tirsdag 28. februar 2017

Darkrooms, and not looking the other way

I don't have a dedicated darkroom, yet. I do have a bunch of darkroom equipment, and will soon need somewhere to put things to be able to use them in a good way. I do have a nice little room at my cottage on the small island of Ona which I intend to use as one, and I have used the bathroom when I'm at home. Now we're refurbishing the old bathroom, and planning to sell the house some time this year. Well, that's the overall plan, anyway.
I did have a plan to build a darkroom in one of the spare rooms in the basement of the house, but as other plans evolved and developed it would be a waste of time and money to go for that solution. I hope to be able to squeeze something inside wherever we decide to live next. 

The Cat. Or The Carrier of Dust and Hair to settle on my drying negatives. Or maybe just the eternal teenager, sleeping more or less 24/7 all year. She makes a nice frame for a first or last snap of any film though. This is an example of the latter. She probably never noticed...

I got one enlarger I use for medium format negs, and two enlargers for 35mm only. The plan was to take at least one of the 35mm enlargers to Ona, and decide later if another enlarger for medium format film could be sourced and taken out there, just to be able to enlarge both formats. Then I thought about getting rid of one of the 35mm enlargers (A nice Durst 305, I think) and use my Fujimoto G70 enlarger for both medium format and 35mm at home, and maybe take the lovely Leitz Focomat V35 which I always use when making prints from 35mm negatives, to Ona. This would limit the use of that darkroom to only 35mm work. 
A couple of hours ago things became a little bit clearer. 
I'm one of quite a few members of a certain facebook group dealing with film and analog photography, as many of my readers probably are as well. Some dude (a very talented professional portrait photographer, as it happens) suddenly posted a snap of a Leitz Focomat V35 enlarger, my absolute favourite, to be given away for free. 
This is not happening every day, and he doesn't live too far away from me either. 
So I threw in a comment, asking if the thing was gone or not. Usually I'm not exactly known to have any big luck with offers like this. Three minutes later I was the new owner.
Why can't I just start to look the other way when things like these come up for grab? It's not going to be exactly easy to smugle this thing inside the house...

Steel and Stuff. Inside the ROV hangar of the ship. You'll see the "Windy House" more or less in the center there, and the moonpool to the left. The moonpool is nothing more than a hole going straight through the ship and into the water, from where they launch one of  the two ROV's inside this hangar.  You can see the cables and stuff used to launch the one through the moonpool, as that one's in the water at the time this was snapped. The other ROV is kind of hidden behind the structure of girders a bit to the right of the Windy House. That one is launched straight overboard through a side door. The Windy House is only used to launch and recover ROV's. All the manouvering of them things is being done from control rooms inside the ship. You can always ask questions. I might have an answer, and maybe not...

OK. Now I absolutely have to let the old Durst go. I might even have to let one of the Leitz things go as well at some point, but I will have to wait and see how things evolve during the next few months. I'm a little bit reluctant to throw one of them out of the house first thing, as I don't know if both might be getting some use in the future or not. I will not keep them both just to keep them, but if I feel I might need them I will. 
As I'm finally going home from work saturday night, I made an agreement with my employer yesterday that I could rent a car to get myself home from Bergen on Saturday instead of spending the night in a hotel, as my flight home was quite late on Sunday. The location of the Leitz enlarger is on my way home from Bergen, so with a little bit of luck I might be able to pick it up on my way home as I pass this place anyway. I really hope it's possible, as I would very much like not to drive all the way back there to get it. Anyway, if I have to I'll go for it. If nothing else, it will be a nice excution to take the old Landy out for a nice drive. 

One step forward, two steps back

Oh yes, it's Monday and one day closer to crew change scheduled for Thursday. Again some bright brained dude somewhere down south found Saturday to be a better choice, so here I am seeing my first weekend off disappear into the blue. I will not be home until Sunday evening then, as flights on Saturday from Oslo or Bergen to my home town is non existant. 
This means we will have to really think about how we like to spend the few weekends I'm getting this time. Three instead of four actually makes a difference, but I might have been through this tale before...

Just like a sailor facing overtime on board his ship, time seems to stand perfectly still while being oblivious to the world around them as these girls are getting their manicure done inside a shopping center downtown Middlesbrough some time in february last year. I think this was done at least 1/4s handheld, but might even be 1/2s. The old M3 rangefinder and the 50mm lens it was for sure.

Had a decent walkaround inside the engineroom a bit earlier today. Need to check that everything is ship shape before the new crew arrive. Brought the F3 to take the daily snap and everything. #058/365 as it happens. Will soon have two films to develop, which is a nice thing. 
Actually I got a bunch of films to develop, but only two from the 365 project. There's a lot of other stuff as well, so just keep on coming back for the full story some day next week when I'm at home. I'll try to get them done ASAP.

søndag 26. februar 2017

A few thoughts on photography

I think I wrote a few words about this same thing when I was guest blogging over at Ilford a while ago, about the rather interesting fact that photography both has a technical and engineering sort of approach, walking side by side with the artistic issues related to composition, how to use your available light in the best way, your chose of exposure and a million other details. Some of them you can definitely point your finger at, but a lot of them will be touching feelings and other parts of our brains and souls making it an individual and personal thing if we like the result or not. 
After all it's usually a question about what we find pleasing to the eye at the time, or it's the way we may or may not interact with the snap in some kind of (good or bad) way because of the strings hit inside each and every one of us.
And it's all about the end result. About the picture itself, as a whole.

To me there's something about the way the picture is able to tell it's inner story. This story can (in theory) be told through the order of pixels coming out of a digital camera, as well as through the imprint on a strip of film from the analogue equivilant. At least that's my starting point of view before I go on.
Still it seems to be a fact that each time we pick up a pixelator, our minds change completely about what's making a good snap and what's not. A lot of us (and myself very much included) seems to become pixel peepers, checking for the slightest proof of a sensor not behaving the correct way, color fringes and disturbances or (God forbid) the slightest sign of unsharpness somewhere far out in the corners of the picture.
What happens next is that what originally might have been a great snap is suddenly sort of reduced to an object (even though it's not an object in the true meaning of the word) consisting of a myriad of microscopic points, each being a possible subject to close technical inspection and examination.
We suddenly find ourselves jumping straight into the pit, dug out a long time ago by the different camera companies for one reason only.
It's all becoming a chase for numbers, and who's got the camera able to handle the biggest amount of 0's and 1's without getting lost in the process.
If we really look into it I would very much think we have reached the limit long ago when it comes to what people really need to snap a good frame of the Christmas dinner or whatever. I mean, every granny of today probably owns at least one camera a million times "better" than the old things a few of us still prefere to use.

