Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Least Memorable

I don't remember the place
or the moment
or the reason
I don't remember this place
at all

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ocean Part II

Many years ago, somewhere way off the coast of northern California, a sizable earthquake occurred. At the time "officials" predicted that this would result in tsunami crashing into the coast of San Francisco. On the day of the tsunami's expected arrival, a reported two-thousand people waited on the beach to witness the event. I remember thinking "only in San Francisco." The wave never came.

I think about this everytime I pass along the coast and see people standing and staring out at the ocean, at seemingly nothing. Sometimes there are surfers sitting on boards staring back, but most of the time it's just people staring out at the undulating ocean.

I stopped once, because I was curious. So many people lined the shore near a road-side parking lot, in groups, and alone. I thought something must be happening. When I came up behind them and looked past, I expected to see something, a dead beached whale, an accident, an argument, but I saw nothing but the beach, the surf, the ocean. I looked around at the faces of the people gathered, and saw them expressionless, and gazing far out beyond the beach, beyond the surf. I was disappointed.

I looked back out at the horizon, still and straight and long, the water a mixture of blues and grays and white. The ocean heaved like a breathing chest, the waves washed ashore, an exhale from a deep sleep. Gulls floated past caught on drafts, their calls lifting away with them.

I watched nothing in particular, but everything all at once. A voice from behind me, over my shoulder, asked "what's going on?" "Not a thing" I answered, and turned and left.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I intended that the previous post "Poinsetta" would be the last one until after Christmas, but I could not, not post. I found this image while rooting about in my Photoshop folders. I took this with a Rolleiflex 2.8E. It was part of a test roll. I didn't and don't think it's anything special, but it seemed crazy and complex, despite being relatively simple—just a shot of a couple of cages, but the shadows and lines, crosshatching and busy seemed oppressive and ugly. Cages can be havens or prisons.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I've no idea why I shoot the images I do.
What complusion pushed the shutter?
The mystery remains.
But some logic links them somewhere.
Three images from two rolls.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Central Valley Memories

Somewhere along Interstate 5 (I5), or was it I205, on a road trip to Disneyland, in the middle of last summer, we stopped at this gas station to fill up. The central valley of California is an interesting place. For most like myself, the big valley, is a completly different world from the coastal regions of the state. It's a changing place as home prices along the coast push buyers further, and further away, to the east, to the valley. In the valley, some of the most fertile farmlands in the world are giving way to the seemingly endless crop of housing developments.

Most of the time, I rush through the valley on road trips south to the Los Angeles area. Those trips really are like bum-rushes, where I, like most others, make our way to I5, point the car south, exceed the speed limit, and endure the long, long ride. I5 runs north and south, in a straight line the length of the entire valley. There is seemingly very little to look at photographically speaking, but on this last trip, made with the kids, and stopping at practically every exit for restroom breaks, I was able to appreciate just what a beautiful place it is. There wasn't much time to roam around composing shots, the bum-rush was on, Disneyland or Bust! But the long ride gave me time to see its photographic potential.

Anyway, the image here intrigued me, the scale seemed off, compressed. I shot this as I pumped gas.I liked the result, the tones on the hills.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Transition

I found movement here, an old wall on the left and a new wall on the right, with something common where they meet. This was an absolutely gorgeous day, around 10 or 11 am, blue sky, cooling ocean breeze, bright light, and the sound of waves in the background.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Across the Street

Leica M4-P, CV Ultron 35/1.7, Kodak UC 400

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Close to the Coast

What is it about the ocean? It's like fire; people find themselves staring at it, entranced, entrapped, drawn closer, unwittingly called into it. It's a dance, a siren's song, beckoning. So much beauty and so much danger.

The riptides out past those breakers would pull you out to sea, so fast, so far, that you may never be found. The siren's clutches would have you.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Gray Days

All of California, all of the west coast, in fact, was drenched by a massive rainstorm the last couple of days. Today, here in northern California the sun is out, the temperature is rising and the sky is blue again, but a gray day has a place in our lives.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hexanon 50/2

Konica Hexanon—M 50/2, a yummy lens, tack sharp, and similar to the Nokton 50/1.5. Too many 50's? Never!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Dear Mr. Erwitt

I found this dog panting furiously out the window of this 5th wheel. We were both riding along Brotherhood Way in San Francisco, going about 40 m.p.h. Other than man, dogs IMHO are the most photograph-able animal. They, like man, seem to claim the landscape they inhabit, and when photographed they seem to speak directly to us about us, about themselves, about the condition of the world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

For a Friend

A daylight demonstration of loading 35mm film onto a stainless steel reel.

Gather what you'll need (the basics). ^

Trim lead edge square. ^

Orient reel properly. ^

Secure lead edge using the clip, or your thumb (if clip is absent). ^

Pinch/squeeze edges of film slightly. ^

Wind film onto the reel by rotating the reel counter-clockwise. ^

Cut film to release it from the canister. ^

Place film in tank, and cover.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's All Good, Now

The one camera that has intrigued me (along with the Leicas), was the Canon P. I tried several times in auctions to acquire one, but the price for a good one, with a smooth shutter curtain always shot past what I was willing to pay. I've always had my eyes peeled for one locally, but it never came up. I finally got one off a seller on RFF, and it's safe to say it's all good, now.

