Monday, March 27, 2017

Got My Luland Large Format And Ultra Large Format Heads Today, Love Them

I got my Luland heads today for doing large format and ultra large format photography.
http://gerryyaum.blogspot.ca/2017/03/bought-large-format-and-ultra-large.html

I am very happy with them. Tested the 8x10 - 11x14 smaller version in combo with my carbon fiber Gitzo tripod (geared center column) and the dad bought 8x10 Deardorff. The unit worked flawlessly and is only 1.3 kilos in weight, about half of what my geared Manfrotto head weighs. There is no quick release on the head but I do not think I need it. I can mount the camera once a day, carry it about like that until I shoot all my film, then put everything away. There is no urgent need for a quick release when working with such large gear. I also think the everything is connected much more rock solid without the quick release attachment adapter. I do not want a wobbly system in the dump, when things are locked down, I want them LOCKED DOWN! No movement allowed!

As to the Luland head quality, everything is made very well, to high standards. I can move the head forward and back (a bit), revolve it 360 degrees and move the camera left and right (very important). There are also 2 nice levels on the sides of the base to help square your camera. Every movement has its own separate locking mechanism, which locks tight and secure. My 8x10 Deardorff camera is easily handled by the head, it is fast and easy to make minute adjustments.

I would recommend these Luland heads made in China to anyone that is interested. I will not be using my Ultra Large Format Chamonix camera for a while, when I do eventually shoot ULF I now I have a tripod and head that should work great. The head I got today for ULF is rated to hold a 20x24 camera, so my 16x20 should be quite easy for it to handle.
Here is a link to the head and seller I bought it from on eBay.
luland-overseas

Dads gift 8x10 Deardorff with Gitzo tripod and Luland head
8x10 camera in carrying-transport position.
I love the compactness and the lightness of this new Luland head (check photos). I am very happy I bought this unit. I can now carry the 8x10 camera quite easily as the Deardorff is mounted very securely to the tripod through the Luland head. The lighter weight as mentioned earlier is a huge bonus. When I am moving my 53 year old carcass through the dump carrying all my large format gear any weight savings I can manage are HUGE.


I will try to do individual dump portraits, and family group shots with the 8x10. The images made will be a collection of work paying tribute to the people in the dump and a remembrance of my fathers love for his son (he bought me the camera). Every picture I make I will think back to these 2 themes:

1) pay tribute to my subject, make strong portraits. Do my subject right.
2) make strong work as a dedication to my fathers gift. Do dad right.

Note* I will try to order a smaller mounting screw from Luland. I need it to mount my Kodak Masterview 8x10 camera to it as well (it uses a smaller tripod screw mount). This Luland head is now my preferred 8x10 tripod tool. I will use it for all my future 8x10 and 11x14 photography (wet plate) and possibly for some of my 4x5 work.

Note** I have an all wood Deardorff lens board being made for my camera. I will only be taking 1 8x10 lens with me to Asia, my 250mm F 6.7 Fujimon (11x14 image circle). Am following Jock Sturges advice from years back in that regard.

Quote: Bible-Deuteronomy 10:19

"And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt."

$5000 USD For A Lens?

Check out the new price for my 35mm f1.4 M Leica lens. I did not pay a whopping $4995 USD. I think I paid around $3000, $2990? for mine, something like that. Boy does Leica charge lots for their stuff.

With a price like that, it makes me afraid to take the lens out into the field. What if you drop it, or what if it is stolen? Cameras and lens MUST be used, so I will take it next trip and shoot, shoot and shoot some more with it. I need to make many good photographs with it over its shooting lifetime, to help balance out the crazy cost. Now that I think it over, taking it with me is a must, it just seems right! Let  this lens fufill its expensive destiny and make (at least try to make) important 35mm negs.
Leica Black Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH Lens  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bought Me A Leica Lens Hood

Bought a lens hood that I have needed for a long time. A hood for my Leica R 60mm f2.8. Ugly thing and expensive but very necessary, especially in the harsh sun of Southeast Asia and the dump. You always feel screwed when buying these specialty photo items, hoods, filters and the like. I ended up paying $47.81 USD plus another $11 USD for shipping from Germany. There is another one selling on eBay right now for a ridiculous $85 USD plus $20 shipping. A ton of money for very little. I will use this next trip. It will protect my lens, stop some flare and might improve image contrast a bit.

