Cal Poly at Night

Right now, I’m in the last three weeks of my freshman year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo – if you haven’t heard of it, there’s a little bit more info about it on this website. And it’s been awesome so far; I’m majoring in computer science right now with a photography minor, but that all might change soon too.

Our campus isn’t particularly old – just over a hundred years or so – but it’s got its fair share of older buildings that, while they look totally innocuous during the daytime, take on a whole new, creepier character at night. I shot this first part of my series of the Cal Poly campus at night on Friday at around midnight. So, let’s go building-by-building and start exploring.

Fisher Science

I walk by Fisher everyday (there’s a path that’s been beaten into the dirt that takes you from the dorms to the main road that has all of the buildings off of it that goes alongside of it) but I’ve never had a class in there. Actually, I did have a final in there once. That’s irrelevant, though. It’s got this outdoor staircase that winds up the three floors and a set of chairs that look out from the top floor. The hallways honestly kind of look like they could be something out of a horror movie too, totally empty but with those bright fluorescent lights glowing at all hours.

Science North

Right next to Fisher is another building I’ve yet to have a class in: Science North. There’s also a little skybridge that connects the two of them. It too has a really great outdoor staircase and some creepy entryways that flicker with always-on lighting that’s just a little too bright.

Baker Science

Baker is one of the newest (it actually might be the newest) building on campus and this one I actually have had class in. Inside it’s really incredible, and even on the outside it’s less creepy and more angular than the other buildings. This school has a thing for staircases outside, but Baker’s is really, really great; very geometric and repeating and clean. If you walk around to the back side of Baker, make sure you stop and look up at the top windows of the building – you just might see the infamous alien that can be spotted if you look in the right place.

College of Science and Math

This building is one I want to come back to, but I couldn’t help stopping to take a picture of its staircase. This is one of the buildings where there are a lot of professor offices (I’ve had office hours for math here several times) and it comes with a pretty impressive entrance to boot.

The staircase to the COSAM building

And that’s it for the first part of this series. More will be on their way later on; if you want to see some more of my work at Cal Poly, check out my last post with my self-portraits, which were actually also taken at night at Poly on top of the Ag Sciences building. Until next time.

Tahoe on Film

Note: This post was originally published on Exposure about a month ago. It can be found at

Before I Begin, Let Me Say…

A couple photo buddies and I recently went exploring around Lake Tahoe. These photos might look a little different than what most are used to when thinking of Tahoe for two reasons, the first being the drought. For those who are unaware, there is currently a pretty extensive drought gripping California. These photos were taken of and around the lake before the start of summer in the first stages of what has become one of the driest summer seasons in recent years. The second is the fact that these are entirely shot on black and white film; the only post-processing I’ve done beyond scanning them in is cropping them to remove the fuzzy edges from the scanner.

With that, let’s explore.

Sugar Pine

When we first arrived, we parked and piled out of the car at Sugar Pine Point State Park. Small fee to get in but home to an excellent beach and a couple trails as well. We walked out on the dock first.

And then we explored along the beach. A little ways farther to the left of the dock, there was a creek that flowed into the lake with an old, smooth bleached tree trunk laying next to it. We walked a ways farther along before turning around and heading out on the trail.

That ended my roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and sent us on our way to our next stop…

Emerald Bay and Eagle Falls

Our next stop on our drive around the lake was Emerald Bay State Park, with incredible views of Emerald Bay (as seen above) as well as access to the Eagle Falls Trailhead that provides access into Desolation Wilderness. From the road, you can walk down a short ways to get access to some awesome views of the waterfall.

Walking up from the road, you gain access to the trailhead, which gives you a short mile and a half or so climb to the bridge that leads across the falls and into Desolation Wilderness.

Looking back from the car along the road, it’s clearly a popular place, but well worth the struggle for parking.

After hiking back down the trail, it was back to the car and on to our third stop…

Taylor Creek

Taylor Creek gets its popularity because of the fact that people can go and look at massive numbers of salmon during the spawning season in autumn. Even though we were there in the off season, the park still had a beautiful beach and some great views, along with several trails to take you to them.

After our visit to Taylor Creek, we stopped for ice cream at Camp Richardson and drove the rest of the way around the lake. Even being locals, there’s just something about Tahoe that is amazing, something surprising or new to be discovered with each visit. And, of course, it’s an awesome place to explore.

Footnotes: All photos in this post were shot on film with my Canon A2e, the first portion being taken on Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and the second batch being taken on Rollei Superpan 200. Thanks for reading.

Experimenting with Rollei Retro 80s Film

I recently bought a two-pack of Rollei’s Retro 80s Film from B&H after reading a little about it and deciding that it would be something I’d like to mess around with myself. I shot a roll of it with my Canon A2e and had a pretty wide range of results; almost all of them had very high contrast, some even to the point of having so much contrast that significant detail was lost (though that was also likely as much if not more so due to operator error on my part). Below are a couple of my favorites from shooting my first roll.

These guys were scanned in shortly after being developed (D-76) and from what I remember had relatively little post-processing done aside from adjusting the contrast on some to bring back some detail.

One thing I did notice about the film is how much detail it did capture on certain frames, like in the shot of the leaf caught between two fence posts below.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much texture came through – here’s a close-up at a 100% crop so you can see what I mean a little more clearly.

I’d like to try shooting the next roll in my LC-A+ to see how the Minitar lens changes the results I get from the film; all-in-all though, I really liked the film and going out on a whim and trying it paid off. For those who want to pick up a roll themselves, you can find it lots of places across the web, though I bought mine through B&H here.

The Lomo LC-A+

I recently got the Lomo LC-A+ (which is a really awesome little camera) and decided to take it for a spin with some different films than those I usually use since I was feeling a little wild. To be honest, though, I just wanted to try everything out, and taking them on a little photo excursion seemed to be the best way to do so. As a kinda of welcome-in-the-new-year post to represent forging ahead and trying new things (and taking another look at old things, too), here are some of my photos from my first attempts with my LC-A+. More details about each set follow.

Double Exposure

This was shot with my LC-A+ and took two exposures on Rollei Superpan 200 which may have snuck ahead of T-MAX as my favorite black and white film for more artsy prints. Scanned in versus photographed and then inverted, which some of my other photos were since the scanner was unavailable later on. My second scanned photo was a single-exposure of my friend Becca, seen below.

Despite the blur (due to my inability to focus the camera, not my shaky hands – bummer) the scanner really worked well on this image I thought, versus the following that weren’t scanned.

Photographed versus Scanned

Later on, the scanner was unavailable for me to use, so my instructor David Arnold advised me on how I might accomplish some film “scanning” on my own. The process was relatively straightforward: place the film negatives on a light source that would illuminate them from the back and then use a macro lens to photograph the image with a regular DSLR, which would produce a positive after inverting the digital image. The hard part was setting everything up to the point where I actually had a smooth system of “scanning” my film in. For the B&W Superpan, it was no problem, and the scans turned out pretty decent (not true scanner quality, but definitely usable) after inverting them.

The color scans, though, were a different story. Since this was new film (and I was relatively inexperienced with shooting it in the LC-A+) it could also be due to those facts, though “photoscanning” it in didn’t yield quite as good of results as I’d hoped. Still interesting, however, and since the whole point of this project was experimentation, I consider it a success. The post-processing definitely helped thanks to my instructor’s advice and the awesome tutorial found on Jeffrey Sward’s website that got me through it.

I plan to scan the rest of my first batch of images in and post those as well as taking some more on some good old T-MAX and seeing how those turn out. Until next time, keep experimenting, and thanks for reading.