Posts By Swift1

Prints To Defeat ALS!

Every year, my family and friends and I walk in the annual Walk To Defeat ALS that is organized by the ALS Association. This event serves two main purposes: To raise awareness of this awful disease, and to raise money to help people and families living with ALS.
I have been living with ALS for nearly 10 years now, and from the very beginning the ALS Association has been a steady source of support for both me and my family. We have been walking in the Walk To Defeat ALS since 2011, and this year will be the 7th year in a row that our team has raised over $11,000. Even though we have done really well, every dollar helps make a difference in the lives of people living with ALS.

Last year, I started a fundraising campaign where I give a print of one of my photos to anyone who donates $25 or more to my fundraising effort. This year (so far) “i have raised $5300 from nearly 40 donations. Today I started making the prints for everyone who has donated.

About the prints,
The photo was taken by me, at the Grand Canyon this past June. I used my Bronica ETRSI, with a 150mm lens, and Kodak Ektar film. The prints are 6″x8”, printed on 8.5×11 Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte paper.

If you haven’t donated but would like to, follow this link, Walk To Defeat ALS Colton Allen 

To everyone who has donated… Thank you so much!

 

Here’s a look at this year’s prints

A cold summer day at Crater Lake.

One of great perks of living in southern Oregon is our proximity to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is one of my favorite places, and we usually try to go there at least once a year. Often it’s 2 or 3 times a year, and over the past 10 years I’ve been up there over 20 times. It’s always interesting going up there, as the lake basically has its own weather system, regardless of what’s happening in the rest of Oregon.

In early July Tiffany, Etta, and I, decided to go up one Sunday. I think it was nearly 90 degrees fahrenheit down in Talent, and by the time we got up near the rim, it was raining and 36 degrees fahrenheit. We barely saw the lake itself since the fog was so thick. It was a bit warmer down lower on the south side, so we decided to brave the weather and hike up to the Phantom Ship overlook. It was a long, cold, wet hike, and my powerchair nearly quit 3 times, but it was worth the trouble and we had fun nonetheless. We also stopped on the way at place called Natural Bridge, near Union Creek. It’s a really cool place where the Rogue River is running through lava tubes, and the river actually goes underground for a ways and then comes roaring out of the rock downstream.

Despite having been up there so many times, and with the different weather, I’m usually able to find new photo opportunities. I brought my Bronica ETRSI kit with a roll of expired 220 FujiPro 160C that I had loaded a month before and really needed to finish. It can take forever to finish 30 frames in a medium format camera. I’ve been shooting a lot of expired film recently. Not something I decided to do, it just kinda happened. Expired film can really be hit or miss, but I seemed to get lucky with this batch of Fuji 160C.

The weather made it a bit difficult to take photos, but I got a few, and I’m happy with what I got.

 


Rogue River at Natural Bridge #1 

Rogue River at Natural Bridge #2

Park Headquarters

Phantom Ship in Fog

Trees in Fog

What’s in a roll of film?

In today’s world of super cameras with 50 megapixel sensors and super fast autofocus, not to mention live view LCD composition, why choose to shoot film with old cameras? Especially considering that I have ALS, and that using the latest digital technology would probably make my life easier? For me, one big reason is inspiration. I look at a fresh, unexposed roll of 35mm or 120 film, and I think:  what possibilities will this roll find, what images will I capture on it? A roll of film holds limitless opportunity for me to create. Where will it take me, and where could I take viewers with it? 36 frames, or 24 frames, or even 12 frames doesn’t sound like much, but within every roll of film, every frame is the chance to make something special.

These 26 images all came from a single 36 frame roll of expired Fuji Superia 400, shot using my Contax G2. All were shot without the use of a viewfinder, except the one of me and Etta in the Redwoods which was taken by Tiffany.

 

Ashland, Oregon.

Ashland, Oregon.

Medford, Oregon.

Medford, Oregon.

Medford, Oregon.

Medford, Oregon.

Medford, Oregon.

Medford, Oregon.

Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, California.

Crescent City, California.

Near Crescent City, California.

Near Klamath, California.

Near Klamath, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

 

 

August Ramblings

August was a bit of a roller coaster month for me. I think we were travelling more than we were home all month. We went to the coast for 3 days. Spent one night in Crescent City, California, and one night in Arcata, California. Going to the coast is always bittersweet for me though. I love the ocean and the coast, and I love driving through the redwoods, but the coast is far from wheelchair friendly. Usually the closest to the ocean I can get is about a quarter mile away. Sand and wheelchairs really don’t go well together. We made the best of it though, and saw some places we had never been to before.

