Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Emerging Pro Photographers

by on Aug.04, 2011, under Uncategorized

Emerging Pro.  To me the statement is an oxymoron.  You are either a pro, or your not.  Far to many weekend warriors with fancy DSLRs think they are “pro” because they have conned some relative into paying them to do a wedding.  Heck most of the serious amateurs have better camera systems than real working pros!

Here is a great blog on some deadly sins non-professional, “pro’s” commits.  Check it out here.

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Three weeks in Turkey – wow!

by on Jun.07, 2011, under Uncategorized

Just got back from the best trip ever. Three weeks in Turkey went by SO fast! Once the jet lag dissipates a bit and I get some images worked on I will be giving you a very detailed blog posting.

Group trip in the making as well. Stay tuned!

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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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Random images from Last Summer

by on Apr.30, 2011, under Cameras, Digital, Location

Since we seem to be caught in the grips of a never ending winter I thought I would post some images from last summer.  Two from the Calgary Stampede billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, and two from a local British car clubs show and shine.  If you are interested in the technical details of how I did the shots and the post processing leave a comment and I will answer it to the best of my ability.

Stampede Excitement

 

The White Hat

 

Got the Keys?

 

Sparkles

 

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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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I feel a Draft!

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

Road Kill Coyote

Road Kill Coyote

Well this poor coyote did not make it through our never ending winter.  I found him about a month ago and shot a pic with my cellphone.  These are the kinds of finds you know are worth going back to with a real camera when the conditions are right.  My fear was that the city workers would find him since he is just off a walking path.  Or some kid who had his sling shot taken away would kick the crap out of him.  Alas after several more snow falls and melts this coyotes final resting place remains undisturbed.

There are a fair number of these critters in my neck of the woods.  The poor souls have had their natural territory taken over by houses, asphalt, cars and concrete.  We are enduring a rather rapid increase in rabbits due to the coyotes not wanting to venture to far into suburbia.  Smart coyotes aren’t they.

Well it seems this one tried to go from one semi-open field to another but didn’t quite look both ways before crossing the four lane.  His brethren might have benefited from his untimely demise by donning their bibs and chowing down on some tasty ribs.  I am sure the crows and magpies swooped in for dessert.  By the looks of him I would estimate his age at about 2 years.  Chances are he spent his first year and a bit out in the near farm lands enjoying a steady diet of mice and small birds.  Whatever happened to him I hope it was a quick end.  Maybe he did not get hit by a passing vehicle at all.  It could be he just froze to death waiting for the traffic to break so he could get across the road.  Maybe he was waiting for the chicken.

Today I went out with my Nikon D700 adorned with my new to me 28-70mm AF zoom.  Shot off a few quick images to check composition before I hauled out the Linhof Technica IV.  My film image was shot on Ilford Delta 100 rated at 100 asa (ISO whatever).  The lens was my trusty Rodenstock APO 150mm.  I just love that lens!  So sharp and contrasty.  Tomorrow will have to be a darkroom day as the large format group I started 6 years ago meets on Tuesday and the theme is “skeleton”.  How convenient.  I know what you are thinking I set the theme knowing I had an ace up the sleeve.  In actual fact the wife of the member who had the last meeting picked the theme for this meeting.  Sometimes things just work out.  Sometimes.

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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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No Man Left Behind.

by on Aug.12, 2010, under Cameras, Digital, Film, Location, Travel

No man left behind!

While the genesis of this saying may be from the military, it applies to many things, both animate and inanimate.

My wife had a university reunion in Winnipeg, Manitoba scheduled for July 30 to August 1st. I felt this would be a great opportunity to take an extended photo trip from Calgary
to Winnipeg spanning three days.  The vehicle of choice would of course would be Mr. Happy my 1970 VW hippy van.  Mr. Happy got his name from the happy face tire cover he proudly wears on the spare.

Mr. Happy having lunch in Redcliff, Alberta

Kids and grownups alike love Mr. Happy.  Kids wave and people my age give me the peace sign.  I’ve even been waved at by some cops that I am sure could have stopped me for speeding had I been driving anything else.

