Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas light bokeh freebies

Hey! I forgot that I once put up a "freebies" gallery that includes some cool Christmas light bokeh photos like this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

and....nope, that's all.

Go download them from the gallery at full resolution. Ignore the "buy" button (see screenshot below) and click that little download arrow that's in between the wrench icon and the info icon to get a nice BIG jpg file (like, over 20 mb). You can use the files any way you want except to straight-up redistribute them ('cause, come on, make your own if you wanna do that).

You can use them as backgrounds, overlays, desktop backgrounds, or just stare at them without blinking as you try to replicate their patterns in the haze of your vaping—on second thought, don't do that last one. 

But I want to make my own cool bokeh photos, you say, but I don't know how.

Well, here's the quickest tutorial ever:

1. Find some Christmas lights.
2. Set the focus to "manual" instead of automatic
3. Unfocus until things get super blurry.
4. Take that blurry photo, check it out, adjust your amount of blur and try again if you're not happy with the result.

Your bokeh might vary according to the quality of your lens.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How to capture a glitch in the wild and then tame it

How to get an 100% authentic glitch photo:

1. Get a cocky computer support guy to hack into your computer when you're out of your office and destroy all of your files.

2. Have IT try to retrieve the files and fail miserably.

3. Send the drive to a file recovery service and have them retrieve only non indexed and corrupt files.

ta-dah! That's how, back in 2009, I ended up with a lot of corrupt files. Once I got over the disaster, I started to see the beauty of the glitch, which is basically the valiant attempt of the file format to do its job even amid failure (if file formats wrote Shakespearian tragedies, they would be filled with the brilliant gore of rainbow hued breakdown).

The purist glitch is like a found object. You just take it from the wild like Duchamp stealing a urinal and calling it art. I love the pure, dada corruption of a found glitch, like this:

That's pure, unadulterated glitch.

Then, if you're not too much of a purist, you can intervene to varying degrees. Like the following, where the only thing I changed was to put it in black and white (while leaving the snowy noise with its natural flecks of color):

Here's another almost-natural glitched image of an old typewriter ad. The only thing I changed was a slight change in the tint of the bands of color (there was more of a lilac in the original, but I didn't like it):

Getting a glitch in the wild is like getting that "decisive moment" in street photography, but with more serendipity (cloaked in disaster).

But there's no reason not to make something out of that corrupt file. So, sometimes I'll add in another photo, usually in black and white. I'll play around with blending modes ("multiply" is always a good place to start) and then start messing with curves, masks, and such. The photo at the top of this post is a combo of two photos that in Photoshop layers looks like this:

The combo creates little moments such as the parallel between the watchful dad (top left) looking at the kid and the heroic god slaying the snake. dark, i know. Then, there are the parallel arms of the statue and the other kid whose small arm is just below the statue's. Can you spot the Yankee's logo hovering in the white netherworld of that vertical line piercing the left third of the photo? 

Working with glitch is nothing new. In fact, I've cycled back around to it out of nostalgia. After glitch art went from underground to mainstream I think it's settled down more into the zone where it has less baggage and can be played with without being caught up in pure trendiness. 

Until I exhaust and tame all of my naturally corrupted files, I will keep adding new glitch (and noise) art to my online gallery for sale. I'm all about unpretentious pricing (I'll explain why in a future post), so feel free to buy something to add epic digital tragedy to your walls (glitch art looks especially good printed on metal).

Saturday, December 3, 2016

So...Instagram...yeah, side effect of the new iPhone 7

Despite having written a post about Instagram (actually, two, well four) back when a mere 100 million or so people had already discovered the app (so cutting edge), I never bothered to use it. So there goes my chance at life as an "Instagram influencer."

Instead, because I'm really bad at monetization, I spent my Instagram-related energy on writing an  article about the horror movie Sinister and the Instagram aesthetic, and doing a book chapter about the Brownie camera and its relation to Instagram. But use it? No way. Pinterest was all the social media I could handle. But then I got the iPhone 7plus and thought, sure, six years late to the party, perfect. Fashionably late.

So...try not to be jealous, but I have, like, 45 followers, so that basically puts me in Kardashian territory. See, just look at this screenshot:

Taylor Swift is no doubt nervous about my meteoric rise. It's what people are saying. So I hear.

Should you want to follow takeoutphoto on Instagram, go for it. It exists. It's my really lazy way of sort of blogging. Even lazier than tumblr.

I've had a sudden nostalgic resurgence of interest in glitch (see my "Glitch Gothic" chapter in Cinematic Ghosts if you're into that kind of thing). I'm going back through my files from 2009 that were destroyed/hopelessly corrupted by an overconfident IT guy. Thanks, bruh. Out of devastation (and it was pretty devastating at the time to lose both my hard drive and backup) comes the beauty of digital ruins. Sometimes, the pure glitch is beautiful on its own, and sometimes I help it by combining it with black and white. Here's one I did tonight:

(and I put more up for sale on my smugmug site as I do them)

Here's one of my favorites:

But what does this have to do with the new iPhone? Nothing. I started Instagram because I got the cool dual lens iPhone 7 plus, which has a camera good enough to take real pictures with. And instead, I end up working on more photos that I did not take on an iPhone. Go figure. Then, in turn, it put me in the mood to write this blog post. Maybe more...it could happen.

But if it doesn't, hey, there's always my Instagram account.