Quacko and the Elps, or Happy Hour at Tugboat Brewing

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

This place was so good that I had a beer, walked back to the hotel to collect Kate, and came straight back for another beer. Much better than some of those ‘We brew 24 different kinds of over hopped beers!’ resto-breweries. This place only had a couple of their own beers on tap, but all were excellent. Good humus too.

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

I like bars that have books; bars that have books on photography get double points.

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

What the hell is an Elp?

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

I told Kate she only got another cider if she finished a chapter. I like to promote reading.

You should all go there: Tugboat Brewing The Red Hopped Ale and the Summer Ale were both excellent.

Notes From Portland

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

Southwest

Southwest is still the only American carrier that doesn’t suck. Sure, you don’t get a meal, but airplane food is junk anyway. The unassigned seating does add a bit of excitement; will you get stuck between the fatman and the basketball player; you will if you are C 37. But the staff clearly don’t hate their jobs nearly as much as other airline staff seem to. And that 737-700 is a fine plane. Runs on rainbows now.

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

Portland

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

The Ace Hotel is fun, the beds are comfy, there’s real soap in the shower and real coffee in the lobby, but that damn clock radio is just too cool for school.

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

Portland, in general, continues to be one of my favorite, but least visited cities. We should go back more often. The public transport system works. You can buy food on the street. The art museum is decent. Coffee, beer and pizza are all plentiful. And when it rains, there’s always Powell’s World of Books. The recreational homeless are a bit annoying, but no more so than in other young cities.

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

M6TTL, CV 35 1.4 SC, Neopan 400, D76 1:1

Equipment

I ran a bit of an experiment on this trip. Instead of my standard, one lens, one type of film, I went crazy. Well, crazy for me. Three lenses; CV 35 1.4, 50 Hex, 90 Hex; and three types of film; Neopan 100ss, Neopan 400 and a couple of rolls of Neopan 1600. All this fit neatly into a Tamrac Expo 601 bag, with room to spare for batteries, notebook, lens cloth and a worthless Fodor’s guide book. The bag itself was great, lightweight and easy to get things in and out of. The grab handle is particularly nice when going through the airport. Actually using all the things in the bag wasn’t nearly as successful as the bag itself. I switched the 50 for the 35 while sitting in the bar of the Indianapolis airport. Apart from one other quick swap back to the 50 for a few shots in the hotel room, I ended up using the 35 the whole time. This proves to me a couple of things:

  1. I can indeed carry a bag full of gear if it is light enough. The little Tamrac was no problem to carry all day. It’s a great little bag, lighter, cheaper and more logical than most of the competition.
  2. I can’t actually seem to make myself use anything in the bag. Extra lenses just don’t get used. If the camera itself is in the bag, pictures don’t get taken.

This is good to know. Let’s see how long I can remember it.

More thoughts and pictures to follow. For the record, this is post 970, which means I need to start thinking about how this blog should celebrate 1000 posts.

SOFOBOMO: week one done

M6TTL, 50 Hex, TMY2, Xtol Stock

M6TTL, 50 Hex, TMY2, Xtol Stock

Kate and I are back from our vacation to Paris, where I started my SOFOBOMO fuzzy month. I’ve now got a pile of film to scan and develop, 10 rolls, four more than I had planned on. I’ve already developed four of those, and the scanner is humming along beside me as a I type. In addition to the usual Raw scan files, I’m also having vuescan output a JPEG with the TMax preset. These JPEGs are dark and low contrast, but they let me quickly eyeball the whole roll without doing one by one conversions of each frame. Hopefully these will help with the editing process, which if all goes well I should be able to start next week. Until then, I’ll be developing and scanning.

Am I here yet?

M6TTL, 50 Hex, TriX, Xtol

The post-trip film processing continues. I’m down to four rolls to develop. Lots of scanning remains, but I’ve got enough of it done to resume more regular posting. With the bulk of the processing done, I’m just now starting to feel like I’m back from vacation even though I’ve been back at work for a couple of weeks. The post travel readjustment always takes me a bit of time, but this one is taking longer than usual. More on that later, perhaps.

M6TTL, 50 Hex, TriX, Xtol

Everything from this trip was shot on TriX with the M6 and the 50 Hex, processed in Xtol 1+1 for 9 minutes @ 68F (or the equivalent time/temp depending on how cold the water was) and scanned on the trusty Scan Dual IV. No major equipment troubles, but it looks like I had a shutter problem for half a dozen frames on one roll, with vertical streaks marring the frames. A cla might be in order. I suspect that my M6 spent most of its former life on a shelf, so the shutter may need some attention.

