Lost Chance Module Array

This is part of a series of art projects by M12 Studio.  Here’s what they say about in on their website:

Last Chance Module Array. Last Chance, Colorado. (Modules No. 4, 5). With Onix Architects, Groningen, the Netherlands. 2015-2016.

The Last Chance Module Array is part of M12’s Prairie Module series. The array is made up of two cubes that have been extruded to create a visual field containing a multiplicity of crosshatched forms. Despite its formal simplicity, the Last Chance Module Array contains many points of conceptual entry, from farm and ranch architecture to rural planning grids. The forms are reminiscent of rural timber frame structures and pole barns—their timbers having been finished with a Japanese wood burning technique known as Shou Sugi Ban, wherein cedar is burned to make the material more durable. The overall arrangement resembles a ghost-like structure, akin to what artist Robert Smithson referred to as a “ruin in reverse.” Alone in the landscape, it appears newly built or, just as easily, to have always been there, disintegrating over decades.



It turns out that to get to this art you go by High Plains Raceway on Colorado 36.  This is a destination I go to frequently.  Going out east gives me another chance to photography the prairie.

I plan on going out here more as there are so many different looks possible - I ended going on a totally cloudless day which is NOT what I would have preferred.  Might also be worth seeing if I can get friends to pose out there.  Below is an example of someone else’s take on LCMA


David Byrne Syndrome

I’ve created a new medical syndrome called “Once in a Lifetime” syndrome.  I came upon this because a relative called to say that their mate had entered into a confusional state and wanted to know what to do. The description was that the person kept asking the same question over and over again , having forgotten the answer as soon as it was given to them.  This would in all likelihood turn out to be TGA- transient global amnesia which is a real medical diagnosis.  A self limited condition  where all parts of the brain work except for that module that makes new memories.  As my relative was explaining what they were seeing all I could think of was David Byrne’s “Once in a Lifetime” Lyrics.

“Once In A Lifetime”


And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”


Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground


And you may ask yourself, “How do I work this?”

And you may ask yourself, “Where is that large automobile?”

And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house”

And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife”


Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground


Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was


Water dissolving and water removing

There is water at the bottom of the ocean

Under the water, carry the water

Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean


Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, into the silent water

Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground


And you may ask yourself, “What is that beautiful house?”

And you may ask yourself, “Where does that highway go to?”

And you may ask yourself, “Am I right? Am I wrong?”

And you may say to yourself, “My God! What have I done?”


Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again, into the silent water

Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by, water flowing underground

Into the blue again after the money’s gone

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground


Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was and look where my hand was

Time isn’t holding up, time isn’t after us

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Letting the days go by, same as it ever was


Here a twister comes, here comes the twister

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Once in a lifetime, let the water hold me down

Letting the days go by



If you prefer the Donald Trump version here it is:


Bad Film and Camera - Bad Combination

I have a couple of compact cameras and decided I’d like to sell one or several.  As I was testing the Nikon 35Ti it became clear that the funky analog display was not working as it should - the aperture can be set but not displayed properly.  So I can’t really sell the camera except at a deep discount.  I wanted to verify that everything else worked so I picked out some C41 film that I wouldn’t be unhappy if it got ruined.  Thus the bad camera + bad film Thanksgiving 2020 experiment.

Of course this is no way to run a proper experiment but hey it’s MY experiment.  The film’s name escapes me but basically they take normal C41 film and wind it on the spool backwards so that there is a red tint to all the exposures.  Not really all that pleasing ( not sure why I bought it in the first place).  So I took the film into black and white , tweaked it a bit in Affinity Photo ( Photoshop alternative) and got usable photos.

The last image was shot thru a window and the autofocus focused not he window not the scene.  The out of focus rendering is pleasing to my eye so it stays.


Provoke

Provoke was a short lived photo magazine printed in Japan in 1968 - there were only three issues but it set off a spark in Japan.  The three volumes have been re-released - I got mine from this photo bookstore in Tokyo.  The predominant style is ‘are, Bure, bokeh’  which is grainy, blurry and out of focus. The masters of optics and camera manufacture in Japan at the time must have wondered why they were killing themselves to make high quality lenses if this was the type of photography that was gonna be displayed.  I don’t know but would wonder if this new style of photography led to the popularization of the cheap point and shoot cameras?



