Robert Adams and Wheat Ridge, CO

Robert Adams is an internationally recognized photographer that I’ve had an interest in for several years.  When first introduced to him I was not at all impressed with his photography.  It was only looking at more of his portfolio that I fell in love with his offerings.  This is what one website says about him:

Robert Adams has photographed the landscape of the American West for more than forty years, particularly in California, Colorado and Oregon. His vision is inspired by his joy in nature’s inherent beauty, yet tempered by his dismay at its exploitation and degradation. Adams uses photography to express his love for the landscape and to understand how urban and industrial growth have changed it, all the while insisting that beauty in the world has not been entirely eclipsed. 

Adams was born in New Jersey in 1937 and raised in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. He moved to Southern California in 1956 to attend the University of Redlands. He chose to major in English literature and went on to earn a Ph.D. in that subject at the University of Southern California in 1965.

When Adams returned to Colorado to begin what he anticipated would be a career in teaching, he was dismayed by the changes he saw in the landscape. He bought a 35-mm camera, taught himself the fundamentals of photography, and began making pictures infused with a love for the geography of his home state. 

Adams’s visual education came in part through the work of photographers who had preceded him in the West a century before, especially those of Timothy O’Sullivan, William Henry Jackson, and Carleton Watkins. Their work, together with that of Lewis Hine, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, and Ansel Adams–who often merged their social concerns with aesthetic ones–helped inspire Adams’s style: a spare formalism coupled with emotional depth. 

It was this image above in particular that got me interested in Adams - it was shot in Colorado Springs where I grew up.  When I saw that it immediately resonated with me.  This suburban image is so typical of the Colorado Springs that I grew up in. I the discovered that Adams grew up in Wheat Ridge where I live and in fact one of his photos that is now in the Yale University Art Collection is of a house just up the street

Other photos taken in and around Wheat Ridge are displayed here.  Some are going for $18,000+ in galleries

No place is Boring, if you have had a goods nite sleep and a pocket full of undeveloped film - Robert Adams

Bronica ETRSi

Finally broke down and got a Medium Format SLR camera - As much as I would like to have a Hassleblad - they are still too expensive.  I got this unit with lens, back and AE finder for quite a bit less than $1000.  It’s a 645 format so there’s 16 images per roll.  This camera’s native layout is Horizontal whereas my Bronica 645 RF is Vertical so it’s nice to have a choice.  Additionally with the ETRSi I can load a 2nd film into a 2nd back and interchange mid roll which you can’t do with many cameras.  

67 years old and still going Strong

NO I’m not talking about me although I am 67 years old - so is Godzilla as of this month ( November 1954 the first Gojira movie was released). I’m talking about the venerable Leica IIIf that I just bought and refurbished

Here’s a recent article from Petapixel about the camera.  I’ve had several of these cameras in my photography life.  For some reason I keep selling them - not sure why.  They are small, pocketable and can still be used with some rather new lenses made by Cosina.  I have purchased a few Russian lenses for like $30 that do ok if you’re into cheap.  Here are some pictures made with this camera

Avants Tour of Black Mountain Motorworks

Another Saturday , another AVANTS get together.  This time at Black Mountain Motorworks.  They offer secure air conditioned storage for high end vehicles.  They have a kitchen , sitting area and small conference room on the 2nd floor so it’s like a shared ‘man-cave’.  The VW featured is a resto-mod from ICON.  The exterior and interior have been for the most part left stock.  Engine , running gear and electrics have all been upgraded.  Look at this YouTube video to see what was done to it.

The Great Train Trip of 1999

I am a subscriber to Frames, the magazine and one of their frequent contributors is W. Scott Olsen who teaches at Concordia College in Moorehead, MN.  His recent contribution was about doing photography from a moving train ( sometimes it’s stopped because…. just because).  This reminded me of a trip that my family took in 1999 from Syracuse to Santa Fe.  We then traveled by car up to Colorado Springs.  We came home by train out of the old Union Station in Denver.

Rocky Mountain Land Library

Sunday we attended the Friend, Family event outside of Fairplay, Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Land Library.  It was awesome.  The mission is to preserve books about the West - books are stored in their Globeville ( Denver) warehouse and then brought up to the Buffalo Peaks Ranch for use in various ways.  The goal will hopefully to be a lending library for Park County.  Other ideas that are percolating would be a Residential Library where people  could come in stay for a week or so and read to their heart’s content.

Jeff and Anne Lee are the organizers of the Land Library and both are  fun people to talk to.  They arranged with the Park County Creative Alliance to host this event.  There were artists present to teach, music, and even a group of enactors showing what ranch life was like.

Instagram Blockers

Scammers for a fee can ban anyone you want and can for a larger fee get banned accounts back on line.  This is not good for those of us that think of IG as a stable platform.  It is NOT.  What it is , is a free platform owned and operated by Facebook and if this isn’t enough to get you thinking then nothing will.  I don’t as of yet know of an alternative.  I have over 2000 posts on IG.  If it went away tomorrow or I had to cancel IG and FB I would still be alive and doing photography.  That being said IG is a source of motivation, inspiration and entertainment.  

