Thursday, February 22, 2018

Finished with 2016

On Sunday I spent a couple hours in the darkroom and processed a batch of film.  This was 4" x 5" Bergger Panchro 400, processed in Ilford Perceptol developer.  The development time for this film is quite long, at 20:00 minutes.  The developer is diluted 1:1, and development temperature is pumped up a little to 24C.  As I result I only ran two tanks of seven hangers, for a total of 14 sheets.  This included five sheets taken in late 2016.  These were the only remaining unprocessed sheets from the 2016 calendar year, so I am now finished with 2016.  I probably still have around a hundred sheets remaining from 2017 to be processed.  And, I have now started shooting 2018, despite the poor weather conditions.  It is a never ending process... but I enjoy it immensely.  The scan attached below is the last image processed from 2016.
This is a small patch of aspen seedlings in the sand along Jasper Lake, in Jasper National Park.  They are slowly being consumed by the advancing sand dunes.  Roche Miette is visible in the clouds in the background.  This image was taken in late October of 2016 with my Ebony SV45TE view camera and a Fujinon-W 125mm lens, and a #25 Red Filter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rickenbacker 330 MG

While I was at the music store on the weekend, I bought another guitar.  All my life I have admired the classics.  I love the acoustic that the girls bought me for Christmas, but I'd also like to collect a few electrics.  The first is one that I have been drawn to for many years, even long before I took up lessons.  This is a Rickenbacker 330 MG.  The MG stands for "Mapleglo" finish.  As a woodworker I have an appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into building it.
I started taking lessons right after Christmas and I've been practicing every day.  I've finally started developing callouses on my fingertips so that they no longer get so raw and sore.  Can't really play any tunes yet, but I'm working on learning chords and making chord changes.  Also need to focus on learning to read notes.  It's slowly coming, but it will be a while before I can do this instrument justice.  I vow to keep trying though...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Three in a Row Polaroid

Here's a scan of the second Polaroid negative that I shot during the recent still life shoot.....

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Three Pears Polaroid

A couple weeks ago when I was shooting the still life shots of the pears on my kitchen table, two of the negatives that I shot were on Polaroid Type 55 film.  This film is now obsolete, and the few sheets I have left would probably command a high price, if I chose to sell them... but I won't.  I really like the look of this film, particularly for botanical and still life images.  For those not familiar with this product, it is an instant film packet that yields both a negative and a positive print.  Unfortunately if you expose adequately for the negative, the print is rather light and useless....  But it is the negative that I want anyway.  It self develops in a minute or so once you pull the packet through the rollers of a polaroid holder and release the developing agent.  Then negative then needs to be cleared in a bath of sodium sulfite, washed and dried.  I love the stuff and will have to ration the remaining 20 or so sheets that I have left.
As I was shooting this image I forgot that the image area of the film is a little smaller than 4" x 5".  As a result, the pears are a little close to the border, and the one stem almost got clipped.  The other shots that I took on traditional 4" x 5" sheet film will have a little more "breathing room".  The border of this scan is the edges of the actual negative.  You can see streaks and patterns from the developing agent that was spread across the film during development.  And on the right side are a series of circular marks from the perforated paper carrier that held the film in the packet.  Kind of a gimmicky look that some photographers include in the image when the print it.  I've included it here for context but wouldn't include it if I actually printed the image.  I'm sure I'll print at least one negative from this session but will wait until I process all of them before deciding which is best.  In all likelihood I expect it might be an alternative process print of one of the bigger 8x10 negatives.

Saturday Afternoon

As nice as it is to sleep in, I hate wasting my weekends by sleeping in too long.  I compromised on Saturday and got up around 8:30AM.  I had a bunch of odds and ends that I wanted to catch up on.  I went to my shop and met there with Al from Rolltec.  He finalized his quote for the rollshutter installation at our place in Nordegg, and I paid him a deposit.  He'll build the shutters over the next couple of months and have them ready for installation later in the spring.
I washed my truck as it was becoming pretty caked with road grim and salt.  Partly from the drive out to Nordegg on Friday but also due to the Calcium Chloride solution that our wasteful civic government keeps spreading on the roads in the city.  Seems to me this is environmentally unfriendly, corrodes vehicles, and creates black ice whenever the temperature plummets into the -20's.  But our local politicians like to spend our money on wasteful things.
I slipped out to the music store for a little while and had a look at some guitars.  Then I continued work on my projects at the shop.  I put together the cabinet doors for our bathroom vanity and mounted them to the cabinet.  The hinges are all adjusted and I'm just waiting for the cabinet handles that I've got on order.  I can now continue with the counter top and the sink and faucet installation.  I was a little uncertain exactly how much room there was in our bathroom and was a little leery about pushing too far with the vanity.  But I checked dimensions when I was out there on Friday, and breathed a sign of relief.  Lots of room for this vanity, including a slightly overhanging countertop.
The acrylic resin that I used to fill the cracks in our fir slab coffee table has not fully cured yet so I couldn't work on that.  And, I'm not completely happy with the most recent antique window that we purchased.  I've been attempting to rebuild it a little and have to decide whether it is good enough to build the next interior door around, or whether I should keep looking for another.
So, in order to continue working I cut up the plywood for the body of the pantry cabinet.  This will be the next piece of furniture that I move onto, once the vanity is completely done.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Back to Tamarack Trail