Leica R 60mm f2.8 lens hood

Bought Me A Billingham Compact Bag

Bought a used Billingham compact bag tonight. The bag is shipping in from England so there are additional import and shipping costs but the overall item cost was low. I paid $63 USD for this great condition little used bag, on B&H it sells new for $160 USD.  I plan on taking this bag with me to Asia for everyday use, it will hold a Leica rangefinder or mini digital camera, plus other items. I will carry less in my pant pockets and more in the bag. It should become my everyday, go everywhere bag for all my traveling.

My new-used Billingham compact camera bag

2000 Calories A Day

Am making an attempt to lose 25lbs before I go to Asia. The idea is to over a 6 month period lose 1 pound a week. 24 weeks at one pound a week is about 25 pounds. I have cut my calorie intake to around 2000 or or less per day. Did an online test which said that I was probably consuming about 2800 calories a day and to lose weight I needed to cut down to 2300. I figured I could handle 2000 so went for that.

Am doing little or no exercise yet but I plan to start riding my new resurrected unstolen bike when the weather clears. Early spring seems to be here in Edmotnon alreaday so if that holds I will go riding next week. I plan to combine riding, swimming (a bit) and the 2000 a day calorie count for the entire time I have left before Thai. If I can drop 25 pounds then I will have that much less to lug around on my soon to be 53 year old body. Less weight will make for better and more sustained photography and film making in the brutal heat and humidity of Thailand. So it is a simple goal, lose weight and get in better shape for your photograhic/film trip Gerry!

I started all of this almost a month ago and there has been some weight loss already. I feel lighter on my feet and more mobile. I am hungry quite often. I am trying to eat good healthy filling foods with limited calories. Small meals more often, is also a strategy I am employing. So far so good, hopefully I can keep it up. I keep thinking to myself, this is for good pictures, stay disciplined! No do not eat that! Will see what happens.

When I spend extended time in Asia I almost always lose weight. A change in diet, sweating and working constantly in the hot sun does that to a person. I could potentially be down 40 or so pountds (compared to my last months weight) on my return to Canada after the leave. That would be nice!

Gosh am hungry, better have my 647pm breakfast! (been working security nights all week).

Trip Thoughts: Transportation, Housing

I have been thinking of the best way to handle my stay in Thai for 6 months. What would work out the best economically-physically for me and what would lead to the best film and photos.

I am currently thinking of having 2 rented rooms, 1 in Mae Sot and 1 in Bangkok. I could split my gear-suitcases and the like between locations, no hotels needed. It would cost more to initially set up, requiring me to find furnished places and buy things like bedding and towels etc. If I could find apartments with rudimentary kitchens I could save a bit on food and cook for myself. Eating well in the mornings is important especially at 5am when I get up for a day of shooting the families. I could actually have a real meal before I leave.

With 2 rooms rented I could travel light and easy on the overnight bus between Bangkok and Mae Sot, Mae Sot and Bangkok. I could leave clothes film and photo gear etc in both places (for multiple projects) and travel very simple during the long bus rides. Lugging around suitcases and heavy  gear in Thai is exhausting, with this plan I could eliminate much of that effort. As to cost, renting 2 rooms might be the same cost or possibly cheaper than doing hotels. Even if it costs a bit more, it might be worth it. The convenience of it would also be nice. I can be a rich movie star for a while with multiple residences :).

As to transportation, Bangkok is easy with buses, taxis, subway and sky train but Mae Sot is more problematic. Everything is sort of far away on dirt roads and I will be lugging around camera-film gear including a large 8x10 with tripod and holders. In the past Khune Noy has driven me to and from the dump in in his truck. I still want to use his services (200 baht a day) but also wanted to be more mobile and free. I am thinking of renting a automatic motorcycle in Mae Sot (never Bangkok). Driving a motorcycle in Thailand is dicey, I have done it on maybe 10 of my past trips. People often die riding motorbikes in Thailand but having one would allow me to go where ever I want, whenever I want. I could get to places that I could not with Khune Noy (or at least it would be more difficult) and I could explore and find people to photograph. I would need to be very careful and I would need to find a way to mount my tripod/head to the motorbike so both my hands are free for driving. I could carry any camera gear I need in a nice used backpack I got from my friend Larry ($180 dollar North Face black backpack, very well made).

