The 2018 Knoxville Goodwill Vintage Fashion Show

The Knoxville Goodwill recently hosted their annual vintage fashion show. For the past few years, this glamorous event has taken place at the World’s Fair Park Holiday Inn. This was my fifth time serving as the event photographer, and it was an enjoyable and exciting evening, as always - and for a worthy cause!

If you have an event coming up in the Knoxville area, and are in need of a professional photographer, we have experience photographing all kinds of gatherings - from fashion shows to performance arts, and class reunions to large family get-togethers! Contact us today to find out how we can help you capture those one-of-a-kind memories.

More Thoughts About Limitations

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' home, just down the road from ours. My grandmother had a half-sister named Sarah who lived with them. I never thought much about her being there, but the few times I had friends with me, they were always kind of freaked out by her.

A photo I shot this summer on expired film using my plastic "Debonair" toy camera.

Sarah didn't speak. She would sit in her chair by the living room bay window, gazing out at the field below. Sometimes she'd smile at us. Her hair was long and gray, and I guess to other people she gave off that crazy-old-aunt-in-the-attic vibe. If we got too noisy, she would retreat to her bedroom, and would push a framed window screen and her dresser in front of the doorway to block us little, would-be intruders. It was always that way, and since I grew up with her around, it never seemed strange to me.

After my grandfather died, Sarah's health declined rapidly and she had to go live in a nursing home. She died not long thereafter, but not before my mother discovered that she could actually speak (in a whisper) to communicate her needs. Aside from her quiet and mostly private existence, we learned that Sarah had an unusual hobby. In her bedroom, she spent years fashioning elaborate doilies from toilet paper. I never saw exactly how she did it, but she made impressive designs from simple tissue.

I've been thinking about her art lately, along with other people I've heard about who have used humble materials and tools to make amazing things. Human beings are remarkably resourceful, and our imaginations can make a lot from very little. In fact, we are the most creative when we have constraints. Several years ago, I read about a legally blind, 97 year old man, who made astonishing works of art using nothing but the lowly Windows Paint program in Windows 95.

We live in a day where we have an abundance of software that far outstrips the capabilities of the simple Microsoft Paint program. Even the cheapest commercial software (and most free graphics programs) can run circles around the rudimentary tools in Paint - layers, masking, millions of colors, and tons of filters all being common features. As mentioned in earlier blog posts, I've evaluated a number of programs in my search for an eventual replacement for Adobe CC (more about that ongoing process in a future post), and most are capable of producing professional, highly-polished results when used skillfully.

And therein, I believe, lies much of my own problem when it comes to creating photographs. I have too much gear, and too many programs, all vying for my attention. My computer desktop is cluttered with shortcuts to any number of powerful programs that share more common features than they have differences. I've got about a dozen camera bags, most with one or more cameras inside. My shelves are filled with extra lenses, lighting equipment, and various doodads. I have a small fridge packed with film, and more yet in the deep freezer. If I want to make a photograph, I struggle to consider which tools I'll limit myself to using for each job. Frankly, I have too much stuff to get truly proficient at using any of it - to say nothing of the mental paralysis that indecision can trigger.

In the pre-digital era, a photographer might keep his or her camera for a decade or more. The gear truly became an extension of oneself, and you learned every nuance, every dial and button, inside and out. Nowadays, most pros buy a new body every few years to keep up with the latest technological advancements. Of course, the same can be said about the software we use to process those images; if a program doesn't get updated to support the latest body or lens, its usefulness is severely curtailed.

It's not that these innovations are in themselves a bad thing. But I think it all moves too quickly. Moreover, we don't stop to appreciate and fully exploit the tools and means we have at our disposal today. My current camera is about to be made "obsolete" by the introduction of the latest model, while I've really never tapped into the full capabilities of what I own now. It's a hamster wheel of acquiring new stuff and learning new techniques. To what end, though? Are we really making better photos, or are we just generating more pixels and rushing to try the latest gimmick?

The ultimate goal, it seems to me, should be learning how to make better photographs, not chasing workshops and online training so we can simply master the latest tools of the trade. If Sarah could make art from toilet paper, is my 2 year old gear really inadequate?






Trying Out The "New" Lomo Purple

There have already been a number of reviews about Lomography's reformulated Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400 film. I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring and share a bit about my own recent experience with this unique, specialty film.

