mandag 22. april 2019

It's great, actually!

Well into the last few days of preparation for crew change over here. Which is a good thing, mind you! This time however we need to stay an extra day in Brazil as we're in for visa renewal, which is a horrible venue all together. Takes precious time you see, and lots of the sorts I'm afraid. We even have to get into a van and have someone to drive us about 4 hours up the coast just to get to the right police station to get it all properly done. Crazy, but that's how it is. Oh, and the same four hours back down to Rio again the next day to hopefully catch our flights to Europe. And if we're late, well the next plane leaves 24 hrs later if we can get tickets on such short notice that is. 

Living at the Beach. Well, this might be to stretch the truth a wee bit, but we will be moving to this area a few months from now. It's a place where you can breath. Like really breath...

OK, rants over!
It's going to be great to get home. I got plans, you see. Plans for some darkroom work, and even plans for some snapping up of (hopefully rather) good stuff for all of you to see some day. It's about time I take the old van out and do some driving around the area just to try my take on a few scenes inside the fjords somewhere. 
I usually find myself somewhere on the coast line, and it must be years since I took some time and drove deep into the fjords land of this place. They are quite nice though, if you like this sort of thing. Steep mountain sides and some deep water, that's what it's all about in there. We are only talking about a couple of hours drive actually, so it's not that the task is completely impossible. It's just myself liking the open landscapes a lot better. I feel I can breathe out there on the coast. In the fjords you're constantly walking around with something blocking the means of breathing. Of course it's just a feeling, but anyway who would and should not listen to what your body is trying to tell you? My body usually tells me to pack my things and get home to where the wind is howling, the rain is hammering flat onto your windows and the sun is shining and no wind is blowing half an hour later. That's fresh air to me...
But I'll do it for you, of course... just to let you know what it looks like when looking through one of my cameras. It will be nothing like this or that, I'm absolutely sure! Not like this either, if you follow me the slightest little bit...?
I'll manage to get something though, probably with a bit plainer looks.

onsdag 17. april 2019

Those cameras... and an engineer cadet

Ship o'hoi all! Another busy day is slowly coming to an end and time to find the old bunk quite soon. 
Today it's been another day back to school, but as a teacher and eventually sensor and assessor this time. Part of my job is of course to train new sailors to take over this sort of profession in the years to come. Well, the engineers are the real trainers and teachers, but it's still the assessor who got the last word when it comes to letting the cadets through the needle eye or not. 
I have been the "headmaster" to quite a few of them up through the years, and most of them have become owners of the certificate in the end, but this one has been a bit different. 
Accurate, tedious but effective... and a really outstanding written test to round it all off. You see in addition to the practical side the cadets got a "Cadet Book" they need to fill in. Or it's not about "filling in" as such, but to really answer the questions in as good way as they can. I have seen a lot of cadet books up through the years, but I'm happy to say I've never seen anything like this one. The book has been worked on more or less every day for a full year, and the result is just something else. 
I just signed off her last written test, which from this moment makes her an engineer holding the M4 maritime certificate. She will not know it herself until tomorrow morning, but I'm happy to break the big news to all of you out there right now.

There! See that? Now that's a proper marine engineer for you right there. On top of one of his 2,4 MegaWatt lumps of cast iron and bits and bobs of steel and other sorts of metal. Snapped with an old Nikkormat, I think. You can never be quite sure, but I'm fairly certain about this one. 

Oh, and I almost forgot. 
I just bought that Pentax Spotmatic I told you about a few days ago over here. Had to get it actually, just because it was now or never. I will write words about it whenever I get my hands on it and have eventually fed a roll of film through it. 
I mean it had at least one great lens and a couple of other maybe not so great lenses on the side. A nice leather strap and everything, and it did actually come quite cheap (OK, not cheap as in more or less free, but you know...) after a very short discussion about the matters. 
I'll be happy with it, as long as it opens and shuts when needed. 

mandag 15. april 2019

Sunday blues

Good evening! 
At least it's in the evening over here, so you just have to bear with it even though it's soon morning back home. 
I'm finally done with the most horrible Sunday at work in a very long time. 
As the master of everything technical on board the ship, you are more or less in charge of everything if you look away from knowing or being aware of where are, and/or where we're heading. Anything else is the engine dept. responsibility. 
It's basically like running a small miniature town with all it's support system. Including the sewage, and the waste lines from the mess. Sometimes food waste pipes are getting clogged and there will be a problem with the sewage plant... but (luckily) very rarely on the same day. 
I say no more about it other than mention that we just found ourselves in some very bad luck, from seven in the morning all the way around till six in the evening. That's eleven hours hard work with stuff you don't want to think about. 

