Friday, August 31, 2007

What happened to the Summer and some thoughts on Brideshead Revisited wherein this writer waxes nostalgic. Remember you were warned.

When I begin to experience with all my senses the shift from one season to another I want to apply the brakes and just try and slow down time a bit. I'm going to take some time off before the boys begin school and try to grab a little unstructured time. Take a quiet contemplative walk and playback some moments I want to savor just a little more . I have always loved the last quarter of the year. Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons when the transition of time seems more dramatic. One a comedy and one a tragedy. One a beginning and one an ending. One is all expectation of what might be and one is regret and longing for what never was. I am sitting here paging through a book of mine from my collection of books sacred to me. A lovely old copy of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh given to me 25 years ago on my birthday by a dear friend who was moving out of Portland and had come to visit me one last time. It was the last weekend in August and that summer three of my closest friends had departed and I was going to miss them all very much. August that year had been one of good byes to people and to a time that had been precious to me. It had been a Summer to take time for one last drink, one last dinner, one last picnic at Sauvies Island. The realization that moments I never wanted to end were about to. Evelyn Waughs Brideshead Revisited had been adapted for Television the previous Spring and many of us were caught up in the show. Getting together for dinner and the latest installment, reading the book. It is a story that begins with the central character revisiting a place where precious time was spent. A favorite sentiment of mine is expressed by one of the characters who remarks, "Just the place to bury a pot of gold...I should like to bury something precious in every place where I've been happy and then, when I was old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember."


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Portland Art Museum Photograph Collection.
My wonderful wife bought us memberships for the Art Museum for my birthday. Today I used my lunch hour to go up to the museum and spend a wonderful 30 minutes studying the images on display. I intend to do this a lot over the next year. I want to become intimately familiar with the works of the masters.

Scenic Viewpoint. Oregon City 1972. I found this print and scanned it and thought it looked pretty good. Printed on glossy polycontrast it is a little beat up and shows my printing skills back in 1972 weren't as critical as they are now. I still have the negative I'll reprint the negative again someday and post it to compare next to this one. This was taken probably just after I bought a Red Filter at Mr. Pix in Oregon City which was way back then the Northwests largest camera store.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School. Just a week away.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goldtoning on coldtoned paper

Goldtoning on warm toned paper.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Scarlet Passion Flower.

The second one to bloom and I picked it so I can press it. Again had to resort to the boys digital camera. When I have some time and several flowers in bloom at the same time I am going to take some pictures with color film and a real camera.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Koi image taken in Portlands Japanese Gardens. I am going to try some selenium toning on the prints done with warm tone paper, and gold tone the prints made on cold tone paper later today to see if I can get a better separation of the tree reflection in the upper right corner of the picture. I used a polarizer to reduce the surface glare on the water. I like the way the debris on top of the water is in sharp focus and everything below is softer. You can barely see the koi in the negative yet when printed out a lot of detail of the fish comes out.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I printed the image uncropped to reveal more of the details. This film was pushed I can tell by the grain and contrast. I have no idea what is going on at the right of the image but I left it in so I wouldn't have to crop any of the image. On close inspection I think I see myself having makeup applied on the left so I probably didn't take this picture.

Amongst my Souvenirs

I'm not sure if I took this picture. This was a photograph taken in the makeup room behind our High School "Little Theatre" stage before a production of a play in March 1971. I had a part in the play but since I am not in the picture it's possible I took the photo myself or it might have been taken by a high school chum of mine who actually did become a professional photographer in their adult life. I also think it's a great photograph so I wouldn't mind taking credit for it. I should see if I can find the negative since I kept all of the negatives of pictures I took for the High School Annual and Newspaper. There are a few people in this picture that were close friends of mine at the time, a few I wish had been closer friends of mine and my favorite teacher of all time is giving us some last minute instructions before we go on. The boy at the top of the image slightly right of center with the dark hair and major brows writes articles on style and interior decorating for the local papers and one night I saw him co-hosting (in a tux with bright red cumberbund) a OPB fund raiser presentation of 'Sound of Music'. If anyone actually reads this blog I wonder if they can guess what play this might be. It's based on a well known work, was a very successful play and was also made in to a film by one of Hollywood's great directors and won 3 Oscars. In my own opinion though the play totally sucks. I didn't think much of the movie either.

Gold Toned Koi prints and a scan of a color picture taken with the same camera back in 1981 of the Koi in the Portland Japanese Gardens.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Print made during class at Newspace Center for Photography. I'm taking a two session Darkroom II class at Newspace and used their darkroom for the first time. It was a lot of fun being around other people who appreciate and are learning the silver medium. We were to bring some fiber paper and a negative to work with. I chose this negative of some Koi I photographed in the Japanese Gardens 2 years ago using my Leitz CL rangefinder with a 90mm lens I recently bought for it. I used a polarizing filter to reduce the reflection on the water. I wasn't happy with the results and brought the negative to get some advice on how I might improve it. Laura Valenti the instructor made some excellent suggestions and gave us a demonstration of split filter techniques. I am going to work this weekend on trying to maintain the same tonal range of a low contrast filter but boost the blacks with some additional exposure using a high contrast filter to see if I can make a better print. Update 8/25. I worked yesterday on improving the print with split filtering. Exposing the paper first with 1 1/2 and then an additional exposure using a 5 to shift the darker grays to black. I still don't care much for the picture but I feel I learned a technique that improved the print.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Scarlet Passion Flower.
The first bloom. I couldn't wait to post a picture of it. Had to use my sons digital camera.

