October — A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

Perspective.

Stairs at Wolfram, Chicago 10/1/2017

Stairs at Wolfram, Chicago 10/1/2017

September — A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

Cinematic.

Where Ideas Sing, Chicago, 9/29.2017

Where Ideas Sing, Chicago, 9/29.2017

I'm writing this a late. These past weeks have been busy but I made a commitment to this project and it continues.

I work in film and TV and my photography is really a passion; something I can do alone, whenever I have time, or can make time fairly easily, but I also continue to exercise my craft in film and TV in photographic form.

While cinematography is about a series of moments, photography is a single moment in time, never to occur again. They both have their challenges and, in September, the challenge was to bring the two together. All photographs we to be shot in the same style as I would if I filmed the moment.

I used my iPhone 7, Olympus OM-D system, and Nikon, for all images but then cropped them either 16:9 (HD widescreen) or the widescreen cinema ratio of 2:39:1.

Wedding

Wedding

The month started out with the wedding of two good friends, Mazi and Chrissy; a perfect opening to a month of cinematic photographs.

As a cinematographer on a film shoot, Spaces, I also snuck in some still from on set. An easy time getting my photos for those day. But other days, I had to set out and simply look at the world in a film styling way.

After thirteen years in the industry, I would say I see the world in a cinematic and photography way. was my grandfather always tells me, "I never see the things you see. Ordinary things aren't ordinary to you." I do wonder how the world looks through other peoples' eyes.

Up next: OctoberPerspective

Cinematic

Mazi & Chrissy's Wedding by Adrian Galli

 Mazi and Chrissy's Wedding

With the honor of photographing my good friends and colleagues Mazi and Chrissy's wedding, I'd like to share some of my favorite photographs from their union.

Please join me in congratulating Mazi and Chrissy on their marriage.

Voyager 1, Four Decades of Exploration by Adrian Galli

The Launch of Voyayer 1 on board Titan IIIE in 1977, photo credit NASA

The Launch of Voyayer 1 on board Titan IIIE in 1977, photo credit NASA

Many people say, “I was born decades too early, I should have been a...” While the past has a certain charm, I’ve always been born of the future. I always say, “I was born 300 years too early, I should have been on the bridge of the Enterprise.” While my life will never take me to distant star systems, encountering the Klingons, or engaging warp drive, at heart, I am explorer and September 5th, 1977 was a date important to humanities exploration of the Universe  

Today, marks forty years since the launch of Voyager 1. Its story is one of exploration and science and to this very moment, it is still transmitting incredible data back to NASA. Not only it this an incredible feet, imagine a car or computer running for four decades with no maintenance, Voyager 1 is the only device made by humanity to have left our solar system and ventured into interstellar space. 

Speeding away from us at 38,000mph (48,000kph) towards a star known as AC +79 3888, about 17.8 lightyears from us. Voyager will lose power long before it reaches that star but the little probe that could will hopefully remain intact.

The Golden Record, photo credit NASA

The Golden Record, photo credit NASA

Aboard Voyager 1 is the Golden Record. Scientist affixed this item to Voyager 1 in hope that one day it would be found by some space fairing life form who could decipher its message. Among the details engraved on the Golden Record is a diagram defining our sun’s location relative to fourteen known pulsars, a binary code to instruct the proper speed by which the record should rotate to play properly, other instruction to play the record, and details about the video portion.

The Golden Record explaination, credit NASA

The Golden Record explaination, credit NASA

One of my favorite features of the record is the inclusion of Uranium-238. With a half-life of 4.51 billion years, measuring the amount of the daughter element would allow an extraterrestrial to calculate the time Voyager 1 has been in space – a true universal clock. 

Today (September 5, 2017), at a distance of about 140 AU, the power from three radioisotope thermoelectric generators dwindles at a rate of 4 watts per year according to NASA. In 2030, the power it generates will be too little and Voyager 1 will power down forever; an end to the lonely space probe. However, not too far behind is Voyager 1’s sister, Voyager 2, which will also enter interstellar space on its own mission to pass near Sirius.