It's from a beach in Scotland, of course. There's quite a few places like this over there, and they are great places to go for a walk. You will of course always walk with the wind into your face and get a lot of sand in your wellies and into your cameras and lenses, but it's worth it. Believe me!

Other than that, you might ask...? Nothing much, I'm afraid. Nothing at all, actually. 
I have not even had the time to take the old rangefinder out for a walk on deck. The sky was a bit more overcast today compared to most days, so it would be a nice day for it. Anyway, I'll get my chance again soon. And besides, I'm running out of film as well so might be a good idea to save it for crew change and traveling home days. 

I have just started working ever so lightly on collecting a few snaps to put op on a small exhibition later this year. I got a few prints made up already, and got a few more I need to print from my pile of existing negs... and then I probably need a few more to fill in the gaps. I'll get there though, as long as I can get my old Italian enlarger to work again after the rather serious rebuild to LEDs and new timers and LED controllers and what have we all. I am sure I'll get there, but it has taken a serious amount of time, I have to admit. But OK, at least I know how the thing works should it suddenly show signs of behaving weird. 
I'm looking forward to pinning these pictures up on the walls, because I'm probably going to mix them in between paintings, which will be a new experience all over. 
We have been talking about doing something together for something like 20 years or so, which should mean it's about time soon. Life has come in the way for something like a lifetime, but now it seems we can get something done... I hope. If not, we'll just put aside everything and work against next summer. At least we got a plan now. I've seen some of her paintings, and they look great even on a computer screen. 

I'll be back with more from the archive and a lot more talk soon. 

It's the ship I work on, while on dry land inside the dry dock in Curacao last summer. We had some of the anchor chain out for steel thickness measurements to be done, and a lot of work going on around the bottom of the thing. All thrusters were out for checks and engines were overhauled and a lot of things were going on all the time, day and night. You can even see a couple of guys inspecting something. One of them looking inside one of the thruster holes, and the other just looking at steel plates, whatever that would be good for...?

lørdag 13. april 2019

Just a very few words from downtown Rio de Janeiro

Good evening all, or whatever it is at this time of the day around the world. Over here in Rio it's about 21.30 or 9.30 pm as they rather like to say over here on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. It's OK, I know both terms well enough, so you can use whatever you're used to. 
I'm back again today as well, with a few rants and a couple of snaps that has nothing to do with anything being said. Which should mean everything is as it should be right now as I got nothing much to say about the photography part of it. 
One day I will though, so stay tuned folks!

We came in to town around four o'clock this morning, and it's been a darn long day ever since, I tell you. The client had some stuff to get done on one of their very stupid winches, which of course means we have to join them and go in to the shore either we like it or not. 
I like to go to in and see land and buildings and things, but honestly it's getting worse all the time due to the amount of work piling up that you have to try to get done during the very few hours you get alongside. 
You will have made ready a list of things to do of course, duly written on the door in the engine control room, and then you start on top and work your way down towards the end as far as you get before someone up on the bridge will call you and say "hi-ho" and heave them ropes aboard and fire up the steamers, and off we go again. 
Big trouble is you always only get about this far down your mentioned list before people start calling about all the things that has gone wrong around this old vessel. Winches that don't move, pumps not starting, valves not operating... and the one I never like to hear: the crane is not working!! Which was todays big happening, of course. The crane not working always means we have to drop whatever we're doing to shorten down our list, and jump onto that huge thing to try get it fixed ASAP. It means a world to have that crane working, as it's part of the ship and the ship will get off-hire as soon as it's not doing what it's supposed to do. No pounds, shilling or pence into the ship owners pockets, in other words. 
It's an old crane this one, made in 1998 in good old Holland. It's been great and has served us well, but it's also quite big and it's got a dreadful load of internal parts inside itself. 
About five years ago it was decided to have the thing a bit updated for about 5-6 million Euro, but due to the big crisis and bad things happening in the industry it was put on hold. I guess that's what we are paying for right now... with sleepless nights and a mighty lot of work to be done to keep the thing still working. 
Well, don't let me dwell into the matter too much. We finally found two tiny cables in contact with each other at a place where particularly these two cables should absolutely not be in contact with each other, and then stuff like this tends to sort itself out pretty quick after tearing them cables apart and have them secured that way. 
It's just a matter of finding the buried dog of course, in the middle of a million cables and sensors. It was well hidden this time, waaaay down in the lower and inner parts of the machinery inside everything. What most people seem to fail to understand is that the part you see of this crane is actually just a tiny bit of it. It also takes up quite a large space over five floors inside this old ship. Huge old yellow bastard it is!