The very next weekend, we drove down to Davis, California for my grandmother’s memorial. This was both a happy and sad occasion. I miss my grandparents terribly and always will, but I am happy that Grandma is at peace and hopefully reunited with Grandpa. Even with the sad occasion, it is always good to see family that I haven’t seen in forever. It’s always too short of a visit though.

I spent all of last week up in Portland, 7 days total. It was great to spend time with my brother and see old friends. I met up with a few photographer friends, and met some new friends. I was a really hot week though, and with the added humidity (it’s much dryer in Talent) it was rough, especially so since the AC died in my van the day before driving to Portland. I was really tired too. Some days it really feels like I have only gotten more tired everyday for the past 8 years, and everyday I feel like I’m the most tired I’ve ever been and can’t fathom actually being any more tired, yet the next day day I’m more tired. ALS is brutal that way.

I also feel like I hit a photographic wall last month, and I’m still trying to find a way over it. I haven’t felt really inspired by the photos I’ve been doing, and I’ve been left wondering “why”. Why am I taking these photos? To what end? For most of August I feel like I just put my head down and forged on regardless, focusing on just taking photos of where I was rather than for any more artistic reason. Inspiration comes and goes, it will come again.

For most of August, I had the same 36 frame roll of expired FujiPro 400H in my Contax G2. It was from a large lot of expired film I got on ebay. It was supposedly refrigerator stored, but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be. That’s the beauty (and downside) of shooting film though. After all that time spent shooting a roll of film, you get what you get and you have to make the best of it… kinda like life…

 

These are all from that one roll,

 

 Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Arcata, California.

Davis, California.

Davis, California.

Ashland, Oregon.

Ashland, Oregon.

Ashland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon.

 

Busch Pressman 4×5 in Portland

About a month ago, I bought myself a new (old) camera. A 1950s Busch Pressman Model 4×5. For awhile now I have been using a Speed Graphic 4×5 that belongs to a friend, so I had time to think about what type of 4×5 I would want for myself. The Speed Graphic is really good, but has only minimal movements of the front standard. Ideally, I’d love to have a nice Ebony or Toyo field camera, but they are very expensive, quite large, and a bit complicated in use considering I have to get an assistant to do everything for me and I need to direct them verbally on exactly what to do and when to do it. The Busch Pressman turned out to be exactly what I wanted in a 4×5 camera.  It’s a gorgeous camera, and really compact for a 4×5. It has a revolving back, forward and backwards tilt, shift, and rise as well as a bit of fall when you tilt the bed. The lens that came with it is a Caltar II-N 150/5.6 in a Copal 0 shutter. The Caltar II-N is apparently the same lens as the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N.

I hadn’t really got much chance to use the Pressman, but I spent all of last week in Portland and I brought the camera with me, and I managed to get out and shoot with it a bit.

Here’s me with the camera,

 

 

Here are some photos I made with it,

Mt. Tabor Park
Busch Pressman D 4×5
Caltar II-N 150/5.6
Expired Kodak Portra 160VC

Vacated Taco Time
Busch Pressman D 4×5
Caltar II-N 150/5.6
Expired Kodak Portra 160VC

Residential Building
Busch Pressman D 4×5
Caltar II-N 150/5.6
Expired Kodak Portra 160VC

Laurelhurst Theater
Busch Pressman D 4×5
Caltar II-N 150/5.6
Expired Kodak Portra 160VC

 

 

American Southwest Adventure Pt. 6

The last two days of our trip we spent driving home. We left Moab fairly early on Day 8, and drove north to Green River, and then drove up through Price and Helper, and down into Spanish Fork. We stopped for lunch in Sandy and then got stuck in horrendous midday Salt Lake City traffic. After spending 45 minutes to go  3 miles, turned off onto Interstate 215 and quickly left Salt Lake City. We stopped briefly at the Bonneville Salt Flats, then into Nevada where we stopped for dinner and the night in Winnemuca.

The next day we headed north, up through Denio, through the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge where we stopped and took some photos. Then we were back in Oregon. We stopped in Adel for photos and ice cream, in Lakeview we had lunch, then we didn’t stop again until we finally pulled into our driveway. After 9 days, 2800 miles, 6 states, and 5 National Parks, we were home. It was an amazing trip and we will remember it always. It was good to be home through.

