, small hammer, and lots of time, painstakingly remove the plastic pieces from the resulting rock of concrete.

Annnnddd… Viola! You now have a beautifully shiny piece of concrete that kinda-sorta-not really looks like Iron Man!

concrete iron man head

I actually want to try to cast more concrete using toys as molds. Hopefully with a higher degree of success.

Perhaps the best part of this project is the resulting, “accidental” modern art:

accidental modern art

I think it’s about social injustice or something…

Design Work

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The Newest Member of OH!

Long ago my Sony a330 suffered a small accident and hasn’t ever fully recovered. It worked hard and did a wonderful job, but for my birthday this year I upgraded to the Sony a77.

intro to a77

(The above photo was taken with the help of one of my cousins — Thanks Dood!)

I enjoyed the abilities of Sony’s DSLRs so much that I decided to stay in the same gene-pool and simply upgrade to a bigger, badder Sony DSLR.

After a few tests around my home and neighborhood, I went to the aquarium to test out some of the camera’s low-light capabilities (foolishly without a tripod). As was expected, with my shaky hands, the majority of the quick moving fish were captured as being very blurry. And with extremely high ISO setting to compensate for my un-steady hands, photos that weren’t blurry were grainy. Never the less, I found a few photos I didn’t totally hate.

fish under carriage

The translucent mirror technology in Sony’s DSLRs has proven to be very interesting. The camera is MUCH more quiet than I’m used to and doesn’t make the satisfying clicking sounds I associate with cameras of this size. But, with the silence comes speed. HIGH SPEED.

sea horse

A surprising amount of glare spoiled quite a few of the photos I took, but for the most part I was very satisfied.

toxic tie-dye fish

One thing I’ve always loved about my Sony cameras is the camera’s ability to take beautiful photos in “Auto” mode. The colors always turn out beautifully and need very little to no photoshopping afterwards.

misty forest sunbeams

The camera also features a video setting which is new to me. I’d love to try my hand at some video production, particularly architectural videos.

massive puffer fish

The aquarium was as I always remembered it: Surprisingly small, frustratingly crowded at strange times, and full of annoying children. 

The true field test/initiation ceremony for the newest member of the crew will be to photograph some significant architecture. I’m hoping to do that very soon!

Now I have a strange craving for seafood. Do you think starfish tastes good?

colorado photos

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Doodle Vacation

I have taken a small vacation from any blog work. I haven’t stopped making things, just stopped sharing so much. So I will now proceed to over-share everything:

combined icons

My very good friend had recently been working on a design competition to redesign Kansas City that was quickly coming to an end and asked for a little help with creating some icons to represent the different categories he intended to address with his design. With a little direction and input from him I created these four icons.

He is a very talented designer, you can see his portfolio by clicking here. 

Lumindeo Business Cards

While free-lancing in Texas I helped a small non-profit with designing some business cards and mailers. The Producer in charge of the company did most of the heavy lifting in terms of the overall look of the cards and had already created the lovely logo you see above. I just did a little layout work and created some small icons for the different information present on the card.

You can visit their website by clicking here.

BANGLABS 1

My best friend since the fifth grade is a very talented film major that specializes in film production, music creation, and most things creative. He came up with the idea for a company called BANG | Laboratory. Since he is so talented, he already created a logo. Since I am so annoying, I had to also create something. So this is a little poster/logo/mailer/something he could use someday.

blog book

I also added another book I created to my collection. The “OH! design blog: year one” book is here and is lovely. Thanks again Blurb!

You can see this whole book again by clicking here.

vincenzo state bricks-01

Lastly, my made-up University’s team logo. Yes, Vincenzo State University is my imaginary alma mater. And the Bricks are their mascot. Deal with it.

I’ll now try to resume regular and punctual blogging. 

GO BRICKS!

Design Work

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