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February 4, 2016
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Film Is NOT The “F” Word

Contrary to popular belief, 35mm film photography never went away. And it’s making a sizeable comeback.

Two years ago, a professional photographer I know in Australia, Chris Putnam, told me that professional photographers there were getting rid of their digital cameras in droves, and going back to film.

I also have several photography friends who have purchased a used 35mm film camera to see what it’s like, and to have photographs with that “film” look.

Why use film?

  • The look. Film gives a completely different, and more organic, look than digital, which many people prefer. That’s why there are so many presets on cameras and photo processing software that try to duplicate the look of film.
  • Slower pace. Film makes you shoot more deliberately, giving you time to work on composition and lighting, and allows the photographer to really look at what they’re shooting. Getting it right in the camera is always the best way. With only 24 or 36 exposures per roll, “Run and Gun” is out of the question.
  • No computer time, until you digitize them. If you digitize them at all. Imagine how much more time you would have in your life if you didn’t need to process your images.
  • Improves your photography skills. Most of what you shoot can’t be reshot a week later when you see your processed film. So you MUST get it right the first time, and every time.
  • Better dynamic range. It can take up to three bracketed RAW files to achieve the same tonal range as film.

Film cameras, old and new, are less expensive than low end DSLR cameras, and they last longer. Granted, over the past 35 years prices have increased, but you can still buy a brand new Nikon FM10 35mm SLR film camera with 35-70mm lens for $519. Used film cameras will cost even less. The Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR camera with an 18-55mm Lens is $550.

Usually, you can’t just shoot film if you’re working with commercial clients. You have to digitize it somewhere in your workflow. But film scanners have become pretty cheap, and they do a good job. You can also go higher end, and buy a $700 unit like mine, the Epson Perfection V800 Photo Scanner. And, of course, you can buy scanners that are even more expensive.

Don’t forget that many film processing places will scan your images for you. However, my experience has been that their scans aren’t that great. There are scanning services and pro labs that do a good job. There are also services that are designed to scan all of your family photos, like www.ScanMyPhotos.com

If you’re only using your film for prints, you don’t need a scanner, computer or any other technology besides an enlarger. And if you use a lab to do your printing, you don’t even need the enlarger.

Film is still viable in the digital age. It’s not better or worse than digital, just different. Film is a tool to bring your imagination into reality. Choose the proper tool for the job, and go make some magic.

January 3, 2016
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Comments Off on January Computer Wallpaper Is Ready

January Computer Wallpaper Is Ready

Get your free computer wallpaper for January. I found these pictographs while hiking in the Flagstaff area. There were also symbols for water, as this marked a small spring, and a hand print. It’s a pretty amazing find. http://www.jeffcolburn.com/free-wallpaper/
 
Have Fun,
Jeff
Wallpaper-2016-01

December 17, 2015
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert – Part 2 of 2

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert – Part 2 of 2

In the summer it can easily be 90-100 degrees fahrenheit (32-38 celsius), if not hotter, and there is almost no shade. We were there at the end of September, and it was still close to 90 degrees fahrenheit (32 celsius). Even an easy trail in this heat can cause problems for some people. Bring plenty of drinking water, no matter what time of year you will be there.

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For the more adventurous, you can do backcountry day-hikes and overnight hikes in the wilderness area. These hikes require a permit, which is free.

As you move farther north in the park you will see less petrified wood, and more of the colors of the Painted Desert.

Your first good look at these colors will be at the “Tepees.” There’s a pullout that you can use here to take some photographs. There are other pullouts in the Painted Desert that provide wide vistas for you to enjoy too.

Tepees in the Painted Desert.

Tepees in the Painted Desert.

As you go through the park, there are several spots I suggest you visit.

  • Puerco Pueblo – This Native American site has the foundations of several rooms of the pueblo, which is over 600 years old. There are also petroglyphs here.
  • Newspaper Rock – Here you will see over 650 petroglyphs on the sides of boulders. Free spotting scopes are available at the site.

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  • Blue Mesa – Hiking here will let you experience hiking in the badlands.
  • Jasper Forest – This area has one of the largest accumulations of petrified wood in the entire park.
  • Crystal Forest – Some of the petrified wood here has sections that are covered in quartz crystals.
  • Long Logs – This trail has, yes, long petrified logs.
  • Giant Logs – Is a trail with, yes, giant logs.

If you want to go on all the trails, I would suggest giving yourself at least two days to take it all in.

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The Petrified Forest National Park gives visitors the chance to walk through various historical periods, and to see the remains of these times. We saw prehistoric petrified logs, Native American petroglyphs and buildings that settlers from the Wild West made out of pieces of petrified wood. You will find yourself walking through millions of years of Earth’s, and the West’s, history. It’s really an amazing place and well worth a visit.