 I'm really not sure what made me stop and waste a frame of film on this piece of warehouse somewhere at one of the piers on The Clyde in Glasgow a couple of years or so back in time. Looking at it now it could have been the positioning of things... and the brickwork maybe? I don't know, but there's been people working here some time back. That's for sure!

And not only that, but I even went around the corner to the opposite side of it and snapped that part of it up as well. This time it makes a bit more sense maybe. I think I thought about why they decided to put in a perfectly new and fine door into the hole where a rotten door probably used to stay a short time ago, but failed to see that the roof was about to fall into the building itself? I mean right now there will be a guy standing pushing against the door and wonder what on earth can possibly be blocking their rather new and perfect door from the inside? They can call me... I might be able to give them a clue.

Before all this maniac stuff happened we had a rather good time actually. At least part of the time. We were supposed to get some old sludge delivered to an on-shore lorry, and that part went well enough after we suddenly had a couple of hours extra work because of the fact that they were (for once in a lifetime) deciding that the port side of the ship was the best side to have alongside this time. That little detail created a total mess out of everything, but after that was sorted out it was great for about one hour... until the crane thing happened of course. I mean I even managed to take the black old Leica out on deck in the sunshine taking a few snaps. I even managed to get shouted at very loud because of pointing it into the direction of (obviously) the totally wrong man, and I could go on and on and on. 
All in all it's been a typical great day alongside in Rio, as you probably already have guessed.

And now I'm off to bed, just saying! 

fredag 12. april 2019

Watch this wonderful thing!

See? It's the stairs inside the old lighthouse keepers house out on the island. It's been posted around this place before I think, but having a look at it again can only do you good, so here you are thank you very much. 

I think it must be the best snap of any stairs I ever snapped! Not that I have that many of them under my belt as such, but anyway. 
It was done using the huge and clunky old Mamiya RZ, and after passing through the 110mm lens the light disturbed some silver halides on a tiny piece of 120 size FP4+ film from Ilford and here's the result of that magic. You can't go wrong with a setup like that as long as you just manage to let enough light onto that little piece of film. The shutter could have stayed open twice as long of course, but then there would be issues with some other stuff, so I left it be right where it was and had the deed done. 
Had there been any dead ones around they would probably still be awake of course, as the mirror flip-flap on this thing is on the extreme side. 
Everything went well though, and off we went. 

Oh yes, I got it printed as well. On both Art 300 and some lovely warm tone Ilford paper. Looks great, no kidding! 
One of the mentioned prints, the one on the Art300 paper, would have showed up on this snap had this snap been taken today, if you see what I mean... OK, it's twisting my brains a bit, so I leave it right there. The relativity theory thing has never really been my force in life!

torsdag 11. april 2019

Damn rangefinder, or most likely my film...

