mandag 24. februar 2020

Planning the holidays, we are

I know, it's way too early to start planning the summer. At least it's way too early for that up and over where I come from. It's getting a bit easier every year though, as nowadays there's only about two of us left involved in the planning, which probably makes you wonder even more why we're starting this early thinking about three short weeks in July? 
Well, it's just because it's required sort of. At least if we would like to get what we want out of the trip. 
We're not going very far, mind you. We're not going to where the weather is warm either. And there will of course be a lot of rain. And fog. Won't see much at all, most likely. And there will most certainly be a zillion tons of midge per cubic meter worth of breathable air. 
But we're quite used to all of that sorts, so we'll be fine we will. 
Oh... and crowds. I forgot to mention the crowds. I tend to forget them until I'm there.
If you happen to be in the area around that time, don't hesitate to give me a shout. Would be great to meet up for a chat and to waste a few frames of film together.

Will go over the sea to here it seems, or at least somewhere quite close. 
Scanned neg taken out of the Olympus Pen EE-3 half frame toy. Ilford PAN 400 in HC-110

Not here we won't go. We've been here some time in the past. Might go again some other time though.
Same film and same camera and developer as above. 

I had a rather short but nice session of developing film this morning. It's been Sunday after all, you know. One was a roll of Ilford PAN 100 saved out of the very tiny little Olympus Pen EE-3 half frame thing, but they were not the snaps shown above of course as the scanner facilities on board is non existent at the moment. I sloshed it around in some (to me) new developer from Foma. Powdery stuff, so easy to carry in the luggage over from Norway. I tell you a bit more about it some other day, of course. The other film was a (hold your hats) C-41 thing containing a myriad of strange bits called colors. In addition it was of very much unknown origin (marked LOMO, I discovered later...). It has been snapped up inside the light tightness of a very nice and bulky (in the right spots) Pentax 67. Oh no, it's not my camera as you might remember from my last post, as I just borrowed it from one of the engineers who most kindly trusted me to carry the thing around the ship for a few days. On the other hand he has been seen strolling out and about with my Rolleiflex in hand, so I guess we're even, sort of.  
The C-41 show-off is nothing but an experiment, of course. As it happen I got a bit more than a few rolls of the stuff inside my cabin on board the ship, so I just need to try my best to put them into some good use, as you will do when you got film that came to you in ways you no longer remember any details about. 
And talking about strange film; I just loaded a 120 size roll of Ilford Delta 3200 into the old Rolleiflex. I wonder what I was thinking, but we will see some other day what came out of it. 

Other than that it's been another one of them quite warm days here way out in the Gulf of Mexico. Strange place to be honest. One day it's freezing cold and breezy, and the next you wake up thinking you have been sleeping on top of a good old coal fire. The sea is calm to moderate more or less all the time down in this area though, with literary no waves at all to speak of. A tiny wee bit different from what we know from back home this time of year, as you might know all about. At least it's been nice and flat like this whenever I have toddled along working in these areas. Hence no wonder actually, the yankees are building their ships with almost no freeboard at all, can you imagine that? Also then no wonder the US supply vessels had a rather short career when they first were brought over to do work out in the North Sea some time around late 60s and early 70s. The poor guys on deck were constantly walking around wet on their tiny little feet, and probably got very well tired of it at some point. 
I don't blame the yankees though, because after all there had to be some Norwegian hot shot who first had the bright idea to bring them ships over. Without lots of further hesitation we started to design our own vessels, a bit more suitable for the conditions present in the North Sea. 
Well... what works in one part of the world does not automatically work in other parts of it. That's for sure.

For throwing plastic and stuff around to be taken away by the breeze and brought around in circles until it hits the ocean and other bits of nature however is a completely different thing, just saying! To actually stop doing that will work perfectly fine all over the globe. Totally true story! 

For some odd reason I seem to like these sorts of features people have dug into the landscape. At least I like to snap them up when they have already been put there anyway. This one was particularly nice with it's cables hanging useless around. Makes you wonder why they have not pulled the thing out of the soil some time ago, actually. Well, I might go that way and try snap it once again as the cables are a lot less visible on the film than I imagined they would be. 
Snapped with the M6 rangefinder with the 35mm some time ago. Yellow filter attached. Film unknown, as more or less usual.

