Catamount Imaging: Blog en-us (C) Catamount Imaging (Catamount Imaging) Sat, 11 Jun 2016 22:15:00 GMT Sat, 11 Jun 2016 22:15:00 GMT Catamount Imaging: Blog 120 80 Deva

Our cat Deva passed away today. Though she did not ever mention her age, she lived a long and happy life with us. In recent months, some chronic illnesses that she battled for some time caught up with her and today sadly it was time.

We're not sure of her birthday but she came to us in October of 2000 along with her "sister" Nina. She had already had kittens so was probably a couple of years old by that point. She joined a household with two other very special cats and she fit in effortlessly. In fact from the beginning it seemed that Deva (pronounced 'day-vah') transpired on another astral plane. She passed through the noise and bother of everyday life - and seemed to be contemplating deeper and more profound subjects - but always had a great time doing it. Think Cat-Dude but without the cursing.

Deva had 'the foot'. We noticed after a bit that when Deva sat, her right rear foot would sneak forward until it was sometimes actually further forward than her front feet. For some reason I found this terrifically amusing though Deva did not. 

She was the quintessential 'quiet one'. While the other cats - and later dogs - would demand attention and cause a ruckus, Deva was always floating quietly through the scene and the day. Her fearlessness and calm led others to respect her without question and her right to the window seat the office was never even a subject. We worried for a time that we didn't pay her enough attention as the squeaky wheels (especially Nina) would get the oil but I think Deva would say we did exactly what we needed to do; it would not be in her nature to allow us to do otherwise.

When I first got know K2 and before he came to live with us, I would joke with Deva that I saw her boyfriend today. They looked so similar to me that I thought they would make a great couple. When K2 did come to live with us they finally got to meet. Deva treated the occasion as she would any other; no big deal. K2 (on the right below) told me he was mightily impressed.

Note the presences of "The Foot"

While I'm relieved that she is no longer battling her illness, the house already feels more empty and dark. She was a constant calming influence on all of us and a reminder to keep perspective and recognize what is truly important in our lives. She was a teacher as well as a wonderful companion and we were so lucky to have her for so long.

Good bye Deva - say hi to Nina for us and be well.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sat, 11 Jun 2016 22:09:48 GMT
Yoshi Yashica Mat 124G Twin Lens Reflex camera

There is a new mule kicking in my stall.

It's a Yashica Mat 124G which takes 120 film which is over 400% larger than a "full frame" digital or film camera - hence the term "medium format". How this translates to images for me has yet to be seen for me. The construction of these cameras - there is no mirror to move because you're composing using the top "seeing" lens and exposing with the bottom "taking" lens - means a very different perspective though.

I'm shooting my first rolls now and cannot wait to see the results! To make way for this purchase, I sold my trusty Nikon D300 which was tough. I took over 32,000 photos with that camera and for years it was an extension of my hand. For now I'll proceed with the sweet little FujiFilm X-E2 for most events and the Yashica for special occasions. 

I've dubbed this little mechanical beauty "Yoshi" and am trusting he and I will have many good adventures together.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Fri, 02 Oct 2015 08:43:13 GMT
Milkweed Milkweed at sunsetFujiFilm X-E2 with kit lens

Stunning evening here in Vermont. The milkweed is exploding and the field has a faint and elusive pink hue to it.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sun, 20 Sep 2015 22:52:59 GMT
Lines LinesFujiFilm X-E2 with kit lens

Amazing lines of one of the plants on our deck this summer. We bought this guy shortly after we moved into our house. He's never thrived indoors but enjoys the summers when he gets to stay outside. His fronds are fabulous and imperfect. Foggy mornings give him a chance to enjoy the moist morning air.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sat, 12 Sep 2015 13:47:19 GMT
Peppers PeppersFujiFilm X-E2 with kit lens.

We grew some peppers this year in pots on the deck. These two started developing a beautiful red hue recently and last night I decided it was time to snip them. Not sure what they are going to end up in today but I know it's going to be good!

