Monday, February 04, 2008

Stone Soup

I spent last Saturday shooting some pictures and video for my friend Jane and her boyfriend Keith. I'm doing a website for her gallery in my spare time and needed some eye candy to fill in the cracks in the info.

It ended up being a great chance to try out a cheap ( well relatively cheap @ $70 compared to an actual sigma or nikon fisheye lens ) screw on adapter for my camera. I love the sqewed, warped look of extreme wide angle and shooting in confined spaces like rooms with so many things in them it's a necessity.

The gallery is called Stone Soup in lovely Hammond, Wisconsin - an oasis of creation in the farmland of the cheese plains. I heard Hammond has a population of 1,600 people which seems like just enough for a gas station, a "mall" of four businesses under the same roof, farm implements and a few bars.

I don't know how they did it but the gallery has turned into a "destination" with people driving hours from all over the place to chit chat, hang out and hey... even buy affordable art.

An unforeseen bonus of a day trip to Stone Soup is the hotel / bar / corner resteraunt up the block. Three huge burgers ( one made of Bison ), fries, and three mixed drinks for $19. I think the biggest thrill for me was a happy hour Bloody Mary for $1.25. No kidding. Served with a big pickle and chaser. Crazy.

So the jury is still out on the fisheye lens adapter. I'm not particularly happy with the quality. I knew it was going to be dark but I wanted to use existing light so I used a remote shutter release with a tripod for long exposures. I don't knwo what I was expecting from something 1 / 10th of the price of the real tool for the job but they're mostly for the web anyway so they'll work fine when they're dwarfed down to screen resolution. I did like the vignetting that was going on and having the option to just crop it out if it doesn't work for the picture.

The fun surprise was this ring that is used with the wide angle glass. It's a marco ring and had some fun effects. If I turned the camera at a sharp angle it would lock in on the specific focal length and throw everything else out of whack shooting blurs of in different directions. Pretty cool.

Hammond Wisconsin: You Rule.


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