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Now, I’m pissed.

September 3, 2013 1 comment

Warning: this post contains very strong language.

It’s been a while since I posted to the blog, mostly because I didn’t have anything to say.  Now, I do.  This is a photograph I took last year:

Root formation along the McKenzie River Trail.

Root formation along the McKenzie River Trail.

This is a natural root formation along the McKenzie River trail.  It has been here for hundreds of years.  Thousands of people have stopped along the trail to marvel at its beauty and all have shown the sense and courtesy to leave it alone.  Until now.

Today, my wife and I took the dog up to the trail for a Labor Day family outing and I discovered this (DJ took this photo with here cell phone):

2013-09-02 14.08.33Now, I’m pissed.  No, let me rephrase that.  I’m fucking livid.

JP, whoever the fuck you are, I hope you’re reading this.  You are a colossal piece of shit.  You hear me?  You are a miserable, festering pile of human waste.  You have forever destroyed a spectacular natural work of art.  No one will ever be able to enjoy the beauty of this root formation without having to stare at the disgusting ass wipe you left behind.  You deserve to spend the rest of your pathetic life living in a cold, colorless world where neighborhood gang bangers tag your stupid pickup once a week.

Fuck you, asshole.

Get ’em while they’re hot!

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I now have posters available through Zazzle!  You can access my Zazzle Store directly here: http://www.zazzle.com/mitchellelder  Or you can begin on my website here: http://www.mitchelder.com/purchase.html

These posters are optimized for printing at 24×36 (portrait layout) or 24×24 (landscape layout) at full resolution 300dpi.  Please keep in mind that if you order a larger size, image quality may suffer.

Here There Be Dragons ready-made poster in 24×36 available at http://www.mitchelder.com/purchase.html

Portrait of the Artist

August 19, 2012 Leave a comment

We spent the morning up on the McKenzie River Trail making some photographs and having a nice picnic.  DJ snapped a couple of pictures of me at work with her point-and-shoot. Here I am photographing the dragon’s head with my 75 year-old camera and lens.

This is a Pacemaker Crown Graphic (http://graflex.org/) made in 1947.  I have the original sales receipt from a store in Chicago.  It was purchased by a veteran upon returning from the war and used part-time over the years to shoot weddings.  When he died, he willed it to his grandson who left it in the attic for years before selling it to me.  It came complete with two flash attachments, two porta lenses (used to make a standard lens into a mild telephoto for portraits) four film pack adapters, old Kodak film and even a bunch of Sylvania bulbs.  All of it was still in the leatherette case.  The lens is a Wollensak 135mm Optar – sharp and contrasty.  The shutter is a Graphex shutter and has performed accurately for me over the past five years.

The Graflex is a great way to get started in large format photography if you’re on a budget.  It lacks many of the movements traditional field or technical cameras have but it’s rugged and easy to use.  I use my jacket or vest for a dark cloth to save weight.  I use my Nikon D200 as a light meter and to get instant results with a histogram.

I use Velvia 50 slide film which comes in individual sheets and must be loaded into double-sided film holders in total darkness.  For that, I use a light-weight, portable film changing bag.  I load the holders at home in advance and carry them into the field in a ziplock bag.  I store all my film and processed plates in the refrigerator in ziplock bags with companion moisture absorbent packets.

Usually, when I’m out in the field with this camera, people ask me about it.  One of the most common questions they ask is, “Why would you use such an old, manually intensive camera?”  The answer is, it makes better photographs than my digital.  It makes better photographs than your digital, too.  There are several reasons for this.  One, it requires that you take your time and think things through.  Believe it or not, this results in better images.  Photography is all about seeing.  Large format cameras require so much time and effort to set up and use, they result in the development of a work methodology that produces a higher kill ratio.  In other words, I may come back from a full day in the mountains with only one or two plates, but odds are at least one of them will be quality.  That’s a 50 percent or higher rate of quality production.  Compare that to my digital where it’s common to fill up a card with hundreds of images and only have one or two truly good ones.