I have been using some film this trip to sea. Or I'm not sure I've been taken a lot of snaps as such, but my state of the art black old rangefinder suddenly started playing tricks on me. I don't know what the issue is all about, but it feels to be something simple enough to be honest. At around frame 20-26 or thereabouts the film transport has suddenly locked up, and no more film wanted to be fed through the camera. It's stuck on the spool side of the thing to a point where I have managed to rip the perforated holes to pieces. This happened to three films in a row, and I was pretty furious about it. Then I decided to check again a few days ago, and this time everything went fine (with different type of film, read further on...)
After the two first lock-ups I actually wrote a short message to Ilford, just in case they might be able to shed some light into their making of them things. Their films, that is. The first two stopped funnily enough at around frame 24, and I started to think they might had 36 and 24 exp. length spools mixed up, or that something else might have happened to the films during production making them a bit shorter than they should be. Because that's the feeling you get when this happens. End of film like sort of thing, and when you have been through several hundreds of them you know that feeling well enough. 
I got a nice reply from Ilford. and deemed by the words to read there should be no reason to suspect any dodgy film from their side as this should have been picked up in several ways, but I will of course know a bit more about the issue when I get home and have them torn apart in the darkroom. Further I also had one roll spinning through the old Minolta Hi-matic, and this roll also stopped before it should, so I got a suspicion there is something weird going on with this batch of FP4+ to be honest. But again, nothing will be proved until the rolls have been through the developing process. 
My last roll was a Kentmere 400 which has been living inside the inner parts of my photo bag for years and probably got something like at least 50-60 X-ray treatments on it's neck. The main reason for sending it through the camera is just to check if it gets stuck at some point... I think not, to be honest. 
So, I have been wasting a lot of film lately... but if it's the films themselves that have a problem it's fair enough and no big deal other than loosing some frames I could have wasted on something else. If it's the camera having an issue I'm seeing a repair bill coming up in the future, but then again I can't see what might be wrong since there's only the damn winding tool axle going into the end of the film spool and that's it. And that part of the thing is working flawlessly. If it was the film winder that had a problem I would not be able to rip the film to pieces with it, I should think? 
Anyway, we will find out in a few weeks when I'm out of this place. At least the lady at the mailbox in the Ilford house like to know my findings when I get there, and if there's anything odd with the films she like to know the batch no. and a few other things. I'll send her a mail as soon as I know what the problem is. 

Todays snap was done a few years ago now. Maybe it's been posted before, but I'm not sure. I know another one from the same place has been posted, but this one I don't know. Bog Cotton on the moors of the island where my mother grew up... It's a lovely kind of grass, isn't it?

onsdag 10. april 2019

New cameras? Nah... don't think so!? Not today!

I was actually way too close to becoming the new owner of two old cameras today. One of them just because I have been thinking about getting a camera for parts at some point for my Mamiya RZ67 cameras I got laying around the house. The other one would more or less be had for pure nostalgic reasons, a Pentax Spotmatic. A lovely black painted one, as it happens. The Mamiya RZ seemed to be at the right price more or less, but the Spotmatic probably way beyond what it's actually worth. The thing is you will never know until you got it and have used it for a while. That's just the way it is with old cameras, and why it sometimes might not be the best idea to jump on the wagon and throw your hard earned cash around like a drunken sailor or something. 
I didn't buy any of them, at least not today... and there are in fact multiple reasons for just that, where the biggest one probably is the fact that I should rather get rid of a few cameras instead of dragging even more of them things inside the house. I got more than enough of them for lifetimes to come, and space is a bit limited and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. 
I really want that spare parts camera for the RZ system, but knowing myself I can also see me receiving the thing in the mail and before you can say "screwdriver" I'm deep into a process where the end product is a lot closer to a fixed and repaired No.4 Mamiya RZ instead of a bunch of spare parts for my working cameras should one of them go bonkers. 
Nah... the cheapest way to do this is actually selling one of the three I got and use the two others until one of them fails, then use that one for parts and live happily ever after. There is no reason to get another one at all, and somewhere deep inside me I know that's the right thing to do.

Another small piece of the Fairy Glen snapped from the very point where I came out of the small woods from where I posted a snap in an earlier post. This is more like it, I guess you're saying to yourselves while nodding very lightly. A proper Glenscape it is, sort of.

What about the Spotmatic then, you might naturally wonder? I don't know yet, to be honest. There are two or three reasons why I'd like to have that one. First of all it's sporting a damn fine 50 mm lens in those pictures in the ad. Second I have been looking around for a M42 camera for a while, but should ideally have got one a few years back before "everyone" started to buy all sorts of M42 lenses on the market. The prices seem to be a bit different these days if you compare them to what they were when I first started to think about this. Third reason would be the nostalgic part of it, plus the way the thing looks. I mean it's one of the better looking cameras ever built, and this particular example are just up there at the very top! 
If I stick my finger well into the ground though and actually think about the matter using most of the good parts of my brain at once, I can easily see that I don't need this one either. I got a bunch of cameras doing exactly the same thing as this one would, and most likely they do it at least just as good as this old Spotmatic. They will not do it in the same style and with the same aura involved of course, but the end product will be no much different to anything else I'm able to produce today. 
That's the cold facts, but then again I sometimes just can't help myself making decisions a bit on the side of myself. 
On another sort of note I can't save them all either, and I might just as well get a 100 pack of 8x10 beautiful FB darkroom paper instead. 

