Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Developing

Print on Demand – Dammit Janet, let’s get published!

by on Oct.31, 2012, under Commerce, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Film, Location, Photographers, Scanning

As the affable Brad said in Rocky Horror Picture Show - "The future is ours so let's plan it, Janet "

I don't know about you but I've always wanted to get a book of my images published by a respected publisher.  For my generation it was the holy grail.  You had arrived once you could thump a 20 pound photographic tome of your images on the dining room table. There were only five or six publishers doing credible photographic table books 15 or 20 years ago.  Not having Weston's talent nor being anointed as today's (or yesterday's) flavour of the month photographically speaking has relegated my dreams to the dustbin.  Alas my delusions of grandeur were trimmed back to the odd appearance in photography magazines.  Fine art print sales were always as strong as I could handle.  Some years I would neither have the time nor inclination to produce museum quality fine art black and white prints.  I'm a temperamental artist, what can I say.

My creative juices are feeling rather frisky these days and part of this new found energy is due to my ability to produce quality print on demand (POD) books at a reasonable cost.  Years back I flirted with Lulu but the results were quite dismal.  From what I've seen they have improved somewhat but are still not up to the minimum standards I would be happy with.  Blurb  on the other hand has made tremendous strides.  Recently I have seen books published by photographers I respect and must admit I was feeling a little jealous.

As fortune would have it our local camera emporium The Camera Store organized an information session on self publishing.  Dan Milnor was the featured speaker.  Check out his website for his bio.  You will see he has extensive experience in both photography and publishing his own material.  Rather than a dry how-to session Milnor offered up a spirited discourse on photojournalism, the photography market and publishing trends.  Dan has published so many Blurb books and pushed Blurb's processes to the extreme and got away with it, they decided to hire him as a type of "artist in residence".  Good move on Blurb's part.  A more enthusiastic pitchman Blurb couldn't find.  Along with Dan's audio/visual presentation, Blurb brought at least 30 different books showcasing their papers, bindings, colour and black and white printing.  I was impressed with the quality and paper options to say the least.  Colour images were reproduced very faithfully but more importantly to me the black and white reproduction was VERY good.  Not LensWork good, but darn good.  I was hooked.

The only Blurb book I had been impressed with in the past was produced by Frank Petronio.  In all fairness I had only seen early examples of POD books.  To say POD production standards have come a long way in just a few short years would be an understatement.

In my years of conversing with Frank either directly or via various photography forums I developed a deep respect for his vision and artistic integrity.  Petronio is uncompromising when it comes to the quality of his imagery.  I have several of his fine art prints in addition to his Blurb book.  All are very well done.  Over the years Frank has reinvented himself photographically.  Whatever the genre, Frank pushes his vision to the boundaries.  His extensive experience in publishing and as a professional photographer  prompted me to ask him to share his thoughts and experiences on POD with you.

Blurb has made it very easy and cost effective for short run editions to produce your own photographic publication.  Maybe too easy.  Rather than unleashing a Flickr type avalanche of images in book form, it would be best to seek an education in the fundamentals of book design from the likes of Frank Petronio.

I asked Frank to share some of his experiences with you on POD publishing.  Naturally his sense of humour also shows through.  If you want to learn more about POD, layout and graphic design I encourage you to contact Frank directly.  Some of Frank's more recent images are included.

 

POD Experiences by Frank Petronio

Eric asked me to write a little about my print-on-demand (POD) book publishing experiences. I'll remind everyone that I grew up doing farm and construction work and somehow managed to avoid getting a PHD so I'm worthy of a quick skim (ed. - a subtle reference to my last blog) .