I've only shot one roll of this new formulation so far, so I'll refrain make any unwarranted claims that go beyond my personal experience. What I have observed is that the new film seems a bit more subtle, and less grainy, than the original version. In a word, Lomo Purple has matured as a product. That's a good thing, considering it's not exactly cheap. It still gives you that faux infrared look, though, which is truly unique among color print films.

The degree to which the purple effect came out in images varied according to subject, and the amount of light in a scene. Greens, most prominently, are rendered as rich shades of purple. Back-lit daffodils took on beautiful pink hues, regardless of whether the flowers were actually yellow or white. In shade, as one might expect, the purple tones were darker overall.

The following examples were all shot at EI 400, and home developed using a Unicolor C-41 kit. The camera used was a Canon EOS Elan IIe, with a Tamron SP 24-135 f/3.5-5.6 zoom. Unfortunately, this camera seems to have developed a light leak, which I corrected for by adding a little vignetting to some images. I applied all my usual edits: curves, dust spotting, some transform corrections.

UPCOMING CLASS: "I Got a Camera For Christmas: Now What?"

If you're in the Knoxville area, and would like to move beyond the "Auto" setting on your camera, mark your calendar for this great learning opportunity at the Knoxville Community Darkroom, on Saturday, January 27th. The cost is only $50 per person.


In less than 2 weeks, I'll be teaching a 3 hour class that covers all the basics of using your camera. Among other topics, we'll cover: understanding how ISO, shutter speed and aperture work together to create an exposure, using natural light and flash, shooting RAW or JPEG, available film choices for older cameras*, differences among lens types, how to control depth-of-field to get the look you want, dealing with common photographic challenges, working with creative limitations, benefits of using a tripod, choices in editing software, and much more!

It doesn't matter if you're using a brand new DSLR or want to dust off Dad's old 35mm Canon. The principles we'll be discussing apply for most any type of camera. Bring your camera and your questions, and come join us!

Space is limited, so register your seat here today!

*If nobody present is planning to shoot film, we'll tailor the presentation accordingly.

Using a Vintage Konica Hexanon Lens on a Fujifilm X-T2

When I bought my Fujifilm X-E2 about four years ago, I took a big gamble. I didn't just dip my toes in the mirrorless waters; I plunged in head first. I'd never even picked up a mirrorless camera, much less tried out any of the Fujifilm offerings, but I'd heard plenty of good things about them from trusted podcasts and multiple product reviews. After lengthy research, I felt confident that I was buying into a system that fit my style of shooting - so confident, in fact, that I sold all of my Nikon gear beforehand in order to subsidize the switch.

As it turned out, my gamble paid off. While I initially missed some of my old lenses (especially my Tokina 11-16mm super-wide), I quickly fell in love with the whole Fujifilm environment. The physical dials, the look and feel of the gear, the beautiful film simulations, the generous firmware updates that expanded the functionality of my existing camera, and the distinctive Fujifilm photo "look."

One notable area where Fujifilm lagged behind the leading industry giants at the time was in their limited line of "XF" lenses. In 2017, there are now plenty of high quality primes and zooms available. Fujifilm even provides an updated road map of lenses yet to be released. When I was first introduced to Fujifilm, the only lens I had was the 18-55 kit lens. This wasn't a bad thing, to be honest; their kit lens is solidly built from metal and glass, and is faster than most kit lenses from the big names. On the APS-C sensor, that lens gave me an effective zoom range of about 28-80mm, which adequately covers most typical scenarios photographers encounter.

Moonrise from Clingman's Dome. The old Konica telephoto I used for this photo was (and still is) filled with a ridiculous amount of dust. Fortunately, the dust had little impact on the final image quality.

Since I already owned a number of vintage camera lenses, I was able to extend my optical reach by purchasing an inexpensive adapter that lets you attach a Konica Hexanon lens mount to the Fujifilm body. (You can purchase similar adapters for Minolta and other vintage lens mounts.) So when I took a trip to California in January 2014, I brought along the adapter and my trusty old Hexanon 135mm f/3.2 telephoto. With the APS-C sensor, this effectively gave me a reach of 216mm. The lens and adapter worked beautifully, giving me the reach I didn't have with my kit lens. When I wanted to capture a beautiful moonrise the next summer, I grabbed a Konica 200mm telephoto lens, which on my Fujifilm body became a 320mm monster.

