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Takumar 50mm f1.4

This lens was stripped and cleaned some time ago. Although the outward condition is inferior, optically it is in first-class order. I have chosen to scan the negatives at a low resolution to see how the images look on the site.

As you can see lens is well worn:

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

The close up reveals the condition of the lens: During the overhaul the optics were subjected to a 48 hour UV bath, and are now gin clear, without a hint of the yellowing associated with the thorium lenses. The UV bath removes the time related yellowing of glass containing thorium.

Pentax Issues:

I have eight screw thread Pentax cameras, and all have enjoyed full clean, lubrication and adjustment carried out by Eric at Pentax Repairs. He is an outstanding technician. However, I’m now coming across a fault with the Pentax’s. On two cameras the shutter curtains are beginning to show slight light leaks in very bright light. If I am to continue to use the Takumar lenses, I will consider purchasing a Voightlander Bessaflex TM – Or move over to Nikkormats and Contax for my 35mm work, and sell my extensive Pentax collection. This would be a sad move, as I have used SVs and S1a’s for many years. A compromise is to use the M42 to K Mount adapter: The image below shows the same 50mm mounted on an MV using the adapter:

Ok: We now have another issue to consider when choosing an analogue camera. Light leaks in the rubberised silk shutter curtains would make a repair expensive and in some cases impossible. It is interesting how something out of our control can force us to consider available options, even ones that overrule emotional attachment.

Film and Developer Choice:

For this test, I used FomaPan 100 developed in Ilford ID11 (20 degrees C for 9 minutes). This is a change from my usual developer: Rodinal. During the last six years, this classic developer has given me beautiful negatives when using FomaPan. And I have come to expect the sharp acutance (edge sharpness) of the grain using the Foma 100/Rodinal combination. ID11 does not give this ‘edge’ sharpness, of course one should not expect the ID11 to do so, it is a ‘solvent’ developer which smooths out the grain during processing.

The old tractor on Cromer beach is an indication of how a simple image can be full of information. It is for the viewer to realise the story being told. My thoughts are redundancy and end of service.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

Another tractor image: In fact, boring and without great interest: The Composition would benefit from a closer crop and a different angle. An important lesson is the negative is sharp, and a wet print would have more excellent resolution. The conclusion is low-resolution scans are not beneficial when assessing lenses for the internt; although low resolution scans are fine for reviewing composition. Low resolution scanning has a time advantage. The scan time is less than a minute at the low setting on Silverfast 8 software, usual scan time is three minutes per frame.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

The portrait composition of the Muir-Hill machine works reasonably well: although a second ‘square-on’ record would have been worthwhile. I had limited myself to one cassette of film for this day’s work, and therefore, one frame per subject was the rule.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

In this image, we see the tractors in use. It is a reasonable record of the scene. Unfortunately, it also betrays the shutter curtain’s deterioration. Look at the two white lines in the bottom left of the picture. This is extraneous exposure made while composing the image. My Weston Euromaster Meter indicated 1/500th at f11.0 for the correct exposure. So while the composition was being made with an open aperture, light seeped onto the emulsion. Look at the other images in this series, and there is no indication of curtain issues. Only when faced with extreme light does the rubberised cloth leak light and ruin the picture.

Takumar 50mm f1.4: Ian Timothy

We can see the ability of the fifty-five-year-old lens to resolve a sharp image in this capture. Consider the composition. The sea horizon is level and therefore the alignment is ok: the composition is mediocre and nothing more than a ‘snap-shot’. Many photographers make the mistake of ignoring horizons. Think about the way we see our world, it is with level horizons and (for example) squared walled buildings. When the inner-being suggests to the conscious mind: ‘there is something not quite right with this picture’ The background and ‘angled’ horizons often answers the question ‘why don’t I like this image?’ This is not a hard and fast rule, it is an important consideration in ‘open-framed’ pictures.

The final image is of the Russian cannon outside of Ely Cathedral. This image is all about exposure. The cannon is black, to show the gun as black, the technique is to under-expose the frame: this results in a less exposed cannon on the negative. When printed in the darkroom the thinner ‘under-exposed’ cannon is darker on the print. I closed the aperture by two stops to achieve this end. In the darkroom, I could give the cannon a little more exposure using the burning-in technique. Although I’m very keen on straight printing, which means getting the best negative possible. Straight printing is the process when prints are not manipulated during printing. One prints ‘straight’ from the negative to the paper. Good exposure technique helps with ‘straight-printing’.

Many photographers extol the virtues of print manipulation, indeed there are those who worship the so-called master printer. I have no interest in refining the print. If I desired amazing and easy to take monochrome images, I’d sell my collection and buy a Leica Monochrome!

Edward Weston dismissed photographers who used sloppy technique (straight printing), dodging and burning prints were an essential aspect of his final image. And there are many who follow his lead. Bresson liked his Leica and 50mm, Tri-X and f8.0. He felt the deal was composition, in fact, he did not develop or print most of his work, although he demanded excellence of printing. I go with Susan Sontag: in her book ‘On Photography’ : she comments that ‘straight’ printing is a valid photographic method.

