Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Friends

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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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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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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Diners, I LOVE Diners

by on Apr.27, 2011, under Friends, Location, Travel

Ever since I was a kid going to a diner with my dad or grandfather was a real treat.  I loved the stools covered in either red, brown or black leather.  Naturally I would catch it for spinning around on them, but hey that was part of the overall experience.  The smells of eggs, pancakes, hash browns and coffee run very deep for me.  It’s one of my happy places.  No wonder I battle my weight!

The Galaxie Diner

Brad Myhre's World Famous Galaxie Diner

Brad Myher started this diner close to 20 years ago.  For Calgary it was a welcome treat from the over priced yuppie cafes so prevalent at the time.  Brad called it the Galaxie after the car.  I remember when his first daughter was born 15 years ago.  We go back a long ways.

Over the years I have seen staff come and go, but most stay for quite awhile.  They enjoy working for Brad (who wouldn’t!), enjoy the customers and the funky vibe.

The food is fantastic while still keeping to a “grill / diner” menu.  I bought my 1970 VW Combi van from one of Brad’s first cooks.  Yes that’s the same van that cratered on me in my “No man left behind” blog post.  Mr. Happy and I have been running the roads for a lot of years.

One of Brad’s loves beyond his wonderful family are smoked meat deli’s.  Especially the ones you find in Montreal, Quebec.  I guess the plane fares to Montreal were beginning to add up so Brad started his own Montreal styled smoked meat deli next to the Galaxie.  The choices of meats and condiments is staggering.

The Galaxie as we call it has been featured in Hollywood movies and many local and national commercials.  The interior is that 30, 40, 50’s authentic.  I did a photo project on the place when I first started going there and gave Brad a bunch of 11×14 matted and framed silver gelatin black and white prints.  Two of which have been hanging in the place for over a decade.  The Chevy Chase movie “Snow Day” was filmed in Calgary.  Some of the scenes were shot in the Galaxie and my photos can be seen hanging on the wall.  My claim to Hollywood fame!  Well ok, I admit I am grasping a bit there.

Galaxie Counter

Galaxie Counter Top

Today I partook in a Galaxie experience.  Had my usual veggie burrito with hash browns, salsa and sour cream.  I can feel my heart slowing down just remembering it.  Steaming hot coffee in a bottomless cup keeps the conversation going.  I’m going to Turkey in a few weeks and found out our waitress, or do we call them serving persons now, had been to Istanbul.  Got the skinny from her on what to see.

One of the many things I love about my Galaxie experiences are the many varied people you get to meet there.  Sitting at the counter could expose you to an oil baron on one side and a homeless guy who lucked into a few bucks on the street on the other side.  Either one of your stool buddies could become a wealth of entertainment for the next hour while you each enjoyed your breakfast or lunch.  The diner is a real equalizer.  If you are one of those affected people you will not want to eat with us locals.  We have a way of cutting through the crap.

On the other hand everyone from suits to those sporting mohawks are welcome at Brad’s place.  Hope to see you there someday.  Check out one of my Galaxie Diner shots taken with my Rolleiflex TLR here.  It’s the one in the middle of the table and chairs.  The original print has some of the sumptuous chrome detail I have ever gotten.  Gotta love that Zeiss glass!

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The Office

by on Apr.07, 2011, under Friends, Location, Photographers, Travel

No not the TV show.  Although if Alec Baldwin wanted to hang out with me for an afternoon I am sure we could have a great time.  He could tell me all about Kim Basinger.  I still can’t get that kitchen scene from 9 1/2 weeks out of my mind.  Bad Eric!  Hey that’s why they call me BadDog!  That’s my web design company BadDog Marketing.

No the real reason I am writing this blob is to show you my “office”.  Not the one I have at home but the one I spend my afternoons at.

Good Earth Cafe - alternate office for BadDog Marketing

View from my "office" desk.

When people are looking for me and I have my phone off (yes I am ignoring you) while doing some heavy duty coding or Photoshop work they usually pop into my “office” looking for me.  Chance are they will find me.  This alternate office is at The Good Earth Cafe – Creekside, Calgary AB.  It is run by the nicest family you could ever meet.  It’s a true mom and pops establishment.  They even have a daughter and son-inlaw as partners.

Over the past several months I have made so many friends here.  People even trust me to look after their babies!  I guess it’s because I am a grandpa and probably look like one.  I have met other geeks and we trade industry news and gossip.  Even help each other out with a sticky bit of code if possible.

During Christmas I organized a Christmas carol evening here at the office.  My wife an accomplished pianist, my buddy Herb Huber an amazing guitarist played for several hours.  We handed out song books and packed the place out.  Check out Herb’s website for inspirational guitar stuff.  He teaches as well.

