Too Many Books

I have many photography books, too many according to Vicki.  She advocates ‘reading them’ and then giving them away.  I tried to explain to her that these books are not dime store novels but something that you don’t just read but absorb, reflect.  

The image above is a bunch of books that I can part with - either because I know that I will never read them, have already read them and they hold no importance to me anymore.  Below are just some of the books that I cherish

You Must Unload

You Must Unload

Now you fashion-loving christians sure give me the blues
You must unload, you must unload
You’ll never get to heaven in your jewel-encrusted high-heel shoes
You must, you must unload

For the way is straight and narrow and few are in the road
Brothers and sisters, there is no other hope
If you’d like to get to heaven and watch eternity unfold
You must, you must unload

And you money-loving christians, you refuse to pay your share
You must unload, you must unload
Trying to get to heaven on the cheapest kind of fare
You must, you must unloadAnd you power-loving christians in your fancy dining cars
You must…

Monet and “In the Wake”

The Denver Art Museum is home to the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades. Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature features more than 120 paintings spanning Monet’s entire career and focuses on the celebrated French Impressionist artist’s enduring relationship with nature and his response to the varied and distinct places in which he worked.

While at the museum shop I bought a sticker book of Monets and a paintbrush that I plan on using to do Haiku with ink.  Not much.  Until I went to the main shop and stumbled on a book of Japanese Photographers take on the disaster of Fukushima, an interest of mine.  In The Wake. So THAT was the big purchase.

Crappy Camera + Ages Old Film =

What do you get with a crappy camera from ? the 1980’s and Film that is at least 16 years old?  Well I’m here to show you - not very much is the brief answer.  The claim to fame for this camera is the large viewfinder.  Unfortunately this does not compensate for the un-sharp lens.  I had so hoped that this would be a nice plastic camera. Some of the shots were so bad from aging of the film that I took them into Black and White and got a little more out of them.     

2020 Predictions and Aspirations

1. Shoot more film - have to as I ordered more film.  Will be exploring low ISO photography

2. Continue to try to lose weight

3. Do a better job of flossing - my hygienist was truly pissed off at me yesterday - I think she took it out on me with that pick she uses.

4.Get back into the Wet Darkroom - going for orientation this week!

5. Try to get back into being a Broncos fan - but then this isn’t up to me is it?  For now it’s the Chiefs for me

6. Aspire to go back to Japan for a more directed, leisurely visit this time.  Tokyo for a few more days and then to the Inland Sea

Canon AE1 with Tri-X

The obligatory test roll when you get a new camera.  For me this was a new to me Canon AE1.  This was my first SLR.  My father went out and he bought two of ‘em - one for me and one for him.  They are cheap to buy and the lenses are also at the bottom of the price heap.  This one was purchased at Blue Moon Camera

The Tri-X was also a bit unusual as I long ago stopped shooting this film - not really because I didn’t like it but more to try something else.  All these years I shot mostly Ilford :  HP5+ and Delta 400.  Well I was told several years ago that the updated Tri-X was finer grained than T Max 400!  I hadn’t read the manual thoroughly on the AE1 and a handful of shots were way off on exposure but all frames came out usable!!  This is why you shoot Trip-X.  Developed in HC110 B.

Retracing our Steps

A long term documentary photography project about the > 80,000 displaced people from around Fukushima Daichi Nuclear plant.  The area was hit with a 9.0 earthquake March, 2011 followed by a devastating Tsunami that caused a level 7 nuclear incident ( INES scale - 7 is the top of the scale).

»The 1,000 square kilometers of land comprising the no-go zone around the Fukushima plant represent the most impressive—and most brutal—evidence of the nuclear accident. More than 80,000 people were forced to pack a few belongings and follow orders to evacuate, while others, fearful of radiation, left of their own volition, leaving behind ghost towns nearly devoid of light. Time has stood still.«

– from the text by Christian Caujolle

»This photographic work is our contribution to the narrative of a historic disaster. The accident is far from being over, both at the power station and among the nuclear refugees. And we hope to continue to testify to this sad but multifaceted chapter in the his- tory of the Fukushima region.«

– from the introduction by Carlos Ayesta and Guillaume Bressi-

A very concise history of the disaster.

Lakeside Amusement Park

Lakeside Amusement Park is a family-owned[1] amusement park in Lakeside, Colorado, adjacent to Denver. Originally named White City, it was opened in 1908 as a popular amusement resort adjacent to Lake Rhoda by the Denver Tramway, making it a trolley park.[2] The amusement park was soon sold to Denver brewer Adolph Zang. Eventually the name was changed to Lakeside Amusement Park, but the local populace kept referring to it by its original name for its glittering original display of over 100,000 lights. Today it is one of only thirteen trolley parks operating and one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States, and the oldest still running in Colorado. The park, comprising nearly half of the Town of Lakeside that it was responsible for creating in 1907, features the landmark Tower of Jewels.

Shot on Kodak 5222 with a Canon Ftb and a 28 mm lens.  Developed in HC110 -B

Rocky Flats - Hell on Earth

Having just watched Dark Circle I wanted to add my own take on Rocky Flats from my recently published book called Living with the Atom.  Click each frame to enlarge

As I noted in the Dark Circle page - many of the things we now know about weren’t available to the film makers in 1982.  We do know that the findings of a Jefferson County Grand Jury were sequestered and those on the panel were legally prevented from saying anything.  