We sometimes seem to forget the simple fact that when looking at a printed picture on the wall, it's something you're supposed to look at from a certain distance. This distance depends more or less only on the size of the print and the clarity of your old eyes. It's nothing you should ever need to use a magnifying glass to look at.
Looking at pictures on a computer screen inside our own living rooms seems to bring out the digital magnifying glass tool quite often, and the basic reason for looking at the picture has suddenly sort of disappeared.

That's one of the reasons I like film better, and also one of the reasons I think film is a better place to be. Because there are no such things as pixels or numbers or crop factors. Only the picture itself.
It's organic and sort of "alive" and three dimensional. It's a physical object for me to hold between my fingers and shine light through and look at, and the final printed image is nothing I have to examine down to the finest detail for errors and flaws, because I know there's a lot of them in there anyway. 
Adding to that, different types of film behave and looks different to the others, and they also behave a bit different according to how you decide to develop them. The different lenses we use can sometimes also play their own little tiny part of the final symphony, but the camera itself is very rarely a big contributor to the final result unless we are talking about things like light leaks and other individual artifacts of that particular item.
On the final analogue print I can cover up and hide the most obvious dust and cat hairs, but they will still be in there somewhere, even though they have become more or less invisible. Still they don't add or subtract important things to or from the story itself, either they are hidden or not.
Because when looking at a print on the wall we should look at the print to see the whole picture and the entire story, and we should watch the flow and dynamics and the interaction between light and shadows. We should definitely not look in the corners for any signs of unintended vigneting or unsharp parts. That's never going to make or break a great snap anyway. Ever.
When I'm dealing with digital pictures on a screen I seem to totally forget the most basic idea about it all, even though the starting point always is something I recon to be a good picture. Then I can use a lot of time on the computer editing, only to end up with a crappy result in the end. And I don't think I'm alone.

To me, photography sometimes really manifests itself as a pure and beautiful form of art I can deal with and understand. And to me, art is stuff that makes one or many of my inner strings start vibrating in some kind of way when hit by the nerve of what I see or hear.
I never seem to get hit by anything good when zooming in at pixels on a computer screen. Sometimes something hits me when looking at the whole big picture on my screen though, and quite often this will have nothing to do with a minor lack of sharpness or slight errors made deep inside a light sensitive digital sensor.
I very often find smoothness and lovely transitions between light and shadow, or beautifully rendered colours and scenes telling an important story, to be a lot more effective in that respect than sharpness and the amount of pixels ever will.

fredag 24. februar 2017

F3 misfire, as it just had to happen eventually

Ran outside this morning just after I woke up. Snow on the slippery steel deck outside my cabin and all, but just had to snap the ship from last night in some decent light since it was still here and quite close. I even had to grab the 35mm lens to frame the thing, so it was that close.
Framed it up and pressed the thing on top, and what do you think? Nothing at all happened but a very tiny little movement of the mirror. I could just barely feel and hear something was about to happen, but nothing did. So I turned the thing around and had a good look, and found the mirror to have jammed sort of. Pressed the button to fold up the mirror, and while doing that the shutter fired. Of course. With me staring into the lens in some no cool way. So I obviously wasted todays frame, and went in to decide what to do. I mean how strict should you follow your own rules? Any ideas?
I have kept on saying one snap each day, and everything to be posted no matter what they look like. But this is something else, and that's why I had to think about it. It would be very different if I was not aware that something weird happened, or if it was just a question about a bad exposure or something else quite trivial. This was a mechanical hickup, and I knew straight away.
So I went out five hours later and snapped a new one. Just had to. 

It's nothing new, mind you. Must be 18 years ago, or maybe even a little more. It's the young daughter back in the days of childhood. She's turning 20 in about two weeks from now. Time flies, as we know all to well. I think this is one of only a few frames saved from a film that did not come out to well from the old Minolta Hi-matic G. Think something went wrong when I was transfering the film to the Paterson spool thing. I even had to crop the frame for some reason, as you probably already had figured out. I kind of like it, so I might print it some day. 

That's it then. That's the photographic excitement I've been through today. 
Should I be concerned, you think? About the choice of going for the F3 thing for the project as the thing seems to get issues already at #55/365? Well, I guess a total breakdown is not the end of the world, after all. Still, that's not even close to what we're talking about here. It was a hickup, and everything seemed to work as usual during the next exposure at 1/250s, or thereabouts. I think I'll just continue like nothing ever happened, but will of course continue to monitor the condition of the thing. 

Tomorrow is saturday. The World Championship in nordic diciplines (Cross country skiing, ski jump and that sort of stuff) started a couple of days ago in Lahti, Finland. I guess there will be one or two of the engineers watching TV in the Engine Control room at some point. Might be worth to bring the Nikon down there at some point. 
We will see. 

torsdag 23. februar 2017

I'm looking at photos, again

This day was not a bad one, thank you very much. Quite nice, for a change. 
The engines are working a bit harder again now this evening, and I just went outside to check what the weather was like. No good, I tell you. No good at all. The wind is really picking up again, and it has started to snow. Like for real, you know. I brought the rangefinder as I knew we were located very close to another ship. Switched the thing to "B" and closed the aperture a couple of steps, pressed the yellow shutterbug on the top of the thing and counted to twentysomething or thereabouts. Then I went back inside and into my cabin. I think I'll go to bed early as I probably will need the sleep I can get before the sea is starting to really pick up as well. It usually kind of follows the wind, you know...