I think I might just as well go try to get some sleep now. 
See you around some other day, hopefully. 
Stay safe!

lørdag 22. februar 2020

Still around, mind

Hi ya, all you old friends of this tiny little blog. I know it's been way too long, but all sorts of things like life and stuff came in the way and might as well do the same thing at some point in the future for all we know. Just don't delete me off your reading lists and you'll probably find a few words and a snap or three coming through every now and then. 

You might have thought that little "Hi ya" up there sounded like a very overseas way to greet you all? Actually that was the plan mind you, but only because I'm actually o'er there. Or actually right here as it happens. In the US of A that is. 
Been here for some time now actually, but soon to move back down south to Brazil if we are to believe what's being told about the further plans (better known as rumors...) and all that. 
But first I'm going to finish off this trip here in US waters, and then I'm going home for a few weeks before joining the ship again down south somewhere. Rio de Janeiro, most likely. 

You know for sure you must be quite some distance away from old Norway when there's more than one railway track going in the same general direction...
Pentax Spotmatic, 50mm f /1.7  Ilford PAN 400
Galveston, TX

America is great of course, as we all know from before and also are being reminded quite often these days. Lots of space indeed, and else seems to me to be just like it used to be back in the days I was here the last time about 12 years ago, or something like that. 
It would probably feel even bigger if I was able to move around on my own a bit more, but I'm rather stuck at one single place, as you usually are when being placed to work on board a ship. 
Anyway, I managed to get hold of a few rolls of that legendary B&W film they have made for quite a while over here. It was not cheap though, if that might ease your minds a bit. It didn't work any better than it used to do either. None of the pictures shown today are shot on that sort of lovely emulsion, just to have that mentioned straight away. I think it's all Ilford PAN 400 to be honest. I will of course show you a few master pieces snapped on Tri-X at some point when I got something ready for you. 

You see we got ourselves a darkroom on board the ship these days. Well, only for developing film of course, since else we would be forced to invent a gyro stabilized enlarger to be able to print on paper on board the vessel. Could be done, of course... but I'm not sure what my employer would say about that to be honest. I think we should just be happy that we're actually able to do film, and leave the other matter be. 
It started last trip when the third engineer brought his Paterson tank and some C-41 chemicals on board. We soon found it to be a good idea that he left his tank on board, and also try to get some more chemicals on board as well for this trip. So he brought some E-6 chemicals, and I brought a few different B&W developers. This trip we have developed all three sorts of films with no obvious failures so far. 
Sounds nice, huh?

From just south and east of Pier 39 in Galveston. A facility for shipping out grain has been built here some time ago. I guess they still use it, but not on the day I was there and made this snap.
Pentax Spotmatic, Ilford PAN 400
Galveston, TX

Nothing much else is new I guess, besides I got a few new cameras of course. Just old scruffy things with bad lenses, sticky shutters and no working light meters of course, so nothing to jump through the roof about. The "new" Spotmatic is a great one though, if I should mention only one of them newcomers. Lovely old thing, but the light meter is dead on that one as well. 
I'm also borrowing a Pentax 67 from the Third Engineer right now, so that's probably the best thing for the moment. Huge, bulky, heavy and absolutely lovely brick of metal with a lens and a shutter. Or two lenses, to tell the truth. You might see a few scans later on when I get home and hopefully still own a working computer. Seems like this one is getting closer to it's end of lifetime these days, but we will see. I can do nothing but knock the woods and say a few words over it every time I start up the old thing. It's from around 2010 after all... a dinosaur these days, I know. 

I don't know, to be honest...! Probably somewhere up between Galveston and Houston, TX. Somewhere on the highway due west of Texas City or something like that, I guess. Thought I'd just try a shot in the blind more or less. I'm glad I did.
Still with the Pentax Spotmatic. Same lens and same old film as above. 

That'll be all for now. No great stories from America yet folks, but I'll try to put something together for the next post. Hopefully it's not going to take a year or so to put that one together. 

See ya! 

lørdag 25. mai 2019

Testing some Slavich darkroom paper, finally

Looking into my darkroom shelves you would think there should be more than enough paper to keep me going for quite a while. The short answer to that is of course yes absolutely, as long as you're not too picky about the final look on the print that is. 
If you think there's a great difference in between film types and qualities, well then go ahead and try a few different papers and check out the differences on the final prints which is enormous compared to different film types. 