 

Here are my photos from the last two days,

 

Bonneville Salt Flats
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100

Shady Court Motel.
Winnemuca, Nevada.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100

Riverside Liquors.
Winnemuca, Nevada.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge #1
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W Back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
Kodak Ektar 100

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge #2
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon MC 40/4
Kodak Ektar 100

Adel Country Store
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100

 

 

American Southwest Adventure Pt. 5

After getting in so late the previous night, we took it pretty easy on Day 6 of our trip. We slept in until 9:00 AM, and then found some coffee and food, unloaded and reloaded film in a few cameras, then headed off for Mesa Verde National Park. I’ve to Mesa Verde three times now, and every time I found it a fascinating place. You leave the valley floor, and drive up and up, higher and higher, and you’re transported into this almost magical place. Down on the valley floor, it’s hot and desert like, up on the mesa, it’s a cool mountain meadow like place. There were wild flowers everywhere, and even wild horses grazing in the meadows. The views from up there are amazing too. You can see nearly 40 miles to the southwest into New Mexico and Arizona, the San Juan Mountains to the east, and up into Utah to the northwest. Unfortunately, the one semi accessible cliff dwelling area was closed indefinitely for repairs, and you need to schedule a tour to see the others up close (none of which are even remotely wheelchair accessible), but we had fun seeing them from a distance and checking out the pit houses up top. I can only imagine difficult it was to live there 1000 years ago, but somehow I imagine it was a very peaceful life.

We needed to be in Moab, Utah by the evening, so we left Mesa Verde around 2:30 PM, went back into Cortez, found some iced coffee, and then started north into southeastern Utah. Moab is only about 2.5 hrs drive from Cortez, so we had a pretty leisurely drive, stopping at Church Rock for a quick photo, and then at the Wilson Arch (just south of Moab) where Tiffany, Etta, and Jason hiked up into the arch, then onward to Moab where we checked into our hotel, and then went and found Tacos and Margaritas

Day 7 of our trip was spent mostly in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. We got up fairly early, found some coffee and breakfast, and headed towards Arches. Before going to Arches though we followed the Colorado River east a few miles to a place called Big Bend, where Tiffany and Jason did some rock climbing. After that we went to Arches. It was really hot, and surprisingly crowded in the park, and there really isn’t a lot of wheelchair accessibility there, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. We did lots of driving, took a few photos, and Tiffany, Etta, and Jason did a few short hikes while I waited in the shade.  Around 2:00 PM we decided to head back to Moab for lunch and a short (air conditioned) rest.

After our short break, we had planned to go back to Arches, but we decided to go check out Canyonlands instead. I had never been there before, and I’m really glad we went. As crowded as Arches was, Canyonlands felt nearly deserted. I doubt we saw more 40 people total in the entire park (we were at the northern part of the park). We drove through the park, stopping at all the viewpoints until we reached the end of the road at Grand View Point, and then we back tracked bit to a place called Orange Cliffs Overlook where we ate a picnic dinner as we watched the sun go down.

Here are my photos from Day 6 and Day 7,

 

The San Juan Mountains from Mesa Verde
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 150/4
Kodak Ektar 100

Mesa Verde Path
Rolleiflex 2.8C
Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2.8
Kodak Ektachrome 64X

Church Rock
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100

Pine Tree near Wilson Arch
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon MC 150/4
Kodak Ektar 100

Moab Entrada
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100

At Big Bend
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100

Moon Over The Three Gossips
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 150/4
B
+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100

In Arches National Park
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100

Canyonlands Cliffs #1
 Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100

Canyonlands Cliffs #2
 Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100

Canyonlands and The Green River
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100

Sunset at Canyonlands
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
Kodak Ektar 100

 

 

American Southwest Adventure Pt. 4

After spending a wonderful day at the Grand Canyon, on Day 5 we got an early start and drove east along Desert View Drive. We stopped at the Desert View Visitor Center where got some breakfast, and then said goodbye to the Grand Canyon, and then headed east into the Navajo Nations. When we were planning our trip, this was the day I was most excited about. If you’ve ever spent time that area, you will probably have a sense of how magical the area is. There is the Little Colorado Gorge, Monument Valley, the San Juan river, and the sky there can be epic.

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we first stopped at the Little Colorado Gorge. It turned out to be not very wheelchair friendly so I didn’t get any photos, but it was cool to see again. We then continued east on Hwy. 160, stopped for lunch in Kayenta for lunch, then turned north on Hwy. 163 towards Monument Valley. On all my previous trips through that area, I had never taken the time to go through Monument Valley, so I was very excited to be going there. We still had quite a ways to drive that day so we weren’t able to spend too much time at Monument Valley, but we enjoyed the time we were there, and I was able to make a few photos that I really like.

