Sunday, June 29, 2008

I worked on this picture for awhile yesterday morning to escape the heat. Rather uninspired image but anytime I spend in the darkroom is useful and it is the most comfortable place in the house temperature wise. I will probably do a little more work today on the roll of film I shot in May. For the moment I think I have exhausted what interest I had with this current batch of negatives. Also revisiting the Jacob Kamm house last week makes me want to go back to those negatives from 1975 and work some more on them.
My reading of the Genji led me to a visit to the Art Museums Asian collection. I was looking at some old paper screens and admiring the composition of the images. The perspective is usually from above or a "birds in the tree branches" viewpoint and the perspective is compressed with all subjects relatively the same size with no natural sense of spatial relationship. There is no illusion of depth, the composition is purely 2 dimensional working with the medium that is 2 dimensional. Distant objects are on the periphery closer to the top of the picture objects close are centered near the bottom of the picture. I have been trying to overcome my natural 3 dimensional perspective in composing a picture and trying to see the world "photographically". I have heard that a good way to do this is to carry around an empty slide holder, or cardboard cut out that can fit in your pocket cut with the dimensions of the film format you work with. Closing one eye you frame the world around you within the square or rectangular confines of the empty frame. You bring it closer to the eye for a wideangle view, further from the eye for a telephoto view. It forces you to look at the world the way the camera does.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here are two more pictures taken on the grounds around the Jacob Kamm house in 1975. Here is a picture of the house taken today from the street.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Return to Kamm House. Yesterday I decided on my lunch break to catch the Max line West and get off at the Goose Hollow station to see what was left of these old "ruins" that I had photographed back in 1975. The only building left was the Jacob Kamm house which now is occupied and spruced up quite a bit. I didn't want to wander around in back to see if anything was left of the old gardens but I did take a picture of the front doors which are still intact with the original mouldings. At some point in the near future I'll develop the film and print the pictures I took and perhaps make another visit to re shoot the front door picture with the same lens so I can replicate the image as closely as possible.Update 7/6/08. Here is a print of a picture taken with a 28mm lens of the front entrance way and cropped to match the picture from 1975.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A really lovely first weekend of Summer. I worked a little in my darkroom, and made a couple of visits to Portland Nursery looking for something unusual to grow this summer. Found these two plants; Tweedia courelea and Ptilotus exaltus. I also planted my two big planters with various vines that I will grow over the front porch. I found some small plants of a new Passion Flower and that bright red "Cardinal climber" that I grew last year. I also have a white Datura that I hope will bloom before fall so I can take some nice photos of it with the 4x5. The sky was wonderful yesterday afternoon I should have been out with my camera but too many other little commitments.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl.
I held her close, but she faded in the night.
Like a poem I meant to write.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.

I threw a pebble in a brook
And watched the ripples run away
And they never made a sound.
And the leaves that are green turned to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.

Hello, Hello, Hello, Good-bye,Good-bye, Good-bye, Good-bye,
That's all there is.
And the leaves that are green turned to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand."

Simon & Garfunkel
The Leaves that are Green 1967

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another couple of my Rose Festival Fun Center Pictures. This is from the roll of film I developed last weekend and I am still printing out 2-3 pictures at a time.

The Tale of Genji
I have lately been immersed in this "novel" written in the 10th Century in Japan. I found this very nice old boxed set from the 1930's of the Arthur Waley translation. It took me a little time to become acclimated to the work but once I became accustomned to the style, the characters and the world of Genji it is a wonderful journey to an exotic yet familiar place. The place and time may be the court of the Emperor in 10th century Japan, but at the center of the book is the human heart and psyche. The tales of Genji have an ancient quality like very old European Fairy Tales or Greek Tragedy but with surprisingly modern insights.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

One of this years ferris wheel from the morrison bridge pictures. This was taken with a 24mm nikkor lens using an orange filter to bring out the sky.

Here are some pictures I worked on this weekend from a new roll of film I developed. Pictures taken on my lunch hour in the last two weeks. Some are from the waterfront fun center, and these I've been taking of a building being constructed across the street from where I work. I shoot the pictures for now from a parking garage across the street that gives me a nice perspective. I took these pictures using Agfa 100 film, 35mm, and using a 24mm f 2.8 nikkor and an 85mm f 1.8, two of my favorite lenses. I was thinking yesterday it would be interesting to shoot some pictures from inside the fence but I'd have to get permission from the construction company. Perhaps if I showed them some of the pictures and offered to give them prints they'd consider it. This could be an interesting little project to work on in my spare time since I am close to the site every day. The top picture is an example of a test print made with different contrast filters to help select which I like. The first thing I do when making a print is to carefully clean the negative with cotton and an anti-stat solution. I make an initial print using a Kodak Projection Print Scale that helps me with establishing a base for exposure. I'll then run a test print using that exposure as the mid point and deviating 10% under and over that exposure. I'll use a contrast filter of about 1.5 to 2. When I've evaluated what I like as the exposure I'll run another test print with lower and higher contrast filters on either side of the 1.5 or 2 filter. I determine development time by watching the print as it develops and looking at how much time passes before I begin to see the first evidence of development usually within 45 sec. to one minute. I'll take that time and multiply it by 4 and continue developing for that length of time. If for example it takes 1 minute before I see the first evidence of development I will continue to develop the print for another 4 minutes to get a total development time for the print of 5 minutes. Using this method I can take in to account different paper/developer combinations as well as temperature which can slow down or speed up development times. I will deviate a bit when making the final print on exposure times, lens apeture, and contrast filters and always write any data on the back of the print before I develop so I can evaluate the prints later. It's also a good idea to take a test print out of the wash and go outside the darkroom and view it for about 15 minutes in good natural light as it dries a bit and your eyes adjust but I don't always have the time for that. When a print is dry you really begin to notice all the flaws and if I like the picture I'll continue to refine the print in future printing sessions. A printing session for me can last around 4-6 hours where I'll make 10-12 prints usually from 2-3 sometimes 4 negatives. I rarely print more then 20% of the 36 exposures because initially I'll only see a half-dozen images I like. I say initially because tastes change over time and certain pictures can become more significant with time.

