Brandon Smith (Redwoodtwig)
Content vs Quality
The vast majority of my photography and video activity currently revolves around my Tai Chi form cultivation and my garden cultivation. For these images, content is more important than quality, though I do keep an eye on quality.
Most of my photography is done on location, either in a regular room or someplace outside. Once I become familiar with a place or location, it becomes a studio in the sense that I learn where to have the camera to take advantage of the light and textures present in the place.
In the 70's I was able to spend some time in a formal studio with lights and a 4x5 camera. And around 2008 had finally assembled a tiny studio with a backdrop and a couple of lights and reflectors. The size of the room has limited what can be done in there, so the majority of my portrait and other people shoots are done outside where I've several locations whose lighting and background texture are familiar to me now. However, sometimes nature decides to change the lighting or texture now and then.
I first used a movie camera when I was about 11 years old. It was a 16mm hand crank whose brand and model I don't remember. What I do remember was filming a funeral celebration in Bali that my father had been invited to. He had talked with the people and had handed me the camera to see what I could do. Although the crank system had some mechanism that allowed for a bit of variation in how fast you cranked, you couldn't stop. So I ran alongside the procession, cranking away, lots of very jerky footage, but did get a few minutes of the funeral pyre before the film ran out. I was not encouraged by the amount of work involved in the cranking and the frankly lousy results that came back from the lab.
I like today's methods of recording video.
The new studio room, when complete, will be primarily a practice and performance area for Tai Chi, dance and similar activities that benefit from mirrors all around. Mirrors are nice in a few specific kinds of photographic or video productions, but generally they are not helpful. So when time and resources allow, backdrops on rails will be installed to go with the lights and other shooting studio stuff. I do plan to shoot more instructional Tai Chi videos and, when opportunity presents itself, other more artistic oriented photo shoots and videos.