There are some drawbacks to using old lenses on digital cameras, particularly for those accustomed to digital gear. For starters, there's no electronic communication between the lens and camera, which means there's no EXIF lens data recorded in the file. On Fujifilm cameras, you have to specifically enable using the camera without a lens attached, since that's exactly what the camera thinks is going on. 

It should go without saying that these vintage manual focus lenses remain manual focus when attached to a modern camera body. The same goes for setting the aperture - you must use the physical ring on the lens. While we've all gotten spoiled with the amazing image stabilization in modern lenses (and some camera bodies), these lenses have no such safety net, so keeping very still when taking the shot is critical to taking sharp photos. For the same reason, you also need to mind your shutter speed.

The upside to all this is that because of the way shooting modes work on Fujifilm cameras, you can let the camera make all of the remaining exposure decisions for you, or you can choose to adjust those manually as well. Even better, if you have an X-T2, when you switch the camera to manual focus, there are some digital tools that will enable you to nail the focus with greater precision than would have been possible when these lenses were new! Even if you have less than perfect eyesight, these tools should help considerably.

Two features that are particularly helpful are focus peaking (also available on the earlier X-E2), and a new "Dual" feature that shows two frames in the viewfinder: a larger one at full-size, and a smaller frame that displays a loupe view of the area around the focus point. Using focus peaking, you simply turn the lens until the edges "sparkle" in the loupe, and you've got tack sharp focus! I only learned about this feature in the past week, and it's going to be a game-changer in my macro work, where manual focus is the norm even for modern lenses that have autofocus.

Four years after making the switch, I'm still a Fujifilm fanboy. I've purchased a number of Fujinon (Fujifilm's lens mount) lenses, as well as a couple of inexpensive Rokinon lenses. I don't have any pressing need to "slum" around (as Ken Rockwell puts it), with lens adapters and vintage glass. Sometimes it's just fun to see what you can create with old gear.

Occasionally I'll pick up an old lens that I primarily intend to use on old cameras (as nature intended), and I'm curious to see how it works on a modern digital sensor. Such was the case when I bought my latest find: a Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 - a fast and sharp prime released around 35-40 years ago.

The following comments and sample photos reflect my totally unscientific methodology: namely, attach lens to camera and go shoot stuff around the neighborhood. There are no control images for comparison, no detailed technical data, and I didn't even record what f-stop I used. All shots were handheld, so any softness in the photos is probably an artifact of my unsteady hand. Please keep in mind that this is more of cursory look at the kinds of results you might get than a proper review.

That being said, I was impressed with the overall performance of the 50mm on my Fujifilm X-T2 (which effectively covers the same field of view as an 80mm lens on a full-frame digital or 35mm camera). The colors looked good, sharpness was excellent. While I'm eager to try this lens for portraits, taking advantage of that wide aperture to make the subject pop, I haven't had a chance to try it with a human subject yet. I have no reason to think it won't work well for that purpose.

The only con I could see with this specific lens is that the lens coatings seem to be deficient from a modern standpoint. As you can see in these samples, the lens experienced some flares and streaks more typical of today's toy cameras. This might well have been mitigated by using a lens hood, however, and being the experimental type I found this technical shortcoming to be rather charming. Before the digital era, and the rise of the lomography movement, these flaws were to be avoided. For many shooters today, they merely add character.

I've applied my standard edits on these photos: camera profile, sharpening, straightening, exposure adjustments, and some cropping. All of the photos were shot in RAW.

Moderate close-up of some lingering foliage. This is about as close as the lens can focus.

A neighbor's pinwheel. 

Pretty pansies outside the library.

A closer crop from the photo above. The sharpness isn't bad for shooting handheld while kneeling on the ground.

Guardians of Bissell Park. I got hissed at, but not chased.

As I shot into the light through this tree, you can see the colored streaks descending through the center area of frame.

Nearby construction site. The flaring was especially prominent here.

Additional, Non-Sequential Notes:

(1) The X-T2 lets you specify a focal length for your "no-lens" lens. I didn't remember to set it, so it defaulted to 21mm. That may or may not have affected the images seen here.

(2) The 50mm lens came with a Skylight (1A) filter, which I chose to leave attached, and I've not tried shooting without it. It's possible the filter may have contributed to the light flare.

(3) While I have no experience using them, there are more sophisticated lens adapters that support autofocus and electronic communication on lenses that have those features. Expect to pay a lot more for that functionality.