This has nothing to do with the previous snap whatsoever, besides it's taken somewhere in Scotland probably. At least it was found on the same film in between some other snaps from over there. I got no idea at all where it is to be honest, but I remember stopping and at the same time doing this underexposure. 

We are still moving around this same part of the blue sea in rather straight lines, putting strange looking yellow computerized boxy things down to the sea bed using hefty remotely controlled and operated submarines to get the deed done. Then after a few days another vessel will be trotting over the same spot with air cannons blowing holes in the sea, and the sound waves from them things will at some point reach the bottom to knock more or less gently onto the face of the sea bed, and further travel far in towards the core of mother earth herself, and for each new layer of rock and stuff the sound wave hits some of the sound will return back towards the surrounding sea. Eventually after some time it hopefully will hit one of them yellow things and get picked up by fancy measuring cells or whatever lives inside them boxes. Then after a few days or weeks the subs will pick them things up and carry them gently on board our nice mother vessel for the data inside them to get downloaded onto some rather proper hard drive. The batteries inside the yellow things will then get charged, and over board they go again. We got thousands of them, apparently. 
Well, it's work... although ever so tedious. And nope, it's not very interesting at all since all we see would be yellow square boxes and the submarines. All the fancy information they dig out of the memory sticks or hole cards or whatever they store the data on will be sent directly to Houston of course. That's where the inside of Pandoras box will be revealed and someone will have a look at whatever information we managed to pick up from the bottom, well over 2000 meters below us. 
Just as well probably, as we simple sailors would not understand one bit of the stuff anyway. Not that I would care much either to be honest. I mean when you got the sort of money to take digital snaps of the sea bed and beyond, why do it in the absolutely most expensive way you could ever think of and in addition end up with a print most people would not understand a thing of anyway? 
Now you can very well sleep on that question, my friends...
See ya!

mandag 8. april 2019

On my Travels

So, you thought I was sitting on my bum watching TV all Sunday evening, did you? Nope... not a chance in the world for that sort of fun over here in Brazil as the TV signal gurus of wherever they come from in this part of the world has yet not managed to find anything in the air for us to download to our very fancy TV system on board this old ship. It's just the same, actually. I almost never watch TV anyway, so it's no loss at all to me. It seems to be a bit worse for some of the other guys, but they seem to have started getting used to it. I even noticed a couple of guys reading books the other day. A strange sight in our tiny little spot of this oil field I tell you. 
Me, myself I read a bit every now and again. I mean to the point I even got a dedicated electronic reading machine device thing. I should hastely add that I prefer books made of paper, but this little flat black thingy is extremely convenient for someone like me who travels quite a lot and at the same time got very limited space to carry stuff with me. I only travel with my tiny messenger bag with room for a couple of small cameras and even smaller lenses and a few rolls of film. In addition to this you will also find me carrying one of them rather small "Fjellräven" backpacks (which obviously has become very popular in the last couple of years... I have had mine since the heydays of Adam though). And that's it. Those two tiny little bags will have to hold everything I need for the six weeks I'm on board the ship. What's in that little backpack you might ask yourselves, since all necessities for six weeks are in there? 
Well, my official papers and certificates and everything I need to prove I'm a professional marine engineer needs to be there together with all visas, passports (yes, I got two of them...) seaman's book and you name it. So some space is always held for the thing that holds the documents into one bunch. 
Then there's a couple of sets of underwear just in case I need to stop over at a hotel or whatever on my way to wherever I'm on my way to. There also tends to be a few magazines containing photographic matters (usually two or three British Journals of Photography and maybe a copy of "Black + White" or two). Then there's my probably 7-8 years old Mac which should have been dead years ago, a telephone charger and a battery bank in case of emergency, a few different USB cables for this and that and a set of headphones of the noise canceling type. That's it. Oh yes, I'm one of those snobs using that sort of headphones, but when traveling alone they are a Godsend, true story!
OK, you have probably already figured out that this is not enough to survive the mentioned six weeks on board a ship, and you are quite right. I got some clothes permanently tucked away on board which of course is nice to find when I get here, but it's not that much. I have them washed twice a week, so nothing much is really needed. The only thing we do is work anyway. More or less, of course. 
Oh, and I almost forgot. There's about a thousand books or so as well hidden away somewhere inside that small backpack or sometimes in my little messenger type photo bag. 
Far from everything digital is good, but being able to carry a thousand books is really up there close to the top I tell you. 

