torsdag 29. oktober 2015

The weather, revisited

What else would there be to talk about, actually? Being out at sea and all. Everything is down to the weather, and it's all that counts. Right now it's shite, just to put it straight the way it really is. Good, great westerly gales and stuff. Waves that comes with it and a heavily rolling ship that of course comes with the waves. 
Nothing good to see in the forecast either, because we seem to get good weather around the date I was supposed to go home, which probably means that we have to stay a few extra days on board just because the client don't want us to go ashore when the weather is good... can't loose a great opportunity, you know :))

It's soon enough this time of year, again. Snowy things randomly flying around in the air and all sorts. 
Better get home sooner rather than later to get some good old printing done, or something like that. Creep into a dark room and make something to put on someones wall. That would be nice.

I'll be back with more as soon as I've got rid of this weather we're riding at the moment...

fredag 23. oktober 2015

A few words from these isles

After a few couple of rough and bad days at sea we finally went to port for a couple of days. Lerwick on Shetland for crew change and a few quite important parts and some stuff to be done and taken on board. Food and so on, probably... and water and other things. I know for a fact that something heavy to be placed on the seabed somewhere west of the island was also taken on board. 
What it is, and to what use it might be, I don't have a clue! It's made of steel pipes, or so it seems anyway.

This is a different kind of ship, just so you are warned. "Hurtigruten" is a traditional thing going along the coast of Norway from Bergen to the furthest north we can get, just by the russian border. Combined passanger and cargo ship. It's a nice round trip, but also an expensive one! This was snapped in my home town just as she was coming in to port. Mamiya RZ67.

Crew change day went into something good, by the way. The on coming captain brought his "old" camera for me to have!! It's a brand new modern thing though, prone to battery drainage and what could we possibly have all, me thinks. 
Canon as well... is the name of the plasticky thing. I have not owned anything Canon since my AE-1 some 20 years ago. 
Modern camera this new one is. From the mid 90's. EOS 500 is proudly printed on the front of the thing, so should be good for a couple of good snaps I would guess. 

A captain, and the previous owner of one Canon EOS 500 with two dead batteries, and two Sigma zoom lenses. He has been kind to the thing though, so managed to deliver the stuff for free, looking brand new and all. The camera that is... not the captain himself. He looked a bit used... 

It was, of course, dead upon arrival. Lucky as I am we were staying ashore last night, so I could have a good run up to the local Tesco to check their battery shelves for anything similar to the ones I picked out from the camera. They had loads of them up there, so I bought an extra set as well just in case. 

This has nothing to do with anything! It's just a nice model of a nice old norwegian cargo vessel wearing a good old gaff rig with cloths on and everything. Nice, isn't it?

Back on the ship I dropped a couple of new batteries inside, turned the thing on and got information lighten up inside the tiny viewfinder and on the atop display. Modern things huh...!
I also loaded a brand new Ilford FP4+ film inside the dark side of the thing, and shut the door. It seems like this is one of those mysterious machines that will first load all the film to the take-up spool first, and then load all the finished images into the canister as they are snapped. Probably a good thing if you find yourself managed to pop the door open by accident before all the film has been used. 

This is from my ship. I think I have posted this before, but I take the chance and do it again. Not all of my bunch of readers have laid their nice eyes on this masterpiece anyway I bet. It's from the back deck, cluttered as it is with all sorts of stuff going down on the seabed. Right now there's a whole lot more back there. Just to make you all updated and informed.

I had a lot more to say, but I think that has to come in another and different post. It was a lot of nonsense about what I think is imporant in a photo and things like that. I am not to sure I know what I'm talking about, so I might have to read that a couple of times before I put it out here. Can't make an even bigger fool of myself unless I have to, mind you!

fredag 16. oktober 2015

And then he started to think...

Warning! This is a long post, with a bunch of words even to my standard, so please jump to a different one if you are not prepared to read a lot of what could be concidered as nonsense and such.

I did speak to this photographer not to long ago. He use film, of course. Actually he's an engineer working with landslides and complicated calculations and strange matters like that. In addition he used to learn to play the violin. I don't have any idea how good he is, playing that violin, but most likely quite good. That's just something I say, because I have seen his snaps from all over the world. Oh, and I just happen to know that he's absolutely top notch in his daily job engineering those landslide calculations as well. That's why I, probably rightfully, think he's a great violin player too. 
There's a few multi talents around, putting their fingers into more or less anything, and out comes brilliance.
To get to my point about the above stuff about this most likely genious man, and his photography and things. He told me that if he would be able to draw this art instead, using charcoal or some other decent and proper technique, he would rather do that instead. That's what he told me, no kiddin'! 
Like I said, a true artist and engineer in one person.

