Category Archives: Social Commentary

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……..

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

Through The Glass: Terms and Conditions

As You read this I will be in surgery for my brain tumor; thoughts, prayers and well wishes appreciated.  And the image below will be ‘unpinned’ from my Twitter page, because hopefully after my surgery I will have clarity and not ambiguity…..

I also want to explain how my ‘medical updates’ will intertwine with my normal Photographic Posts.

And this is the ONLY time you will ever see a Biblical Quote here, but you will see the connection:

1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12: “For now we see through a glassdarkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 

KEJohnson_Convent
The Symbol of My Journey

All of my Journey Updates will start with the heading:  “Through the Glass”  And I have added that tag to take you directly to these updates if you are interested.  I hope that you can see it refers to the Ambiguity of what I am facing.  That what made this image so timely.

Through The Glass Update: My Photo Travel Kit

So as I embark on my Medical Journey in Arizona, as  I am able I will be doing only Photography and Music as my therapies.  Most of my cameras are shown here.  But these are the ones I’m taking to AZ:

My Medium Format Favorite:  Mamiya 6X7: with 43 mm, 50 mm, 150 mm and 210 mm lenses.  But I mostly use the 43 an 50 mm.

Mamiya7X7Resize

Mamiya 645 for more versatility.  This camera gives me all of the SLR options, including  a a nice 80 mm macro:

MyMamiyas

The Fuji GA645Zi; My Medium Format Street Camera, because of the auto-focus and auto-advance.  Basically a medium format point and shoot;  which is why I got it.

FujiGA645Zi

Pinhole Cameras: Diana Multi:  I’ve had a lot of fun with this camera over the past year.

Diana_Pinhole

The Reality So Subtle Pinhole:  Still working out the Range Finding on this camera.  I have the filter-option 6X6 model.  I have to say this camera has the smoothest mechanism of any Pinhole I’ve ever used.  So I’ll take it with me and work on the range (maybe I should watch some of the YouTube videos?)

ReallySoSubtle_Posted

And Finally, my “riding shotgun” always in the front seat and ready Minolta X-700:  My jump out of the car and shoot camera.  I have 3 of these and they are all going.  I use my trusty Tamron-adaptall 28-200 zoom.  A combination I have been using since the early 90’s.

Minolta_X700

OK, It occurs to me that I won’t really use all of these cameras in a 3-4 month period.  Which one would you leave behind?

When Life Throws a Curve

From the vagaries and ups and downs of life.  I find myself recovering from surgery with time to reflect.  Another Intersection of Life and Art.

As you read this I am on my way to the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Arizona for a Consultation.  But here is where The Story Begins:

On October 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with a “brain mass”.  Vision problems had sent me to the Ophthalmologist.  His testing and measurements of my left eye indicated something bad was going on behind that eye.  He sent me to the emergency room, calling ahead to discuss with the Dr. what tests would be appropriate.

(The Ambiguity of the Mirror from “The Artist’s Studio” symbolizes my Journey.  So it will be the featured Image for these medical update posts…….)

When I arrived, they were ready for me and ordered an MRI with contrast dye, no questions asked.  The diagnosis:  Brain tumor of unknown type growing behind my left eye; referral the the Neurosurgeons.

But, there is also a back story:  I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor.  So I also (and for the rest of my life)  have an Oncologist. He now enters the mix. His fear is a metastatic spread of my previous cancer, which would be a sure death sentence.

Weeks of testing:  Bone Scans, PET Scans, CT Scans…………All showing no breast cancer;  Dodged that bullet!  But I still have an unidentified tumor in my head that needs to be identified so the best treatment can be determined.  All non-invasive procedures exhausted, now it is time the the Neurosurgeons to perform a biopsy.

So how do they access that area behind the Eye?  By drilling holes through you sinuses.  The ENT Surgeon does that. I didn’t even get a black eye from this; but I do have a puffy face.  My worst bruise was from the arterial blood pressure tap-in.  Apparently when you have brain surgery, they tap an artery to have the most accurate blood pressure.

WatingForBiopsy
Waiting for my Biopsy

Biopsy Results:  I have a rare but treatable/survivable brain tumor (Which I will name and discuss later).  It is in effect a birth defect.  It was supposed to be reabsorbed as my little fetus grew, but it wasn’t.  And when that happens you have a little guy in your head that probably won’t be a problem unless you are 1 in a million me.

