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Nikon Back

I love doing new things that require a bit of planning. As previous posts show, I have started up photography again and been a bit successful with it. I recently had a photo chosen by the Torontoist to display on their site. If you want to see the photo go here.

Anyhow, that bit of news is not what I want to write about here. In browsing Flickr I discovered a Flickr friend had produced an image using a Canon 5DmkII mounted on a Widepan sliding back attached to a Linhof 4×5″ Technika V camera with a Wollensak 11.5″ lens (see the image here) . I loved the color the lens produced and I also was attracted to the challenge of doing the same thing using my Crown Graphic. I decided I would try to attach my Nikon D80 to the camera. The fun was in the planning.

I needed a mount for the camera and Stan, at International Camera (now closed) gave me an old Nikon lens that had the mount I needed. I took the lens apart and voila, I had the adaptor. My next problem was to decide how to mount the adaptor to the Crown Graphic. I let the problem sit for a few weeks and one morning woke up with the solution. I would go to the art store and pick up a foam board that I could cut to proper dimensions and mount the adaptor on. While looking at the foam boards I saw a 5×7 canvas that artists use to paint on. It was perfect, two glued together would be just the right thickness for the Graflox back on my Crown. I bought some flat black paint and three boards and the total came to $11.

I measured the film holders and applied the measurements to the canvas, cut the canvas, found the centre location for the adaptor and cut the required hole for it. Everything worked like a charm. Actually, I was going to mount the adaptor with the lens barrel but decided to use an extension tube as a spacer for the camera and mount the adaptor fluch on the back. Here is the pre paint (I need to paint the Nikon back black) results……………

Initially I mounted the camera using a 36mm extension tube for a spacer but I couldn’t focus the camera to infinity. I stopped down the lens to f32 and this photo resulted……….

This was my very first picture using the Nikon on my Crown Graphic. Although totally out of focus I was really happy about it.

I exchanged the 36mm tube with a 20 mm one and these are the shots I took with it……….

All the above shots were with the focus on infinity so I had to test a macro shot using the same setup.

Since the Graflex uses bellows there was no reason why I couldn’t get as close as I wanted to my subject. Anyhow, the results of a closeup………………….

The lens on my Crown Graphic is Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135 mm, a “normal” lens for 4×5. I don’t know what the focal length is when my Nikon is mounted on it but I suspect it must be around 500 or 600 mm. It was a fun project and now I need to find another one. Hmmm, maybe build a camera using an old Minolta zoom lens as a start.

May 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

Canada, The First Week

We’ve done a lot over the past week. Signed our lease, got our medicare cards updated and I joined Hart House so I can get back to the gym.

Our apartment is right down town and actually 3 floors directly above our old one. Talk about luck. We move into the place in June. This is our little oasis in the middle of downtown Toronto.

Yesterday, Pearl took us to a park right near her place. Consider this, the park is in an urban area, cycling distance (long maybe) from downtown Toronto. When we went I felt that the ambience and feelings were Canada. This park represented how I felt about Canada. It was great. I had never felt that way before but as Alex explained, sometimes you have to leave and come back before you notice these things. It was so true. There were loons diving for fish, geese flying low over the water and lines of other water fowl flying in formation past the point. The mist was light and the air cool. It really struck me that I was back in Canada.

Not many people around either. After the crowds in Barcelona, this was nice.

The trees had not yet grown their new leaves and most of them held only the hint of green. Some were further along than others but the mixture was lovely. Subtle coloring in the background and calm waters made for a sensuous ambiance.

The boats were ready for another season and people were out cleaning and socializing. For boaters, it was more socializing than cleaning……

Alex exploring the photo ops of bleached driftwood. She bought herself a new digital camera and was testing it out.

We had a great time thanks to Pearl. We will be doing this once a week like we did in Barcelona. We hope to pick a neighborhood in Toronto every week and go exploring with our cameras. I’ll post something about where we went and some photos and if I can, I’ll give a little history. Our friends in Barcelona will be able to know more about Canada. I hope it makes them interested enough to come visit.