In Conclusion:

The Takumar 50mm f1.4 is an excellent lens. All images in the article are exposed using small apertures and fast shutter speeds. So the full opening of f1.4 is not explored in the pictures. From experience, the glass is sharp wide open at the point of focus. It is excellent over most of the frame from f2.8 and loses the edge after f11.0. There is no point in taking a series of frames of one subject sequentially closing the aperture to demostrate the different ways the lens resolves the picture. My preference is to explore the lens’s capability in the real world.

When one is walking around with a camera and lens, you have immense control over exposure setting combinations. However, In the real world, when wandering, we are recording images and considering composition. My prefence in this instance is to set the apature to f8.0 and change the shutter speed to the suggestion made by the meter.

The principal requirement is to expose the film well. Use Sunny-16 or a light meter: and keep an eye on the settings. After the exposure is looked after: pre-visualise the picture and compose as best you can if you desire imagery with either a story to tell or visual impact. The process IS this simple.

  1. Keep an eye on the light: Refer to the meter often
  2. So, use the Sunny-16 rule AND light meter. Learn to see and understand light
  3. Adjust settings often – In this way you become used to light and camera adjustments. Eventually you’ll set exposure by intuition!
  4. Compose tightly and concentrate on focus
  5. One camera and two lenses can capture most images (added as an after thought!)

The images in this article struggle or fail to impress: all demonstrate compositional faults. When we have a ‘bad’ day not all is lost: By reviewing one’s compositions changes can be made. But remember one crucial point: We can never take and make a good image on every frame or on every outing. However, we can learn from every frame we take!

See You Soon

My Cupboards Are Empty

One Hour or A Thousand Word Limited Essay:

If ever there was evidence of the hidden dangers of society, it is seen in this country over the last weeks. I watched the parasites strip the shelves bare with no account for the poor and elderly who could not afford to stock a little extra food or even get to the stores.

Some years ago I had a friend: You cannot be liable the dead, so I name him: Des West. I met him during my evening drinking sessions. Initially, we exchanged glances, and later we spoke in-depth about our differing views of the world. He was a sharp and caustic minded man.

Des drove a Mercedes sports coupe, and I discovered he owned an expensive home. Unmarried and seeming to be indifferent to female company, Des became an excellent friend. There is one other aspect of Des: he was rich, and I mean rich. Whenever work came into the conversation, his stock answer was ‘I have finished work for the day’.

I suppose we’d known each other for a year or so when he said ‘Shall we have a takeaway at my house?’ I agreed and away we went. The house was terrific. One could not ask for anything more: good-sized indoor pool, beautiful kitchen and designer perfect living room. I did not review the upper floor, although Des told me there were six-bedrooms, four en-suite. If the downstairs rooms were anything to go by, there would be no doubting the upper floor would reflect the living space’s opulence.

We drank good wine and took our time eating our Indian meal. The takeaway meet-up became a weekly routine. I enjoyed Des’s company and friendship, for indeed we had become close friends.

One evening he asked me a question ‘You no longer ask me about my work’ my reply ‘well you do not want anyone to know: so I assume there is a grey aspect’ ‘Oh! Yes, Ian, there is a grey-area alright, certainly the wrong side of the law’. ‘Then do not tell me Des! It’s difficult to keep a secret when you drink as much as me.’ He looked at me with vacant eyes and smiled.

Sometime later I’d hit a difficult time financially. Like most people, the initial weeks were a brave face and hope for the best. ‘Take-away Ian?’ ‘Des, I cannot afford my share, so the answer must be no’ ‘Are you taking the piss? A tenner its nothing to me and you are my friend. Come on, let’s go’.

After we had eaten, Des left the room. He was away for around ten minutes and when he returned he was carrying a plastic supermarket bag ‘There’s twenty-grand in there Ian. It’s yours keep it. It’s your birthday present’. I needed the money, but no way could I accept the gift, and I declined the offer’.

‘Ian, I earn between ten and twelve thousand pounds a week. I do not know what to do with my money. I have it everywhere, in building society accounts, bank accounts on the Continent. My mother owns her home, and my brother owns his home, I’ve paid for it all. There is two weeks work in that bag, and the money will keep coming in, week in week out. I have over six-million pounds, twenty-grand is nothing, and if you want some more, ask’.

I took the money, my problems over, my life turned around. A year or so later I realised my friend was ill. He had terminal cancer, the evening he told me I sat in my car and cried. He asked me if I would come and see him in the hospice when the time came. And indeed, I did. Des was an exceptional man and an incredible friend.

During the last week he told me about his work:

‘I’m a pornographer. I have three adverts in soft-porn magazines. They read ‘Continental Magazines by Mail order: PO Box 25 Leicester’ I have a list of titles and my clients pay twenty-five pounds a copy postpaid. My business associates in Denmark and Sweden post the magazines to my customers in this country. I have about eight-thousand clients’.