(4) I don't mean to create the impression that lens adapters are a better choice, or even equal to, lenses made by your camera manufacturer. Especially with Fujifilm cameras, there's a lot of lens correcting and digital wizardry that happens inside the brains of the camera. Using adapters with old lenses is the sort of thing you do for creative enjoyment, and because it's an easy way to re-purpose old gear, not because you don't want to invest in the right glass for the job.

Recommended Photography Podcasts


In no particular order, this is a summary of photo-related podcasts I enjoy listening to on a regular basis. (For those using Android devices, and who may be new to this whole podcast thing, I'm a longtime fan of DoggCatcher, currently priced at $2.99. There are, of course, many other choices available in the Google Play store - ranging in cost from free to cheap.)

Film Photography Podcast - all about film, film cameras, and film-related news. The FPP is a fun show with a core of regulars who bring a variety of knowledge and creative backgrounds to the table.

The Kodakery - as the name suggests, it's a podcast focused on Kodak film, featuring interviews from a broad range of creatives who use film in their work.

PPN - Photo Podcast Network - several different monthly shows featuring seasoned photographers, Scott Bourne and Marco Larousse. Weighted towards mirrorless cameras and inspirational shows, along with helpful listener Q&A.

The Candid Frame: A Photography Podcast - Hosted by Ibarionex Perello, features in-depth interviews with a wide range of photographers, with a view towards culture and social issues.

The TWiP Network - What began as a single podcast (This Week in Photography) with Frederick Van Johnson, has exploded into a whole family of photography-related podcasts with a variety of hosts. There's something here for nearly every genre of photography.

LensWork - Photography and the Creative Process - A long-running podcast, featuring photographer Brooks Jensen. Each episode is short (under 10 minutes), but features a salient thought or idea relating to the creative life.

On Taking Pictures - A photography podcast featuring discussions between hosts Bill Wadman and Jeffery Saddoris. Sometimes the discussion wanders off into any number of esoteric and seemingly unrelated topics, but somehow they manage to keep it interesting.

Vision is Better - This isn't technically a podcast, but a YouTube broadcast, featuring humanitarian photographer, David DuChemin. His passion for cultivating photographic vision is contagious. When I need a kick in the rear to jolt my creativity, his videos, articles and books are just the fix.

I'm interested in hearing what other podcasts keep you coming back for more. If you have any shows you'd like to recommend, please leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!



Lens Tragedy in Vermont

As I prepare to shoot an event tomorrow without the benefit of my trusty Fujinon 18-135mm zoom, I thought this might be a good time to remind everyone to exercise caution when handling your gear in the field. This applies to professionals and amateur shutter bugs alike.

Back in May, my wife and I were vacationing up in New England. We stopped in a small Vermont town so we could walk around and take some photos. As I grabbed my camera bag - a smaller backpack I like to use for trips - and pulled it from the back seat of the car, I realized too late that something was wrong. The main compartment flipped open and my zoom lens tumbled down onto asphalt with the impact of a million suns exploding. (It's a slight exaggeration, but such was the effect on my nerves.)

Photo taken immediately after dropping my lens. The cosmetic damage was minor, but focusing problems began appearing soon after.

No glass elements were damaged, but I noticed immediately that the little plastic aperture switch on this otherwise metal lens was banged up. It would slide between positions, but with a lot of resistance. At first everything else seemed OK. But over the next few months I noticed that the focus point wouldn't move on command at random times. I put up with this quirk for a while, but after my last big event realized this could become a problem at a very inopportune moment. I can't afford to miss critical shots because faulty gear lets me down.

Several weeks ago, I packed my sick lens carefully and shipped it to a repair shop in New York. After a delay due to parts availability, I finally got a call this Monday that the lens was ready to ship. The total cost of repairs: $238, not including my initial shipping and insurance. As it's a $900 lens, getting it repaired was a no-brainer. I use this lens a great deal for travel and event photography. The repair shop is an authorized Fujifilm repair center, so I'm optimistic that it will return to me in good working order.

The point of this cautionary tale is simply this: Never leave an unzipped (or unlatched) camera bag closed. If you're at all like me, you'll forget that the bag is not secured in a moment of excitement, and the end result could make for a very costly accident. It may also mean that you find yourself without the lens you want at the worst possible time.

My Reluctant Upgrade to Windows 10

Back in April, I published a detailed post about why I intended to fully migrate to Linux and other open source software for editing photos before Windows 7 supports ends in 2020. The grounds for my stance are still valid, in my opinion, but I want to explain why my experiment was less than successful. I have since upgraded my two main systems to Windows 10, with one of them dual-booting Linux Mint.