First off, for about 15 years I worked as a graphic designer, art director, and pre-press monkey, progressing through the industry at the same time that Macintoshes, Photoshop, and QuarkXpress started to take over and revolutionize the industry. While I was never a full-time book designer, I did do several fairly successful coffee-table books and a few smaller corporate and vanity publications. If you're reading Eric's blog, chances are you're a large-format photographer "of a certain age" and that means you probably see publishing a nice quality book as a sign of success, an important part of being recognized as a serious photographic artist. And for good reason, since even 20-30 years ago, publishing a quality art book easily cost several tens of thousands of dollars. Getting a publisher to invest serious money into your work is impressive in its own right. However the sad fact is that most artistic photo art books have been self-published using grants or the photographer's own capital - and unfortunately, many of these books end up on the remainder shelves or in attics... unless your work is truly popular, it's almost impossible to break even, much less profit, with a photo book. I once did a nice book for a university photo professor - he needed to publish or perish (as in getting tenure) so we slaved away for a about a month one summer. He printed 2000 books at a unit price of about $12 each, $24000. I doubt he sold more than 50 but he got tenure. That's how it went. Ironic that so many photographers call themselves environmentalists.... Around the Turn of the Century, once people got over the Y2K jitters, some of the digital printing technologies matured enough that printing-on-demand became a reality. At first these were little different than simple black and white xerographic copies with customized covers and a slightly better binding than what Kinkos offered. The photos were a bit coarse and quality control was lacking. The early vendors using proprietary layout applications and their online interfaces were not robust - the whole process was clumsy. It was about 2005-06 before there was a really solid, reliable online platform for print-on-demand available for consumers and that was http://www.lulu.com. They are still around, using Xerox toner based printers and do a credible job with text book quality projects. Their pricing is fairly reasonable but they are not geared towards printing fine photography so the old adage that you get what you pay for comes into play. But... finally you could publish your own book for less than $50. To hold something in your hands, condensing your life's work into a real book... well if you do it right you could fool your Mom and the tenure committee into thinking you're a famous photographer! Once the potential was pioneered by lulu, up popped competitors. Several companies started to produce photo books of varying quality using proprietary software - Apple makes creating a nice "consumer" quality color book pretty easy using iPhoto for example, see http://www.apple.com/ilife/print-products.html. And some fine art studios also came in on the high end - my friends at http://www.booksmartstudio.com - using professional fine art quality inkjets to produce short run artists books costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars. But let's talk about the most popular POD printing service with serious photographers - Blurb http://www.blurb.com. Blurb hits a sweet spot in the tradeoff of price versus quality. For $35 you can get a decent softcover book that actually feels like a store bought book, albeit you might only pay $20 for it retail. They also will make a lovely "imagewrap" hardcover book for between $50 to $150, about two or three times what you might pay for a mass market retail book. The quality, to my eye is remarkable, in large part because they use the ink-on-paper digital presses like the HP Indigo as opposed to the less expensive toner-based printers that most POD vendors use to keep the costs down. They can also run a slightly heavier, more opaque paper through the HPs, although the paper will still be on the thin side compared to a top-quality book printed with traditional offset lithography. Color images look punchy and vibrant, I can not fault them. Black and whites (or greyscales) are more problematic, although they have made significant progress in getting them to appear more neutral. In 2007 my greyscale images would print strongly green or magenta ~ but for the last couple of years they've been looking neutral... except they they are plagued by metarism. Slightly green under incandescent, purple out in the sun. But better than before and showing signs of improvement... I am not sure if the problem can be licked or not? In any event, you need to be cautious and follow Blurb's directions for image prep to the T and accept that these will never quite be perfect in the real world. You get what you pay for. If you shoot color, Blurb can reproduce your photos quite nicely, with a little extra contrast and deep blacks. You may want to open up the quarter (shadows) and mid-tones 5 to 10% in addition to the recommended image prep. As a designer comfortable with Adobe InDesign, I like that Blurb lets you submit press-ready PDFs. I haven't used their proprietary online book design Booksmart app in years but I image it has improved over time and is more responsive with a fast internet connection. With all of this, read and follow the instructions, which in Blurb's case are extremely well-done compared to their competition and a big reason why photographers have developed a loyalty towards them. Chances are you aren't a book designer.... here is some advice: Start looking at photo books from a design point of view. Do you like photos on facing pages? How much margin is comfortable? If you do a full-bleed (running the photo off the page) you get a larger image but your thumbprints are also going to be on the image. Spreads give up half-an-inch or more into the gutter's nether regions. It isn't ridiculous to use a ruler and take notes. Look at sizes, page counts, flow and feel. Notice the type and where they put it. Captions? How far are the captions from the image? Measure it! Even deciding where and how to do page numbers can be a huge topic. Once you start designing, start with a master page and, at the least, a "grid" so that you are laying images and text boxes out in a consistent manner. Run a few prints off your desktop printer and trim them out, then set them into an existing book. Do they make sense, can you read the captions, is the photo in the best place on the page? Editing and sequencing is challenging, few people are good at it. Some people can do it on-screen but most of us like to print out small prints, trim them out, and shuffle them around on a large table (or better yet, a wall). Think in terms of side-by-side pages and how images may "point" visually inside or outside the book - experiment to see if an image is better on the right or left page, especially in relationship to another image. Also, while some are inclined to square and center everything, once you start measuring well-designed books you'll be surprised to find that they often cheat images a fraction up and out away from the book's spine. What looks fine on a flat 2-D computer screen is not the same as a physical object with bound pages, and that bindings will soak up page area. If you simply center an image on the page, depending on the binding it will not look balanced and centered. And so on... there are a jillion considerations and in the end please realize that book design is - or was - a profession, just like photography used to be. You're going to screw up. Accept this as a cheap education and reiterate. That's the beauty of POD, you can tweak it and do it over. Also, I would avoid attempting to do a 200-page hardcover magnum opus as your first project. Not only will it be more expensive, but it will be tedious and crushing. Also stick to the standard sizes and pay attention to price versus page counts - sometimes dropping two pages can save you a bundle. And you probably have too many mediocre photos anyway so shorter and simpler is almost always better. Make the first few books cheap, without all the extra options like fancy endpapers or premium anything. Maybe by the third or fourth book you'll have something worthwhile... and what do you expect? Were your first few photos and prints all that great? A book is much more complex! I have to say that getting the Blurb package a week or two later is great excitement every time. Sometimes they mess up, in which case you contact their customer service and they rectify things very quickly.  Sometimes they want a cell phone picture of the problem or ask you to send the book back on their dime, but they always make good on their mistakes. Don't abuse this, try to think it through rationally as to whether you failed to follow the instructions properly or otherwise messed up - ask questions on the Blurb community forums and you'll learn a lot. I'll also mention that as a man of the earth, if you want to pick my brain or have me help you, that time is money and it is perfectly fine to pay me to advise you and the quality of my paid advice is much superior to the free stuff. OK it's late, I am sure Eric will edit this perfectly and clean up all my misteaks (sic) 😉  Good luck self-publishers! I hope you got some valuable information from Frank's piece. Blurb has come through with a special offer for readers of this blog!  Here are the details: 20% off (no minimum purchase required) Code: ERICTHANKS   (I receive no compensation from this, it's a special thank you from both Blurb and myself) Expiration:  12/10/12 Link to:  blurb.ca Fine Print: *Offer valid until 10 December 2012 (11:59 p.m local time). A 20% discount is applied to your product total. Maximum value of $150 CA / US.  Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.
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The solution is at the end of a shovel