On Friday I took most of the day off work and took a drive out to Nordegg.  I was in the office for an hour and a half in the morning, and then left with Al from Rolltec Rollshutter Manufacturing.  We took a drive out to the cottage in Nordegg to measure all the windows and doors for Rollshutters.  Al will be manufacturing these for us, and later when the drywall is done, he will bring them out and install them.
Rollshutters mount on the exterior of the building and include a box at the top of each window or door, and rails down either side.  The "curtain" consists of interlocking foam-filled aluminum sections that roll up into the box when opened, and down over the window or door when closed.  This serves several purposes.  It provides security when we are not out there as the shutters lock in the closed position.  It also provides protection from wind and storm damage, and to a certain degree from fire.  They will double the insulation value of the windows and help to retain heat during winter.  And in the summer they will block excess heat gain.
Al and I had a lengthy conversation during the three hour drive to and from Nordegg, as well as during a lunch stop.  I enjoyed it and trust that we will get good value for the money spent.
It was a relatively mild day compared to our recent weather.  I think the temperature peaked at about -7C in the afternoon.  There is a lot of snow out there now, and it was snowing heavily as we finished up measuring.  We saw one herd of wild horses along the highway, but other than that it was pretty uneventful.  This was my first trip out there since before Christmas and things have changed quite a bit in the two months I've been away.
The cottage is essentially finished on the exterior now.  The propane tank has been delivered and set beside our driveway.  The eavestroughs and downpipes have been installed.  I dropped off the two skylights while we were out there.  Scott of Shunda Creek Contracting will install these for me when he uses his boom lift to go up on the roof and cut in our chimney and plumbing vent.  These are the last couple items remaining to be looked after.  I'm expecting Scott to send me his final invoice any day now so that we can settle our account with him.  From here on in it is up to me....
We made it back into the city shortly after 5:00PM and I spent a little time in the office catching up on a few loose ends before the long weekend.
Electrical rough in will be the next major project.  I hope to get out there in a few weeks with my electrician friend Rob to look after that.  Once that is complete I will get it inspected by the permit agency, and then proceed with insulation and vapor barrier.  Once everything is insulated, the drywall crew will get started.  Once drywall is complete, the roll shutters can be installed.  Then we will continue with the interior finishing....
In between all that I am spending most of the recent cold weather days working at constructing cabinets and other items for the cottage.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Center Street

I took this image of the abandoned stores on Center Street, in Hairy Hill, Alberta back in December.  This was while my friend Court and I were out for a day trip.  I've shot here many times before but this time it felt like the start winter conditions added to the mood of desolation and abandonment.  I just processed this film a couple weeks ago.  The image was shot on Ilford Delta 100 4"x 5" sheet film, exposed at 80 iso.  I used my Ebony SV45TU camera and a Rodenstock Grandagon-N 90mm lens.  The film was processed in Ilfotec DDX developer, diluted 1:4, for 12:00 minutes at 24C.  Although there is nothing wrong with this film and developer combination, I like the results of other ones better.  I will probably not come back to this developer once I use up the stock that I have.  In the future I will work with this film and process in Rodinal, in PMK and in 510 Pyro.  Check back in the coming months for some of those results.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Don't Stop Believing

The girls and I have always got a kick out of this vandalised Stop Sign down in East Coulee.  It is perched on the corner beside the now abandoned East Coulee Hotel.  We were saddened to see that place shut down as we used to get a kick out of going there for an affordable meal.  While we took advantage of the discounted Steak Dinner, the girls would have a blast plugging loonies into the old Juke Box and playing tunes.  By 8:00PM the place became a licensed establishment and the younger crowd were forced to make way for the old geezers.  A mix of bar flys and locals that hung out at the local watering hole.  Hopefully someone finds a way to resurrect the old place.
Last spring I finally made time to photograph this old sign.  Although nothing about this image suggests at the nostalgia attached to the place just out of the frame, it holds some fond memories for me.  
This particular shot was captured with my Ebony SV45TU view camera and a Nikkor M 300mm lens.  I used Ilford FP4+ film, processed in Janaury of this year in Perceptol developer diluted 1:1, with a development time of 11:45 minutes at 24C.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Rob's Millwork Shop 2

