Through the Glass: It’s Beginning to GLOW in Here……

Proton_Beam3A

Yes, this is me in my Proton Beam Radiation Mask.  It was custom fit and molded to my face during the Radiation Simulation Session.  You literally have to be tied down.  The method is so precise that any motion would cause the beam to miss the tumor and hit something inside that you might not want to zap.  The lasers and pink tape are used for rough alignment.  Then low-level X-rays are used to “see” the four pins in my skull for fine alignment.  If it looks uncomfortable, it is!  And I go in twice a day for treatment.  Best thing, I get to take it home with me.  I’m going to make a shadow box and display it in my Living Room…….

The pressure from the Mask caused some swelling on the left side of my head to return. Ooops!  But it is better this week.  It’s stretched a bit and I’ve been working with the Technical Staff to get a better fit.

GLOW_Club

So I found out the details of the GLOW Club and will be attending on Thursday.  Hopefully I can see the accelerator and take picture.  I’ll post an update if pics are allowed.  Fun Fact:  you can actually see the blue flashes of the Proton Beam as it passes within the inter-cranial fluids.  Your optic nerve can detect the flashes so your brain can ‘see’ it.

Proton_Beam1

The focussed beam comes through the “screen” behind my head.  The screen is so big because it needs to be focussed across a wide range of angles.  It moves along the metal track for positioning.  Below, a longer view showing the hand grips for more stability against motion.  What you cannot see is that my feet beneath the blanket are tied down to the table also.

Proton_Beam2

I’m keeping my hair very short so I can moisturized my scalp to minimize burning.  In the image on the right, you can see a hint of the Surgery #2 Scar.

 

Below, a handy dandy summary graphic taken from the Mayo Clinic Website.  CLICK HERE for better viewing.

Mayo_Clinic_InfoGraphic_Posted

 

Results of Film Expertise Survey and My Personal Thoughts

I have my favorite films and I ask myself whether it is worth the time to learn about new films?  My favorite B&W: Kodak T-MAX 400, Ilford SFX-200 and I when I want less contrast Ilford Delta 400;  I also want to spend some more time with Ilford Delta 3200 My Favorite Color film for now is Kodak Portra 400;  I am presently testing the new Kodak E100.  So I have 3 main films (bold); one that I use under certain conditions (bold italic and posted image below); and two that I am experimenting with (plain text italic).

Fern_Canyon4

So I posted a Survey on Twitter and asked the followers of both of my Blogs to add their comments.  The Twitter Survey ran for a week with the following Results:

Survey_Results

Most of my blog followers are also on Twitter, so their votes are included above.  I agree  with the survey results: 48% of you say 3-4 films and 23% say 1-2 films.  Total for less is more: 71%.  So most of us agree that you cannot be an expert with dozens of films.  My husband said that his answer was 5+ films.  He really likes to find special films for special circumstance and does more experimentation than I do, which is a film multiplier.   @donkittle on Twitter wrote to me supporting different films for different situations also.  I typically shoot 3-4 different types of scenes/subjects.  So following this approach may explain why I only need/use 3-4 film types.  And I think that most photographers in that 71% are doing the same, typically shooting select films for their preferred subjects and no more.

I am open to experimentation on a limited basis, or using a certain film according to the conditions if I know that it will perform better (Delta 400) than my usual B&W (T-MAX 400).  We should all consider new films from time to time.  But film testing is time consuming, and I think that my days of trying new films are pretty much over once I’m done testing Kodak E100.  If I like the new E-6 film, then it will largely replace Portra 400, since ISO 100 films are better for travel (i.e. they survive possible airport X-ray mishaps better; also some film travel tips here and more here).  But since I already understand Portra 400, I can pull it off the shelf when I need it.  And although I don’t like the color balance of Portra 160 for my landscapes in general,  I can recommend it for Pinhole Cameras.  So another case of a special film for a special case.

Now lets consider some Favorite Films of Famous Photographers.  I’ve tried researching this on the WEB.  Lot’s of discussion of gear (cameras, lenses, etc), but very little on Films used by the Famous.  So isn’t Film part of your Gear?  Isn’t that why we choose certain films for certain circumstances?   Hey, if you become famous, please include preferred Film Types in your Gear……..  Here’s what I found after a few hours of searching for a some of my Favorites who considered the Film a part of their Gear:

I realize that it may be harder to find this information for deceased Photographers. But if you are still alive, please let us know what type of film you most recently used (even if you have switched to digital).