My Neurosurgeon removed what was safe to remove without doing harm.  It was affecting my optic nerve (first symptom), my Pituitary Gland and Carotid Artery (the brain’s source of blood).

Follow-up will require a unique radiation treatment only available in a few places.  So I have been referred to The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ.

POSTSCRIPT: Ongoing, I will be taking a road trip to Phoenix (Dates TBD); loading up the 4Runner with my camera gear and film (bought for a cancelled trip to the Everglades).  Radiation I know will be 5 days a week for 8-10 weeks.  So I will be doing photography as I feel up to it and posting as I go.  Exploring Arizona for that time and keeping OldSchoolPhotoLabs very busy.

Ciao Baby!

Alternate 5-Frames: Carhenge

5 Frames of Kodak Portra 400, Exposed @ ISO 320 (6X7 120 Format) by Kathleen E. Johnson

On August 21, 2017, thousands of people converged on Alliance, Nebraska, as one of the prime Solar Eclipse viewing locations in North America. NO you are not going to see eclipse images, but a bit of Americana I had heard of (probably on 60 Minutes as a child), but never thought that I would visit: CARHENGE. We thought about stopping by on Eclipse Day, but the traffic proved unmanageable.

The following November, we had an opportunity to return to Alliance and made our visitation. It was a lovely, sunny, November day.  And walking amongst the Cars, it proved much more photogenic than I had expected.

It seems like ages ago, but in 1990 I had an opportunity to visit the real Stonehenge. Those photos were terrible, so you’ll never get to see them here. But I can say the advantage of Carhenge is that it’s a true life-size model that you can walk around and experience as the Ancient Ones may have done at the real Stonehenge. And it has become a focus for sculpture built from car parts. But that’s another story…….

The camera was my favorite Mamiya 7 with the 43 mm lens. All exposures @f/8, and shutter speeds of 1/125 to 1/250 to capture details in the shadows. In my experience Portra Films have a wide exposure latitude. At ISO 320 color saturation is more true to life than Portra 160. I’ve settled on Portra 400 as my color film.

P.S Okay you can see my Eclipse Images on film HERE.

Armistice 1918-2018: What Have We Learned?

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……

Alternate 5-Frames: HearseCon 2018

So here we go.  I’ve decided to re-publish my Emulsive Articles here, after this particular submission disappeared into the ether of the internet.  I explained my position and recommendations on the subject here. All re-publishings will be marked as “Alternate”.

So here is Alternate 5-Frames HearseCon 2018:

5 Frames of Lomo 400, Exposed @ ISO 400 (645 120 Format) by Kathleen Johnson

Here is an introduction to a local festival that may surprise you! And a camera that I have not mentioned before, although it is featured in my contributor’s portrait: My Fuji GA645Zi. This is my medium format street photography choice because of the auto focus and zoom capabilities. Read the Camera Review on EMULSIVE here. I’m not so negative about that camera as the reviewer. I wanted a ’point and shoot’ medium format camera and that’s what it is.

Now for the Festival: HearseCon 2018. Yes it is what it sounds like, an annual convention held here in the Denver area for Hearse Enthusiasts. They come from all across the Western US and Canada, some with beautifully restored Hearses, as you will see here today. Think of HearseCon as a Goth Cultural Experience for Grown-Ups and you’ve got the Picture. There are Hearse Show events across the country if you ever want to experience one, but I think this is one of the largest.

In the past I’ve used B&W film for HearseCon, because I thought it would capture the grittiness of the event. Last year I tried Lomo Lady Grey 400, but I wasn’t satisfied with the results using this particular film, and I’ve found the GA645Zi shines best with color film. So I pulled out the Lomo 400 Color, because I didn’t quite want the sharpness of Portra 400. In other words, Lomo 400 has a bit more grain and that suits the subject matter. Sometimes hard to know what the focus point will be with the GS645Zi, but the subject turned out very sharp anyway……..

 

 

About the Car: My bad, I took a cell phone picture of the information sign, but didn’t write anything down (and didn’t check the image before leaving). The joke was on me because I couldn’t read the sign later. But thanks to the Internet I was able to narrow down the Model and Year. Above is likely a Vintage 1937 Buick model, Sayers and Scoville Byzantine Hearse with a straight-8 engine. The Owners were from Utah. Sayers and Scoville is still building custom hearses.

You’ll find more HearseCon Images Past & Present Here.