by on Oct.04, 2012, under Cameras, Commerce, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Film, Friends, Location, website

The solution is at the end of a shovel.  Or so I have been told. Many people are educated but not schooled.  What do I mean by that?  In my years of hiring and firing employees or sitting on committees there are always those that are very well educated but do not have a clue how things really work.  In many instances these honoured individuals arrive with an attitude.  It's easy to pick them out, they are the ones doing all the talking but not actually accomplishing anything.  I hate to say it but my many years of dealing with and working with academics has soured me to "higher" education and what is does to some people.  These individuals are book smart and people stupid.  Too many academics have a bully mentality which is probably derived from many years of being bullied themselves for being the nerds in school.  Of course there are some excellent post secondary educators out there.  Heck if you're reading this you're probably one of them.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of higher learning, just not the attitude some carry with them once they get their masters or phd's. I'm a big fan of compulsory military service.  Not that I support the war machine, I don't, but I do support the discipline that is taught and the comraderie  that is taught.  You soon learn that to achieve your goals you have to work together.  Failing military service, high school graduates should be handed a shovel and put to work alongside twenty other know-it-alls building or renewing much needed infrastructure.  Pay them a decent wage.  At the end of the day they will realize they actually earned their pay.  The blisters and aching muscles will remind them of what it takes to make a buck.  After a couple of days when the muscles gain strength and the hands harden they will look back on that ditch they dug TOGETHER and feel a sense of accomplishment.  A shared accomplishment.  After their year of "service" they will have a totally different outlook on and appreciation for post secondary education.  They also will not put up with the paper tiger ( 紙老虎) prof's at the front of the classroom. If you look back to a blog I did last October 2011 you will see that I help out on a farm during harvest.  It's my two week sanity break each year. This year a historical society asked Eric Goerzen my brother-in-law to leave around 5 acres of wheat standing.  We ended up leaving 7.5.  The historical society wanted to bring out the machinery used back in the 20's and 30's to harvest this patch of wheat. During my 3 years helping out at this farm and my years helping out at my first wife's family farm in Saskatchewan I have met some very interesting individuals.  The old timers that I met never made it through the end of high school and many did not finish junior high.  But a better "schooled" bunch you will never find.  The complexity of farming even back in the 20's and 30's just blows my mind.  To see the equipment these folks brought out to the historical harvest day was truly amazing.  Essentially nothing has changed in the basic mechanics which are the same as are being used today.  One of the old timers I just love to chat with is George Spooner.  He's 80+ years old and still has a sharp mind and keen eyes.  Eric and I (yes my brother-in-law has the same first name as I do) generally start our harvest days by going to George's for coffee.  George has been living on the same patch of dirt most if not all of his life.  His home is modest but is lit up by his twinkling eyes and quick wit.  George loves telling me stories about harvests past.  Generally there was a crew of men numbering 8 to 16 depending on how many threshing machines they had in the field.  Teams of horses were used to pull anything needing pulling.  These men worked from sunup  till sundown.  Sometimes paid only .75c an acre.  That doesn't seem like much by today's standards but it was enough to support a family.  Now Eric and I do the work with just the two of us.  That's 14 men that had to find another line of work.  Over the years most did, becoming mechanics or moving to the city.  The tragedy today is that the jobs are being transferred offshore.   Both skilled and unskilled.  Who's transferring these jobs? The educated but unschooled.  They are only thinking of themselves and the big bonuses they get.  My wife used to work for an oil company where the CEO got over $20 million in pay and bonuses.  His bonuses were tied to the bottom line.  If they were having a slow quarter, through no fault of the staff, hundreds would get laid off to ensure the quarterly results looked good for the shareholders.  Bingo - bonus time. During our historical harvest day we had at least 40 men and women working.  Working together to get the job done.  At least 20 kids were running around playing in the haystack or riding the hay wagons.  We worked together and worked hard.  At the end of the day it was a combined accomplishment.  In this case the shovel was replaced by the pitch fork. Of course the "shovel" I refer to is a symbolic thing.  However it's a concept that can be applied across all fields of work whether blue, white or pink collar.  We need people who will pick up the shovel to dig ditches as much as we need people to design computers or perform surgery.  We also need people to feel a sense of community and understand that one is not any better than the other.  We are our brother's keeper, or at least we should be.  As taught by Paul in Romans - "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".  I am sure the same sentiment is expressed in all major faiths. The photography stuff - finally..... Recently I have gone over the tipping point with respect to digital photography.  Choking computers, large files, hard drive crashes, endless hours staring at a computer screen and file management have taken their toll on me.  For the next six months I am only going to shoot film for my personal stuff.  Clients insist on digital.  Well what they actually insist on is immediate access to finished, PhotoShopped files.  Their lack of planning is transferred to me as a looming deadline. The magic is gone.  That anticipation you had waiting for your C41 to be developed and proofed by the lab, gone.  That thrill of checking your black and white negs just as they came out of the wash, still dripping, gone.  Watching the print come alive in the developer, gone.  That special look of Tri-X, gone. I just had a power spike destroy 3 years worth of digital files.  Even my backup drives were toasted.  However negatives I shot in the 60's are still there just as good as they were back then.  The management of digital media is just too complex and time consuming.  It's a full time job.  One of the many "full time" jobs digital has created for me.  There is only one "me" but at least five full time jobs created by digital workflow.  I want my life back! The historical harvest day was a prime candidate for a film shoot.  I blew the dust off my trusty Nikon F5, bulk loaded up four rolls of Ilford XP2, took my Nikon D700 from the backpack and threw in the film stuff. I picked Ilford XP2 for two reasons.  The first being my darkroom is having some electrical challenges right now and secondly and more importantly I like the look of XP2 for people stuff.  I knew the sky was going to be blank and featureless which was another reason for choosing XP2.  With XP2 you get grain in the shadows not in the highlights like traditional silver based black and white films.  It's also wickedly sharp with a great tonal range.  Being C41 I can take it into my local drug store and get the negs developed and proofed within 1 hour. Generally when shooting in the environment I was in; bright sun, no clouds; I just take a meter reading off the northern sky and go with that.  God must like photographers because the northern sky is 18% grey.  For shadow shots I just open up 1.5 to 2 stops depending on how deep the shadow is.  No need for fancy matrix metering.  Another thing that I enjoyed was the limit on the number of photographs I could make that day.  Four times 36 equals 144.  That was it.  No changing cards, no chimping and deleting to make more room. What this did was bring me back into the mode I used to be in while doing PJ work.  Anticipate the action, be in the right place at the right time, get that one shot that summarizes the action.  I loved it!  No spray and pray!  The F5 would chew up the entire 36 exposure roll in a matter of seconds if I used that digi mentality.  This put me back in the "moment" again.  Getting the "shot" was more about skill and timing than just dumb luck and a big CF card. I used my old AI converted Nikkor 85mm f1.8 and Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lenses for 90 percent of the shoot.  The Tokina 16mm came out for some "drama" shots.  All lenses have shades on them and no filters were used.  I probably could have used a polarizer for some of them but what the heck I can burn down the sky in the darkroom.  I find so many people do not recognize the importance of using a properly designed sunshade for their lenses.  Why spend big bucks on a great lens and then kill it's colour and contrast by not using a sunshade?  It's like putting skinny retreads on a Ferrari. I always set my cameras to aperture priority if they have that feature unless the effects of subject speed become the priority.  Using depth of field (DOF) plus out of focus areas in the foreground or background is one of the creative tools missed by so many beginning photographers.  For this reason I do not use hyper focal distance techniques very much unless doing street photography. The following images are scans of the proofs obtained from the drug store.  When the snow is flying I plan on getting into my darkroom again.  Once that happens I will share some of my favorites from this shoot on my main website.  To see full size images click on the thumbnail.  This takes you to another page were again click on the image.  Kind of dumb but that's how this gallery system work.  Looking at installing a different one in the future.
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The Wildrose Brewery

