Hip Shots

March 19, 2018

Abstractions 2

By Jim Sizemore

The “Hip Shots” series of photographs feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little regard for framing or focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic images, not perfect ones.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Sizemore.

One-Minute Memoir

June 12, 2013

Trains

In May of 1977, I was depressed about the breakup of a relationship — which, for me, was not all that unusual back then. But an abiding interest in photography became a tool that I used to, if not cure my malaise, at least divert me from my sad-sack self while I figured out if I needed to seek professional help as an individual, or sign up for cheaper group therapy sessions with an odd-ball collection of other interpersonal failures. But I digress . . .

The “train project,” as I called it — photographing vintage rail cars at the Baltimore and Ohio Train Museum in Southwest Baltimore was something I had thought about for several years. Each time I had taken my two very young sons there — I saw them every-other weekend on court-approved visits — I would think about photographing parts of the rail cars, treating the smaller sections as abstractions, isolating areas to create compositions based on the size and shape relationships of the various elements. The pipes, levers, armatures, wheels, etc., were beautiful to me. The idea was to reduce the massive machines to circles, rectangles, triangles, and so on, visually “deconstructing” the cars, so to speak. It was a post-modern photographic concept before I knew what the term meant. In this digital age it is quaint to note that back then we made our photographic images by exposing rolls of chemically treated acetate film and developing the exposed frames in solutions mixed (in my case) in a tiny dark room rigged up in the kitchen area of my three room apartment. I kept out ambient light with a thick temporary curtain.

One design trick I used to emphasize and simplify the basic shapes was high contrast, reducing the component parts to basic black and white, with only a few middle tones. To get that effect, I relied on very fast film (Tri-X), which I exposed in bright sunlight for the juicy shadows that retain good detail, and used fast shutter speeds, then printed them on high contrast paper. All the rail car shots were composed “in camera” and printed full-frame. Whether or not I managed to make “art” with my approach may of course be debated, but I have no doubt that the activity worked well for me as therapy. At the very least, it got me through a bad emotional patch and on the path to more conventional help. (Click images for larger views.)

This is an edited re-post from 12/10/08

Doodlemeister is looking for short memory pieces of up to a thousand words, on any subject, in any style — as long as it happened to you. Whatever the subject, we have a bias for the lighthearted tone, and if need-be we’ll help you to edit and/or cut your piece. If you’d like to submit a story, please contact us by leaving a comment or inquiry below.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Sizemore.

Hip Shots

July 13, 2012

The Bridge: Tarp

By Whyndham Standing

(Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly,” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that may be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own images, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. This feature will appear most Fridays.

Copyright © 2012 Whyndham Standing.

Hip Shots

July 6, 2012

The Bridge: Concrete III

By Whyndham Standing

(Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly,” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that may be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own images, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. This feature will appear most Fridays.

Copyright © 2012 Whyndham Standing.

Hip Shots

December 23, 2011

Grand Central II

By Fiona Pepys

(Click images for larger versions.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method, the more frames  exposed the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click the “Hip Shots” tag above for many more examples. This feature will appear most Fridays.

Copyright © 2011 Fiona Pepys.

Hip Shots

May 13, 2011

The Station III

By Fiona Pepys

 (Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames  exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting—a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click on these images for a larger view, and click the “Hip Shots” tag above for more examples. For another post in the series, tune in next Friday.

Copyright © 2011 Fiona Pepys.

Hip Shots

May 6, 2011

The Station II

By Fiona Pepys

 (Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames  exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting—a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click on these images for a larger view, and click the “Hip Shots” tag above for more examples. For another post in the series, tune in next Friday.

Copyright © 2011 Fiona Pepys.

Hip Shots

April 29, 2011

The Station

By Fiona Pepys

 (Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames  exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting—a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click on these images for a larger view, and click the “Hip Shots” tag above for more examples. For another post in the series, tune in next Friday.

Copyright © 2011 Fiona Pepys.

The Trestle

January 7, 2009

When one of my blog posts inspires a friend, a relative—or even a stranger—to write a detailed comment about one of their experiences, it gives me great pleasure. Some I like to share. This most recent example came as a result of my “Trains” post of 12/10/08. The writer, a friend of more than 35 years, is a glamorous woman who, it turns out—and much to my surprise—was once a tomboy. It is always fascinating when someone you thought that you knew well reveals a new (to you) character layer, especially when she can express it so well in the prose voice of a small child.

By Alvera (McClain) Winkler

The sound of a train transports me back in time. It is 1943 and our tiny clapboard house is a coal lump toss from the railroad tracks. The locomotive lulls me to sleep like a mother’s lullaby. Shhh, shhh, shhh, shhh, the steam engine cajoles, as the whistle blows in sweet harmony. The train’s clackity clack rhythm as it makes its way down the tracks sooths me like a mother’s heartbeat. The trembling earth gently rocks my cradle as the mighty engine passes.

