Sunday, December 21, 2008

Year End Music Picks for 2008

So Here are the 10 Albums that came out this year I enjoyed the most. I know its predictable to put a mega-act like Coldplay at the top of a list, but its my list so I can. The best live show I saw this year (and there were many) was the Hold Steady at the Cat's Cradle on August 12th. Bar rock never sounded so good...

1 Coldplay - Viva La Vida
2 The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
3 Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
4 Schooner - Hold on too Tight
5 Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight
6 The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
7 British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music
8 Grand Archives - The Grand Archives
9 Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop Drop and Roll
10 Far Beyond Frail - A Girl, Almost

Honorable mention: Bon Iver - For Emma, Billy Bragg - Mr. Love and Justice

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Darkroom Printing...

Along with the songwriting lately has been some darkroom printing. When I started shooting black and white film I did it with an eye toward printing it myself. This seem a bit away when I was just learning how to focus and shoot an SLR 6 months ago. But a goal none the less... One of my Flickr contact was selling his enlarger very cheaply and I could not resist the idea of at least starting to collect the pieces required. It came with a very nice 50mm Nikon lens. So I have slowly bought all the other necessary pieces and yesterday I printed my first darkroom print.

First RC Print...

Lots of chemicals to mix (its easy like a recipe) and of course you have to agitate the developing image constantly and have a decent digital timer. All of these things added up to the image above. My main problem was I forgot to stop the aperture down after focusing the image in the enlarger and I ended up frying test strips of paper as it had been exposed to too much light. After the first 10 strips it hit me ahh f/8 oh yeah! (f/8 lets in alot less light). Then I was off to the races and it was all fine tuning from there. I can see the focus pretty well, but this is a different kind of focusing and it will take me a while to get good at it. Focusing the enlarger is not as fine control as the camera, (I can see why my friend might have sold this one). Its very good but I bet there must be even better focusing mechanisms. But I'll learn on this. When I finally got the exposure right on the print I did last night and found all this negative dust in the first good print. Must remember to buy canned air! Eventually I printed 4 lovely clean prints of this gatepost.