The Making of Christina River Blues

The Making of Christina River Blues

Last winter with the help and support of my good friend of Jon Tehel, I drove to New York to record some songs I wrote. It had been about a decade since I wrote or recorded anything but the notion came over me like a great wave. I felt like I had something in me that needed to come out, a ghost of sorts. The winters are long on the East Coast, long and bitter cold.  I could only write and sing what I know. I did my best to paint a picture of my daily life at the time. Romanticizing the bleak, finding beauty in the common scenes. Every morning on my radio was either the late Jason Molina or Springsteen, I did my best to learn from them and keep my own voice, as ragged as it may be. I just wanted to make something real.

These are the images from that day in Queens cutting the first vocal and guitar tracks, only doing two takes of each song, to keep in the spirit of doing something real.

Please visit here to hear the music



The Reinvention of Chloe: chapter 6

The Reinvention of Chloe: chapter 6

A new morning, a new journey. Time to start over. There are places she’d dreamed of going in her mind, now it was time to make it real. Chloé gathered the few belongings that meant anything, sold the rest, and headed to the station. When she arrived at the depot, the station clerk asked where she was headed. “I don’t know,” she said, “far away from here.” The station clerk grumbled, but Chloé knew that anywhere in the world would be better than this old town. She smiled at the old, miserable clerk and slipped her money under the glass. Then she boarded the train and headed west, into the unknown. Fear turned to wanderlust with the ever passing pictures she saw from her train window. She pulled from her bag an old, weathered Leica her father had left her. Chloé rubbed her fingers across her father’s initials, still scratched into the bottom of the machine. She wiped the dust from the lens and brought the viewfinder to her eye. She focused on her reflection in the window, with the mountains all blurred in the background and clicked the shutter, knowing she’d see herself in a new way. Chloé started to capture her journey in silver and light and started seeing the world in black and white. No more depression and lost love, the world was hers and there was nothing that could change that now…

Aircrafting “Lascaux” filmed with the Nokia Lumia 1020

Aircrafting “Lascaux” filmed with the Nokia Lumia 1020

Winter is a good time to think, make plans and visualize. Sometime after the snow began to melt I decided it’d be a good time to try my hand at moving pictures. I was testing out a Nokia Lumia 1020, and friends of mine were working on a new record.
It was the perfect scenario for an experiment.

I haven’t even thought about filming anything since college but lately I think about it more and more.
So with no real plan, I caught a train from Wilmington to Manhattan to meet up with the dudes in Aircrafting. Jon (singer/guitar) and I talked over beers of ideas, concepts and inspiration. We had a loose idea of how we wanted to do it, but I was relying more on the idea of making moving photographs then anything else. I wanted the video to have the same feel as my photography. That was the most important aspect for me.

It was a crisp, late winter morning and I found myself riding out of the city from Brooklyn to Queens to a sculpture garden in Roslyn, NY.

With nothing more than a feeling and the demo playing on our phones… I filmed for a few hours, doing only one or two takes of each scene. I wanted an unrehearsed and real feeling, still hoping to also capture a dreamy quality, if that makes sense. The dudes were quite easy to work with and really understood what I was asking for.

Everything you see here is filmed through the native camera on a Nokia Lumia 1020 and it’s all hand held. The camera itself worked perfectly and did exactly what I’d hoped it would do. In hindsight, I learned a lot and there are certainly some things I would do differently, though I am quite happy with the final product…

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the song and the moving photographs!

Find more music here  or connect with them on Facebook

Hipstamatic Thailand with Tim Bushell

Hipstamatic Thailand with Tim Bushell by David N

All the way from rural Thailand, Tim was able to connect with me through some sort of miracle in WIFI. Tim runs a website dedicated to Hipstamatic and explained Hipstamatic as being like the third party: you have the person taking the photo, the subject in the photo, and the character Hipstamatic itself.

“Hipstamatic has brought back photography in a way. They’ve taken out the digital in digital photography. Quite clever.”