The idea was an effective way to become a millionaire; he asked me if I wanted the business! ‘Believe me, the temptation was there, but the idea of a long prison sentence did not appeal’ Des smiled when I declined ‘You’re a fool, but that’s your strength. I’ll bet you’ll be in your fifties before the penny stops dropping!’ we smiled and I held his hand.

I asked Des about his work, and he said ‘There is nothing to it: it is like all business’s supply and demand. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the potential. Here’s is something to think about Ian, there are millions, and I mean millions of pounds made in my industry, and you’ll not find anyone who is a customer!’ I can still hear his laughter. ‘Best of all is the control I have over the two officers who take their grand-a-piece to leave me alone. I like the idea of corruption. Everywhere you look there is morals and blind-eyes, and it will become worse. Your future is to live in a world of greed.’

Des left me a decent amount of money. And I wasted it, as he knew I would, I could see him smile when the last thousand became nought. He was a wonderful man, and many would have judged him severely thirty-years ago. Today he wouldn’t have made a penny from his method. These days most who knew of his work would not give him a second thought or concern. These changes are the way of life, the way of the evolution of society.

But when I see those empty supermarket shelves. The trolleys full of pasta, tins of beans and tomatoes: I think back to Desmond’s customers and their hidden vice. There would have been people from every avenue of society making my friend his millions. And you’d not get a one to admit to their purchases. We do not know who we live amongst: What are their vices: What are their truths: Nothing changes once the seedy sex magazine and now a hundred rolls of toilet paper.

Few will admit to their vice or greed. And to my mind, the greedy are a worse danger than any virus.

See You Soon

Pentax 40mm Pancake

Out to play with the Pentax 40mm SMC Pancake lens attached to a Pentax MX camera. When it comes to 35mm camera choice I’m torn between four cameras. The Contax iia – Pentax MX and MV and the Nikkormat. But most important of all is the lens choice. The 40mm SMC Pancake is a fine lens with great contrast and resolution. Many reviewers knock this optic’s ability to produce sharp and sparkling images. I would question their understanding of the sequence of the analogue process.

Ilford HP5s – Processed in ID11

I’m not a fan of fast film. My preference is for the 100 iso speed group: Fomapan 100 being my number one choice. I had three rolls of Ilford HP5s remaining from a project completed earlier in the year which involving low light. So I decided to take the MX – 40mm – HP5s combination out into the streets of Nottingham the day before the ‘holiday’.

1/30th @ f4.0 The Exchange Nottingham

The City was indeed deserted. I waited until the two strollers were nearly out of shot before capturing the image. I’m not pleased with the composition. However the atmosphere of the usually busy arcade is seen in the record of history.

Snap Shot

This man had the message. He is an ex Jehovah’s Witness and has an interesting message to give. The flip chart style message board is a great innovation. He has a few more startling messages for humankind ready for display. A snapshot and just what street-photography is all about.

On The Run

I saw the runner a few moments before the image was taken. Taking the chance he’d run in front of the camera I knew he would look at the subject he thought I was recording: not realising he was the centre of the image. I’ve used this technique many times and it rarely fails to produce an interesting photograph. What you cannot see is he looked back, because he believed he’d missed something!

In Conclusion:

Use any lens and camera combination. Remember, analogue photography is holistic and as good as the weakest link. If the exposure is out, the processing time or temperature too much or too little or the lens is out of focus the final image will suffer. Above all, the composition is king and queen of the process.

See You Soon

Contax iia

Oleg of OK Cameras in Russia has serviced my Contax iia. So I can now begin to renew my friendship with this amazing camera. It is complemented with an optically perfect 50mm f1.5 Sonnar lens, although it has a slight ding on the filter ring. The intention is to finish a full and in-depth review of the camera. I’ll save the pictures of the Contax and lens until the review is finished. So for this short post, I post a few images taken with this amazing lens.

The mystical way the Sonnar resolves images is unique and to my mind almost unsurpassable. I consider a 6X9 inch print as a perfect size for viewing images taken on a 35mm negative: either for arm’s length consideration or for close up scrutiny this print size makes sense. The scans of the negatives are of low resolution: the printed negatives are fantastic, simply beautiful. The images have the most beautiful luminous look.

Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Lens made in 1957
Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Film FomaPan 100
Sonnar 50mm f1.5 – Developer used Ilford ID11
Amazing Resolving Ability

One can see the unique and powerful way the lens resolves even the most mundane of images: Photographers who can find a Contax ii or iia with either Sonnar 50mm (f2.0 or f1.5) will be rewarded with beautiful photographic images.

See You Soon

Fear of Virus – Bet Your Fragility On It

I watch the morons wearing masks and living in fear of the mild flu. And I’d bet my few pennies of savings I’l not know one who dies of the disease. And nor will you” I see the masks as signs of insecurity, lack of intelligence and an overestimation of self-worth.