I have used the last couple of hours to rush through a couple of blogs I thought I might find interesting. Well, so far I can't say I'm turned into an addicted fan, but it may change at some point for all I know. The project is quite big, and maybe it's too big and too demanding to ever get any good? And I'm not talking about some tiny little 365 thing here, mind you. This is something on the extreme side. And nope, it's not about the 52 cameras either.
I'll give it another chance before I write it off for good. I promise. I'll let you know if things improve as I read on.

In the car on my way back home from visiting my parents a while ago. I was driving through this tunnel and the camera was right there at the seat beside me, so I adjusted things without looking and snapped three frames. I think this one got something, but I'm not quite sure what it is. Probably lines, light and shadows. Patterns and things, I guess. Seems to drag you in, somehow. Huh...? 
It's another Ilford PAN400 pushed to 1600, developed in D-76 I think. Oh, and it was done inside a Nikon F3. The small one I'm now doing the 365 project on.

The other blogs I follow only seem to get better every day. Great work done at a lot of levels. Andrea did her speach at An Lanntair, and I have seen reports talking about sucess, thumbs up and probably a lot more. And I just wish I could be there to hear it all, as I just love her darkroom art.
Micke Berg, the swedish photographer and author, is getting older and have abandoned film long ago. He still talks about film though, and at times he tells us that nothing will ever get even close to the quality of film, but he still shoots digital. iPhone only, these days. He's getting lazy, he says. He still knows how to snap a decent snap though, and I love the way he writes. In swedish language only, sadly for the majority of you. 

He have used some time in his life to reduce 70 books full of negatives down to 25 by throwing stuff away. He's been through a few films for sure.
His best work, at least in my opinion, would be his documentary work from the political movements in sweden in the 70s. There's a lot to watch, and a lot of stories told inside those snaps. And his portraits of guys like Johnny Rotten and Tom Waits... well, what can I say. There are stories told there as well, but probably nothing for kids ears.

I will not say there's a lot of stories told inside this snap. Maybe if the walls could speak there would be one or two worth telling, but then again you never know. I like the lines inside it, and the structure and the shape of things. It's from my walk around town a while ago. From that first roll of pushed PAN400 I did, if you remember?

Now I'm just eager to get home and inside the darkroom again. It's been too long since last time, and I can't get off this rollercoaster inside a bathub fast enough. 
And I'm getting low on unexposed film as well, just saying. I might have one roll left, which probably will find it's way inside the Nikon FM2 one of the next few days. I might just leave it there until I'm on my way back home. 

onsdag 22. februar 2017

A bumpy day at sea

It's been a terrible day all together from late last night up until now. And it's still the same, no improvements. Waves peaking at around 18 to 20 meters is OK for a while, but for 24 hrs it's just wearing you down bigtime. It's taking all your power away, leaving you tired and sleepy without the chance to get any sleep anyway.

I have been checking the UK market for any stores keeping my 365@50 film in stock. In bulk, prefereably. I can't get it back home, but these days you seem to be unable to get pretty much anything at all film related back home. So I need to look this way, towards the UK where I'm paying a rather big part of my tax each year even though I don't live here.
I was thinking about spending a few ££ as well at some point, over here in my second home land, and may just as well use them on some good old film. Trouble is that the rolls of Ilford PAN400 is rather far between over here as well, as the film originally is intended for a different market. Probably the far east, or somewhere. At least not Europe, if I have got things right.
I found the film, at least at two different locations on-line. All I need to do now is to find a map and get over to the UK to get things done. Go shopping, you know. 
Yup, I could simply throw in an order, but I would much rather pick them up myself if that's possible at some point.

Probably something posted before, but I promise you to find something a bit fresher for the eyes for tomorrow! I don't remember too much about this fine snap, but it might come out of some german rangefinder. I know where it was snapped, though. This old bridge is not in use anymore, but it's still there just to show off some nice building skills since long forgotten and no longer used. Then again it would probably be too expencive and too dangerous to build something like this today. I'm quite sure, actually.

So, the plan right now is to get home and get into my little workshop (if it's even possible to get inside the door) to hopefully build some kind of device or thingy, making it achievable to roll my own film from a bulk roll. I'm going to start with a probably since long overdue roll of FP4 I got in a drawer somewhere, and if things go smoothly I'll order a couple of bulk lengths of fresher stuff. HP5, FP4 and PAN400. Probably not all of them in one go, but you get the idea I guess.
Oh, yes I know! There are dedicated "daylight film loaders" to be bought all around the interweb. I actually used to own one as it happens, but it obviously disappeared from my ownership at some point. Things tend to do that at times, and sometimes I think it's just because we seem to own too much stuff! Just jump over to Jim's place and see for yourself. I think he's quite right about his thinking about posessions and thngs in his latest (re)post over at his fine Down The Road blog. 
So, my film loader is no longer to be found anywhere and I seem to have two options. Get another one (nope Jim, I'll try to keep myself from doing just that...), or just try to check if it's possible to get the job done without the gizmo. I think it is, and if it is I would say the more tricky way would be the best. At least if all other bulk loaders work the same way as my old one used to do. See I used to get scratches and stuff on the film, and at times the last couple of frames would end up fogged by light. I don't like that! I like to fog my film myself, if I feel like it. I don't need a big box made out of bacelitte to do it for me. 
Hand rolled film, that could be the next tiny wee project. I will keep you updated as I fail and (hopefully) further learn, of course. 
But first of all I'm rather shure there will be other projects more urgent to take care of, if I ever get out of this steel thing jumping around in the waves of the North Sea. 

What's your prefered soup?

And I'm not talking about the stuff to eat, mind you. Rather more about developers as it happens. 
Because there's quite a few of them out there, even though film has been a bit down on the popularity ranking for a few years. Now it's on it's way back though, and for the first time it seems that we are getting more films on the market than the number of films being taken away. Which is good, of course. 

I brought the quite bigish Mamiya RZ67 on board at some point and snapped this from the back deck of the ship. Probably using the 50mm wide angle lens with some kind of filter (cheap orange one maybe) attached. Today this same snap would just result in nothing good at all, as there's too much clutter back there. And you would not see it all because of the fog and the rainy weather and what have you. This day was sunny though, and we were moored at the pier close to Kirkwall, Orkney. A very nice place to be, by the way.