by on Feb.05, 2012, under Cameras, Developing, Location

Wildrose Brewery Vats and Kegs - image taken by Eric Rose Fine Art Photographer I spent a wonderful afternoon at the Wildrose Brewery a couple of years ago.  I had spotted this place about a year before while at a farmers' market.  The brewery is housed in an old decommissioned Canadian Army base .  What was more than likely a storage building for machinery now housed these gleaming vats full of God's special nectar. I lugged my backpack full of large format lenses, loaded film packs and a Linhof Technica IV past the patrons in the front, through those special swinging doors that separated reality from a Willy Wonka-esk sudsy utopia.  The Wildrose Brewery is a relatively low tech facility. Since they are a micro brewery the output is small when compared to the big operators like Molsons or Labatts.  Here the staff are very hands on with every facet of production.  They actually care about the product they produce and it shows in the taste.  Years ago I had dealings with one of the chemists that work for a once large beer "manufacturer" here in Canada.  I asked him what was his favorite brand.  His answer surprised me, he said he didn't drink beer, he knew what was in it.  Interesting to say the least. Here at the Wildrose Brewery they coax out several very distinctive brews from their specially picked ingredients.  "Manufacturing" suds is so far from their reality you have to wonder how some of the swill produced by the big manufacturers can be called beer.   Wildrose beer has become popular here in Calgary due to its taste, not through juvenile commercials. This particular shot wasn't easy.  There was a door open on the left that was bathing the kegs in direct sunlight.  The vertical vats were in shade with the background almost dark.  The scene brightness ratio (SBR) was approaching 10 or 11.  Fortunately I use PyroCat-HD as my primary developer utilizing a semi-stand regime.  I adjusted my ASA (ya I'm an old fart and still call it ASA) to the appropriate value, placed my zones where I wanted them and let'r rip.  As it turns out the neg is fairly easy to print, only a little dodging and burning here and there.  The film I am using is Efke PL100  also known as ADOX 100.  I would really like to make a digital neg about 11x14 and use it to produce a carbon print as I have seen Sandy King do.  Carbon prints have such a 3D look to them. Once finished my shooting for the day the Brewmaster took me around and we spent at least an hour sampling various beers straight out of the vats.  Before I left I did a crew portrait which was dropped off to them the following week.  One copy for each of them.
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Crossfield Alberta

