Kallitype Printing

I had ordered a kit for Kallitype printing from the Photographer’s Formulary and received it a while back. It came with seven pages of instructions that still seem a bit short. Next time I will order from Bostick and Sullivan even though the price is higher.

It took some work to get all of the containers and measuring cups, which I had assumed would be included with the kit. I found most of the containers that I needed at various places around town, and I finally found some amber dropper bottles (50mL) at Propst Pharmacy that were not actually for sale. The next time I will order containers with the kit! I also got a red bulb and a black light from Walmart. I am still a bit confused on why the instructions require a red light since this is not supposed to be a darkroom process.

I mixed all of the chemicals in the upstairs bathroom and put them in marked containers. I sensitized some Arches Coldpress paper and let it dry. My first exposure was of a B&W 120 negative of dogwood flowers. I think I overexposed it though in the sun for 75 minutes.

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Marmot Aura 2P

When April and I decided to hike and camp our way through Yellowstone in 2008, we thought that it would be the right time to finally get a lighter tent. The tent that we normally use is over-sized for what we need and quite heavy. After a ton of research, reviews, and web browsing – we decided to get the Marmot Aura.

This tent is everything that we expected. Here’s a few items to note:

  • Price – ~$300 on the web including shipping.
  • Weight – this tent only weighs 5 pounds. Compare that to the 7+ pounds for the Eureka that we normally used.
  • Setup – It took a while to figure out how to set this tent up. After my first attempt I realized that the instructions are on the inside of the tent bag – much easier with the instructions.
  • Functionality – This tent helped us stay warmer than our Eureka would have in 30 degree temps in Yellowstone. There was a bit of wind, but nothing that I would use as a test of the tents wind resistance.

So far, I’m very happy with this tent. It seems to be well worth the price that we paid for it. The bent poles allow enough room for us to sit comfortably and gives the feeling of more space.

My wife is getting annoyed with me asking her questions about price for a review on my website. She thinks that it’s totally “LAMO”

B&W Printing by George DeWolfe

B&W Printing Book Cover
 

B&W Printing – “Creating the Digital Master Print”by George DeWolfe. A Lark Photography book in their Digital Masters series. $29.95 at Barnes & Nobles

I purchased this book after having problems creating a print (particularly in black & white) from a photograph that I had scanned from film. Here are my thoughts on it:

The book starts with a definition of terms in a glossary. This bothers me to some extent because we already have plenty of terms that are commonly used in photography that cover any idea mentioned in this book.

The first section of the book is quite interesting and should have expanded with additional information. DeWolfe discusses the things that make a master B&W print different from a normal B&W print. He covers edge definition, using shading to bring out form, and tone separation. Each of these items are treated to a type of before & after discussion to show the affect that they have on an image.

This section also introduces the PercepTool, written and sold by DeWolfe. The current price listed on DeWolfe’s website is $89.95. I was pretty angry that I bought a $30 book only to have the author use it to try and sell me a $90 software tool. I would estimate that 1/4 of the book is useless without the PercepTool. DeWolfe could have at least explained how the tool works instead of just how to set the parameters of the tool and use it.

The book also includes small sections on featured artists. These features provide a before & after image of the artists work. The featured artists were all helpful and inspiring.

The second section discusses the image workflow used by DeWolfe. While the first two chapters of this section are wasted on setup and customization of Lightroom (DeWolfe was on the development team for Lightroom), the majority of the material was very helpful. I have taken the suggestions and incorporated them into my own workflow.

There are several other concepts covered that help describe the differences between a mediocre print and a master print. The reader is forced to read between the lines a bit to discover the concepts.

As for actually printing the digital master print, there is a single short chapter that mentions printing. Of course, it only covers printing with Lightroom.

Conclusion:
This book would have been much more helpful if it had been reduced to its essential elements. It should cover workflow and the attributes of a master print. The inclusion of the PercepTool and Lightroom customization seem to be a poorly disguised attempt at salesmanship. Useful information on B&W printing would have been nice, especially in a book titled “B&W Prining”

This book is useless as far as actually printing an image goes. I’m still looking for a good manual for printing a B&W image with an inkjet printer. If you are looking for information on how to use a consistent workflow, there are articles available online that are very informative.

Apex 3XTA Review

Tent Information:

  • Date Purchased: February 2005
  • Purchased from: Bass Pro Shop, Orlando
  • Purchase price: $160
  • Weight: > 7 lbs

I purchased this tent to use for camping trips with my wife and my dog – the reason for the 3 person tent. So far, the tent has been on two camping trips – on the Buffalo River and the Chinnabee Trail. The Apex is very easy to pitch. I had no trouble pitching it by myself in a little wind – just remember to stake down the upwind side of the tent first. I believe that it could also be set up to pitch in the rain. The fly can be clipped onto the tent before pitching. This may require 2 people though, as the poles usually need to be helped through the webbing at the intersection of the poles.