Photobooks v. Instagram

I came across this video about the special nature of photo books.  This combined with some ominous news about Instagram if your a creative photographer.  The bosses at Facebook who run Instagram are saying that this platform will no longer be about photographs but rather commerce and video.  I don’t know what will happen to IG - I participate pretty much everyday.  Will I be sad if it stops being a place to see great photography?  Yes, of course but these “free’ platforms carry the risk of them going broke, going away or going for the money ( yours mostly).  

This is where the photo book comes in, a tool to preserve your creativity, pass down to future generations and not subject to some moron at Facebook.  

MAKE a Photo book is the theme!

Idiots of Shame

These two losers voted against House Bill HR 2497 to establish Camp Amache in Southern Colorado as a unit of the National Park Service.  This camp located outside of Granada, Colorado was site of a WWII Japanese Internment camp.  

The full bill reads as follows:

Amache National Historic Site Act

This bill establishes the Amache National Historic Site in Colorado as a unit of the National Park System to preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit of present and future generations resources associated with the incarceration of civilians of Japanese ancestry during World War II at Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, and the military service of incarcerees at the Granada Relocation Center.

The National Historic Site shall not be established until the date on which the Department of the Interior determines that a sufficient quantity of land or interests in land has been acquired to constitute a manageable park unit.

After Interior makes such a determination, it shall publish in the Federal Register notice of the establishment of the historic site. 

Interior may acquire by donation, purchase, or exchange any land or interests in land located within the boundary of the Camp Amache National Historic Landmark.

Any acquired lands or interests in land shall be included within the boundary of the historic site. 

Interior must prepare a general management plan for the historic site. 

Interior may enter into agreements with 

  • public or private entities to establish and operate facilities outside of the exterior boundary of the historic site for administration, visitor services, and curation of personal property; and
  • other public or private entities to carry out this bill.

Great thoughts on Photography had this on their website today and is an absolutely fantastic video editorial about what is really important in this age - Alex Kilbee argues that it’s NOT the number of Instagram likes.  He wants us to go back to the first days of our photography experience and rekindle that joy and passion.  His brilliant example is that of Vivian Maier who is arguably one of the best photographers of the 20th century.  And yet were it not a fluke of discovery no one would have known about her.  She absolutely had no desire to show her work despite it’s absolute brilliance.  Did this make her less of a photographer?  I think not and that’s the whole point.

The Black Hills and Badlands

This June our Colorado Airstream Club held a one week rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  We stayed just outside of Custer City but inside of the Custer State Park.  The park is really quite nice and a testament to how much this means to the taxpayers of SD.  Admission was only $20 for the week.

The week was packed with all sorts of activities in addition to socializing with our friends from the club.  The highlight for me was reading ” Buffalo for the Broken Heart” by Dan O’Brien and then going to his Bison ranch and meeting with him and getting a tour.  He drove us in his bust ass suburban with the windows taken out and painted like a zebra.  We got to experience the wind, the smell of the bison.  You felt one with the plains.

Dan in the middle

Badlands - Considering all that this park has to offer, you might be wondering — what’s so bad about the Badlands? The Lakota people dubbed this region “mako sica,” or “bad lands,” long ago because its rocky terrain, lack of water and extreme temperatures made it difficult to traverse.

Some of us rented electric bikes - these are pedal assist meaning nothing happens unless you actually start pedaling.  It is not a ‘free’ ride but one that extends how far you can go with your endurance.  We did this on the George Mickelson Trail which goes from Deadwood to Edgemont, SD a distance of 109 miles.  I only did 14 miles roundtrip.

The above video is 10 min. long and likely boring to many.  But for those that want to know what the trail was like, have at it.

Below are just some Misc. shots

Oveido Arts

As part of our tours out of Santa Fe we stopped into Oveido Arts to meet with Marco Oveido the artist.  He is still doing bronze sculptures the traditional way.   His studio is also home to many animals including some burros from Brazil.  He also has done some interesting photography.  Vicki came away with a bronze bird and I with one of his photographs as seen below.

Caffenol Developer

I’ve known about developing film with instant coffee but have never tried it.  I’ve gotten a scale and the ingredients and gave it a trial - I was very impressed.  Instant coffee, vitamin C and Washing Soda and that’s it.  I used it on ISO 400 film = some places suggest using ISO 100 but as I said it does work.

Dinosaur Ridge

This was my hike this morning.  A nice 1.0 mile hike with some elevation gain.  Dinosaur Ridge is only 20 min. from the house and is the site of some interesting geological formations with remains of dinosaurs.  This includes one of only 12 sites with Raptor prints.  I also learned and saw a rock concretion.  All in a days hike.

10,000 Steps yesterday

Currently my walking goal is 4000 steps per day but yesterday I did 10,000.  I did it by getting up early and going to the Lafayette Cars and Coffee

Next was doing my Walkathon to support prairie preservation.  June 5th is national prairie day and Southern Plains Land Trust was doing a fund raiser for people to walk the prairie with sponsors.  I was able to walk 2.0 miles at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Preserve.  This is a reclaimed chemical weapon arsenal.  No Bison were seen as it was 81F and I’m sure they were hanging out in the shade off in the distance.

By the time this was all done I’d put in 10,000 steps and raised about $127  for SPLT - not a bad day at all.

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