Category Archives: Uncategorized

Roaming Nassau Town with Olympus 35sp

I was lucky enough on my last visit to Nassau to engage in one of my favorite activities- roaming the streets camera in hand. Nassau has many old buildings full of character (and bright colors that you can’t appreciate from these photos but I will put a couple iPhone snaps below as well). People are pretty friendly and will often say hello on the street. There is a lot of investment in luxury hotels however many of the buildings in the city itself are falling apart.

I took along my trusty Olympus 35sp and a couple rolls of Arista EDU that I have been bulk loading. I still have a ton of these to go and it’s not my favorite but it is reasonably priced. The photos would have benefited from a yellow filter (I forgot), and in a couple cases where I was photographing in the distance a polarizer would have helped. I will try and find a polarizer in this size (49). I have neglected filters for the most part and generally use just a yellow, or skylight to protect the lens, or nothing at all, so this could be a fun diversion.

I recall that this film works well with Cafenol developer. Since using Cafenol so much in the past I have gotten into the habit of pushing film since it works so well with that developer. These photos I shot at ei200, and no doubt I could have gotten better results closer to film speed. After printing in the darkroom I will have a better idea.

iPhone 8 plus

Platform Apparitions

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The similar white hair and white clothing of this couple caught my eye while waiting for a train. The brightness together with slight blurring (looks a bit like flare I don’t think it is lens still seems to be performing well in other photos) makes it look a little bit super natural to me.

Camera: Olympus XA

Film: Arista EDU 100 (shot at 200)

Dev: HC110 dilution B

Fake News

fullsizeoutput_962Camera: Leica 3f/summitar

Film: HC110/semi stand development

There was a homeless fellow that used to have a little used book and magazine stand on the corner up the street. Most books were a dollar or two. Mostly he got them from donations either at his stand or people would give them to him outside of Powell’s. I got a couple good ones from him. He was an interesting guy and I could tell he had a sense of humor about politics. Well he got kicked out of his spot there and who knows where he is now.

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This was taken last summer, and it reminds me how long this latest Red Scare has been going on in the media. It’s relentless. I don’t even watch network news most days, but it’s all around us, on the radio, on the internet news sites, and on the magazine and newspaper stands. Of course you couldn’t say Putin was a good guy before Trump was elected, but the media didn’t direct nearly as much attention at him as compared to now. People forget how much our media dictates what we see and what they want us to think is important. Still, it is surprising to me that some people lose their critical thought to jump onboard just because they hate our president so much. There were so many issues people were focussed on improving in this country while Bernie was running just a short time ago (and before that), and none were about Russia. Now, it is just Trump and Russia. And fake news because that is part of it too. It helped spread the evil and contaminate our souls. Turned us into mindless patsies for Putin. Print and television media is more sophisticated than ever, and never has it been controlled by so few. Competition is coming from the internet, thankfully, and there are still some good journalists out there, however this too is under attack and anything that contradicts their narrative is in danger of being labelled as fake news, with efforts underfoot to protect our fragile minds from its content- thus giving “official” sources full control.  I’m a cynic and a skeptic I know, but I have good reason to be. I have read a lot of good books, talked to interesting people, and have always tried to learn from what I see.

There are very good books I have read by the way that give many historical examples of the manipulation employed:

Media Control, by Noam Chomsky

All of Chomsky’s books (that I have read anyway), give examples of a biased and complicit media, however this one is the most specific and concise I think.

Propaganda , by Edward Bernays

This is the modern propaganda “bible”.

The People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

Zinn’s book while not focussed on media per se, nevertheless gives examples in history where our respected media ignored events, downplayed them, spun them as something different, or went along with the official story which was a untrue. The fact that we know very little about most of the events in this book , or know a different story, says it all.

Sorry about delving into politics, but I guess you could say that photography for the most part cannot be separated from it;-)

 

Miami

 

I walked around Miami a bit while waiting for a flight the next day. I walked from the Airport area to the Civic Center. It didn’t seem that far on my phone.. My feet were black from the rubber coming off my flip flops, and I was developing a nice blister. Didn’t come across anyone on the sidewalks. Not many people about. Seems like no one walks in that city. Well, I didn’t walk in the glitzy areas where everyone goes. Feels about as far away from Portland as you can get.

Camera: XA2

Film: Tri-x

Dev: HC110 semi stand 50 min

On the road near Warm Springs

I finally got a scanner again- a Canon 9000F, the same one I had in Japan. So now I can start scanning my negatives that have piled up over the last couple years.

I think the second photo is stronger due to the composition, but both captured the quality I saw that day on the drive out to Central Oregon. I will see how this prints out after summer when hopefully I can get into a darkroom again.

Camera: XA2

Film: TRI-X

Dev: HC110 Semi-Stand 50 min/68F

Why??

That was someone’s question on one of the wonderful video demonstrations by master woodworker Paul Sellers. In the demonstration Mr. Sellers uses a square, a pencil and a chisel to make a mortise and tenon. Mr. Sellers calls himself a lifestyle woodworker, and has his shop in Penrhyn Castle in North Wales where he gives demonstrations and apprentices a few people every year.  In addition to teaching how to make furniture, he teaches how to make your own tools, such as a rabbet plane, how to sharpen your chisels or re-tooth an old saw blade.  His pieces are in the United States White House Collection.  He uses a handsaw made in the 1700’s.  How cool is that?

