Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Tag: D700

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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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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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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Road Trip! Black Hills and Yellowstone

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

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