May 10, 2007 at 3:32 pm 1 comment

We Are All Photographers Now

Last week I found a post about an art project in Lausanne, Switzerland. The exhibition is titled “We Are All Photographers Now” and it’s being held at the musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. The exhibition is about the rapid mutation of amateur photography in the digital age and displays photos from around the world. Anyone can submit an entry via their web site which is here.

When an entry is submitted, you receive an email from the museum containing the following message…….

Thank you for uploading your picture. You are the xxxxth contributor to upload a photo to our servers! It will be shown in the galleries of the Musée de l’Elysée during the exhibition “All photographers now”.
Once the exhibition starts, we will photograph all the images. If yours is being shown, you will receive an e-mail with a picture showing how your image was exhibited.

In my case I was the 18,161th contributor.

As I understand it, they will randomly choose 100 photographs a week. These pictures will then be printed and shown as such for a full week before being replaced by the selection from the following week, and be subsequently archived in the permanent collection of the Musée de l’Elysée. All other photos will be selected at some point and will be displayed using projection or other means.

I sent two photos last week and today I received an email containing the following message…….

Your image was shown in the Musee de l’Elysee’s exhibit ‘We are all photographers now!’ in the last few days. Enclosed you will find an installation view of your image that shows it in the wall.

The visitors to the exhibit are fascinated by all the different photographs that are being shown from participants like you from all over the world. Thank you again for participating and please feel free to upload more images to the site

Here’s the image I submitted …..

and here is the installation photo ………….

I know it’s a random selection process but hey, I’m still proud of it being there.

March 5, 2007 at 2:38 pm 3 comments

Thursday’s Walk Feb 15,2007

I post all my photos in a place called Flickr. It’s more than just a storage place for photographs, it’s also a virtual community of photographers, artists and all types of creative individuals. One of the things I enjoy about Flickr is the ability to join a group. These are special interest communities. One may be only for critiquing, one for Black and White photography, etc.

There is one that stands a little above the others with the addition of it’s own web site that interacts with Flickr. It’s called UTATA. The admins are great for getting projects going and a regular project is the Thursday Walk. This week was Utata Thursday Walk 44. All you have to do is get out there on Thursday and take some pictures. This Thursday I did and this is what I saw and where I went. Those who visited will remember these places.

When I stepped out of our apartment I was met with clear blue skies, a great day.

I started my walk towards the Med and on the way I saw two police on horseback. We don’t see too much of that here in Barcelona so I was pretty cool.

At the next corner there were a bunch of police directing traffic. Four officers were on the sidewalk watching three others in the street. I suspect they were from the police academy and were training. I tried to get their photo but one waved me off so I figured I shouldn’t push it.

I kept walking towards the Arc de Triomf at the end of Psg Sant Joan with the sun in my eyes, it was really bright.

Once on the other side of the arc I noticed the bicycle path, this city has a very large network of cycle paths all over the city and on weekends the people are out in force on their bikes.

Looking to the right I noticed I could see the spire of Santa Maria del Mar with the sun shining between the buildings, gorgeous light.

I walked down the centre of this massive walkway and noticed a large group of elderly men playing a game of ……… Don’t know what it’s called but they were into a serious discussion (maybe cursing the dam paparazzi which was me)

I walked all the way down to the entrance of Parc Ciutadella and ventured in towards the mechanical sculpture. I turned and saw the Musee de Zoologia.

That big gear to the right is part of a massive sculpture. There were ducks in the water and they weren’t afraid of people because I got really close to one.

From there I walked throught some groves of palms and other trees. They were watering the sun shinning through the branches made for a very dramatic scene.

I stayed until they turned off the water, the air was cool and you could feel the oxygen that was in the dense brush, really fresh. I went over to the big fountain and just sat on a bench observing people with their dogs or kids or just reading books.

The sound of the water, the sunlight shining throught the trees and the cool air in the shade made this place a very peaceful and relaxing place.

