Field trip to Denver

Denver’s Month of Photography is March of every odd-numbered year, so of course it took us until April to get up there.  Lots of galleries and exhibitions, as well as a side-trip to a bookstore, and the Rockmount Ranch Wear storefront.


Something happened when developing this film, and I’m not exactly sure what.  Either I got the ratio of the developer wrong, or the temperature/time was over what I thought (or both).  Either way the highlights are waaaay overdeveloped and the negatives are extremely contrasty.  edit: it turns out that some idiot had set out a box of print developer, not film developer.  I didn’t catch it until after it was too late but also didn’t remember if the Sprint chemistry was different between print and film developers.  Now I’ll always look before pouring some out just in case the darkroom tech has another idiot moment.

I suppose using TLX Client Demo and some inversion software I could have gotten better scans; PSI’s contrast adjustment maxes out at -40 it would seem, and I regularly use -30 contrast for well-exposed and developed black & white film.  I did what I could but I’m not a Photoshop miracle worker.  Worse still, I developed 5 rolls total, all in the big tank and while they’re not ruined, none of them look ideal.  I’ll be wet printing for the final/exhibition and hopefully a 00 or 0 filter will tame the contrast enough!  I suppose this is my punishment for digitally printing all my workprints, sacrilege I’m sure…

Brother’s wedding

My brother and his now-wife had a photographer, I just took pictures for fun.  Lots of friends and family, most of whom I hadn’t seen for years.

I had a problem with loading the Canon, really me being cheap and trying to get an extra frame out of the film…the result of which was that my third roll of film doesn’t actually exist.  It could have been worse though, as I had forgotten by then how much I had shot and wasn’t sure if I’d actually taken any pictures at all.  Still, it makes for a good reminder that you must really know your camera before you start doing all the little tricks.  Unless I’m shooting the Spotmatics, I’ll make doubly sure of things like the film loading process!

Dip-and-dunk E6 processing in Colorado

On the first day back in the darkroom, our instructor mentioned that one of the last places doing dip-and-dunk processing was based in Denver.  Evidently dip-and-dunk is gentler on your film and causes less scratches/wear and tear on your film; especially important if an image is going to a gallery, you’d not want scratches on your negatives/positives from the development.  I guess this is also more of a thing for E6 processing, from my research.  And speaking of research…as far as the state of photochemical imaging in Colorado, it turns out that we’re doing alright, because I found three places here that have dip-and-dunk processing!

-Digigraphics (Fort Collins)
-Mike’s Camera (Boulder)
-Digital Imaging Center (Denver)

I’ve always sent my slide film to Mike’s, because they have several stores around the state, one in Colorado Springs, and I’m able to drop off film there and take advantage of their courier service to have my slide film developed at their Boulder store.  Much easier than mailing it out.

Editorial: It’s who you know, an elongated definition of photo editing, and photographing Trump

The old adage holds true that it’s all about who you know.  One of the main reasons that my composition teacher encouraged me to go to film festivals was for the networking opportunities.  I went mainly for an excuse to travel, as I don’t get many opportunities for vacation, and the festival usually would pay for room and board.  I’ll say though that I can only take so much of it at one time so everyone would be partying late into the night and even with free beer I only stuck around for a limited time.  Who did I really want to meet?  How about a girlfriend; oh well.  I did meet a few like-minded people and stay in touch with them slightly, though I’ve let that slide a bit in the last year or so.  In fact to be truthful I haven’t really hung out with anyone for a long time.  Every once in a while I go out for drinks with one of my church friends but that’s about it.  I think when I lived in Colorado Springs and close to campus I did a lot more socializing, but now I’m just holed up in the mountains.  A typical night for me is watching TV and perhaps having a glass of whisky.  So maybe there’s the potential that I’m hurting my future career by not getting out there, and I suppose I could change that but the reality is that I’m exhausted and don’t feel like it.

It was in a way comforting I suppose, that the rules haven’t changed much (if at all) since the days of Duchamp and Schoenberg, but also dispiriting.

If there’s anything I know after taking photo classes since 2013, it’s that seeking the advice of my peers and getting their opinions on my best images helps me go a lot further than just putting work up in a vacuum and waiting to see what they say during the critique.  I have no idea why so many people say that some images of mine are their favorite, when really they’re ones I couldn’t care less about myself.  Too close to my own work perhaps?  The whole last time I was taking Advanced Photo I was relying solely upon others’ opinions on which way to take the project because I had such a hard time finding the images interesting.  I don’t necessarily get the associations that others do having certain images next to each other either, so I’ll rely on others as much as their willing to determine sequence as well.  What I was really hoping this article would do was give me a little insight into how I could better pick images myself and know which ones are the best ones, but sadly it was a disappointment there, this article seems mostly to tell someone with no knowledge of photography what a photo editor does, if it even does that.  Honestly I think reading this article was a waste of time.  The pictures were nice, though.

(sorry, couldn’t get that big ad to go away)

I once got an opportunity to photograph Trump myself, and also was pretty interested in Ben Rasmussen’s stories about him.  I like that the New York Times is interviewing a photographer, and find it interesting in a meta sense that they have interviewed one of their own staff photographers.  And it’s an interesting insight into the man, reading this interview, like how much access he gives to photographers not only in content but his time.  I can see an in into my own work here in that he’s an outsider that’s been granted access, so he’s in this very privileged position and he’s photographing some of the most powerful and famous people in the world.  I’d call that pretty exciting and I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous.  Looking at these photos, I think I gained a bit more understanding on the lure of celebrity and pop culture.  I love the long paragraph where he goes into the differences in photographing different Presidents over the years; I love all the stories.

I don’t follow the news too closely so I’ve never seen any of these photos before, but Doug Mills’ photos seem to be what I expected from a White House photographer, and it gives me a bit of insight into what modern news photography looks like.  I can’t say that I’m all that impressed with the look of it from a purely visual perspective, I guess I’d just as soon have it all be Tri-X and Cinestill 800T, but then the Times would probably never hire me if I insisted on shooting on film, which means the Times will never hire me.

Blue Frame in Garden of the Gods

For all the idiots that needed to be told where the view was, the City of Colorado Springs installed a big blue frame in Garden of the Gods, and thank God it didn’t last long.  This happened December 2017, here are a few news stories from back then:

This happened at High Point where I take people for pictures if there is time and space.  I remember for weeks before there being some construction going on, they had cones and the area roped off.  This particular rock and parking lot are popular for wedding ceremonies, though I saw a few that were forced to go other places because of the construction.  Then the hideous monstrosity appeared one day much to my and everyone else’s horror.  Tourists of course, don’t care about such things because they don’t have to live with it, but to the people of Colorado Springs it was a slap in the face and collectively they had one reaction:

I’m happy to say that it was only there for a week or two and I just had to deal with it a few times.  I always made sure to step as close to the frame as I could when taking pictures so the damn thing wasn’t in it.