by on May.01, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Friends, Location, Travel

Photograph of Crossfield Store by Eric Rose

Crossfield Store

Not very far from Calgary, a city of over 1 million, is the quiet town of Crossfield.  Crossfield has a population of 2861 according to their official website.  Two weeks ago the population jumped by 3 as my wife and I plus one of my photo buddies Mark Bingham ventured out to enjoy this sleepy little town. One of the things that strikes me about these small prairie towns is the quality of light.  For some reason it seems brighter and clearer than in Calgary.  This is probably true since they don't have the pollution we suffer on a daily basis in Calgary.  I think I read somewhere Calgary is the asthma capital of North America. Part of this clarity renders white buildings, very white and very bright.  This combined with a deep dark blue sky offers the photographer some wonderful contrasts to play with.  A person might be tempted to add a polarizer to enhance this even further.  This would be a mistake in my opinion, at least for the subject pictured above. It's hard to find a building in one of these towns without a half ton truck parked out front.  Since these rural residents enjoy their open spaces and it seems they don't like to park next to each other as well.  Hence the vehicles are very well spaced down the street.  You can't be in a rush either.  Chances are a car or truck will pull up right in front of you blocking what you are trying to photograph.  The curious passengers will either just look at you in amazement trying to figure out what you find so interesting or will actually ask you.  What a refreshing change from the city where I have had things thrown at me while photographing along busy streets. One more thing I enjoy about these small towns are the young bucks cruising up and down the main drag, in first gear, punched out mufflers announcing their impending entrance to every young gal in town.  Reminds me of my youth in Calgary.  We use to disconnect our mufflers, or for the better off buy Thrush Mufflers, and cruise the "circuit" downtown.  Pink slip racing was the order of the day.  If you pulled up beside a Hemi Barracuda or Duster 6 Pack you knew you would be eating dust.  I use to have a 1967 Belair station wagon.  Real chick magnet!  Not.  Until I lit up the backend and took out one of those Mopar muscle cars.  Yup my wagon was a sleeper.  The 327 was totally blueprinted, all kinds of extra goodies added to the motor and cranked out over 430 hp.  I would go through two automatic transmissions a year.  It just tore them apart.  Back in those days we didn't worry about gas mileage.  I suspect this baby got in the single digits. Those were the days.  Road Runners, Chargers, Barracudas, GTO's, Da Judge, Firebirds and the Camero.  Corvettes were for sissies or old guys with bad hair pieces and heavy jewelery. I took my Linhof Technica IV out to Crossfield in addition to my Nikon D700.  Had a lot of fun setting up my shots with the Tekinator. Metering, adjusting swings and rise all those activities that allow you to drop into the "Zone".  Apologies to Ansel for using his great system as a pun. I made two film images that day.  Both ruined by a bad film holder.  The image above was shot as a backup with my D700.  Lucky I did.  Will this discourage me from using my LF gear in the future.  Not in your life.  It's only a little bit about creating images and a lot about soothing my soul.  I find film photography to be very relaxing.  I love the pace, the contemplation, the excitement over getting it all right.  I still get excited about seeing my negatives for the first time after a bath in the fixer.  Watching the image emerge in the developer when printing brings me right back to working along side my dad in the darkroom.  It also reminds me of my newspaper days, teaching darkroom technique to people who themselves are seeing their images come up for the first time.  All this is missing from the run and gun digital photography most people practice. I will be increasing the population of Crossfield by one once again in the near future.  I still want those images on film.  Digital is nice but for me at least it has no soul.
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I feel a Draft!