I was supposed to meet Alex at 1:30 and go for lunch. It was around 12:30 and she called to see where I was. I told her and 10 minutes later she joined me. We went to lunch at a place on the corner of Psg Pujades and Lluis Companys, of course we ate out on the terrace and it was Paella day.
It was a wonderful day, it was a Thursday Walk

February 16, 2007 at 4:20 pm 3 comments


After having a great day with Francesca and Keiko, I had to get down to work and write about it. Most of the day was spent processing the photos, sending copies to Francesca and writing the previous post. After that I spent some time going over old pictures to see if I could come up with more additions to Flickr.

Flickr is an online community of photographers, writers, artists and the like. I initially joined Flickr to have a means of posting my photos on this blog. I soon discovered that there is far more to Flickr than just storing and saving photos. There are different groups you can join and discuss your photos, get critiques and even enter contests. It actually influenced me to return to a hobby I hadn’t done for longer than I can remember. It motivates me to do more photography. There are amazing photographers in Flickr and their work is truly inspirational. Almost everyone I have had contact with is very encouraging. To be honest, I’m very intimdated by a lot of their work and creative endevours. Now it’s become a challenge to produce more interesting snapshots and get feedback from other people in the Flickr community. If you look to the right of this post you’ll see a box labelled Flickr Photos. Click on the picture under it and you’ll be able to see other pictures I put there.

Anyhow, here’s some photos I posted yesterday. All of these photos were taken with my Canon G6, a point and shoot camera.

From Paris

From Barcelona

another from Paris

and one from Girona

Have a great day.

January 18, 2007 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

New Year’s Meme

As per Alex’s explanation it’s the first line of the first post of each month. Mine goes back only as far as April, because that’s when I started this blog.

Monday, April 17 – Welcome to my new Blog. This is where I’ll continue to relay to all my friends what we (Alex and I) are up to in Barcelona, Spain.

Monday, May 1 – Wow, quite the weekend.

Saturday, June 3 – We had another late night last night and stayed in bed until 9:00.

Monday, July 3 – First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA.

Saturday, August 5 – First of all, the photos in this post were all taken by Gordon or Jean.

Friday, September 1 – Since Alex and I have been here we’ve been exploring different areas around Barcelona

Tuesday, October 3 – I cannot believe that September is over.

Wednesday, November 1 – Today is a holiday in Spain.

Saturday, December 2 – Today turned out to be just the kind of day I love.

January 1, 2007 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Barcelona’s own Science Museum (Cosmocaixa)

Yesterday we decided to go and visit the Cosmocaixa. It’s Barcelona’s science museum and planetarium. We had discussed this with Jackie and Sebastian and since Jackie is a bone fide scientist, they were keen. This was the last month for the Einstein exhibit so I was really looking forward to it. I also found out that Sebastian was born in the same town that Albert was, such a small world. Anyhow, it turned out to be the perfect day for it, rainy and cool.

We took the FGC train from Placa Espana up to Tibidabo and then the 123 bus right to the museum. It’s an amazing place and because it was pouring I didn’t get any photos of the entrance in daylight but here’s one I took at night when we left.

To the right of this building is the main part of the museum but I thought that this building really had character.

Once we were inside though, we had to descend five stories on this circular ramp. In the centre was a 300 year old tree from the Amazon. This wood is so heavy is does not float. Cutting it is like cutting stone.

We descended the ramp all the while looking at different aspects of this tree. It grows between 30 and 60 metres tall, here’s looking up from about half way down.

and looking down to the roots……

Once we were down there I had to take a photo from right underneath, The steel cables holding this thing up were massive.

Once inside we wandered around the exhibits for about 4 hours. The main hall had many displays from the origins of life,

to the age of the earth, plate tectonics, geologic physics , the behaviour of light and much more.

At the end of the hall was a massive reproduction of the amazon jungle. I tried to get photos showing above the water and below but couldn’t capture the atmosphere of being there.

There were live animals and huge fish in this exhibit. Can you spot the birds in the photo above ? Very well coloured to hide from their prey.

They did an amazing job on this display. You can go into it via a tunnel and spot all kinds of different exhibits concerning the Amazon. It was interesting because Alex and I have been to the Amazon so we know what it’s like. At around 6:00 we headed to the planetarium to watch an exhibition called Genesis. We were all a bit disappointed in it though. Afterwards we went back to the displays and played around with the interactive ones. We finally leaft when we were asked to, since the museumwas closing. A departing photo ….