Here are some pictures of the tent the first two times it was pitched:

From my trip report on the Buffalo River:

It was still storming when I finally drifted off to
sleep. The tents held up surprisingly well through the
downpour. The only problem Tim and I had was that I had
forgotten to tuck the ground cloth underneath the edge of
the tent. There are a few other changes that I would make to
the Eureka Apex 3XTA if I had the chance. I would start by
replacing the tent doors with a mesh screen to allow for
airflow when the rain fly is zipped shut. It got quite
stuffy in the tent when it was all buttoned down. The other
problem that we had is that there is no way to reach the
zipper at the bottom of the rain fly without getting wet
from the condensation. Some type of dual zipper on the fly
would make it easier to unzip from the top.

Here’s a picture of the tent pitched on a rock bar along the Buffalo River:

Here’s a picture of the tent pitched on a ridge above Cheaha Falls.

Notes:

  • The footprint of the tent is bigger than you think
  • Unzipped the doors to help ventilation and a Wolf Spider moved in
  • May be able to raise the door tie-down of the fly by using a trekking pole
  • The weight is a bit much for only 2 people, it’s not as bad if the poles & stakes are carried seperately.
  • With some rigging of the groundcloth, it may be possible to only pitch the fly.

John Hedgecoe’s Complete Guide to Photography

John Hedgecoe Complete Guide to photography.
This is a review of the revised edition of John Hedgecoe’s Complete Guide to Photography, first published in 2004. I’m not sure when I bought the book, but I believe that it was sometime in October of 2004. This is actually the first book on photography that I had read. I believe that I saw the book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, and then went home and looked up some other reviews before purchasing it.

While the book is not in-depth on any one subject, it does provide a very wide coverage of photography. I had learned a great deal about the physics behind capturing images on film from the www.photo.net tutorials of Philip Greenspun. Hedgecoe helped me find the images to capture. The book starts with two sections (65 pages) of information that I already knew, but read through anyway – things like camera type, shutter speed, aperture, types of film. After the first two sections, Hedgecoe covers 69 different projects that I consider to be very useful.

The projects are geared toward finding interesting subjects for photography and explaining how to capture them. Each is filled with images that clearly illustrate the concept being discussed. I found that most of the projects could be accomplished using almost any camera, as the projects focus more on the subject than the technique.

I still pick up the book occasionally to use as a reference, finding myself re-reading the first, fundamental projects. To condense what I’ve learned into a list – things that I look for when taking a picture are:

  • Shape
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Color
  • Tone
  • Composition
  • Viewpoint

– but not necessarily in that order. Usually, it is only one or two items from the list that will grab my attention, and then I will try to work in as many others as possible.

While I would like to see the book go more in-depth on the technical technique needed to get the most out of each project, for $19.95 I feel that I got more than my money’s worth. I would recommend this book to anyone getting started in photography that hasn’t taken a class somewhere that may have already covered the material.

First Appalachain Trail Hike

What do you know, it’s raining again, and we have retired to our room for the night. I don’t think I could walk another step. We started out this morning right after breakfast. We drove through Cherokee to 441 North and stopped at the visitor’s center – good chance of rain through mid afternoon with thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Not a good forecast for a day-hike. I got April to take my picture at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and then drove up to Newfound Gap.

The weather was very misty and cool. It was like it could start raining at any second. We found the trail head for the AT and started walking. There seemed to be tourists everywhere until we got down the trail about 100 yards. We may have come across 20 people during our whole 8.8 miles of hiking. The trail started with a steep ascent, much like the Juney Whank Falls trail. It would climb for a ways, turn, and then climb some more. As we got higher, you could tell that there was an open expanse through the trees on the east side, but all we could see was the white clouds.

The trail followed the ridge of the mountains that divide Tennessee and North Carolina. You could stand with one foot in each state! At ties, the trail followed a line with a sharp drop on each side. One false step, and you would go tumbling down the slope, bouncing off of trees along the way. I was hoping along the way that the sun would come out and burn off the clouds that we were covered with.

After what seemed like forever (actually only 1.7 miles) – 1 1/2 hours, we reached the Sweet Heifer Creek Trail. The Appalachian Trail to this point had been very rocky and slippery at times. We stopped for a break after we reached the first mile by my calculations (wild guess). We had some trail mix consisting of dried pineapple, raisins, and all kinds of nuts – with a little Chex mix thrown in. We also carried 2 bottles of water and a big bottle of PowerAde.

After we reached the Sweet Heighfer Creek Trail, I figured that we were traveling at ~1.3 miles per hour. This made it easier to gauge how far we had traveled and how long we had until our next landmark. We continued on down the Appalachian Trail and reached the junction of the Boulevard trail (to Mount LeConte). We had covered another mile, mostly uphill, in under an hour. I took a picture of the trail sign, as I had been doing all day, and we continued toward Ice Water Spring Shelter.