Here is the more common blue form.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Macro Photography.
I decided to devote the morning to doing some macro work on some of my flowers using color film. I set up my PB-4 bellows with a 105 f4 nikkor bellows lens. A bellows lens unlike a standard macro lens requires a bellows attachment for focusing. When you use a lens extender such as a bellows or extension tube you have take in account the exposure increase factor. As the lens is moved further from the film plane less light reaches the film and the working apeture changes i.e f16 becomes f22 and you use a little ruler like this to help you determine the factor and calculate exposure properly. The ruler has to be designed for a specific film size. The only one I have is for 35mm. I use a couple of strobe lights for lighting and a light meter that has flash meter capabilities. You can set up very elaborate lighting for Macro work using multiple inexpensive strobe lights or one strobe light and a reflective surface on the other side of the subject to bounce light and reduce harsh shadows. An excellent reflector for macro work is just crinkle up some aluminum foil and stretch it over a piece of cardboard and hold it in place at different angles to the flash to get different affects. I put up a dark background at a distance from the subject for a neutral background. The flowers are Ipomoea multifida, or 'Cardinal Climber' a quick growing vine I have growing in a pot on my front porch.

The Giant potted Brugmansia that ate my porch. I photographed this last weekend with my Koni-Omega camera and using my big Metz Strobe. It has grown another foot and two of the buds have the flowers emerging. As the blooms come out they have these spidery tendrils that coil out looking very sinister. On the right is my Scarlet Passion Flower that will bloom very soon.

Joan of Arc on 39th. Ave. I drive by this frequently but have never stopped to photograph. It is one of my favorite works of public art in Portland along with the Skidmore Fountain (I am drawn to the classical). I took these yesterday with my Koni-Omega camera using a 60mm wide angle lens. It was sunny out but the sky on the black and white film comes out looking like a storm is brewing. I'll have to come back and use my perspective control lens because the statue is on a tall pedastal and the ground slopes downwards. Of course I could bring a step ladder. The top image is cropped and I wish now I'd lowered the camera a bit and moved to the right and I could have used the bushes to obscure that power pole and lines.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Safe light. Traded a couple of nikkor lenses for this really nice 10x12 safe light and a nice leather camera bag at Hollywood Camera today. Really illuminates the darkroom better I don't have to use my penlight to find things anymore..

Vera Katz in Bronze. I have been walking across the Hawthorne Bridge on my lunch hour and photographing on the east side esplanade. This image was on the roll of film I developed yesterday. Printed out on a cold tone paper.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Developing Film
Today I developed a roll of 35mm film shot with my Leitz CL. I still have problems properly getting a roll of film on a reel before I put it in the film tank so I practice a few times before I handle the actual film. Today everything went well, no kinks, no problems. I developed a roll of Agfa 100 which I developed in Rodinal at a 1 to 25 dilution. I use distilled water for all my chemicals. This isn't much of an extra expense since I develop only a couple rolls of film a month. Lucky for me my basement darkroom pretty much stays at 68-70 degrees farenheit so I don't have to worry about maintaining optimal temperatures. I develop the film for 8 minutes with gentle agitation , followed by a water rinse, fixing bath, hypo remover, wash, photo flo then hang to dry.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Newspace finally has enough people signed up to have a Darkroom II class! Starts next week and I am so there. I've changed a bit since my last darkroom class.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Brugmansia. I have been cultivating a real nice specimen of this plant this summer on my front porch and it will soon be in bloom. The flowers are close to a foot long, lovely coral color and heavily fragrant in the evening. Highly toxic plant and the dried seed pods are interesting but those needles are very sharp. This plant will be the subject for many photographs until it dies in mid autumn. A tropical plant but will winter over

Koni-Omega 200. A 6x7 format camera with interchangable lenses, removable backs for swapping different films during shooting. I have the 60mm f 5.6 wide angle lens with the optional view finder attached . Definitely find an instruction manual for this one if you are unfamiliar with film cameras beyond the standard 35mm. I took both of these pictures with this camera and lens combination.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Goldtoning 11x14 prints. My heating tray would only hold an 8x10 tray. I have a bridge burner on the new stove and it covers the 11x14 tray real well. Now I can gold tone my big prints.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hyacinths 1981
Venus Fly Trap with Orchid 1989
Wendy & Mr. Sluggo 1986
Windowsill and Plants 1980

Photographs from the 1980's
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