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sun, 06 Sep 2015 13:17:14 GMT
Web WebFujiFilm X-E2 with kit lens. Meg spotted this amazing spider web this morning on our dog walk. It was overhead in a small tree and the owner was right there in the center holding an open house and waiting for guests. Astonishing that these structures are built, destroyed and rebuilt every day.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:26:14 GMT
The Arbored Sky The Arbored SkyMinolta SRT-101 with 50mm lens and Kodak 400TX film.

Though it looks like a cage, this shot of a nice summer sky was made through a garden arbor. It makes me feel I'm laying on my back in the sun.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Wed, 26 Aug 2015 01:52:39 GMT
Outta Gas Outta GasFujiFilm X-E2 with 18-55mm kit lens at 40mm. 1/180 at f/4.0 with ISO 200

It's Friday. It's been a long imperfect week. My new job is working out fine but the first month of any job is very tiring. It's been very warm all week and sleep has not always been my friend. There have been other unpleasantries lurking and frankly I'm a bit out of gas.

But it's Friday and I'm happy with this image which I took while waiting for my pizza to be ready last night. I challenged myself while walking around the parking lot outside the restaurant, to find a good image or two and I'm happy with the results.

Now I just have to get through Friday!

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Photography Fri, 21 Aug 2015 10:45:25 GMT
Hummingbird and Cat Hummingbird and CatFujiFilm X-E2 with kit lens

The wooden cat on our kitchen windowsill is fascinated by our hummingbird friends.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Cat Hummingbird Photography Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:08:56 GMT
Dahlia 2015 Dahlia 2015FujiFilm X-E2 with kit lens and Lightroom.

Well hello there! I haven't seen you for about a year. You're looking fine!

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:06:33 GMT
The Pompy The OmpompanusucJPG straight out of the FujiFilm X-E2 with 18-55mm kit lens.

I took a quick detour along the Pompy yesterday after hitting the recycling center. Gorgeous and serene location with some great reflections along the ripples.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sun, 12 Jul 2015 18:41:49 GMT
Morning Web Morning WebFujiFilm X-E2 with 18-55mm lens at ISO 600. Converted in Silver Efex Pro 2.

There are so many webs built in the overnight hours during these summer days. Most of them are on the ground and look like bizarre versions of U Maine's Alfond Arena. This is the standard spoke design built on our lilac bush. How amazing is this? I've never built anything so beautiful.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sun, 05 Jul 2015 13:47:25 GMT
Winnie in the Dark Winnie in the Darkjpg straight from the FujiFilm X-E2

The quiet evening light yesterday evening produced a stage that Winnie didn't hesitate to use. She's got more style about her than I gave her credit for...

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:47:26 GMT
Shooting Film FujiFilm X-E2. Processed in Silver Efex Pro 2. I was composing an email response to my friend (and amazing black and white photographer) Cole Thompson and realized I was kind of going on and on. It seemed I was anxious to share with him my feelings about shooting on film so I thought I'd make a blog post out of it.

I've been shooting film for a couple of months now using my Dad's Minolta SRT-101 SLR. This camera has been a great way to get started with film. It's a manual camera but does feature 'through the lens' metering which is a great feature for someone who is used to the wonderful metering today's digital cameras provide you. I shoot in manual mode with my FujiFilm X-E2 (thank you Martin Bailey) so it's mainly the manual focus that's really different to me shooting with the Minolta. I've shot only four rolls of B&W film and sent the results to The Darkroom for development and scanning. All of the results have been perfectly usable and I've found the process fascinating and, more importantly, completely enjoyable.

Shot with the FujiFilm X-E2. Processed in Silver Efex Pro 2.Minolta SRT-101Produced from March 1966 to the mid 1970's

I was explaining this to Cole via email and he asked me if my film images looked different from my digital images and if so if it was due to me or due to technology.