A Final Thought from the Weston Interview linked above:

“…..If you use a film long enough, you get to know its characteristics. I don’t use a meter, I just know the light…..”

 

 

 

 

 

Through the Glass: Random Thoughts

Random_Thoughts2

      Lots of Random Thoughts to catch up on.  Hope I’m not repeating myself…….As you can see above I am starting to work on learning to smell and taste again.  Right now I can smell nothing.  And without a sense of smell all you can taste is: sweet, sour, salty and spicy (hot).  So that’s all I can taste right now. This exercise begins with Roses, Lemon, Eucalyptus and  Clove.  My ENT surgeon said to try two rounds, but the second time add scents from aromatherapy that are important to me.  And Just keep adding scents that are important to my sense of taste, or that I enjoy.
      I am not allowed to BLT (bend, lift, twist).  I have been cleared to swim, but I’ll start with aqua-size when I get home.  And Dr Bendok (my neuro-surgeon) prescribed ballroom dancing to work on my balance.  He said that he’s found patients fail at normal PT because it’s boring and they don’t stick with it. He’d had a patient who’s balance portion of the brain had a tumor,  But the patient never had a problem with balance because he was a ballroom dancing instructor.
      I haven’t said much about Bernard Bendok. He proves that you can be the BEST at what you do, without being a jerk!  He has a warm, engaging personality that puts you at ease.  When I needed the second surgery, he thought I need convincing (which I didn’t), but he said if his sister had the same problems, this is what he’d want her to do.  And All of the Resident’s that I’ve dealt with here have been great too.  Also I’ve been signed on to all of the medical studies for Proton Beam Radiation, and I will be a case study for the Mayo Clinic Medical School (for the surgical procedure).
      Also, did you know that there were so many types of MRI’s?  I have had 4 pairs of MRI’s (one before and after each procedure).  I’m so used to it now that I go into a deep meditative state and almost fall asleep.  But I have a series of Angio-MRI, FIESTA MRI and Stealth MRI with and without contrast.  Also throw in a few CT Scans……I’ve had MRI Part 5 (first half) leading into my Radiation prep.  I’m sure there will be a second one after Radiation for the Brain Tumor Board to reviewBy the way, my Radiation Treatments start on Wed March 13th. Twice a day (early morning and late afternoon).  Hopefully I’ll be able to have the technicians take some picture and I’ll have those next time.  Read more here if you are interested in the technique: https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/proton-beam-therapy-program/sections/overview/ovc-20185491
Queen_Mary_Name1
I’ve had a Ghost Hunting Tour planned with a friend to the Queen Mary. for months now.  So that’s where I spent this past weekend with the encouragement of my Drs who thought it would be a good idea to take a break as I transition to Radiation.  WOW really proved to myself how much I can do physically.  I walked all over that ship (certainly more than the mile a day I was prescribed), including a 3 hour paranormal tour of the engine room.  My friend was recently laid-off, so I was happy that I could go and spend some time with her….cheered her up a bit and took me outside of my self for a while.  Did I see any ghosts?  No.  Did I have some interesting and thought provoking experiences?  YES!  didn’t see anything because the Queen Mary Spirits are primarily audio (They speak but don’t make apparitions).  I had wanted to connect with the :Singing Lady’.  Next time I will try singing to her.  Getting back to my vocal exercises this week.
      And Finally, time to start making appointments with my Boulder Drs for follow-up in May.  I’ll also be back at the Mayo end of July. First thing I’ll need new glasses before I can even think of going back to work.  And then not before June and only part-time to start.  You may have heard that my employer DigitalGlobe) had massive layoffs because of the loss of a satellite  between Christmas and New Years.  I still have a job waiting for me (and they want me back soon).  No one from research, where I work, was laid off.  But they expect loses because of low morale.  I’ll deal with that when I get back…….If you’ve seen those satellite images of North Korea….They were our images.
That’s it for now……..

Inspired By: Galen Rowell

Galen Rowell (1940-2002) was my inspiration for pushing the limits of my outdoor 35 mm photography.  Our Patagonia Trekking Photos followed his suggested techniques for E-6 film (Shoot ISO 100 at ISO 125); how to pack your equipment for safe travel; traveling with film, etc.