Fake or Not?

Several years ago I ran across this photo of a tornado touching down near Simla, Colorado.  I really was motivated to get a copy as I was born in Simla and love storm/weather photography.  Turns out this was shot by James Smart, an Australian who came to the Western US to try his hand at storm photography.  I purchased a print and it hangs very prominently in our living room.  Over the years I’ve had this nagging thought that it might be fake.   I didn’t realize that it was one of the National Geographic’s Photo of the year for 2015.  This suggests that it probably not fake as these days entries and winners especially come in for extra scrutiny looking for fakes, stolen images, etc.  So now I’m back to thinking it’s the genuine article !


Daily Photography Habits

Every morning, now that I’m retired, I am up by 6:30 am thanks to my dog Arbus.  Let the hounds out, take my pills and start the coffee. Then with coffee in hand I start the computer.  The photo websites that I check in with include:

The Online Photographer. Contemplative photo blog with more text than photos.

PetaPixel  Your generic photo blog - sometimes the entries are trash but others are quite good

DPreview Great source for digital camera reviews.  They added about a year ago a film photography forum which is where I go mostly

Instagram My instagram account.  I use IG to motivate me to do more photography.  Besides friends and family I connect with other photographers.

Frames Magazine on Facebook. This is a link to the Frames web page.  But you can visit them on Facebook.  It is here that you can put up you photos for comment.


Here are some entries I’ve put up


A Man of Constant Sorrow

In constant sorrow all through my days!

I am a man of constant sorrow,

I’ve seen trouble all my days.

I bid farewell to old Kentucky,

The place where I was born and raised

The place where he was born and raised!

For six long years,

I’ve been in trouble

No pleasure here,

On earth I’ve found

For in this world

I’m bound to ramble

I have no friends to help me now

You can bury me in some deep Valley,

For many years, there I may lay.

Then you may learn to love another

While I am sleeping in my grave

While he is sleeping in my grave!

Maybe your friends think

I’m just a stranger

My face you’ll never see no more

But, there is one promise that is given,

I’ll meet you on God’s golden shore.

He’ll meet you on God’s golden shore!


The Little Camera that Could

I just acquired this little gem of a camera from Japan. Comes from Japan Camera Hunter which is run by Bellamy Hunt who has absolutely glorious things to buy most of which are outside of my budget. This little camera was within the budget so it was purchased. It has a zoom going from 24 to 50 mm which is a wonderful range if you do street photography. It has flash. Something I’ve never seen before is a left and right shutter button. You can use both or activate one of the other. It has a feature allowing you to take selfies and film wind out which means the film in the canister is wound out at the beginning and as you shoot the film it is wound back into the canister.  This feature means that if for some reason the back of the camera opens up you only expose film that hasn’t been shot.  


These pictures were shot on Ilford XP2  which is a chromogenic black-and-white film that is a C 41 process. I’ve just started to process my own C 41. So this particular outing I did something which I generally don’t recommend to beginners which is to try out a new camera, new film, new film processing. In the end everything worked out just great.



First Slides Film developed

I shot two rolls of Ektachrome 100 on my trip thru Wyoming and Montana.  I opted for the Cinestill three bath kit.  Now that I’m on this kick to develop my. own color this was the logical progression.  It is more complicated than C41 but not significantly different.  Imagine my horror when I looked at the film after development and found everything so dark.  I have some ideas of what I may have done wrong.  I tried scanning on my most sophisticated scanner and it was a total disaster.  I switched to my Nikon LS4000 - been with me for at least 17 years.  This scanner saved the day!!  I’m back to thinking of shooting more chromes - the only negative is the high cost of slide film today. Whether it’s Kodak or Fuji it’s around $17 per roll !! ce la vie



Wyoming and Montana

It’s been about three weeks since our return from our mega trip to Wyoming and Montana. It started off as a typical weekend airstream rally down in Ridgeway, Colorado. From there we left and slowly made our  way to Wyoming, then to Montana, and then back through Wyoming. On this trip I shot mostly film totaling 22 rolls mostly 35 mm and 120 format. That’s the good news - the bad news is that I had 22 role to process when I got home!  I also had my trusty pixel three for Digital photographs which are helpful when you want to do quick panoramas, take movies and also to document your location using the GPS function of the digital phone.