Happy Fathers Day

Saturday, June 14, 2008

DURST AC 650 Enlarger at Hollywood Camera I saw this at Hollywood Camera store on Sandy Blvd last week and wanted to return and take some pictures of it. Ed would really love to sell it to me but I'm quite happy with my Omega. Still this is quite an amazing piece of equipment with a lot of bells and whistles and comes with it's own voltage regulator. Can't find much on the internet about them other then that it was manufactured from 1980-1984. I saw one for sale from a British Dealter for 175 British Pounds. Ed has a starting price of $300.00. I have no interest in color printing but color heads work fine for printing with variable contrast papers since you can adjust the filters to equal the standard printing contrast filters.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This is probably one of the oldest prints I have that I made probably around 1967-68. My first experiments with photography were done using old 40's era Argus equipment, a 35mm camera, and a printer that enlarged a print to about 2x3 inches. Primitive to say the least. I wonder if I still have this negative. It might make a fairly interesting print. I wish the scan could bring out the light silver sheen a residue from a patina of unfixed silver that shows up in real old photographs that were processed in less then archival processes. I'm glad I held on to it all this time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This was in this weeks Post Secrets

Monday, June 09, 2008

I worked on a print over the weekend of this picture as well. A photograph I took back in 1972 of what I believe is the Crown Zellerbach factory in Oregon City. The thing was huge and built right on the shores of the Willamette. It's like some modern version of Mordor. I also experimented with cutting a mask so I could print the sky with some additional exposure and with a higher contrast filter to darken it a bit more. I wonder what is there now?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My Saturday.

I was over in the Hollywood neighborhood for my monthly haircut and Hollywood Camera was just opening up so I got a chance to visit with Ed and look at some of his new acquisitions. He had a really nice Sunpak professional strobe, complete with stand and for a very reasonable price but I have no money and a trade would be out of the question since he will sell the unit easily. He also had this amazing Durst color enlarger that I am going to have to go back and photograph because this piece was impressive. I always looked down my nose at Durst enlargers because they were usually made out of plastic and looked more like toys then precision pieces of optical equipment like my favorite Omega or a Besler. This one though was built for a professional market and had a lot of features, very high tech. Hopefully he won't sell it before I can get back and take some pictures of it and post them here. He had a nice big enamel tray that was in pretty good shape, but of an odd size so if I wanted to use it for 11x14 prints I'd have to shave off a bit on the width because the tray is exactly 11 inches wide or 10 and 15/16ths, I'm not sure but a 11x14 print can't be accomodated. He has had an Omega Grain Focuser that I had been looking at for awhile. My eyesite isn't what it once was and I need a high quality tool for focusing negatives on my enlarger easel before printing. I've been searching for one that would give me a bright and highly magnified image so I could focus the individual grains in the negative. This one was made by Omega and the one I had been using was a Peak. If you set them side by side they are exactly the same except for the label. The Omega though has a higher quality lens that was brighter and with greater magnification and was a big improvement and made focusing easier for me. Working with a cold light the image is a bit dimmer and more diffused then a condenser head so you need a grain focuser of good quality to get your negatives in proper focus. I had to try it out and since the day was pretty gloomy I spent the day in the darkroom testing it out. I worked with some paper I had bought a year ago that I was curious to try out. I only had 10 sheets of it. It was a warm toned, variable contrast, baryta paper manufactured in the Czech Republic. The paper base was not pure white but more of an aged ivory. The paper also had a surface texture called "Chamois" which was unusual. Surface texture can really reduce clarity in an image. If you want surface details to be optimized you want to use a gloss paper. I like a gloss surface for some subjects especially if I have a really sharp negative with low grain. Matte papers are a nice compromise. Textured paper though gives you that pictoral, painting like quality that the photo-secessionists dismissed but I like for some prints. I made some prints using one of my favorite Bonsai images and then gold toned a couple of them to see how they took the gold toner.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Rose Festival Fun Center circa 2006.
The fun center in waterfront park is close to where I work and can be a great opportunity for photographs when I bring my camera with me to work. This year though the weather wasn't real cooperative and the one day when the sky was the most dramatic after a morning rain I left my camera at home and missed the opportunity for some dramatic skys. This is the third year I've taken pictures there trying to put together a collection of interesting photos. This view from the Morrison Bridge is a favorite done with Kodak Infrared film.
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