We left Monument Valley around 7:00 PM, and headed for our final destination of the day, Cortez, Colorado. We had hoped to stop at Four Corners (only spot in the US where four states meet) but when we finally reached the turnoff, the park had closed a few hours earlier. I  think it was nearly 10:00 PM when we finally pulled in to Cortez. We checked into our hotel, ate a very late dinner at a 24hr Denny’s, and finally to sleep so we could be ready for another day of adventure.

 

Here are some photos from the day,

 


Grand Canyon from Desert View
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100


Agathla Peak
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100


Somewhere Near Kayenta
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100


Monument Valley
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100

Monument Valley #2
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100


Monument Valley #3
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon MC 150/4
Kodak Ektar 100


Monument Valley #4
Rolleiflex 2.8C
Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2.8
Kodak Ektachrome 64X

Leaving Monument Valley
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100

 

American Southwest Adventure Pt. 3

We spent all of Day 4 at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It would be another hot day (103 degrees), so we tried to get an early start and spend time at the rim while it was still somewhat cool.We first hiked (powerchaired) along the rim near Mather Point. This area had the most wheelchair friendly trails. It is interesting (and kinda cool) to see that for the most part all the trails along the rim had no railings whatsoever. After spending a few hours around Mather Point hiking and taking photos, we went and found some food at the Yavapai Lodge, and then Tiffany and Etta took the park bus to Hopi Point, while Jason and I stayed and took photos near the Kolb Studio. After Tiffany and Etta got back, we went back to our hotel room for a much needed rest. Once rested, we returned to the park, and drove a few miles west along the Desert View Drive, stopping for photos at a few different viewpoints. By this time it was getting close to 7:00 PM, so we decided to go back to Mather Point for sunset. At Mather Point, Jason and I set up the 1949 Speed Graphic looking east, and then we waited awhile for the sun to get lower and the light to get softer and warmer. After about 30 minutes, we put the film in the camera and made the exposure, and then packed up and headed back to where the van was parked. As we walked around a corner, we came upon this gorgeous dead juniper tree, bathed in the evening sunlight. We quickly set up the Speed Graphic again, managed to get everything right in our hurry, and made one of my favorite photos from the trip.
After that, we packed up, headed back to our hotel, went out and had a wonderful dinner, and finally back to our hotel where we passed out, exhausted.

Here are my photos from the day,

 

 
Morning At The Grand Canyon
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon MC 150/4
Kodak Ektar 100


South Rim View
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon MC 40/4
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100


Living On The Edge
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
Kodak Ektar 100


Triptych Of The Grand Canyon
Rolleiflex 2.8C
Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2.8
Kodak Ektachrome 64X


Grand Canyon Panorama
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100

Kaibab
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 150/4
Kodak Ektar 100


Cedar Ridge and Grand Canyon
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100


Pipe Creek Vista
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100


Duck On A Rock Vista
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100


Evening Sun On Cedar Ridge
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100


Evening At The Grand Canyon
Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4×5
Kodak Ektar 127/4.7
Kodak Ektar 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Southwest Adventure Pt. 2

After spending a great day in Bishop, we woke up really early on the morning of the third day of our trip, and headed out. Our plan was to make it all the way to the south rim of the Grand Canyon by the end of the day, but we also wanted to drive through Death Valley National Park on the way. From Bishop to the Grand Canyon is normally about 8.5 hours of driving, but going through Death Valley makes it more like 9.5 hours. We left Bishop at 5:30 AM, and reached the Grand Canyon at about 8:30 PM, so with all the various stops we made, we were on the road 15 hrs that day. It was also the hottest day of the trip. At 10:30 AM, we stopped at Furnace Creek in Death Valley and it was already 110 degrees out, and around 3:00 PM we stopped at the Hoover Dam where it 115 degrees!

Here are some photos from Day 3,

 

Motel Mt Whitney. Lone Pine, California.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100


Panamint Valley. Death Valley National Park
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100


Argus Mountain Range, from Death Valley National Park
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
B+W Circular Polarizer
Kodak Ektar 100

Unknown Motel. Kingman, Arizona.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100


Budget Motel. Kingman, Arizona.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100


Flags. Seligman, Arizona.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100


Red Truck. Seligman, Arizona.
Contax G2
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 35/2
Kodak Ektar 100


Abandoned Exxon. Seligman, Arizona.
Zenza Bronica ETRSi w 135W back
Zenzanon MC 40/4
Kodak Ektar 100


Highlander Motel. Williams, Arizona.
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon MC 40/4
Kodak Ektar 100


Grand Canyon Sunset
Grand Canyon National Park
Zenza Bronica ETRSi
Zenzanon EII 75/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100