Jan 24 2016

A Terrible Beauty – Edward Burtynsky in Dialogue with Emily Carr (The Reach Gallery Abbotsford)

Do not miss this!

Edward Burtynsky, Mount Edziza Provincial Park #4, Northern British Columbia, Canada

Running from Jan 21, 2016 to April 10, 2016 at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford is the traveling exhibition ‘A Terrible Beauty: Edward Burtynsky in Dialogue with Emily Carr’ curated and pulled from the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  There are eighteen large scale photographs from Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky that span multiple series from 1983 to 2012.  There are also six paintings by Emily Carr that speak to similar themes of the human impact on the environment.  In particular Emily Carr’s Loggers’ Culls, 1935 and Above the Gravel Pit, 1937 show our early impact on the British Columbia landscape.  Burtynsky’s work although it begins in British Columbia with Homesteads and Railcuts soon moves on to a more global view with works from series such as Quarries & oil. 

Emily Carr, Loggers’ Culls, 1935 oil on canvas


Emily Carr helped to shape our perceptions of the British Columbia landscape, in particular the coastal forests, however today an artist seeking out those same settings is confronted with something more like what Burtynsky presents to us, a landscape shaped and altered by human activity.

The impact of the Burtynsky photographs are aided by their physical scale.  They are large, with a focus that extends from foreground to background.  With the photographic visual language cue of focus depth removed the viewer is forced to interpret the scale of the scene through its content.  This can be somewhat jarring as you come to terms with thousands of burning tires in ‘Burning Tire Pile #1 Near Stockton California’ or uncounted circuit boards filling the landscape ‘China Recycling #9, Circuit Boards, Guiy, Guangdong Provice, China 2004’ or the more flattened scenery of  recent works from the series ‘Water’ . 

I could continue to try to write about this but my efforts would always fall short of standing in front of these works in person. The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford has free admission and seeing this exhibition is well worth the trip for anyone located in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

Amusingly I visited on a day where they were hosting a Family Literacy day celebration which filled the gallery with activity and the cacophony of tiny voices.  Your visit is likely to be much quieter.

Apr 3 2015

Konica U-mini


If creating sharp undistorted well exposed images are your aim then move along this is not the camera for you.  If you want a built-in ‘Lens-Baby’ like experience then this is the camera. The center of the image is bounded by a cocoon of soft distortion.  There is one single aperture of f6.7 for the 28mm lens and the shutter is limited to 1/60 of a second with flash and 1/60 – 1/180 without.  The lens appears to be plastic and without any coatings.  The focus is fixed but works well enough at f6.7 to provide enough depth of field to render most things in focus.  A non adjusted image looks a little like this.

So let me re-iterate this is the camera for taking distorted pictures but not for capturing that once in a lifetime moment you’ve always imagined you will print and put in a gallery.


Oct 24 2014

Cinestill 800T and how customer service should work.




I shot a roll of Cinestill 800T in my Minolta X700 mostly of very dark things with bright lights, what can I say I like the halo’s it creates (For an explanation of what and why see this post Niagara at Night with Cinestill).  unfortunately the roll I had may have come from an early run before they say they improved the process or just a faulty roll.  So most of the images on the roll have residual rem-jet coating that makes some of the images appear like you’re looking through a glass of Guinness Stout.


That part is a bummer because some of those images can not be redone but I emailed Cinestill and notified them and they offered to send me replacement rolls for my remaining film in case other rolls are similarly afflicted.  Now you might be thinking well of course that is the right thing to do and I agree but for them to do it so quickly and without further hassle to me is what I consider excellent customer service (Pretty much the opposite experience of all the failed Apple charging cables I’ve had to contend with).   With some editing I am able to minimize the impact of the rem-jet and salvage the images at least for the purpose of sharing but really what matters to me is that Cinestill re-established my confidence in shooting their film and I look forward to shooting even more of it.

Here are some of the better files from the roll  with the faults more visible than others even after editing to minimize them.


Sep 10 2014

Ricoh R1 in Niagara




I didn’t end up finishing the roll of film in my Ricoh R1 so it did go through the security check at the airport and seems to have survived none the worse for all the radiation.  As I’ve said before the Ricoh R1 has an incredibly sharp lens particularly in the center when set to 30mm not the 24mm wide angle seen in the picture above.  It’s also small and pocketable.  As it is one of the direct forerunners of the latest Ricoh GR digital camera its making me take a serious look at that camera too.  We have reached a point in digital photography where there are many great cameras to choose from with each one having certain advantages that set them apart but they are for the most part all yielding quality images.  So what would be the reason to use the R1 with film over buying a Ricoh GR?  Well at around $800 for the GR that works out to around 80 rolls of film developed or 2880 frames so clearly in the long run digital would be an advantage but I’m not really likely to want to use this camera exclusively and 2880 frames might take me 5 years to shoot in that manner.   You can see my dilemma, wanting something and needing it are two different things entirely.

Aug 1 2014

Half Frame Implosion (The other half)

The second half to my Adox Colour Implosion post the first part can be seen here Half Frame Implosion

Jun 29 2014

Niagara Digital Image Gallery 3

The third and final gallery of digital images from my trip to Niagara Falls Ontario.  There are more images but I think that the ones I have selected in addition to my film images already cover the area as I see it well enough.

The other posts are here Niagara Gallery 2 Niagara Gallery 1  and My musings on the area as it is today Two Niagara Falls

Jun 20 2014

Niagara Digital Image Gallery 2

The second of three galleries of images from my trip to Niagara Falls Ontario  Gallery One   Two Niagara Falls

Jun 11 2014

Niagara Digital Image Gallery 1

Aside from my film and other posts on Niagara Falls I have many other digital images that I would like to share that further illustrate my post Two Niagara Falls.  I am breaking this up into 3 seperate posts of 24 images each this one being the first.  There may be some cross over with my film photography as I often take one of each.

Jun 4 2014

Two Niagara Falls


On my recent visit to Niagara Falls Ontario I really saw two places in an uncumfortable coexistence.  There was the bright lights and tourist shops and then there was gritty part of Niagara that appeared left behind decades ago.



There also seemed to be a nearly inexhaustible supply of empty motels and businesses surrounding the city.  No longer needed for tourists that aren’t there.



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To be fair I was there during May not what you would think of as high tourist season but I still think that of those people who were visiting seemed less likely to have arrived in a car and more likely to be staying at one of the larger hotels.  I think there lays the difference from the past and why Niagara Falls is a concentration of restaurants and tourist traps around the one true attraction, the falls themselves.



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I will have more photos to share from this trip as I shot both film and more digital images.  I would have loved to have visited the American side of the falls too. I’m sure I would have discovered yet another visual story.




May 25 2014

Agfa Digibase CN200 Pro Color Negative Film


They really aren’t kidding with this film when they say handle in subdued light.  I thought that for the most part I had been careful yet the film ended up being heavily light struck.  All indications are that the light came in through where the film exits the canister so none of this would have been while the film was in the camera.  What makes this film unique is that it doesn’t have the usual orange dye masking of nearly all other c41 colour negative films.  This is supposed to make it easy to scan and more versatile in different lighting.  Unfortunately for me the light leak over rides any other factor of this film.  That being said even those images struck by light have a certain look that makes them unique and clearly sets them apart as being from film.


I shot this roll of film in my trusty Yashica Electro GT