Between darkrooms and making due

Well, the new house in Hood River is very efficient, but not conducive to containing a production darkroom.  I set up the third bedroom with the D5XL enlarger, and some of the framing equipment, but it’s carpeted, so all of the wet stuff has to happen in the bathroom with my Jobo CPP processor.

So….

I bought a digital camera to keep me going until I carve a darkroom out of the garage.

The impossible happened.

I have the photos to prove it.

Ruthton Point, October 2015 # 2I bought a used Nikon D300 with a 24-120 VR lens.  Then, I had my Nikon prime lenses converted to AI at Blue Moon Camera.  These include the following:

20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 65mm Macro (Vivitar), and 135mm.

Add to that my 300mm Tamron with a 2X teleconverter, and the package is complete.

The interesting part of this is that it made me a better film photographer.  Having the ability to see how my shot will turn out immediately enabled me to get the most out of my film shots.

I’m still shooting film, but I don’t get around to developing them as often as I’d like to.  I hope to get the Jobo fired up this weekend, so I’ll have some early spring shots coming up soon.

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Moving to the Columbia Gorge. 

The house is sold.  Part of the selling process was the Dismantling of the Darkroom.  It was a very sad day.  I tore apart the 7′ sink that I built, tore down the shelves, painted the walls white, and installed a carpet.  Another part of the selling was packing up the computer and scanner.  I have no way of producing work for display on the Internet for the next few months.  

  The Columbia Gorge offers not only a wealth of photographic opportunities, but also a chance for my wife to heal.  

This picture was taken near Goldendale, Washington, on a dusty back road to nowhere in particular.  We were driving out of Goldendale, when, from out of the dog-eared western songbook, this barn and wheel presented itself to us on a bone dry August afternoon, and we stopped to take a few pictures with infrared film.  

Losing my darkroom.

Black is turning to white.  My darkroom since 2005 is turning back into a bedroom.  

We’re getting ready to move into the Columbia Gorge, so I’m getting the Portland house ready for sale.  The saddest part of this tearing down the darkroom.  On Tuesday, I ripped apart the sink that I built from plywood and boat paint, and I had the first coat of white paint on it by this morning.

I waited 10 years to have my own darkroom.  I’m hoping that it isn’t another 10 years until I get another one.  

Zillah, Washington

Zillah Teacup

Digital Hating Hipster.

I received a comment on my blog recently that stated simply, and in its entirety, “You’re a digital hating hipster.” Well, I wasn’t even hip when I was the right age for it, but, more to the point, I don’t hate digital. I choose not to use it. As I’ve stated in previous posts, art is as much about the medium as it is about the product. What we do is informed by how we do it. I choose film because of the lack of instant gratification, and the meticulous process of large format photography; what I refer to as “the slow zen of quality.” I have spent so much of my life hurrying about, trying to get everything done from work to home to fitness, and back again. I do so much in my line of work that revolves around computers and high-tech gadgetry. When I get to take pictures, or work in the darkroom, I get that rarest of opportunities, which is to take a breath, and let the world pass around me for just a little while. I get to live briefly in the world as it was when Ansel Adams climbed the Sierras, and developed his film under the stars. It doesn’t take hating digital to want that. It takes loving film.

Off-Walker-Farm-Road,-Oregon

The Rainshadow

I wanted to photograph this building for years. It’s located in The Dalles, Oregon.

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One of my favorite places for photography these days is the eastern Columbia Gorge. It’s really the “old west.” Once you pass Hood River going east, the landscape changes from the pine-encrusted rainforest west of the Cascades to the arid grasslands, and sparse oak forests of the rainshadow.

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Infrared Church, Colton NY

This is from my East Coast trip last Spring.

I have a few more rolls of my favorite film, Konica IR 750, which was discontinued in 2006, in my freezer. I shot this roll over nearly a year, choosing each subject carefully while trying to remember how to use the stuff.

©2014 Gary L. Quay

©2014 Gary L. Quay

I took a chance on development. I tried a new (to me) developer called Divided D-23. It’s a variation on Kodak’s D-23, and was the version that Ansel Adams used briefly. I used it on a less precious roll of film before trying it on this. The results were stunning. Some of the infrared look is missing, but I think the visual is quite nice.