The snap? As usual it's totally out of time and place of course, but it's a rather weird scene from the Fairy Glen out on there on the Lovely Isle of Skye somewhere. I took a short walk on my own while we were there and almost missed this little beauty because I had set my eyes on something else. Luckily I became a bit curious about it and went inside the shelter of the trees for a moment. Besides, this was the only place in the area I found I could manage to open the shutter of the camera for a short enough time to avoid snapping up some other tourist dandering about. 
This is just a film scan I'm afraid, and yes it's unsharp in case you care. The print looks gorgeous on Art 300 paper. You might see it some day with some luck. 

søndag 7. april 2019

Saturday no.4

It's another Saturday evening on board the ship. Half way into week no. 4 of the trip, which should mean I've only got two and a half more weeks of duty until I'm hopefully on my way home. Looks like I need to stay an extra day before I can get on the plane this time, as I need to go to the Federales to get my Visa sorted for another period. They don't play around with their work visas down here, that's for sure! I will not even start to try explaining all the stuff you need to go through to get one, and I don't even remember everything, so I better just skip it all together. It's a lot of hard work and quite some time wasted around offices you never thought you were going to. But they get the job done in the end, and you get out of there with black hands full of ink and straight to the airport and home. It's a wonder we don't get arrested at the airport due to suspicious looking fingertips! Sure, they still use ink to take your fingerprints and hand print over here. When looking at the mess they get on the paper you really start wondering if this is the sort of evidence they convict people by... because any print seems to look more or less exactly like the next one. Well, you know what I mean. 

The Cromarty Lighthouse is a lovely little light I have seen many a time when entering Cromarty Firth in Scotland with the ship. We used to pass it quite a lot back in the days on our way in and out of Invergordon for mobilizing the vessel. Then we were off, heading north and out to the oil fields west of Shetland again. Those were the days. 
I sort of like this snap, so I will have to print it in one or two versions I think. It was snapped last autumn on our trip around the northern parts of Scotland using the black rangefinder with a 35mm lens attached. Sorry about the sloppy scanning and the even sloppier cropping of black borders. I don't like to sit for too long at the computer you should know by now.

Our house back home just went on the market, so if anyone out there have been thinking about buying a house with a beautiful view and a huge basement area for a potentially extremely large darkroom, we got one of those for sale at the moment. The darkroom itself was never built though, so you will need to get that done yourself. Water and electricity is more or less ready. 
We put our names on a list a few years ago when they started the planning of some new apartments on a tiny island at the coast outside our town, but there has been so much going on in the background of that project that I actually at one point gave up the hope it would ever be built. 
But for some reason they actually finally started last summer, and now it's in the process of coming together. They keep on telling us we will be in some time in August, so no time to loose then. Get rid of the old house and get ready to move a few things over to the new place. It will be a great day when all this is over to be honest. Moving out is a big job for sure!

We found this beach on our travel along the northern coast of Scotland. It's facing the Pentland Firth, the most horrible passage you can possibly imagine when the weather is less than great. OK, the Mince is not a good place to be either on such a day, but they are sort of connected the two of them. Terrible currents and standing waves and all sorts of nasty stuff out there. Not on this day though, as you can clearly see. And the beach was really nice even though it ended quite abrupt, as you might see. Yeah, we like beaches!

