Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last of the V8s

Living on the road my friend was gonna leave you free and clean.
Now you wear your skin like iron and your breath’s as hard as kerosene.

There was a bit of a lull in my blogging as I had much less time for shooting, and when I did, was using film. This blog will include a few shots with the Nikomat FT2 (w/Nikkor 50m f/1.4) and November photographs with consumer grade Kodak 200, expired about 11/2000, shot in my beat-to-crap Konica Autoreflex T.

On Wednesday, I was chasing an image of a BNSF train parked along the WA14 east of Vancouver. I ended up in this beautiful empty park and had that rare impulse to play some music. I could have warmed up my voice and such, but after a two week head cold, it may not have mattered. Here’s Pancho and Lefty, written by Townes Van Zandt.

Well the poets tell how Pancho fell. Lefty’s living in a cheap hotel.
The desert’s quiet and Cleveland’s cold and so the story ends we’re told.

Slaid Cleaves wrote a song called Last of the V-8s that I really like and feel a lot of resonance with it. It is a tough song to perform and in this only take, I botched the bridge section. A continuing difficulty for me is that as the lyrics become uncertain, my pitch wavers. All of my youtube performances are exercises against perfectionism and a way for me to learn new songs. Throwing something together and putting it up here is a fair representation. I could perform it better and use better equipment, but this being the first time I’ve played at all since early October, it is what it is.

This world ain’t ours, you know that well.
We’ve been left with nothing but a story tell,
and we’ll speak it softly through the streets of this broken town.

From this performance I learned that I might also change the guitar approach from the record. Slaid does this song out of A shape which gives a feel that is hard to approximate playing out of G (up one fret here). I wanted to lower the key; on stage, I might perform it A. Find Slaid’s version on No Angel Knows.

I also put up an improved version of My Sweet Blue Eyed Darlin’ in this same key of Ab.

From the Nikomat FT2 with old 400 film; Mount St. Helens (accompanies blog from 10/18).
Mount St. Helens, Andrew D. Barron©10/18/11
Vancouver leaves:
Leaves, Vancouver, WA, Andrew D. Barron©10/19/11
On Wednesday I picked up my first roll of 35mm film shot using a meter (the Gossen Luna pro F). The differences in this roll compared to the previous five 35mm rolls are humbling. My Mark II Eyeball light meter is not as good as I hoped. This roll is fun and recent, beginning with some of the Kern PG2, a photogrammetric stereo plotter:
The PG2 in action, Andrew D. Barron©11/15/11
This machine corrects for distortion in stereo aerial photography and draws an orthorectified line onto a map. All of America (and perhaps most of the world) was mapped by operators using machines such as these. This is one of the few remaining functional stereo plotters (that anyone knows about) located at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory. From photogrammetrically acquired contours, decades later, terrain was treated digitally in a format known as Digital Elevation Models (DEM). Save for a few old-timers and those of us lucky to have worked with them, the method for the original acquisition is only a vague idea, if contemplated at all. One simply clicks the terrain option in Google Maps or Earth, and it is just there. But the USGS, a chronically under-funded branch of the department of the interior burned through the lives and spirits of untold hundreds of photogrammetric operators to generate them. Read more about photogrammetry and the Kern PG2.

This is the Old Grocery store on St. Louis & New York, built in 1908, discussed here.
Old Portland market, 9400 N St. Louis Ave, Andrew D. Barron©10/18/11

Hasselblad postscript. Also on Wednesday I picked up my first roll through the Hasselblad. I haven’t figured out how to scan in 120 negatives yet. I was less than blown away with these first twelve images. When I first got ahold of the Hasselblad 500c, I drove the Pacific City to shoot the sea. I got one frame on that camera. I recall writing about how few photographs I took. Following are two with the Konica Autoreflex T. This is south of Tillamook:
Air Museum, south of Tillamook, Andrew D. Barron©11/20/11
Chance encounters and seemingly random information often spurs an adventure. In this case, after I did something at film lab, I went to the St. John’s McMenamins brewery. A man came in to fill up a large bottle (a growler) of their India Pale Ale. Since I don’t know a lot of folks, nor have I met many IPA-lovers, I asked the man if there were any nearby IPA’s I should check out. He didn’t hesitate to answer: The Pelican Brewery in Pacific City. So, that, plus wanting to shoot the sea with the Hasselblad, I ended up there on the 20th of November. It was indeed a very fine IPA.
From the window of the Pelican Brewery, Pacific City, OR, Andrew D. Barron©11/20/11
Tonight is a customer show and 10 year anniversary party for the local film lab. I am glad that I happened to be in Portland at this time.

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