The millions are chomping on dog meat, monkey brains, sparrow feet and chicken innards without a thought for the possible inherent disease. Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs. London smog quantities of dope inhaled daily. Dog crap on the pavement and cat paws covered in rat blood. All healthy, safe and without apparent danger. A thirteen-million to one chance of dying of a strain of flu. And the fear of a next-door neighbour who has just returned from a ride on the train. Half-wit thinking, press and media-induced bollocks

Listen to the Message

Eighteen-hundred people were killed in traffic accidents in the UK last year: Thirty-six people each week: five a day! I’ll take my chance with Corona and stop driving. And Hey! There were six-thousand deaths from ACCIDENTS in the Home last year: that’s fifteen people a day falling downstairs, plugging themselves into the mains or falling asleep in the bath. I’ll take Corona and move into a fucking tent.

One mention of the new flu and fear runs wild in the imagination of fools. They worry about their deaths and fragility. So they should, because they, like you and me, are fucked. Your life expectancy is no more than three months. You’ll stave and die without your prescription insulin, blood pressure inhibitors and angina relief. You’re walking dead for sure: and the morons proved without a doubt the fragility of your existence.

Some years ago there was a petrol tanker drivers strike. Ten days into the strike, the troops took over the full supplies. This country dried to a petrol and diesel supply standstill. No fuel boy and your Ferrari or Bentley is a heap of useless scrap. And in thirty years when the electric car has bankrupted the Arab, your collection of classics will be on the way to the steel recycler. Yes! Chum! The deal is all about supply and demand and need.

Streets will run with Blood

A bunch of greedy fuckers can clear out a supermarket of toilet rolls in two days. Supplies are soon gone. Now the shelves of baked bean tins are empty: the pigs at the troughs will take everything, and without supplies, you’ll starve.

So your life is about six weeks safe: this is the reality of your fragility. No food supplied to the shops because panic buying clears the shelves. Riots in the street and looting follow. Finally rotting corpses poison the water supplies and the death deal is complete.

I wouldn’t worry about Corona chum. I’d start thinking about your actual life expectancy and total and absolute reliance on supplies. No drugs? No need for doctors. No food? no need to work, no need for teachers. You are safe as the balance of society. Starvation and horrific death are literally weeks away. You can be as fit as a butchers dog or be living a cancer death sentence.

Without supplies, you are six weeks safe. And make no mistake: This truth will not go away or be forgotten like the Coronavirus.

See you soon: You are not as safe as you think.

No Competition

Nine Minutes Read:

Titles: 
Why Enter a Race?
Why Compete?
A Third Way:

Without participating in a race you cannot win or lose. This meditation offers the suggestion if a free-minded individual refuses to compete on societies precepts: happiness, security and wealth become active aspects of one’s existence  An open-minded individual understands the rules of life, and after careful considerations, weigh’s up the balance of any situation. And even if the scales of truth are weighted against one’s hopes and inspirations: an open-minded person makes the right and sometimes difficult choice based on reality rather than emotional desire.

Open-minded thinking sometimes causes temporary isolation during transitional periods. Friends and family fail to accept open-minded assessments and the move from illusion to reality. The possibility of losing friends causes resistance from the emotional mind: So one should remember initial setbacks include: Closure of friendships, relationships, and moving away from established situations. Readers or listeners are reminded major changes to one’s relationships are difficult for an emotional mind to accept: and this is why an emotional account will resist the idea of becoming none competitive. 

Recording of This Article

From the beginnings of the first comprehensions of life: we are encouraged to be competitive. We see parents, compete with family, friends and neighbours, fathers follow favourite teams and talk of promotion and work and money. Parents offer suggestions of superiority with comparisons. Proving their superiority with comparison to others less fortunate. “look at that heap of junk, look at that terrace house, how can they live like that?” These are the phrases of superiority. An unfortunate child has grandparents who reinforce ideas of attainment: talk of the university, good jobs and qualification. The child is being locked into a system.

Furthermore: teachers over-see tests: school classes are competitive with two main factions: either: best and smart and fast OR weak and unintelligent and slow. Inevitably achievers gain attention: failures become punished, ignored or branded as trouble makers. Later in life, there are extremes with the top of the class becoming a successful professional. The bottom of the class becomes a successful criminal. The majority watch and understand nothing other than conformity.

Injustice seeps into the system: Adoration for attainers’ and dislike of the failures: The tragedy is we are rarely guided to reference personality or character. How many times have you listened to a cruel comment: Something like “He’s a hard worker, but he’s just plain stupid”? How do we explain this cruelty? Consider the character Forest Gump to discover the seed of an answer. Do you know why the film is so popular? It is because millions of people can relate to Forest’s character. They know they have more to give; however, their belief is they have no purpose. Consider the message that Forest does not have a purpose: episodes of his life are flowing and without defined purpose. His fortune is dictated by chance meetings. Truth is Forest’s prosperity is down to chance and lack of empathetic connection to reality. He has no fear because his mind only knows how to run! This is his initial life lesson: His mind knows it must keep on running and moving on and is life like a box of chocolates? No more than it is a bowl of cherries. Life is tough, unfair and without compromise.