I went looking around the web for some good old Fuji FP-100 instant film the other day. I know it's been discontinued for a while, but my hope was that someone might would have a few boxes for sale. Found a guy in my hometown who had 10 boxes he wanted to get rid of, but the price were at a level you will not believe. I am seriously NOT paying the equivalent to 40 GBP for 10 polaroid pictures. No way! I love to use instant film at times, but there has to be other ways than buying this stuff anymore for sure! 
I got an idea, but I'm not sure it's possible to get the deed done. We shall see...
First of all I need to end my project with the enlarger (conversion to LED and at the same time building a new f/stop timer). The timer is done and tested, and also the LED insert was briefly tested (but not inside the enlarger) just before I had to run to catch the plane for Brazil. I'm so looking forward to move into the darkroom and make some prints again. I really hope the LED conversion works as it should, as I'm not too keen on buying new condensers for the enlarger. They show up on the huge auction site at times, but very rarely and people seems to know their value. Sometimes you would think they are selling gold, not glass. 

We found this as well, on our way down to a different beach to the one above. This beach was huge in comparison, and there were rocks and other stuff in between all the sand to walk on and to look at. I liked this beach as well, and so did my wife. No surprise there, in other words. We had a long and extremely fresh walk in the quite strong wind. Anyway, it's always windy in these parts of the world so no surprise in that respect either. I liked the lines here, so picked up the camera and snapped the thing duly up. It's from the rangefinder again. I think I only brought that one and probably the other as well for this trip. Maybe I also took the little half frame Olympus, but I can't remember that very well right now. It's been a while, don't you know...

Well, that's it for today. It's late, and even though tomorrow is Sunday it's as good as any other day on board a ship. People need water, working toilets, power for propulsion and charging their phones and all sorts of stuff, so it's up and off to work again in the morning. 
Take care!!

lørdag 6. april 2019

Scotland in the wind, as seen through a rangefinder camera

Just a quick one to show I'm fully capable of posting without filling the space completely with jibberish.

The western bits of northern Scotland, in the autumn of 2018. I found this lovely old shed somewhere way out in nowhere so I stopped and snapped it with the M6 rangefinder on some Ilford film, I guess. This was mainly the kind of roads we travelled on this trip, and I really put some effort into finding them. It was a great week for sure!

We went over here as well. Not that I remember now where exactly it was, but it was absolutely wonderful! And the weather was just the way we wanted it to be.

And down there... fighting against the wee breeze on our way down to a fantastic beach. A graveyard with a really nice view!

torsdag 4. april 2019

I was just asked...

It's quite easy these days to get hold of anyone you like, at any time. Sometimes it feels like it's way too easy, to speak absolutely frankly about the matter. Like a couple of hours ago when one of my mates from the camera club thing back home just asked me via the interweb if I was keen on doing a shortish speech about film photography at the next meeting some time early May.
Sure... no problem I told him, well before starting giving it a second thought.
Then, obviously you finally start to think about what to talk about to make people actually listen and how to not make some boring event out of it and have the whole bunch fall asleep or something.
I'm not a great talker, so let's just get that straight from the very beginning. I know the words and how to pronounce them of course, but to actually find the right words and then keep on talking is a bit more tricky for me, especially when there's a bit more than a handful of people present.

I think I will speak only a very tiny little bit about cameras. As little as possible, actually. After all it's basically a light tight box with a lens sticking out. Everyone knows that little fact. I might bring a couple of examples just to pass around for people to look at and pluck on, but not much more than that. Of course they will already know how to twist and turn the very few things you possibly can twist and turn since they all should know a camera fairly well when they see one.
I'm more likely to spend a couple of minutes on talking about the film as medium and what it does, what it looks like, very basically how it works and why it's so much "better" than digital. And before you all run grab for your shotguns; nope... not better as in better, but everyone has to agree that the physical appearance of film is worth a million bucks compared to the bits and bytes we collect onto our hard drives floating around inside everyones homes these days.
Because in about 200 years, or even just 20 if light still exists (and hear me now, great leaders of the world), pictures can still easily be made from film. Good luck trying that with any .jpg or .raw file or whatever the file extension might look like at that time. The mentioned hard drives might no longer exist, or at least a big pile of the files stored inside them will no longer be alive and available.
And that's not fake news folks! I mean even today I got a computer which refuses to open .raw files I shot less than ten years ago.

