Independent Photography

Posts tagged “rideau canal

Back into the digital age

I recently bought a Canon 5D Mk II, brand new.  It’s a full frame, 1080 DPI, 22 megapixel, 28 000 iso capable camera and it weighs less than the lenses it uses…  Previously my primary digital bodies had been the 1D Mk II and 30D, fairly good crop body, 8 megapixel cameras, biggest issue with the 1D was its weight though, it weighs about 10 bricks.  I posted about my new camera on facebook and a friend responded with the following:

“I just wanted to say, welcome to 2011. Since you’ve been stuck in 2003, a Black man is President of America, The European Union has realised they can’t artificially inflate their currency. The Canadian dollar is higher than the American dollar, There was a giant earthquake in 2006 in the Indian Ocean that made the Earth change it’s orbit slightly. Oh, and Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi are dead.”

Pretty much sums it up, my 1D was released in 2003 and the 30D a year later, in short – The 5D is the most advanced and only new camera I’ve ever owned.

That said it’s low light performance is a little slow (my only complaint).

I found it ironic that the same night I purchased my 5D I also purchased a bottle of paper fixer for black and white paper printing, regardless the darkroom process gave me something to shoot right off the bat: the darkroom process.

My friend, photographer Christopher King, selects a negative to use for printing. In the background you can see the enlarger and bathtub used to develop the prints.

Christopher King adjusts the temperature of the water bath for the developing chemicals. In the foreground the enlarger projects an image of the spider in front of the National Gallery of Canada taken on 120 medium format film.

A photo of the process: the left tray has developer in it, prints develop there. The top tray has stop bath (mostly vinegar) in it, that stops the reaction of the developer. The tray below the stop contains fixer which finishes the developing reaction and contains a paper hardener to harden the paper. My print is sitting in the final tray, containing just water for a wash. The whole process takes about 3-4 minutes per print.

The final step, the completed prints are left to dry by hanging from a line.

I haven’t had an actual event yet to cover with the camera, although I have no doubt it will perform well when I need it to.  I mostly keep it in my bag on my to and from work and school, and sometimes make an interesting picture or two.

A seagull takes flight from the side of the Rideau Canal at Hartwell Locks near Carleton

I need something to shoot….

For now that is all peace,


Medium Format

It has been almost two months since my last post.  While I find that hard to believe, the last little while has been very busy.  Although I’m not inundated with photo work right now I am in the final stretch of my undergraduate degree at Carleton.  I’ve also been preparing for Costa Rica somewhat.  One consideration has been which film camera to bring?  At the advice of a friend I’ve decided against bringing a 35mm SLR and opted instead for 6×6 medium format.

I’ve been playing around with a Bronica Medium format.  I’ve used it for a few daytime walk arounds but for the most part I have had unstable results with low light exposures.  However, last night I performed test using a roll of Ilford HP5+ rated at ISO 1600.  I’ve figured out the camera’s operation, mostly and have my first scans.  The operation and results have been great thus far and medium format strikes me as a great new medium (hahah) to play with.

Firstly; the frame is square, for someone used to the standard 4×6 ratio of a 35mm frame this is new.  Secondly; the camera uses a top down view finder which means rather than hold the camera to your eye you cradle it in your hands and look down to frame, its called a ‘waist-level view finder,’ great for low angles.  Also the focusing screen is mirrored so all the framing movements feel backwards.

Here are some low-res uploads regardless the sharpness and level of detail is incredible…

Self-portrait of myself taken at the new Ottawa Convention Centre

The Chateau Laurier and the locks in front of it pouring into the Ottawa River.

The back of the Parliament buildings and a Rideau cruise ship on the river below.

The statue of Samuel de Champlain overlooking Ottawa and Gatineau. It's on a point behind the National Art Gallery and provides one of my favourtie views of Ottawa.

The massive spider outside the National Art Gallery, it was supposed to be a temporary installment - but positive reaction lead to it becoming a permenant thing. I tried to frame it like it was eating the church...

A view from beside the Chateau Laurier looking North towards Gatineau and the Ottawa River.

The view of Cowan Lake near Huntsville, Ontario. It's from a trip to my dad's cotage at the end of August.

The view of Cowan lake at sunset from the water level.

The colour photos were shot on Velvia 100 ISO 120 format film and processed by the good folks at Labworks on Bank St.

The black and white photos were shot on Ilford fp4 ISO 120 format film and processed by myself in my kitchen..

However, the cost of scanning 11 negatives at medium resolution (equivalent to 3 megapixels or so) was $37… Kinda ridiculous, the film is still affordable, especially if you buy in bulk and purchase online; scanning at high resolutions is not.  So I think I need to find an affordable high-res medium format film scanner.


Adam Dietrich

Jack Layton and Pride

Jack Layton’s death was an unwelcome shock.  While it is true he looked “cadaverous,” to borrow a phrase from Ms. Blatchford, when he took his leave of absence, I guess I, like many others, never considered the posibility he might die.

