Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Family

Balance

by on Jun.20, 2013, under Camera Review, Cameras, Digital, Family, Life is Good, Location

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This is a shot of my grandson doing what I did and probably any youth has done at his age, "walk the line".  Growing up I lived very close to railroad tracks.  The "gang" and I would spend endless hours walking what we thought was miles on railroad tracks.  Shades of "Stand by Me", a great movie.  Unfortunately we never found a body.  Or rather fortunately we never found a body.

About the most exciting thing that ever happened was a flasher jumping out wiggling his wiggler.  The two gals I was with, Val and Donna noticed him before I did.  Their fits of laughter alerted me to this pathetic guy.  Naturally we had to whip this up into a near death experience by the time we got home.

The gang was a close knit bunch of guys who all grew up together on our block.  Neil, Ian, Tim, Keith, Andy, Gord and myself made up this highly trained cadre of cowboys, army grunts, super heroes, explorers and whatever else it was we were pretending to be at the time.  Once we hit Grade 7, Junior High in this neck of the woods, we discovered girls.  So much for the close knit buddies, it was ever man for himself.

The day I took this photograph (yes TOOK it, not MADE it) I had ready to go my Nikon D700, Leica M3 and M5 and  a Panasonic LX-5.  The Panasonic won out.  I am totally amazed at the image quality this camera outputs.  The Leica optics are razor sharp and contrasty.  Dynamic range is tremendous giving me the ability to convert some images to Black and White.  I'm not all that fussy about colour imagery beyond accurate colour reproduction.  I am use to Kodachrome and it's limited applications however when it comes to Black and White it better be good or it hits the for sale sites.

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It's hard to show you the detail and excellent tonal range in this image.  It seems whatever algorithm WordPress uses really messes things up.  In the original image you can see every single eyelash and the background which was at least 7 stops darker than the foreground has plenty of rich luminous detail.

If you are looking for a very pocketable P&S I highly recommend the Panasonic LX-5.  I hear the LX-7 is even better.  I got my LX-5 new for $250 just before the LX-7 came out.  Frankly I was quite prepared to hate this camera.  I had already burned through Nikon, Canon, and Olympus P&S's.  Image quality was dismal and most exhibited large amounts of chromatic nastiness.  My wife's Canon G11 is a decent camera but way to heavy to carry in your pocket.  Check out what dpreview had to say about the LX-5 when it first was announced by clicking here.

So when I next decide to "walk the line" I will have my trusty Panasonic LX-5 in my pocket and adventure in my heart.

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I love this stupid town, I really do!

by on Apr.29, 2012, under Family, Life is Good, Location

A couple of nights ago my sweetie and I met a Large Format Film photo buddy for a warm beverage.  The area of town we were in is generally referred to as Connaught.  Most people know it as the street the Galaxie Diner is on.  The Galaxie has been a city landmark for over a decade.  I have spent a lot of time photographing the Galaxie and its employees over the years.  Some day these images might even be worth something.
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Galaxie Diner at Rest

As evening turned into night the street came alive with bright lights and reflections.  The passing automobiles with their H.I.D. headlights create retinal searing lightning-like flashes intensified by the puddles left behind by a recent storm.  The dancing shapes cast upon the walls and glass windows of darkened stores are meant for a Stephen King novel.  At the end of a generally dark street is the  Kalamata Grocery.  A true traditional Greek supermarket.  How traditional you ask?  Well all the gentlemen working inside are called George.  Yes that traditional.
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Kalamata Grocery

 Our photo buddy had told us that the Kalamata Grocery had the best olives in town.  Having developed quite an appreciation for good, fresh olives while traveling in Turkey we just had to check this out.  Once inside the store we were instantly transported thousands of miles to some small town grocery in Greece.  The noise level was higher than normal for we staid conservative Canadians.  Shopping for us is a very serious endeavor indeed.  Any spontaneous outbursts of enthusiasm is generally met with disapproving stares and whispered insults shared with a fellow shopper.  The joyful mood in the Kalamata Grocery was very welcome.

The owners were negotiating a transaction with a middle eastern lady who wanted to sell them some sort of non-tobacco tobacco.  This is the same lady who found it almost impossible to park her over sized Range Rover in a spot 1.5 times bigger than she needed.  Maybe she came from a country that doesn't allow women to drive.  The photo above shows her fifth try at getting into her spot.  Cheap entertainment for me at least.  In all fairness she was a very nice lady.