You have of course seen this shot a few times before if you've been through this blog a few times, but I've never lith printed it before. I think this phone photo of the print should give you a pretty good idea of the look of the print. It's rough as heck, but I like it a lot for this sort of look.

I have wanted to get my hands on some Slavich paper for quite a while now, but for some reason it has just never happened that I have put the order in. My usual suppliers of paper do not stock it, so the solution for me was to get it from Slavich's distribution company Geola, over in Lithuania. No problems whatsoever to get what I wanted from them, but the shipping and tax cost was a bit high from what I remember. 
Their Baryta based "Unibrom" paper comes in two grades, Normal and Contrast. I only had time to do a few tests on the Normal paper, but will post examples from their Contrast grade as well some time. 

My Ballerina shot done a couple of years or so back in time. This got a very different feeling to it all of a sudden when using the Slavich paper compared to the smoother Emaks paper from Fotokemika which I've used for lith earlier. 

I only tested the Slavich paper in lith developer (LD20) due to time issues (as usual). What I really liked about it is the rather extreme graphic looks it gives in the shadows, and the beautiful and warm tones (yellowish) I got in the highlights. 
And before you start to ask me what kind of test this is... well, it's not a test as in such. I only made three prints to see what it looked like, so if you need a deep test in all sorts of conditions and all sorts of developers compared to whatever else, I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere. I will probably come back though, with more prints and hopefully less words.  

mandag 13. mai 2019

Testing period of my converted to LED lights enlarger

Hi again, folks!
I know it's been quiet for some time again from this part of the world, but I have had things to do I'm afraid. Some fun stuff, and a bunch of boring things on the forever growing "to do" list. We're trying to sell the house as you might already know, which means a lot of really tedious things that just have to be done. I'll spare you the details! 

Just a quick phone shot of one of the few prints I've made with the home made LED module I made for my enlarger. This was not the final print, as I found out I had been a tad to careful with the blacks in this one, but you'll get the idea. Just to make everything right, this is not one of my own negatives but one I had printed for a friend that is just starting out with film. More of that later, but it seems I have managed to pull at least one guy over to the darker side... 

I have luckily also found some spare time to spend inside the darkroom lately, just to try to figure out how to use the new LED setup inside my enlarger. I finished the building of the thing the last time I was home, had it checked on the bench and then had to leave for six weeks while in Brazil working my sweat out. 
I have now mounted the light (or LED) module itself inside the enlarger, but the LED drivers and some electronics are still hanging outside making the thing look like something the cat dragged in. Still, I just had to get it all tested with negatives and paper. I mean there's no reason to do a lot of work on it just to use hours to dismantle the whole thing again when something did not work as planned, right?
So I had the LED module mounted and a negative stuck inside the enlarger and started to work on paper again. And yes, I just have to admit that it seems like I have done the right thing! It's different to work with of course, but then again I knew that much before I started this journey too many moons ago. 
It works!! 
The green LED's are giving me nice transitions from white to middleish greys, and the blue leds being quite a lot tougher than I thought are giving me rich and really nice blacks, which is the whole point after all. 
I have only done a few test prints up until now, but I'm hoping to be able to do a bit more serious work with it during next week. This week will have to be dedicated to that boring stuff mentioned above.
What I do see is that there's obviously a lot more of the blue light there than my eyes are seeing, making it a bit difficult to control at this early stage. I will get used to it though, I know. 

I am not where my darkroom is at the moment, so I can't give you any phone snaps of the thing right here and now. I will of course come back to the details at some point just to show you that it can be done if you're a bit dedicated...
You may also remember that I had a new timer built, and a digital LED controller for me to be able to turn on and off the right LED's and to dim them to the level I need them to shine through any given negative. Well... they all work as intended and I'm happy to say I'm quite satisfied with the whole thing. Now I only need to put all cables, transistors and resistances into somewhere to hide them away. But first I will have to make a few more prints I guess. 
The first impression is at least almost overwhelming, but I'll come back to the details and a few examples some day when I got something to show off.

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...?