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.

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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.

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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:

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The Symbol of My Journey

Kodak Portra 400:

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Ilford SFX-200:

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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?

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Through the Glass: Now for the Knuckle Ball

As you read this post I will already have been in surgery for several hours………..

In keeping with my earlier Baseball Reference, we move on to the famous Knuckle Ball Pitch.  As you read this I will be entering a second round of surgery.  The first was successful as far as it went.  But the location and geometry of the Tumor require a second entry point on the side of my head behind the left eye.

Below my surgical pre-visualization image………And following the Dylan Thomas Poem……with the most memorable lines highlighted

“Do not go gentle into that good night”

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Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Story: Imagining the Image

Imagining the Image:  What happens when I think before I shoot?  I’ve heard this in workshops;  see the image first.  But usually the workshop leader drifts off into concepts of composition………

And that misses the point.  I have had one particularly good workshop with Cole Thompson, where we discussed seeing what you want the final image to be, and how to capture the image towards that end.  Really Imagining the Image….First!

*(Cole’s discussion of personal vision is also excellent…take a workshop with him if you get the chance.  I don’t endorse many people like this).

Reflecting on some recent photographic success, I found that for ALL of these images, without exception, I SAW the image BEFORE I captured it!  Even without realizing.  I had pre-visualized.  Everything on my “Now Showing Page” and some not there (that I personally consider successful), were all made that way.  So I’m adding some favorites here (some blasts from the early days included), where Pre-visualization really was the key to personal satisfaction for me.  And  the stories behind the image……..

This Kiva I had visited years before.  Taken a few quick tourist images and moved on with my Road trip.  I wanted to revisit those images and they were ‘lost’ in 20+ years of disorganization.  They were also color 35 mm and I was doing B&W now.  So when I had the opportunity to revisit this site, with a photographic concept in mind, this was the result:

Johnson_KE_Illuminate_1

So inspired by Jason Avery’s #filmtober Question #27 “What do you look for when on location for a photo?”  Over the next several months, I will pursue the story behind my images.  These will all be tagged as Intersections and The Story……

The Story Image Collage #1:

 

Alternate: Rediscovering My 35 mm Soul…

I asked my self this question very recently: Can one photo make a difference? You Betcha! And here is the photograph that made the difference for me:

Landscape2

For more than a decade I’ve focused on Medium format photography (Mamiya 7, Mamya 6, Mamiya 645). This left my half dozen or so Minolta 35 mm cameras very unloved. Oh, I would occasionally take them out for road trips; my snap shot, on the go cameras. For those time you just want to jump out of the car and take a quick picture, without dragging out the carefully pack ‘real’ camera gear. But I’ve increasingly used my ‘hand me down’ Nikon D-40 for that purpose.

Last Spring I decided to roll with my Minolta XD-11 as the road trip camera. We were on the highway, heading home from a photography workshop. My husband had seen an abandoned bridge he wanted to photograph on our outbound trip, but the light was not ideal. So we stopped on the way back at the same roadside rest area.

While he was setting up his 4X5 view camera, I grabbed my 35 mm and wondered around. And I saw this image across the road. I walked over for a closer look. Took a couple of quick shots, and wondered back to the car.

Later in the year I actually printed this image in my home darkroom and shared it with my photographer friends, and showed it at a friends gallery. The response was so positive that I entered it in an online gallery contest. And Success! It made me re-evaluate my relationship with my Minolta cameras (XD-11, X-700, SRT-201, SRT-101). I also realized that I should not discard 35+ years of experience with this camera format.

So take a second look with those 35 mm cameras that you’ve packed away. Most won’t sell for much on EBay. So use them, or pass them on to the many student film photography programs that are asking for donated cameras. One that comes to mind is the Weston Collective Scholarship Program. And if you know of others, please feel free to leave contact information in the comments.

And I leave you with this thought, generations of photojournalists made a difference with one 35 mm image.

Tech Info: Minolta XD-11 with Tamron 28-200 zoom lens; Kodak T-MAX 400 film.

Read the original Emulsive Article.

Also Part of The Story and Imagining the Image.

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

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