Monday, August 19, 2019

A New Home

Finally found a new home for the RB kit! Which has grown, and now includes 5 lenses. As the kit grew, I started accumulating multiple bags and padded cases to hold all the pieces. Anytime I ventured out I was scrambling through multiple bags and trying to group things for the trip. I needed to consolidate!

I was looking for a storage case that could be used for transport as well. Rugged enough for the back of the truck, yet safe and organized. And as it turns out, B&H was discounting a case from Condition1. A large, hard case with a pluck foam interior. So for a $60 steal, I ordered the case.


After a little planning, I have done the initial fit, which looks pretty good.

The entire kit fits well, although a bit heavy! But now I can grab the tripod and this case and head out with only a moments notice.

Now I just have to sell the various smaller cases and pouches!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

CLA complete!

Well... not a full CLA, (thank goodness) but after acquiring the 360mm I had to get into the front lens group and clean some dust and a few very small fungus spots.

After making a custom spanner tool to remove the front lens group, I removed the front lens element, cleaned both front and back, then discovered the fungus was on the last inside element which I cleaned from the back side.

Operation successful! Time to go out and test this beast...

Monday, June 24, 2019

Seeing... both Forward and Aft

We stopped the car and got out for a quick peek at the roaring Bridal Veil Falls. The power was felt both in noise and in the swirling mist. But I was far enough away to not get wet!

Grabbing the RB67 and my Sekor C 180mm lens, I wondered into a clearing and setup to capture the first picture below. I composed several horizontal and vertical images, and ended up with this vertical composition.

The noise was intense as I carefully composed and selected the camera settings.  The final edit is what I emotionally felt at the time, with the water standing out as if shouting, "I am the star today!"


After enjoying the display of power and majesty, I turned to see what else was in view.  A good habit I might add... and something I try harder to do these days.  Directly behind me (aft) was yet another fall, a bit farther away, and drowned out by the roar of Bridal Veil.

To the left of El Capitan was this view of Ribbon Falls.  A lesser known, often dry, drainage that somehow escapes the Upper Yosemite Falls drainage from the basin to the north of Yosemite Valley. This water source is far enough to the west to get divided by the majestic dome of El Capitan. It normally flows for just a short season, during the snow melt, but this year it was flowing as if it permanently belonged to the grand scenery.


Together, these opposing water features provide for a nice diptych titled "Forward and Aft" and also a valuable lesson in "seeing". We must keep our head on a swivel, if we are to see all the wonder God has made!

Keep looking... fore and aft!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What's your latest project?

What are you currently working on? Any active projects? Below is a sample of one of my current projects, for the "See and Share" photography group. A way of showing God's Glory, revealed through us... earthen vessels.

Why do a project?

As a form of continued education, projects drive us to try new techniques and to see things a little differently than we normally would. Things like lighting, textures, how to capture smoke! And what does flame look like on B&W film.

It also gives us time with our gear. To really learn the nuances of how our gear operates best. And like anything in life, repetition creates muscle memory.

When operating our cameras becomes second nature, creativity can thrive, unencumbered by technical issues.

So, find a project! Get out and shoot. Waste some film... Here are a few ideas:
- local murals
- child portraits (your own)
- take a road trip
- shoot a new film stock (IR, Slide film or maybe B&W for the first time)

And... keep learning. Who knows what will bloom!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Dogwoods in Yosemite

The purpose of the trip was to capture some dogwood blooms which came a bit early this year. 5 members of the S2 Photography Group headed up to explore God's creation. What we found was more high water, gushing falls, and as a bonus, the Glacier Point road opened just 2 days before our trip!

I took the RB67 with some Tri-X shot at 400, and a roll of Ektar pushed to 200, to get some saturated colors. The results were better than expected! And the freshly cleaned and rebuilt Sekor C 65mm worked perfectly.  The replacement shutter was the solution (scavenged from a fungus infected copy).

Sample of the wonderful tones of Tri-X. 90mm lens.
I am loving this film stock more and more!

More tones... with the 180mm lens.

Ribbon Falls, larger than normal, gracefully flanking El Capitan

Evening shoot from Glacier Point, with the 180mm lens

An early morning detour through Mariposa Grove

And my favorite color shot!

 "The Secret Garden"
Sekor C 65mm in overcast shade

Overall, we had a great day with 5 members of the S2 Photography Group.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

High Water in Yosemite

Up at 3:00am, on the road by 3:45, hoping to arrive before sunrise... the life of a photographer!

I arrive as expected, and stepped out of the car with a flashlight to check out the area. Just 20 feet from the car I discovered water... lot's of water! Some 200 yards from my desired shooting location. Now what?

Lesson #1: always have a backup plan

So, I packed the entire backpack with my RB67 kit and start hiking. A short loop around to another vantage point and it became very clear. And somewhat unique for me. The Merced river was starting to breach its banks in several areas. AKA - flood stage!

Lesson #2: be safe

I told myself, to proceed with caution, as this was new territory for me. Yes, I've been to Yosemite many times, but never with this much water. And we all know... "Swift waters kill"!!

I proceeded to do a 6 mile valley floor loop, and discovered many unique and alternate views of this beautiful valley.

This view from just north of the Swinging Bridge shows the flooded meadow. A two shot, stitched image, using FP4 Plus 120 film.

From the swinging bridge, another view of Yosemite Falls at full flow. And the river nearly twice it's normal width.

This next image shows a river flowing at the brim, right up to the tips of the banks. Several areas it leaked out into the valley loop trail causing some detours to my hike.

After a relaxing lunch, and some prayer journal time, I headed down to the Cascades and Wildcat falls. There I found the Cascades roaring (and somewhat unsafe) so I diverted straight to Wildcat Falls.

Upon arriving, I found a new obstacle... a giant boulder had fell directly in front of the falls.  I'm talking a car size boulder! Plan C.

I studied the scene and tried a few angles, and in the final editing process came up with this detail image. Actually shot on Ektar 100, and converted to B&W in post using an Infrared filter setting. I added a bit of blur to the water to help with the ethereal feel.

In all, I logged about 9 miles, and enjoyed a full day of God's glory. His power revealed through nature, its forces and its challenges, and yes, it's beauty.

The RB67 is definitely a load, but worth the weight, as these images look great at full resolution. I hiked with my Kelty Redwing 32L bag with padded inserts, and that seemed fine, but still not as friendly as simply holding the RB67 and tripod while exploring.

Unfortunately, I did discover a bum shutter on my wide angle lens, and several of the shots were ruined. As such, it sits in pieces on my desk at home, waiting for a repair shutter to arrive. Stay tuned on that repair.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Aged to perfection

Yes I am old... but not nearly as old as these scenes. From our recent hiking adventure (see below)  These were shot on Tri-X at 400, with the RB67 Pro S, and developed in D76 - 1:1.5 for 10.25 min.

Our view from Columbia Rock, half way up the Yosemite Falls trail. From left to right, North Dome (7,700 ft), Half Dome (8,600 ft), the snow capped Mount Clark (11,200 ft), and Glacier Point (7,200 ft)

Lower Yosemite Falls

Side note: this camera is nearly 40 years old, the film stock originated 65 years ago, and the D76 developer is a 99 year old formula! Great things DO last!