by on Apr.09, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Film, Location

Road Kill Coyote

Road Kill Coyote

Well this poor coyote did not make it through our never ending winter.  I found him about a month ago and shot a pic with my cellphone.  These are the kinds of finds you know are worth going back to with a real camera when the conditions are right.  My fear was that the city workers would find him since he is just off a walking path.  Or some kid who had his sling shot taken away would kick the crap out of him.  Alas after several more snow falls and melts this coyotes final resting place remains undisturbed. There are a fair number of these critters in my neck of the woods.  The poor souls have had their natural territory taken over by houses, asphalt, cars and concrete.  We are enduring a rather rapid increase in rabbits due to the coyotes not wanting to venture to far into suburbia.  Smart coyotes aren't they. Well it seems this one tried to go from one semi-open field to another but didn't quite look both ways before crossing the four lane.  His brethren might have benefited from his untimely demise by donning their bibs and chowing down on some tasty ribs.  I am sure the crows and magpies swooped in for dessert.  By the looks of him I would estimate his age at about 2 years.  Chances are he spent his first year and a bit out in the near farm lands enjoying a steady diet of mice and small birds.  Whatever happened to him I hope it was a quick end.  Maybe he did not get hit by a passing vehicle at all.  It could be he just froze to death waiting for the traffic to break so he could get across the road.  Maybe he was waiting for the chicken. Today I went out with my Nikon D700 adorned with my new to me 28-70mm AF zoom.  Shot off a few quick images to check composition before I hauled out the Linhof Technica IV.  My film image was shot on Ilford Delta 100 rated at 100 asa (ISO whatever).  The lens was my trusty Rodenstock APO 150mm.  I just love that lens!  So sharp and contrasty.  Tomorrow will have to be a darkroom day as the large format group I started 6 years ago meets on Tuesday and the theme is "skeleton".  How convenient.  I know what you are thinking I set the theme knowing I had an ace up the sleeve.  In actual fact the wife of the member who had the last meeting picked the theme for this meeting.  Sometimes things just work out.  Sometimes.
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My God it’s been a long time!

by on Mar.03, 2011, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Photographers, Travel

I have been so busy with my web design business I have neglected to post any updates.  Bad Eric! What's been happening in the ratified world of Eric Rose?  Well in November I was in Palau scuba diving and shooting underwater video.
Map of Palau

The Rock Islands of Palau

For years I did underwater still photography with various Nikon cameras ranging from the Nikonas IV to a housed N90s.  I came to a point where I became bored with still images and wanted to try something new. The rig I bought was a JVC GZ-MG77U.   This camera gets housed in an Ikelite video housing equipt with Ikelite Pro light.  It took me awhile to get on to the video stuff, especially when I should use the colour correction filter or not.  Basically I found I should use it all the time underwater unless it's dark enough to use the Ikelite light. We spent one week on land and one week on the Peter Hughes Tropic Dancer.  The boat was beautiful, the food was terrible and the dive staff inexperienced.  We had one very scary life threatening experience due to Divemaster error in my opinion.  In their defense they were all new to the area and I am sure things will get better. The diving was "ok" but not what I expected for such a highly rated area.  Maybe it's just that with all the international diving I have done over the years I am becoming jaded.  Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon still rates as my all time favorite dive destination followed VERY closely by Sipidan. Photographically I have been having a blast with my cellphone camera.  Three years ago if anyone would have suggested that Eric Rose would use a cellphone camera it would have caused heart palpitations!  I have the LG Shine II and it comes with a good little 5 M pixel camera.  By itself it takes "ok" photos but why bother when I can use my Nikon D700 and get really great images.  When it  becomes fun is when I use at little program called Retro Camera.  By the way I HATE the term "app".  App this app that.  They have an app for that.  Geez.  I even saw a guy refer to his website as an "app".  Get a life buddy! I just did a series of photos with my cellphone that I am going to put in my gallery and call them "Bored at the Airport".
Bored at YYC

Bored at YYC

It was funny, each time I took a photo some security dude would run over and look over my shoulder to see what I was photographing.  They were smart enough not to say anything to me.  The security dudes soon got bored with me and began hassling people with dogs.  In hindsight I should have taken a photo of these security dicks telling a very pregnant women who happened to have the cutest little puppy to stand outside in the -30C weather while she waited for her husband.  They threatened her with a $500 fine if she didn't leave the airport immediately.  To her benefit she pulled a Charlie Sheen and told them to "bring it on".   So they did.  The cops came, took one look at her, another glance at the dog, then took the security dicks aside.  The security people quickly left and went back outside where they were suppose to be directing traffic and the nice lady was not hassled again.  Why is it that airports have gotten so crazy?  It brings the worst out in everyone. Mr. Linhof finally got to go for a spin again.  It's been a long time since I did any serious large format photography.  Too long!  The only problem is that my darkroom is really cold right now so haven't souped the film.  Paid a visit to my buddies at The Home Depot yesterday and bought an oil filled space heater.  That should help.  Currently have about 6 rolls of 35mm and 15 sheets of 4x5 to process. I'm one of those weird people that actually enjoys developing film.  Hey maybe William Shatner will do a "Weird or What" episode on me. I started a large format photography users group (LFUG) about 6 years ago.  One of our members Steve Speer just got published in The Lenswork extended edition #92.  He has some stunning images of the Suncor Energy facilities in Ft. McMurray.  There is an audio interview with Steve as well.  Steve is both an excellent photographer and great guy.  Not something you generally find together unfortunately.  John Sexton is another one that fits into that category. In my not so humble opinion Lenswork Magazine is the ONLY photography magazine worth subscribing too these days.  It's meant for people who approach photography as an art, rather than a technical challenge and/or gear lust.  There are no "how to" articles and the latest whiz-bang digital doodad is not fawned over.  Very refreshing to say the least.  The owner/editor Brooks Jensen writes very insightful pieces on a more philosophical plain than what you would find in the mainstream publications. Well I think I have rambled on enough for today.  Will try and be a little more regular from now on.
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Road Trip! Black Hills and Yellowstone

by on Aug.09, 2010, under Cameras, Developing, Digital, Family, Film, Location, Travel

