Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Old Boat

Driving around the panhandle of Florida I often find old fishing boats abandoned along the shore.  Many of these boats were used for oyster fishing and have either become too old for use or were washed up from a tropical storm that hit the area.  I have aways been drawn to things that are abandoned and left to decay.  I am sure there is a story behind this old boat and these subject matters always intrigues my imagination.  That is part of the mystique of finding these old abandoned objects from the past. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Scanning negative film

I have many black and white negatives that I had made during my darkroom days.  Most of my work back then was done with a Linhof 4x5 view camera using Kodak films.  Tri-x was one film I enjoyed because of it's exposure latitude and the way I could easily manipulate it.  When Tmax films came along it was a challenge at first to know how to use and process the film.  Tmax was revolutionary because of the grain structure and the very fine detail it could record.  It was a film that needed a strict processing procedure, and I used a calibrated Jobo processor to do all of my development.  The time and temperature was extremely critical to getting satisfactory and repeatable results with Tmax.  Recently I have   been scanning a few of my old negatives to use on my web site.  I have an Epson V750 flatbed scanner and use a fluid mount scanning procedure. The results are alright for web images but when compared to my finished fine gelatin silver prints they can not compare.  Certainly there are better quality scanning devices such as a drum scanner.  Someday I may use a custom lab to make a high end scan of some of my favorite negatives to see if I could print them to my satisfaction.  The above image, called Roger, is one I made with Tmax-100 film and scanned with my flatbed scanner.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Buckskin Gulch

In Northern Arizona near the Utah border is a wilderness area that I love to hike called Paria Canyon.   There are wonderful canyons and river beds to explore and one of my favorites is Buckskin Gulch.  It is a long canyon that extends nearly 28 miles from one end to the other.  I have never hiked the entire canyon but hope to someday.  This canyon has narrow slots with high walls towering a hundred feet or more overhead.   It is always advisable to check the  weather forecast before going into these remote locations.  A sudden storm can drop a lot of rain in the mountains and all of that water will be draining down and out of these isolated canyons.  You can see in this image the log that is wedged between the canyon walls and can imagine the force of water that flowed down through this canyon at one time.  My rule for hiking into these locations is to keep track of time to know when to turn around and head back.  It is important to keep in mind that a four hour hike in equals a four hour hike back out.  It is easy to get infatuated with the magnificent surroundings and lose track of time and your energy.  The Southwest offers some great opportunities to explore some remote and rugged landscapes, and with a little research and planning you can enjoy some scenic wilderness. 

Technical notes:  I made this image with a 4x5 view camera using Kodak TMax 100 film. I scanned the negative using a fluid mount process on a 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

On the Water

I had a chance to get out on the water this past week end and do a little photography.  Typically it can be windy here in Florida in the wintertime, so when I saw a calm day I immediately got my kayak out on the water.  We recently purchased new kayaks and decided to buy the sit on top style over the sit in style we had.  The new ones are easier to get in and out of, but as I found out, much easier to flip than our old units.  I was out a few weeks ago by myself and managed to flip it twice.  Once when I reached for something behind me and again trying to gather up my stuff floating in the lake in my water tight bag.  Luckily for me I didn't have any camera equipment out, and the alligator I just passed didn't make a meal out of me.  After this experience I decided that I needed to make my kayak flip proof so I can photograph without a concern of losing my equipment and not have to swim with the alligators.  I spent the next couple of weeks engineering outriggers that are fully adjustable to put on the kayak.  This week was the first time out with them installed and they worked perfectly.  Now the kayak feels much more stable and I can focus more on making photographs and less on flipping over.

I have a new web site I just constructed.  You can view it at  http://www.johndoddato.net/