When my brother Robert is four and I am almost three, we play outside all day. Today, we are making mud pies with the black soot from the train. Robert is mixing worms in his. He likes to squish the worms up good with his hands first. 54We load the fresh mud pies in our red wooden wagon. The train whistle blows and we are so excited we forget about the mud pies and run as fast as we can to the end of the sidewalk, where a black and white striped gate comes down to block our path. Red lights flash. We wait. Sure enough, here comes the giant black engine, screeching and belching big puffs of steam and black smoke, its huge wheels going around as it does its job, pulling a string of freight cars and a red caboose. The engineer, wearing a blue and white striped cap and bandana, waves to us, as he always does. We rush to be the first to grab a lump of coal that bounces from the coal car. Robert got there first, as usual, but that’s all right because we’ll both play catch with it later. There must be a hundred freight cars, and bringing up the rear is the red wooden caboose. The conductor, watching from the window in a tiny room on top of the caboose, waves to us and we wave back. By the end of the day, we are covered with soot and must be a funny sight, because grownups, heading home from work, laugh at us. At bath time Mommy screams when she finds leftover squished worms in Robert’s pockets. Mommy has a surprise for us, too. She says we are moving to a new house, which at first makes Robert and me sad, because we will miss the trains. But when we arrive at our new house, we are happy to see it’s even closer to the tracks than the old house, and better yet, backs right up to them. And best of all, a river runs along the side of our house and the trains have to go over a trestle to cross the river.

In the five years since we moved into this neighborhood, Robert and me have had lots of fun playing on the train tracks. Mommy walks the tracks, too, but not for fun. She uses them and the trestle as a shortcut to get to the next town where she works at Jarrett’s Beauty Bazaar. At the trestle she always stops and listens for the train’s whistle. If it’s not blowing, she figures it’s safe to cross and she quickly walks on the railroad ties to the other side. She has to be fast because the only place to stand if a train comes is a small platform that hangs over the river halfway across the trestle. On this one day, Robert has an idea. He says it would be real fun to be on the platform while a train is going by, so that we can see it real close up. So we wait and listen, and when we hear the whistle blow far off in the distance, we run across the trestle as fast as we can, stepping on the ties. I can see the ripples of the river far below, between the ties. The tarry smell of the ties baking in the sun hits my nose. Then we hear the whistle again, louder this time. We jump onto the platform, and look back down the tracks just in time to see the train rounding the bend. The train is speeding straight for us, it seems. As it passes, the platform shakes so much I can feel my brains rattle. We cling to the platform railing for dear life. I grip the railing so tight my knuckles are white. I look down at the river below, so far away. The train’s giant wheels roar past us so fast, its whirlwind feels like a tornado. I’m afraid we are going to get sucked right under those wheels. This is the longest train I have ever seen. There must be a gazillion freight cars, but at last I am so happy to see the caboose. I hope Robert doesn’t have any other great ideas today.

Well, during our childhood Robert did have many more ideas, some great ones and some not so great. This was one of many adventures I experienced as I tagged behind him, exploring the tracks and the trestle. Those memories all return to me whenever I hear the sound of a train.

Copyright © 2009 Alvera (McClain) Winkler.


Trains

December 10, 2008

In April and May of 1977 I was depressed over the breakup of a long-term relationship, which was not an unusual situation for me in those days. An abiding interest in photography was the tool I selected to, if not cure the malaise, to at least divert me from my sad-sack self while I decided if I needed to seek professional therapy as an individual, or in cheaper group sessions with an odd-ball collection of other interpersonal failures. But I digress.

The “train project,” as I came to call it—photographing vintage rail cars at the Baltimore and Ohio Train Museum in Southwest Baltimore—was one I had thought about for several years. Each time I had taken my two very young sons there—I saw them every-other weekend on court-approved visits (their mother and I had divorced in 1967)—I would think about photographing parts of the rail cars, treating the smaller sections as abstractions, isolating areas to create compositions based on the size and shape relationships of the various elements—the pipes, levers, armatures, wheels, etc. The idea was to reduce the massive machines to circles, rectangles, triangles, and so on, visually “de-constructing” the cars. It was a post-modern photographic concept before I knew what the term meant.

In this digital age it is quaint to note that back then—in ’77—we made our photographic images by exposing rolls of chemically treated acetate film and developing the exposed frames in chemicals mixed (in my case) in a tiny “dark room” set up in the kitchen area of my three room apartment.

One design trick I used to emphasize and simplify the basic shapes of the component train parts was high contrast, in which the images were reduced to basic black and white with only a few middle tones. To get that effect I relied on fast film (Tri-X), which I exposed in bright sunlight (for the juicy shadows), and at high shutter speeds, then printed on very high contrast paper. All the rail car shots were composed “in camera” and printed full-frame. Whether or not I managed to make “art” with my artsy-fartsy approach may of course be debated, but I have no doubt that the activity worked well for me as “art therapy.” At the very least, it got me through a bad emotional patch and on the path to the more conventional help. (Click images for larger views.)

To purchase reprint rights for the photographs above, or for others in the series not shown here, contact me for information about fees, which will vary depending on how the image is to be used. My email address is: jimscartoons@aol.com

Copyright © 2008 Jim Sizemore.