Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Photos from the Opening Reception of "RISE"

Last week was the opening reception of "RISE:" a juried exhibition of College of Visual Arts graduates. I was at the opening for a while, and here are a few photos:

That's my piece in the middle. The one with no one looking at it. *sad face*

On the CVA Action Facebook page, I found this photo of the opening where you can see me, my wife, and my boys:

Also, in conjunction with this exhibition, CVA Action is hosting some fun "Pecha Kucha" artist talks next week, which will feature people associated with CVA:

I know most of this isn't legible in this tiny image, but what you need to know is at the bottom:
Sept 21 at 6:45 pm at the Buenger Education Center (200 Syndicate St N) at Concordia University.

Check out CVA Action on Facebook and find out more about the Concordia Art Gallery here. The exhibition is up through October 11 if you want to stop by: M-F 10-4.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Upcoming Exhibition: "RISE"

I was recently accepted into a juried show. It’s the 2nd exhibition put on by CVA Action, and Karen Wirth was the juror. The show will be held at the Concordia University Art Gallery.

Postcard for the exhibition. (Photo by [and hand of] Caroline Houdek Solomon.)

Back of the postcard.

A close-up (legible) view of the info on the back of the postcard.

So stop by the opening reception this upcoming Thursday, September 7, from 5-8 pm.

Check out the opening reception event on Facebook, follow CVA Action on Facebook, and find out more about the Concordia Art Gallery here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

12 F*cking Rules For Success

I just came across this. WARNING: language. But truthful language.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Photography T-Shirts

Here are 5 fun photography t-shirts from I Still Shoot Film:

I suppose if the last one exists, then this one needs to as well.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Camping iPhone Photos

Last weekend, I went camping in central Wisconsin for 3 days with my family. Here are 5 photos from our trip:

Rest stop bathroom.

Viewing area.

Campground bathroom.

Campground game room.

Post-camping dry-out.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Popeye on Photography

My 6-year-old just discovered Popeye. And we recently saw this one together, where Olive Oyl wants to be in fashion magazines, so it revolves around photography. Here, take a break and watch this. (It's 5:45 long - the rest at the end is advertisements.)

Direct link:

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jay Cooke with a Holga

Three weeks ago, I went camping with my 2 boys up by Duluth. (I posted a lot of photos of our adventures on my other blog if you want to take a look.)

Last month, one of my classes at Hamline University did a Holga-based project. (A Holga is a cheap, plastic medium format film camera that needs to be taped shut to prevent light leaks. Every image is vignetted, and may not be that sharp.) Here's an Instagram of mine from that day in class:

Caption: "'Holga day' in my Photo II class today. #film #filmphotography #filmisnotdead
#wellitskindadead #photography #kodak #fujifilm"

That project inspired me to get out my Holga for the first time in a few years. I brought it with to Duluth.

[click any image to enlarge]

Our camper cabin for 2 nights.

View of the St. Louis River from the Swinging Bridge.

After a hike down from Oldenburg’s Point.

My 5-year-old on a little cliff.

Lake Superior.

Pines and birches behind our cabin.

Pine forest.

On the Swinging Bridge.

A large rock (that my sons got wet) and the Swinging Bridge.

Near Thomson Dam.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Holga Project

My small Advanced Photo class at Hamline University (seen in this post) recently finished up a medium format Holga film project. Overall, they really didn't care for it. I don't think they liked all the steps involved in shooting film. They'd rather snap the shutter and check the LCD screen to at least have some sense of if the image turned out or not. Film made them too nervous. (And the whole process made me feel like a dinosaur.)

We did a simple diptych project with the Holgas. Here are a few pairings of their final photos, along with 2 other individual Holga images that just turned out well:

T. Schnell

L. Thao

E. Augsburger

C. Felton

J. Dammare

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Photographs Sent Into Interstellar Space

The Voyager spacecraft (launched in 1977) left our solar system 5 years ago and became the first man-made object to enter interstellar space. A committee led by Carl Sagan (American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, etc) agreed upon 116 photos that should be on board. Sagan had this to say about the images:

[...] a collection of 116 pictures (one of which is for calibration) detailing but not limited to human life on earth and the planet itself. Many pictures are annotated with one or many indications of scales of time, size or mass. Some images also contain indications of chemical composition. All measures used on the pictures are first defined in the first few images using physical references.

Here's a gallery of all of the images from Imgur:
View post on

Learn more about each image on Wikipedia.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Tiny Clam Shells

This weekend, my boys and I went to Fort Snelling along the Mississippi River for a few hours one night. They played with rocks as I played with some tiny shells:

Click image to enlarge.

For a sense of scale, here they are in my hand before I started sorting them:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Two Memories: Photo-Related and Color Theory-Related

I had 2 Facebook "on this day" memories that I had to share today. First, this popped up from 2 years ago:

My wife posted this with the caption "Like father, like son."

And 4 years ago as the College of Visual Arts was in its final semester before closing, I posted this:

Caption: "One of my students came to Color Theory today and told me that she
painted a 9-step value scale on her fingernails over the weekend. I wept quietly."