The free mind asks why people adore the arrogant success story and ignore a kind and caring non-achiever. Who would you prefer as a friend and associate? I know my preference never waivers: A kind, caring, transparent and honest person wins my heart every time. My friends range from compassionate wealth: too will ‘o the wisp spirituals. Only one gauge matters, the question: “Do I enjoy my friend’s company?” Incidentally, I’m thankful for their patience and graciousness, these are two character assets needed to put up with my strange attitudes and thoughts.

I do not believe who we associate with restricts our lives: Many sages suggest we become the same mindset of our associates. Not if we follow the third way: you see the third way guides one not to judge or compete. Therefore if there is no competition to gain or attain friends, it becomes easy to separate one’s self from those who cause hurt, pain or unhappiness.

For most, life’s potentials and promise become set in the mould of conformity toward the end of teenage rebellion. As the renegade disappears in shadows of hopelessness: Social protocols and society’s master plan takes over. Poor relationships, children, marriage, divorce, joy, happiness, failures, houses, apartments, jobs, cars, debts, loans, anguish, sorrow, occasional celebrations are expected and accepted. The cycle begins again when children grow up and follow the plan taught by parents and teachers. Millions are caught in this net of perceived normality.

Every race is won when it is run alone. Having no interest in the successful, the failures or middle-grounders frees the inner being from all levels of competition. The winners, losers and the indifferent minds all have their level. And most of them unknowingly make the choice to be in their place. The free-mind see’s people enter daily races even though they’ll lose or not finish. Races of ambition, wealth, possession, academic attainment are never won outright. Jack will have more money than Jill. Branson will have more money than your neighbour who lives in the mansion. Einstein is has more genius than the university lecturer. There are few outright winners and of what importance is another human’s victory to you? Admiration for another man’s endeavour acknowledges competition and winning. The fact he has the accolade should be the end of any interest. Closed minds follow the idea that winning and attainment demonstrates success. An open mind sees beyond this idea setting its own standards, ethics and ethos.

Before one can follow the third way, there is need to understand the truth of entering the race. Attempting to see the reality means being brave enough to see entering the competition is an illusion of dreams and hope and false promise. Those who enter the race, become fit to become winner. And the fitness is harnessed by those who organise the race. When ten men strive to become top salesman, the company wins from everyone who has entered. Even the salesman who makes the least sales has contributed to the companies profits. The race is designed to benefit the organisation, society or government not those who compete.

We can win every race if we compete with personal standards. Setting personal standards is easy to think about and difficult to establish: Today you choose to save your wages and begin to pay off your bills and tomorrow you see the item of illusion you must have! A simple phrase helps the mind to be free: It is: To be free every debt should be satisfied. Many will find the idea almost impossible to comprehend. Allow me to cast a spell of wellbeing: being without obligation will make you happier than any other state of mind. In other words: To be free every debt should be satisfied

To be within debt is means you have nothing: There is no need to have any more than needed. How much do your need? Use this formula: add up your monthly out goings: rent or mortgage, utility bills, car and travel and food. Add twenty percent to the figure. This is you actual financial need. If you save everything earned above this figure you will be rich. Use the savings to pay off mortgage early. Then you will be very rich.

Setting the mindset sets the desire, set this objective: choose to only enter a race you can win. To be free, think of the freedom of being without debt. Consider the idea for hours; write about the feeling of freedom. All one needs to do is divert excess into the money you owe. Do you say you have no savings? There will be no excess where there is a waste. Fast food, bottled water, excess of pleasures all are lures to debt. Two bottles on Friday, three on Saturday and the takeaway meal total the costs. Understand the waste and you’ll discover the ways to become debt-free.

In time following the third way becomes empowering. The free mind needs no-one, its power and best friend is security. Nothing comes close to the freedom. Money accumulates, and soon the home becomes one’s own. Without debt, there is freedom. 

And while I talk about money, remember two aspects of capital:

You are money. You earn it with your life hours. You convert your work into tokens which are used to buy your home, warmth, water, food, clothes. You are money: And secondly: when you spend cash, thank it for its ability to turn life hours into security. The more you respect your money, the higher your ability to see how to use its power and see it grow. When you appreciate the money, you recognise your life hours. 

Here is a harsh and difficult consideration: People who do not earn their money have no respect for themselves or life. They borrow and enter into debt because they are selfish. They want everything and do not want to exchange their life hours for the thing they wish to own. When you borrow money for pleasures, you are selfish and impatient. And there is no respect for the purchase. When there is no need for excess, borrowing or debt one becomes free because, by default, one accumulates savings and security. Never waste money earned with your life-hours: remember you are money: every penny wasted is a waste of your life hours. Here is an example:

My nine-year-old MacBook, eight-year-old interface and twenty-year-old microphone are used to make this recording. This equipment is my conduit of wealth, the microphone, interface and Mac allow me to sell my thoughts. And life is good because many minds have an interest in my thoughts. I mention this to suggest we do not need the newest or the best to achieve acceptable goals. The thinking mind learns how to use every possession to best advantage. An important consideration is the thinking mind, learns how to see the truth of all situations realistically. 