I could never say that about myself. Oh, and don't get this wrong, because I would certainly love to be able to draw stuff, and especially with charcoal as that just looks amazing to me. I just don't see myself doing only that, if I could, and then do no photography. To make everything absolutely clear here; I am not able to draw anything, and will never be!
I love art in many forms, and if I could I would, with no doubt about it, use my skills to draw masterpieces and poem like drawings. But I can't. 
My point is that I also love the mechanic wonders of a good camera. To me there is no (or at least few) such joys as when that shutter fires and I know I have captured a moment or two on that small piece of film. To listen to that shutter sound is pure music with the right camera in hand. As is the action of winding forward to the next frame, which with the right camera is more like a thrill. I can use well engineered machines to snap pictures the way I like them, which is good for my soul. Or so it seems, anyway.

I happen to be an engineer myself as well. Just a lousy marine engineer for sure, but an engineer nevertheless. I love mechanical things. I am the kind of man who use an old fashion mechanical wrist watch rather than a battery powered thing. When I listen to music I want it to be played on good old vinyl records rather than CD or just a computer file. 
When I open something up to have a proper look inside I want everything to be understandable to my simple brain, to which electronics are the absolute opposite. Springs, levers, gears, taps, rods, bearings, pistons and camshafts... it all makes sense, and it just seems to work. At least for a while. Then, when those mechanical things stop working they usually do so in a predictable way. Like gradually, for you to get a chance to do something about it before it's all dead. If you know what I mean? 
Electronics works as well, for a while. Then it just kills itself in a fraction of a second. Always with very bad timing, of course. That's just murphys law, which still is very much relevant even with todays technology and all.

Open landscapes. I could easily live right there at the end of this beach... I love open landscapes.

I am not to sure where I want to go with this, or what I was trying to say initially. 
I think it was something like this though: It seems like there are different kind of people. Some use their brains like this, and others like that. Some are true artists, others are more like me... mechanics. Or something similar to that. But with a wish to make something that is good on the eye on a sunny day.
We use our brains in totally different ways, and there is not much we can do to stop it. An artist will always find ways to create art, no matter how bad the circumstance is. A mechanic will try to find a clever way to get himself out of that bad circumstance.
And then you got just a very few, like the man I told you about, that seems to be able to switch their brains in all kind of directions just like that. I will leave them be, for now.

Oh yes, it's in Wales all right! At a place overlooking the Minch and all. Or we could have been overlooking the Minch, but as you might will guess we just listened to it for a while... 
It was a good day though!

There are moments, though they are not happening too often, I feel I got a foot in each of the two worlds described. I get inspired and feel capable of taking a snap that somewhat is reflecting my mood, or any mood I want it to reflect, and it makes some kind of odd sense to me. That's just in moments, of course, but still that makes me kind of proud in some weird way. Proud because I went out to make something special, and made it all the way to the finish line.
Anyway, I have started to try to think a bit about it. Tried to be aware of what I do when I'm into a good period, if ever so briefly, and hold on to the thought and feelings for just a short period of time. 
I have also been thinking a little bit about what simple steps I can take to make these moments come to me a bit more often. I don't claim to be sitting on the truth here, but I think something of it might be worth writing down. As a not to self, more or less.

First of all it seems to start with the choice of camera, or rather more precise; cameras. I usually bring to many choices when I move around, which is only good for one thing, to slow me down. Both physically and mentally. To many decisions to be made, to many choices and possibilities, and everything is just ruined before it even starts. If you ever again catch me out walking around with more than one camera system in my bag, just tell me what an idiot I am! 
I take my best pictures when I only got one choice of camera and lens, and it's actually as simple as that. It does not matter if it's a big, bulky Mamiya medium format camera, or a tiny german 35mm type of thing. It just got to be manageable, and a no-brainer. It all comes down to a limited number of things to choose from.

I went to Bath one day. Snapped this one, and a couple of others, and ruined them more or less in the developing process... as I usually do. The romans had been there a few years before me.

Then it's about what disturbs me. As you know I'm a social guy who love to talk and have fun. I like people, and to interact with them. But again, I'm a simple brained man, or I'm just a man... you know, the kind of spieces that just are not able to do two things at the same time. I need to focus on what I do to do it well. Or maybe not focus as such, but I have to be there in the moment and kind of roll on when I feel I'm in the flow. Or something like that. 
Otherwise I will only get crap captured, and what's all that good for if I'm going to please you picky readers and watchers of this blog and all?

