Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The camera and perceiving the world

I used to refuse to take a camera on hikes and backpacking trips. I thought it corrupted the experience, because instead of focusing on being there, you are concerned about what you could capture for some time in the nebulous future. Well, I've lightened up a little. It definitely changes the experience, along the lines of what I describe above, but now I think I'll choose between the two, sometimes with camera, sometimes without.

I've decided I can be thoughtful about the camera. I was having this debate with myself the first time I pulled out the 35 mm, which was when I was going on a hike. I was debating this issue with myself the whole time I was on that hike with the camera. One thing it did was help me understand what the camera can't capture, and that increased my appreciation of my own senses, and the richness of the world.

Also, in day to day life, when I'm less likely to be appreciating the beauty of the world, I find that I am now seeing all kinds of beauty where I overlooked it before. I woke up this morning and it had snowed. After a little groan over Winter not being over, I thought, I bet there are some great potential pictures out there. Going out and looking for those pictures caused me to see more than I would have otherwise.

It's a nursery now

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not bigoted against color

I like black and white photography. Always have. Until recently, almost to the exclusion of color photography. I've been looking at a lot of pictures recently, and especially on Flickr I've found some photographers whose work I love who mostly shoot in color. I have decided not to be dogmatic about B & W. I intend to take mostly B & W photos, but I'm shooting a roll of color right now. My intention is to keep one camera loaded with B & W film and one loaded with color.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More evidence that film lives

The lost weekend has turned into more like a lost week. One of the casualties has been picture taking, developing, printing, etc. Sigh. Well, I was watching a documentary while sick, and during the commentary the film makers said the movie took much longer to make than they thought it would. One commented, "You can't rush real life." So that's where I am with picture taking.

Another documentary I watched was a 3-part documentary titled, "The Genius of Photography." Fascinating. My most powerful impression from it was that the people using the earliest, most primitive photographic equipment made pictures that were just as good as the pictures made at any other time in the history of photography. We can make good pictures in a much wider variety of ways and styles as technology progresses, but there is no increase in inherent artistic quality. It's all about the photographer.

I was heartened today to read a news blurb that supports the hope that film will be around for a while.
In a special exhibit at PMA, Fujifilm will feature a prototype of a new portable medium-format film camera. Even as the company innovates in digital imaging technology, Fujifilm remains true to its heritage and to the acknowledged superior image quality delivered by professional photographic film products.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lost weekend

Jae had proposed that as slightly delayed celebration of my birthday, monday be Josh Day. We'd do whatever I wanted to do all day, for that day off. I had planned a morning of having her pose for me to take pictures of her, and an afternoon of a lite hike. Wonderful plan. So of course I got sick.

Ug. The office has been a plague zone for months, and I'd avoided up till now. Achy, chills, shaking, and the damn cough that won't let you sleep. So instead of Josh Day, Jae has fed me drugs and kept me comfortable, while trying to keep as much distance as she can. I hope she doesn't get it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I'm borrowing a meme from my sister Anna. She posted this quote recently.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

-Melody Beattie
It's my birthday, today. I have much to be grateful for. Foremost is my wife, Jae, without whom life my would be much less fun.

I'm also grateful to my parents, who are responsible for me having a birthday, and who gave me a great start in life. My siblings are some of my best friends. I get to live in one of the most beautiful areas on Earth. I like my job. This could go on and on.

Thanks to everyone who has made it a good trip so far.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some success on film

Today I picked up the negatives and the contact sheet for my first roll of black-and-white film taken in my Yashica, and the first roll I've taken successfully with any manual 35 mm. A contact sheet is where you line up the strips of negatives on a sheet of photo paper and expose the negatives without enlargement. You end up with what you can think of as a sheet of thumbnails, with all your pictures printed the same size as they are on the negative.

I'm happy. Out of 21 pictures, at least 3 are worth printing, and a few others might be worth a try when we've got our own darkroom setup. Several others were technical experiments, and the results are interesting and educational. For example, I took 4 pictures of the same subject, a landscape grouping of a large rock and some decorative grass. I didn't take them because the subject was interesting. I took them to see what it would look like when I used 4 different shutter speed/fstop combinations. The differences in exposure and depth of field are significant. I have a little notebook where I'm recording the shutter speed and fstop for each picture, as well as any other factors that seem significant.