Not sure if I will go this way, but it is fun to think and plan. Sitting in my hot bath tub today it was more fun to make these plans than to think about another 12 hour night shift in the guardhouse. Got my 35mm gear here at work today, trying to make early final choices there. Testing it in the bag for weight and convenience also. Am really looking forward to my 6 months of creative freedom.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

35mm Camera Confusion, What To Do?

Which Leica 35mm to take with me? I want to take 2 cameras and 3 lens. It makes sense to take 2 of the same bodies so if one goes down I still have the other to use. I will be shooting for 6 months, breakdowns are a real possibility.

What combination of 2 cameras and 3 lens should I take?

- Leica M rangefinder camera bodies 3
- 21mm F2.8 M lens
- 28mm F2 M lens
- 35mm F1.4 M lens

- Leica R SLR Camera bodies 3 (2 R6s, 1 R4)
- 60mm F2.8 R lens (macro)
- 35mm F2.8 R lens
- 24mm F2.8 R lens

I will take 1 R camera body and the 60mm macro (Sebastiao Salgado's favorite lens) but am unsure after that. Maybe a second R body and the 24mm and 35mm. Or maybe a rangefinder body with the faster 28mm and 35mm lens. The M lens are much faster, the R lens focus closer!

Update: What about this for a 35mm package?

1 Leica R body
1 Leica M body
28mm f2 M lens
35mm f1.4 M lens
24mm f2.8 R lens
60mm f2.8 R lems
A ton of Tri-x film!

Like this gear set up, I would have fast lens and close focusing lens but no backups with me for the R or M bodies. If they go down, I would lose that 1/2 of my gear bag.

Update* Thinking forward to the photographs I will make during my 6 month trip, the pictures I will make with these cameras, is SO SO EXCITING. It is amazing that after almost 40 years of making pictures I still feel that same happiness, hope and pleasure as the first time I shot and develop film. If anything as the years pass the joy I get from photography continues to grow. Maybe that is because over the last 20 years I finally feel I am doing good work, important work, photographs that matter and can make a difference.

"Ain't Photography Grand!!"

Update**

Been thinking this over all night. I think my best option would be to take 3 cameras and 3 lens.

Leica R with 24mm f2.8
Leica R with 60mm f2.8 (macro)
Leica M with 35mm f1.4

Benefits:
- fast lens included (35mm f1.4)
- close focusing lens (R SLR cameras)
- back up body for the R system
- 3 very different focal lengths that can be shot immediately without changing lens.
- Everything fits securely in my Billingham camera bag, with zipper to keep out the dump dirt.
 

More More More More More More Exhibition Show Mag Captures

Sine more possible layouts and photos for the magazine.

Note* There is 1 brand new image, never posted before in this section.

Friday, March 24, 2017

More More More More More Exhibition Show Mag Captures

Sine more possible layouts and photos for the magazine.

Note* There are 2 brand new images, never posted before in this section.

Trip Idea: 6 Month Personal Creative Process Book Diary (Hard Copy)

While waiting in my car today before coming into the guardhouse I came up with an new idea. What if I did a hard version diary (Blurb magazine/book) of my 6 month LEAVE. It might be a modern version of Edward Westons "Daybooks".

Some ideas for what this book could contain:

- Scans of of film photographs made during the trip.
- Contact sheets of film shot with chosen wax pencil images.
- digital picture files of everything and anything. Footage on the planes, in the shooting locations, streets, restaurants, buses, shots of everything in my personal life for that 6 month time period.
- video captures from all the film I shoot, individual and sequence grabs.
- scans of diary hand written personal diary entries.
- blogs stories.
- scans of documents, passport visas, bus tickets, money etc

It could be a complete record of everything I do on the 6 month LEAVE. Since it is more of a private thingy, with no Internet connection/online presence I could also open up and be brutally honest in all areas, including very personal thoughts that I usually keep only to myself.