I got a bunch of cameras, as I have told you before. More or less all of them are mechanical film cameras from a different time and era. From back in the days when mechanical engineering was at it's best even for the consumer market, and things were made to last a bit longer than things made today. 
I love my cameras, but for a different reason than only the artistic one if you get my point? I could easily live with just a couple of them if I only was a photographer with an artists brain. The thing is that I think I got a very small part of my brain for the artistry stuff, and a bit bigger part where the love for mechanical wonders is hidden deep inside somewhere.

Meantime, My old Guitar Gently Weeps... but in a bit different way than the more famous one that George was singing about a couple of years back. It's a fantastic instrument! 
When I sneeze it will ring out in a full tone just to make itself heared. 
I usually pick it up to play it for a while when that happens.
I'm sorry for all the flying thoughts folks, and I hope I did not manage to make everybody sleep of the whole thing. As I said, it's more like a note to self for the time to come. A way to remember what I think I have discovered, and what probably has been written by someone else long, long time ago. It's just that you got to get the grip of it by yourself, isn't it? You need to do the research and the conclusions to be able to understand what it's all about. At least it's like that for me. Then I might get a chance to do better photography as well. Or at least photography that is better for me. I don't expect everyone else to jump in joy about my stuff, because it's probably not that good.

mandag 12. oktober 2015

OK, this is a weird post. I see that now, looking at it in retrospect...

Good afternoon, or evening, or whatever time of day I may manage to get this out onto the wide webby thing. 

Ever seen this before? Don't know if I have posted it, or another version of it somewhere around here at some point?! Anyway, I went this way a few years ago with one or two cameras, and duly made a few different notes of it. I will follow the development of this building for the next 20 years or so, just to see what happens to it. I kind of like it, and that lonely tree that seems to have grown into it's backside somehow. Probably done using some manual Nikon... FM2 would be the hottest suggestion.

I had a kind of plan, to write something useful about photography in some way. I never got that far. Partly because there has been a few issues on board lately. Things one have to take care of and what have you all. And partly because I did not know where and how to get started. I had a few ideas a week or so ago, but they seemed to just slide away and vanish somewhere. 

You must have seen this before, I guess? Good thing is that a Masterpiece can not be posted to often. I just love these roadsigns for some reason. I don't know what it is about them, other than the immediate throwback I get from my childhood years. It's probably that simple. They bring memories to my head. This snap was not done using any "M" camera, mind you, even though that probably would be appropriate. A manual one yes for sure, but a big chuncky Mamiya this time.

I actually bought a few cameras today, believe it or not. Very cheap stuff, mind you, but someone just had to take them into a (hopefully) good home. 
One Voigtländer Vitomatic of some version, probably an early one, but I don't know which one yet. Going to be interresting. It's got a nice Color Skopar f/2.8 lens and all, but it is a viewfinder rather than a rangefinder. They still don't get much better I suppose, taken into account that nice lens and all. Having got an old Vito B from the same manufacturer, with a Color Skopar f/3.5 lens though, I should know what I'm talking about. I have already started to wait for masterpieces flying all around me, at all times.

We used to run around here. Making noise, go inside and have a look at all those tools and things, maybe check the drawers for anything useful. Back in time, when everything was exciting and unknown. This used to be an old shoemakers shed. A workshop. Today it's someones small place of piece and quietness. It could just as well have been another derilict building, or even burnt to the ground. I like the memories it brings to my mind, but not the feeling I get when I pass it today for some reason. Used to belong to the nearby small farm. I tell you a bit more about that further down.

Then I came over this great deal of one Canon something, probably very late 70's or early 80's with auto focus and all, together with a Holga Diana F+ in the same deal. How great is that, would you say? 
I don't have a clue about the Canon, but will try to find out soon. The Holga is a Holga is a Diana F, is a plastic camera with a plastic lens. Not made to please anyones eye or anything, but I'm truly looking forward to try it. I think you can use it for whatever, more or less. And if I find it boring, I can always rebuild it to my own specs. I would think. I probably have to deal with it in a bit different way than those old Leicas and such, as the Holga is definately not built like a war machine. Thin flimpsy plastic not designed to take a punch at all, I'm afraid. But we'll see for how long it will last. They still got ducttape around the shop.

I was just a small kid. It was easter, and I had just passed the old shoemakers shed and got to this point as seen above when I spotted him on his old red tractor, just outside this outbuilding. The farmer himself. I remember talking to him, but got no memories of whatever secrets we told each other. We were friends. He was a kind person, smiling with his entire body. The next morning the grown-ups told me he was gone, forever. And I could not believe it, because I had just talked to him the day before. I remember walking up to the farm just to check if he was still there, outside the outbuilding on his red tractor. He was not. It was just as quiet that day, back then, as it was the day a few weeks ago when I snapped this one for my notebook.