I still strongly prefer Linux (and the Linux Mint distribution, in particular) to Windows. My reasons all boil down to aesthetics, performance, privacy, security and freedom of choice. That's not to say that Windows 10 doesn't have some strong selling points. Overall it is a significant improvement, performance-wise, over earlier Microsoft operating systems. Linux, on the other hand, is at least equal to Windows 10 (or Apple's Mac OS) in terms of performance, and has the added advantage of letting you remain in control of your computer and everything it does. That freedom of choice may not matter to you, but it is important to me.

So why backtrack on my Linux migration plan? In short: stark pragmatism. Nothing more, nothing less.

Now that I am in business for myself, workflow efficiency has become a critical concern. I can no longer afford to dabble when I have work that needs to be processed and delivered to clients in a timely fashion. While it is possible to do almost everything in Linux with open source image editing software that one can do with Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop, there is no competing open source software that lets me work as quickly and easily. There are a growing number of exciting paid alternatives, such as Luminar and ON1 Photo RAW, for Windows or Mac OS. But there's little or nothing of the same caliber for Linux currently being sold.

I had earnestly hoped that Darktable (which is finally available for Windows for those who would like to try it), would be a suitable Lightroom alternative for me. I commend the developers who have worked so hard to create such a powerful program. They have done a terrific job at adding new camera RAW profiles, so that even very new models have support. The software allows adjustments that even exceed the capabilities of Lightroom in certain respects. Aside from the lack of Fujifilm film simulations (which are important to me as a Fujifilm mirrorless shooter), there's not much I can't do in Darktable with some fiddling around. But that's the problem.

Open source software like Darktable or the equally powerful RawTherapee are designed for highly technical people who want granular control over settings that ordinary photographers don't necessarily want to muck around with. It's not that the software lacks sophistication; in fact, it's arguably too sophisticated for the average photographer who wants to make basic adjustments quickly and easily. There are really only a handful of adjustments that I make on images from a typical photo shoot. In Lightroom, I can apply automatic settings or stored presets that often get me most of the way to a final image, and then I tweak specific shots as needed.

The other major issue is that, with a few exceptions, there's a notable lack of quality training and support available for open source software tools. They do offer some helpful documentation in free manuals, which is a good start. However, if you want to see some real-life usage scenarios demonstrated, there's just not much of that out there. For users of Adobe products, there's no end to books, workshops and online training. There are a ton of online forums where users can interact and ask questions. Need to know how to resize a background in Photoshop without resizing the entire image? Just hop on Google (as I recently did), and have your answer in a matter of seconds. If you run into an obscure problem using a feature of Darktable, you may spend a lot more time looking for answers with little success.

Back in July, I attended a KelbyOne all-day Lightroom training event in Nashville. While the class did cover a few things I already knew, I was truly overwhelmed by a wealth of techniques and tips that have already saved me considerable time and frustration in my own editing. The training also touched on Photoshop for specific techniques, which is made possible by the fact that the two applications are designed to work seamlessly together. There are no similar training events for photographers using open source software. Having a large community of users, along with expert teachers, is an invaluable resource. After years of learning how to use Adobe products, I've concluded it would be foolish to jettison that hard-earned knowledge only to start all over again.

None of this is to say that I'm abandoning all use of Linux or open source software. I will continue to keep a watchful eye over new developments and test them out. I certainly don't mean to knock the dedicated people who work on these complex programs that have more capability than I'll probably ever understand. But for right now, as someone making a living via photography, the lack of mainstream support makes it tough to embrace other options. I really want to get away from the clutches of Microsoft, but it's an uphill battle at every step.

As for my concerns about Windows 10, I have done all I can to wrest control of my computer back into my own hands. In response to mounting pressure, Microsoft has given back a modicum of control by making it easier to select how much information is sent back to them about your computer and your data. While you can't disable it completely, you can set it to collect a minimal amount of data.

There are additional steps you can take to minimize how much information is gathered. After you've turned off all the nosiest features that you can live without, you may want to install the third party Spybot Anti-Beacon to further clamp down on Windows phoning home. How foolproof are these and other tools at guarding your privacy? Only Microsoft knows how much data gets sent back. But at least you'll have done all you can to maintain control of your personal information.

