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Jason and Jayson posing before the ceremony

Jason and Jayson posing before the ceremony

Some time in August, I was approached by my friend Jason: would I be interested in taking photos at his upcoming wedding to long-time boyfriend Jayson? Would I! I said yes as soon as I’d confirmed that I didn’t have the date promised to anyone else.

Jason is an actor, and he and Jayson both have a good sense of the theatrical. In fact, the wedding would take place in a banquet-hall-like space called the Bullitt Cabaret at Seattle’s ACT Theatre. I learned later that our mutual friend Rachel would be the officiant, which is beautiful in its own right: Jason and Rachel and I all worked on a series of shows together, in which Jason played a super-strong superhero called The Cap’n, and Rachel played a fiendishly intelligent villain named Chaos Theory, who thwarted his team at every opportunity. We couldn’t resist calling back to our shared past for one shot.

Chaos Theory is back to wreak more... chaos

Chaos Theory is back to wreak more… chaos

As the ceremony proceeded, after we had taken the formal shots on the gorgeous stairs (including shots with the almost hopelessly romantic 5×7 camera — there is nothing like having your photographer disappear under a dark cloth behind the 1910-era wooden camera and calling out “Say Cheese!” before the flashes ignite), a titter rippled through the audience as we realized we were in for more of a show than anyone had reckoned on.

Rachel is well known around town as a puppetteer, and is even running her own puppet business, Vox Fabuli Puppets. There was a suspiciously shaped box at her feet as she brought Jason and Jayson up to the landing where she’d be performing the ceremony. Tittering turned into full laughter (and not a few shocked gasps, I suspect) as she pulled out her new puppet, the Right Honorable Ruth Monster Ginsberg. Chaos indeed. Ruth Monster Ginsberg officiated the whole wedding, although she had to be checked at one point when it became clear that her ABCs of good relationships would have taken up the whole alphabet, if given free reign.

Ruth Monster Ginsberg officiating.  She doesn't see what's so funny.

Ruth Monster Ginsberg officiating. She doesn’t see what’s so funny.

The ceremony was endless fun, and indeed turned into a proper show, with acts on stage, singing and dancing, the whole nine yards. We also took advantage of a fantastically baroque chesterfield in the upper balcony to create another photo booth for anyone who wanted to be part of the drama.

Chesterfield + theater people = delicious drama

Chesterfield + theater people = delicious drama

On top of having a fantastically good time taking pictures at a good friend’s wedding, I was also told yesterday that one or more of my photos from the night may be published in a magazine early next year. More news on that if it becomes real, but even the possibility is pretty exciting.

In my work as a photographer, I typically come to the photograph: I’m in the time and place where I know a photo is going to come together. Usually it’s a show, or a headshot session, or something else I’ve scheduled. I signed up in advance to be there, with a camera, and make awesome photos happen. It’s gratifying how often that happens.

Then, other times, a photo will more or less jump up and punch me in the eye, insisting that I take it. At these times, I’m glad I pretty much always have a decent camera with me: I can pull out my camera and oblige the photo by capturing it. It’s not terribly often that this happens, but when it does, it’s simply not a thing that I can ignore. I suppose this is a good signpost on my journey toward being the best photographer I can be.

Yesterday was one of those times. I walked into the garage ready to get on my bike and huff and puff my way to work. The day was bright without being sunny, and while I wasn’t exactly late, I wasn’t looking to dally on my commute. But then there was this sight staring at me. My old vintage Honda CL175 was sitting in a pool of light without any intervention on my part. The picture more or less jumped up and punched me in the eye. With a muttered “Aw, jeez,” (poor old me, I know) I turned around, unpacked my camera from the pannier, and took the photo. This was also my first day with the new Rollei 35 S, so I checked what exposure numbers the digital camera had used (1/80 at f/1.8 at ISO200), did some quick and not terribly accurate mental math on stops, and tried to simulate that exposure with the Rollei, which only goes down to F/2.8, and was loaded with ISO400 film. I think I ended up with 1/30 and f/2.8 at ISO400, with a safety at 1/15.

I’m still missing a good way to scan the film I shoot, so here is the digital version, which came out quite well.


The film shot came out alright, but focus and sharpness (the things I’m most curious about with this Rollei) are not a strength when shooting a negative on a light table with a digital camera, even a carefully focused digital camera. A film scanner is clearly on my short-list if I’m going to continue with this film binge.

Update: here’s the film version, done up as well as I can for the moment. This was re-photographed on a small light table with a Canon 100mm/2.8 macro lens on my 7D. The focus was pretty good, and the depth of field should have taken care of any slight imperfections. I think I’m going to call this the Rollei being not as clear as I might have hoped, but with an interesting character all its own. Still need to get this negative into a real scanner, though.


Sometimes, you pull out the old camera gear, and get started down a path. Then you’re reminded of things you’ve wanted to do for a while. Then you do them.

Thus came it to pass: I now have a Rollei 35s. I’ve wanted one for a while, and now that someone (ahem) splurged on a bulk roll of 35mm film, well, one simply needs cameras to use up all that film, yes? Yes. Say hello to the smallest camera in the Dangerpants collection. It is adorable and wee.


This is a photo I put together last night to help promote The Luxuria Cycle at Annex Theatre (which just won the 2013 Theatre of the Year award at the Gregory Awards!).

In the play, Luxuria is a corporation, similar to Google or Facebook, which has taken control of most aspects of life, but primarily love and relationships. It’s a very interesting concept, and well executed. Inspired by the play and the costumes, I put together this photo of the cast keeping tabs on their users.


