Friday, March 31, 2017

Big Clothing Buy

I bought 2 pairs of loose fitting pants and 4 UV (40) protected long sleeve shirts. I also got me a big ass ugly brown hat that I can wear to protect the top of my ears, more of my face and the back of my neck from the sun. The doctor recommended that kind of protection so I decided to go with it.

All clothing gets pretty used up pretty fast in the extremes of the dump. I do daily washing on pretty much everything so all that washing off of all that collected dirt, takes it toll! With these recent purchases, plus all my older clothing, underwear etc. I should be set. Every piece of clothing is made of quick drying materials which allows me to wash things in my hotel rooms toilet sink and then hang to dry for next day use if needed.''

Everything is coming together nicely, I got all my film making gear, my photography gear, and almost all my film. Now that the clothing is done, not sure what else I need to buy. It should be mostly saving now and getting into better physical shape.

Update* I might try to get a better quality pair of sunglasses at some point.
Update** I bought a used ($14  USD) Iron-man Timex watch earlier this week on eBay, so hopefully that will work for me in Asia as well.

Got My Deardorff Lens Board Today

I got my solid mahogany wood lens for "Eddie" (8x10 Deardorff) and my Fujinon 250mm f6.7 lens. It fits great, and is top quality, much stronger than my current adapter board or anything I could get made of plastic. Attached the Fuji lens to it just now and it should work great for me in the dump, elsewhere in Asia. 1 camera, 1 lens here we go!! I have to make sure I do not damage the lens while shooting, I have no fall back gear, one lens only!

Bad Dad Dream

Had a bad dad dream. I was watching him from the other side of the room he was sitting in the living room sofa. Our old white sofa. I new he was sick so I was watching him closely. But then he slowly started to disappear. I saw the was vanishing and called out to him "Dad!", but then he was gone, only the empty couch remained. I then remembered that he had died and was in a coffin under ground. I spent the rest of the dream rolling, sobbing and crying on the living room carpet, crying and calling out to him to return. My sister came into the room to consul me. I then woke up.

5 Submissions For The 2017 AFA Art Acquisition Program

After much pain and suffering I finally got my Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) Art by Acquisition submission in today. I want to thank a wonderful and joyous person at the AFA, Ellie for helping me out!

Here are the pics, all from the "Families of the Dump" series. I am asking for $700 a piece for each of these 16x20 works. Hopefully I can sell at least one. I will then donate the money to the Burmese/Karen families-children school tuition. It would be great if this documentary photography could have a direct impact on lives, helping children learn.


Photo Idea: Rollie With Flash

Been thinking a lot lately of how I need a night time flash camera, for this coming trip, possibly to shoot in the dump and possibly the streets and bar world of Bangkok. I have 3 different Rolleiflex's that might fit the bill if I link one up with a flash and Tri-x. Direct flash and square format has always been appealing to me, maybe I should do more work like that. Will think some more on it.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Got My Stanley Fatmax Box

Got the Stanley box delivered from Amazon today.
Blog entry about the Stanley Box with pictures

The unit it quite a bit smaller than I expected but still quite use-sable. I managed to get "Eddie" my 8x10 Deardorff in it, a Pentax spot meter, 250 mm f6.7 Fujinon lens with lens board. 2 cable releases, focusing loop, dark cloth and 7 8x10 film holders (with room for maybe 2-3 more) into the box.

I think for a cheaper item this unit will be quite useful. Will take it with me in the van when I go camping later this year. Am also considering buying the larger $130 version the worker at my job site was using. That unit might work well with my larger 11x14 gear, or if I want to carry more holders, lens etc. for my 8x10 gear.

Photo Idea: Sex Worker, Name-Face-Story

Have an idea for a photo series. A book? An exhibition? Not sure just yet.

 Here is the thought:

A series of portraits done of women who work in the sex scene in Asia. Bar? Brothel? Who knows? It could conceivably be a number of different job sites. The common denominator would be that the worker works in the sex scene of Asia. I would do either a head portrait or an environmental portrait of some kind. Then do an audio interview (recorded) using my new sound gear (for the film). The book and or exhibition would include a  strong portrait along with a interview into the backstory of the worker. The idea of course would be to humanize her as much as possible. To understand where she was coming from, why she was in the life she was.

Possible titles could be related to the type of place she worked in.

- GoGo Girl
- Brothel Worker
- Blowjob Bar Girl/Worker
- Sex Massage Worker
- Street Worker

That sort of thing.

Note: With audio recordings of each worker, I could conceivably include a snippet of that voice recording  AUDIO next to the mounted portrait in the gallery. Possibly using a wall mounted MP3 player with headphones. Imagine how strong the documentary art work would be for the viewer, having a portrait to look at and the compelling voice of that same person speaking to you.  It would once again humanize things to an extreme. A combo of strong portrait and passionate audio, could create an very effective statement of these desperate and difficult often very sad lives.