What would a book like this be called? "6 Months"? " "Heartful"? "Heartland"? Heartfelt? Heart?.Jai-Dee? (Good Heart in Thai). This might if it is done right offer a deep incite to my personality (hopes, strengths, weaknesses, doubts and fears) and creative process. It could be a very personal document about who and what I am, and what I am trying to do as an artist. It is one of those projects you would probably keep quiet about (unreleased) during your lifetime but that might find a life (assuming the work created is important and anyone gives a shit) after your death.

The idea is to capture in book form the heart of the creative process, the heart of who I am as a person (good and bad), the heart of the work and what it is trying to achieve, the hearts of the people I meet and photographs. I want it to be open, very honest and passionate. I want the book to be how I feel about my photography and life in general.

Not sure I will do this, but it is worth more thought. I will have basically everything I need to do it on this trip, digi cameras, laptop, proper software etc. To do it or not? Am not sure. Will have to see, how it all shakes out.

Update* Am leaning towards calling the book JAI-DEE ? (the question mark is important, because I am not sure if I have a good heart or not, if I am doing good or not, that sort of thing is always ambiguous).

Quote: T.S. Elliot (From His Book "Family Reunion")

"Harry: I tell you, it is not me you are looking at, Not me you are grinning at, not me your confidential looks Incriminate, but that other person, if person, You thought I was: let your necrophily Feed upon that carcase....."

Are My Favourite Images From 35mm Negs?

Looking back at the pages I have done for my exhibition magazine, the 35s stand out to me. I think I my favourites are the Tri-x 35mm captures. There is a rawness, contrast, grain in those pics that help tell a story very effectively. In combination with my gifted (thanks Jack) Durst condenser enlarger, bleach and toning you can make some damn effective, even strong and powerful, photographs. No wonder my two idols, W. Eugene Smith and Sebastiao Salgado used 35mm so effectively to tell their stories.

Lately in my photographic work I have been pushing away my 35mm gear in favour of cameras like the Rolleiflex and 5x7 Linhof. I need to get back to my roots and shoot the smaller cameras to death my next trip, I have a ton of bulk 35mm Tri-x in my freezers, time to use some of it up!

Here is a group of recent 35mm Tri-x scanned magazine images I like.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

More More More More Exhibition Show Mag Captures

The latest possible magazine design pages.

Note* There are 2 brand new images, never posted before in this section. 

Bought Me A STANLEY Mobile Workshop

Bought me a cheap plastic tool box for the view camera gear. I expect to use this here in Canada, when I go camping etc. I wanted something mobile that I could keep all my 8x10 (maytbe 11x14) gear in. This Stanley box cost $52.99 CAD with free shipping from Amazon. They have a variety of types, might try another model in the future if this one proves good. One of the guys here at worked turned me onto these things, he had the $129 dollar model.
Amazon CA Link To The Product

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More More More Exhibition Show Mag Captures

Here are some more possible layout pages for the AGSA exhibition magazine.

Note* There are 3 brand new images, never posted before in this section. 

Raised Workshop Rates Again

Raised my workshop rates again. I want to make as much money as I can to buy more film to shoot in Asia but I also want to have students, and promote film photography. It is a bit of iffy thing to raise the workshop prices. How much to charge? I boosted each workshop by $20, not much, but every bit helps. I also added a view camera workshop to the Red Deer posting. Will probably raise the rates again by $20-$40 in 2018 after I return from my LEAVE photo/documetnary film trip to Asia.

Hopefully I can teach a few more (5 or 6 more would be awesome) workshops before I go to Thai, I need to buy more 120mm film!! I need to continue to tell the stories of the dump and elsewhere. Here are the raised rates.

-Basic Darkroom $160
-Advanced Darkroom $200
- Learn to use a View Camera $170

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More More Exhibition Show Mag Captures

Here are tonights page layouts for the proposed exhitibion magazine.