The reason I'm throwing out the question is the fact that I will soon have a few films to develop, and I know I have been a bit lazy on the developer side lately. I have pretty much used what seemed to be the simplest sollution there and then, and it might not always be the best choice.
So, when pushing some PAN400 to around 1600 ASA, just to take something completely random out of the air, what would be your first choice of developer? It's a grainy thing from the start, and also quite contrasty, so we might not want to use the biggest sledgehammer we can find on this? But then again it all boils down to what kind of end result you are looking for, I know. 
There never seems to be a straight answer to anything reg. film. Which is kind of good, after all.

Scrabster, Scotland UK. Years ago now, I think. I was walking The Street with one of the Nikon FM2s loaded with some kind of film. It's from the archives, and I have probably posted it before at some point. There might be new readers, though. And I should soon have something a bit fresher to post, so hang in here!

What I might do is to mix some Caffenol, as it's a great developer after all. It's quite easy to make as well, but I must confess I'm a bit rusty as I have not tried it for some time now. Test films will need to be snapped, I'm afraid, and I don't know if I'm into the mood of any deep analyzing and testing of stuff at the moment. 
Still, it's the best compensating developer I know of, and it's not creating a huge ammount of grain either, so I might go for it. As we are talking about 135 film here, grain will more or less always be visible anyway. And after all I usually like it to some degree, as you probably know. 

Scotland, Nikon FM2 probably. Unknown film.

OK! This is just what it looks like, actually. Random thoughts late one Tuesday night at sea when I obviously got nothing better to chat about. 
But I would very much like to know what developer you would go for! I've tried a few, but I'm not an expert developer by any means. 

mandag 20. februar 2017

Just a casual snap, from back in the days

They show up, every now and then, the things you used to snap being a wee boy over in Norway having got your first camera for Christmas one year. I think this one is from my first film, or at least from one of the first films fed through the Minolta Hi-Matic G I still got laying around. 

Snapped with the Minolta Hi-Matic G, probably on old Ilford HP4 or something like that. Maybe even Tri-X, but I have to check that to be sure.

It's over 40 years now, since I snapped this. And in 40 years from now the negative will still be around if the ones coming after us have any interest in keeping it sort of safe inside it's folder. 
It was snapped in the upper corner of my grandparents piece of land, which now belongs to my parents. The little house is no longer there, of course. I remember a couple of extreme winters with a lot of snow up through the eighties laid the thing quite flat towards the ground, and I took the thing apart and burned the remains of it. It was built by my grandfather for my uncles and aunt to play inside when they were kids. 
Sadly the grandfather died before the little house did.
Let's just hope somebody will take the time and effort to print it some day, put it up on the wall for a day or three just to keep the memories alive. 
Actually, I might even do just that myself as well... just because I can.
I might even throw a film inside the Hi-Matic G as well, just for the good sake of it.

lørdag 18. februar 2017

Ambitious, you tink? Nope, obviously not!

Before I started my 365@50 project on film I had a not too long discussion with myself around the possible fallpits and stuff like that. I have tried something similar before with digital, as I thought that was the easiest way to see the project finalize one year, or 365 days later. 
I was wrong, because of modern technology. Or actually more the lack of such, when at sea. I had a goal that my one snap each day also was going to be posted the same day it was taken. I soon got myself into difficulties keeping up with my own rules, and somewhere around mid-way through the project I gave it up because of this issue. 

The old facade of one of them old factory buildings back home. One of the things undergoing restoration right now. The other one you'll find somewhere at the bottom of this page. I like the look of these walls, for some odd reason. And they seem to tell stories. No clue about which camera used, but I suspect it's one of the rangefinders with a wide angle lens attached.  

This time everything is a bit different. It's on film, and you can't possibly post one snap each day unless you either waste a lot of film or work as a magician or something like that. 
I have decided the snaps will be posted when they are ready, and nothing much else is promised. Chance is I will fail at some point, but then it's most likely some issue with something done wrong in the development of a roll, or whatever. I don't think it's a good idea to get too busy with thoughts like that. I'll just keep on, taking each day as it comes and try to document this year seen through my eyes and my camera lens as things are thrown towards me. 

I had a few thoughts around if this is a project a bit on the ambitious side, but there are people doing things way beyond this. Just saying.
Ever stumbled upon Tony Kemplen's blog? The 52 cameras in 52 weeks thing? Well, this guy is something completely else. The original idea seem to have been a one year project for 2010, but fact is he has just started on year eight, and seems to be in week #366 today. That would mean he would have had a few breaks up through the years, but I was certainly not going to blame him for that. He has not fed complete rolls through all of the cameras, but still he has tested 366 different cameras with film, and posted the results on his blog and on flickr. I wonder a bit what his camera room looks like, I must admit. 
My tiny little invisible thing of a project suddenly seems like a toy compared to this massive work, but then again we all have to start somewhere. 
And who knows? I might try something different next year, depending a bit on how this year is going along. 
I'm on day #49 today, just to keep you updated. I got everything well noted inside one of my notebooks about what's on each of the frames and such, you know.
And the Nikon F3 is working flawlessly, thank you. As for yet anyway.

Take a good look at this beautiful thing. I'll snap the new and overpainted thing as well, some day. Just to be able to compare new and old. 

fredag 17. februar 2017

Remember to keep it in mind!!

We are towing the 3.5km long bundle thing at the moment, towards it's final rest somewhere out in the North Sea. At least it's going forward, and we seem to be in position to begin sink the thing down some time around noon, tomorrow. And nothing much more to be told about work, today. Oh, and the weather is very nice. Like mid summer, actually. Flat ocean, sunny and quite on the mild side of things. Perfect, probably.

Something from the archive. Scanned 120 neg from the fantastic Diana F+ partly light tight plastic box I got at home. There's even the possibility to change shuttertimes on the thing, between B and something timed of which I don't know too much about. Maybe around 1/60 of a sec or something? I have no clue. And there's a myriad of three different aperture settings as well, so you might get lost in this camera for a while. Oh, and the rather visible vignetting comes for free with the camera, as the lens is quite something else. Cheap, made out of plastic and all that, as we know. It's a lot of fun, though.