We had a really good time and I will have to get back there sometime. Tomorrow, Alex and I leave for Lisbon for a few days so be sure to check back later. I should have lots of pictures to share.

Have a great weekend…

December 7, 2006 at 2:36 pm 2 comments

Mercado de la Boqueria

Today turned out to be just the kind of day I love. Once we got the day rolling we headed up to the mercado in Gracia. This is the market we usually do all our meat, fruit, fish and vegetable shopping. It’s quite an amazing place and Saturday mornings, it’s really busy. Different stalls sell vegetables ………

meat ……………………….

fish ……………………….

We left Gracia and brought our stuff home. We had intended to go shopping for a jacket for Alex. When we got home Jackie called and asked if we could meet Sebastian at the chinese market and help him bring the stuff home. Off we went to the chinese market and walked back to Sebastian’s place with all the food. We dropped off the food and had to go to Mercado de la Boqueria. We had heard a lot about this place. It’s just off La Ramblas and is very famous. So off we go.

The first stall we pass by was filled with all kinds of mushrooms, and I mean all kinds. I’d never seen so many different kinds of mushrooms……..

Then we came across these Japanese Tomatoes, I think they’re called Tomates Kumato. They were almost black, really cool.

We ventured deeper into the market and Sebastian went to the stalls he always goes to. I saw a red cabbage that had been cut in half and it reminded me of the series that Edward Weston had done. He’s famous for his B&W study of a green pepper. The photos he took are stunning. Here is my attempt at the cabbage …….

Sebastian showed us how to tell fresh fish. The gills should be bright red and the eyes still bright. If the gills are fading then the fish is starting to age. They had lots of fish stalls there, some with massive tuna.

The fish monger will cut the fish any way you want it.

Note how they are already getting into the Christmas spirit. Alex and Sebastian trying to decide on what fruits to get.

On our way out Sebastian just had to show us the candy section. They had so many types of candy it would have been hard to choose. Check out Alex’s blog for a different perspective on our mercado tour.

We left the market and went to drop off our purchases, pick up Jackie and head over the Shalomar’s for lunch. Great meal, great friends, Great day. Tomorrow Alex goes to her first book club meeting at Jackie’s. Sebastian, Myself, Pau and Gerard will try to find something to amuse us. Shouldn’t be hard in Barcelona.

December 2, 2006 at 10:05 pm Leave a comment

Sunday, November 19

Well, this is the last Sunday of Christine’s visit. It’s weird but after a visit by friends, we’re always at a loss of what to do. This feeling only lasts for a few for a few days until we can re-adjust. Today, we decided to head over to Montjuic and show Christine around. It was a beautiful day on the mountain. When we arrived up at the fort, a cruise ship was just arriving in the port.

You can see all the sailors out enjoying the beautiful November weather. Wow, what a statement, beautiful November weather. Feels weird saying that. Anyhow, we walked over to the other side of the fort to see the sun over the Mediteranean, simply gorgeous.

That’s the side opposite the city and there is a lot of industry, including the airport on that side. We walked around inside the fort and the flowers are all in bloom. One bed of flowers was unkown to us and quite strange looking. They looked like the back of a long necked birds.

Down in the moat is a special area for archery. The targets are about 250 metres from the archers and they use scopes to see where the arrows hit. There were quite a few archers, most of them beginners, but one fellow was really quite accomplished. He had a beautiful compound bow and when he let the arrow loose, you couldn’t follow it. They are really fast. He was consitently hitting within the yellow ring and had two or three arrows in the centre. Quite the shot.

We rounded the fort and I had to take this picture of the rampart with guns pointed out over the sea.

They had quite the commanding view of anything coming near Barcelona. After leaving the castle we walked back down the way we came. It was much easier going down than heading up to the castle. Once we reached the old olympic diving pool we took the funicular all the way down to Poblenou. We went to a restaurant in Poblenou for lunch and after went over to Jackie and Sebastian’s so they could say goodbye to Christine. It was a great day like all the others with Christine. As I said, it will take a few days to readjust when Christine returns to Montreal on Tuesday.