T: Tim Bushell D: David Norbut

D. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

T. I’m English, and have had a number of jobs, and I ended up getting into IT in my 30’s, teaching IT and computing to children. That led to me learning how to program, and I left that teaching job and started developing. Later I joined the company I am with at the moment, which is I am working in partnership with them: basically we are training brokers. My job is set up for me to be able to travel, which I love to do. Four years ago I left the UK and lived in Italy for a year, went back to the UK and then out to Asia. The plan was to travel around Asia but I ended up staying most of the time in Thailand; I’ve got a girlfriend here now – whom I’m staying with in the north. I have been here on and off for nearly three years. I really like it here, but it’s tricky because I’m here on tourist visas. I’ve already had to replace one passport because it had so many stamps in it (laughs).

D. Tell me about how you got into photography.

T. Years ago I bought a nice Olympus. I was interested in bird watching at the time – I still am a bit of a bird watcher – and I was into nature photography, but on a budget – so the Olympus with its 10x zoom was perfect. It was more for exercise than anything; I just wanted to get out of the house. So I was getting a bit into photography then. I actually went to a photography club for a while, about 2 months. It was just, so… I don’t know… (laughs)… a little too much on the technical side.

During a trip to Australia, I bought a Nikon D40, and that was a great purchase. I spent a good amount of time taking photographs, and at the end of the day I would upload 300, 400 photos to a PC. I would be looking through them, and then never look at them again.

In Thailand, after my smart phone got stolen from my hotel, I ended up buying an iPhone. I didn’t use it to take photographs at all until I downloaded Hipstamatic. For a month, I suppose, I was taking pictures with it but I didn’t really understand it. There were all these lenses and films and stuff; it was easy to get a bit lost. After using it on and off for about six weeks I ended up spending a couple of hours one night photographing a flower with Hipstamatic, and that’s when I started to notice it took some nice photos. Around the same time I found Instagram and I would go back and forth posting DSLR photos and Hipstamatic photos.

At that time, in the early version of Hipstamatic, you could only take one picture at a time. This restriction changed the way I started to take photographs. I had decided to use this app to take photographs of all this beautiful scenery in Thailand. So I was using it, and when you took a photograph you had to wait; and for me that’s what really made me start thinking about photography. With a digital camera you tend to just snap away and you think “oh, I’ll just sort the picture out later in Photoshop.” With Hipstamatic, you take the picture and there’s no going back. You can’t change it, you can’t even rotate it to align the horizon straight, you’d lose the frame. Pretty much anything you do with Hipstamatic you are stuck with, and I quite like that idea. I think that’s what Hipstamatic is really all about, almost taking you back to a time before digital, making you more careful with the framing and composition before you snap the image. It really made me think about the photographs I wanted to take, and I started taking a lot less photos. I also decided I would start deleting the photos I didn’t like; I became more ruthless.

I came up with this system: Since Hipstamatic photos are square I would upload them to Instagram or my website in a set of four with the same lens, film and theme (or shoot). I create a title page, and put the four photos into a square. It helped me edit down the number of pictures from each theme to the best four. If I had a really good set, I would use nine, again in the square. It really made me re-think the way I take pictures. Of course it also got me out and about in Thailand!

D. I guess that would lead us into how you started your website. Can you tell us about it?

T. It all started with me taking a bunch of photos of the same thing with the combos I thought I would like, and making a chart for myself. That’s what I really wanted, a chart so I could see all the different lens, film and flash combinations in different situations. Including flashes there are something like 9,200 combinations now!