I might grab the FM2 or the rangefinder, or both, and have a stroll on deck later as that's the only chance to get some fresh air and use of both the legs and a camera right now. Nothing much happening out there, at least not yet, but I'll take a walk anyway. Just to get the fresh air. 

The NRK (National Norwegian News broadcaster thing) news agency posted this article on their front page this morning. It's about the increasing number of youngsters being turned into film wasters these days. There's also this woman from a photo store in Oslo mentioning they're developing around the same number of film rolls each day now as they used to do in the late 90's. Then again this is more or less the only place (with a few exeptions) you can get this service in Norway today. 
What I did notice from the BW photograph of the woman she's got a lot more film behind the desk this year compared to a couple of years back when I went inside her store to pick up a ten-pack of FP4 and HP5. Amd that's nice to see.  

And another one as well, while I'm at it. Same film, same camera (quite obviously) and around the same area as the one above. But here you see the sea as well, in the background there. A nice day out, it was!

And hey! 
For those of you scattered around the UK or nearby: Don't you dear forget Andrea will be talking about her snaps over at An Lanntair in Stornoway in a few days from now. Just don't miss it out. I can't get there, though, as I'm at sea and it seems to be a long swim away from here.
And I must say I really do wonder what that Zine they are mentioning is all about. We might find out by watching Andrea's blog with an open eye in the future, for all I know.
Oh and yes, I did have a nice tour around back deck area earlier thank you very much. It's just that this post has been written in sections through the day. You know what I'm talking about, probably.

torsdag 16. februar 2017

Backyards and old memories, and a couple of new ones

Stuck in Sinclair Bay, Scotland. On DP, at sea about a mile off shore, or something like that.
Working on the launching of a 3.5km long "bundle", which seems to be nothing more than a long yellow "thing" we are supposed to tow out into the middle of nowhere and get installed on the seabed at some point. With this speed it's going to take some time, but let's wait and see.

One more from the day out and about in my home town a few months back. Walking around with the camera club bunch, if you remember. Not the best situation for me, I have to admit, as I very much seem to rather prefere my own company if I'm going to get anything good out of it. It was fun, though. Not very difficult either, as you just had to follow in the footsteps of somebody else. Well, more or less. I don't know if anyone else thought of moving into this back yard to snap a frame. I did, as you might understand. Nikon F3, I think.  

365@50 project is slowly coming together with one single snap done each and every day onto Ilford PAN400 film @1600. Two more weeks until I'm home and hopefully ready to have the first roll dipped into some developer. Good thing is that the second roll should be more or less finished as well shortly after. That would mean the first 72 snaps or so will be ready to post within three weeks from now, or thereabout.

Towards the end of the same walk as presented above. A kindergarden, I think. There are higher fences around them things nowadays compared to when I grew up. I got a vague memory of escapes done out without getting noticed, and a bit more than vague memories of getting yelled at by quite a few from the staff a bit later. Seems like the kids can rest ashured that won't happen anymore... and maybe it's just as well, thinking about it. M6 rangefinder, I think.

Nothing much else to report from this tiny, cramped space I live on at the moment.
There might be more some other day, or maybe not.

tirsdag 14. februar 2017

Nothing much Valentinesday like, out here...

A quick tour at sea, and on our way ashore again as I write. Crewchange very early tomorrow morning in Scrabster is the plan. I might even get enough daylight to snap one or two before we leave the place again. There's a couple of buildings there I actually could need to point one of my cameras towards again. We'll see. I'm not going home this time, by the way. Another two weeks until my ticket to ride is here.

An old house I found down south in Bergen a while ago last time I was there walking about without anything special to do. I think it's from the M3 rangefinder, handheld on some quite long exposure time. At least by the looks of it. And it was in the middle of the black night as well, so that might explain a few things. Could also be snapped with the M6, but that would be the same thing inside a slightly different shell, more or less. 

Rumors from home tells me that the wife is looking through my files of snaps to see if there's anything there worth hammering a nail into one or two of the walls inside the cottage for. I guess she'll come out empty handed after quite a while of searching. 
Because it's not the easiest of jobs, I know. At least I hope I'll get the job of printing them, should there be anything found at some point worth hanging.

Oh, and I was actually featured some time today. On the Ilford Blog and everything. I guess you might have heared the story and seen the snaps one or three times before, but anyway I was kind of happy to see the thing after all. I wrote it quite a while ago, just saying.

I walked myself straight into a crowd of birds eating stuff laying in the middle of the road. I had the M3 partly ready, because you know what's going to happen, just not exactly when and to what degree. This one ended up on the boring side, I realize that, but it's always worth a try. Besides, I'm running out of snaps to show off here, so I have to post'em no matter what. 

I cheated today, on the 365@50 project. Seems like I might have abandoned the part of the idea involving using only one lens for the project. I don't think it's possible, to be honest. I'm in no way a "one lens man", and even though I think the idea sounded like a good one in the start it would have the potential to shrink or narrow the project quite a bit, and I would say it's narrow enough without having to shoot only with the 50mm through 10 films. At least that's what I'm thinking at the moment. 
So, I went for the 35mm today and it did the job. I think.
After all we know nothing about just that until development day another few weeks from now. 

A wall with a hole inside, in the middle of my old hometown. Sometimes I like this snap, and other times not very much so. It might be worth stroll this way some other day with a bit more light outside. It's from the photowalk some time ago, Nikon F3 and who knows what lens. Probably something in the region of 50mm. 

And finally just one more thing. Have a quick look at these frames! Seems like I need to get home and get some film loaded into the 120 format Diana, or something. I liked them a lot.
But then again it's a proper photographer we're talking about here.

mandag 13. februar 2017

Half frames and engine things...

Finally, we're on our way to sea. Or, we are of course at sea, but really out to sea I mean. Like middle way between the UK and Norway, to be a bit more precise. We are going to do some very short survey work to prepare for the next piece of work a little later in the week. Out to do the survey, then back in to Scrabster far north in Scotland to have a very short crew change in the middle of the night, and then off we go to do the rest of the work. Sounds easy, actually. And maybe it is, for what I know. I'm not too sure about what's going on down at the seabed anyway, but somebody on board will certainly know. My job is only to maintain power to make it all happen, and things are looking good in that respect as it usually is.

