Wednesday, May 24, 2017


This past couple of weeks I've had issues with my computer slowing down.  Initially I thought is was a memory issue but soon discovered that one of my hard drives is failing.  I've always been reasonably careful about backing stuff up, but obviously not as careful as I should.  I've spent the last few evenings trying to copy all the files from this drive, and the other two in my computer just to be cautious, onto an external hard drive.  Of the nearly 21,500 files on this drive, I managed to back all of them up but 57.  Those 57 files are on damaged parts of the drive and will not copy.  Perhaps I can salvage them once the drive is removed from my computer...?  If not, I've come to realize that all 57 files were image files.  Although I won't be able to salvage the exact file... I have the ultimate back up in my archive... the original film.  I'll have to invest a little extra time to rescan these 57 images, but nothing is lost.  Old technology sometimes trumps the new modern stuff...!
Now that I have everything backed up and running again, I've been working through some of my scans and came across this one.  It was taken back in April, on my 54th birthday, while we were out shooting the video documentary project in Saskatchewan.
The light was so low in this boarded up old building that it only registered at an exposure value of EV3 on my spotmeter.  This required an exposure 30 seconds at F12.0 on Ilford FP4+ film, rated at 125 iso.  I shot it with my Ebony SV45TU camera and Schneider Super Symmar XL 110mm lens.  Needless to say a sturdy tripod was in order....

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Work

Recently I've processed a few batches of 4" x 5" sheet film.  Mostly this is from the recent documentary video project, but also from a few other recent outings.  This included a batch of Kodak T-Max 100 which I processed in 510 Pyro developer, diluted 1:100, for 7:45 minutes at 24C.  This combination is becoming a favorite of mine and I work with it quite regularly.  This particular shot is of the interior of an abandoned United Church.  We had permission to enter this building and spent some time photographing it and some other buildings in the town of Hoosier.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Here are a couple of 4" x 5" negatives.  The one on the left is Ilford FP4+ exposed at 125 iso and processed in Ilford Perceptol developer 1:1.  The one on the right is Kodak 100 T-Max exposed at 80 iso and processed in 510 Pyro [hence the brown stain] 1:100.  These are two combinations that I really like and have been working with for the past couple of years.
I've also included two scans of these negatives...  I suppose I could have adjusted them more in Photoshop to make them look a little closer.  The differences are subtle...  The contrast varies a little, and the highlight and shadow values are a little different.  In shooting duplicates like this, and working with these combinations in various light conditions, I am coming to learn which films are best suited to the type of subject matter I am working with.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mothers Day Trip to Nordegg

Sunday May 14th was Mothers Day.  I had spent the entire weekend prior with my Mom, down at the Springfest in East Coulee.  So on this day I just gave her a phone call.  I had a bunch of rebar loaded onto a trailer and was hauling it out to our property at Nordegg.  We are starting construction of our cottage this season and this rebar, which I had left over at my shop, will be used in our foundation.  Hailey decided to come along with me for the day, while the other girls stayed home.  At the last minute we decided to load up our ATV and take it out for a spin.  Despite the fact that I bought the ATV last year, this was to be its maiden voyage.  We have kept it in storage here in the city as we have no place to safely store it out at Nordegg.  Since we were dragging a flat deck trailer out anyway, this seemed like a good time to load up the ATV.
We got everything hooked up and hit the road by about 10:00AM.  This put us out at the property by about 1:00PM.  I off-loaded all the rebar and stacked it on our lot.  Then the ATV came off the trailer and Hailey and I headed out for a spin.  It was a cool day with overcast skies, and the temperature only got up to about +10C.  It felt a lot colder than that whizzing around the countryside in an open ATV.  It rained and even snowed a little while we were out riding around.  Hailey and I took turns driving the ATV and despite the fact that she really has no driving experience, she did OK.  She seems to be a pretty cautious and safe driver so this bodes well for the day she will get her drivers license and starting driving on the roads.
There are a network of marked ATV trails in the hills above Nordegg.  Some follow the old railway right of way while others seem to be old logging or mining roads.  We eventually found ourselves up in the high country way above the townsite.  At this point we ran into some fairly deep snow and couldn't get any further up the trail.  I had my camera gear loaded into the ATV with us and on the way back down we stopped in town and I photographed the old bank building.  By about 4:00PM we made our way back over to the lot and loaded the ATV back onto the flat deck.
The site clearing has been finished up by our contractor, and the excavation work down for our cottage foundation and for our septic tank.  All of the trees have been cut up into firewood, and the leftover brush has been hauled away.  A site has been leveled for the storage building that we are constructing adjacent to the cottage.  This will be where we eventually park the ATV, and my old snowmobile. 
We didn't see any wild horses on this trip, but we saw a number of deer.  There were also some relatively fresh bear tracks right on our property.  They were big, and the claws were evident so I suspect it was probably a grizzly.  He walked right across the middle of the site that has been cleared for our storage building.  The tracks were a couple of days old, but were still pretty fresh.  This is a reminder to us that we will be residing in bear territory and have to be cautious when we are out here.
By about 5:00pm we had the ATV loaded up on the trailer and hit the road for home.  We drove through a couple of showers on the way home, and got back to the city by about 8:00pm.  By the time we off-loaded the ATV at the shop, put the trailer away, and got home, it was after 9:00PM.  A long but very enjoyable and refreshing day.

