Change is constant…

We all have a lot on our minds these days. There are  a million things to do and places to go. So much that happens is out of our control. Just look at a newspaper or listen to the radio. Media of all sorts is reminding us of how scared we should be that everything is changing.

Well I have decided to embrace the fact that change is constant. Change reminds me that I am alive. No today is not the same as yesterday even if I am doing many of the same things that I did yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity- to do a lot or to do a little.


Accepting the reality that change is constant has been good for me. I am realizing that change will happen no matter what I do or don’t do so I don’t have to feel bad or sad about it. I can control what I can and when I can’t, accept it. This isn’t an original idea by any means but it seems more true to me now than it ever has. Maybe it is the season or watching the leaves change, my kittens grow, or the 20 tomatoes I just discovered growing in my garden today. Who knew that just before an October snow storm I would suddenly have this crop of tomatoes that I can’t pick?    

I can’t control time or change but I can look at both with renewed enthusiasm. I am grateful for happy surprises and joyful times. I can even provide some of them. My most important lesson has been to enjoy and accept both when they come my way and to “take” the time to do so….

Today is almost the last day of breast cancer awareness month. I have a lot to say on the subject and I’m a survivor. I won’t do a post on it today but through my daughter Kimba  and our good friend Marilyn  you can watch  two different video’s featuring me and one of my projects. Please take a look, they have wonderful, positive and fun sites. Enjoy the change of scenery!   


Why film still matters in photography

Recently I came across some photography technique books from 2004-2006, which I enjoyed because film and digital photography were given equal space and considered equal media. This was the time when a lot of professional photographers switched to digital photography, because the new medium was seen as mature enough. In books before this time, film photography usually is given more weight, whereas books after this time focus solely on digital photography.

I still use film on a regular basis, but of course enjoy digital photograph as well for other purposes. I have used more and more film after using digital photography for a couple of years, because film still adds certain qualities to my work that I like (this is my way of not saying “digital is better than film” or vice versa). I will write some other time for which situations I prefer digital photography, and for which film photography is better suited in my opinion.

Younger generations of photographers have never used film. In my experience, using film does enhance photographic awareness and leads to a more contemplative style. When I shoot film, I take more time composing photos, whereas with digital photography I shoot quick bursts of images that take me a while later on the computer to sort out (which of the four very similar compositions do I like the best?). Specific reasons why I think film photography is still important and will not disappear are:

  1. Film photography equipment is VERY inexpensive. – With the “digital revolution” going on, people are abandoning their trusted film cameras for new digital equipment, which has led to very inexpensive prices for all types of film gear. Now is the time to use the film camera that was not affordable 15-20 years ago. If I don’t buy equipment from eBay, my favorite store is KEH. The quality of their equipment and the prices are outstanding. There is a huge supply of inexpensive film equipment and lenses available.
  2. Film integrates perfectly into a digital workflow. – While film requires chemical processing of some sort to make the photographs visible, it is relatively easy to scan film afterwards and use the photographs in the same way as digital camera files. It is also a possibility to get scans of film done in a photo lab at the time of development. In the next couple of weeks I will post some tutorials on the different steps. Some of us may already have a film scanner, because many flatbed scanners come with a transparency adapter for film scanning and the results can be very good. Of course a dedicated film scanner can usually produce better results. The following diagram compares the workflow of film and digital photography:After scanning of film, we have a digital file that is equivalent to an image file produced with a digital camera. The same possibilities exist once the film has been scanned. By the way, I would keep the scanned film, just in case better scanning technology becomes affordable.
  3. Film renders color differently than a digital sensor. – In a digital sensor, we have an array of photosensors (i.e. for a 6 million pixel sensor (6 MP), the dimensions of the array would be 3000 x 2000 pixel). The photosensors by itself do not “see” color, which is why each is coated with a color filter, either R(ed), G(reen), or B(lue). About half of all photosensors are green-sensitive, the rest is equally divided between red and blue. The arrangement follows the so-called Bayer pattern. In the example of the 6 MP sensor, in the end the recorded image will give us a pixel at each position that has a color value for all three colors, which means that the missing two color values are interpolated from neighboring pixels. As we all know, the results of this process are very good. Film, in contrast, has a layered structure. The C(yan), M(agenta), and Y(ellow) layers are stacked on top of each other. Dyes is each layer act as color filters and later react during the development process to form permanent dyes. As you may have noticed, film follows the CMY color model, which is complementary colors to RGB. In reality I have noticed differences in the color rendition of film and digital photography. The photo of a rose bush was taken with a digital camera (left) and film (right). While I like the digitally recorded photo, I prefer the photograph recorded on film, because the colors just seem to be more life-like in my opinion. The digitally recorded photo has a little bit too much blue for my taste.