I'm kind of at a standstill in terms of building more interior doors.  I still have the door stops that I need to sand, stain and lacquer but other than that I can't do anything further until we source more antique windows.  In the mean time I have moved on to some cabinet construction.
I purchased some cabinet grade birch plywood and 250 board feet of rough cut rustic hickory hardwood.  I am now in the process of building all the cabinets for the cottage.  This includes a bathroom vanity, a free standing pantry, and the kitchen cabinets and cupboards.  The body of each piece will be constructed from the plywood.  The faces and exposed sides and doors and drawer fronts will be constructed from the hickory.  I am planing down the hickory and constructing from there.  I saw a design on line that was decorated with some tree branches on the doors.  I am stealing that concept and incorporating it into these cabinets of my own design.  In addition to the hickory I am insetting some pine paneling into the cabinet doors.  This will help to create some design cohesion with the interior room doors that I have already started on.
I am well on my way with the bathroom vanity and hope to be into the finishing stages and hardware assembly within the next week or so.  After that I will carry on with the pantry.  I need to get out to the cottage and check some room dimensions before I get too serious about the kitchen cabinets and cupboards.
Years ago I had a home workshop set up in the basement of the house I used to live in.  I built quite a number of pieces including desks, benches, cabinets, tables and some smaller items.  I quite enjoy woodworking but haven't had the time for it in recent years.  I also no longer have a home workshop.  I find it really frustrating to work in my shop as I seem to spend most of my time hunting for tools that my staff have misplaced.  But, the cottage project has brought me back to my past hobby and I have now brought most of my hand tools to the shop so that I can work without too much frustration.  Perhaps this is something that I will continue with as I look to eventually retire.  In the meantime my plate is full with all these items that I need to construct for the cottage.

Friday, February 9, 2018

In Focus 2018

Last night I attended the opening reception for InFocus 2018.  Margarit and my Mom joined me.  The opening was really well attended.  I didn't get a particularly accurate count of how many people were there, but it had to be well over 100.  I ran into a number of friends and acquaintances at the event.  The wall panels that I helped build looked really good and the photographs were well received.  The show will be on display through the month of February.  I encourage anyone that is out at the Edmonton International Airport to step over to the connected Renaissance Hotel and check out the work.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Rob's Millwork Shop

I spent a bunch of time at my shop again this weekend, working on some projects for our cottage.  We got quite a bit of snow in the past week... about 6 to 8 inches... so the snowmobile should get out soon.  But, it's been really cold, with overnight lows around -25C and the daytime high temperature only making it up to -15C or so.  Seems there is always a breeze, making it feel worse...
On Saturday I picked up some plywood from the lumber store and took it to the shop.  I only grabbed three sheets so far but need to get back there and grab some more.  These will be cut up and used to make the body of the cabinets I am building.  This will be a vanity for our bathroom, a free-standing pantry, and the kitchen cabinets.  The plywood exposed on the interior of each cabinet will be lacquer finished.  On the exterior the plywood will be completely concealed by the hardwood that I will be using.  I ordered a small lift of "rustic hickory" which I will be picking up this week.  It is all still as rough boards so I will need to plane it all down before fabricating anything.
My work is somewhat at a standstill right now as I am waiting for several things needed to continue.  We haven't found any more antique windows, so I can not continue with anymore of the interior doors.  The first one is just about finished and I'm in the process of pre-hanging it into the jamb, and installing the door latch.
I bought a large slab of fir that is about 3" thick, 20" wide and 11 feet long.  This will make the lunch counter that will be installed in our bay window.  I can't really work on it yet either, as I need final dimensions after drywall in order to cut it to size.  Today I rough cut it to the 8 foot length that we will need, which left me a 3 foot long piece for our coffee table.  I can now begin work on finishing this smaller slab, but eventually need to come up with some sort of base for it.
I cut up one sheet of plywood and made all the pieces for the body of the bathroom vanity.  I had to stop at this point and can not assemble it yet.  I'm waiting for an order of some plastic laminate that needs to be glued to the inside floor of the cabinet, before I can go any further.  Even with this laminate material I can't proceed beyond basic assembly as I'm still waiting for the hardwood.
Over the course of this next week I should be able to round up most of what I've been waiting for and continue with my cabinet making.  But, if the weather improves we may take a spin out to the cottage, which would put this millwork on hold yet again...  Most of it isn't needed until later this summer.  I'm just trying to make use of these cold winter days and accomplish something so that I have less to do later in the summer.
We went out for brunch today to the Blue Chair.  The guitar teacher that Anna and I have been taking lessons from was playing there with a friend of his.  It was a really nice morning, and fairly busy.  The food was really good and we enjoyed the background music.  We didn't get a chance to talk to our teacher Gary, but will see him again tomorrow at our regular lesson.

