Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

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Pixel Peeping is a WASTE of time!

by on Mar.12, 2014, under Camera Review, Cameras, Digital, Location, Photographers, Travel

COSMOS-FOX

A scene from the Fox show Cosmos, copyright Fox

Your always humble struggling artist/photographer/blogger has had an epiphany!  Indeed the cosmos aligned even without the help of Seth MacFarlane and his new Cosmos series.  What pray tell has ripped the blinders away from my clouded eyes?

Pixel peeping is a waste of time.  There it is, I said it.

What do most of us do when we test out a new camera or lens?  We take a shot and then zoom into 100 percent magnification to see if it is sharp enough.  I’ve done my fair share of pixel peeping myself.

Nikon Nikkormat FTN - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogLet’s back up a bit and look at history and how things have changed.  In the old days if you shot Kodachrome 25 with a Nikkormat FTN or an F5 using the same lens, the image will look identical.  The only thing different between the cameras was their feature set.  The same could be said in broader terms between a Nikon F2 and a Canon F1 using their respective 50mm f2 prime lenses.  Again feature sets and “religion” were the only differences, not image quality.  What little differences they did exhibit could be fixed today in PS.

For the most part all of the major manufacturers made very high quality lenses with very minor optical differences.  Most system choices were made due to features and system depth if that was important to you.  Any pro worth his salt could make a decent living using Nikon, Canon, and  Pentax.  The choices were more limited in medium format, but again each of the major players made very good cameras and lenses.  Features, reliability and system depth were the main deciding factors.

4 bit Convertor - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogWhen did all this pixel peeping or bit crawling start.  I suggest it started with the advent of CD’s.  The first CD players used very crude codecs.  Those that considered themselves audiophiles cried and bemoaned the butchering of their favorite  LP’s.  All that “air” and spatial quality was missing not to mention how sharp and peaky the sound became when played through the leading CD players of the time.  A crop of “digital” speakers were flogged to the masses.  Sound familiar?  A new lexicon had to be added to the audiophiles repertoire; bit encoding.  How many samplings were made per second.  The higher the bit rate the more accurate the reproduction, or so it would seem.  The study of and the acquisition of the best analog to digital, back to analog, converters was now necessary.

We had been sensitized to the axiom that more bits are better.    That philosophy was embraced by the camera manufacturers to ensure consumers would be set on a pixel treadmill.  So now pixels counted the most with camera features becoming secondary.

Kodak DC290 - Eric Rose Photography - BlogMy first digital camera was a Kodak DC290.  This camera boasted 2.9 mega pixels.  This yielded an image 31 inches by 20 inches approximately (according to the Kodak data sheet).  I made plenty of 8×10’s from the DC290 and was pleased with the results.  The prints from the DC290 were not as good as an optical print from a good 35mm negative, but acceptable.  Numerous images were also used in corporate websites.   Next I blew through several Nikon and Canon P&S’s.  Digital cameras to me were still toys.  The real work had to be done with my film cameras.

Pixel count was ever increasing but the features were still limited.  My first semi-pro DSLR was the Nikon D70s (6 mega pixels).  I have made 11×14 inch prints from this cameras that are stunning and equal anything I could do with my 35mm negatives.  I have never tried to do 16×20’s from the D70s only due to a lack of demand.  The feature set was more to my liking than comparable pixel count P&S’s.  The ability to use my legacy Nikkor lenses sealed the deal.  I was now firmly in the digital camp.  The Kreonite went into the trash bin.  The size of the sensor now became important.  A 6 mega pixel APS-C sensor will out perform a 6 mega pixel finger nail sized sensor in a P&S.

Nikon D700 - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogI would still be using the D70s if it were not for a row of dead pixels.  They don’t always disappear, but for my professional work it just was not acceptable.  Yes I could fix it in PS but the time overhead was too costly.  I replaced the D70s with a D700.  Wonderful camera, does everything I want it to and it replaced my Hasselblad.  I could now make prints up to 20×30 if I needed to.  Actually bigger if I really needed to but that’s not my market.

I recently bought a Panasonic GX1 from Frank Petronio.  It’s 16 mega pixels which is 4 more than my D700.  They tell me the technology has improved since the D700 was introduced and I should not see a huge difference between the two cameras under ideal conditions.  Micro 4/3rd’s is the new holy grail.

