I’m back and I missed you!

DSC_8761_

What a year this has been and I am grateful for it!

I have spent a lot of time this year marveling in simple things. After having spent so much of my adult life attending to others due to their needs or my own, I have slowed down with purpose.

Several years ago I had breast cancer. After my diagnosis, my family and friends and  I dealt with it as best we could. We learned what we could about the disease, we prayed and I took advantage of the medical miracles available to me.

I was very seriously ill and initially, very scared to die. I had surgery and chemotherapy and lost my hair. Nausea was a constant but I wasn’t like many of my breast cancer sisters who lose their appetite- I was hungry- a lot; but most food tasted awful and metallic. Non of this stopped me from eating it only postponed when I could eat. Surprisingly I did not gain weight during  treatment. My husband used to tell me that maybe that helped me to survive. I wasn’t skeletal and my body had calories to sustain it while it did battle for me against the cancer.                                                  DSC_8748_

Well this year is my eighth year of survival and I will tell you what I have learned: I learned that bad things happen to everyone including me but not especially me. I also learned that I fear how I am going to die but accept that I am going to die at some point- and so are you! I have also learned that my faith life is essential to me and an essential part of me. I didn’t become super human or super special because I had a brush with death but I am super appreciative that I am here today.

I spent this spring and summer working and playing hard. This fall I am slowing down, thinking about life, thanking God and thinking about you. I’m back and I missed you. Let’s get reacquainted!

Kim        73329

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

C-22 Film processing

Recently a friend asked me to develop (and scan and print, if successful) a roll of Kodacolor-X from her Brownie Reflex camera. This film uses the C-22 process, which is the precessor to the current C-41 process. Upon researching more about the process, I learned that films using C-22 were discontinued in 1977 in favor of the current C-41 process. The next challenge was to find a recipe for C-22. On the Internet I was not able to find a recipe. Then I remembered and old book of an English photography society from 1974. In it I found a recipe for C-22.

127 Film lying in front of an adjustable Paterson plastic reel

127 Film lying in front of an adjustable Paterson plastic reel

Now I could finally start to analyze the recipe and plan its execution. C-22 uses CD-3 color developer, which is the same developer used for current slide film in the E-6 process. The color process C-41 used for current films uses CD-4. The main difference between C-22 and C-41 is that C-41 is performed at 37 °C (100 °F), whereas C-22 needs to be processed at 22 °C (75 °F). The composition of all solutions and process times can be found in the PDF file.

My friend’s roll of film came from a Brownie Reflex camera. While the film format at first appeared to be standard 120 medium format film, this was not true. The Brownie Reflex camera uses 127 film, which typically has a negative area of 4 x 4 cm.

127 Film is one size in from medium format film

127 Film is one size in from medium format film

Packaging of 127 film is very similar to current 120 medium format film in that the film is attached to paper backing. After removing the film from the paper backing I was able to load it onto a Paterson plastic reel, because the reel height is adjustable to different film formats.

Rest of the paper backing after the film has been transferred onto the reel

Rest of the paper backing after the film has been transferred onto the reel

After loading of the film was completed, I could start the development process.

The first step was 14 min of color developer, followed by a stop bath and hardener step. The rest of the process is very similar to current color processes, bleach and fixer to complete the process. Because the material is processed essentially at room temperature, these last two steps take longer than their current counterparts in C-41 and E6 processes, which are processed at 37 °C (100 °F).

All five solutions lined up for processing of C-22: Color Developer, Stop bath, Hardener, Bleach, and Fixer

All five solutions lined up for processing of C-22: Color Developer, Stop bath, Hardener, Bleach, and Fixer

After I could finally inspect my friend’s film, I noticed that the markings on the edge had developed and were visible. Unfortunately only very faint images were visible at the beginning of the film.

Stopwatch and thermometer set up for processing of C-22 film

Stopwatch and thermometer set up for processing of C-22 film

Kodacolor-X was introduced in 1963 and discontinued in 1974. This means that the unprocessed film had been sitting in the camera for 40-50 years. Kodacolor-X had a sensitivity of ISO 64-80. The shutter speed for the Brownie Reflex camera my friend used could have been one of three settings: B, 1/30, or I (“instantaneous”). Considering that films were only available with such low sensitivity at that time, I think that the reason for the faint images may not mainly be the age of the film, but that the images were underexposed. Further evidence for this hypothesis is that markings on the edge of the film developed well. If the developing process was to be at fault, markings on the edge would not be readable.