My sweetie was on the hunt for the perfect olive with one of the resident George's.  His animated descriptions of how great their olives are would make a Mexican beach walker selling Elvis felt paintings proud.  I went in the opposite direction looking for interesting compositions.  What did I find but yet another George.  This time a customer.  He was more than willing for me to take his photograph.  In fact he struck a pose for me.  This George told me he is the King of Calgary, but has to work as an underpaid and barely appreciated lawyer to pay the bills.  Calgary could do much worse when looking for an ambassador.  George was a gas and I greatly enjoyed our five minutes or so of conversation.

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The King of Calgary - aka George

Yes I do love this stupid town.  Calgary is such a schizophrenic place.  For the most part it is inhabited by super over achievers who have to park a BMW SUV in the driveway to make sure everyone knows they are making the big bucks.  Type A doesn't even come close to describing the typical oil patch worker in Calgary.  Eighty hour weeks are the norm.  Many just don't care about our city because they are only here to make loads of money and then go back to wherever they came from.  The sooner the better is their attitude. On the other hand you find pockets of humanity like the Kalamata Grocery all over the city, whether they are in older neighbourhoods or carved out of the new coffins of concrete we call malls.  I am currently writing this blog in one such oasis, The Good Earth Cafe - Creekside.  Even though it is located smack dab in the middle of a new area the "real" people have slowly found it.  During the day when I come here to work on my website development business I meet other "geeks" and we have fun sharing war stories.  New moms come in with their burping and pooping bundles of joy.  Just now a large and very noisy group of new Canadians finished up a weekly get together.  Even in the city hated by most of Canada (yes even more than Toronto!) we "Blue Eyed Arabs" as we have been branded by the east are real people just having fun.  Well at least the ones that come here and make it their "home".
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Dreaming of Spring

by on Feb.26, 2012, under Cameras, Family, Film, Friends, Location, Photographers, Travel

Eric Rose Fine Art Photography - Spring Crucus Photograph

My "Perfect" Crocus Photograph

As I write this, snow is swirling outside my office window.   Anyone who knows me well knows I hate winter.  Winter in Canada anyway.  October to May in the Caribbean, Thailand, Bali to name a few places would be infinitely more bearable.  Life is what it is and I am firmly planted here in Calgary Alberta, Canada for the foreseeable future. Today my thoughts turned to a right of spring I participated in for at least 30 years.  It was the search for the perfect crocus photograph.  According to Wikipedia: "Crocus (plural: crocuses, croci) is a genus in the iris family comprising about 80 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to western China.  The name of the genus is derived from the Greek krokos (κρόκος). This in turn is probably a loan word from a Semitic language, related to Hebrew כרכום karkōm, Aramaic ܟܟܘܪܟܟܡܡܐ kurkama, Persian and Arabic كركم kurkum, which mean saffron or saffron yellow.   The name ultimately comes from Sanskrit कुङ्कुमं kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one." As the weather warms and the snow recedes I keep an eye out for a faint burst of purple peaking through the native grasslands around Calgary.  I  inherited this crocus fascination from my mother. I think deep down she was just as depressed about winter as I am.  As a child I would tag along with her as she hiked through local grasslands looking for that "perfect" crocus.  Many years later and several hundred photographs of crocuses printed my mother rewarded my efforts by purchasing a crocus photograph from one of my photographic students.  This picture was prominently displayed on our living room.  In all fairness it was a very nice photograph (grumble grumble). My quest continued, now with a heightened sense of urgency, I had to replace that photograph in the living room with one of my own.  It was a pride thing.  The gauntlet had been thrown down. It never happened.  My mother died from cancer but at least she had a crocus photograph that gave her pleasure and reminded her of the great times we had together.  However my quest continued unabated. Jump forward a bunch of years to an afternoon spent in Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park with a group of photographers from my Large Format Users Group.  I started this group around 2006 to promote the use of large format film cameras in Calgary.  Naturally a side benefit was meeting and becoming friends with a great bunch of photographers.  On this day however I had my Nikon D70s equipped with a razor sharp Nikkor 60mm macro lens by my side.  No pretty large format landscapes for me today, it was crocus day! After two hours of climbing hills, sliding down into steep gullies just to climb up the other side I finally found my crocus.  There were no trumpets.  Charlton Heston did not appear as Moses and point to this perfect flower with his God given staff.  Nor was the light right.  Urgh!  After several moments of disgust I thought I might as well take the shot and see if I could do something with it in Photoshop.  Heck if you can make ugly people look like runway models in Photoshop I should be able to fix the lighting. My tripod would not allow me to get down to the level I wanted so my LowePro pack was pressed into service.  A few errant sprigs of  grass were removed (yes I am one of those, get over it) focus was adjusted and I was ready to make my photograph.  Then a miracle happened, a cloud covered the sun.  Thanks mom, I am sure you were watching me.  Hopefully you find this shot worthy of your mantel in heaven. The photo may not be perfect in your eyes and maybe you have better ones yourself.  Personally I am happy with this one and have ended my quest.  I have not taken another crocus picture since.  Mission accomplished.
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Innocence

