Snowfences: My First Solo Show

The Snowfences series was exhibited at The NeiCrescent Moon- Snowfencesghbourhood and Coffee Starbucks Okusawa near Jiyugaoka Station in Tokyo for the month of July. This series had 13 photos ranging from A2 to A5 in size. They were printed on inkjet washi paper. Everything A3 and smaller was printed on Awagami Paper Factory’s Inbe inkjet print paper.

It was a thrill to see my work on the wall. Many thanks to the manager, Nakano-san and the staff who made the experience so wonderful. It’s a beautiful place to hang art.

The photo, Crescent Moon is probably my favourite in the series though I almost didn’t include it.

Most of the photos were taken during a trip through the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana during stormy, almost white-out conditions so the majority of the work in the show is stormy white.

Later during the trip, the sky cleared to reveal this clear moon. This print will continue to be available on my shop.

Below are some photos from the exhibition and the last day. Thanks again Starbucks and Nakano-san for the wonderful experience!


Pinholes and Ice Monsters

This post is going to be out of order. I wanted to start with a general overview post about Zao, Yamagata, but I am working on my photos at the same time and the pinhole work a is little more compelling at the moment.

In January I did some pinhole experiments using a Minolta SR-7 (1964?) that I bought for 500 yen. I brought it along on my trip to Zao. I wanted to photograph the ice monsters, the juhyou, but I wasn’t sure about snowshoeing for the first time with nice cameras. The regret potential, it was just too huge.

In order to avoid the tripod (though I just bought a nice Photo Clam which I should figure out how to trick out for deep, deep snow) I used high speed film. Ilford 3200 BW, Kodak Portra 800 and Lomo Purple 400. Hand held shooting all the way, baby. Mostly at 1/2 second so my expectations were low. But hope springs eternal right? But because I also like “trust but verify” I only got the film developed and didn’t ask for prints. I’d scan them and then see.

Lesson One:
My scanner has some weird white dot and dust going on that I can not physically remove. It also gives me some weird color cast and Holy Film Grain, Photoman! (No photos. I can’t bear the mess. I cloned stamped them out)

Leson Two:
I totally abused the Lomo by exposing as 800 ISO then pushing the development 1 stop (Thank you National Photo. I couldn’t get that done without you.) The Purple is supposed to have a purple tone (shocker) but if you over expose it, you get an indigo color. Perhaps.  But I think Lomo Purple and snow scenes are not ideal matches. The purple needs some color to make it sing. Snow scenes are too monochromatic. I did get some shots I like but I’ll have to compare to my digital shots to see what was going on.

Lesson Three:
For a 1500 yen roll of film, Kodak Portra 800 is not thrilling me. I’ll keep in mind that my scanner picks up every bit of film grain, but… blechy! What is this green cast? This is unedited and it was a misty part of the day.  I’ll hold off judgement until I see a developed print. Ach… I’m hoping.

Lesson Four:
Ilford Delta 3200, why do I try other things when you are so reliable. Yes, you are a grainy beast, but your grain looks like a deliberate aesthetic instead of a hot mess. And you are so hand-holdably good. You’re my reliable best friend while I try out all these other flash films but you know I always come back to you. I promise to expose you better in the future. (wait… that sounds weird now. The personification stops now)

Lesson Five:
These images were hand-held at 1/2-1/8 second while standing on snowshoes on the top of the mountain? I could have been a surgeon! (Not)

Lesson Six:
The Minolta SLR-7 is a workhorse! I had it outside, in my hand, at temperatures ranging from 2 to -3 degrees C for 5 hours and that camera worked like a charm. I planned to use a cable release to reduce shake but it gave up in the first roll. I have another 50 year old camera, christened Grampa Petri because it’s a Petri 1.9 that stops working if it even gets chilly. The SR-7 was produced between 1962 and 1966 so this camera is not much older than Grampa Petri. Maybe it’s just happy to be rescued from the junk bin. The meter doesn’t work (because the battery is that old scary kind they don’t sell anymore) but I use a hand-held light meter anyway. I feel like this camera deserves a second life, so I went and bought a 24mm 2.8 lens for it. We’ll see how it goes.

So far, sorting out the work from the Zao trip is interesting but I can see it’s going to take me a while.

The Absence of Color. Weekly Photo Challenge

The absence of of color, or more correctly in this case, the tone of black and white is my subject for the weekly photo challenge. I adore the sepia color of this film.

I had some packs of Polaroid 100 film from the Impossible Project. This was the Paul Giambarba Sepia edition. I enjoyed using this film and I’m really sad it isn’t being made anymore. I was hoarding this film for something special and it ended up being at least a year out of date. When I went to shoot Sakura, I brought out my Polaroid back for the Hassy determined to use the film. I also had a bunch of 120 film that was old so that day ended up being more experimental than I planned.


This is probably my favorite shot. Not sure if it does my Hassy any justice as it looks quite soft, but that is an effect of the film. I’m really entranced with the tone of this sepia film. It has a nice dreamy quality. I’ve never been able to get anything really contrasts with this film, but given the overcast, drizzly weather, it was going to happen this day.

Most of the polaroid photos came out ok despite the film being out of date. Out of 10 photos, only two showed real signs of emulsion degradation. Not bad.

