Category Archives: Social Commentary

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.

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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.

 

 

 

Inspired By Jim Grey: “Selfies” for My Birthday

Reading Jim Grey’s recent Blog on the subject of Bathroom Mirror Selfies made me think about the ones I have done, and the ones that I want to do soon.  He also mentioned the importance of Photography as Therapy., as any Art form can be.  It certainly has worked that way for me, carrying me through serious illnesses twice now.

I am posting this to Celebrate my Birthday!  Something that wasn’t assured just a few month ago.  And I am going forth with my Series “Facing 60”.  Starting here and now I will post self Portraits from time to time at different ages and stages……

About 10 years ago I was starting a self-portrait project called “Facing 50”.  I had read an article by someone who had documented their life through self portraits taken over 20+ years.  But my Project ended up being derailed by Breast Cancer.  You think I would have learned from that and NOT tried to do a “Facing 60”.  Undaunted, I started on that Series anyway, and it was derailed by a brain tumor that IS NOT Cancer, but nevertheless a problem.  Having anything growing in your Brain that doesn’t belong there is a problem.

As you can see below I started the original Project on Ash Wednesday in 2010.  In this case I was experimenting with my 20 ft cable release and my M645.  A little soft focused because I had to ‘guestimate’ the distance.  I featured one of my favorite images……

 

 

So, I had taken a few photos of myself before the current events. My husband had taken quite a few photos of me to post on my “Through the Glass”  blog posts.  To Summarize “Facing 60” will contain a variety of “Self-Portraits” and evolve into a Project Page.

So this is where I started 9 years ago when my Cancer treatment had ended, I was on the road to recovery and starting a new career:

 

And now for some Mirror-Selfies: One full-frame showing all the lovely bathroominess and the rest cropped Rollei TLR 6X6 to remove as much of the Bathroom as possible.  I’m going to do a reshoot in this mirror when I get home.  Next time I will not have the shower curtain line going through my head!

Good Friday: The Photo Story

Good_Friday

From the Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.

This post IS for Good Friday.  But there is also a Story to be told.  This was my second visit to the Riverside Cemetery in Denver.  Dragging around my Mamiya 645 in its rolling case.  The Riverside Cemetery is a place to go for History Addicts, as it is the oldest Denver Cemetery.  It needs some love, but is now being managed by The Friends of Historic Riverside Cemetery.

But things aren’t as they seem, when I scanned the film from my second visit I reversed the negative.  And on my first visit I had taken the Long View. The original perspective and correct orientation is below.  What do You Think?

Cemetary_Jesus

Notice the lovely Oil Refinery in the background, which is why on my second visit, I  moved in closer to “crop in the camera”, and show the face of Mary.  I also had better light on the second go around.

 

A Quiet Tribute

As  student of Art History, and a practicing religious person, I was devastated by the Fire at Notre Dame.  No, I’m not Catholic, but I revere ALL sacred places of ALL Religions.

I’m not at home, so I don’t have much that I can post at this moment.  But I Love Gothic Architecture.  When I had a chance to live in England, I visited all the famous Cathedrals that I could get to during my short stay.  So I post a Quiet Tribute from Wells Cathedral.  A gem that you should try to see if you are in western England

Wells_NotreDame_Tribute

And what I am going to do this summer is scan all of my best English Cathedral images (Old ECN-II Transparencies) and Post Them!

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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      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
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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……..

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:

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Ilford SFX-200:

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