Time Warp Tuesday: Quebec City 2007

I think Quebec City is my favourite city in Canada; it’s a close to being in Europe without crossing the Atlantic. It’s also a photographer’s dream.

I took the photo below in 2007, taking advantage of a non-crowded moment. It is slightly underexposed on purpose, to de-emphasize the benches, and emphasize the lines and texture in the wood. It also makes it a challenge to determine the time of day this image was created, and I like that mystery.

Outside Citidal

Emancipation and Alchemy

I shot this Toronto street image below on Kodak Tri-X film, one of the all time classic black and white films. I shot a lot of this in the 1970’s, and a few weeks ago I decided to step back in time and shoot it again. Then it sat on the shelf until I finally got a developer tank and some chemicals. I finally got around to doing so, and yesterday developed my first roll of film in about thirty years.

Smiling Pedestrian

The ritual came back fairly easily; loading the developer tank in complete darkness, then putting the lid on, turning on the light and “souping” the film in the various chemicals. My “darkroom” (actually our basement bathroom) soon took on the smell of acetic acid (vinegar), but at the end of it all the negatives came out fine; I let the film dry, and a few hours later I had scans of the negatives, including this image. It wasn’t as fast as snapping a photo and looking at the LCD panel on the back of my DSLR, but it will do just fine.

It’s neat to be doing my own processing again, and the alchemy has its own magic. 🙂

Gentle Decay

While many of my autumn pictures are either focused on splashes of colour, or are black and white texture studies, sometimes I feel the need to explore the space in-between. The image below is one I captured a couple of weeks ago in the Don Valley in Toronto; the paint on the bridge is faded and blotchy, and the taggers have been busy. The image did not work in either full colour or black and white, so I turned the colour down quite a bit, and that captured the mood of gentle decay for me.


TimeWarp Tuesday: Manipulation Before PhotoShop

One of the photo sites I hang out on is The Analog Photography Users Group (apug.org). This is a group of people who are dedicated to keeping film photography alive in the face of the digital onslaught. It does have its fair share of purists, who refuse to have anything to do with anything digital, including the hybrid workflow (scanning slides/negatives/prints into a computer and then working on the images in PhotoShop or some other image editing application). One can submit hybrid workflow images to the photo gallery on apug.org but they must be “straight prints.” No other digital manipulation is allowed.

The issue that I have is that almost every kind of manipulation one can do in PhotoShop can be done in a traditional darkroom. I created the image below in the late 1970’s, and what is featured here is a straight scan of the 1970’s print. The effects were done with a combination of solarization and bas-relief, on the print itself, in a traditional dark room. If I did the effects digitally, why would that make it any less valid?

David with Lightbulb

Obsolescence Rocks, Again!

Once again, I celebrate photographic “obsolescence.” I have been wanting to try medium format photography for some time, and last week a listing appeared on eBay for a Mamiya 645J with three lenses. This camera takes 120 roll film, and creates negatives 6cm x 4.5 cm in size. The seller was local to Toronto, so I could avoid shipping/customs fees, although I did have to pay tax. Still, for about $400 I got everything I need to try my hand at medium format film. To put that cost in perspective, the list price for a modern digital equivalent to this camera is well over $5,000 no lens included. I’ll be able to shoot a lot of film with this price differential 🙂 .

The image below was from my first test roll, shot beside the Don River in Toronto yesterday morning.

Water on the Rocks

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law of Thermodynamics has to do with entropy, or how systems will go from a higher-ordered state to a state of lower order (more disorganized). Think teenager’s bedroom as the perfect example.

I like the TV show “Life After People” which chronicles just how ephemeral the infrastructure of our civilization would be, without constant upkeep. The image below was taken in Montreal in September, 2009, of peeling graffiti paint. A year and a bit later, I wonder what that section of wall looks like now; continued decay, or a fresh coat of paint trying to forestall the inevitable?


Vibration Reduction to the Rescue Again!

I took this image of the harbour in St. John’s, Newfoundland on Wednesday night. Even with the ISO cranked up, the exposure was half a second, and hand-held; I did not have a monopod, let alone a tripod with me, so I was stuck.

The Vibration Reduction on the D90 got me out of the jam, to an extent; it’s not tack sharp, but close enough that it captured what I was looking for.