Dark Circle

I want to get a little sombre this Christmas Eve, 2019.  I watched this award winning documentary today.  It focuses primarily on the disaster that is Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant.  Let me just quote from a review by a documentarian:


Growing up in Broomfield, Colorado, I vaguely knew that the nearby nuclear weapons plant Rocky Flats existed. As a family, we sometimes worried about drinking contaminated water and would occasionally even glimpse a protest. But radiation is an abstract notion for kids. As someone says in the 1982 film Dark Circle, “You can’t see it, you can’t feel it.” Dark Circle, directed by Judy Irving, Christopher Beaver and Ruth Landy, is one of the most poignant films about the military industrial complex ever made.

Sequences include interviews with a man who survived Nagasaki, footage of hideous experiments on live pigs to determine the effect of a nuclear blast on skin, and soldiers intentionally exposed to radiation. But the film is most focused when it spends time in the subdivisions that multiplied along the Colorado Front Range from the 1960s through the 1980s. These communities were often built on contaminated soil, and under the toxic wind created by a nuclear weapons factory only a few miles away, in Rocky Flats. Dark Circle is about where I grew up.

Seeing this film while I was young made me both horrified and thankful. Out of thin air came a tool to understand my world. Our next-door neighbor worked at Rocky Flats. One day I asked him about exposure to radiation, and he said that it had happened to him a few times. It was called “getting hot,” and it resulted in a couple of weeks paid vacation. At home, we were told Rocky Flats built “triggers” for nuclear weapons. In Dark Circle, it was clear they were building “the Bomb.” The film shows the depth of mismanagement, environmental disaster and lying that took place at Rocky Flats. The plant burned down twice, each time releasing clouds of poison into the air and landscape. Animals in the surrounding farmland were dying or being born disfigured. Workers at the plant kept getting cancer.

Dark Circle also delves into the companies who had vested interests in keeping Rocky Flats running. The filmmakers’ access is astonishing, invoking jealousy in those of us now working in an era of reflexive secrecy. They get an interview with a man whose head is badly mangled from brain surgery, and capture a press conference where an emotional spokeswoman chokes through the company line. “The area around Rocky Flats is a safe place to live,” she says. At one point the crew finds a young saleswoman excitedly talking about the benefits of “unmanned aerial drones”; at that moment it’s easy to forget that this film was shot nearly 40 years ago.

Dark Circle was so controversial that in 1985, PBS decided to yank its nationwide broadcast, calling it “one-sided.” The writer B.J. Bullert, in his 1997 book Public Television: Politics and the Battle over Documentary Film, said the decision “robbed” American audiences of the chance to hear a perspective that was unflattering to the US Government. The PBS series POV aired the film in 1989, and it won a national Emmy. Today, the film’s truths are widely recognized, and it’s clear Rockwell and the government lied regularly and then tried to bury it all in secrecy.

Eventually, after bowing to enormous pressure, Rocky Flats was made into a National Park. But considering the enormous longevity of nuclear toxicity, there is still a dark circle of death in the dirt.

Dark Circle does what great documentaries do: It shows something right in front of you not previously seen. For a kid who grew up drinking and swimming in Front Range water and playing in that Colorado dirt, it re-wrote my genetic code as a filmmaker to include a simmering anger, a deep questioning of entrenched interests and a desire to fight back.

Brian Knappenberger is an award-winning documentary writer and director whose credits include The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz and We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists. Knappenberger is currently in production on a ten-part investigative documentary series for Participant Media—slated to air in the winter of 2016—which will spotlight stories of people fighting back against institutional abuses of power.

My own view of the documentary is that it rolled up all of our fears and horrors into one giant steaming ball of radiation.  Don’t get me wrong, I  think Rocky Flats is an abomination.  After reading about Chernobyl, Hanford Nuclear Site, Rock Flats and Fukushima it is abundantly clear Governments and Industries just can’t keep from lying to us the general public.  I think that when the movie was made in 1982 there wasn’t enough known about the lies and deceit that kept the plant going for another 7 years.  There is plenty now to make a documentary just about Rocky Flats without having to bring in the emotions of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  

Who by David Byrne


Who’ll be my Valentine?
Who’ll lift this heavy load?
Who’ll share this taxicab?
Who wants to climb aboard?

Who is an honest man? Who is an honest man?

Who’ll help a tired soldier?
Far from his own home town
Carry these men and women
Who get lost when the sun goes down?

Who is an honest man? Who is an honest man?

Who walks this dusty road?
Who always pulls their weight?
Who’s this? Inside-a me?
Who made a big mistake?

Who sees these constellations?
See them go spinning round
Carry these men and women
Who get lost when the sun goes down?

Who is an honest man? Who is an honest man?

With a graceful motion she sat down slowly
Drank a cup of co ee and she’ll fold her laundry
She begins to tell us all her life story
All around the table—ev’rybody starin’

Who shouts out hallelujah?
Who’s gonna sing out loud?
Carry these men and women?
Who get lost when the sun goes down?

Who’s getting out-a here?
Who thinks they’re wide-awake?
Who’s gonna be my friend?
All around the table—ev’rybody starin’

Fuji Acros II first roll

Fujifilm announced a ways back that they were re-introducing Acros as Across II.  It is claimed that it’s the finest grain ISO 100 film out there.  I had not shot much of it all when it was discontinued.  Mystical thinking has always led me to try new cameras and/or film thinking this would improve my photography - NOT!  But having a new film to try is always fun.  It became available November 22, 2019 only in Japan.  There was some rumors that it would not be shipped to the US.  I found it on Global Rakuten and within a few short days had three rolls to play with.  Shot with the Leica M7 and the Voightlander 40/1.4 here are the results.  I goofed up on the ISO setting and shot it at ISO 80; HC110 - B for 5 minutes. ( Massive Development app said 4.5 minutes but that’s too short a development time IMHO).

Another curious item about the re-release is the box itself.  At the bottom it says ‘Made in the UK” The film forums have been working overtime to figure out what this means?  The box was made in the UK, the film, what?

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