November 24, 2006 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment


Today we got out of bed at 6:00 to catch the train to Girona. Alex and I have wanted to go there since the summer and since Christine was here we decided to take her there. Girona is a very old city with a well preserved medieval section.

It has been established that a settlement has been on the site of Girona since 500 BC. The Romans built a fort there, which was given the name Gerunda. The city was held Visigoths , Moors and finally, Charlemagne, who in 785 made it one of the fourteen original countships of Catalonia. The 12th century saw a flourishing of the Jewish community of Girona, with one of the most important Kabbalistic schools in Europe. The Rabbi of Girona, Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi was appointed Great Rabbi of Catalonia. Girona had a strong Arab presence for several hundred years following the Moorish conquest of the Iberian peninsula in 711. The first reference to Jews in Girona dates from 898, and they stayed until they were expelled with Muslims — or forced to convert — under the 1492 edict of expulsion. Today, the Jewish ghetto or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe and is a major tourist attraction.

On the north side of the old city is the Montjuïc (or hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan), where an important religious cemetery was located. Girona has undergone twenty-five sieges and been captured seven times. It was besieged by the French royal armies under Marshal Hocquisicourt in 1653, under Marshal Bellefonds in 1684, and twice in 1694 under de Noailles. In May, 1809, it was besieged by 35,000 French Napoleonic troops under Vergier, Augereau and St. Cyr, and held out obstinately under the leadership of Alvarez until disease and famine compelled it to capitulate, 12 December. Finally, the French conquered the city in 1809, after 7 months of siege.

Girona was left in a bad way after the Spanish Civil War with buildings destroyed by the Franco forces air attacks. Churches were looted by anti-clerics and priceless antiquities lost forever. The cruellest suffering was reserved for the people: deaths, executions by firing squads, families dispersed, accusations between neighbours …… it was obligatory to pass through Girona on the way to exile and the city’s inhabitants watched the painful march towards the French border. It was a period of brutal repression. In recent years, the remaining parts of the eastern city walls were reconstructed and now the Passeig de la Muralla forms a tourist’s walking route around the old city.
We caught the train at 7:50 and arrived in Girona at around 9:00. From the train station we walked to the tourist information kiosk on the other side of the river. Of course we stopped on the bridge to take in some sights.

After getting our maps we started out to the archives building. Alex was going to do some research there until 1:00 in the afternoon. Christine and I left her to her work and meandered throught the narrow streets towards the cathedral. At every turn was a photograph just waiting for us.

Christine and I just wandered aimlessly through the narrow streets taking photos.

Actually, we were making our way up towards the cathedral.

Just behind this intersection is a restaurant, La Bistro, where we stopped for lunch. Great food.

Still heading up along the narrow alleys…….

Looking into some of the alcoves along the way revealed another world. You could look behind and see the narrow alleys that are roads and in front, peaceful alcoves leading to interior living quarters.

We finaly arrived at the Cathedral. Going upo the last set of steps to the cathedral gave us this view.

The centerpiece of Girona is the vast Gothic cathedral with its Baroque facade poised above an imposing staircase. The site has long been an area of worship with a mosque and synagogue once occupying nearby ground.
Building was begun in 1292 and much of the structure dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. The belltower is Romanesque and the aisleless Gothic nave is one of the world’s widest at 75 feet.

But the cathedral is only one of the ancient churches. Sant Feliu is another and is close to the cathedral. Here is a view of it’s spire.

Looking at some of the homes in this area revealed just how old they were. This doorway was constructed in 1712. I wonder how many people have entered here.

This India curio store had a great window display………..

We had walked a fair amount and felt like stopping for a cortado. We found this little hideaway on C. del la Forca and it was a true mind massage, very, very peaceful.

It was a great day but I have to go back. I am not pleased with the photos I took given the opportunities and the potential that Girona has to offer.

November 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm 1 comment

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