I bet you've never seen this one before? It's probably from some time last summer, but I don't think I posted any results from the tiny little plasticy Diana Mini camera I had coming my way about a year ago or so? Anyway, here's one. Half-frame and what else could not be said about it. It's the kind of thing you can choose between two formats. 36x36mm or 24x36mm. Cool, huh? Just one thing: If sharp negs are your style, this is nothing for you! It's totally impossible to even get the tiniest detail to stuck sharply on film inside this lovely little box. And yes, it leaks of course. And the shutter release button is a nightmare. Lots of fun inside a small box, in other words.

Yesterday was another day we really had to work hard for the money. Up at 5.30 in the morning to be at work 6 o'clock. Non-stop flat out until 1am before I could throw myself to bed, which I did. Today seems to be a lot better, as we are at sea. Everything just falls into routine work then, which is very much to prefere. 

This is something I extracted from a film exposed inside one of the Nikon's, I think. It's from the lovely city of Bergen, as some of you might have guessed already. Not very lucky with the exposure of this frame, but I'm used to that.

I snapped the daily one, though! At least I seem to have come into that routine, at least. Nothing you will jump through the roof about, of course, but that has probably never been the point of doing 365 projects either, I guess. What's pretty obvious is that the ones snapped during my periods of work will probably be on the extremely boring side. I'll try to be creative, but I must say I find that a bit hard. And it will only get worse, probably. You will, most likely, think you've seen the same snaps a hundred times before. But heck, I'll try!

There might be some of this sorts during the 365 project. Some hydraulic powerpacks this is, making this huge pile of steel able to steer wherever we like it to. Two similar units on each side of the vessel, a total of four steering powerpacks. Should be safe enough then, I think. As this is a DP Class 3 vessel there are rules telling how it should be built. There are so much stuff on this vessel that you would think we could perfectly well do with 1/4th of the equipment. And yes, that's absolutely right. Still, we need backups and backups of the backups... and that's why stuff seems to be piling up over here. It's kind of cool, though. 

I have briefly started to put together a plan to get my films developed when I get home. There will be chemicals needed, I think, so I need to get an order for some fix and developer put together soon. I think I'm starting to get a bit short on fix.
I would also need to stock up on some paper at some point, but I think I will manage for some time yet. The hope is to get abroad this summer anyway, and prefereably over to old England where paper is a lot cheaper than back home. Then I might be able to save some money. At least if I buy a nice little bunch of it. We'll see, but that might be the plan I'll go for.
Other than that, I'm fine, thank you.

lørdag 11. februar 2017

I made myself some work

I seem to get things to do when I get back home, whenever that might be. 
I've been out snapping again, and the number of exposed rolls starts adding up and take up some space on my desk. Which is OK, by the way, as I feel I've been walking around feeling blind for too long now. 
OK, I will prbably get to a point where I start wondering why I snapped a million frames of the same thing when I get the rolls developed, but then again it's better than nothing to actually snap something. And then there will be variations. Variations over the same theme, if you catch me. And that's just the way I seem to do things, sometimes. 
And of course there's the fact that it's a rather limited number of things you actually find interesting enough to waste film on, in the kind of area like this one. 

Another one from my test run of the Ilford PAN400 shot at 1600. I can't help myself from liking this film, to be honest. Don't really know why yet, but I might find out some day when I get a bit better used to it. Anyway, we will see as the 365@50 project become more than just an undeveloped roll staying at my desk. I might not like it at all when the first result of that batch see the light of day. Nikon F3 and Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens.

Anyway, I strolled away this evening as well. Out for a hunt to see what I could find. Brought the M3 and the 365@50 Nikon F3 project camera, as I had not snapped the daily one earlier in the day. Oh, and the iPhone as well, just for the heck of it. 
I found a few interesting lines and some light over at the huge buildings I talked about the other day and did a few passes over there. Snapped this and that with the Leica. Then walked back and forth to get something half decent with the phone. While standing there, pointing the thing straight up into the black night sky towards a steel structure high up above, I suddenly became aware of a CCTV camera just a few yards away. 
So what do you do then? Two choices, I hastly decided. You can go away or you can just keep on snapping. I thought about it for a very short period of time and quickly came to the conclusion that they have been looking at me for many a night now while walking around the area looking suspicious. So I decided it was no danger at all, and that they could do nothing worse than come ask me what I was doing, pointing things into the air the way I did. 
Well, no security guard came driving this evening either, so it's probably OK then. I hope.

Here we go! Snapped on the back deck of the Subsea Viking during lubrication of the crane wire a few days before Christmas 2016. The captain was on deck and wanted me to waste a frame to have evidence to show off that he had actually been there :)) 
Same film, but I think I used the 85mm f/1.4 beast for this one. Lovely lens, but way too big. Oh, and yes it was in the middle of the black winter night. Not too bad in that condition either, the PAN400 when pushed a couple of stops. 

We are preparing to go to sea, finally. Seems like the ship is close to fully upmanned now, which means we will leave some time tomorrow after lunch. I got no clue about this job, but I'll try to keep you informed. I might even get the chance to snap a few on deck some time during the next couple of weeks, but that remains to see. I'll try, anyway.

torsdag 9. februar 2017

Who knows what I might get out of it?

Just went for a walk. Out there, into the dark night only with a couple of cameras for company. Just felt for it, you know. Wanted to do it. Had a quite strong wish to try to create something out of them nice semi transparent huge doors on the big factory halls they got down here at Global Energy Group in Nigg. I got no idea what you get out of the website, cause I can't see the media content anyway. But enough of that. 
They have a couple of really big fabrication halls here, and they were the target for this evenings rather experimental photo tour. When I finally got there I found it not to be as easy as I first thought it would be. 
First of all I thought it would be a straight forward job to find a sturdy stand for the camera. Well, it was not. I finally ended up putting the Nikon on top of a huge steel pipe lying flat, but the roundness of the thing made it a bit difficult. With the aid of a few bits and pieces from my pockets and some searching around the area to find stuff I finally think I managed to build something hopefully good enough. Then it was the film, or the very bad choice of such, to be more precise. I thought I had loaded the FM2 with pushed to 1600 HP5. Halfay on my walk over there I suddenly found I have had the thing reloaded with FP4 instead, as that probably sounded like a very good idea at some point in the middle of the fever I had a couple of days ago. To really top it all I also discovered I had left my iPhone with the light measuring app on board the ship before I went away. 
And man was it cold!! Freezing wind that really made my fingers big and numb. 
Not the best of situations, to put it simple.