Have Fun,
Jeff

December 16, 2015
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert – Part 1 of 2

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert – Part 1 of 2

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About 60 miles (96 km) east of Winslow is the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. It contains plant and animal fossils from the late Triassic period, about 200,000,000 years ago. As you get close to the National Park, you start to see petrified wood near the road, along with several businesses selling all sizes of petrified wood you can legally purchase. It’s really amazing to see all of this outside of the park, but consider that the park only covers 20% of the petrified wood area.
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There are fossils of dinosaurs, but it’s best known for the fossilized trees. Some of these trees are over 190 feet (58 meters) long. The Petrified Forest is very popular with tourists, and averages 645,000 visitors per year. Even with this many visitors, my wife and I found the crowd wasn’t a problem. The trail near the visitor center was the busiest, with other trails having fewer people or sometimes only us.

Most of the petrified trees consist of coniferous trees, tree ferns, and some gingkoes. It’s considered one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world. The fossil bearing layer, the Chinle Formation, is about 1,968 feet (600 meters) thick. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any fossils, besides the trees, when we were on the trails. We did see Native American petroglyphs on some of the trails.

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Newspaper Rock

Newspaper Rock

I’m used to seeing fossils in museums, but to walk among the trees and be able to touch them was a wonderful experience. Since the petrified logs are made of various minerals, many have a rainbow of colors. Some of the pieces even have patches of quartz crystal on them. Get close to the logs and you will see the rainbow of colors they possess.

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There are several ways to explore the Petrified Forest. You can drive through the park, which is 28 miles (45 km) long. There are pullouts on the road where you can stop and take your time looking around and take pictures.

You can also hike the seven trails in the park. The shortest trail is 0.3 mile (0.5 km), while the longest trail is 2 miles (3.2 km). They vary in difficulty, and some are paved, but most are pretty easy. We went at our own pace, and were able to inspect and photograph the petrified trees, both close-up and from a distance. It’s always best to stay on the trail, but much of the petrified wood is just inches from the path. It was great, and I felt like I was part of a museum display.

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December 8, 2015
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Comments Off on Have A Happy, And Slightly Twisted, Holiday Season

Have A Happy, And Slightly Twisted, Holiday Season

Following are some of my favorite Holiday music videos. You’ll find the entire spectrum from traditional to shall we say, unique. I hope you enjoy them.

Lindsey Sterling, an amazing hip-hop violinist with some great moves. Listen to her perform Celtic Carol, What Child Is This and Silent Night.

Next is Pentatonix, an acappella group whose voices blend beautifully. List to their versions of Carol Of The Bells and That’s Christmas To Me.

I’ve always been a big fan of Jewel’s music and poetry, and was fortunate enough to see her in concert once. Listen to her amazing voice as she sings Ave Maria.

There’s always someone who thinks Christmas us just a bunch of Bah Humbug. This video is for you. I hope you enjoy Carol of the Old Ones.

My favorite irreverent Christmas song is The 12 Pains Of Christmas. Have a listen.

Karen Carpenter was an amazing singer, and left us all far too soon. Listen to Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters.

I’ve always liked Gloria Estefan’s voice and music. I was even a member of the Press when she dedicated her statue to the Wax Museum in Buena Park, California. I have some great pictures of that event too.

Christmas is more than presents and parties. It’s about reaching out to those in need, righting the wrongs in the world and putting the Christmas Spirit in all we do, all year long. In this video you’ll see wrongs that need to be righted, and successes that have been achieved. We can all do something, big or small, to help others. Go out and help others. Hear Silent Night by Gloria Estefan.

Many years ago there was a great Christmas special called “A Claymation Christmas.” It shows the amazing things that can be done with this form of animation. I hope you enjoy these videos, and remember, it’s all done with clay. Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer and Joy To The World.

Is it really Christmas without hearing Madonna sing Santa Baby?

And finally, if you think you have a great light display on your house, check out this, and how would you like to put on a light show featuring your entire neighborhood?

Have a Great Holiday Season! Party on!!!

Have Fun,
Jeff

November 18, 2015
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Winslow – Part 2 of 2

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Winslow – Part 2 of 2

La Posada cost about $2,000,000 to build, which would be about $40,000,000 in today’s dollars. The hotel survived the depression, and closed to the public in 1957. In the 1960’s it was used as offices for the Santa Fe Railway, and was almost demolished several times over the next 40 years. The railroad destroyed much of the building’s history. It sold the custom furnishings, painted over many murals, and even threw out Ms. Colter’s architectural drawings of the hotel. I hate to see non-creative people/organizations destroy great works of art and architecture simply because of their own ignorance or lack of concern about the wonders of yesteryear.

Stairs leading to the second floor.

Stairs leading to the second floor.

In 1997, the current owners, Allan Affeldt and his wife Tina Mion, bought La Posada and moved in. They quickly started the estimated $12,000,000 renovation of the building.

The thing I noticed the most about La Posada is the peace and quiet. You can stroll through three gardens, watch the trains go by, browse through the gift shop and book store, enjoy the art that hangs throughout the property and much more. On Saturday night the hotel was sold out, yet we never heard another person all night. It’s all very relaxing.