    Since blue was to strong in the digital camera image, let us reduce blue globally and see what we get:

    Now the results are a lot better than in the above image, but for my taste the colors still look cleaner in the film image. If I had only gotten the digital camera image, I would have been happy, just in comparison I think the film image looks more life-like.
  4. Medium and large format film is the affordable high resolution option for low budget shooters. – The highest resolution sensors available at the moment are for medium format camera bodies and produce up to 80 MP files and at the time of this writing cost approximately $40,000. For most people, including a good portion of professional photographers, this is not affordable. Medium and large format film gear on the other hand is very affordable. The larger than 35 mm film size provides the option for detail-enriched, high resolution scans. Medium format film size is either 6×4.5 cm, 6×6 cm, 6×7 cm, or 6×9 cam, depending on the camera used. The Mamiya M645 system I use uses the 6×4.5 cm film format. The actual recorded film size is 56×42 mm (approx. 2.20×1.65 in). While flatbed scanners have very high resolutions, for the following calculation of pixel dimensions I assume a relatively conservative resolution of 2400 dpi (dots per inch). A scanned file has the approximate dimensions of 2.2o in x 2400 dpi = 5280 pixels on the long side, and 1.65 in x 2400 dpi = 3960 pixels on the short side. Multiplication of 5280×3960 tells us the total amount of pixels, which is 20,908,800 pixels, or about 21 MP. An increase of the scanner resolution to 3600 dpi or 4800 dpi leads to even larger files. A digital camera with a comparable resolution is still very expensive. Another difference is that a film or flatbed scanner actually scans all three colors, whereas a digital camera has to interpolate two colors per photo site (see above).
  5. Film grain provides pseudo detail that is very pleasing to the eye. – Within digital images we all had to get used to the appearance of digital noise, which comes in two “flavors”: luminance noise affects all three color channels and results in loss of detail and artifacts showing, whereas chrominance noise results in the appearance of single speckles of color in otherwise uniform areas of color. Film shows a different “noise” characteristic. With a higher ISO film, the silver halide crystals need to be larger to lead to higher light sensitivity. At sufficient magnification, the intrinsic structure of film becomes apparent as grain. Grain oftentimes creates the illusion of detail. The photo posted here compares digital camera noise (left) and film grain (right). Film grain creates a texture that is more in flow with the image, whereas digital camera noise appears more disruptive to the image. Some of that perception may have to do with our experience that film has been the recording medium of choice for so long. Fortunately there is software out there to mitigate the appearance of digital camera noise and film grain. Because of the pseudo-detail structure of film, film image sometimes appear to be sharper than comparable digital camera files.
  6. Today’s films are designed to be scanned. – In the past, companies like Kodak sold variations of similar film with slightly different characteristics such as color saturation and contrast. We have already and will continue to see the number of films declining, because manufacturers streamline their lines of film to just one variation. A recent examples for this is the Kodak Portra color negative line. Kodak used to sell Portra NC for medium contrast and medium color saturation, and Portra VC for higher contrast and color saturation. With digital imaging, the need for different film response curves has vanished, because digital imaging software lets us fine tune these parameters to one’s preferences. You may wonder what happens to film people have developed and printed in drug stores (one hour photo labs) – purely optical enlargers have completely disappeared. Most stores use Fuji Frontier or Noritsu systems. Color negative film is processed in a standard C-41 process, and then the film is scanned afterwards in a high speed scanner. A quick image enhancement is applied to the scanned files and then prints are produced on a photographic printer that exposes the image onto photographic paper using LEDs or lasers. The exposed photo paper is then processed in a wet chemistry process (RA-4). This is why drug stores can accept digital camera files, it actually saves them from having to process and scan film.
  7. Film scanning and photo printing technology is mature and quick. –  About 10 years ago a company called “Applied Science Fiction” (ASF, no kidding) developed a system to eliminate scratches and dust during scanning of film. Kodak bought the company. The system is known as ICE3 or ICE4, depending on the iteration used. To eliminate dust and scratches, the film image is scanned with an infrared light source, which shows the defects in the film. An algorithm is then used to patch the defects. The results are typically very good. A lot of relatively inexpensive scanners utilize this system. Now there are also even faster systems available that use which utilize a dedicated digital camera to record an image of the film. Inkjet printing technology has mature significantly over the last couple of years. Ten years ago, I needed a six color inkjet printer to achieve photo quality results. Printed b/w was very difficult, and the results very poor. Nowadays even four color inkjet printers can produce photo quality results, while at the same time the printing speed is amazingly fast compared to the earlier printers. For b/w printing, the more expensive printers have grey inks. A less expensive alternative is to dedicate an inexpensive four color inkjet printer to b/w printing by replacing the standard inks with a grey set of inks.