My friend John Ulman wrote this fantastic top-10 list that you might enjoy:

10 Tips for a Great Headshot, by John Ulman

Share and enjoy!


I was wandering through Value Village the other day, and spotted this big, pro-looking SLR in the display case. I took a closer look, and noted the model number. Next time I hit a computer, I looked it up, and it looked interesting. And Value Village was asking $60 for it, which was roughly on par with what KEH was asking (if they’d had any in VG condition, which they didn’t). Plus it had the accessory vertical grip. What the hell, thought I. So I bought a Canon EOS A2e 35mm film camera.

I just got back from my first brief session with a 35mm film camera in years. I only took 10 pictures, which is a shocking change from my digital habits. Thinking of that $5 roll of film in the camera dramatically changes my priority. It’s very interesting to work within that limitation again. I grew up shooting film, so this habit is nothing new. It’s just that I’ve been utterly spoiled by digital cameras, where even shooting RAW, I’m able to take many hundreds of photos before I have to think about storage space.

So now of course I’ve got thoughts of setting up my full darkroom again (I held onto all the equipment, figuring I might get interested again), and like some kind of gateway drug, it’s now ok in my brain to go troll through Ebay looking at crusty 35mm rangefinders and funky old cameras I never would have considered even a few days ago. It’s like a kind of madness.

Time to go home, mix up a fresh batch of XTOL, and see what I’ve got. It’s odd, disconcerting, and surprisingly calming to be back.


The Camera Fundamentals class I’m offering is coming up fast: this Sunday, June 30th, at 1 pm! Find the details and a ticket pre-purchase link on the Classes page.

Due to popular demand, I will be offering this class again, but I haven’t set the date yet. Look for an announcement here, and expect it to be in the early fall.


So, there’s this theater event, see? It’s called 14/48. The basic idea is that you call in a bunch of actors, seven directors, seven playwrights, designers, and musicians. Then you sit them down in a room of a Thursday night, and say, “Here’s what’s happening, and here’s the theme. GO!” The writers get their theme, and have to turn in a 10 minute script by 8 am the next morning. At 9 am the next morning, the directors gather and randomly select an unmarked manila envelope. The designers pore over the scripts to figure out what they’ll need to come up with that day. Directors and writers discuss the scripts that have randomly paired them. At 10, the actors are randomly drawn, and directors head off with their casts to rehearse, block, memorize and make amazing this script that was finished mere hours ago.

Then, at 3:30 pm, tech rehearsals start. Then, at 8 pm, performances. 24 hours and 30 minutes have passed between the moment these artists gathered in a room and the moment they step on stage with their new play. And it’s not a train-wreck anywhere near as often as you might think. In fact, I’ve never seen a train-wreck, although I’ve certainly seen some uninspiring plays.

So now, the Kamikaze part. 45 or so artists gather in a room, and the ultimate layer of randomness is laid over the proceedings: everyone picks their job at random. You don’t know at the beginning of the night whether you’re going to be an actor or a writer or a director, or in the band, or designing props and costumes. And, as proved by this past weekend, this isn’t a train-wreck either.

I missed the last Kamikaze event, last year, due to schedule conflicts. This year, as soon as I knew the dates, I cleared out my schedule and reserved the days. I took the Friday off from work. And I photographed the whole thing. I don’t yet have a gallery of photos up from the event (because I took just shy of 6700 photos over the course of the three days), but the lovely bloggers who covered the event in real time pulled primarily from my photos to illustrate the 14/48 blog. That’s a good first place to start.

Just like every 14/48 event I’ve ever photographed (three thus far, including this one), the experience was exhilarating, thought-provoking, wonderful, and exhausting in the extreme. I generated around 12 GB of photos. I made new friends. I got to experience the most elemental creation of theatrical art I’ve ever seen. And this time around, I got to witness the bug-eyed terror of actors writing their first plays, ever. I got to see the nervous glances of people who normally work behind the scenes, as they looked over their first acting scripts in far too long.

Far from presenting the world with seven disasters, 14/48 Kamikaze proved that people are more versatile than they think they are. We had seven shows each night which were in the best 14/48 tradition, without a stinker among them. That’s a pretty impressive feat.

For myself, I managed partial success in restraining my itchy trigger finger (the first 14/48 I shot, I recorded 8,448 photos, so the trend is good, even if the result isn’t as restrained as I might have hoped for). I got some wonderful pictures of friends and soon-to-be-friends doing this crazy thing they love. I got a combined 15 hours of sleep between Thursday night and Sunday morning (when I had foolishly scheduled a Shadow Series photo shoot which was worth it, but oh so tired). The sick thing is, I’m kind of ready to go do it all again.


I have no idea what to say about this photo. I’m riding the biggest wave of photo-awesomeness I’ve ever felt, and it’s all right here. To think, I actually said, “I think we’ve got enough for tonight,” moments before she turned her head just so and I nearly bruised my face raising the camera to my eye.

I’m very pleased to offer my first class, Camera Fundamentals. In it, I will cover everything you need to know to take full advantage of your camera: how the manual controls work, what they do, what effect they have. It will also include an explanation of the various specs on your camera that you may not have understood before: focal length, sensor size, ISO, and so on. Take your own camera use beyond point-and-shoot, and take control of your photos.

Details can be found on the Classes page. At only $40 for a two-hour class, this is a stunningly good deal, and later classes will cost more. Email me via ian at dangerpants dot com to inquire about getting a place, and jump-starting your photography skills!