by on Feb.14, 2012, under Cameras, Family

Innocence (or guiltlessness) is a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime. The lamb is a commonly used symbol of innocence's nature. In Christianity, for example, Jesus is referred to as the "Lamb of God", thus emphasizing his sinless nature. Other symbols of innocence include children, virgins, acacia branches (especially in Freemasonry), non-sexual nudity, and the color white.
Tamara Picking Clover - Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

The Innocence of Youth

  The photo above was taken with a Nikon F2 and probably my old trusty Nikkor 43-86 zoom on Kodachrome 64 film.  This is my oldest daughter who just recently turned 30.  She still exhibits the same wonderment and zest for life as she did 28 years ago, but now tempered with life experience.  Is the innocence still there?  Sure it is.  It will always be there even if it has to work it's way to the surface every once in awhile.  She has the strength to insure no one will ever take that part away from her.  Whether she believes in God or not, her spirit was given to her by the Creator and will be welcomed home when that time comes.  Hopefully not for many years to come as she has so much spirit to share with those around her. Sometimes bad things happen to even the most innocent.  Think of the souls lost in Syria right now.  Babies and mothers blown to bits by a mad man.  When people lose their innocence it is usually at the hands of the guilty, if you can call the opposite of innocent - guilt. However these unfortunate victims of murder in Syria have not really lost their innocence, just their worldly projection of it.  Innocence is within the spirit, which now rests with God. Those that have that special ability to make others feels special, whether it's their own child, extended family or close friends are special in themselves.  They are a rarity in today's "me" world.  These special people are selfless and work long hours, many over looked, to insure the quality of life for those around them is the best. I want to talk now about someone in our family who is one of these very special people.   I have only known her for around ten years but in that short time have learned to love her.  Every time we visit she goes out of her way to make us feel special even though at the same time she is working a very demanding job and running a very active household.  Juanita is her name, not that would mean anything to many of you, but this is one person that should not remain nameless in a world of sensory clutter.  Nothing she has done will make the evening news.  She won't appear as a trending item on Twitter. Nor will she have hours and hours of coverage devoted to her by CNN as she fights the biggest battle of her life.  This person who could have done anything in her life devoted all her waking energy to the well being of others.  Juanita worked in an old folks home for most of her adult life.  She choose to work in a position that gave her a very hands on relationship with those in her care.  Her spirit and innocent light infused those around her.  Juanita is the ultimate "mother hen" even taking on the job as head contract negotiator for the care workers at her place of work. Juanita and her husband Gerald brought up three lovely, caring and equally "innocent" children into adulthood.  Each of their children have been infused with the spirit of their mother. Juanita has been struck with a inoperable case of cancer.  Bad things happen to good people.  Just as they happen to bad people.  There is an equality there that doesn't seem fair.  Why would God allow that?  Why would God allow a child to lose his or her little life as in Syria?  From God’s perspective, that life is not lost.  God is able to restore to that child their life, so no loss is suffered on the part of the child.  Life is not lost to the One who can restore it. What about the grief that parents and family experience?  In our loss, the presence of God is available for us to experience His strength, His comfort, His sustaining love and assurance in the face of the evil that exists.  God sustains those who grieve for those He calls to Himself. Juanita's brothers, sisters and parents have flown to Abbotsford, BC where she lives to offer support and encouragement.  This is one very close family.  In the pictures my wife brought back Juanita still has that special smile. I'm not writing a eulogy here, Juanita is still with us.  I can feel the warmth of her smile as I think of her.  Juanita is a unique person who deserves all the blessing, prayers or positive vibes any of you reading this can send her.  She deserves it.  Juanita has the fight of her life ahead of her.  She has spent her entire life helping others.  Now it our turn to help this very special person in any way we can. Juanita has that special innocence.  She still has that special ability to get excited about clover flowers just as my daughter did 28 years ago, even though her world around her is anything but easy.  
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The Harvest is in! Finally!!