Photographic materials available today provide us with unlimited possibilities, no matter whether film or digital photography is utilized. Both recording media have their place. In the end, it is information that is recorded, whether on a digital sensor or film. It is a great time to be involved in photography, because we have so many options and materials available.

Thank you for reading!

I can’t help it!


I love animals. I’m not a hoarder but I am a feeder of birds and wild life that routinely come through my yard. OK, I also will feed if an animal if is in distress.

This summer I had the pleasure of seeing all sorts of birds including the budgie that you see in the photo. When, he stopped visiting the feeders in late August, I was sad but figured he had moved on. Imagine my surprise when I visited our local zoo a couple of weeks ago and saw that they have a budgie exhibit featuring more than one hundred budgies! One of the zoo workers was outside the exhibit and I asked if they had any strays. She said normally, no but at the end of this summer they had a budgie show up that was banded. They quaranteened it and kept it. I don’t know if my friend is in there but I feel a whole lot better about the situation.

On a sadder note, I tried to save an injured sparrow last week. He seemed to have a broken leg and was on the ground trying to fly. I put in him a cage with the grass and leaves that I found him on. At first I left him on the porch to rest but squirrels and a neighborhood cat looked a little too interested so I ended up bringing him in the house. He kept taking naps. When I gave him water and seeds he ate the seeds. I covered the cage and he settled down. An hour or two later, I let him out in a bush in my front yard.


I went into my backyard to start some chores and he was back there on the ground near a tree. That wasn’t good so I caught him again and brought him back into the house. I intended to let him out in a couple of hours but by the time I planned to let him go- all of the other birds were gone. He didn’t tweet but tried to fly a couple of times.


I decided to keep him over night and let him out when the other birds were out. My husband indulged me and luckily he checked the cage in the morning before I got to it. My sparrow didn’t make it. I don’t know what touched me so much about that little bird but I cried most of the day.

It’s ironic because I have spent most of my professional life trying to fix the problems of the world. I never believed that I would solve any social justice problem on my own but I know that any effort to do good in the world and no harm to others is worth it. In order to do that kind of work, I often turned off what I was feeling (fear, disgust,anger and the like) in order to get the work done. Even I am surprised by the level of emotion a tiny bird raised in me.