The Third Way is a paradox: It seems to be to do but it hard to keep on track.  So before considering the possibilities of the third way. A thinking mind should train itself to be intellectually biased. Emotional considerations have already enjoyed free reign and caused havoc on many occasions: A moving account is supported by illusion and desire: A thinking mind understands the wisdom of reality and active communication. The emotional mind resists being set aside and will play all manner of psychological tricks to reign supreme. The thinking mind asks one question “Are these thoughts needs, illusions, possibilities? If the answer is yes: the dream is emotional.

Do not worry: remember worry is manifest from the emotional mind. The intellectual mind looks and listens for clarity, honesty, integrity and ethos. 

The Third Way changes life: and dissolves the past. Learning about the third way takes time: to help you with the idea of Third Way, think of yourself as a gardener of the mind. See your view as a ground which needs clearing. Brambles and weeds of issues, hurt, and poor memories require burning and uprooting. Think in this way: and soon, the garden will be ready to plant seeds of great thoughts and trees of strength. You can grow a garden of will which cannot be affected by the winds of change or storms of despair. In time the garden will become a forest of security and the paths of the third way will lead to the centre of intellect.

The intellectual mind understands certain wisdoms:

It is impossible to repay debts owed to people you have hurt. You cannot make amends to those you have betrayed: face the reality people never forget, and trust is not a fallen wall which can be rebuilt. No way you can change the truth of the darkest moments.

Does the intellectual mind consider the meaning of acceptance? One has to think and understand aspects of why acceptance is key to a golden gate of freedom. For examples: can you accept you are often wrong, accept you will not always be liked, accept failure, loss, and the fact life is not fair? Most important, can you recognise you are responsible for your life.

No one needs a know-all, guru, life-expert. They tell a different tale: one of unconditional love and forgiveness. And yet in our societies: Murderers are electrocuted, social media groups demonstrate hatred, people take revenge. Where is the marker between acceptable or not? Consider the idea of a clean sheet: bankrupt your failures, mistakes and wrong-doings. Say today “that was yesterday. Those lost to my life are gone, will not return and they are better without my presence. Today is new: I’ll work hard to live and be happy and be thankful for those who are part of, and contribute to my life.

All one needs is standard. What is the standard? It a way of living which meets a predetermined agreement with oneself—known as a standard of how to live. What could more natural than a: warm home, happy relationship, content family. And this standard is not the easiest to attain, and yet, it is all one needs. Why would the standard be challenging to achieve or maintain? Because it is simple and does not require competition or attainment. An emotional mind finds this aspect impossible to accept.

When a situation or objective or anything is simple: many cannot believe it to be true. Too good to be real: too simple to be true: so good it is hard to believe: Few accept that something easy to attain has worth. And this is why many people are unhappy: they are seeking pipe dreams, illusions, the need to win the race, instead of meeting an easy to attain the standard.

Once one understands and sets the standard, the battle of life becomes easy. Battle of life? Yes! Think of yourself as the standard-bearer who marches ahead of the soldier’s on a battlefield. But consider the image differently. Know that your standard protects you from the opposition, the enemy whose sole desire is to take from you and help you into a life of hard work for no reward. The net of debt is the enemies most powerful ordinance. The enemy does not desire to take your life: their objective is to enslave you, to their will.

When one lives free and outside the chase: there is no need for excess: nothing more than basic qualifications will earn a living. A driving licence, simple vocational levels of education, and a determination to work and live within one’s means will provide an adequate lifestyle. And all the better if the effort is shared with another. There is no need to become involved with outside influence. By living solo one wins the race. Set a standard, attempt to meet or exceed the standard during every moment of life, and the competition is won.

These ideas are the third way: and the direction of least resistance: the way of non-competition: the power of acceptance—the way of the free mind.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts. I accept the idea raises many questions and will be considered as selfish. I have no interest in critics: they are welcome to their opinion. I do not write to make friends. My words are cathartic exercises and reflect my mindset. Life works for me: there is no debt and money flows into my life. The cash and in my pocket and the card in my wallet are an extension of my ‘being’ they are energy which lightens and lights the path of life.

Once I lived a life of deception and illusion and I was poor. Now my existence is ethical and real and I am wealth. Am I happy? Of course, I’m surrounded with friends and business associates. I respect them and enjoy seeing them prosper and find happiness, love and security. Life is good. My mind is free.

See You One Day.