Even Shooting Sakura Gets a Kind of Poe Riff

Two weekends ago I braved the rain and drizzle to shoot the last of the cherry blossoms at Tamagawa. I think I got a few good shots of the flowers and I got to try working on different lighting style for me. But that Edgar Allan Poe comic with the raven and the Bohemian Rhapsody riff has been floating around FB again and became an ear wig I couldn’t shake. With the crows out in full force and the dreary weather (now I feel like I should break out into a parody of  “The Raven”) sometimes one needs to take a break from the flowers and go gothic mystic. I caught the following image with my Fuji 690 GWIII.

Crow sitting on trees on rainy spring day by Tamagawa, Tokyo, Japan.
Crows sitting on trees on rainy spring day by Tamagawa, Tokyo, Japan.

This tree was filled with crows but with my typical luck, a bunch of crows took off while I was focusing. A few were kind enough to pose.

I scanned the image under a color film setting and ended up with an interesting sepia tone. The film is Ilford 3200 shot at ISO 1600 and exposed normally.

I’m looking forward to pulling out the dark room equipment and contact printing this image to see what happens.

In case you missed this comic, here is a version from

Designed by Jack Kelly

I finally found an attribution for the image at where it is credited to Jack Kelly. Yay! And I’m so impressed with this person. Not sure if this is the first iteration of this design but I’m happy to have someone to attribute it to.

Snail Geometry

Geometry is this week’s Postaweek Photo Challenge. I already posted one entry, and I really like the photo but it has a lot of hard lines. I had originally wanted to do something spiral-oriented. I dunno, maybe I’m in a spinny mood but I didn’t remember any photos. I was enjoying looking at some other posts and noticed the focus on architecture and hard lines and then I saw Liz Hardeman’s really nice photo of a spiral shell on her blog Nature on the Edge. Then I remembered the snails I photographed along the Tamagawa in Oome. I thought the spiral would contrast my previous square post.

It was raining pretty hard and photography was not that great that day. There was a kayaker practicing on the river. It was interesting but the photos were murky. I didn’t even get any nice atmospheric landscapes. Then I looked down and saw some snails. I did some macro photos of the snails. It was fun to watch their antennae pop in and out and watch their little snailish moustaches snuffle the moss.

I stayed and photographed them for about thirty minutes. I thought I was pretty rainproof and toasty. I was, until I put my camera bag back over top my rainsoaked down jacket. It pressed the water right through the jacket. Then it was a twenty minute walk to the train station, at least twenty minutes until the next train and then over ninety minutes until I could get warm and dry. I ended up with the worst cold I can recall having. Not sure if the snails were worth it.
motivational snail pictures

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Photo taken in Prague in front of the Rudolphinum, April 2010

Solitary is walking alone.

Solitary is a statue, isolated in its thoughts.

Solitary is rain. The wet brings a chill that heightens the senses. The subtle aromas released or covered by the rain allows the mind to turn inward.

For me, the key to this photo is the statue. It reminds me that even when we think we are alone in our journeys we are always being observed, that even solitary existences converge, cross then move on.

If I were to do a photo with that theme in Tokyo, I might capture the same idea, but the energy would be completely different. I could catch solitary but it would be adrift in the frenetic energy that characterizes this city. Hmmm… there’s a thought for a future photo.

I tend to do a lot of photos that examine the theme of solitary. This one is from a collection on my website that I titled “Channeling Atget.” For me, Atget is about capturing that contemplative melancholy on misty or rainy days.

Which artists or photographers do you think capture the ideal of solitary? Come to think of it, is there only one ideal for the concept “solitary”?

Banff and my Spendy Pencil the Fuji GW690III

It’s been a great summer of travel, but one of the tough things about traveling a lot is catching up with everything when you get back and getting time to get the pictures done. The store where I get my film developed takes a bit of effort to get to so I waited to develop my film until I had other errands in the same area. Despite the wait, I was excited to see the results because this was the first time I used the Fuji GW690III in the field. I’d taken it to Canada.

I bought the Fuji GW690III in April this year. I’ve only used a couple times and never far from home because that sucker is HEAVY even though it is a doll. For a range-finder, I find the focus really easy to use. Even complex images like sakura or pine trees seem manageable through this view finder. I also love, love, love the dimensions of this film.

I went hiking with a friend to Johnston Canyon. I was determined to take the Fuji and I’m glad I did even though I only got two rolls of film done. I choose relatively fast film because I wasn’t bringing a tripod. I expected I’d have just enough energy  to go up the trails never mind a tripod.

Photo of waterfall at Johnston Canyon Trail, Banff, Alberta

The first roll was black and white the ever-faithful Ilford 400 Delta.

The second was a film I’ve had good luck with in the past: Lomo redscale ISo 50-200. Despite my wish to shoot fast film, I ended up trying to shoot ISO 25-50. I was lucky that it was a really bright, sunny day. With my exposures, I think I should have got more blue in my photos than the hot red. I adjusted the redness in these photos using Photoshop after scanning the film. Not such a fan of the hot red of some of the photos so I’m not posting them.


I had a small accident with the film when dropping it off at the photo store. The glue had dried and come loose ruining the last photo and a bit of light leak on the above right.

I’d like to use this camera more often and carrying it around might be the inspiration I need to get back into the weight room.



The light leak pattern is kind of interesting, but honestly, I’m more fascinated with where the numbers came from.

p.s.  This is what it looks like when the glue tab keeping your 120 film spool sealed gets loose.

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