I commented on that photo shortly after posting it with more info: "I asked her what you're all wondering: 'But don't you have 10 nails?' She painted middle grey on both thumbs." Some people asked if it was paint, gouache, or nail polish, and I noted in a comment farther down that it was nail polish - she had white and black, so she mixed her own value scale.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Photography (by The Onion)

The Onion nailed this one, as always:

I mean, Arbus and Bresson that French guy ARE pretty great...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How to Use a Selfie Stick

The Oatmeal just created this simple 4-step process to using a selfie stick:

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Two Fun Teaching Photos

Last week, I took my Digi Photo II class to the Minneapolis Photo Center. The next day, I posted this on Facebook:

I took my Advanced Photo class to the Mpls Photo Center yesterday, and they were blown away. They loved the place: the darkrooms, the digital lab, the lighting studios, and the building itself. I forget that Hamline University isn't the same sort of fine arts university like CVA was - these students hadn't been exposed to artist's studios/lofts or any sort of modified/renovated warehouse spaced like MPC. THEY wanted to take a class photo in a back corner of one of MPC's lighting studios, so Austin (far left) snapped this and sent it to all of us. (One student is missing.)

[And another comment I had to leave on that photo on FB:] Oh, I forgot to mention that they were AMAZED by the revolving darkroom door. They thought that was the coolest thing ever. I helped them all through, and then when I went through myself, someone said "you can do that BY YOURSELF?!?" Too funny.

And a few weeks ago, I posted this photo on Instagram of the notes from the whiteboard after my Digi Photo I class:

Caption: "This day. This will always be my favorite day
in my photography courses. #NerdAlert #Photography #Professoring"

Sidenote: just yesterday, I started a new Instagram account for my 4 a.m. photos (being my "normal" Instagram account is all "Dad photos"). Follow my new page on Instagram: @photostenzel

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Harvard Forbes Pigment Collection

This is an interesting 2 min video on Harvard's pigment collection:

Direct Link:

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review of "Chatbooks" - Easily Print a Book From Your Instagram Photos

I surprised my wife with a Chatbooks subscription for Valentines Day. I had 14 books from my Instagram feed printed and shipped to us:

My first Instagram pic of my first son pulling himself up
for the first time on the cover of our first Chatbook.

Chatbooks is an app you can install that syncs to your Instagram account. (You can also do something through Facebook and something through your "favorites" folder on your iPhone, but I haven't done that, so I can't speak about either of those options.) For $8 (INCLUDING SHIPPING) they will take the Instagram photos you select and print 60 in a book in chronological order. You can choose to have them include date, location, and caption if you wish.

Our first 7 books.

A look back nearly 5 years ago to a trip to the Minneapolis Institute
of Arts with my (then) 11-month-old (now kindergartener).

And every time you have enough Instagram photos to make a new book, they will automatically print and ship a new one for you. (My understanding is that they give you time to edit it or take out photos you don't want in it before it's printed.) They're always just $8.

Here's a QUITE hilarious video that tells you how it works. PARENTS, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS:

Direct link:


- It's easy. As the video says, there's no formatting. Just select the photos you want.

- It's automatic. They'll keep printing/sending if you want them to.

- When you start you account, you can choose to get all your "old" books right away (like the 14 I just got), or you can space them out. There are different options like getting 1/month or 5/month until you're caught up. And being shipping is free, there's no extra cost to do that.

- It prints horizontal and vertical images just fine. I wasn't sure if it would crop everything to a square, but it didn't. It printed the photos the original way they were published on Instagram.

- You can choose if you want to show date, location, and or caption. Because I don't tag too many locations, I took that one off and left date and caption on.

- The cover photo defaults to the first photo in the book, but that's easily changed. I changed a few of my books, and left some with the cover being the first photo as well.

- It's pretty quick to get started. My Instagram account has nearly 2000 photos, and I got it down to just over 800 pretty quickly. (I could have spent a LITTLE more time fine-tuning it, but they still all look good.) And now it will be easy to stay caught up with future books.


- You can't override any of the formatting. There were 2 places (among the 800+ pages of my 14 books) that I would have liked to have adjusted things myself, but you can't.

- You have to start from the BEGINNING of your Instagram account. You can't just select a random selection of photos to make a book, and then make a different book with different sections. (If that makes sense.) You have to start from the beginning and work through chronologically. Now I think there's a way around this that I just haven't explored - I think you can make a "custom" book with random photos, but again, I haven't tried that yet.

- Shipping/printing is slow. This really isn't a big deal, but it's worth noting if (you were like me and) you want to get your "old" books by a certain date. Like Valentine's Day. You can spend an extra $2/book to get it sped up, but at this point, I don't care how fast the books come once they're made.

- Some emojis don't print. OH THE HORROR!! Here's an example of emojis that WORKED and emojis that DIDN'T:

The heart and swimmer emoji turned out fine...

... but the American flag didn't come through.

NEUTRAL: (issues that aren't good or bad, but things I'd like to point out)

- Print quality is fine. It's not the best, but it works.

- Paper thickness is good. It's what it needs to be for books that size, without being SUPER sturdy.

- This is for "cute" photos (good for your family or possibly for gifts for your kid's grandparents), and doesn't have a real "professional" application. Don't make a "photo book" of your work with this book. Make an album of your cute kids, your travels, etc.

From 2.5 years ago: my youngest when he was just 2 months old.

Bottom line: I like my subscription and will continue getting books made. I average about 1 Instagram post/day, and once I edit out what I don't need printed, I would suspect I'd have 60 pics every 90-120 days or so. That's 3-4 books/year, which is $24-$32/year to have my favorite family photos archived in print. Totally worth it! Thanks Chatbooks!

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