The Under Dog

The Under Dog

I wonder about the artist who believes a sable brush is a secret behind a great painting. Many hold the belief that high-quality tools will turn a desire to excel into a reality. Buy the best tools for longevity and quality, but never believe the most exceptional quality will replace ability and practice.

For some time, I have used low priced cameras and lenses, rather than my expensive Nikon, Leica, and Bronicas. I prefer Fomapan film to Kodak or Ilford, and my scanner is a cheap Plustek. Of course, I have a darkroom with excellent equipment: however, the scanner makes more sense for online applications.

I am currently working on an online 35mm camera course, and I decided to use the most basic of equipment for instructional purposes. For most of my work I have used the Pentax S1a and 20mm, 28mm, 35mm 50mm and 85mm Takumar lenses. However, I have chosen the Former Soviet Union FED 2 camera with the Industar 50mm f3.5 for the course.

It seems to me if I can demonstrate that basic and cheap equipment can give excellent results. Then the student will concentrate on technique and composition rather than the camera and lens. I was once asked by a man with a Leica pendant (camera): ‘What is your favourite camera and lens?’ My reply ‘Ten cassettes of film’ had him perplexed. I explained ten cassettes of film would return 360 negatives: each one is a lesson in the art of photography. He still did not realise the implication that practice has more importance than equipment.

I smile when reading ‘experts’ opinion of the Leica lens resolving power. A Bronica lens will better the Leica, and a Hasselblad will make the German’s images seem whippy ice-cream soft. Most 35mm cameras are suitable for 9X6 inch prints, no matter what the brand. If you want bigger go medium format!

I came to the FED 2 camera after reading an article about rangefinders. The one used for this article is a twenty pound eBay purchase. The film is FomaPan 100 developed in Rodinal for nine minutes @ 20 degrees C.

Yesterday was a dullish day, and most exposures are either 1/60 or 1/30th second, and the aperture is f4.0. I have not tweaked or adjusted the 300dpi scans. More to follow…

See You Soon

Rights of Passage

Rights of Passage

Some years ago, I knew a wizard video editor. His mastery of editing could have been the key to open doors of national, even international recognition. So why did a potential sparkling career come to nought?

Patience, overvaluing worth and ability, combined with an arrogant attitude, answer the question. His way was the only way, and a belief he was better than his film school peers did him no favours. And there are other considerations: His ability using editing software was excellent, the finished work repetitive. Reliance on and excessive use of effects gave the productions an amateur look. He knew the software inside-out. He could make an effect, cut or audio improvement on the video timeline in an instant. He’d learned how to use the software but failed to produce unique productions.

Listen To This Article:

I’ll christen the editor Ed. Ed could not appreciate the work of his peers. Never would he ask how or why a section of a film’s production was made in a certain way. Always his opinion was: ‘I could make that better’, which in the right situation is a good attitude and one to be encouraged. Was Ed’s inability to attain recognition or employment in the film industry because of his mediocre productions? The answer is ‘No’. His work would have improved with experience, and he would have gained considerable recognition.

Liken him to an artist with a studio full of materials and enthusiasm. And for all the tools and technical know-how. When the artist’s work is reviewed, the opinion is: ‘What is the artist attempting to reveal This piece does nothing for me’. Equipment and knowledge cannot compensate for creative ability, and competence is the result of verbal interaction, trial and many errors. There is no doubting artistic growth needs bravery and the taking of chances. Wrong directions, blind alleys, creative roadblocks and happy accidents are essential learnings in the artist’s journey.

Perhaps the worse aspect of his’ way to the stars’ was the deception of Ed’s media presence. It portrayed an image of experience and expertise: of course, time-served professionals saw through the smoke. A fall was inevitable: with little interest in his output, the wind of truth blew his smoke-screen away. Ed thought he could helicopter ride to the summit, not have to climb the mountain. Today he stacks supermarket shelves.

At the outset of his career, a humble attitude and accepting menial positions would have given Ed a higher chance of success. He would have climbed the film reel to become recognised as a brilliant editor: inevitably receiving rightful and deserved acclaim. By taking the time to establish his presence, and demonstrating a willingness to learn and share and care: the success he craved could have been accomplished.

Creative careers benefit from the helping hands of experience. As a ‘runner’ in a media production office, Ed would have learned the more appealing aesthetic aspects of video production. As an enthusiastic member of a team, he’d have become known, liked and respected. Ed was an amateur, and although good with software, he possessed no experience of actual media production. Believing his work could better experts with tens of years in the film and television production industry evidenced immaturity and guaranteed failure. Even now working the mundane to Friday job he still thinks himself a film director! Today his video output is ‘project zero’, and no the lower rungs of the film industry career ladder are now too high to grasp. There are plenty of students graduating from film school ready to do anything to work in the industry. He may have fared better if he’d understood an apprenticeship is essential to success. Working and interacting with experienced people is the way many careers are forged.