I was mostly happy with just the one lens. I could have gone wider at times, but for every wide shot that I wanted, there were plenty of opportunities for a tighter view. A second lens probably wouldn’t have killed me, but we spent a lot of time on our feet, so I was glad to have little to carry. Maybe next time I’ll just take the 35 for the sake of variety.

I’m Kreativ

M6TTL, 50 Hex, TriX, Xtol

In other news, I’ve been presented with a Kreativ Blogger award by Amy Sakurai. Many thanks Amy. Per the rules of the game:

Six things that make me happy:

  • Kate
  • the three major food groups: beer, coffee, pizza
  • econtalk let’s just leave that at the complexity of the world and the appreciation thereof
  • the Sunday paper and 3 hours to kill
  • seeing eye dogs
  • waking up at four a.m. to develop film – really

Six other bloggers who are Kreativ:

Well, that was fun 😉

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Paris & Brussels in the Bag

Imitation is the sincerest form of theft . .


Early prototype for a film developing robot.

Kate and I recently spent 10 days in Paris and Belgium. We spent most of the time just wandering around and relaxing. With most of the film developed, if not scanned, it’s time for the after action report. Here’s the rundown:

Photographic Equipment

I ended up taking one Hexar RF body with the 28mm and 50mm lenses, 20 rolls of Delta 400, and an extra set of batteries. Most days I carried the body and both lens and 4 extra rolls of film in a little LowePro 60 AW pouch. The pouch, a slightly larger version of the one mentioned by Colin in this post, worked out really well. It was light, well constructed and small, and the sliplock thingy allowed me to attach it to my belt. This didn’t look nearly as dorky as it sounds. I swear, go ask Kate.


The fans gather to see my sporty camera bag.

The 28 and 50 proved to be just about the right combo. I ended up doing more architectural photography than I had anticipated, so the 28 was definitely useful. I can see that I eventually might want something wider: the Konica 21-35 dual focal length lens might be just the ticket if all the M8 owners haven’t snapped them up. I probably could have gotten by with just the 35, but the dual lens set up was not as cumbersome as I had feared. Part of this might have been that I limited myself to one kind of film, Delta 400 (BTW, B&W film is still widely available in Paris. Even Delta 3200). Switching between film types would either have meant carrying two bodies or dealing with the anxiety of worrying if I had loaded the right kind of film. B&W handled almost everything, although color woud have been useful in Brussels. I think I was expecting the “whited sepulchre” of Heart of Darkness, but it’s actually quite a colorful city with some incredible light. Not a bad place to learn to paint perhaps, and a city that probably deserves to be seen in color. Maybe next time.


Color would have been good here.

The Hexar RF proved to be the only problematic piece of kit. It was down right leperous on this trip. The screw that holds on the frame preview lever fell off at one point. Luckily it fell to stone floor (don’t say that often in photography) where the sound alerted me before I walked away. On another occasion, the lens spontaneously dismounted. Our bus was bumping down the cobble stones at the time, so it’s possible that the camera, which wasn’t in the pouch, was banging against something. Both tragedies were narrowly averted, but disconcerting none the less. I’ve gotten used to regularly checking the eyepiece on my Hexars, so I guess I’ll just add a few more things to the list.

Other Assorted Useful Bits

Everything – clothes, camera bag, book, iPod etc – was carried in a Lowe Alpine Onyx 20 backpack. Kate and I bought these on sale before the trip. They ended up being a little smaller than we had thought, but that actually ended up for the best since hotel check in times and other vicissitudes of travel meant we often carried our backpacks for hours at a time. The Onyx proved to be comfortable and sturdy and generally friendly to our fairly flexible travel style. Rolling luggage would have been a disaster and checked luggage doubly so since weather conditions mangled our flight schedules.


I’m not allowed to use the map. It just confuses me.

We also took along a Molskine City Notebook for Paris. If you can get past the overblown marketing of these things – who the hell knows or cares who Bruce Chatwin is – they are actually pretty useful. The maps are detailed and well indexed, the little pocket in the back is a good place to stash some money, and the triple threat bookmarks make it easy to keep track of all the different map pages. The extensive notes section in the back is a bit more extensive than I require, but I can see filling it up over the course of many trips. After a while it would become a self-written travel guide, which is the only kind that is ever useful.