Looking, lurking and searching a bit around on that interweb I think I have found that Canon to be a AF35M, claimed (by Canon) to be the first autofocus camera launched in '79. I guess that means that I will get something built in the early 80's some time, as it looks a tiny wee bit different (judged by a bad picture only) to the one in the above link. 
As I obviously will find out is that it works (just because you can't break them) and that it will make one helluva noise. 
To quote the person writing about it in the above link, just in case you did not dare to click it, (s)he says: 

"[the] most notable feature, though, is the noise it produces. When I took it to the park, heads turned after every photo I took, as the camera automatically forwarded to the next frame. When the roll had reached its end and was automatically rewound, it sounded like a squadron of fighter jets flying low over the Vondelpark. Fortunately, panic and chaos did not ensue, when people realised it was just my camera, rather than the start of World War II."

As there obviously is more to this snapper of good moments than initially meets the eye, it will be great to put in a set of new batteries, some out of date film, and give it a good go around the hood. It will definately do the job, I presume.

OK, enough of those spooky childhood memories for now! This is a bit less spooky parking place back home. Snapped as I was waiting for my wife, as I often do. A quite long handheld exposure, as you might have figured out already. Not one of my best though,,, I can honestly tell you that much!

Well... I guess that's about it, for today?! I got no further stuff to tell you all about, but have to quickly tell you that I will definately get back to some photography stuff some day soon. At least I really hope I do!
As for todays snaps, they (as usual) have nothing much to do with the text and such. Just for your information.
Some day I might do that, write and snap about the same thing, but not today.
Take care folk, or folks :)

fredag 9. oktober 2015

Everything will come to an end

OK, maybe it's not as definite as it sounds! I'm only talking about my Shetland series of snaps and such. Nothing to worry too much about, as it happens. You will all be happy to see the end of it anyway, I suppose. This is the last batch of pictures of that FP4 roll, snapped on a dull day as you should have figured out by now.

Another day at sea, as you should know. Weather has been fantastic the last 24 hrs. and I just hope it stays like this for the next three weeks to be honest. Bad weather is never to much fun anyway, and out here it's just a struggle. Every little task of work is getting so much more difficult to get done when the weather is bad. It starts in the morning during the process of getting dressed, and just goes on and on until late evening... Well, as my father used to say when he still was working; we usually choose our own profession, so better just keep shut, work on and leave it be :)

I just bought a new hard drive to be able to save my scannings and other pictures to be able to save them in a better way. Not that I got anything very special, but if you have ever experienced loosing years of snapped material due to a computer crash, you should recognize my concern in some way. Yes, from the rather short period of my life when electronic images was all I ever did. When the kids were in their more active period and all that. Years that never comes back, and memories I would very much like to have saved, but due to computer related stuff never managed to do. Now I keep my stuff doubled up, just in case. I can always do another scanning of course, of negatives and such related material. The 0's and 1's however, is a completely different matter. Not that I got anything great to keep... but there's a few memories, as it happens. I will try to keep them if possible. 
Anyway, I'm in the process now, of cloning the two hard drives and make a doubled-up storage system for them. 

The negatives are as safe as possible, I would say. Or safe is probably not the right term, because nothing is totally safe as you start to think of it. 
I got a few ring binders sitting on a shelf back home. With negatives in them. That's it, more or less. Nothing bomb proof, as you know. Not fire proof either. You just have to trust that nothing bad will happen. As you do, usually.
I would rather not be sitting in a position where I found that I lost all my thousands of original negatives from 1975 until today.

Well. I was thinking about it a bit earlier today. This blog and all, and what to do with it. I want to keep on writing, but I see that it has become a bit different to what I thought about when I started it. All of you know that I'm dealing with film, old cameras and such, and I thought that would be sort of the main theme through my posts. The reality seem to be a bit different, but maybe some kind of a little bit of this and a little bit of that is a bit better than going on forever about the same small details? I might think that's the way to go. 
I will, however, try to pull myself together and post something photographic related soon. I have nothing special in mind at this moment, but will probably come up with something, someday. 

No further stories to be told today. I'm in a kind of slow motion mode at the moment you see, just back to work and all. Need to get my mind set first, and then come back with something worth saying :)
So long, to anyone reading this!

And we have reached the end of this drive folks. Here represented by the wind vane and the radar installation at Sumburgh Airport, Shetland. 
OK, it might not be that obvious, I see that, but that's what it is anyway, since you ask.

torsdag 8. oktober 2015

I'm back out here, in the big blue somewhere

Oh yes, at sea that is. At work and all, to see what that might bring towards me the next four weeks. It's always a bit of a struggle the first few hours, or maybe the first day or so, but then things starts to become a routine again, and the days more or less floats along as they should. 