As I write this I am at my “office” enjoying the chatter of mothers trading diaper stories, couples laughing at things they only know, and workmen coming in out of the cold for a nice warm coffee.  The food here is terrific as well.  Yummy sweet stuff and steaming soups.

Good Earth Cafe Creekside Motorcyle School

Good Earth Cafe Creekside Motorcyle School vists.

A large group of motorcycle riding students just walked in.  Since it’s hovering around zero here (yes it is April, geez) and they have these safety vests on with big L’s on the back.  Not sure if that stands for learner or loser.  I shouldn’t be so mean.  Someday I will probably have to take a course from these guys if I want to start riding again.  From what I understand they drop in several times a week with their students which is great business for the cafe.  God knows they need it.  Business is down for everyone these days.  I was in the back room of a big box store the other day and noticed their sales numbers were down from 17 to 23 percent over last year depending on department.  People are wisely paying down their debt rather than pumping up their entertainment spending.

It’s funny how many of my friends are envious of my ability to work anywhere there is an internet connection.  It could be at home, here at the “office”, or on a beach in Hawaii.  Years ago an old buddy of mine and I fantasized about buying a diveshop on some beautiful beach in the South Pacific.  Now I can have all the benefits of hanging on the beach without the hassle of running a business catering to tourists.  Yuk!!

Soon I will be off to Turkey for three weeks.  My wife and I will be traveling with Dave and Lori-Lynn Brookwell.  Dave and Loo-Loo are both professional photographers who run Illusions Studio and Design here in Calgary.  I’m biased but I feel they do the best work in town.

Maybe I will open an “office” in Istanbul, somewhere with a view of the Bosporus, sipping Turkish tea, watching the gals stroll by……..

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The Helen Lake hike, or how I learned to love my A640

by on Sep.06, 2010, under Cameras, Friends, Location, Travel

Yesterday Erna and I joined our good friends Dave and Laurie Lynn Brookwell (owners of Illusions Photographic) on a hike to Helen Lake.  Why this lake is named after this Helen person is a good question.  Maybe someone can illuminate us.

The day started off with a 7am pickup of the Brookwells followed by a 2.5 hour drive.  Getting to the parking lot to begin the hike was the easy part,  just go west on the Number One, turn north onto the 93 at Lake Louise and continue on for 32kms.

Upon entering the parking lot I was a bit disheartened to see so many cars.  I can remember the days when I would be hiking the back country by Lake Louise and might see two people all day.  Given the number of cars I estimated there had to be at least 100 people on the trail.  Since there were reports of bears in the area I guess having company on the trail might be a good thing.  Especially those doofus’s that insist on wearing those bear dinner bells.

The hike is 12kms taking you on an elevation gain of 1800 feet.  Within mere steps from the beginning the trail pitch was rather steep.  Between gasps for the ever thinning air, views across the valley to Crowfoot Glacier were spectacular.  Now I have to admit I’m not in the best shape these days.  Hey I’ve been trying, going to the gym when I can, passing up ice cream once in awhile and thinking real hard about jogging.  Well, it’s a start.  This said I figured that on this hike I better not take the 4×5.  Not even the D700 or the Leica.  No it will be the Canon Powershot A640 that gets called up.

I’ve always like the A640.  When it was the latest and greatest I recommended it to my photography students if a solid P&S was what they were looking for.  Funny thing was I never got around to buying one myself.  This situation was remedied when I spotted one in a pawn shop for $98.  I eventually walked out of there with the camera for $50.  It certainly had seen some miles in it’s short life but everything worked.  The optics are great, the 10M byte images sharp and clean.  All this in a very small and light package.  Perfect for this hike.

During this hike we were treated to bright sunny warm conditions, blustery cold winds, and to finish the day off, snow.  Fortunately all the good weather was during the assent.  Below you will find some of the images I came away with using the A640.  Not bad for an out of date, bruised, battered last years technology picture maker.  Oh ya the camera did fine too.

Corn Lilies

More Corn Lilies

Rebirth

Helen Creek

Laurie Lynn by Lake Helen

One Last Corn Lily

These web images do not do the A640 justice.  I could easily make tack sharp 11×14 prints from the JPG files the camera generates.  Now I will let you in on a little secret. Canon doesn’t want you to know this but you can get 12M byte RAW files from the A640.  Yes RAW files.  There is a lot this little camera will do but you will never know unless you  download a little firmware package called CHDK.  Do a quick google search and you will find it.  You can not only upgrade your camera to give you RAW files but you can now see histograms and a very useful battery strength indicator.  Why doesn’t Canon build this functionality into the Powershot right from the factory?

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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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