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The Quirky Little town of Port Costa….

We were doing a stock shoot in Vallejo and spent the night there with family. The next morning my wife got a text invitation from a friend to join us for the town wide yard sale in Port Costa.

Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale

I had an unusual familiarity with Port Costa- when we lived in Vallejo I used to go out and explore with my camera. And Port Costa was one of those places that punched well above its weight in photogenic charm.

Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California

Before the bridges spanning the Carquinez, Port Costa connected Benicia with a rail ferry of the Transcontinental Rail Road.

Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California

Bridges eliminated the need for a ferry of course. But there now is a town with fewer than 200 residents with a few old buildings that were once bustling with travelers. The infrastructure that supported that activity largely remains with lots of character and a lovely patina.

Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California

There was a lot of extra activity due to the yard sale. The main street was packed. There was a trailer with three restored fiberglass Wiener Dog mascots (a long defunct San Francisco hotdog chain) on display.  And plenty of quirky cars to be seen.

Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California
Port Costa, California
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale
Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale

 

Recent Camera Photos

I’ve been busy with another idea….. photos of vintage cameras. In fact I’ve started collecting, testing, and selling film cameras here: usedfilmcameras.com.

Well here are a bunch of new-to-me 35mm cameras.

Enjoy!

 

The Buttertones Photos

My daughter’s favorite band is the Buttertones. Turns out I like them too. They have a rich analogue sound reminiscent of the Los Angeles music scene of the 1960’s and 70’s.

Recently we took her and a friend to see the Buttertones play live at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz. I brought my camera and was pretty happy with the photos.

Here are a few….

Second Friday Open Studios in Alameda

I came across a flyer for Alameda’s “Second Friday Art Walk” – while at Alameda Island Brewing Company. Hmmm, I got flat files and boxes full of photos, at least some of which I’d like to share.

obsolete-tech-cassette-20170408-dsc08391-jr
Obsolete Technology Study: Audio Cassette

I also have a “studio” a space that a friend and I share here on the lovely island of Alameda. After a quick chat- we’ve decided we’re going to try and participate.

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Obsolete Technology Study: 16mm Cinema Film

So here are some of the photos I’m hoping to display. Some, like the movie reels and audio cassettes are part of a project focusing on obsolete technology.

Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Shattered

Another subject I hope to share includes highlights from recent travels. There are a few photos I’m happy to share from a recent trip including Copenhagen, Büdingen (Hessen), and Berlin etc.

Bikes of Copenhagen
Bikes of Copenhagen
Dom St. Peter (Osnabrück)
Dom St. Peter (Osnabrück)

One item I can’t display here is my hand printed black and white traditional prints. Folks who want to sound fancy call these “Fine Art” and “Silver Gelatin” prints. If you’re old enough to be from the film photography era, they’re just normal prints. Except, that I also have some “Alt Process” prints of sorts too that I might display: I’ve been playing around with so called “litho printing”. But these aren’t digitized. You’ll have to hold them in your hands in person if you want to see.

Call or email me (phone four juan 5 – sveen four 2 -0121) for schedule and location if you’re interested.

 

The Films of My Father

When I was a kid my dad was a film maker. Not of the Hollyweird sort, he made educational films. I still remember one of his films being shown in my grade school and giggling when I saw myself used as an extra.

16mm Movie Film
Oxygen, Barr Films, 16mm Movie Film

Zoom forward and I’m working on documenting obsolete technology for an art project. I’d been photographing some reels and canisters I’d acquired by digging around junk shops.

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I was pretty happy with the direction the project was going when it occurred to me: … hey my dad made movies and must have some of them still! It would be more of a tie in.

people-who-work-with-people-film-tri
People-Who-Work-with-People, Barr Films

So that’s my ongoing personal project, still in progress.

20180928_0142-oxygent-film-front-reel-and-back
Oxygen, Barr Films, 16mm Movie Film

Technology Straight from the Scrapheap

Recently I’ve started a new art project. For much of my life I’ve been fascinated by technology.  And where and when I grew up was a lucky coincidence. San Jose in the 1970’s and 1980’s was in the fledgling days of Silicon Valley.

Historic Garage Where Silicon Valley Was Born (Michael Halberstadt)
Historic Garage Where Silicon Valley Was Born (Michael Halberstadt)

We had an Apple II at home and I’d play Castle Wolfenstein, Swashbuckler, or Prince of Persia for hours claiming to my parents that studies proved such games improved hand-eye coordination.

 (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)
The “Apple Garage” (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)

So in any case, I stumbled upon a bunch of old movie film boxes at a thrift store located at a garbage dump. I was fascinated by the aesthetics of the whole package: the weathered exterior cardboard boxes, the handwriting, the labels with dates facts and figures and the film itself.

