“Photography” comes from Greek roots meaning “to write with light,” but what makes a photograph compelling is often not light simpliciter but contrast: light against dark, dark against light, and the boundaries where they mix. The pattern in this photograph repeats itself every afternoon for a few days in late September in the building where I work, and one day I determined to capture the dappling of direct sun on the otherwise dark interior. I didn’t dare push the contrast much harder than this, though, because of the dark sign on the wall.
August 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of John Lancaster Spalding, first Bishop of Peoria. The cathedral in Peoria had for some time been in need of repair and restoration, which was completed in time for this anniversary. The cathedral looks better than I’ve ever seen it, a beautiful mother church for the diocese and an offering to God.
I also sing and direct Gregorian chant, and was asked to come with a choir to Peoria on the evening of August 24, 2016, for a Solemn Requiem Mass celebrated for Archbishop Spalding. Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, or “Tridentine” or “Latin Mass” as it is sometimes called, the way Mass was celebrated before 1964.
In the Extraordinary Form, funerals and memorial Masses without a body require a symbolic casket or platform, called a catafalque, surrounded by six candles as an actual casket with a body would be. The picture above depicts the catafalque for Archbishop Spalding: a simple black-draped pillar on which is placed a bishop’s mitre. Simple yet dignified and in keeping with the occasion.
Hello, world! (Wait, this isn’t a programming blog.) Whatever. I’m going to post a bit again after a hiatus of more than a year. Let’s begin with some film, shall we? Because film is retro and lovely and…well, different from digital. Not better, mind; different.
A bridge was built over the narrowest part of the lake at Japan House a couple years back. The bloom of youth is on the wood still; I’ll have to go back after it’s weathered and see how well it ages.
I’ve long been meaning to borrow some exotic lens I can’t justify buying from the good folks at LensRentals, and last night’s eclipse gave me the perfect excuse. The 80-400mm zoom I rented turned out not to be the exact lens I wanted for lunar photography, but it gave me an improvement over last year’s eclipse shot at least.
A few years back I wrote about the then-new PocketWizard Plus III, a high-end radio flash trigger that was more affordable than its predecessor. At the time I speculated that I would soon be buying some, which turned out not to be the case; I couldn’t justify the purchase so I continued to use Nikon CLS or physical sync cords to deal with off-camera strobe.
Three years later, I barely succeeded in making my oldest son’s birthday portrait because I could not get reliable flash triggering for the setup I had envisioned. In the meantime, PocketWizard had released a simpler and even more affordable trigger, the PlusX, and 2-packs of them were on sale at my retailer of choice. I decided it was time to pony up for the good stuff.
The image above is a little test with one of my kids’ Lego figures. I hooked a LumiQuest SoftBox III onto the end of my flash and brought it in real close, which kept the background dark and indistinct, and sealed off the edges with a little vignette in post. Worked like a charm. Now I just have to see if I can realize that 1600′ range they promise on the box…. 😀