Well you can guess what was the first thing I did once I got the GX1.  I shot side by side images, GX1-vs-D700 and pixel peeped.  I tried all kinds of things, using the ultra sharp Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens compared to the Nikkor H-C 50mm f2, putting the Nikkor H-C 50mm lens on the Panasonic etc etc.  In all cases the D700 won.  Not a big surprise as far as I was concerned.  Size does matter when it comes to sensors.

Panasonic GX1 - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogThen I had a thought.  One of those hit your forehead in the middle of the night kind of thoughts.  Really the only thing that matters is what a print looks like.  I scaled the images to be identical looking and then sized them for 11×14 prints.  Guess what?  Both prints looked outstanding.  Only the kind of people who pick things apart to an absurd level on photograph forums could tell the difference in the prints.  The GX1 doesn’t have the DR (dynamic range) the D700 has but this can be fixed in PS for 95% of what I will be shooting.  Check out George Barr’s excellent blog posting on dealing with high key situations.

Another thing the micro 4/3rd’s cameras don’t have is durability.  I fell off a cliff last weekend and my D700 hit a rock ledge pretty hard.  If suffered a few dents but beyond that the camera and lens functioned perfectly.  If the same thing happened to my GX1 I am sure I would have been picking up pieces.  Same goes for the new Sony A7R.  Again if I were doing something rough the minute difference in image quality between the D700 and the new full frame Sony A7R would not influence my decision.  The tougher D700 would get packed.  If I were going on a cruise, the Sony A7R would get packed.

I am going on a trip to Germany and Santorini in a few months.  I almost left the GX1 at home due to pixel peeping.  Glad I re-evaluated what really mattered, the final output, the print.

I feel we have come full circle.  Camera choices today should primarily be made based on features (important to you), system depth and durability.  For the most part you will not be able to tell the difference in prints made from micro 4/3rd’s, full frame and APS-C type sensors if printed by a skilled craftsman up to 20×30 inches.  The responsibility of proper exposure rests upon the photographer as it always has.  Digital sensors are just as fussy to over/under exposure as were transparency films of bygone days.

We can now spend more time putting the craft back into photography and less time pixel peeping.  Sensors have matured to a level where we should not waste a lot of time comparing one against the other.  At the end of the day whatever difference you “think” you perceive does not amount to a hill of beans once you print your image.  Check out the blog posting by Ctein on The Online Photographer.  Ctein is a master printer and has made prints from non-FX sensor cameras that would blow your mind.  It can be done.  There is no hiding sloppy craftsmanship behind sensor size anymore.  The one thing that cripples your FX camera is not using a tripod.  It does make a difference, even at higher shutter speeds.  That and cheap filters.  Don’t get me going!!

Will I take the GX1 on pro jobs?  You bet I will.  Will it do everything, no, but neither will the D700.  The trick is to use the right tool for the job.  Measure twice, cut once.  Put the craft back into photography!

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Mother and Child

by on Dec.27, 2012, under Camera Review, Cameras, Darkroom, Film, Location, Scanning, Travel, website

coos_bay002_web

Mother and Child

This Christmas I gave my wife a 40 x 24 print of the above photograph.  I made this image probably six years ago at Coos Bay, Oregon.  As soon as I saw these two geologic manifestations it looked to me like a mother and baby wrapped up papoose style.  It also symbolized to me the rock solid connection a mother has with her child.  Sometimes those children do not survive, or vice versa.  In any event this mother-child bond is “cemented” in all time.  Once both are returned to our maker reunions can be made.

geronar

Rodenstock Geronar 210mm

At the time my favorite large format colour negative film was Kodak’s Portra 160.  It was as close to the venerable Kodak VPS as I could find.  The tonal range of Portra 160 and even 400 is outstanding.  Colours are very neutral and images crystal sharp, but don’t take my word for it, check out the great review at Shutterfinger.  The above image was made using a Linhof Tecknika IV (see pic below) and a Rodenstock Geronar 210mm lens.  As is always the case a lenshade was used even though it was an overcast day.