Well that simple (and lazy, albeit humorous) one word question, “Why?” got me thinking.  Why should you work with your hands taking three or four, or maybe ten times longer for each mortise and each tenon, and each dovetail until weeks, or maybe months later you have a piece of handcrafted furniture made by you, when if you just bought a dozen or so power tools and a shop, you could turn it out much quicker and with much less effort?  Better yet, why not just shop at a furniture store in a couple hours (or a few minutes online) for less than a fraction of those power tools? Why just get one piece, when nowadays with how cheap the stuff is from China you can probably buy a set for the whole house at IKEA? Who cares, when you move just throw it out.

There is the obvious that we have way too much cheap stuff that we don’t really need, as well as the environmental aspect, but there is another. Our Cheaper Faster More is often made in deplorable conditions that we publicly condemn, yet support with our dollars. Even where the working environment is clean and safe, there are other consideration such as the grey line between free choice and that of wage slavery. I recommend checking out some of the interesting photographs of factories in China by Edward Burtnynsky to get an idea.

I see a similarity with woodworking and photography. Mr. Sellers is using tools over 100 years old, many of which will keep working for generations into the future.  Film photographers everywhere are using cameras forty, fifty, and even 100 years old.  Meanwhile the scrap heaps are full of plastic electric tools and plastic digital cameras made only a few years ago. Mr. Sellers is lovingly and painstakingly making beautiful furniture that will last, and enjoying taking the time to do it. Film photographers are lovingly and painstakingly taking the time to make beautiful photographs (well, hopefully to the photographer at least..). And more importantly, enjoying it.

P.s. You can see Paul Sellers’ website here.

usa today bananas

USA Today and old banana (the banana isn’t fake), Portland Oregon. Leica IIIf / Summitar 5cm

Night ride

Stepping out from Shibuya Station one night,

I raised my camera to my eye,

and panned while clicking the shutter

to catch this cyclist speeding by.

I didn’t intend to put that into a poem but when I wrote the description it it kind of ended up that way:-)

Film: HP5+ developed in HC-110 preparation HIMG_3900

It has been quite some time since my last post. It’s not that I haven’t been shooting film, it’s that I have moved back to the US and have been busy getting everyone settled. And, I left me scanner behind and do not have a darkroom here yet. Most of my stuff is still in Japan.. I have recently enrolled in a darkroom class in order to use the lab and have met some great people there. I am really looking forward to getting back into printing again and hopefully learning some more. I have spent most of my efforts up until now focussed on camera work and film development, and although I enjoy printing I have approached it in a kind of haphazard, as needed way.  I look forward to sharing more of my latest on this blog soon, and in the meantime I might put up a few from the past that I haven’t shared yet. Thank you for looking.

Best!

Jordi

80 Year Old Camera Explores the World Again

This Voigtlander Bessa rangefinder accompanied me on a recent business trip to Sri Lanka, and although I didn’t have much opportunity to use it there I did get to take a few frames (on an overcast day..) which is better than nothing, and then took a few more back in Japan.

These old cameras are handy for travel due to their compact size- when folded and stowed away they are slimmer than your average 35mm slr.  Of course without automatic winding stops you have to watch the number in the window for each frame, and when framing be careful not to crop things out of the top when in close range due to parallax (like I almost did in the portrait of the three friends in below), but this is all part of the experience.  A speed camera it is not.

Slave Island Fellows

These two friendly guys were enjoying the afternoon in this narrow alley in Slave Island with their beautiful cat. They jokingly offered to give me the cat to take back with me to Japan (the cat went along with it for the sake of the joke, but wasn’t that keen on it I don’t think). 

I did ruin a frame due to the bag of lychees I was carrying in my left hand contacting the shutter tensioner while taking one exposure thus slowing it from 1/100th to probably around 1/15th and causing the camera to shake slightly. This is something I like to do with my thumb on my Superb as well.  It generally takes one frame of doing this I’ve found and then I am ok for the rest of the time using the camera:-)  Then I forget again when it is put away for a few months..

slave island alley lychee dream

Doh! Darned lychees. They were delicious though (and cost only about ¥100 for 20pcs).

The Voigtlander Bessa RF was made from 1936-1951 I understand (according to Camerapedia). They were fitted with Skopar, Heliar, Heliomar, Helomar, and Color-Heliar lenses.  I like the 5 element Heliar 3.5/10.5cm, but I have heard good things about any of them.  It does get soft in the extremeties below f8, and swirly opened all the way up. This can look pretty cool for portraits etc if that is what you are going for. It has a yellow filter attached which conveniently flips up and down.  I don’t have a lens shade for it yet so have to watch the flare though haven’t noticed anything too shocking yet.

This high contrast photo of an old Japanese farm building would have benefitted from the zone system (and a tripod) in order to get more detail in the shadows and some more depth of field, although I like all the shapes, textures and shadows as it is.  Probably around 1.5 more stops exposure and then n-1 development?  Next time..

japanese rustic

Film was Arista Edu 100 (Foma 100) shot at ei200 just to get a little more speed for better handheld use. Development was HC-110 E 8 minutes/20C (recommended was 6 min at 20c at box speed).

This camera also is able to shoot square format which would give 12 frames instead of 8, and centralise the image to the area where the lens performs best.