Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kickin' it old school

(Yes I know, the phrase "Kickin' it old school" is now old school itself)

A few weeks ago I purchased a second hand light meter off I'm hoping to improve my portrait photography skills and a light meter will surely help with that. Now I need to spend some time learning exactly how to use it :)

The light meter came with an Nikon FM10 film camera (plus three lenses and a flash*). The FM10 is an entry level film camera. It is almost entirely manual and mechanical; everything is manual except for a rudimentary internal light meter. It doesn't even need batteries if you want to fore go the light meter.

We had an old roll of FujiFilm 400 in our fridge. I don't know where it came from - I think Tara brought it into the marriage (7 years old!). I popped it into the camera and brought it to work for a few days, just for kicks and to get used to using the camera.

The FM10 has a completely different feel compared to my D70s. It's smaller and lighter (550g vs. 800g). It's metal instead of plastic. The shutter is mechanical as is the film winding mechanism - there is a distinct vibration when you wind the film and distinct sound when the shutter is released.

Additionally it comes with a knowledge that each frame has a cost associated with it. With digitial, you shoot and shoot and sort out when you get home. With film, you need to think about what you are shooting becuase you only have 24 or 36 exposure before you need to pay someone to develop your film. I knew that it would cause me to slow down, but I didn't realise how much it would. It spent three or four days got get through 24 exposures (contrast that with blowing through 100 shots when I go to the barn on my D70s).

After I got the camea, I picked up three of rolls of film**. I finished one off today and now need to get it developed and scanned. I'm pretty excited to see what I photos I took.

Below are three best frames from the 7 year old film. Thanks to George for scanning them for me. Not to bad for 7 year old film, eh?

For my photo friends --
*The three lenses are:
MF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
MF Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5-5.6
MF Tamron 70-200mm f/4-5.6
The flash is a Vivitar 2800

** Two rolls Kodak Portra 160VC and one roll of Ilford FP4+ 125. I just finished the FP4+ today (and now need to find a place in Kitchener Waterloo that will develop and scan E-6 black and white film without costing me an arm and a leg - let me know if you know of such a place).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Splish Splash

While waiting for my lovely wife to come home for dinner, I set up the following photos. My go-to lighting blog,, has a fun post about creating water droplet photos. Head on over if you want to learn about how to do this. If you have a SLR, a flash and a small amount of time (< 60 minutes), you too can take photos like these.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flower photos

While I'm putting the finishing touches on the remainder of my photos from my trip out west, I've put a few flower photos on my flickr site.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sixty and counting

I was in southern Manitoba this past weekend helping my grandparents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. That's right, the big 6-0.

We had a party for Grandma and Grandpa. All of their surviving brothers and sisters showed up, along with some of their kids (my dad's cousins) and some of their kids (my second cousins?). All told, there were about 60 people there; most of them beyond the age of 65. And let me tell you - it was one loud party! There was more laughing and carrying on than I expected from a bunch of old people elders. Some people get grumpy and crotchety in their old age -- not my family!

My grandparents are doing well. They are still living in the the same house that I always remember them in growing up. Sure they are slowing down and have the aches and pains that show up when you are over 80. They don't move as fast as the used to and they don't always remember things as clearly but that's all expected. My grandpa is still pretty active in the gardens and in the workshop. A short while ago he built a grandfather clock - that's not something a lot of people can do when they are his age.

I'm sure things weren't always roses and butterflies for my grandparents. My dad talks of his childhood as a childhood without much money or conveniences. Grandpa built houses for a living- not an easy job. But the marriage survived. They survived six children and nine grandchildren. They survived their kids leaving their community. They survived floods and droughts and Manitoba mosquitoes. They still laugh together, cry together and love together.

When something like 50% of all marriages these days end in divorce, it's a blessing to have a legacy of love, friendship and commitment in the family. I pray and hope I have their genes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Wife - The Scientist

Last weekend I got to spend time with Tara in her lab at school. In case you didn't know, near the top of the list of things my wife excels at is biomedical research. She is currently in a PhD program at the Ontario Veterinary College.

A biomedical research lab is a lot less like a movie research lab then you might think. There are no bunsen burners running, no multi-coloured liquids in beakers giving off dense fumes, no spiral tubing moving liquids from one flask to another and no hunched-back assistants. In fact, the lab looks a lot like the labs on CSI. Without the glass walls or dim lights, or instant answers.

I was there to "help" Tara with her research. Since I really don't know my way around a lab, I was given the roles of washer of instruments, labeler of labels, disposer of old experiments, fetcher of things, and official research photographer. I also got to autoclave things (or more honestly I put the instruments in the autoclave packets and watched Tara turn the machine on). Nonetheless it was a fun time where I got to spend time with Tara in her element. And I also got to meet her summer student Jess who is helping out Tara (and by helping I mean real helping, not Richard "helping").

If you are curious, Tara is doing research surrounding interleukins and corneal heath (the cornea is the clear part of the eye). Tara hopes to determine what the roles specific interleukins play in the maintenance of corneal clarity. The results of her research may provide insight into how to treat or prevent eye disease in animals and people.

The only thing I understand about interleukins is that they are proteins (molecules) that are involved in sending messages from between cells. If you want to know more, you'll need to ask Tara; she can talk for a long time about her research.

There are a few more photos that Tara said I could post, but I need to give you fair warning. Tara is doing ocular research. That's research on eyes. Some of these photos might make your tummy turn or at least look at Tara a little differently next time you see her.

If you think you can handle it, click the link below. If not, here is a nice blog you can read to wash your mind of the imagined images floating around in it...

Show me the gross photos