The Geronar lens has unfortunately suffered a bad rap from the lens queens.  I love the image signature of the Geronars.  While not technically a Tessar design they exhibit a lot of the same 3D characteristics when used wide open.  Colour rendition is accurate and they don’t suffer from flare.  Another bonus is that they are small and light weight, great for backpacking and travelling.  I have used the 150, 210 and 300mm versions of the Geronar lineup. Quite frankly I cannot pick out prints made from these as opposed to my more expensive large format lenses, especially once the lens is stopped down to f11 or greater.  Currently I only have the 300mm version of the Geronar but am on the lookout for a good 210mm.

What many people don’t understand when it comes to print sharpness is that a sturdy, heavy tripod is essential to reduce vibration.  I cannot count the number of times I have seen people spend huge amounts of money on lenses for their large format cameras only to cheap out on the tripod.  When they produce slightly fuzzy photographs they lament they must have gotten a mis-aligned lens.

Not having the ability to produce 40 inch colour prints in my darkroom I was forced to scan my negative.  Having recently purchased an Epson 750 Pro from George Barr I scanned my negative at 3200 dpi, processed in PhotoShop, upsized and saved as a jpg – 300 dpi.  A very small amount of sharpening was applied in PhotoShop.  The file was ftp’d to a local professional printing service for output.  So far I have scanned both medium and large format negatives with the Epson.  Results have been stellar!   My Nikon 35mm scanner recently packed it in so I am hoping the Epson will do a good job on those negatives as well.  I will keep you posted.

I hope to get back to Coos Bay again having been there three times already.  It’s one of those magical places.  Please check out my website for more Coos Bay photographs.  I have images in both the colour and black/white galleries of Coos Bay and area.  Most of the colour images were taken with a digital camera.

600px-Linhof_img_1876 photo by Rama

The venerable Linhof Technika IV. Mine is not as pretty as this one.

 

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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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I hate my job!

by on Jan.30, 2012, under Cameras, Digital, Location, Travel

turkey_seedseller - photo by Eric Rose

Istanbul Seed Merchant

I don’t know about you but I can honestly say I have had some jobs that just stunk.  Sometimes they start off great but go downhill really fast after the novelty wears off.  Being a bit of an old fart I was brought up in the age of commitment.  If you said you were going to do something you darn well did it.  None of this job jumping you see these days.  Actually I don’t blame the younger folk these days.  Employers have no compunction about sucking you dry and then spitting you out on the street so they can boost the numbers for the quarter.  Gotta keep those Wall Street fat cats happy!  So why should an employee feel some sort of commitment or allegiance to their employer when none if given.

What does this rant have to do with the lady above?  Well nothing really and everything.  Women like her have probably been selling bird seed in this very spot for at least 100 years.  Why do they still do it?  Because they feel a dedication to their Mosque, or maybe her family.  This is the same dedication I used to see here at home.  We use to call it the “Protestant work ethic”.  Since religiosity generally in North America is on the decline it seems the work ethic that went along with it is also on the decline.  That’s not to say there weren’t lots of non religious people who were very hard workers.

Now take the woman in the photo.  There are numerous narratives a reasonably creative mind could come up with.  Is she unhappy with her job?  Maybe the kids running around the square are getting on her nerves.  Maybe she has not made enough money to buy the food necessary for tonight’s dinner.  Could be she is tired of photographers!

Now a bit on the back story.  This photograph was made in a square near a very large Mosque in Istanbul.  There must have been several hundred pigeons squawking for their dinner and an almost equal number of children pestering their parents to buy one of the small plates of seeds.  At the moment I made this image a very large flock of pigeons had been scared into flight.  Being under a tarp was a definite plus.  My wife got a beautiful photograph of a child peeking through just such a pigeon lift off.  Please check out her website.

What intrigues me about the above image is the subject’s body language.  Even though she is Turkish it is not hard to read where her mind is.  She is doing her duty, raising money for the Mosque, and not enjoying one minute of it.  She is well organized and has settled in for the long afternoon ahead.  The countdown is on.  She is poised for a quick exit.

The tension she exhibits is very subtle in the photograph.  The legs running away in the background can be seen as a counterpoint to her captivity.  The bright red adds to the feeling of tension.

I loved Istanbul and found the people to be so warm and friendly.  Well except when they are selling seeds.

The equipment I used for this image is Nikon D700 with Nikkor 28-70mm 3.5-4.5.

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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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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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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 4×5 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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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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