C-22 film processing during the bleach step

C-22 film processing during the bleach step

In one frame I could make out the top of trees. Films at this time did not have the latitude of films we have today. Our modern film emulsions have a more sensitive layer on top, followed by a layer of lower sensitivity. Film emulsions back in the day when the C-22 process was current did not have the wide latitude we are used to with our materials today.

While I was not able to get my friend’s photos from this roll due to underexposure, I enjoyed working with this roll of film that has been sitting in the camera for several decades. I was pleasantly surprised to see the markings on the edge of the film developed in the end, because I had no idea how and if 50 year old film would turn out.

Posted in Photo techniques | 3 Comments

A Storm

A couple of days ago my family went to a restaurant at Quincy Shore Drive for dinner. From this location one can see the skyline of Boston.

That evening a rainstorm was brewing over the ocean and we got to see it just before it started to rain.01

This experience taught me once again that there a beautiful places everywhere and one needs to be able to access them easily to enjoy special moments such as this.

Thanks for reading!

Lars

Posted in Location | Leave a comment

Rainbows…

A couple of weeks ago while we were waiting for hot summer temperatures to arrive, we had a lot of heavy rain which caused flooding in some areas.

One evening after the rain just stopped, we saw a beautiful rainbow at the end of our street just outside of our house. The sun was also about to set at the same time. We had perfect conditions for a beautiful rainbow.

The challenge was for me to find a spot for a nice photo, knowing that rainbows vanish very quickly. My first instinct was to get some photos right outside our house. After I got the first couple of shots I could be more deliberate about finding a better setting for the rainbow. I found it across from our house in a school yard, which provided a beautiful backdrop to the rainbow.

While I had quickly grabbed a wide-angle lens, an extreme wide-angle lens would be needed to cover a full rainbow. So I decided to stitch several photos together instead, which worked really well.

Here are a couple of examples:5 4 3 1 2

Posted in Photographic inspiration | Leave a comment

Something old, something new, something borrowed- now I’m blue…

tiny visitor

tiny visitor

I know that it has been a while since I have written anything here. I have been busy with any number of projects but that is no excuse. I write in this space because an issue is of interest to me or because something has happened and there is no one near to talk to me about it and writing allows me to get ideas out. I don’t know who reads our blog or looks at the photos or jewelry unless they drop me a note or purchase something.

I keep writing because I hope that by doing so, I will learn more about myself  or perhaps the story that I share will add something of value to your life. It happens to me all the time when I read other people’s web sites. I learn something or laugh or smile because of what they shared. I hope that I have that same impact when someone sees our site. With that long introduction, here is another story that you may be able to relate to…

A few days ago a cute kid was walking by my house carrying a cat that was too big for her to be carrying. I asked her where she found it and she said that she found it down the street in a park (the park is about five blocks from my house.)  She also said that she was taking it home to be with her other cat. This cat was beautiful. He was a very dark gray with deep orange eyes. The girl and I exchanged a few more words and she headed off happily squeezing the cat and enjoying herself. I later told my husband that the cat would probably end up walking itself back home to the park because who could take all that squeezing!

The next day as I cleaned my front yard I thought I heard a meow but I didn’t see a cat. I admit that I am obsessed with all things kitty like and I can’t even tell you how much I love Tigers but I was sure that I was not imagining the meow. I scanned the yard and made eye contact with the cat from the day before! He ran to me and rubbed my legs. He had me at “meow.”   I fed him!

The details of this story go on for three more days so let me give you an abridged version: The kid came over everyday looking for the cat, carrying it around, bringing it food and basically “loving” it to death. He started running away when he saw her coming.
I spoke to her about it a number of times and could not convince her to leave him alone until the third day he was in the yard.

My husband and I came home late in the evening from an after work dinner. The cat that I had begun to call Smokey was sitting on my front porch in a position that was weird even for a cat. He didn’t get up when we approached the step but he meowed and stretched out his head to be scratched. We checked him out and he behaved as though his rear right leg was hurt. After a brief discussion, my husband and I put him in a box with a blanket he had slept on and took him to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals.

I went through a number of emotions as all of this happened. At first I was angry at the child because I was pretty sure that she was the one that hurt him. Next, I was upset with myself for engaging with this cat because I know that if you risk liking or loving someone you also risk being hurt. Listen, I do not live for pain but I understand its importance in life- balance. I try to avoid emotional pain but I accept it because it proves to me that I am alive and able to like and love.