Oh no, I hear you shout out! Not the Shetland series again? 
Hah... I reply. It's a proper series, you know, and will last for more or less one long strip of 135 format film. And yes, I'm going to post most of them right here. So only thing you can do is just brace yourselves, or of course either leave or turn around to look elsewhere as the posts are being brought on. 

I had nothing much to say today, actually. I know I thought of something yesterday, but that has vanished somewhere else for the moment, of course. Memory is a totally overrated thing, since you obviously are bringing the matter to the table...
Maybe I should just shut up more, and in that way post less? Or maybe I should just go ahead as I usually do? 

Just back from work, again. Had to sit in for one of the engineers as he joined an on-board course. All we have to go through, huh? And who else to call at these hours, but the chief himself? No one, I suppose... which is why I seem to be the chosen one when it comes to save the day. Anyway, I like it though, so no particular hard feelings of any kind. Still, I'm here anyway with nothing much to do right now.
Giving just that a short second thought I got a couple of fresh magazines. Black+White Photography, and the latest issue of Black and White. So I got things to do the next couple of evenings as well, as you might expect. 
See you soon folks! Hopefully with something better to come up with than this nonsense...

mandag 5. oktober 2015

Up early today

There's an elder woman living a couple of hundred meters away from our cottage. She's got a daughter living some way far off, down south in the country where everything is just flat and boring. No hills, no landscape, no weather... basically no nothing, to put it straight. 
The elder woman wants her daughter to have a picture from me, to put up on the wall, and she knows what she wants. The view from her living room window, which her daughter grew up with and all. I happen to have more or less the same view from the cottage, so I will snap something down here at sea level and see if I can use that somehow. 

This morning, as I woke up of my wifes phone ringing because she had forgot the bloody thing at home when she went to work, there was a fantastic light outside. The sun was just about to sneak over the horizon, which means over the 1000 m plus mountains we got on the other side of the fjord we live by, and made a beautiful light due to some fog banks and things flying around in the air. The sky was boring blue though, but the sunlight and those fog banks really made something going on, so I threw myself out of bed, got dressed in a hurry, grabbed my bigger bag of equipment (the heavy one with a couple of medium format Mamiyas and some lenses) and walked the few meters away from the door just to get away from a power line stretched just in the view line. 

Snapped through a couple of films, even one that should give some colored snaps if all is going well... Portra 400 I think it was. And a couple of Delta 100's, which I don't like to much for some reason. Just the same way I don't really like the T-max films either. Something about the grain I have not quite got the hang of for some reason. It's probably just me though, as others seem to like them a lot. I also had a well expired and badly stored Shanghai GP3 in the bag. Went through the half of that roll as well, so hope there will be something sticking to these films worth printing at some point.

The snaps posted today has nothing to do with the ones snapped this morning, of course. It's a few more from the series I have posted from before. The one from the backseat of the taxi driving south through the moors of Shetland, done with a small but heavy and good old german snapper with a great 35mm lens and all. It seems to be unbreakable, kind of. I have smashed a few metal rings designed to keep flare off the lens. I call them smash protective devices. The metal rings have the great advantage that they can be straighten out after something heavy has hit them, as it does. The same metal rings has the very great disadvantage, price. Did you know that these tiny, wee things, cost a small fortune if you want to purchase one? Me neither, but I discovered the fact some time ago. Hundreds of pounds, thousands of norwegian kroner, for a small thingy! That's the way it is when this german brand is making things. The sky seems to be the limit, price wise. 
Well, I did not feel it was that important actually. Until I got one for free, or more or less for free anyway. So now I got such a ring for both of the way to expensive lenses for these cameras. I got a 21mm wide lens as well, for this system, which got a plastic thing for protection. That works well enough, so will just be staying on. I used the lens without this plastic protection a while ago, and managed to smash a filter when going up some stairs with the camera hanging at my side. The lens was fine though, but that was close enough to a disaster to put the protector back on. 
I hate expensive cameras and equipment for this reason. Better run around with something cheap, as I seem to get dents and scratches all the time. Luckily I don't care too much about dents and scratches though, so I can and will still use them around in the field. They were not bought to sit on the shelf anyway, so I'll use them until they can no longer be used. 

I got a couple of things to do today, so better just go on with them I guess. Need to order a door for the outbuilding, and see if I'm able to find out who in the area can deliver some stuff for the cottage. Glassy things it is... will tell you more about that a bit later probably.