Amazon is delivering my Stanley wheeled case today, so I packed up 8x10 Deardorff gear. Maybe I should call this camera "Eddie", after my father. Dad always loved that nickname (what people called him instead of Adolf), he even had a black hat made up with "Eddie" embroidered on it.

Yes I will do that. I like that idea, dad might like it too. I will call my 8x10 Deardorff  "Eddie" and put it in the Stanley new case along with some holders. Will shoot some of the X-ray (Green) film I have and some HP5. I am testing the holders and the camera with the 250mm f6.7 Fujinon. I need to make sure everything is in working order well before my departure to Thailand. I am still waiting on the new Deardorff lens board.

I will be taking my fathers gifted and  newly named camera "Eddie" with me to do portraits in Asia. Every picture I make with it is a tribute to dads love.

Today's Events

Feeling better today after the dentist crazyness on Tuesday. I will have some pasta with meat (Kraft Dinner with wieners) then do some secondary bleaching and toning on the dad exhibition 5th 20x24 inch print. I hope to get that done before doing my first major cycle of the year when I bike down to Larry's house at around 130pm before the Art Gallery of Alberta trip. I am going to get him into the gallery free today on one of my passes. Later tonight I hope I can start testing show print number 6. Prints 6 and 7 could prove difficult to make.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Biking And Other Health Stuff

Went down to the doctors office for a check up, everything seems fine. I am going to have my regular blood work done next week off but if that is OK then there are no problems or issues. I was worried about my blood pressure going in but it seems acceptable, hopefully with the continued weight loss and watching my salt intake it will continue to fall farther into the better zones. Today my doctor told me I was going about the weight loss thing perfectly. He said 1 pound a week was a great number to attempt, and that the style of weight loss I was attempting was called calorie counting

This evening I took my resurrected un-stolen mountain bike out of the garage and pumped up the tires, and attached a bag to the front. I then then did a quick ride in the neighborhood. Loads of fun!! Will take the bike out tomorrow on a long trip to Larry's house in the river valley, then we will go the to the AGA gallery in his car. Biking and art (photography), should be a great day.

I plan on riding the bike a lot this spring/summer/fall.  I want and need to get into as good of shape as I can before the coming trip. The doctor said I was only slightly overweight for my age, height, I will work on the weight and my wind for the next 5 months or so. Am 239 pounds today (doctors scale), if I can get down to 215-220 by the time I get on the plane to Thailand, that would be quite nice. After only a months weight loss effort, I feel improved, things are definitely moving in the right direction. I got to keep motivating myself to improve my physical condition. "It is for the photos Gerry!", "It is for the film Gerry!"

Quote: Nelson Mandella

"But I have discovered the secret that, after climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Painful Dentist Day

Did the tooth grinding on 2 of my rear right molars preparing them for crowns today, PAINFUL. I had to get my mouth frozen 3 times as it kept hurting when they drilled . The dentist and his staff did an excellent job, it was hard for them and me today. The day was difficult, not one I want to repeat anytime soon. Am now in a fair amount of pain, am icing my cheek-jaw. I have not taken any pain killer pills, trying to tough it out and not do that. Those type of pills not too good for you, if you take them too often.

Wanted to get the crowns put in before I go back to Thai. When in Thailand I want to concentrate on my picture-film making. I have one more step to do in 2 weeks, putting the final crowns in. Now I have a temporary plastic crown, which feels rather weird.

After I get the final crowns, there is a 15% chance I will need to get a root canal. That is if the teeth do not settle down and I have pain. I really hope I do not have to do that, want to keep the roots of my molars alive and sending blood. Also am tired of paying money in this 5 step process. I need to save funds for Thailand, 6 months is a long trip.

Here is how this crown thingy ran down:

- dental appointment to assess and educate about the gum surgery
- gum surgery to expose a filling
- removal of rubber bandage, stitches
- grinding down of molars (today/s thing)
- putting on the final crowns (in 2 weeks)

I wonder how much work the people in the dump need on their mouths? So many people I photograph there, especially middle aged and older men are missing teeth. Do they ever get a chance to see a dentist, never visiting a dentist in your life, has to take its toll on you.

Should do some darkroom work on my exhibition prints tonight, but do feel much like it. Maybe tomorrow day-night, I hope! 

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.

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.

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.

Update* I bought a 1/4 mounting screw so I can mount the 8x10 Masterview, and my 4x5 and 5x7 cameras to the head. Now I only need to pack one head in October. My 8x10-11x14 lighter and well built Luland head should work for all my large format gear.

The eBay seller linked above and below is a great communicator as well as extremely polite, they gave me a very good price on this 1/4 mounting screw accessory, They are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Please consider shopping with them for all your Luland gear.

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!!"


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

- 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.