Category Archives: Social Commentary

November #CameraChallenge Part I: The Story of Waneka Lake

Still hanging out with Jason Avery and the @IlfordPhoto gang on Twitter, and during November another #camerachallenge.  For Part I we had a choice between telling a story and looking for patterns.  I chose to tell a story.  Actually two stories; this is the one that I posted for the Challenge.  Both stories were told using my Reality So Subtle 6X6F Pinhole Camera.

Waneka_Geese

So here we tell the Story of Waneka Lake.  Originally constructed in 1865 by impounding a Natural Spring.  The Waneka Family were ranchers that owned most of the land around the coal mining town of Lafayette, Colorado.  One Ranch Structure, the Granary, remains:

 

The property changed hands several times through 1900 eventually belonging to town founder and local mine owner, Mary Miller (then called Miller and Harmon Lake).  In the early 1900’s the Northern Colorado Power Company struck a deal with Mary Miller to split the cost of building an electrical power plant 50:50.  Opened in 1906 and enlarged in 1908, the Plant supplied 6000 kilowatts of power to the Boulder Area:

Waneka-Lake-1908-400x309

The Power Plant occupied the site of the current Boat House:

Boat_House

The only evidence that remains are some of the Clinkers, a stoney residue of coal burned in a furnace (husband for scale):

Donald_Clinkers

Here, a Frisbee Golf site has been placed in the Clinkers:

Frisbee_Golf

In the 1920’s this Power Plant was replaced by a larger one outside Boulder:

New_Power_Plant

The present day City Park is a 147 acre recreational area.  In addition to Frisbee Golf there are boat rentals during the summer months, a 1.2 mile walking/hiking trail, a migratory bird sanctuary and for a small town pretty spectacular 4th of July Fireworks.

Boat_Dock

 

So here ends my Story of Waneka lake.  For more details take a stroll through the Historical Society website.

Holiday Travel Alert: Airport CT-Scanners will Destroy Your Unprocessed Film

Airport_CT_Scanners

I first became aware of these new CT Scanners through a Popular Science Article.  Of course, they loved it!  But having spent a lot of time recently in CT Scanners for medical reasons, and knowing the radiation risks, I had some concerns.  So I contacted TSA:

TSA2

 

Eventually TSA referred me to their website information regarding Computed Tomography (CT).   The information provided in the email response was less than useless.  And their email response only contained the information for the OLD X-ray scanners:

TSA_Response

A recent Petapixel article provides the best source for relevant information regarding the CT Scanners and Your Film. Basically IT WILL DESTROY YOUR FILM!  So this is my Holiday Travel Warning.  You are permitted to ask for a hand search.  Do So!  Here is the current list of US airports with CT Scanners, with 300 expected by the end of 2020:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • Houston Hobby Airport (HOU)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)

 

In addition to the safety of Our Film.  I am also concerned about the calibration of the machines, regular maintenance and the safety of the TSA operators.  What do they know and what are they being told about the radiation risks?  Lets give that some thought too!

 

Armistice 1918-2018: What Have We Learned?

I am Reposting this for Veteran’s Day 2019.  Didn’t quite get the response I had hoped for last year……

Over the past 4 years of the 100th Anniversary of World War I (The War to end all Wars, except that it didn’t).  I had hoped for some thoughtful reflection on the Root Cause of Conflict.  I am aware that some of this occurred Across Europe.  But nothing here in the USA.

WWI History is barely touched upon here.  I know much more than the average America due to an excellent AP European History class I took in High School.  It was taught by one of my most memorable teachers, Mr. Knab, from the perspective of the root cause of conflict and how it directly led to WWII.

An opportunity lost……..

Memorial_Day

So I am Honoring My Father’s WWII Service in a Segregated Army, in Italy.  1st Lt Vernon Johnson.  An Army He later helped to Integrate under orders from President Truman.  He worked in the Army Reserve, ‘helping’ white soldiers get used to taking orders from African America Officers. At the out break of The Korean War, he was like other WWII veterans, exempted from further service because he had a wife and child.  At least back them they did not want to make more Widows and Orphans.

Notably my Father was also a Buffalo Soldier…..And he loved the Bob Marley song.  He felt Appreciated and Respected.

 

 

My Father always talked about the Children he met in Italy………

 

 

And Training at Ft Huachuca, Arizona…….