Are the images that I shoot with film different? Again it's early days but my feeling is that they are different for several reasons. One is certainly that so far, I've only shot B&W film and that changes what I see and what I'm looking for from a shot. But I do think it goes beyond that - something about cocking the shutter on the Minolta puts me in a slightly different space with regard to how I'm seeing. On top of that of course, film just looks different. The combination of the tonal curve, the grain and sharpness - or lack thereof - combine to create something quite different. So both mindset and technology I would say.

I hope in a year to be able to say something more interesting about the comparison.

Oh and one more thing about the mindset when shooting film. There is no denying that knowing that you won't see the result of what you are shooting today for weeks or months is a huge influence on how I approach making an image. In my paying profession, software development, my career has seen a huge change in the cycle time between writing your code and seeing whether it works or not. Uncle Bob Martin talks about Mode-A development from back in the 70's when it could take hours before you discovered a trivial mistake in your code. Net result: you were very, very thoughtful in your development. I think the same thing influences me when I use a film camera.

I had also mentioned to Cole that using my Dad's camera was pretty meaningful.

Yes using Dad's camera is awesome. As my wife and I process our parents belongings, we're confronted with sadness and emotion so often when we have to process a familiar household item. It's joyful when an item like a camera or a toolbox can become part of my everyday life and make me smile thinking of my Dad. Of course this can get out of hand as well. My longtime friend Mark, hearing that I was shooting film and having done so extensively himself when he was younger, gifted me the film camera of his youth: a Kodak Signet 35 rangefinder. If cocking the shutter on the Minolta changes things, winding the film, setting the aperture and shutter speed without any metering, depressing the shutter lever and cursing the totally useless viewfinder changes the experience even more! I've loaded it up and am shooting with it but have not yet seen the results - it will be interesting!

Shot with the FujiFilm X-E2. Processed in Silver Efex Pro 2.Kodak Signet 35Rangefinder camera made from 1951 to 1958.

Cole had noted that as technology moves on, we probably won't be passing along our digital cameras to future generations. Technology moves too quickly.

You touched a keystone for me with your comment. Sometimes the new cameras feel almost magical (I'm shaking my head at how my X-E2 provides assist with manual focus through focus peaking and one click zoom) so firing off one of these older cameras almost requires a bit of faith while at the same time being more comprehensible and ... real. I think I'm reacting to thoughts like these when I approach pressing the shutter release on the Minolta or the Signet.

So with all that said, what do the images look like? I sent a couple to Cole. The first is a foggy morning here in Vermont. The tonal shape of the (extremely cheap) Kentmere 400 film that I used worked nicely I think to convey the feeling of the morning scene.

Shot with the Minolta SRT-101 with Rokkor 50mm lens on Kentmere 400 B&W filmFoggy Vermont morningShot with the Minolta SRT-101 with Rokkor 50mm lens on Kentmere 400 B&W film

This second shot is a work in progress. It's the old Polka Dot restaurant in White River Junction, VT now abandoned and up for sale. I have yet to capture it properly but this is an early attempt. This is on Holga film which instantly sets the feeling of the place with it's grain and high contrast. I want to go back on a day with the right light and tighten up the shot. I'll keep you posted.

Shot with the Minolta SRT-101, Rokkor 50mm lens on Holga 400 B&W film.The Polka DotShot with the Minolta SRT-101, Rokkor 50mm lens on Holga 400 B&W film.

So there is is: the beginning of a great adventure!



]]> (Catamount Imaging) Film Kodak Lou Reed Minolta Photography Signet The MODE-B Imperative Uncle Bob Sun, 14 Jun 2015 14:38:36 GMT
Telling the real story
SimbaFujifilm XE-2 converted to black and white with Nik Software's Silver FX Pro 2.

We met Simba, a rescue pup looking for his forever home right now, a week ago. I took some pictures to use in promoting his adoption. This was one of the throw-away images, out of focus and with neither me or my camera able to keep up with his movements.

But it turns out I really like it. The image shows his energy, his openness and his ultimate happiness. I think it's a pretty good portrait of Simba - from the little I know of him.