My sweetie and I took a trip to The Black Hills in South Dakota with a visit to Yellowstone National Park on the way home.  The trip had a two fold objective, one to photograph some of the most beautiful landscape in North America and secondly to show Erna my old stomping grounds in the Black Hills. From birth until the age of 19 I spent all my summers and any other time the family could get away in the Black Hills.  My uncle and aunt built a cabin and named it the Antlers.  One of my uncles businesses was guiding hunters and fishermen.  Many famous people stayed at the “cabin” including one US President. I learned to walk, shoot, fish, hunt, track, survival, haul/split wood and how to enjoy silence.  My first adventures in photography began in the Black Hills as well. Eric Rose takes his first steps.This photo of me taking my first steps in the front yard of the cabin was taken by my father with a Rolleiflex TLR.  I now have that camera and use it fairly regularly. Back in the 60’s my father took me out and taught me how to shoot a single shot Winchester Model 67 .22 caliber rifle.  Up until I could pull the cocking mechanism back myself I was not allowed to touch the rifle.  Once I had enough strength in my fingers and hands to cock this rifle, that was the turning point, it was one step closer to manhood in my young eyes.  These first shots at tin cans went on to become a love of target shooting and eventually earning a place on the Canadian National Rifle Team.  I also set records in the US during competitions I attended there.  Yes I was a member of the NRA and am considered a Life Time Master in smallbore prone shooting. The closest town, if you want to call it that, to the cabin is Rochford. This little mining town grew to over a 1000 in the mid 1800’s but by the 1885 it was all but a ghost town.  My earliest memories of Rochford were some old shacks, what was left of the stamping mill and a corner store and a bar.  There were a few folks still living there as well as a few ranchers in the area.  Every time I came to the little corner store the owners made me feel special and always remembered my name.  I have no idea what happened to them.  Today it’s a private home across the street from a tourist type store.  The owner of the curio shop told me the store went out of business about 10 years ago. This trip down memory lane was an emotional one for me.  Remembering all the good times with family and friends and how it will never happen again.  Both of my parents have passed on, my aunt and uncle passed on but before my aunt died she sold the cabin to strangers.  I wish I could have shared this special place with my children when they were growing up. Once we finished touring the Black Hills it was off to Yellowstone.  The weather was inclement for most of our trip and this portion was no different.  Rain, snow and low clouds greeted us in Yellowstone.  Once there and setup it was off to the geysers and thermal hot springs.  Old Faithful still does his thing every 90 minutes + or – 10 minutes.  While not the most spectacular or frequent geyser in Yellowstone, Old Faithful is the most famous.  The park service has setup an expansive viewing area which is easily accessible.  I have to admit I was quite under whelmed by the rest of the attractions in Yellowstone.  Understandably it is a geological wonder and as such is breath taking in many respects, but and this is a big but, the opportunities to get anything beyond the average tourist shots is almost impossible.  For the visitors safety everyone is confined to boardwalks.  This hamstrings the photographer looking for something out of the ordinary.  Many of the shots you see in books and government publications have been taken either by helicopter or with special permission to get off the boardwalk.  Many of the more colourful water features have either dried up or have turned murky. Some of this is just due to the natural ebb and flow of the hot springs but increasingly this problem is caused by careless humans throwing garbage or coins into the pools. Erna got some excellent shots of the Bison and a baby Antelope using her 300mm f2.8 L series lens attached to her Canon Rebel XTi.   Check out her website at www.ernasplace.com . On this latest trek I took my newly purchased Nikon D700 full frame DSLR.  For some time I have been using a Nikon D70s for my colour work.  I have used the D70s to make stunning 11x14 colour prints.  It may only be 6 Mega pixels, but I found that a well exposed image from this camera was technically very good.  The only thing that was a short coming in my eyes was the 1.5 crop factor.  I shoot a lot of wide angle images and this camera turned my wonderful Sigma 17mm lens into a 25.5mm lens.  Not wide enough.  On the other end of the spectrum it made my 300mm a 450mm which for wildlife photography would be a bonus.  The only problem is I can count the number of animal pictures I have taken in the past 30 years without taking off my shoes.  In the middle range my Nikkor 60mm AF macro lens becomes a great portrait lens.  If it’s a little too sharp this can be taken care of with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.  I use both programs and couldn’t live without them. The Nikon D700 is a very well built camera, right up there with my Nikon F5.  I considered the Nikon D3 because it had some added features that appealed to me.  In the end the flip up flash on the D700 clenched it.  I use the flip up flash built into my D70s a lot for outdoor portraits.  It’s perfect for taking out the shadows under chins and eyebrows.  If I need more flash horsepower I us my Nikon SB 600. The Nikon D700 was purchased from KEH.com.  Over the years I have purchased both cameras and lenses from them.  In every instance they have exceeded my expectations in both service and quality of product.  I highly recommend them.  Over the past couple of years I have become very wary of auction sites.  Seems there are an every increasing number of bad transactions taking place if complaints on photo forums I frequent are any indication. Since I have been a Nikon guy ever since my newspaper days I have quite a collection of old Nikkor lenses.  These old warriors are tack sharp and just as contrasty as they day I purchased them.  Using them on the D70s was a bit changing as it did not have an AI coupling ring.  It was still worth the effort to use them because being the old Scotsman I am I refuse to spend money on newer AF lenses if I already have that focal length in an old lens.  I can usually estimate my exposure to within ¾’rs of a stop so a quick review of the histogram allows me to zero in very quickly.  The D700 has an AI coupling ring so metering is dead easy.  Some of my really old lenses are pre AI so I will have to convert them.  I’m not a big fan of auto everything so shooting this way is not a hindrance for me.  My digital cameras are usually on manual mode and non AF even if the lens has that ability. For black and white I took my Leica M5, 50mm Summicron, 90mm Summicron and 35mm Voigtlander Color Skopar. I just love the M5.  A true shooters camera.  The film of choice is Ilford FP4 processed in PyroCat-HD.  A fellow sent me a 100 ft. roll of Tmax 100 and I’m looking forward to trying it out.  But in all honesty I love Ilford products and want to support a company that is actively supporting film photographers. Check out my Yellowstone and Black Hills gallery for my keepers from this trip.
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Where It’s At – my new Blog