Today's the day for old snaps, I think. Since I was quite lazy when at home before I went to work I didn't manage to get any films developed. That means I should have quite a few to throw into some kind of fluid in a few weeks time. I like the lines in this one, but you probably knew that already I guess. From the first film I ran through my Rolleiflex after I bought it while sitting stuck in Bergen for a few days while waiting for weather to get over to Orkney. First they closed the airport in Bergen, which does not happen very often. Then, when they finally had cleared away the snow there it really started to snow over in Orkney, so all flights cancelled. Brilliant! Anyway I got myself a Rolleiflex out of it. Not bad, actually. 

Still, I was there with a couple of cameras, and I was rather determined to get something done with them. At least I had remembered to put the cable release into my pocket before I left the ship, so I pressed the end of the thing a few times while counting slowly to 32 or something like that. They are probably way underexposed, because I don't carry reciprocity tables or anything like that in my pockets. I have never tried FP4 in the dark before either, so I don't have a clue how it behaves. I guess we will find out soon enough. Sometimes a wild guess is just as good as anything, but I have also found that if you add a little bit of experience from earlier into it all it might save you from getting nothing. 
I also brought the M3 rangefinder. That one contained a roll of Kentmere 400, and I snapped a few frames of that sort as well. Huge aperture, 1 sec. shuttertime. Handheld. I'm looking forward to see them, of course. 
I have just started to feel my fingers again now, and it hurts. 
If I go out again tomorrow night I'll bring gloves. I promise!

More lines, even though they really go all over the place and in no particular direction. Don't know why I posted this one here and now, but it might have something to do about the season we are in the middle of. Wintertime means something rather special to the norwegians, as you probably have noticed long time ago. This is the Holmenkollen ski jump after the latest rebuild a few years ago. My father actually got a few jumps in this hill, but that was way back in the days when it was a bit smaller. It's a nice construction, and a bit impressive if you take the lift up to the top looking downwards.

When going back on board the ship the scotsman in the security asked me if they were film cameras, refering to the two beauties I carried. 
So we had a nice talk about old cameras and vinyl records, and he seemed a bit surprised about the fact that you can still get fresh film. He told me a story about once having a freezer half full of Kodachrome he got from the Royal Air force. They had to throw it away because of the date stamp on them, so he got the whole lot instead. Cool thing was that he didn't even have to pay for the development of them, as they used to be pre-paid back in the days as a few of us still remember. He told me he still got quite a number of packets down there at the bottom, but it could take a while until he can have things like that developed as we have learned over the last few years. 

I even found I had snapped a snap of a snap of the original owner of the Kodachrome films the security dude have lingering down inside his freezer, believe it or not. I think this was taken inside a cafè or a pub somewhere in Wales a few years ago. With a nice clock counting away right beside the queen, and everything. Studying things a bit my best guess will be that it origined out of either a Nikon with a 24mm lens, or maybe also one of the leicas with the nice and wide 21mm attached to it. And yes, I know it's way on the underexposed side. Walking around outside guessing exposure is one thing, coming inside in totally different light is quite something else.   

Other than that it's just been another day at work. Lots of running up and down the stairs with papers in hand looking important. At least that probably looks far better than the last few days when I've been here, there and everywhere without anyone even noticing that both my hands and my boilersuit really have taken a different colour. Well, I still hope it's worth something to someone. 

onsdag 8. februar 2017

Time and again

Bob Dylan told me long ago somewhere inside "You're a Big Girl Now" on the "Blood On The Tracks" album that "Time is a jetplane, it moves too fast". And yes, sometimes that's just what it does. Moves too fast with a feeling I'm only managing to jump on the train way too late. 
The same well known poet also wrote a piece called "Time Passes Slowly"... saying something like time passes slowly up here in the mountains, we sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains. And everything inside the song feels like it's taking forever.
I was just thinking about this. How different we feel about such a well defined matter time actually is. I mean even Bob Dylan obviously have had different experiences with the subject of time. 
Right now it's "Time Passes Slowly", for me anyway, being at work but not being 100% well at the same time. Having to go to work to do a lot, and all you can manage to think of during the day is sneaking away and go to bed, totally unnoticed. 

I was never sick enough to forget the daily snap, though. I even think it might be a fine one for once. Nothing like a masterpiece, maybe, but fine for sure.
I looked even further, seeing a few frames I might try to capture in the days to come. See we're still stuck in Nigg, Scotland, and there seems to be a few frames shouting for me in the area. 
I guess I'll spoil them anyway, but they might be worth a try. 

I went through a few new (to me anyway) photo blogs the last few days. Nothing like this one, of course, but still a few of them were quite good I have to say.
I just started writing on another camera review, believe it or not. I don't know if I will ever finish it, just because I don't think I will ever write something useful to anyone wanting to know my kind of stuff about cameras anyway. You see you have to find the right words, and you have to use some time to get them words right. Besides, why should I write reviews worth nothing when there's a bunch of great people writing everything worth to know about them anyway?
Just have a look at this thing from Jim over the big ocean and quite a bit inland, in Indeapolis, USA. I know, it's dangerous reading because the GAS thing coming sneaking into your brains and all. 
It's OK, though. I can't help myself from looking either. 