I notice that these days the technical aspects of photography are becoming less and less important to me. Wait that's not accurate; it's that the idea of capturing traditionally accepted objective reality is less and less important to me. Managing the level of objective information in the image is, I'm understanding, an important part of the composition. I understand this lesson is as old as the sun, but I'm happy I'm beginning to feel and understand it.

Related to this, I'm finally trying out some film photography and the results are interesting - to me at least. I got the first roll of black and white film back that I shot with my Dad's Minolta SRT-101 and 50mm lens and I quite like them. I took this shot in White River Junction train station on a bright day. It too is a kind of portrait - the grain and over-exposure (Ilford Delta Pro 400 film) again serving to moderate the amount of information. I also notice that the physical act of winding the film and knowing you just exposed a bit of a chemically sensitive substance to the scene in front of you is a very different experience from shooting digitally. I like it very much. I'm almost done with my second roll - Kodak TMAX 400 this time - and will be interested to see the results.


White River Junction trainMinolta SRT-101 with MD Rokkor-X 50mm lens and Ilford Delta Pro 400 film. Developed and scanned by





]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:11:19 GMT
Morning Winter Sun  

Morning Winter Sun The winter sun is something completely different. I took this a bit before 9AM as the sun struggled to get through the soft clouds.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Photography Sat, 07 Feb 2015 15:33:08 GMT
The Toolbox Dad's Toolbox

I finally made some space in the disaster I call our garage today to install my Dad's toolbox in its new home. It's not accurate to refer to "Dad's toolbox"; he had easily a dozen of them each for it's own purpose. This one however lived in the workshop of the house I grew up in. This is the one that I went to countless times in my youth when Dad needed a certain tool for the project of the day. The tools in this toolbox all went in their prescribed location and the job wasn't done until they were back in that location. It had a smell that I still smell today of steel and of oil and of work. It's a smell that evokes my Dad and I'm thankful to have it in my life.

We've been through a lot of loss recently. One very kind condolence card from someone who knows noted that "...we are now the top generation...". It was an oddly perfect way to put it but seriously how did such time pass that most of my parents generation are gone? It's difficult to fathom.

One concrete reality is the quantity of belongings left from the lives of those that have left us. My wife and I have sadly become experts at processing such belongings both for her family and mine. We recognize as so many of us are now that happiness is not provided by things (cameras excepted of course!) but by friends, family and experiences. Nevertheless, when you are reviewing the tangible results of someone's life, it certainly does not seem right to let it all go. Separating the wheat from the chaff is emotionally exhausting and mistakes are inevitably made - typically in the form of keeping too much stuff. But try we must.

So the wheat is harvested and some things do move on to new home in successive generations. The grandfather clock, the slides and photos, the bench vice, the autobiography and for me, the toolbox. These tangible items - along with the memories and stories that envelope them - keep the past alive which in turn puts context around our present and helps guide us into our future. I'm thankful that my family has been able to do a good job of this - and thankful that now every time I need a pair of diagonal cutters or needle-nose pliers, my Dad is there to hand them to me.

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sun, 25 Jan 2015 00:05:21 GMT
Five Day Black and White Photo Challenge: Day 5

I love the way the textures hit you when you strip the color information away. This image for some reason reminded me of the TED talk with Neil Harbisson who is completely color blind - and he's an artist. He has a video sensor embedded in his head which allows him to hear color. 

Speaking of texture, I have to include a past photo taken in Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy. Talk about texture...


]]> (Catamount Imaging) Sat, 15 Nov 2014 13:40:00 GMT
Five Day Black and White Challenge: Day 4

Day 4 of the Black and White Challenge is all about contrast and the late fall sun which just can't manage to get very high in the sky just at the time that we need it so. 

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:02:47 GMT
Five Day Black and White Challenge: Day Three

Today's entry is a shot I took after the low winter sun set last night. We planted this beech tree shortly after we bought our home here and he's grown slowly into a solid and beautiful addition to the landscape. He was very late in letting go of his leaves but it seems he's now ready for winter. I wish that I was!

]]> (Catamount Imaging) Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:24:49 GMT