January 21, 2012

R.I.P. Asta

It's been a few days, but I write this still with a heavy heart... Asta, beloved companion for close to 15 years had to be put down for health issues. Until dementia started to settle in, he had the spirit of a puppy. Always curious, playful and friendly, his sense of adventure always made him special.

Asta wasn't a ball or bone chaser. He was a master squirrel stalker, never flat out chased them, but got close enough to get really close enough to get them. But he was no killer, the chase was his forté. He had trail blazing abilities second to none. Walks thru Forrest Park led to him being gone for a time period until he decided to come back, bristles and cuts all over his body, but with a huge smile on his face. That was his time and his time alone. We still don't know what went on while he was out there.

As a puppy, before we became owners of him, he was fed sugar cubes and left in the bathroom because it was said he was just too wild. And while it seemed to take us over 2 years to somewhat manage him, he always seemed thankful for us and Ruby for taking him in.

I'll miss you so, Astaboy...

January 11, 2012


Music | In a Sentimental Mood by The World Saxophone Quartet

Seems I have reached ground zero and all my tests have come out with a positive outcome. Current collodion and developer, a darkroom that is actually dark, strobe equipment with enough power to gain me correct exposure, even though I'm sitting on the bottom end. I know I can accomplish some things in the studio environment while it is cold and rainy outside. It has taken me months to reach this point and I'm quite excited about it.

I knew I wanted to get in a test to shoot a portrait, which is what I really wanted to do. The still lifes were good, but ultimately, I wanted to get a person in here and see what I could accomplish. Sherry, a long time muse was available to come in short notice and spend a few hours with me. 4 exposures and in the end, 4 useable plates... This one however was both our favorite.

It will be nice to get a bigger light source with more power, but as I said, I'm happy to be where I am at. I'm sure there is room to push the envelope a little wider.

January 09, 2012

The Squash

Music | Harmonique by John Coltrane

I wish I could bottle the feeling I have when I complete a Wet Plate session and I've rendered at least one great image. I have a wonderful sense of accomplishment and leaves me in some state of euphoria. The only problem is that I want to keep going and produce more images and see where it takes me.

The end of the year has been tough in that I couldn't shoot outside where my main light source is, because of inclement weather - rain, colder tempuratures and overcast skies. I have been able to finagle what I was hoping was going to be enough indoor light, but realized my colodion had aged to a point where it became unusable.

It is great to have friends who share the love and know the feeling one gets by producing images. Both Ray Bidegain and Brandon Fernandez graciously gave me some chemicals needed so I could test my indoor lighting to see if I could produce an image. If it weren't for these to gentleman, I would not have made the last 2 images posted along with the one here. Thanks guys!

Latest wet plate, photographed last night after midnight. Noticed I had about a 1/3 power over, so it is nice to know I have a tiny bit of leeway.

Angry Dara

Music | Blues Minor by John Coltrane

Getting back into the swing of things, my first pour to photograph Dara was horrendous. But because of the lack of all chemicals, I decided to just work thru with what I had. The somewhat angry look fit well with the angry looking plate. It works...

Old Habits, Relived

Music | Fables of Faubus by Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy

It is past midnight and I'm sort of reliving a time in my life that I've spoken often about and reminisce. After I visited Japan for 3 weeks, decades ago, I left a body of work I needed to take care of when I got back. Jetlag was killing me for weeks, so I thought of, instead of fighting it, I would work thru the night while I was at my finest, which happen to start around 11 p.m. Darkroom set up, windows open bringing in fresh air and since it was mostly dark outside, I didn't have to worry too much of my leaky dark room contaminating my film and paper. For weeks, I would get my late start and print thru the morning, often finishing up at 3 or 4 in the morning.

I loved the solitude, the quiet and aloneness. I was freely able to process my film, make prints, tone, alter my images without any distractions. It became somewhat of a ritual for me to start late, finish later...

Since finally figuring out my lighting scheme at the studio, I've been again starting somewhat late, setting up my still lifes and setting up the trays and chemicals to shoot wet plates. The bathroom has become the darkroom once again, with way too much light leaks for me to work with during the day. However in the evening, it is perfectly operational, even with a nice exhaust fan.

I shot my aged pomogranate the other night and worked on and completed a squash this evening. The plate is in the wash rinsing away as I type... It feels wonderful to be shooting again!!!

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