Second, the plates I do produce are richer, sharper, more colorful and better composed than those I produce with my handheld digital.  This is because the camera itself forces me to go through the motions of composition, making those small changes that, in the end, result in the difference between making photographs and taking pictures.

Third, large format lenses are better, even old ones like mine, and therefore produce better results.

This is not to say that you can’t take a great photo with a digital or other handheld camera.  You can.  But if you want the best quality image you can produce, only a large format camera will do.  This is why these large cameras are still made and used by landscape, architecture and product photographers.  For more information on large format photography, visit these websites.  I suggest starting with Ken Rockwell’s site.  Everyone has an opinion on Ken, my opinion is he’s honest, direct and easy to understand.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/4×5.htm

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

http://www.viewcamera.com/

More New Photos!

August 15, 2012 4 comments

I’m so happy!  I just got my new film back and my images look great!  I found this spot not far from the trail one day when I was out fishing on the McKenzie ( I caught a nice, 12-inch rainbow, by the way) and I went back last week to make this photograph.  I really love this image.  This little spot looks like it’s been transported to the present from deep time.

This image is the same root formation I photographed with my digital a couple of weeks ago.  This one was taken with my Crown Graphic 4×5 on Velvia 50 at f22.25.

I hope everyone enjoys these as much as I enjoyed making them!

Here There Be Dragons

July 29, 2012 8 comments

I went up to the upper McKenzie River this past Wednesday and spent some time along the river trail taking some photographs with my 4×5.  I haven’t had the film processed yet but I do have some images I took with my Nikon.  I use my D200 as a light meter and to get shots when I don’t have time to set up my big camera.  Sometimes the light changes so fast I don’t have time to get my 4×5 setup.  But until I get my film back and scanned, I have this:

Root formation along the McKenzie River Trail.

New photos

July 19, 2012 5 comments

I finally got out with my 4×5 and took some photographs.  Unfortunately, my film was old (it’s been in my fridge for three years) and the images didn’t come out as clean as I had hoped.  So, I had to ugly them up a bit to make them work.  Thanks to SkeletalMess for the textural layers.Image

Clearwater Falls, Cascade Range, Oregon

Image

Stump Lake, Cascade Range, Oregon

Ana River Redux

Fishing the Ana River at dawn

Fishing the Ana River at dawn. Click on image for best quality.

Yes, that’s a kilt.  You can get yours here: http://www.utilikilts.com/.

So, I decided to give the Ana River a second chance.  This time, I started at the headwaters below the reservoir and worked my way down stream for about a mile and a half.  I arrived at the reservoir at 1 PM and fished until 6.  I caught one fish about 5 inches long.  It was pathetic.

I decided to pack it in for the day and headed down the road to my camping spot.  That is where I took this photo.

The following morning, I arose before sunrise to get some photos in the early light and decided I’d had enough of the Ana River – or maybe, she’d had enough of me.  Either way, we were through with each other.  I packed up all my gear and started heading back toward the Cascades and home.

Since I had to go past Diamond Lake on my way home, I decided to stop there and try my luck.  Some of the largest trout ever caught in Oregon have come out of Diamond Lake.  It can be very productive.

I arrived at Diamond Lake at 8:30 in the morning, rented a small boat, and was out on the water by 9.  I tried every trick I had in my tackle box: nightcrawlers, power bait, spinners, spoons, and flat fish; I trolled up and down, back and forth, and around the edges.  At one point, I dropped anchor just off the reeds at the north end, set a big, fat nightcrawler dowsed in krill oil in my hook, floated it off the bottom a few feet and took a nap in the boat.

By 4 PM, I was still empty handed.  Seven hours of solid fishing and nothing but a sunburn to show for it.  When I got back to the marina at the end of the day, I asked if anyone else had brought anything in and the word was that no one was catching anything.  Apparently, the lake wasn’t giving anything up that day.  So I didn’t feel so bad.

On the way home, I stopped and took this photo:

Stump Lake. Click on image for best quality.

At least I got some decent photos out of the trip.

Categories: Fishing, Photography Tags: ,
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