As a political science student I can’t help but immediately evaluate the political aftermath; its not good.  The Liberals have a minority and much of the NDP’s support in Quebec was due to Jack’s personality, and tireless work to bring them into the federalist fold.  Thats why we saw so many, very young, MP’s elected without living in their ridings.  They weren’t voted in, Jack was, over and over again.  Jack’s guidance will be missed in September and if the NDP can’t organize then Harper will have clear reign for the next few years.

Why does this matter to me?  I’ve always been interested in politics, even at my worst cynically I still can’t help but constantly digest and take an interest in politics.  This interest began to develop as the US began deploying troops in Iraq.  Half a year later an election was called in Canada and the NDP fielded their new candidate, Jack Layton.  I was in the back seat of my friend’s dad’s car in Guelph in 2004, we were driving home from a screening of Team America World Police, my friend’s dad saw the campaign bus outside the Woolwhich Arms Pub and pulled up.  We got out and for the first time I saw a federal party leader in the flesh.  He was invigorating, he spoke honestly it seemed, with fire and passion but there was compassion behind the fire too. In 2006 a friend and I formed the Human Rights Committee at our school, the HRC strived to provide access to students at our high school to fundraising materials and people.  One of our first efforts was take a group of ten students to a rally in Toronto which was calling for a UN peacekeeping force to be deployed in Darfur.  It was here I first met him.

Myself and Jack Layton in Rosedale in Toronto in 2006

After that I decided to take a partisan role in my views and I became involved in the riding association in Guelph.  I agreed to try and work as a high school ambassador, a difficult task in my Conservative high school.

Over the next few years I grew into my politics, a staunch libertarian socialist (sometimes called collective anarchism).  Jack was not those things, he was a social democrat and so we didn’t really see eye to eye, in fact if I’m being honest until 2010 I wanted him ousted as leader.  Then Harper decided to prorouge parliament.  That winter there was a huge rally on Parliament Hill (one of the larger ones I’ve seen since moving here in 2008) some 6000 people showed up in -40 weather to shout their anger at an empty legislature.  Jack, like other opposition leaders was there, demanding Harper bring everyone back to work.  Throughout the whole prorougation debacle I fell in love with Jack’s ability to wave a wand and find unification in the patchwork quilt that is Canadian political culture as the coalition was largely the work of Jack and the new democrats.

Jack Layton applauds during a speech by NDP MP for Ottawa Centre Paul Dewar at the anti-prorougation protest held on Parliament hill January 2010

As the summer came so did the winds of election, also the Ottawa Centre riding association’s 100 km social, an evening with food and beer sourced from within 100 km.  Its always a blast and in summer 2010 organizers had both the provincial leader and Jack in attendance.  Halfway through the night Jack threw back the rest of his beer and gave one of the most impassioned speeches I’ve ever seen from him…

Jack Layton speaking to supporters during the 100 km social at the Kent Legion.

This is how I will remember Jack, not as a man I always agreed with but as one of the few politicians I hold respect for and I’m not the only who feels this way.  A head of state for the leader of the opposition and we have almost a full week of pan-partisan national grieving, Jack Layton clearly meant something to this country.

The flag on top of the Peace Tower flies at half mast on August 24, 2011. Jack Layton's body was laid in state in centre block for two days before he was transported to Toronto to lie in state before his funeral.

Personal items and flowers line an impromptu memorial for Jack Layton outside west block on Parliament Hill on August 24, 2011, the first day that Jack Layton's body lay in state in Ottawa.

A line stretches from center block east and around the Parliament buildings on August 24, 2011. Thousands of people turned out to wait through wind and rain to pay their respects to Jack Layton who was laying in state.

Well the week finally came to an end and included a beautiful funeral and memorial service in Toronto on Saturday.

On Sunday I found myself walking through Ottawa’s Gay Pride Parade.  It wasn’t my intention to go, I had left to walk with my girlfriend to the bus stop.  As a result I only had a camera with black an white film on me.  Its not that I didn’t want to go, rather I’d actually forgotten Pride was that weekend (stupid I know).  Still I enjoyed wandering around following the parade, very colourful… too bad you can’t see that.

A woman wearing a cat mask hands out beads during the Capital Pride Parade at the corner of Laurier and Elgin, August 28, 2011.

Senior members of Ottawa's queer community march down Bank st past Sparks as part of the Capital Pride Parade, August 28, 2011.

Oh and one more which came about quite randomly.  I was biking home along the canal on Thursday and I had my camera out.  As I Lansdowne Park I saw a guy in a kayak and snapped this.

A man canoes down the Rideau Canal near Landsdowne Park, August 25, 2011

Thats it for this week, for those curious the colour photos were shot on Fujichrome Sensia 400 and the black and white photos were shot on Ilford Delta 400 pushed to 1600.  All photos were taken using a Canon EOS 1n with a 24mm L f/1.4.


Adam Dietrich