 

 

 

We’ll end with a Photograph of my Mother.  The one that my Father carried with him through the War. I found it in his old foot locker along with many of the images above:

College_Mom3049.jpg

Mom is still with us at a Feisty 95……

Frugal Film Project Roll #4: and the Light Meter Failed……

I had been debating a camera change for my official membership in the 2020 Frugal Film Project.  But as I worked my way through the August #camerachallenge, the light meter on the Canonet failed, and it’s not worth fixing.  So in a future post I will be proposing three possible camera replacements for Frugal Film 2020, and I’ll have you vote for your favorite in November………

For now, here are six favorites from the #camerachallenge which I shot with the Canonet and planned to use for both projects this month:

 

 

 

Exploring Expired Film

Recently I’ve had developed some expired film ‘given’ to me by a neighbor.  Here’s the backstory, they were moving and knew that I had an interest in film cameras.  I was given two cameras that contained partially exposed rolls of film:  A Canon Sure Shot point and shoot and a Fujica ST-705.

I told them that I would finish exposing the rolls and have them developed.  To preserve their privacy I will only share the images that I exposed to complete the rolls.  It was also at least 30 year old film not stored under the best conditions. Kudos to Old School Photo Lab for pulling these images out of very dense negatives through scanning.  The images were almost impossible to discern even using the brightest light table.

Interesting results.  First the Canon Sure Shot:  All of the Kodak GC 400 film shifted blue, but many images were salvageable when converted to B&W.  I bumped up the contrast 100-200%:

Below a comparison of the original to the B&W:

 

Next the Fujica ST-705.  Really a neat camera; lightweight and easy to figure out.  This contained some version of Kodacolor film which somewhat maintained it’s color but became very grainy and dark:

 

So where Am I going with Expired film?  It never really interested me before.  I was always in pursuit of the sharp, crisp image.  But lately I’ve drifted into pinholes and a renewed interest in plastic cameras,  which offer very different photographic characteristics.  Also recently a friend gave us a treasure trove of expired films:

Expired_Films

I gave some away to my Emulsive Secret Santa last year, who expressed an interest in expired films.  But I kept the more interesting ones….I was also given a Minox “Spy” Camera with an expired roll that I am shooting now:

Spy_Camera_Gear

In another twist I was reorganizing my 35 mm camera storage and found my Minolta SRT-202 with half a roll of unexposed T-MAX.  When did I last use  THAT camera? 4-5 years ago?  Certainly expired now.  So I have Expired films to play with…….more coming on the horizon.

Frugal Film Project: Roll #3

HearseCon 2019:

 

Sort of a Middle-Aged Goth Experience………..

Instagram censored and blurred out the second image with the pick axe.  Tooo Disturbing?

Father’s Day 2019: Homage to My Father’s J33 Land Camera

 

Polaroid_J33_posted

My Father’s camera was the J33, a smaller version of the J66.  We traditionally had at least an annual Ester Parade Photo taken on our front steps……This one from 1962…Me 2 years old, brother Kevin on the left and Wesley on the right.  Seems like only Kevin was cheery that day.

Easter_1962_059

Below, my favorite photo of 2 year old me…..with my stuffed animals.

Me_1962

Front yard, back yard and on vacation in 1965…………Shown also was our first dog, Tessie.

My mom in 1959 soon after she found out I was on the way………a Pre-baby photo, with Mister the Cat.

My Brother Wesley holding baby Me.  Needs some restoration.

Wesley_BabyKathy058

 

 

 

 

Inspired By: Kim Weston

Let’s start with a Weston Interview Quote:

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

I love the quote because I rarely use my spot meter…….

Now, what inspires me?  If you check out his website….he exclusively does nude photography.  Although tastefully done, it’s not my thing (although there is one image I do love: Nude in Cactus).  And this is as far as I go into Nudes:

Johnson_KE_Illuminate_4

What Inspires Me? First I am inspired by His warm and welcoming attitude towards film students and film enthusiasts in the Monterey Bay Region.    I met Kim Weston when he welcomed our Monterey Peninsula College Class to Wildcat Hill.  At that time he was making predominantly platinum prints and we were an Alternative Processes class.  So he demonstrated the printing method for us.  He also discussed his artistic philosophy, and let us see his famous grandfather, Edward Weston’s, simple but beautiful darkroom. Imagine yourself making fabulous 8X10 contact prints like pepper #39 using an incandescent light bulb.

Kim Weston invited us to drop by, and if he wasn’t busy, we could talk about photography.  One of my friends spoke up.  Luther was having trouble learning to use his 4X5 view camera.  Kim just said, drop by with the camera sometime.  Luther did, and Kim Weston spent the afternoon showing him how to get the most from his 4X5. His support of film photographers, especially students, inspires me.

But Kim Weston eventually took it a step further, starting the Weston Collective, a scholarship program for students in Monterey County that are studying fine art film photography.  And the Collective has taken a step forward in support of fine art photography by opening a darkroom and teaching studio.  Raising the funds and managing the space for the benefit of ‘developing’ film photographers is inspiring.