Highlights include going to 

- Dinosaur National Park: the indoor exhibits were closed because of COVID so we didn’t actually see any dinosaurs but saw a lot of very interesting landscape.


-Ten Sleep, Wyoming - a former Indian gathering place - was  named by the Indians as how long it takes to get to Fort Laramie-10 days and nights of Horse travel. They have an excellent Micro brewery there.


-Billings Montana with several days spent at the Little big Horn Battlefield. This is a very complicated battle and to fully understand it requires some research. I highly recommend “Last Stand” by Philbrick as a reasonably authoritative book about what actually happened.


-Fort Peck dam in the north east corner of Montana. We headed up staying at the marina with people that were there mostly to fish and use their boats. It was very convenient however. We ended up making a side trip to Saint Marie which is about 60 miles south of the Canada border. The interesting part about Saint Marie is that it is a mostly abandoned town were they never tore down the houses and so they stand in a severely dilapidated state. It used to be an Air Force Base but then the Air Force Base was decommissioned. 


Residents were allowed to buy their property but many had no jobs at that point so there was no reason to stay. At some point a group of right-wing radicals decided to buy up all the unpaid taxes in hopes of owning the town.  Because they didn’t understand the law they really couldn’t take over the town.  Eventually they gave up.  Yet the town still stands.


Our next destination was Jackson Wyoming. It has the distinction of having greatest concentration of wealth in a single County anywhere in the United States. It also has the greatest wealth disparity between the rich and the poor; there’s very little in the way of middle class in this community. It was recently the subject of a book called Billionaire Wilderness. We found it fairly claustrophobic because of all the traffic. We did however take a four hour Wild Life tour and got to see lots of wildlife to say the least; this included two gray wolf spottings which the tour guide said she hadn’t seen one in three years.


Our next destination was Manila, Utah which leads us into the Flaming Gorge National Park. The landscape and the geological formations are amazing. From there it was home.



Scala Salida

I’ve been shooting Adox Scala for a few months now - it is essentially Agfa Scala - a BW slide film.  It suffers from high contrast which it shares with all other slide films.  It also needs spot on exposure to get the most out of it.  This sort of explains why I don’t shoot a lot of E6 film.  Also there is only one lab in the US that processes this film and it usually takes about 6 weeks to get it back. You apparently can process it yourself but the process is in my opinion very complicated.  Here is what I got back from a trip two months ago to Salida, Colorado


Road Trip 2020

I flew to Seattle ( Gig Harbor) and my sister and I proceeded to drive back to Denver for a small family reunion.  She was here for about two weeks and then we reversed our trip.  The return drive had us going to Driggs, Idaho to visit  Jan Yalich Betts who my sister and I knew in high school. Had a great time catching up, meeting her husband Don.  Then the drive from there to Spokane and then onto Gig Harbor.  Just a sampling of photos.



Perfecting my C41 Technique

Was not happy with my last outing, developing color film in C41 - it was Porta 400. It really required tweaking in post processing.  I finally got something usable by scanning using the plustek 120 and checking the ‘CCR’ button - which is the color cast removal button.  


This time it was lowly Fuji Superia 200 - I think I may stick with Fuji products for home developement.  I used my Nikon 4000 scanner and Vuescan. I locked image color once I had the image the way I wanted. All the scans came out pretty well .







Twiced Bombed

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Survivor of 2 Atomic Blasts, Dies at 93

By Mark McDonald

  • Jan. 6, 2010
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Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only official survivor of both atomic blasts to hit Japan in World War II, died Monday in Nagasaki, Japan. He was 93. The cause was stomach cancer, his family said.

Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29-year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was in Hiroshima on a business trip when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. He was getting off a streetcar when the so-called Little Boy device detonated above the city.


Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than two miles away from ground zero that day. His eardrums were ruptured, and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city’s buildings and killed 80,000 people.

Mr. Yamaguchi spent the night in a Hiroshima bomb shelter and returned to Nagasaki, his hometown, the following day, according to interviews he gave over the years. The second bomb, known as Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, killing 70,000 people.


Mr. Yamaguchi was in his Nagasaki office, telling his boss about the Hiroshima blast, when “suddenly the same white light filled the room,” he said in an interview last March with the British newspaper The Independent.

“I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from Hiroshima,” he said.

Japan surrendered six days after the Nagasaki attack.


Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi.

There were believed to have been about 165 twice-bombed people, known as nijyuu hibakusha, although municipal officials in both cities have said that Mr. Yamaguchi was the only person to be officially acknowledged as such.

One of his daughters, Toshiko Yamasaki, who was born in 1948, said her mother had also been “soaked in black rain and was poisoned” by the fallout from the Nagasaki blast. Her mother died in 2008 from kidney and liver cancer. She was 88.


“We think she passed the poison on to us,” Ms. Yamasaki said, noting that her brother died of cancer at 59 and that her sister has been chronically ill throughout her life.


In his later years Mr. Yamaguchi spoke out against atomic weapons, though he had earlier avoided joining antinuclear protests because of the attention he might have attracted, Ms. Yamasaki told The Independent. “He was so healthy, he thought it would have been unfair to people who were really sick,” she added.


Mr. Yamaguchi rarely gave interviews, but he wrote a memoir and was part of a 2006 documentary about the double bombing survivors. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a showing of the documentary, “Niju Hibaku” (“Twice Bombed”), at the United Nations that year.


At a lecture he gave in Nagasaki last June, Mr. Yamaguchi said he had written to President Obama about banning nuclear arms. And he was recently visited by the American film director James Cameron to discuss a film project on atomic bombs, Ms. Yamasaki said.


Mr. Yamaguchi was philosophical about his surviving the blasts. “I could have died on either of those days,” he told The Mainichi Daily News of Japan in August. “Everything that follows is a bonus.”



American Witness - Robert Frank

An interesting read about one of “America’s” most innovative photographers who sadly passed away in 2019.  He was born in Switzerland but never really fit the mold of the good Swiss citizen.  He was Jewish and was only granted citizenship by the Swiss Government after WWII.  Soon after he left for America.  While traveling all over South America and Europe, New York City was his home base.  He did commercial work only as a means to survive.  He was a true non-conformist in this regard. Odd fact - he once was hired to shoot publicity stills for the Three Stooges!

He applied and received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his project to document America.  He was given about $3800 to do this project.  He bought a 1940’s businessmen’s Ford - no back seat which was great as he could carry all his equipment.  And off he headed.

While in Arkansas he was jailed for suspicion of……. just suspicion.  The police didn’t like that he had a foreign accent, was Jewish and had camera equipment.  He was fingerprinted and they were sent to the FBI.  At this time there was a lot of concern for communist spies like the Rosenbergs.  They finally let him go when he showed them an article he’d done for Fortune magazine!


After getting all the pictures edited and thinned into a manageable book he was turned down by several American publishing houses.  His friend, Msr. Delpine in Paris agreed to publish it.  Initially Walker Evans was going to write the intro but then Frank fell in with the likes of Jack Kerouac who eventually got the nod to write.


In 1959 the book finally was published and then soon after was picked up by a small American publishing house, Grove Press who was instrumental in getting the book out here in states


There is this urban legend that the book was panned.  It was in the popular photography magazines but it garnered praise from more intellectual quarters.  The popular press was not at all used to his style of photography - not every picture was perfectly in focus.  The pacing of the book was unlike anything seen before and was not like the usual 10 page layout that you might see in Life or Look magazine.  There was no beginning, middle and end.  Each photo stood by itself. There also was the factor that many editors felt that Frank was criticizing the US of A when that was not the intent.


I have often said that to me this is THE best photography book ever published.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy and decide for yourself.

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