by on Aug.09, 2010, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Digital, Family, Film, Friends, Location, Travel

It seems some people have this ability to make their lives "come to life" through their blogs.  I have tried Facebook and find it rather vapid.  People are using it more like Twitter than really trying to connect with their "friends" in some meaningful way.  I really don't care if you are the best at playing some silly Facebook game, or that you just left the house to go grocery shopping.  What I do care about is where your head it at with respect to God, your family, things that get you really worked up either in a happy or sad way.  I would like to know if you saw a beautiful sunset and how it made you feel.  I would also like to know if you are sad, maybe I can help.  I miss the days of emails.  I never was a letter writer in the traditional sense. As I matured into someone who actually had something to say, the electronic age also matured.  Hence my adoption of a transmission media suited to me. I was teaching a photography class last night at my church Foothills Lutheran Church of Calgary.  My sweetie Erna was helping me and we work wonderfully as a team.  This particular class was module 4 covering filters, zooming, panning etc.  The preceding modules covered the basics of composition, light and some equipment technical stuff.  My goal is to teach my students how to see.  Sound pithy but every week I see the light come on in one of the students eyes and they comment how they can never look at things the same way again.  They are actually "seeing" things for the first time and internalizing their surroundings.  God created this wonderful place we call earth and all its creatures.  What a waste to go through most of our existence not appreciating it.     This photograph was taken some time ago near Banff Alberta, Canada.  It was a cold crisp day and I was out just trying to unwind from a particularly stressful week. I find that the mountains having a calming effect.  Their shear weight seems to dissipate any tension I might have.  It's as if they embrace me with loving arms and let me know that it's ok, all will be fine. I have sold many copies of this print and all my customers have felt the same sense of wonder.  They can see into the water below the burned out stumps and lose themselves in this artificial world.  The glow created by the snow just fills the room.  It's one of my favorites. This photograph is actually quite hard to print as the negative is a bit thin by my standards.  But with some sweat in the darkroom it eventually pops. The negative was made using a Hasselblad 500 C/M, 80mm lens and an orange filter.  Film was Ilford Delta 100. My film of choice these days is Ilford FP4.  It's a wonderful film that allows me to do extreme expansion or contraction when developing in PyroCat-HD developer.  My other standby film is Efke/Adox PL 100.  Both films are of the older thick emulsion variety.  Even though I have had good images from the newer Delta films I prefer the tonality you can only get using older formulations.  Sharpness is not the be all end all of photography and a little grain in the image never hurt anyone.  A grainless image can be a thing of beauty but to me it's like ordering a pineapple milkshake and not getting any chunks. It's been years since I have shot much 35mm but I must say over the past year I have rekindled my love of this "minicam" format.  For 35mm I use either Leica M3, M5 or Nikon F5.  Again film of choice is FP4 or XP2 if I need some speed.  Ilford XP2 is in my estimation the best film for the pleasing rendition of skin.  I just love it for street photography and the occasional portrait. For colour work I have a Nikon D70s DSLR.  I can use my old Nikkor glass as I refuse to spend money on auto focus lenses that don't have the same high quality as the old stuff.  I've been able to focus a lens quite fine for over 40 years and I hope, God willing, that I can do it for many more years to come. Well this is the end of my intro blog posting.  As time goes on I will add to it.  Things I will like to share with you are the work of other photographers that inspire me, the odd equipment comment, technique and things that move me.
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