by on Oct.03, 2011, under Family, Location, Travel

Eric and Eric plus the Bumble Bee

For the second year in a row I have helped my brother in law Eric Goerzen with harvest.  This is the family farm where my wife grew up and comprises 1700 acres of high yield dirt.  Eric took over farming the homestead years ago and has added to it both in size and equipment.  Eric has also stepped up to and embraced the new agronomics and yield increasing technologies.  It's a well running business but requires a high level of commitment and just plain guts. In the past Eric's father and father in law helped with the harvest.  Both of these fine gentlemen, experienced farmers in their own right, drove combines while Eric drove the grain truck.  For the most part this arrangement worked well but with the newer combines it was

The Bumble Bee in the field.

possible to replace the two aging combines with one relatively new one.  This was a big decision to make.   The price of these new machines are quite high plus the complexity of the systems running them is on several orders of magnitude more sophisticated.  Much like going from a 1970's carbureted Chevy to a new computer controlled fuel injected BMW.  Fortunately Eric is also a certified heavy duty mechanic so has a head start on understanding the inner workings. Another part of the equation when determining the need to purchase this new combine was the advanced age of Eric's father and his father in law.  Both gentlemen are dyed in the wool farmers and would rather meet their maker doing an honest days work on the farm than be put out to pasture.  It was a tough decision, but one Eric had to make. The New Holland combine Eric purchased, a CXR-40, is fully computer controlled.  Almost all adjustments can be made from a screen in the combine.  The driving compartment is very ergonomically well designed with sound deadening one of the major pluses.  The downside of that is you can not hear what the combine engine and thrasher are doing.  You have to rely on your in cabin alarms, screen readouts and the good ears of your truck driver.  For old timers this is a huge leap as they are use to "driving" a combine and know what every noise and shake means. Heck this CXR-40 has air conditioning, stereo radio, and just about any bell and whistle you can imagine.  No microwave or TV though.  I hear some of the newer ones have TV.  Frankly I don't see how useful this would be as it takes a lot of concentration to maneuver

750 liters of fuel every day.

around a 50 ton machine.  To put that into perspective a Centurion tank, the mainstay of the British and Canadian armies during WWII, weighs in at the same tonnage. Last year we were plagued with mechanical breakdowns.  One in particular had us sidelined for a full week.  The pressure was on!  When the crop is ready you have to move fast.  Every day counts.  If a frost hits the grade of the crop can be reduced dramatically.  Sometimes the crop can be so damaged it just doesn't pay to bring it in, especially considering historically weak grain prices. The price of wheat has not kept up with the consumer price index.  On top of that western Canadian producers are hamstrung by the Canadian Wheat Board.  Just another government board that rewards the east (WCB does not apply east of Manitoba)  and screws the west.  Check out this link for stats collected by the American USDA to give you an idea of how tough it has gotten for farmers to make ends meet.  What's happening is the family farm is nearing an end.  Forced out by the economics of big business.  The only way you can make a living from grain farming is to cultivate 10's of thousands of acres.  All the input costs have gone up but the revenue side has remained flat for generations. This year's harvest got off to a rocky start.  Eric and his brother Albert were out working the combine and unknown to them an oil line had burst.  By the time the alarms went off they were within a couple of minutes of seizing the engine.  The line was repaired, all systems were go, and then it rained.  We had to wait 2 to 3 days before the crop was dry enough to begin again.  Once we were rolling everything went pretty smoothly.  Blew an injector line, broke a drive chain, broke a header adjustment bolt, destroyed the header shoot gate, and

Moving the swather.

the gear box on the auger tractor gave up the ghost.  For the most part minor stuff.  Just additional stress.  It's hard for most people to comprehend that an entire year's revenue is taken in during one week!  51 weeks of blood, sweat and negative cash flow.  If something goes wrong and the crop is a bust, well it's not pretty. Many farmers feel that feeding the world is their mission.  God put them on the planet to put food on our plates.  They feel a real affection for the land they work.  It's almost like the land is another child of theirs.  They nurture it, protect it, feed it and then feel a great sense of accomplishment when it repays them by bringing forth a great crop.  I have seen farmers pick up the soil they farm and just rub it on their face.  They seem to enter into a state of rapture as they smell the earthiness and feel the velvet texture. Most farmers, especially on the family farms,  earn a meager living compared to business men and women who have to shoulder the same levels of stress and calculated uncertainly.  But just try and take these sod busters off the farm!
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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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