35mm Movie Film Canister
35mm Movie Film Canister

The metal canisters are all stamped with different patterns based on the film manufacturer. And the chrome has worn off where they were handled over the decades.

16mm Movie Film Canister
16mm Movie Film Canister

I think they were all at a commercial German TV station: Werbefunk Saar was on one of the labels. And the handwriting on all the boxes looks like the same.

obsolete-tech-movie-2018-09-12-dsc09475-1-wordpress

And the film itself when viewed from the sides reveals interesting patterns.

I’ll keep you posted here and on my other sites for updates.

Berlin Then and Now (pt. 1) Fuer Immer in Freundschaft mit der Sowjetunion Verbunden

Berlin, wow, how things have changed!

Back in 1989, I took the photo below of a small memorial- this side reads “Fuer Immer in Freundschaft mit der Sowietunion Verbunden” rough translation: Always connected to the Soviet Union in Frendship.  You can see a Wartburg zipping by the Palast der Republik across the street in the background.

Memorial Across from the Palace of the Republic in the former GDR. The text on the left panel reads:
Memorial Across from the Palace of the Republic in the former GDR taken in 1989. The text on the left panel reads: Always connected to the Soviet Union in Friendship

That was then, this is now (2017 at least, photo below.)

Gedenkstein Am Lustgarten (Mitte) Herbert Baum
Gedenkstein Am Lustgarten (Mitte) Herbert Baum
Gedenkstein Am Lustgarten (Mitte) Herbert Baum
Gedenkstein Am Lustgarten (Mitte) Herbert Baum
Gedenkstein Am Lustgarten (Mitte) Herbert Baum
Gedenkstein Am Lustgarten (Mitte) Herbert Baum

Unfortunately there’s no Palace of the Republic across the street. I still regret leaving the GDR without taking so many photos. I just assumed it would be there anytime I came back.

Also, I should note: while researching this topic I found that this memorial is dedicated to Herbert Baum, a German, Jew, and Communist who led a resistance group against the fascists.

Catching Up with Copenhagen Pt. 2

Our second full day in Copenhagen… we experienced a misty summer day, lots of bikes an outdoor urinal, Tivoli. But my favorite photo was of a broken safety glass window.

Broken Window, Copenhagen
Broken Window, Copenhagen

I actually converted this image to grayscale and made some big prints I’m pretty proud of.

When traveling (even with family) I’m still on the lookout for stock-worthy subjects. As such, I’m often stopping to photograph some strange subjects. In this case there was an outdoor urinal: no doors, no privacy. Fortunately nobody was peeing at the time!

Outdoor Urinal, Copenhagen
Outdoor Urinal, Copenhagen

I’m going to go rogue here and rant about two things. One, what’s up with these graffiti idiots? Graffiti is usually a scar on architecture and the built environment. But did somebody write their own name on this urinal? Or somebody else’s (guess that would make more sense!) I hope they washed their hands afterwords (eeewww!)

Rant 2/2 in general Europe is running circles around the US in terms of quality of life. But one human need is very poorly met everywhere I’ve been in Europe: toilets. It’s easy to find a public toilet in the US. Often they are free, and reasonably well maintained here. While Denmark and most of Europe have done a great job addressing the human condition with universal health care, welfare and the like, it’s nice to think at least we in the US are better about something 😉

So, the other thing that stands out in Copenhagen is cycling. Bikes are everywhere. Chained to fences without gaps seemingly for miles.

Bicycle Shop, Copenhagen (c) Michael Halberstadt
Bicycle Shop, Copenhagen (c) Michael Halberstadt

 

(all images and text (c) Michael Halberstadt)

Berlin, Berlin Keine Masken Keine Mauern Pt. 1

It was about a year ago, we returned from our family trip to Europe. I’m still working my way through the photos. Berlin holds a special place in my heart.

My Doc Martins, Berlin, Germany
My Doc Martins, Berlin, Germany

I had visited a divided Berlin for the first time in 1987. In fact, I took an old pair of Doc Martins that might have been on my feet on some of the very same streets in the 1980’s.

Ambulance, Berlin, Germany
Ambulance, Berlin, Germany

Though it was a family trip, I still try to shoot stock. Many of my photos would seem rather odd without taking stock photography into account.

Fashionable Hat Shop, Berlin, Germany
Fashionable Hat Shop, Berlin, Germany

Across from our crappy hotel (Hotel Alper, don’t go there) was this hip hats shop that made for some nice photos.

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

One of the first places I remember visiting in 1987 was this Soviet WWII memorial. One ironic twist was though the USSR occupied the Eastern part of Berlin, they controlled a few little spots in the west where this memorial in the Tiergarten lies.