This adventure was planned to be a full-on photo safari.  The large format camera, a selection of lenses, 20 film holders, tripod, Nikon D700, Nikon F5, a selection of Nikkor

On the Road Again

lenses, Canon A640 for snap shots and tonnes of film was loaded into Mr. Happy.  A few clothes, some food and water, Ipod, cellphone and my favorite pillow were chucked in for
good measure. Off we went in a cloud of dust July 28th.

The only two deadlines I had were to met a photo buddy I have gotten to know through Analog Photographers Users Group www.apug.org in Brandon, Manitoba on Thursday night for some beers, tall tales and a place to crash. The second deadline, the important one, was Friday evening to pick my sweetie up from the airport in Winnipeg.  The rest of the trip was wide open.

The first day say me getting some great shots of a lonely gas station out in the middle on nowhere Alberta.  Some people hate the praires and I can understand that sentiment.

Lonely, dusty gas station in rural Alberta

This gas station offered a small oasis of humanity in an otherwise hostile environment.  Cars pulled in, kids pilled out, parents would bark orders.  Trucks would charge in to
gas up, their drivers checking the tire pressure.  Locals would hangout on the bench not in a rush to head anywhere.  Especially into the dust and heat. Some feel this land is
barren and empty. Well I suppose it is to some but I feel it mirrors what’s on the inside more than anything else.  Personally I love the wide open spaces Alberta and Saskatchewan offer.  To me they offer an endless vista of ever changing tones, complicated compositions and a sky that can be both threatening and beautiful at the same time.

They joke that you can watch your dog run away for three days.  Some quick shots with the Linhof Technika IV, a couple with the D700 and a record shot with the A640.

Mr. Happy the perfect photomobile

It was off again, destination Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  In the old days this town was know as a bootleggers paradise.  It’s rumoured that Al Capone stayed in Moose Jaw on

occasion to oversee his distribution network into the US.  Canada didn’t suffer the delusion of prohibition.  There was some talk that my own family had benefited from quenching
the American’s thirst for spirits during that time. Economies have been built all over the world supplying the Americans with things they don’t really need or are not suppose to
have.

Moose Jaw is a very pretty town with a wicked Thai restaurant, a very photogenic oil tank farm and the most unusually painted bridge supports.  There was not enough time to
photograph ever

Nit's Thai Eats

The next day saw Brandon, Manitoba on the horizon.  It would be a full days drive given Mr. Happy doesn’t go over 60 mph. Well he will but it’s not safe in my estimation.  I
dropped into Indian Head, Saskatchewan to see if they had any funky buildings.  To my surprise what I found was a TV production crew filming a CBC weekly series called “Little
Mosque on the Prairie”.   I got as close as I could to snap a quick “I was there” picture and then beat a hasty retreat before the traffic control thugs got a hold of me.  Beyond that, Indian Head didn’t have much to offer photographically so it was back to the asphalt ribbon.  I should have had Meat Loaf’s “Highway to Hell” blaring on the stereo.  It was sure hot as hell!

Running with the big dogs

Just west of Wolseley, Saskatchewan I spotted a drive in theatre in what looked like the middle of a farmers field.  I found the road leading to it and soon realized it just
looked that way from the highway.  At one time this drive in had mulitple rows of posts each holding oversized pot metal speakers that hang from the car windows.  Today there is
only one row left.  In todays HD 52 inch widescreen LCD TV’s I guess no one wants the outdoor movie experience.  To bad really but I guess if kids want to make out in the back
of the truck these days they can put on the movie of their choice and have it play on the in-vehicle DVD screen.  I would suppose the advantage would be the movie screen doesn’t
fog up even if the windows do.

Drive In ticket hut

The drive-in wasn’t worth getting out the large format gear but I did manage to mangle a few digit with the D700.  I spent 45 minutes there and had a great time both making
photograps and remembering my own drive-in days.

Once back to Mr. Happy I found it wouldn’t start.  The engine was very hot and had what is normally called a vapour lock.  Another 30 minutes and Mr. Happy was cooled off enough to start. Back to the highway.