DSC_4543

Don’t worry, I got over being mad at the kid right after I realized that the cat had a much better chance of getting a “forever” home as a guest of that shelter than running around feral in my neighborhood. I also realized that I would never have taken him to the shelter if he wasn’t hurt.

I cried my eyes out that night and when I saw the kid a few days later, I explained that the cat was hurt and that I gave him away so he could have a good home. She said that that was sad and that she was sad and I told her that I understand completely and I do. Now that I am on the other side of this situation I realize that it turned out best for all involved. It is a pain I can live with.

Kim

two former "guests"

two former “guests”

 

 

Posted in Kim's musings, Nature in the City | Leave a comment

The Signs of Spring

 

Spring is finally here. Cherry and apple trees are in full blossom. I especially like to see wild trees in blossom in the forest that have not been planted by people. Last week I saw quite a few of these trees on a walk in the forest and enjoyed them very much. It is so beautiful to see a whole tree covered in pink or white blossoms. It reminds me that beauty can be found in unexpected places (middle of forests).

When photographing the trees, I wanted to highlight two things: their location and surrounding trees, as well as closeups of groups of blossoms.

Seeing these trees was an almost spiritual experience for me. I thought about how these trees blossom in the forest, attracting bees and other insects and how this beauty is there whether we humans see it or not.

Please enjoy what I found…

 

Posted in Location | 1 Comment

The case for DNG files

Whether we like it or not, Adobe Digital Negative (DNG) files are the future. More and more compact and more advanced digital cameras are capable to produce raw files. Raw files differ from JPG files in that they contain more information, and allow us to process JPG files from with modifications to the white balance, exposure, sharpening, etc. To get the best of both worlds, most current cameras can save raw and JPG files at the same time. The difficulty with raw files has been that they are a proprietary file format, whereas JPG files are a well established universal file format.

We live in a world of standards. When we buy parts in one hardware store we can expect them to fit parts from another hardware store, because hardware parts use standardized dimensions. In the digital world, we have standards, too. Morse code is one of the oldest standards that precedes digital computer technology from a time when telecommunication lines could only transfer binary signals. While Morse code became obsolete for most communications when voice transmissions became the standard, it is still used for some communications.

In the world of computers, virtually all systems can read and write ASCII files. This standard was created in 1960, and is the backbone of all information exchange between computers, and between programs running within the same computer system regardless of the operating system or software used.

In 1992, the JPEG standard was created as file format for photos. It superseded the GIF file format, which was limited to 256 colors only and was previously used for photos and graphics. The JPEG standard overcame these limitations and enables the storage of photos in an effective manner using compression. While better file formats are available today, JPEG files will remain the standard in the future, because there are countless photos in this format published and archived.

Virtually all interchangeable lens cameras and many advanced point and shoot cameras can record photos in RAW format. Most manufacturers utilize proprietary raw file formats. Originally raw file formats could only be processed with manufacturer’s software. The quality of the manufacturer’s software varies greatly, although I have heard that the file /format structure of different raw file formats does not vary too much. In the midst of this landscape Adobe specified the DNG (Digital Negative) file format in 2004, as proposal to replace proprietary raw file formats with a common standard. So far, only a few manufacturers have embraced DNG as raw file format for their cameras. Most other manufacturers continue to use their proprietary formats. Another annoyance is that raw files from the same camera manufacturer but from different models are different as well, which means that always some time elapses after introduction of a new camera model before it is fully supported by software.

Why is DNG a great file format for archival purposes? While current software supports raw files from current and past cameras, it forces us to continually upgrade software when a new camera model is used, otherwise raw files from the new camera can not be processed. Makers of software so far have supported older cameras, but we can’t be sure this trend will continue in the future. Camera manufacturers do not always have the best algorithms available for processing raw files, whereas using specialized software allows us to process raw files from different cameras under comparable conditions.

In the last 13 years I have used or still use the following cameras that record raw files: Kodak NC2000e, Kodak DCS410, Kodak DCS460, Nikon D100, Nikon D70, Kodak DCS14nx, Nikon D200, Canon A560, Ricoh GX100, Canon A650IS, Kodak P712, Nikon D7000, Canon SX130IS, and Sony NEX-3.

