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.

75th Anniversary of the A Bomb

These are images shot by Magnum photographer Wayne Miller a month after the dropping of the A bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Tomorrow ( our time) is the 75th anniversary of this event.  The decision to drop the bomb was to say the least very complicated. The observation from the troops on the ground that the Japanese were maniacal in their defense of the islands surrounding Japan combined with the knowledge that surrender would come only after an assault on mainland Japan.

Did we HAVE to insist on unconditional surrender?  This is the point where presentism has to be discussed.  Do we judge historical events by today’s standard or those that existed at the time?  Emperor Hirohito was considered a living deity in Japan and it was felt that unless he was forced to renounce his position as a deity , a conditional surrender would not work.  Additional pressures to use the bomb came from the fact that Russia in the 11th hour declared war on Japan and Truman wanted no part of Russia asking for territory from Japan.  

It is worth noting that 100,000 had perished in Tokyo in March, 1945 from firebombing.  With some rationality, General Curtis Lemay declared 100,000 dead didn’t matter if it was by conventional vs. nuclear weapon.  

Having recently visited Hiroshima I was struck by how the Japanese, took less than direct responsibility for their part in starting the WWII in the Pacific.  This is just cultural in that direct confrontation of the facts is best avoided.  I didn’t realize this until I returned from the trip and started reading about their culture. Speaking of our culture - some point to the fact that because it was Japan - home of the yellow man - that it was ok to use the bomb.  Well Germany had already surrendered so we will never know if we would have used it against Hitler.  It is true that we did not intern German Americans like we did with Japanese Americans.   To say the least the whole issue is multi-faceted with no clear cut answers leaving people to have opinions of differing shades.

The Japanese use this time every year to push for Peace in general and I think we can all get behind this idea.

Here are a few photos from my visit

Old Fast film

This roll of film was many years out of date Ilford 3200 that I shot at 1000.  Tweaked a bit in post.  Grain is very visible but not unpleasant.  Add a little more contrast and I’d be replicating the look of some the Japanese masters of photography like Daido.  This style is call ” Are, Bure, Bokeh”  roughly translated as ’ grainy, blurry , out of focus’.

My YouTube Diet is terribly unbalanced - Help!

So here’s the problem - before bed I like to check out a few videos on You Tube.  Recently I’ve gone into a rut and You Tube’s algorithm will start to feed you more and more of the stuff you like .  There’s no balance.  There’s no mother hen saying “Ernie you’ve had enough Karen videos for one nite”

So here are the current offerings.

This is Coco and Lulu. Cute dachshunds . 

Next offering is so weird because I don’t fly a plane but I like watching these videos

The most disturbing are the ‘Karen’ videos featuring a middle aged white woman going on a rampage

All of this usually requires me to take a CBD gummy to relax!!!!

Leica, Jews and the Nazis

An interesting article worth a read

The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It is a German product - precise, minimalist, and utterly efficient.

Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned, socially oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon grace, generosity and modesty. E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer of Germany’s most famous photographic product, saved its Jews.

And Ernst Leitz II, the steely-eyed Protestant patriarch who headed the closely held firm as the Holocaust loomed across Europe , acted in such a way as to earn the title, “the photography industry’s Schindler.”

As soon as Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst Leitz II began receiving frantic calls from Jewish associates, asking for his help in getting them and their families out of the country. As Christians, Leitz and his family were immune to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg laws, which restricted the movement of Jews and limited their professional activities.

To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as “the Leica Freedom Train,” a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas.

Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members were “assigned” to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and the United States, Leitz’s activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across

Before long, German “employees” were disembarking from the ocean liner Bremen at a New York pier and making their way to the Manhattan office of Leitz Inc., where executives quickly found them jobs in the photographic industry.

Each new arrival had around his or her neck the symbol of freedom - a new Leica camera.

The refugees were paid a stipend until they could find work. Out of this migration came designers, repair technicians, salespeople, marketers and writers for the photographic press.

Keeping the story quiet The “Leica Freedom Train” was at its height in 1938 and early 1939, delivering groups of refugees to New York every few weeks. Then, with the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany closed its borders.

By that time, hundreds of endangered Jews had escaped to America, thanks to the Leitzes’ efforts. How did Ernst Leitz II and his staff get away with it?

Leitz, Inc. was an internationally recognized brand that reflected credit on the newly resurgent Reich. The company produced cameras, range-finders and other optical systems for the German military. Also, theNazi government desperately needed hard currency from abroad, and Leitz’s single biggest market for optical goods was the United States.

Even so, members of the Leitz family and firm suffered for their good works. A top executive, Alfred Turk, was jailed for working to help Jews and freed only after the payment of a large bribe.

Leitz’s daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, was imprisoned by the Gestapo after she was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into Switzerland . She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in the course of questioning. She also fell under suspicion when she attempted to improvethe living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave laborers, all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant during the 1940s.

(After the war, Kuhn-Leitz received numerous honors for her humanitarian efforts, among them the Officier d’honneur des Palms Academic from France in 1965and the Aristide Briand Medal from the European Academy in the 1970s.)

Why has no one told this story until now? According to the late Norman Lipton, a freelance writer and editor, the Leitz family wanted no publicity for its heroic efforts. Only after the last member of the Leitz family was dead did the “Leica Freedom Train” finally come to light.

Buffalo Creek Ranch

Buffalo Creek Ranch just outside of FairPlay, Colorado is the living , breathing spirit of LandLibrary. Please check out what they’re doing.

Their missions:

The Rocky Mountain Land Library’s mission is to help connect people to nature and the land.

The need for places of quiet thought, creative pursuits, and active community involvement will only grow as our population increases. The residential library we will establish will give everyone access not only to the books, but also to the surrounding lands — a learning landscape for generations to come.

Once you get out to Buffalo Creek it is so peaceful

Monument Rock

This is the cover photo for my self-published book Prairie Madness.  It was selected for Special Mention at CPAC Member’s Photo exhibit.  It was also selected to show at the All Colorado Art Show in Englewood, CO

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