Monday, May 15, 2017

East Coulee Springfest 2017

Every year on the first weekend in May, the East Coulee Springfest takes place.  This is a fundraiser for the East Coulee Schoolhouse Museum.  It is a small music festival that is very intimate and hosts a wide range of musical styles.  This year the 23rd annual took place on Friday May 5th and Saturday May 6th.  I have been attending for the last three years in a row with my daughters.  This year was the first time that Margarit was able to join us.  A number of other friends and family also joined in, including my Mom, my brother-in-law Shawn and his girlfriend Donna, and our friend Tanja.  Long time friend and Drumheller resident Frank and his wife Chris also came out to the show.
We headed out for the weekend and stayed in our trailer, which was still in storage from the winter, at our shop in East Coulee.  We weren't able to head out until after work and school on Friday, and I had to stop off at the gallery opening in Red Deer for my opening reception.  So we didn't make it over to the School and the Community Hall to see any of the bands on Friday night.  When things kicked into gear at noon on Saturday we all headed over.  There is a real mix of musical styles with some of the more folk and country oriented stuff earlier in the day, and then the heavier rock and blues stuff later in the evening.  A day pass gets you in and you can come and go as you please.  There are one or two bands playing all the time so you can just wander around and find something that you like.  It was smoking hot on Saturday, with the afternoon high approaching 30C.  Needless to say it was pretty warm in those small, crowded venues.  This festival is great for photographers as you can get really close to the stage and photograph all the musicians, with a great assortment of instruments.  It's also great for music lovers as the skill level is fantastic and there is something that appeals to everyone.
I really enjoyed Spitzee Post Band again on Saturday afternoon and have seen them at previous festivals.  We had to pick and choose when we could interrupt our viewing and slip away to the shop to have our BBQ supper.  After supper we were back and caught the Bluesland Horn Band, one of the highlights of the show.  They were an eight piece band full of energy and just did a super job, and as a result ended up selling a lot of CD's.  The last band of the evening was also a favorite... Derina Harvey Band from the east coast, playing a lot of irish and newfie drinking songs.  I'll be back again next year and I encourage any other music lovers to check it out...!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reception - Monochrome Guild Annual Exhibition

It is always with the greatest of expectations that I help to organise the annual Monochrome Guild exhibition.  Then, before your know it, the date is upon us, and I'm scrambling to pull things together.  I was still printing and framing my work a few days before the show opened.  And then, the invitations went out at the last minute, and we weren't as organised as I thought we could have been...!
I think I missed e-mailing a few people on my invitation list....  I put out a guest book for people to sign, but the pen fell on the floor behind a plinth and no one noticed it.  As a result people at the reception later in the evening, we unable to sign...  I forgot to put up the Monochrome Guild panel that explained what our group is about, so Steve bailed me out and made up a simple sign...  I forgot to bring along business cards to hand out, as did most of the others...
Despite those little glitches, everything went pretty well.  I got so busy during the reception visiting with all my friends and all the guests that I didn't manage to keep a count as to how many showed up.  My best guess would be that around 60 people dropped by during the course of the evening.  I know that others stopped by and checked things out during the week, in advance of the reception.  And there were a few more that stopped by on Saturday before we took the show down.
I feel it was pretty successful....  There were eight members of the group that took part, exhibiting a total of 36 prints.  Ever the astute photographer, I neglected to bring along my camera and take any snapshots of the installation, or the reception.  Hopefully some of the other guys did, and maybe someone can send me a couple of snapshots.  Thanks to everyone that came out to see the show and made the evening so much fun.  Like usual, we vow to do it again, and to next time be more organized... or not....

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Summer Hockey Season Underway

Fresh off the Divisional Championship Victory, and the Conference Championship Loss, the Renegades Hockey Team is now starting the Summer Season.  Not much of a break for the guys on the team as it has only been a few weeks since the winter season wrapped up.  The guys played our first game of the season last Saturday.  I couldn't make it to the game as I was away for the weekend.  Many of our other players were also unavailable and we had to play with a short bench.  I understand that they kept things close but then the game got blown open near the end and we ended up losing to the Hatrick Swayze's  by a score of 6-1.  Our second game of the season was on Monday night and we fared a little better in that one, coming from behind to tie the Rhino's 1-1 and then going on to win the game in the shootout.
The league has the courtesy to schedule our games around the schedule of the Edmonton Oilers who are playing in the NHL playoffs right now.  The league has also made a point of NOT scheduling any of our games over the May long weekend.  As a result we have a bunch of games jammed into a short period of time over the next couple of weeks, after which the schedule will stretch out a bit.  Future games are coming up on Thursday of this week, and then Monday and Wednesday of next week.  The season runs until late summer, with playoffs continuing into August.  Once the season wraps up we will get another short break, with the winter season starting up again in September.  I will update our progress from time to time here on my blog.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Opening Reception in Red Deer

Last Friday I attended the opening reception for Procession West at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.  I rushed down there after work, and arrived around 6:00PM.  The reception actually ran from 5:00 to 8:00, but there was no way for me to make it down there that early.  Attendance was a little light, which was a bit of a disappointment.  But, then I realized that it was 25C, and the first weekend of the season with nice weather...  Not to mention the fact that the show in the other side of the gallery was not yet installed, and wouldn't be opening for another week or two...  And, the Stanley Cup Hockey Playoffs were in full swing.
I enjoyed my time there and had some nice discussions about the photography with a number of the guests.  One of the guests commented that I title was quite appropriate as it included the word "Process" which is very fitting of the work that we do.  The show is actually up until nearly the end of June so there is no doubt it will see a lot more traffic.  I was really pleased with the way that Kim and the gallery staff presented the prints and set up the gallery.  I've included a few snapshots below...
After the gallery closed I headed over to East Coulee where I met up with Margarit and the girls.  We would spend the weekend there taking in the annual Springfest.
Today both Rob and I conducted telephone interviewers with a reporter from the Red Deer Advocate Newspaper, who is doing a review of the show.