Another thing that I learned is that I can hold the camera steady enough for a clear picture down to a shutter speed of 60, but probably not slower than that.

I think I'll get a few of these printed professionally. I don't know when I might have them scanned in to share digitially. The rest will wait till we can do our own prints. I'm hoping by the end of the month.

Red Right Hand

I just discovered, and really dig, Nick Cave's version of the Devil comes to town. Imagine it with the typical atmospheric Nick Cave delivery.

Or, if you do the YouTube thing, you dont' have to imagine.

Red Right Hand

Red Right Hand Lyrics
Artist: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Take a litle walk to the edge of town
Go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms,
like a bird of doom
As it shifts and cracks
Where secrets lie in the border fires,
in the humming wires
Hey man, you know
you're never coming back
Past the square, past the bridge,
past the mills, past the stacks
On a gathering storm comes
a tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with
a red right hand

He'll wrap you in his arms,
tell you that you've been a good boy
He'll rekindle all the dreams
it took you a lifetime to destroy
He'll reach deep into the hole,
heal your shrinking soul
Hey buddy, you know you're
never ever coming back
He's a god, he's a man,
he's a ghost, he's a guru
They're whispering his name
through this disappearing land
But hidden in his coat
is a red right hand

You ain't got no money?
He'll get you some
You ain't got no car? He'll get you one
You ain't got no self-respect,
you feel like an insect
Well don't you worry buddy,
cause here he comes
Through the ghettos and the barrio
and the bowery and the slum
A shadow is cast wherever he stands
Stacks of green paper in his
red right hand

(Organ solo)

You'll see him in your nightmares,
you'll see him in your dreams
He'll appear out of nowhere but
he ain't what he seems
You'll see him in your head,
on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning
you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god,
he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog
in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
his red right hand

Monday, January 14, 2008

David and Jae Drummond: Controlling Watercolor Washes

In the news over at Value Added Paper.

The article, David and Jae Drummond: Controlling Watercolor Washes, appears in the March 2008 issue of American Artist.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Missing your wife's TV appearance ...

... probably qualifies you as a bad husband. In my defense, Jae was not at all excited about it and also forgot.

Local TV station filmed a bunch of 3 minute segments with artists from Weems Gallery, to be aired as part of their morning show. It was to air 2 weeks after filming. Jae and I both forgot to watch or tape it.

So I have to see if I can get it from the station.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ouch! First role FUBAR

One of the things about shooting with film is that you have to load the film. Correctly. I've done it before, though it had been a long time. I thought it went fine. After waiting days for the film to be developed at Desert Photo, I eagerly went in today to pick up my negatives and contact sheet. The technician looked at me with sympathy when I told her my name.

"I don't think the film went through the camera," she said.

None of it had been exposed.

My enthusiasm drained out of me and I was listless for several hours. I have just now, however, with the help of the instructions and most especially with Jae's help, loaded a new roll.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 Resolutions

1. Keep the 2007 resolution of maintaining a weight of 175 lbs.
2. Exercise at least 20 minutes every day.

I plan to exercise more than 20 minutes a day, a couple times a week. Number 2 is formulated the way it is for these reasons.

A. The resolution has to be something that will make a difference.
B. It can't be ambitious enough that I know I'm unlikely to do it.
C. I have to be able to check myself on it every day.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Josh's own Yashica

If you've read the previous posts about the camera stuff, you will have caught that the camera I've been using is Jae's. She was fine with me using hers, but I made the mistake of looking on Ebay, and got myself my very own 35 MM YASHICA FX-3 SUPER 2000 CAMERA. It's exactly the same camera. Including shipping, $65, which I think is pretty good. It's used, obviously, but is supposed to be in great condition, and this camera has a reputation for durability.

I paid for it out of the proceeds from selling PDF downloads of my networking tutorials, which I've been letting slowly accrue in a separate account, so I don't have to deal with too much guilt for spending the money when we have a bunch of new expenses coming up.

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