We kept on the AT for another 0.3 miles. The trail seemed to split and we didn’t know which way was the AT, so we walked around a bit. We were on a hill covered with small spruce and heath. It was very dark for noon time with the thick trees and clouds. We found that the trail to the right led downhill about 20 yards to the shelter. I later found out that this was Mount Kephart.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from an AT shelter. It was an open faced cabin with a stone fireplace. There were two shelves or platforms against the far wall on which to sleep. Next to the shelter, there was rigging for four or five bear bags. In front of the shelter was an open area with a fire ring for cooking and eating. Signs posted said not to eat in the shelter because it would attract bears.

We continued on toward Charlie’s Bunion and ran across Ice Water Spring. Yes, it is freezing! It comes up right in the middle of the trail. We passed the spring and started descending along the ridge. After a while, we gout our first view of the mountains from the trail. It was a moment I’ll never forget – at least now that I’m writing it down!

The ridge had narrowed to a point where a step to either side meant disaster. I was walking with my had down to be sure of each step when I glanced up. The view took my breath away, and I stopped short. The magnitude of God’s power and imagination was more evident to me than ever before. The mist and clouds were still hanging around some of the higher mountains, but the valleys were filled with sunlight. It’s amazing that so many shades of green can look that beautiful.

After a while of walking the mostly easy terrain, we caught a glimpse of Charlie’s Bunion. It’s apltly named – just a massive jagged rock wall stuck in the side of the mountain. The AT goes right beside it (bypassed in winter). We finally made it to Charlie’s Bunion after 4.4 miles and about 3 hours. The trail follows a ledge around the point to an area about 10 feet wide. It feels like you are on top of the world. At greater than 6000 feet elevation, I can’t argue. It is impossible for me to describe the experience of being there. Even pictures do not do it justice without the smell and the sounds, as well as having a several thousand foot drop on all sides.

We ate our lunch on top of Charlie’s Bunion. The Fryemont had prepared turkey sandwiches – fresh, hand-carved turkey on fresh baked rolls. We definitely had a table with a view – thanks to the Almighty Himself. We could see rain clouds rolling over the ridge from the North Carolina side, so we started back right after lunch. From Charlie’s Bunion, you could look back at Mount Kephart. It was hard to believe that we had climbed that mountain and were about to do it again.

It started sprinkling before we got to the spring. We went to the “privy” at the shelter just in time for a downpour. We sat on a bench in the shelter and ate the rest of our trail mix to wait out the rain. After it let up, we were on our way agin. We made it back to Newfound Gap without incident except for a family of tourists.

It was between Sweet Heighfer Creek Trail and Newfound Gap. We had already passed several groups of hikers with lots of gear. Then we came across this family of tourists outfitted by their local JC Penney. They were on their way to Charlie’s Bunion! We convinced them that they had not hiked a mile yet – they thought they had gone several – and that they would probbly succeed only in breaking an ankle. They were wearing sandals, flip-flops, and a nice parif of white pumps.

After we got back to Newfound Gap, we drove up Clingman’s Dome Road. It was too foggy to see anything, so we called it a day. We drove back to 441, only to find a traffic jam here in the mountains. There had been a wreck on 441 and we could only go east. Good thing we were staying in Bryson City instead of Gatlinburg! We stopped in Chreokee for snacks and helped a family find an alternate route to Gatlinburg. The clerk at the store would not let them unfold a map without paying for it, so we let them look at our atlas. It was going to take them 2 1/2 hours to get back to Gatlinburg (normally a 45 minute drive).

Multilingual Software Reuse

Abstract:

Software can be designed in a way that enhances
its ability to be reused. This paper examines several concepts or
rules to follow when designing reusable software components. The
paper then gives examples of how to implement designs in both Java
and C#, as well as some problems that occur when using both languages.

The concept of software reuse has been discussed for decades,
yet software developers fight the same battles over software reuse
that have been fought time and time again. One of the sources used
for this paper, The Mythical Man Month, is actually the 20th
anniversary edition of the original material. Even though the
technology involved in the book (IBM System/360) is obsolete, its
discussion of reuse is still relevant (Brooks 222). Consider that
a Google search for software reuse on 7/20/04 returned 1,640,000
results. With so much material available on the topic of software
reuse, is there anything left to discuss?

This paper was born from two experiences working with software reuse
at Lockheed Martin for the Common Training Instrumentation
Architecture program. The first experience was the porting of the
OpenMap application from Java to C#. The other ongoing experience
is viewing the design of a common component library to be implemented
simultaneously in C# and Java. Using multiple languages to implement
the same design provided an interesting view of software reuse. There
are design methodologies, which, if followed, will enhance the ability
of a particular software design to be reused.

In today’s world of object-oriented languages, a software component’s
design can be reused as opposed to its code. There are books on design
patterns, refactoring, and even a Unified Modeling Language (UML) for
expressing a software design in a standard format. Tools can be found
for generating source code from UML diagrams in a number of languages,
leaving the developer to write much less code to implement the design.
Language vendors may also provide translators that will translate
software from one programming language to another.