We love the history of the hotel and its quiet atmosphere and look forward to going back soon.

Many Hollywood stars, and other famous people, have stayed in the hotel. Here’s a photo showing some of them.

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La Posada also contains an award winning restaurant, The Turquoise Room. Being a vegetarian, I know that most restaurants only have one or two items on the menu that I can eat. The same goes for The Turquoise Room, but I would drive for over an hour just to have their Killer Vegetable Platter. It’s an amazing collection of colors, textures and flavors that I will never forget.

There are many other historic places to see in town, including the Lorenzo Hubbell Trading Post and the 9-11 Memorial Garden.

The trading post is now the town’s Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. It contains historic displays, wonderful architecture and more travel brochures than you will know what to do with.

The 9-11 Memorial Garden contains a 14 foot and 15 foot beam from the World Trade Center. These are the largest pieces of the building given to any community in the country.

911 Memorial

911 Memorial Garden

Near Winslow are many other interesting places to see. The Little Painted Desert, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Winslow, has the colors and banding of the soil just like the full sized Painted Desert. The parking area has been abandoned, so the picnic table and unusable bathroom have a definite post-apocalyptic look to them. It would be a great place to shoot a scene for a movie. And about 60 miles (96 km) away is the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert.

Tepees in the Painted Desert.

Tepees in the Painted Desert.

 

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Petrified Forest

There’s plenty to do in, and around, Winslow for a weekend or longer. Enjoy the piece and quite, scenery and history of the area. Head on over to Winslow, get out of the rat race and enjoy a relaxing time at La Posada.

Have Fun,
Jeff

November 16, 2015
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Winslow – Part 1 of 2

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Winslow – Part 1 of 2

My wife and I recently spent a weekend in Winslow, at the wonderful La Posada Hotel. Yes, it’s the same Winslow made famous in the Eagles first hit single, Take It Easy. You can actually stand on the corner, near a bronze statue of a guitar player, and a real flat-bed Ford. All of this is positioned in front of a mural depicting the story of the song.
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This little desert town is located on historic Route 66, just south of I-40, and is less than 60 miles (96 km) east of Flagstaff.

Route 66, along with the train that runs just behind La Posada, brought many people to town and the hotel. In the 1930’s and 1940’s the hotel served 1,000 meals a day, and the newsstand sold 500,000 postcards a year. Before World War II, it was so busy that the restaurants in the hotel served 3,000 meals a day. When you see the size of the property, it’s hard to imagine that many people going in and out each day.

As you drive through town you will see a mix of old and new. Old houses and buildings are plentiful, as are some new fast food restaurants and even a WalMart Supercenter.

Winslow, like many towns on Route 66, went into decline as I-40 cut across the country. These towns were bypassed by the freeway and the businesses suffered greatly. Also, as fewer people took the train, preferring to travel by car, Winslow had a huge decrease in visitors.

Another blow to Winslow was World War II, which prevented many people from traveling. Troop trains would come through, and soldiers would get a meal at La Posada, but they didn’t stay at the hotel.

The Lindbergh Regional Airport, designed by Charles Lindbergh, is a mile west of Winslow, and the U.S. Forest Service has a firefighting Air Tanker base there. TWA and Frontier Airlines used to fly into the airport, but TWA’s last scheduled flight to Winslow was in 1953 and Frontier’s last flights were in 1974–75.

The airport was founded in 1929 by Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT). Aviator Charles Lindbergh was the head of TAT’s Technical Committee, and chose Winslow as one of twelve critical refueling stops on the nation’s first transcontinental passenger line. For many years after its creation, it was the only all-weather airport between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, (1902-1974), was an American aviator, and made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20-21, 1927. This flight gained him immediate international fame, and the nicknames “Lucky Lindy” and the “Lone Eagle.”

The star of the town is the La Posada Hotel. My wife and I had talked about staying here for years, and finally had the time. We had to reserve pretty far out as weekends are often booked months in advance.

 

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Some interesting signs we found while roaming around the hotel.

Some interesting signs we found while roaming around the hotel.

Built in 1929, it was the last Fred Harvey House built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Mary Jane Colter was the chief architect for the Fred Harvey Company, and one of only a few women architects in the country. Ms. Colter considered La Posada to be her crown jewel, because she designed everything from the building and landscaping to the maids’ outfits. She also designed several buildings at the Grand Canyon, including the Watchtower and the El Tovar Hotel where she did the interior design. We’ve seen all of these buildings, and they really are wonderful.

The Watchtower, designed by Ms. Colter.

The Watchtower, designed by Ms. Colter.

 

Standing on the ground floor of the Watchtower, looking up.

Standing on the ground floor of the Watchtower, looking up.

 

Our room. It's the same size as when originally built. Small but cozy.

Our room. It’s the same size as when originally built. Small but cozy.

Part 2 will be posted soon.

Have Fun,
Jeff