Still Life Photography

With the recent spell of cold weather it has not really been an option to venture outdoors for any photography.  At least I haven't felt motivated to do so.  But I'm anxious to have some new film to process and some new images to work with.  The other day I was in the grocery store and saw some nice bosc pears.  They seemed to have some character with their slightly irregular shape and their long curving stems.  So, I bought three of them and took them home with the intention of photographing them.  I've had them for a few days now and if I waited too much longer they would have become over ripe.  Last week I set up and photographed them.  I cleared a section of our kitchen table, set up a background stand, and put up a white paper backdrop.  I set up one studio light and a reflector.  I didn't bother with a softbox or an umbrella as I wanted some more direct light to provide some distinct shadows.  I took several shots with my 4x5 view camera.  This included a few on typical black and white film... I used Ilford Delta 100, Kodak Tri-X Pan and Foma Retro 320 soft.  I also took a couple shots on some of my last remaining Polaroid 55, as well as a couple of color negatives.  Then I switched to my big 8x10 view camera and shot a few more larger negatives.  These I will use for some alternative process work, if the images turn out.  I've included a couple of snapshots below of the set up, and the subject.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Free and Clear

One of the conditions attached to the purchase of our lot in Nordegg, by Clearwater County, requires that we build a cottage to the lock up stage within three years of possession.  If this condition is not met, the County takes the lot back and refunds the purchase price less $5000.  If this were to happen the owner would forfeit the value of any work done to date.  We obviously had no intention of testing the resolve of the County and proceeded with construction in the spring 2017, after possession.  I understand that the County has taken back at least two lots in the subdivision in the past.
Yesterday an inspector from Clearwater County went out to Nordegg and carried out a review of our project, as well as a couple others in the subdivision.  Our project was deemed complete to lockup, even though there are a couple little odds and ends remaining to touch up.  We are now free and clear to do what we want and work at our own pace.  We could choose to sell the property now if we wanted to... but we do not.  There are no conditions attached and no deadline to completing the interior of the building.  We want to get it over and done with relatively quickly, so that we can begin to use and enjoy the place. 
From the date of possession on July 1st 2016, to the date of inspection on January 31st 2018, exactly19 months elapsed.  So we were just over half way to the deadline.  Its nice to have this over with and not hanging over our heads.  We can now work to our own schedule, at our own pace.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Framed Print for InFocus

I've been so busy the last little while that I sort of neglected getting my print ready for the InFocus exhibition.  I printed the negative back in early January, but just never got around to the finishing part.  While I was helping Aaron and Alexis with some of the preparations for the show I was reminded that the framed prints needed to be delivered last weekend.  I spent two evenings helping build 17 wall panels that will be used for the show and this took away some of my finishing time.  I was granted an extension, and finally finished my print last Sunday.  I dry mounted it, cut over matts, did a little spotting, and cut up and assembled a frame.  On Monday night I had my weekly guitar lesson with my daughter Anna, followed by a late hockey game.  On Tuesday evening I was finally able to deliver my finished print.  When I arrived Aaron and Alexis were just in the process of unloading the wall panels from their trailer, into their garage.  I helped unload them and stacked them all up so that the exposed edges can be painted.  The faces of the panels were prefinished white hardboard.  They sure are putting a lot of time and effort into this show.  Hopefully it will be appreciated and well attended.  I've always enjoyed taking part and don't mind helping out as much as I can.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Telephone

Last weekend the girls and I took a drive out to the town of Calmar.  There is an antique store there... Loganberries... that we wanted to check out.  The store did not disappoint and had a lot of really nice stuff.  Mostly I was looking for old windows, so that I could continue with the construction of the interior doors for our cottage.  They didn't have any that I liked, but they had a lot of other cool stuff.  Margarit bought an old floor lamp that will eventually end up out at the cottage.  I bought an old vintage telephone.
I talked to my friend Chris, who is a bit of an expert with respect to old telephones.  He tells me that this one dates back to the 1910's.  He says he could set it up so that it works on a modern land line.  I opened up the cabinet to have a look at the innards and it turns out that some previous owner had wired in a rotary dial and had been using it.  I bought this with the intention of putting it on the wall in our cottage.  We aren't likely going to bother to get a phone line out there so we will probably never hook this up.  It was interesting to find out that we have that option.