"Some like it Hot"

The next 16 miles was straight east, and I do mean straight.  Not one turn of any kind.  Mr. Happy started to loose power so I turned into Grenfell, Saskatchewan thinking that
after he cools off I could check the timing and/or the valve gap.  If either of these are out, overheating is the result.  He wasn’t pinging so I was leaning to valve problems.

Mr. Happy and I toddled around town and found a nice shady place right across the street from a auto parts store.  Lunch was in order at this point so I walked down the street and spotted the usual Chinese cafe you find in any rural town in either Alberta or Saskatchewan.  Seemed everyone was having the number one special so not being one to tempt fate in one of these establishments I ordered the same.  Once it came out I thought to myself that if I had any problems with constipation this meal would cure it.  Everything
was either deep fried or very greasy.

Back to Mr. Happy.  I quickly checked the timing and it was spot on.  Next up was to adjust the valves.  Normally you do this when the engine is stone cold, but I didn’t have that
luxury as I was suppose to be in Brandon that night.

Mr. Happy's engine

Since I was so preoccupied with getting my photo gear ready prior to my departure I neglected to pack my repair manual.  This was a problem because I have never adjusted the valves on a Mr. happy before.  I sauntered across the street in my best local farmer saunter and asked the guy in the parts store if there was a library in Grenfell.  Indeed there was, but he wasn’t sure if it was open today.  In any event it was at the end of the main drag.  More sauntering and a 15 minute wait for them to open up and I was in heaven.

Air conditioning!!  I asked the gal at the counter if there was a computer hooked up to the internet I could use.  Indeed there was and did I have a library card.  Well I be
giggered.  Once I related my tale of woe she relented and let me use the computer but it would cost me 25 cents a sheet to print anything out.  I quickly found what I was looking for, gave the nice lady 75 cents and headed back to Mr. Happy.

Well after about 4 hours of back twisting eye straining grunting I had all the valves adjusted.  I was covered in thick dirty grease but the friendly gentleman at the Standard
Auto Parts place let me clean up in his bathroom.

Off we went again.  We galloped down the highway a glorious 18 miles and then that was it.  Mr. Happy said enough is enough.  The number three cylinder was not producing any
power.  One of the valve wasn’t working and was probably broken.  Valves that go in, must also come out.  No such luck.

Now things get interesting.

It was evident that I was not getting to Brandon tonight, and probably was not getting to Winnipeg for the Friday pickup of my sweetie.  So what to do?  I called my sweetie in
Calgary and explained the situation asking her to call AMA to send a tow truck out to me.  Fortunately they had one in Grenfell.  This meant Erna had several options; 1. fly to
Winnipeg without me and fly back (one more plane ticket), 2. that very night once home from work jump into our minivan and drive to where I am, or 3. change her plain ticket to
Regina – pick up a car there and drive to Grenfell in the morning.  Since Erna wanted me at the university reunion, bless her soul, the first option was out.  She was bagged
from work so option two was discarded.  That left the more costly option of changing the ticket and picking up a rental car.  Somewhere in the discussion me taking the Greyhound
was mentioned but with all the camera gear I had this would not work.  Poor Erna, this extra stress, she did not need.

Death Row

Mr. Happy, now Mr. Unhappy was towed to a lot in Grenfell and I booked into the local highway motel.  This motel was just purchased by a commercial real estate agent hoping I’m sure to fix it up and flip it.  I named the establishment Hotel 1 1/2.  Given that every commerical building in Grenfell was up for sale, he might have to be a bit patient.

The room was comfortable and once I figured out how to get the AC working quite cool.  Things went on well until about 3am when some yahoos wanted a room and began banging on the office door and for good measure my door as well. I just told myself it was probably better they get a room here than drive since it sounded like they were quite drunk.

The rest of the trip was very uneventful. Once back in Calgary my father in law and I drove his 1/2 ton truck back to Grenfell and we towed Mr.Happy back.  No man left behind!

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