Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mama Mamyia!

I've been wanting to do some close-up/macro work with my Mamiya 645E, and a diopter only gives me some close-focusing. So, I recently acquired a set of extension tubes for my Mamyia from, which remains #1 on my list of reputable sellers. I have never been disappointed with anything I have purchased from them. The last time I did macro in medium format was about 7 years ago with my Pentax 6x7. I wasn't terribly happy with my results then, but I'll attribute that to lack of experience. The 645 is a lot easier to handle, of course, and has better metering than the humongous Pentax 6x7. I also shot the images with TechPan -- the slowest emulsion available, but also the finest-grained. I have to say that I was really pleased with my results. All done on a tripod, of course, with mirror-lockup. The results:
Spilling the beans "Spilling the Beans"

jiffy "Jiffy"

analog "Analog"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another Film Surprise - My Own Time Machine.

the boots do the talking
Eyes Wide Open - The Human Cost of the Iraq War (site is here)

Last week I developed a few more rolls of film that had been accumulating in my darkroom. One of them, a mystery roll, turned out to be a roll of Plus-X Pan that I had used in my Olympus Pen-D. A half-frame camera that was quite sturdy and reliable, but I don't think I ever fell in love with the half-frame format. I sold the camera to Kirk Teetzel last fall, and I hope he is enjoying it! This particular roll had sat in the camera for at least 5 years, as in the very beginning were shots that I recognized from our old house on Beacon Hill, followed by images that showed street improvements on South State, and other random shots; including a few from the Art Fair several summers ago, as the shot above of the Iraq War Boots Project that was on the UM Diag. The last shot was of the "Pringle" over by the new Life Sciences complex. I don't know why it took me so long to go through a roll of film on that camera, but then, it obviously wasn't one I used every day.

I think that was taken at the Big Boy that used to be on Washtenaw. That might be Anneka Goss in the photo.

Anyhow, you get the idea. The roll of film was like a little time capsule. That's one of the things I like about photography, and why I photograph.

Lastly, here's the camera:
Olympus Pen-D

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another Great One Gone - Herbert Keppler.

I learned tonight that Herbert Keppler passed away Friday in New York after a brief illness. I know old photographers don't live forever, but I was surprised to learn that he was 82. I always enjoyed reading his column in Popular Photography, and many times, it was the best thing in there over the last few years, as the magazine shifted towards digital doohickeys. Herb Keppler was not a camera snob -- he tried all sorts of cameras and equipment, giving the readers a straight story on what he thought of them. At heart, I think he was a Pentax man, which makes a lot of sense, as he was the everyman photographer. Adorama issued a press release about Keppler, and noted his long career in Modern Photography and later, Popular Photography. He was editor and publisher of MP for 30 years -- an amazing longevity! He also was a champion for photographic consumers as he battled against fraudulent advertisers. His book, The Pentax Way, is a classic, and of course, I have a copy on my shelf. One thing that was not mentioned is that his father, Victor Keppler, was a renowned commercial photographer that pioneered the use of color photography in advertising. Interestingly, his papers are at Syracuse University.

Though I never met him, I bet he was a pretty straight-shooter (just as in the title of his later column) and a gentleman. I think one thing that Popular Photography could do to honor him is to assemble some of his best writings and put them together in a book. His honest, down-to-earth evaluations of cameras and equipment were greatly appreciated by many, and people like him are all too rare in the media.

(photo from

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Looking back and looking forward

snowy huron

I was going to do a New Year's Day post, but it turns out that I wanted to watch TV and see the Buffalo Sabres vs Pittsburgh Penguins NHL game that was outdoors in Buffalo, followed by the college bowl games than type away on the computer. OK, so my couch-potato day is now a memory, and speaking of memories, I'd like to list my personal favorite memories (photographic-wise) from 2007 in chronological order:

  • My Through a Lens Softly exhibit last February at the Pierpont Commons
  • The Cheap Shots exhibit in March with other Ann Arbor Crappy Camera people outside
  • The Naslanic estate sale, which inundated SE Michigan with tons of photographic equipment... a bit of which is still in my garage.
  • The trip to the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin with my daughter, Marjorie.
  • My trip to the UM Biological Station in July - where I collected dragonflies for the Bioblitz & photographed them and the landscape. I came away with some memorable photos. Progomphus obscurus
  • Our trip to New York state -- Marjorie and I shot a lot of things, my favorite spots being the Amenia cemetery and Rochester - especially the Eastman house. deco Kodaks
  • Argus Day in August. I didn't know that would be the last time I saw my friend George O'Neal.
  • Shooting the Huron mountain Club for a day.
  • My friend Barb Dingwall's visit. We had a great time. Nice Nettar User
  • Seeing Marjorie's photos in Detroit Home magazine!

Throughout the year, and for several years, I have maintained some great contacts via Flickr, as well as them becoming friends that are meaningful to me. You know who you are, and I thank you for your friendship.

Looking Forward

I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, so I won't resolve to do anything. However, I do plan to finish up and publish my book on Toy Camera Photography; get at least one photographic exhibit in; and sell more of my work.

I want to visit Canada and do some photography in places that I think are interesting.
I want to do some female figure photography and see if I am any good at it, or if I should stick to other things.
I will eventually sell off all of the various photographic estates sitting in my basement.
Do more darkroom printing.

Lastly, photography is a great medium, and since I can't draw or paint nor sculpt, it's my way of showing other what I see. I'm not good at crafts, either.

Have a great 2008!

Douglas Lake evening