I was sorry about the loss of that little bird. What I am grateful for is the love and emotion that I still have in me. I can’t help it and I don’t want to.

Tell someone you love them…


If you can stand the heat



The new stove is in and cooking is even more of a pleasure. I told you that I would share the recipe for the first meal that I cooked on the stove. I cooked stuffed shells and made a tomato sauce from scratch (but you can use a prepared sauce.) 



15 large pasta shells, 8 oz, ricotta cheese,  6 oz. mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, olive oil, butter, 8 oz. mushrooms, 3 cups of cherry tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 tbsp sugar. 

Here’s the recipe:

Sauce:  Chop and saute 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 onion in a tablespoon or so of olive oil with a teaspoon of butter until translucent. Add chopped mushrooms and whole cherry tomatoes. There will be a good amount of liquid from the mushrooms and tomatoes- don’t pour it out! Add tomato paste, sugar and a about a cup and 1/2 of water. Include salt, pepper and some of the dried herbs to taste. Simmer until tomatoes have broken down and sauce bubbles mildly. This usually takes about 45 minutes. Pour enough of the sauce to cover bottom of ovenproof dish.

If you decide to use prepared sauce, pour some in bottom of oven proof dish. You can enhance the flavor by sauteing some mushrooms and onions in olive oil and then add those to the sauce. 

a serving of stuffed shells

Shell filling:

Beat one egg into 8 oz. ricotta cheese.  Add dried herbs to mixture. Fill shells. Place shells in sauce, cover with remaining sauce. Top with mozzarella. Heat in 350 degree oven until cheese melts- this takes approximately 20 minutes.



cheesy goodness

stuffed shells

When you are finished enjoying your meal, visit our friend Marilyn
at   and daughter Kimba at    they have a great link- up going on. You are invited to participate!




Recently, I spent a Saturday evening with my daughter. She made a wonderful dinner and then we watched one of my favorite movies, “To Sir, with love.” For those who do not know the story it is about an unemployed engineer who manages to get a job teaching at a lowly resourced school in England. It is the early 1960’s. He is single, handsome and black. All of these attributes are essential to the story and to me, the outcome of the story is inspirational. The teens start out hating him. They learn life lessons from him and eventually respect and love him. This movie has inspired many to become teachers. 

I told my daughter that it seems that there are a number of movies that prove to be inspirational to people and make them want to work in the field that the star of the film is employed in. I could easily think of several of these:
To Sir with love- teacher
The Miracle Worker- teacher
To Kill a Mockingbird- lawyer
I get such wonderful feelings from movies like these and I have taught and worked in the legal field. How about you? Is there a movie that you enjoy that made you consider a field of employment even if you didn’t go into it?
File this musing under shared experiences…


Out of the bad comes the really, really, good…

Especially when food is involved!

Last week I was sad and alarmed that my stove had finally conked out. It’s not like you can just run out and buy a new one. I first had to attempt to revive it by calling in a professional. The service person was kind and told me the repairs would cost almost $300 (this is the same person who told me that I must cook a lot and was shocked to find that I cook dinner most days.)

After the $65 service call, Lars and I decided to look on-line and then visit a couple of stores to see for ourselves what is being offered out there. I wasn’t very impressed with what we saw and I was annoyed they were all so expensive. Fortunately our last stop was the winner because this is where I found my gift: A Bosch series 300.

I say gift because I was planning on a repeat of what I had before a basic white stove that is cheap, blends in, and does the job.  I was totally surprised when my husband told me to pick the one I wanted! He said that my eyes lit up when I looked at the Bosch. They lit up alright (just like a Christmas tree) and probably stuck out too. I’m in love- with my husband and my stove. I know that I’m drooling and I promise to stop. In my next post I’ll show you what my first meal was. Thanks for putting up with me. That goes for my husband too! 

 Well friends, the new stove is in and here she is:


 Ahh, my new baby- sorry Kimba !