I do not use any manufacturer’s software. Some manufacturer’s software is not available for newer operating software versions, and I recently learned that Nikon has started to drop support for older cameras in their latest software versions.

By converting raw files to DNG files, no loss of quality occurs, and it ensures that raw files will remain accessible in the future. I have been able to re-process photos with a newer raw processing software and gotten significantly improved results compared to files originally processed with manufacturer’s software. With DNG files, raw files from cameras long past can be processed utilizing improved algorithms, resulting in significant quality enhancements.

How can proprietary raw format files be converted into DNG files? Adobe offers a free DNG converter to convert proprietary raw formats into DNG (downloadable here). Another option is to use the digikam software package (downloadable here) that includes a DNG file converter.

I believe that archiving raw files in DNG is a smart decision which will ensure that raw files will remain accessible in the future. While raw processing software today can process proprietary raw files, there is no guarantee that raw processing software of the future will support raw files of cameras from a long time ago. With ample DNG file support present today we can be assured that DNG files will continue to be supported in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Lars

PS: After first drafting this post, Adobe announced their intention to offer certain software packages, including Photoshop, as subscription-only version. While it is not known at this point how it will affect future updates to the free DNG converter, I would not be surprised if it had not impact at all. Adobe has been promoting the DNG standard since its inception not linking it to their software. The available updates also serve Photoshop Elements, which continues to be offered in the traditional form.

Posted in Photo techniques | Leave a comment

Looking back but thinking ahead…

DSC_5372_

What a week it has been in Boston, Massachusetts! This week appeared to be the first “real” week of spring. The weather has been beautiful and just warm enough to let us know that winter has passed. Unfortunately, there has been unexpected tragedy in Boston this week with the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

Like most who are aware of this terrible event, I and my loved ones are safe. We are sad for everyone who has been physically and emotionally harmed, especially those connected to the people who were killed. Of course, there is also some fear and anger about such an event and oh so many questions. Who would do such a thing? Why? Will they be caught and punished?

DSC_5337_

There are many people who are working to answer these questions and lots of discussion about it so I won’t venture too deeply into this emotional and trauma inducing territory. Just let me say that terrible, tragic,  and evil events happen everyday here and around the world. Somehow we humans manage to continue to live and dream of a more peaceful and pain free future. As our ancestors have done, we remember, we grieve, we learn and move forward. We don’t forget the pain but we get over the fear and move forward.

I pray for emotional health and peace for you and for me. I’m looking back but thinking ahead.

Kim

            cropped-DSC_0665.jpg

Posted in I had a quiet moment, Kim's musings | Leave a comment

When nature calls, you better listen!

Hyde Park, MA

Living in the moment sounds like a thoughtful way to live and a wonderful thing to do. When I am engaged in tasks or events that I want to be part of, I definitely want the moments to last and they seem to hold a special significance. So why is it that in so many things that I do, I simply want the time to go by?

For instance a visit to the dentist though significant, is usually unpleasant and seems to drag on an on. The payoff is clean teeth and a healthy smile but to get there I have to put up with scraping, digging, and other unpleasantness. Those are moments I just as soon forget.

Winter treesRecently we had a major storm named “Nemo” that dumped large amounts of snow on Boston. Prior to the storm, I imagined how cozy it would be inside our house ( if the electricity held up) and how much I would enjoy the time with my family -none of us would be able to go anywhere once the storm really got going. In fact, our governor declared an emergency so no one could drive on the roads for a period of time.

I did savor those moments with family, watching it snow, eating great food and listening to good music. We were lucky because we had electricity, heat, food, and each other. After the storm, we went outside to shovel snow and walk through our neighborhood with a friend. We met neighbors we hadn’t met before and talked and generally had fun. I think that I learned that living in the moment is another way of saying “appreciate life now. ”

CN135-0892-38Well I did, and I do.

 

 

 

My friend here lives at the zoo and is doing fine too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winter Impressions

In the last two weeks we had a lot more snow, including a major snow storm that gave us about 24″ (~60 cm) of snow. Because temperatures kept increasing shortly after the snowfall, most of the snow disappeared almost immediately.

We still have several weeks of winter left, although the warmer temperatures make us wonder every time if we are done with winter yet.

The photos from a beach are from West Haven, CT. The light had such a special quality and beauty.

Posted in Misc. images, Uncategorized | Leave a comment