Further, Pioneer 10 and 11 will also leave our system and a more recent probe, launched in 2006, New Horizons, too, but there is certain romanticism to Voyager 1. It was the first and perhaps the most important of all the space probes in an era when space exploration was at the pinnacle of American, and I argue human, interest and accomplishments.

Voyager 1 will perhaps wander our galaxy for eternity, a monument to human ingenuity and curiosity, a legacy adrift in the Universe.

August — A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

The light of night, captured.

Solo, Chicago, 8/17/2017

Solo, Chicago, 8/17/2017

It is a challenge to head out at night when you've been relaxing on the sofa for an hour or two, after work, after dinner, watching a movie, sipping on tea. But night is a favorite time for me to photography.

Shooting August entirely in black and white, I'm very fond of dark, high contrast, dramatic imagery; the night so easily provides. August is the only other month to be shot entirely in Black and White. January too, was all black and white but there were no other guidelines to my month's theme.

The other challenges to night photography are simply technical. Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are all very important. If one's shutter is too slow, any minor movement of the camera produces motion blur in the image. If the shutter is too fast, the image is too dark.

With apertures, the wider the more light but also the shallower the depth of field resulting in challenging focus scenarios. Stopping down (smaller apertures) increases depth of field but reduces light.

ISO, on the other hand, boosts the light available but invariably adds noise to one's image. Sometimes noise is acceptable giving a gritty, street photography look. Other times, it simply muddies the image.

All of these are a careful balancing act. They are part of a triad of water buckets. As one fills up, the other two empty. Finding the right mix of volumes is important to get just the image one is looking to achieve.

A tripod is always welcome. This will allow for one to decrease shutter speed and use low ISO while also stopping down the aperture. The result can be very clear and sharp black and white images. The caveat, but possibly the goal, is motion blur of moving object. A favorite from this month is from August 1st where I setup my Olympus E-M5 with a 45mm lens on my tripod. Opening my window, a waited for a train to pass buy and captured the movement.

fullsizeoutput_6d37.jpeg

At an f/8, ISO 200, -1 ev stop compensation, and a 1.6 second shutter, a very clear background of Chicago appears while the Brown Line train streaks through the frame.

A few other nights I used a long exposure but it does take a bit more effort. One must almost always use a tripod or other stabilization. However, occasionally, as with Run and Train, these were both handheld. Run, with an eerie, ghostly appeal, and Train, things moved quickly enough it  didn't matter. But if you look closely, you can see that the subject blur is achieved but also background.

Run, Chicago, 8/30/2017

Run, Chicago, 8/30/2017

Train, Chicago, 8/15/2017

Train, Chicago, 8/15/2017

I did not find this to bean issue but I am one to usually express great concern with how important the background is while other photographers are concerned with blurring the background to the extent it is nearly completely unrecognizable.

Tripods are one of the most valuable pieces of equipment a photographer can have but they are usually big and carrying one around every day for thirty-one days was not something I could pull off. However, the crafty and resourceful photographer finds other ways to stabilize. In Flight Path, I was in a position to just set the camera down on a ledge. And by ledge, I mean, five stories in high with nothing but the air between the camera and certain doom. 

Flight Path, Chicago, 8/21/2017

Flight Path, Chicago, 8/21/2017

Photographers and filmmakers take risks all the time to get their shots. And while I have no real fear of heights, I can safely say I did fear for my camera. I had a death grip on the camera strap that would have squeeze the juice out of an apple. But (!), my camera survived to shoot another day (night)!

I thoroughly enjoyed August for night photography. Perhaps September would have been easier as the days are shorter but I overcame the couch potato in me to head out at night an explore the dark. I'm certain more night photography is in store for the rest of the year as part of other themes but for now, I move onward; a merging of photography with filmmaking with a theme rooted in cinematography.

Up next: SeptemberCinematic

The Thirty-one Nights of August