Just have a look at this...! Is it not simply fantastic? One of "aunt" Laura's snaps of two of their neighbors who actually lived quite some distance away. It was most likely a Sunday since there was time left for a ride on the bike. They seem not to be in their everyday clothes either. It's just a snap, I know... but here we are maybe 80 or so years later looking at the thing.

I will probably also bring a small Paterson film developing tank with all it's inner bits just to show what a tiny amount of stuff and equipment you actually need to develop your own film. That might be an eye opener to a few as well. I can even bring a wasted film to show exactly how quick and easily it's done if they like. That's only going to take half a minute or so just to give a quick demonstration. I might also just as well skip that part...

I will probably use a tiny wee bit of time to show off a few freshly made prints from some of the negatives my father got from way before he was born, from back in the days when his mother was a kid. That might put a few brains into thinking about the reality of one of the biggest issues with the digital snaps overflowing the world today. OK, I know everyone have seen old photos, and most people still have some of them laying around, but to actually see a fresh print made from a negative that old might be something they have not been thinking too much about the possibility of. 
The prints will not be very sharp or technically great, as they were most likely shot on Kodak Brownies or Agfa Boxes or whatever and on really old fashion film, but there will be fresh made prints from about 100 years old negatives for people to see and touch. Some might even come to the conclusion that knife sharp focus and pixel counting is not the most crucial in a photo after all? Of course it depends on how you look at it, but I'd rather have one bad snap from the daily life around the old farm a hundred years ago as opposed to nothing at all.

One of quite a few photographs we got hidden away just waiting to be printed again. My great grandfather in his Sunday hat watching other people fishing on the frozen lake some time probably in the early 1930's. Looks very much like a 6x9 neg (one of my fathers scans, so I take no credit at all either for the photo or the scan...).

I'd like to use the rest of my little time to talk about printing inside the darkroom, since that's where the real magic happens after all. I might even find a good print or two from a negative taken with a more modern camera with a good lens for people to see that it's still possible to make good and fairly understandable work with old fashion tools. I can pass the prints around for people to touch without being afraid they smear the ink around the top of the paper surface. I will urge them to rub their fingers over the lovely paper, feel the texture and the weight and quality of it. Even tear off a bit of one or two of the corners should it for some odd reason please them to do so.

You've seen them before, I know. It's just to fill in the space... They are of course snapped in 6x7 format on Ilford FP4+ I think. Maybe even HP5+ but I somehow doubt it. 

That's mainly what I would like to talk about, I think. Oh, and of course also try to explain the joy of walking around looking for scenes to snap instead of staring into some damn stupid screen to check if you nailed the focus on the 200 shots you just snapped a couple of moments ago. There's nothing much there to distract you when working with film. Nothing that gets in the way too easily. There's the shutter time and the aperture, and that's about it. No inner finicky adjustments, white balance or tweaks to bug you off and make you loose your masterpiece without even knowing you did just that.
And you will never again come home with a thousand snaps to sort out after only a short walk around the house, which is absolutely great I can tell you.

My father and his sister. This must be a fairly new one, shot just after the war by the look of the two. The negative still exist, so would be nice to try and print it even though somebody messed up a bit with the focus thing. It doesn't matter, actually. It's way better than no photo at all! 

It's brilliant, actually.
And the biggest pleasure of them all must be the fact that your great great grandchildren still can make beautiful prints from your negs a hundred years from now with no hassle at all. It might sound stupid, you might get sick of me repeating this, and you may wonder who on earth would take interest in your pictures in a hundred years from now? Well, a lot of people no one have seen yet will be for sure. I know, because I would never have even heard of my grandmothers aunt Laura if it was not for the fact that she was the only one owning a camera in the family back then, and luckily she used it quite a lot by the standards of the time from around 1920 and onwards. I still call her aunt Laura, even though she was actually my grandmothers aunt and dead and gone a long time before I was born over 50 years ago. She's one of the biggest heroes of this family if you're asking me.
Photos will be important for the plain purpose of telling our history in not too many years from now, and the sad fact is that there will not be much to be told from most families from around the year 2000 and onwards, simply because there will be very few if any pictures to relate the words to.

That's the cold facts... and then there is the pleasure to the eye film gives you.
But that's a different story for another day, I believe.
Long post again... I'm sorry, but I just got no sense of limiting myself!