A good thing is that I think I might have landed on what I got and seem to be quite happy anyway. I don't need any more cameras as I seem to have what I need, and probably a few more in addition.
One of the last days at home I went inside my wifes office though, just to grab a cuppa and a little chat with Kjell (the head of the HSE dept.), an English Setter. A nice chap that one. 
His office mate started talking about cameras though, because one of his old relatives used to own a few nice ones. That's all he knew, of course. I mean who on earth would be walking around remembering names and models and things like that anyway? Unless you're a bit more than average interested, of course. 
At least he had decided that the cameras, if he could find them somewhere inside that big box containing stuff from that relative, would be handed over to me. If I could use them, that is.
I mean if they work I can definately use them, but if not they will be returned. If he can find them someday, of course. 
It's a bit mixed feelings, actually, having cameras handed over this way. I don't know why, because if you look at it in a bit different perspective it's just like getting anything else handed over. I mean what's the difference anyway to someone that can't or will not use them, ever? 
Well, first of all we have to see what the box contains. 
If anything at all, for all we know.

mandag 6. februar 2017

My cameras, and why they look like they do

I was thinking about it Saturday, when we had a job to do in the crane. It was a job that was new to the other engineers, and I went with them just to stand by and check. I brought the Nikon FM2 just because I had it down in the engine control room anyway at the moment. I snapped a few frames as well, as the weather was a bit on the interesting side. Wet and cold, and freezing engineers mostly used to work under deck in a some sort of controlled environment.

The second engineer having a break and listen to some talk, talk, talk... and probably loosing his patience soon after the snap was done. That's just life as it is. Ilford PAN400@1600 ASA. 

When the job was done the crane driver wanted a couple of words with me, so I climbed up the ladder still with my camera attached to my hand via some strap I made the last time I was at work. By the time I was back down in the engine control room I noticed that another few scratches, marks and dents were added to the thing. Mostly on the outer ring of the lens this time. 
Maybe I should have snapped a few of the crane driver up there as well, just to make it worth the couple of dents I managed to give the old thing?
I don't know.
But I know one thing for sure. My cameras are at least going places, and that's quite important I think. You will never be able to snap anything halfway decent if your camera is staying at home all the time.
Just think about it; we usually carry our brand new smartphones around in our pockets all the time, and they usually cost half a fortune these days. In comparison a worn old film camera can be had for next to nothing. 
So that's why I carry them around and let them bump into steel ladders and whatever. Usually it's OK as long as nothing hard hits the front of the lens. A good lens cover is usually a nice thing to have when you use things a bit rough.

The electrician caught just between all his talk, talk, talk and things like that. Still Ilford PAN400@1600 ASA. Contrasty and grainy, but you can still pick out a few details on a good day.

Second hand value? It's nothing I care too much about anyway as that's not the reason why I got my cameras. I bought them to use them, and if I would sell them one day the new owner will have to take a few minor issues or signs of former use as a part of the deal. 
I'm just telling you because some dude obviously did not like the way I kind of carelessly used the old thing outside in the rain and the wind and things. 
I know for a fact that most of my cameras has been tested in rougher conditions than this one, many times.

lørdag 4. februar 2017

Some time well spent at the office today

It's Saturday, and not too much happening over here in Nigg, Scotland. Not even workwise, as you might already know I've been a bit on the sick side the last few days. I'm better now, so I'll survive this one as well.
But with energy on the lower side I have used the day well. At least I think so myself.
I have been checking out a few photographers and what they are able to get out of a roll of Ilford PAN400 should they ever feel like pushing the thing a couple of steps. Besides a lot of visible grain and tons of contrasts there's a few of them getting a whole bunch of other good stuff out of them as well, which could be good for me as that's what I'm doing in my 365@50 project these days.
I'm on day 35 now, and had to swap to a fresh film for tomorrows snap as some hickup obviously happened during the loading of the film on new years eve. Don't ask, please...

Oh, and why did I point my camera in this direction, you may ask? Well, it's just what you do sometimes when you have just loaded a new film and need to get to the start of the thing. Especially valid for the Nikon F3, as it's a container of one of the most stupid inventions ever, the light meter that refuses to take a measurement until the first frame has been reached. Anyway, when I'm outside I don't care too much, because I know my Shady 4 rule well enough to use my eyes and make a decent enough exposure without the light meter. It's a bit worse inside the cabin in the evening on board the ship. And nope, these looks nothing like Clare's shoes at all. It's because they're mine.
Nikon F3, Ilford PAN400@1600

Anyway, I've been all over the interweb thing during the day to do some checks, and at one point I stumbled upon Verda Sigura, a photographer from Istanbul of all places. I don't think these are done on film at all, but I still like the snaps for some reason. At least I like a lot of them, and that's something to take on board anyway. If nothing else it's great to feel something again when looking at something that hits you in some kind of way.
I think it's something about the simplicified rendering of the complexity of the human being, the more or less total lack of tones and the quite strong and a bit overdone contrasts that kind of does the trick. And then there's the fact that they are quite strong and well done snaps as well. I would say that's about just as important.

Snapped one day during the yard stay just before Christmas. One of the workers from the yard making up a bunch of new hydraulic hoses for the ship. Lifeboat david's need that sort of things renewed every now and then, as some of us will know. I was walking around inspecting things and brought the old F3 just in case something popped up, so I sort of leaned towards a railing or something and snapped this one. Ilford PAN400@1600

So, I'm filling myself with some sort of inspiration again, which is a great feeling. Nothing less. We probably need some kind of reset from time to time.
I also had a look at a few blogs, as usual, and have been waiting a few days for a couple of great examples of contact sheets from over at Michaels place in the North East Liberties, of Northern Ireland. Those great examples really makes me want to haul some paper out whenever I get home from here, and start producing some contact sheets myself as well. I think he's on the right track here, the good Michael from the other side of the fjord, even though we should know that from way back in time if it was not for our old age, or something. It's actually been said and gospeled all the time that we should make a contact sheet out of our films before we start wasting paper. I know, I know... 
Still it somehow feels like some sort of waste of time, in some way. Because you don't actually produce anything for anyone to see, other than for yourself to study hard with your glasses on and what have we all. They're like some sort of thumbnails you will not be able to enlarge, no matter how badly you like to. Still, it's a wise thing to do, so I might just as well use the next few weeks to get used to the thought of it. 

Tomorrow I'm off for a walk if the weather is on the dry(ish) side. Been quite dreich today, to tell you the truth. I'd rather stay dry for the next few days as I don't like to catch that bloody cold again. Fever and stuff is no good to any man, and I should know that well enough by now. 
I might even tell you all about everything some time tomorrow, if the health still is good and all that.