Now, if we could only persuade Adobe to port their flagship products over to one of the popular Linux distributions, all of my concerns would be addressed once and for all. Until a better option comes along, I'm stuck in bed with the Beast of Redmond.

Unusual Eclipse Photo

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, I'm now making this photo available as an 8x10" print. The cost is $35, plus shipping. Get yours today!

Candidly, I'd not planned to take any photos of today's big solar eclipse. Everyone and their brother with a long lens was gearing up, and I knew NASA would wow us all with photos taken from a jet. As things turned out, I was able to snag a pair of eclipse safety glasses from my friends at The Knoxville Community Darkroom last night. One thing led to another, and I found myself standing in our driveway as the moon (almost) totally eclipsed the sun.

In Oak Ridge, we had less than a minute before the moon continued on its merry way and daylight was restored. I had to work quickly, and adjusted my camera manually to get the best exposure I could. I did fire off several decent eclipse photos that look pretty much like everyone else's eclipse photos. As the moon began to edge away, something flew by out of the corner of my eye. I quickly snagged a couple more shots before it became dangerous to continue doing so without any sort of filter on my lens.

When I loaded the photos on my computer, I was surprised and delighted to find this photo among them. Aside from a few Lightroom adjustments (including cropping), this is the once-in-a-lifetime photo exactly as captured by my camera! I'd like to tell you I planned this out carefully, but the truth is I was just in the right place, at the right time, with a camera ready to take a photograph.

Knoxville Aerial Arts Performance Group

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of once again photographing the talented members of the Knoxville Aerial Arts Performance Group, along with the independent performers who joined them for the evening. The venue was the Zoo Knoxville, during their annual "Feast with the Beasts" event. Visitors were able to sample the best Knoxville has to offer in food, drink and, of course, live entertainment.

If you are a member of a local arts group that holds performances, and you need a photographer to ensure that those memorable moments are captured for posterity, use the Contacts link above to inquire about my services. Day or night, indoors or out, I am ready to help you to capture vivid, photographic memories! As a fellow artist, I am sensitive to financial constraints, and I will work with you to offer high quality service at a reasonable and accessible rate.

Independent Fire Performer, Meghan Stiles, delighting an audience with her prowess.

Independent performer, Angel Noble (far left), towered above the other performers on her stilts.

A moment of levity after a long night of performing at the Zoo.

Schedule Your Creative Senior Photoshoot

There's absolutely nothing wrong with "typical" high school senior photos that are brightly lit and incorporate popular poses. I've shot a number of photos like that, myself, and I'm happy to create any look a client wants. If a client prefers traditional photos in a scenic location, I'm ready to deliver exactly what they're looking for.

But if you or your high school senior want something a little different - something that really connects with his or her personality - I'm equally happy to work with you in coming up with memorable images that you'll cherish for years to come. Whether it's on a hiking trail deep in the woods, sitting atop a tractor on the farm, inside a charming, lavish home or dusk by a campfire at the lake, I'm committed to going the extra mile to get the photos you and your family deserve.

The photos you see here are from a recent shoot with Phoebe. We discussed the look she wanted ahead of time, and settled on an urban setting with plenty of lines and a theatrical feel. So we headed to downtown Knoxville in the early evening. Although showers threatened to postpone the event, the rain stopped for just the right length of time for us to carry on.

Schedule your senior photo shoot for the remainder of August 2017, and pay only $150 for a one hour session. Use the Contact link above to start planning today!

The Mobile Darkroom

Panoramic photos shot on my Clipper 6x18 pinhole camera at yesterday's inaugural run of the mobile darkroom. It was parked in front of The Emporium for visitors to enjoy during Knoxville's First Friday event. This specially modified trailer functions in part as a giant pinhole / camera obscura, so it seemed fitting to photograph a giant pinhole camera with a smaller one! 

Visitors to the mobile darkroom exhibit were able to peek inside the trailer to see a live, upside-down projection of the crowd mingling behind them. If you've never looked inside a camera obscura, it's fascinating to observe how this ancient technique uses nothing but natural light to project an image on the opposite wall. Also on exhibit were examples of large images previously captured on photo paper, along with samples of other creative work done at the Knoxville Community Darkroom.

You can learn more about the mobile darkroom and other creative events by visiting the Knoxville Community Darkroom website.


Exposures for each of these photos ran from about 90-120 seconds. Most people appear as faint, ghostly figures as they moved about the scene. The longer a person stayed in place, the more "solid" their appearance. (Click to see larger versions of each photo.)