So that’s what I did. I created a website and did a series of sets of one photo with different combinations. At first I was trying to take the same picture with every combination, but that wasn’t practical at all. One of my first sets was of the sunset, and it was moving, and it really wasn’t working well. I was trying to do what I call a Comprehensive Set, where I would do all of the lenses, with all the effect films, and all the flashes. But by the time I had finished, the sunlight had changed too much. After a while, I thought there must be another way of doing this. Being a programmer, I did eventually find a way. Hipstamatic still processes the effects, but, simply put, I hacked the queue. I’ll take the picture, but will close Hipstamatic before it develops, so it just saves the raw file. I’ve written software to turn this file into an enormous queue of combinations for Hipstamatic. Before that I was literally standing for an hour and a half or more, arms tired, taking the same photo with all these different combinations. Now I take the picture, do some clicking around in the software I wrote, and upload the results back into Hipstamatic for the app to process all the different combinations for that photo. It might take the iPhone all night – sat on my desk – but I don’t have to do all the work anymore. I think the biggest upload I did was 2500 versions of the same image (a Black and White combination set – with all flashes). More importantly because I have the original photo saved, any time there is an update with a new film or lenses I can go ahead and update my sets with the saved image. I really think that’s why I have an edge over the other guides out there – all my sets are kept up to date with the original image.  Let me say, that is not how I take the photos myself: the raw photo for processing is for the guide website only. I enjoy using Hipstamatic and I shoot it the way it’s meant to be.

To learn more about Hipstamatic and the many combos and see more of Tim’s work please visit his one of a kind website and guide:

Hipstamatic Combo Compare Website / Personal Website / Instagram / Backspaces / Twitter

For the love of Punk and Photos…

For the love of Punk and Photos… by David Norbut

A fifteen year old boy in an apartment building in Tampa, Florida is jumping around his bedroom singing at the top of his lungs making the needle skip on the turntable. Singing every word to an AVAIL record, dreaming it was him singing it to the crowd. Or perhaps just wishing he was in the crowd, longing for an escape. I have spent many a nights packed into firehalls, basements, theaters, you name it. I lived for going to shows. I lived for buying the records, the t-shirts, the patches of my heroes, my favorite bands. My friends and I would drive for miles to catch Fugazi, Hot Water Music, Avail and so many others… There was nothing like buying a record at your local record store never having heard it, this was before the days of Spotify and iTunes.  Memorizing every word then seeing and hearing it live and every person in that room is screaming every word with you.  It’s a hard feeling to describe and there are so many nights I will never forget. The best part is, now thanks to Spotify and iTunes with a click of the mouse I can be transported right back to those nights.

 As long as I’ve been interested in photography I have always felt compelled to shoot music.  The music had and still has such a grip on me, I’m easily drawn to capturing it. Trying to capture the right moment in a song or a band or musician in a real moment. It has long been one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Two great worlds combined. There are a few things that directly come to mind when I think about what it takes to capture music or musicians, especially live. The big one is ANTICIPATION. If you know a song, if you know a breakdown is coming or a chorus where the crowd is really coming alive, you know to be ready to get “the shot.” Another big thing is to try to catch interactions between the musicians and even the interactions between musician and audience. There is a beautiful thing going on during a live show, there is a lot of love there. That’s the emotional side of it. In my opinion if you don’t have some emotion or love for what you are doing it’s just going to fall flat. But emotion or feeling aren’t enough. The tool and the technique also play a big role. In this case I’m writing this article about the Nokia Lumia 1020. I want to share my experiments and experience shooting live music with this device. First off and most importantly it shoots better in low light then any other mobile device I have used. We all know when shooting live music that is a huge advantage because 9 times out of 10 shooting music there is no flash photography allowed. Unless of course we are taking photos at punk rock shows, which I just happened to be shooting for this article. Most folks in underground bands couldn’t care less if you use a flash. So during this particular show, I was shooting two bands that had long time friends of mine in each band. So I decided shoot one band with no flash to put the low light shooting to the test and for the other I would fire the flash for each photo.

I shot everything with a Nokia Lumia 1020 through the Proshot app. I found when the light was strong enough the lowlight shooting went well, you have to play with the exposure a bit, but the Proshot app makes that easy. As for the flash, make sure its allowed in the situation and give it a go. Remember anticipation and emotion.

 VERSES NARROW, Nokia Lumia 1020, No flash

EASY CREATURES, Lumia 1020, Flash fired

EASY CREATURES, Nokia Lumia 1020, Flashed fired

VERSES NARROW, Nokia Lumia 1020, No flash

hear the tunes…



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