Archive for July 2010

I ain’t bugged so much no mo’

July 30th, 2010 — 9:59am

Two good things have happened this morning, possibly more, which is a good thing in itself.

First: the weather broke. That is, the heat wave has blown up in good old fashioned thunder and rain. Cool, clear water. Aah. I was really dragging my butt this last week, drained by the oppressive air… everybody was feeling pretty well fed up, but being stoical prairie people with good senses of humour and an attitude of wait and see, etc., we thought it was our fault, internalized it, and started getting a little testy with each other. So, the weather breakage is a good thing.

Second: I got a reply from Gentec which kindly asks me to ship the DP1 for warranty consideration!

Maybe someday I can take the bag off my head…

The author in his bug helmet

The author in his bug helmet

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July 29th, 2010 — 2:35pm

The camera is toast. I’ve contacted the distributor to see what options I might have, no word yet. I’ll contact the manufacturer as well but I’ll give the distributor a chance to reply first.

Quite a dilemma.

The problem a photographer faces in the digital age is this: there are few cameras that will produce good images, are built well, don’t fight you in use, are quiet in operation, small and lightweight, and within the budget of the bulk of us. Actually that last point ensures they simply don’t exist. The state-of-the-art reached in the film era has yet to be reached in the digital, hence we have beautiful image makers the size and weight of small televisions: loud, obtrusive, intimidating even, with too many features and a high redundancy rate. The only alternative is either priced beyond belief or is built on a shoe string and falls apart in a year and a half. We can’t realistically go back to film; expense, lack of variety and availability, is slowly squeezing that route shut. The only options are: carry the RPG around and to hell with what the neighbours think (the modern DSLR); buy disposable junk that happens to make brilliant images (the Sigma DP*); or find financing for the last of what cameras used to be (Leica).

I feel like a whining frat boy – there are bigger problems than this. But it’s a problem none the less, and one that has me at sixes and sevens.

On the bright side, I’m using the DP2 more, and the E1 as well.

Boring huh?

Today is very hot and muggy. I’m in the camper with the side door open; reflective panels in the windows. It’s still frickin’ baking in here but I can’t concentrate in the house; the girls are watching their soap, The OC.

This is the last photo taken with my DP1:

Put out to pasture

Put out to pasture

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Waiting for Mr. Cheng

July 26th, 2010 — 1:27pm

My camera just quit. I turned it on and it locked up.

I treat all my gear with kid gloves, believing if you take care of it, it’ll take care of you, but it didn’t do any good this time.

Its a DP1, its sensor and lens are of high quality but its construction is super cheap. As a result I got the image quality I paid for but only for 18 months.

It’s now at Cheng’s Cameras for repair and my stomach is in knots as I’m faced with finally taking myself seriously and investing in a Leica.


Walking around with a $10,000 camera demands investment beyond the purchase price. Not in terms of skill or insight, but in commitment to being a photographer.

Time to put away childish things?

Back in 1978, when I applied to the Banff Centre Winter Cycle for the third time, the response to my portfolio was “a lack of commitment to becoming a photographer”. I knew what they meant and although the criticism was ultimately subjective, I agreed: I didn’t want to become a photographer, I wanted to learn photography. There is a difference.

As an artist I wanted to keep at arm’s length the history-building of photography, the ossifying thread of consensual agreement among the pipe-sucking (in those days) geeks. I’ve been quite successful at it. So much so that I’m completely alienated from the mainstream.

So yes, carrying a Leica would be like selling out, crossing the line, stepping into the pot.

Afraid of commitment?

I’m afraid I can’t commit to being a photographer and remain an observer. I have to be on the outside. I’m committed to that.

Oh horse shit! What the hell does that have to do with a camera? besides $10,000 and a badge that says “unction spoken here” or “mug me”?

Maybe it is time to put away childish things. Time to get over my distaste for those tweed jacketed (with elbow patches), Van Dyked, pipe-sucking geeks at the photo club – mere wraiths of an incipient negative education – and step into the light!

But first I’ll wait for my call from Mr. Cheng.

Don't gimme' that look

Don't gimme' that look

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…beggars would ride

July 18th, 2010 — 11:10am

Yes they surely would, but they won’t be tossing any pennies in the well that’s for sure, not when I get through with it. Besides, don’t beggars carry their own wishing wells? Aren’t we supposed to feel assuaged when we plunk a coin in their can? Doesn’t that make beggars of us all? I’d say so.

Anyhow, knocking down the wishing well is good for you. It’s a self motivator.

The roof’s ok by the way. I managed to get the sheared-off bit out of the mechanism, and it closes now. But it’s not right, and I can only hope (!) it will last till I get home.

Here’s something:

The sign says: “Love of Beauty IS TASTE! Creation of Beauty IS ART!”

Verily, I say unto you...

Verily, I say unto you...

If only they hadn’t chosen such an ugly way to say it. But it’s a good example of how we more often than not talk a mean streak but fail to practice it.

At least I think it is. And I hope (!) I said it nicely. The photo’s a real beauty though ain’t it?

Well, I’d like nothin’ better than to hang around the barn jawin’ wit yez but the day is getting on, the sun is coming ’round the house and the van is heating up. I have a well to demolish.

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If wishes were horses…

July 17th, 2010 — 4:29pm

Sorry, sorry, sorry. If there’s anything bad for a blog it’s nothing new to read.

The weather changes every day. Today: high cumuli nimbus in a blue sky and a strong wind flying to Manitoba. Last night: major downpour surrounded by lightning. Left the pop-top up while in the city. Very wet when I got back, but dry now.

Mosquito hordes still feeding on us. Wind is knocking the sh*t out of them but they’ll be back.

I turned 58 yesterday. Bon and crew took me to dinner. Cake when we got back, and games around the dining room table; late night, especially for the girls. Clear, star-filled sky when I went out to the van. An hour later it was overcast. Dropped the pop-top; I was wearing earplugs (the girls played on the trampoline till three) and figured I wouldn’t hear the rain when it started.

See? Nothing of note to note. Not bored though, there’s plenty happening. It’s just all weather related that’s all.

JJ and I are destroying the wishing well with his Kong. So far I’ve had 4 direct hits. I just have to watch that I clean up the shingles after each hit so he doesn’t get a nail in his paw. Not much to ask considering the satisfaction derived.

JJ and his Kong

JJ and his Kong

The target

The target

I’ve had to do a lot of compensating for the wind today, but you can see we’re coming along nicely. Scored a major whack today on my first throw.

I’ve a lot to say on this subject and some day I’ll say it but not today; I’ve just discovered the articulated framework that holds up my pop-top tent has come a cropper – the cross bar has come out one end and the cam has chewed right through it. I can raise it, but I can’t lower it.

So I’m going to go now.

I’ll be back.

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