January_2007

His death along with his photographer wife Barbara Rowell in a plane crash impacted me greatly.  And learning that their Families had closed the Mountain Light Gallery in 2017 was a sad reality.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Trekking the “W” in the Paine Massif was a dream of my husband’s, but none of his friend from his mountaineering and climbing days wee interested.  So 8 years into our marriage we went to Patagonia and Trekked the “W”.  The trip also inspired our first Annual Calendar in 2006.

Now that Kodak E100 is back, I can highly recommend:

Both of which were my early guides to improving my E-6 outdoor photography, and also
  • Galen Rowell: A Retrospective

And many other books all available online at that ‘place’ that I refuse to give free advertising to….Looking at his work will show you the full capabilities of 35 mm photography.  Below, our 2006 Calendar (in case you haven’t checked out the “Deep Archive”).

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Film Expertise?

I have posted this on Twitter.  But I wanted to give my followers here a chance at answering this question too.  In the future I will write an ‘article’ here on my feelings and the results of my survey.  Here it is:

How many films is it really possible to be an expert at using?

While here in Arizona, I’ve been testing various films that I hadn’t used before (e.g. Silberra, Ilford FP4, the new Kodak E100),  In most cases for B&W I use Kodak T-MAX 400 and Ilford SFX-200; for color I’ve settled on Kodak Portra 400 (pending my results for E100).  I know these films well, and I usually get the expected results.  When I experiment with new films, the results are up in the air.  Yes with my ‘expert’ films I made early mistakes but worked through it. Now I wonder if it is worth the the time to learn about MORE films or stick with what works?  So let me restate the question:

What films do you use and how many do you feel it is possible to be an expert with?  Please leave a comment or vote on Twitter @AnalogPhotoBug, and look for the future article.

Kodak T-MAX 400:

KEJohnson_Convent
The Symbol of My Journey

Kodak Portra 400:

Carhenge2

Ilford SFX-200:

CragsView2

Silberra PAN 160

As part of my Arizona Project, I am testing some films.  Some completely new, like Silberra PAN 160 and PAN 100;  and films new to me like Ilford FP4.

 

 

Silberra is a new Russian film that has been in development for 10+ years.  I backed it in Indiegogo.  Today I’m posting results from my journey around the Phoenix area: Below, Four Peaks……..

4Peaks_Enhanced

I’ve discussed on my Photo Diary, some problems that I’ve experienced with Silberra Film (and similarly with Ferrania P30).  My main problem was controlling the contrast and exposure.  All of the images here have been adjusted significantly in PhotoShop.  I am largely a T-MAX 400 + Ilford user (especially SFX-200).

 

So I am posing the question here (also on Twitter as a survey):  How many types of film is it possible to be an expert user?  I like supporting new films, but I’m really into getting my best results that can also be printed in the darkroom without a tremendous effort in manipulation.

Print your comments here and I will include them in a future article:

 

 

Through The Glass: Post Surgical Thoughts on Mis-diagnosis or Missed Diagnosis?

mayo_phoenix_hospital

Is there really a difference?  My Colorado Medical Team ignored an obvious abnormality that should have been dealt with 8 months sooner.  They refused to listen to my ophthalmologist, who was eventually the Dr that sent me to the emergency room, leading to the proper diagnosis.

So now I am left to deal with the consequences.  My Oncologist and the first Neurosurgeon assigned to review my case specifically told me there was “nothing to see here.”  Well I refused to allow that surgeon to perform my biopsy and moved on to someone that I could trust.  My new surgeon had the connections to get me to the Mayo Clinic, and that’s where I am.

MyQuickCut

I started with a close-cut, realizing that the second surgery would require shaving my head and would leave me with a nice scar to share with Scott…….and work not only on the tumor, but also an aneurysm that was discovered during MRI imaging.

The Aneurysm turned out to be too small to deal with now, but is on my list of items to keep and eye on. The ‘goop’ on my head is surgical superglue;  no stitches here.  I have no complaints about my Mayo Clinic Medical Team….I feel like they actually want to make me whole again.  I now have tiny metal plates holding my skull bone in place.

 

So I await the planning for my Proton Beam Radiation Treatments.  Hopefully home by May and settling back in to my normal life.  I’ll find out soon about the placement of the metal alignment pins for the Beam.

Looking forward to the future, how do I feel about my Boulder Team’s Ability to monitor possible tumor regrowth and that aneurysm? That I will explore with the Social Workers here……..