~click images for a larger view~

I've heard the P described as "the sweet spot" in the evolution of the rangefinder camera. I don't know about that, but I think it's safe to say it is the sweet spot in the Canon line of V/L cameras.

It is a beauty to look at, and could easily be the prettiest RF camera around. I've seen pictures of the very rare black version of the P (see, and I know it is highly collectible, but to me the black version lacks the beauty of the chrome.

Sure It's Pretty, But How does It Handle?

My initial impression of shooting with the camera is that it handles beautifully. The P is small and has a very nice heft to it. While the viewfinder is a little cluttered with frame lines, and seemed a little flare-ish at times, it is much brighter than the VL. The P is quick and a pure joy to use

My only complaint is with the film advance lever. I like to shoot with my thumb under the advance lever, and with most of my cameras (like the M pictured below) I have that luxury.

With the P I can't do that. It locks down and won't budge beyond a few millimeters (see below).

I tried cocking the shutter and then not allowing it to return all the way, but I started running into film-advance problems, where the shutter wouldn't fire until I fully cocked it, moving the advance mechanism from its start point to the end point, and back again (locking the advance arm).

Using it normally, to advance the film, you have to change your hand position very slightly to get at the tip of the advance lever (compare the thumb positions above). This is no big issue, really. I mean I'm not a photojournalist, nor am I missing important shots because I'm having to slightly change my thumb position. It's really very minor.

The P does strike me as being one of the quieter cameras that I've used. I'm not sure if that is true or not, I'll have to do a comparison. The metal curtain gives it distinct sound, higher in register and different from the Leica's muffled cloth curtain "schwoop." I would place it in the broad range of rangefinder shutter sounds lying between the Leica and the Bessa R & R2, which has a metal shutter, resulting in a sound that reminds me of an SLR. I'm not referring to volume here, but sounds. I'm staying away from the "volume debate. " I did a non-scientific volume comparison between an M7 and a R2, and was amazed that the R2 wasn't louder, as I thought it would. It was just different.

Btw, the lens pictured on this P is a Canon 50/1.8.

If you like shooting rangefinder cameras, for all the normal reasons we all do (e.g., small, quick-handling, quiet, great optics, quality construction) you would absolutely love shooting with the Canon P. I now know why it has its proponents, and why they are so adamant about what a great camera it is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


How cool is shooting with a Minolta CLE and a 28mm lens. The CLE was my exclusive shooter for about three months, until I decided to put it down for a while. I'm starting to miss it.

I like the 28mm focal length. That's my limit though. I've no desire to go wider. I posted this image because I hadn't seen it in a while and I like to look at it for some reason. The lens is a CV 28/3.5

RFF Book 2

The recent buzz at Rangefinderforum (RFF) emantes from a thread announcing the sudden effort to launch Rangefinder Photography, Book 2, a sequel to the highly regarded Book 1 (of course). Book 1 featured two photograhs from 25 photographers, and included biographies, camera information, and descriptions of photographs. It was genreally a celebration of all things RF.

The original intent of the organizers of book 2 was to double the number of participants. This plan was quickly ammended and now the planned number of participants is at 100, with two photographs each. The book is already shaping up to be something really special.

I'll be spending some time sorting through my images, and selecting the two that I'd like to include in the book. Stay tuned to RFF as things are moving quickly.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Canon 50/1.4

Another great lens, another great 50mm.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Same, but Different

The same, but different. At the time I found humor in these two locations. They were side-by-side, just two of many. I really just wanted to capture them to look at them later, maybe mount them side-by-side, to revel in the differences.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Two Lenses

My foray into rangefinder photography and the accompanying GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) has put several lenses into my possession, and on the front of my cameras. Most of the lenses are fairly new to me, leaving me with the enviable task of learning the characteristics of each. I've come to appreciate a few, two in particular, and both are coincidentally Cosina Voigtlander lenses. Here are the results from both a Nokton 50/1.5 (color), and a APO 90/3.5, both at, or very near, wide open.

I've been really liking the Nokton, it's a big, gorgeous, high-quality lens that I love to look at—especially right down the inside of the barrel when wide open. And while the 90 gets less usage, because of the focal length, I've never hesitated to twist this beuaty onto the front of a camera.

These images were just a test, really. I was "house-bound," for a while, working from home. To relieve a spat of restlessness, I picked up my camera and walked around the house, eventually deciding that I'd shoot this paint can both with the 50 and then the 90. I knew I'd have to shoot near wide, and that both lenses work very nicely on this end of the range.

BTW, both images were made using Fuji Superia 400. The b&w image was converted using a simple switch to grayscale mode.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Something on the Street

The feeling was that something was there, something that caused me to cross the street, to hurriedly pull the camera up to my eye, to snatch the moment. Something called me.

It was the shadows, I think.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A River

Truths float by endlessly, existing everywhere, sometimes only awaiting juxtaposition, and an instrument to catch them, to freeze them forever.

~click for a larger view~