Covid Road Trip #1 was submitted to the most recent round of the Dragon Folio.

As soon as the borders to the US opened, I booked tickets for “The Presidents’ Heads”. My visit there took place in November of 2021. I met a lot of nice photographers at the Heads. A pair of them told me about this site that would eventually become COVID Road Trip #2 in April of 2022; “Old Car City” in White, Georgia. 4700 vehicles from 1918 to 1972 slowly being reclaimed by nature. It’s well-documented on YouTube.
“Twitter Barn” – Ever wonder where Elon Mollusk got the inspiration for his inventive re-naming of the Twitter platform? It was from this very barn, somewhere near the border of two States, on the way down to Georgia. TL-120-55, and some expired colour film. Could have been Provia 100F.
“Old Car City – Ford Detail” – I think this is an emblematic example of my work. Hyuk, hyuk. Sputnik, Superpan 200.
“’50 Buick OCC” – I love the 1950 Buick. GM only made that grill style for one year. Sputnik, Superpan 200.
“’50 Buick Old Car City, GA” – A different 1950 Buick. Shallow depth of field, scratch on the film. Sputnik, Superpan 200.

Packard Veteran

At a sales office, for a new condominium near my house, they had a display of antique cars for over a year. They have been prepared for display using a new technique (to me) where they sand down the layers of paint  to deliberately show them. It makes for an interesting photographic experience. I chose a sunny Saturday morning to take a few shots of them.

After handing the folio to Steven Lederman, at a Tim Hortons in Scarborough, I saw the same cars, now parked to promote a different condo building.

Velvia 100 in my TL120.


Big Yellow Taxi

The Toronto Police always have a display at the Toronto Indy, and most years, they have this 1957 Chevy Police car. They had this yellow colour until some time in the 80’s. I seem to remember this particular car dressed with eyebrows and blinking eyes, made from fiberglass, over the windshield, as Blinky the Police car. It was taken to schools and to community events.

Anyhow, the title “Big Yellow Taxi” is from the Joni Mitchel song, of the same name, which she wrote when she lived in Toronto (stop me if you have heard this before). The idea of the police car, which looks like a taxi cab, leaves the song making more sense, than if you didn’t know it was supposed to be a police car, taking away her “old man”.

Shot on Provia 100f in my TL120.

Scrutinizing Sharpness (Ian Andvaag A33)

For this loop, I wanted to get some feedback on sharpness. I’ve been working through some of Mike Davis’ spreadsheets and trying to determine if I’m leaving a meaningful amount of sharpness on the table by using a TL-120 or Sputnik. As I understand it, Mike’s contention is that it is not possible to get critically sharp slides with appreciable depth using standard 60-65 mm stereo base and normal FL lenses. I’m rather surprised by this contention after having seen many fantastic slides taken with TL-120s and Sputniks, but I know it’s easy for one’s eyes to be fooled, and I would guess that 95% sharpness looks close to 100% sharpness. I will say that I was particularly struck by David Lee’s Yosemite Fall slide that was included by John Thurston this loop, which seems impossibly sharp, and was not taken with a standard stereo base. I believe the proper way to investigate sharpness would be to shoot some scenes with resolution test charts at various distances and then to side by side A/B comparisons with the resulting slides in a viewer. I wish I could ask Don for advice, I know he occasionally did tests like this 🙁


With all this in mind, I picked out several slides which I personally believe to be quite sharp, and I would appreciate any feedback from others about any perceived lack of sharpness. Cloud Inversion should probably be considered as the “base case”. I believe the nears were around 50′ and I focused around that point, shooting at f/16 I believe. I believe this should secure more sharpness than the eye is capable of detecting in a standard viewer. I don’t really know anything about a cloud inversion, maybe this should better be called thick fog that settled into the valley.  Anyway, it was rather unexpected and interesting to see when I woke up to photograph at sunrise. There is a bit of retinal rivalry in the clouds and shadows as this is a chacha with a tripod and it takes some time to set up the tripod and adjust the framing. Apparently quite a few dinosaur fossils have been found in these badlands.

Cloud Inversion


I perceive Gem Lake Reflection to have a high degree of sharpness, however I don’t think it is objectively sharper than any of my other standard TL-120 slides. I believe the perceived sharpness is largely due to the adjacency effects caused by the high acutance first developer, along with the fairly visible grain.

Gem Lake Reflection


Bryce Hoodoo, yes this is a Sputnik shot, and there probably is some falloff in sharpness towards the corners, but I’m not sure I can detect it! Maybe the pine needles at the far right are a bit soft. This is a pretty “easy” shot to secure sharpness as the deviation is quite low, (the nears are rather far away) but I would be surprised if I changed the aperture off the default f/22 hyperfocal setting. I do think the rock and ground appear sharper than the objects in the far distance, but I’m suspecting that this is more due to the haze and lack of high spatial frequency information in the distance rather than the Sputnik having overly relaxed hyperfocal markings, although it could be both!

Bryce Hoodoo


Camping Breakfast was shot at f/22 using the standard hyperfocal markings on the TL-120 and I used the entire range (the near distance was 3 meters). I might be able to detect the smallest lack of sharpness in the specular highlight on the blue water bottle, but I’m not sure. I think the exposure was 1/8 of a second, so the people are probably not perfectly sharp. Yes it was posed!

Camping Breakfast


In my opinion, Cloud Inversion does seem ever so slightly sharper than the others, but I’m not entirely convinced it is because of the more conservative DOF tolerance, but rather that the size of the plants at this distance provides a fairly high frequency subject and the low angle of the sun provides fairly high contrast, while non-hyper shots typically have inherently less high frequency detail.


So what do you think? Do you use the standard hyperfocal settings on your lenses? Or do you stop down one extra stop? Or some other technique? Ok, enough nerd talk. Sorry to ruin a perfectly good post with all this talk of sharpness! I certainly don’t think it’s the most important aspect of a successful MF3D shot, but it is fun to discuss.

Poetry By Dead Men

In “full confession” mode, I’m here to tell you I have nothing new to offer. I have not made a single image since the Before Times. That’s more than three years without loading the camera, finding the scenes, composing the image, and tripping the shutter. It is a dissatisfying mental place to be, but I just haven’t wanted to create any images.

So from this melancholic zone, I’m reaching into my box of treasures to offer you some images from those whose work has inspired me, and from whom we will be seeing no new images. I’ll try to have some new images for y’all next time around. Continue reading