For Valentine’s Day: My Diana Camera Infatuation

I’ve played around with Holga for years, after being introduced to Plastic Cameras in an Experimental Photography class back in Monterey. And even though I spent 6 months shooting Holga for the 52 Rolls Project back in 2016, I never quite developed a sincere affection for it.

Plastic cameras are fascinating though and I’ve continued to experiment with many types. But something weird happened when I was ‘given’ this 110 format Diana with one of my Lomo purchases:

Mini_diana

The 110 roll actually forms the back of the camera. It literally sat in my basement for years. And one day I decided to unpack and try it.

Mini_diana2

The results were better than expected:

So what is the Pre-Lomo Origin of the Diana Camera? The Diana camera originated in the 1960s, produced by the Great Wall Plastic Co. in Hong Kong.  Production continued through the 1970s but ceased sometime thereafter.

Check out some Diana Camera History here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_(camera)

And Here: http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Diana

Fast Forward to 2018 Pinhole Day Preparations; All kinds of items on sale for promoting Pinhole Day. Having had some success with the Holga Panorama Pinhole, I decided to try the Diana Pinhole. After all, that 110 cameras wasn’t a real camera!

Diana_Multi_Pinhole

I had read an article on Hand Held Pinhole Street Photography, and decided to use the Diana for that. And then I was hooked!

LilyLake_PinholeDay_2018

So it was just a matter of time before the Ultimate Diana entered my life:

The_Diana

…………and with inter-changeable lenses. Are you kidding me! Of course a sale attracted my attention, offering the soft focus telephoto as another one of those seductive Lomo ‘Gifts’. So, it was going to be mine, with the addition of Fish Eye and Close-up lenses. Arriving in time for the newly promoted ‘Diana Day’ on August 4th.

 

Diana F+ Macro

Rose_Sharon

One limitation on the Macro is the suggestion tat you carry a small ruler since the precise focussing range is 6 inches.  I just “guestimated”.  Not carrying a ruler around with me, and it worked out pretty well.

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Diana F+ Fish Eye

And No Fisheye post would be complete without my Feet!

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Oh please do not come out with a new Diana Model! I’m not sure I can handle it……..This is getting almost as bad as my Mamiya Addiction, and you don’t want to know how many of those cameras I have!

The Story: Shooting Digital Like Film

LongCanyonTree_FinalCrop

First the Quote from Frank H. Wu on 35mmc:

“The lesson to be learned about life is that we, or at least I, do not appreciate as much what I have been given as what I have had to bargain for. I earn my film photos. I have to be able to afford it. That means repeatedly. Each and every satisfying click and whirr is a few pennies, which must be in the pocket. I am automatically averse to waste.”

The conclusion is that His film photos are always personally more satisfying (and often objectively better) than His digital images.

My best photos are definitely film.  One of last year’s successes IS digital (shown above), but I planned and captured the image like it was film.  I saw the potential image, walked around the scene looking for the best angles, made three images; taking into consideration how I might crop the final images as well.  And THINKING like a film photographer avoids Waste.  For a digital Photographer, the “waste”  is all that time you spend in front of the computer sorting through hundreds of images that you would never use. For any given scene, when shooting film I have at most 4-5 images to sort through.  If you think film is expensive, what is all that time you spend in Lightroom or Photoshop worth?  The most I do in Photoshop is adjust the contrast and brightness for posting online.  In the (real) Darkroom  I do the film tests and adjust the Contrast using filters.  Of course, if I have used the proper contrast filter and exposure when capturing the image, adjustments will be straight forward.  Hmmmm……I’m feeling that I need to write a post on Contrast Filters,  coming soon!

 

The Story: Wyoming Cloud

Taken from the same location along the Roadside in Wyoming…….The joy of having two Mamiya-7’s, allowed me to make these images literally seconds apart.

strikingcloud

I was testing Kodak Portra 400 (as my new color film) and looking for good opportunities to make a few images with Ilford SFX-200.

wyoming-cloud

But more importantly I saw this cloud in the distance and we pulled over so I could capture the Image.  I Imagined the Image first. I would probably adjust the brightness/contrast for the B&W image to bring out more of the detail that you can see in the color image, because I know that detail is there……..I’ll repost once I’ve done that.

A Blog About Film and Film Cameras. Exploring My Personal Vision through the Intersection of Life & Art.

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