Nothing happens without effort: Creativity and failure are part of ‘The Rights of Passage’:

Great artists choose to make every new piece a creative exercise: never believing they know all, and there is nothing more to learn. Some use a pencil and paper to draw a portrait and write an essay about a subject. Others need a studio full of paints and brushes and prepared canvases. The tools do not matter; for example, Daniel Johnson used colouring pens, an old piano and a cassette tape recorder to become a millionaire. 

My journey has taken me from expensive production tools to three main items. My work is produced with an iPhone, iRig microphone and an eight-year-old MacBook. I have written over five and a half million words in the last two years earning a good living from words and pictures. More important than the material aspect, is the immense pride in seeing our events business thrive, through artistic creativity — link to LizianEvents.

I possess no formal learning of writing, image taking and video recording. My ‘Right of Passage’ is attending book and trade show lectures to learn about creativity. My library of books, DVD’s, old school VHS or anything creativity related is growing. More important is talking to as many creative people as possible. And my learning is with the attitude of grace and respect for those who share their knowledge.

On the 28th of October, my book ‘Write: Publish and Promote a Book’ is published. It is twenty-thousand words focussed on the promise of the title. And my thoughts are it is an excellent book, the best book I have written. It could not be completed without the help of friends who read through the chapters and provided feedback. The book’s twenty- thousand words stand on the five million written over the last three years. My work improves because of my creative friends. Without their input, comments and critic, I would still be lost and without purpose to my life.

Thanks to all who help me with my future…

Five million words? Yes: Below are my Grammarly statistics:

Whiter Than White

A Journal Entry:

I sip my coffee. My iPad is out of date, a ‘generation two’. It makes searching the net tedious, and there is frustration that I cannot download iMovie. At the moment, I’m re-searching MoJo Journalism. MoJo is a style of journalism using only the most basic of equipment. In the past, a 35mm camera, notebook and pencil were the necessary journalistic tools. Today an iPhone, external microphone and editing software allows the journalist to produce an item anywhere in the world, and publish it in an hour. I see the potential for MoJo at The ‘Well Being Shows’ Liz, and I organise. Although I have a MacBook Pro for business use and it has Final Cut editing software, I like the idea of editing on an iPad. My fingers are too big to use iMovie on my phone.

I search eBay and discover plenty of 6th Generation iPad with 256gb of storage and 4G priced around four-hundred pounds. I decide to buy one. After the decision is made, I follow the usual path of researching iPads. My coffee is getting cold, and for a moment, my thoughts are on sipping the coffee without spilling it on my whiter than white tee shirt.

Whitening Chemicals From Around The World

Many of my friends know I am obsessed with clean clothes. Working out how to get white linen fresh and snow white is one of my most significant challenges. Next to the washing machine is a collection of cleaning powders, soap flakes and liquids, stain soaps, bicarbonate of soda, soda crystals. Whenever I travel I always return with a new white-washing miracle chemical. My holy grail is not a golden challis. It is blinding white shirts. An arch-enemy is the coffee stain: one of the most difficult to deal with: unless the coffee is washed out before the material dries it will stain the cotton.

Liz is downstairs: I hear choking: “Lizzy, are you ok?” No reply, my voice is raised “Lizzy, are you ok?” No response: Christ Lizzy is choking, and there is silence. Fuck, I don’t want Lizzy to die, out of bed in a second, racing down the stairs “Lizzy, are you ok?”

In the kitchen, Liz is folding my white shirts. She has hiccups, loud and strange sounding. “Christ, I thought you were choking. I called and then shouted, you didn’t hear” “I couldn’t hear what you were saying: I have hiccups: did you know you’ve spilt coffee on your tee-shirt?”

Panic over. I realise how much Lizzy means to me: the fear of her choking went through me like assassin’s knife. The shirt is put in to soak. I decide there is no need for an iPad. Other things in life have more importance.

Change

Queen Victoria’s mourning of Prince Albert was life long.. Jet beads and black clothing became a trend followed by millions. During the same era, heavy loss of young life in Boer and First War made Britain a nation of habitual mourning. It seems a trait of the British is to embellish the loss of family, friends, unknown celebrities. And extend the mourning for years, and sometimes decades. Was Queen Victoria the seed of a nations love of mourning?

No matter what happens during life or how tied to the past: once one makes defined changes we move into the future. Memories are held within objects and even if the memories are good, remembering can cause pain.

Jon’s New Image

Recollection can play cruel tricks: A photograph rekindles a happy time enjoyed with a friend, the memory is dulled by the shadow of another less kind recollection. We return to a place of childhood memories a feeling of happiness is changed when a moment later we are within the sadness of the loss of people within the mind-scape.

I’m fortunate because my inner-being accepts the final sleep as natural. For many, there is no release from the grips of grief. Some people have extended mourning of parents. Understandable if they enjoyed childhood and upbringing. Overcoming the loss of wonderful parents is for many almost impossible. Although one must ask if excellent parenting includes teaching children independence from the fear of death, or the loss of a loved one.

Early in 2018, Jon’s father died and soon after recorded his thoughts about the loss. The words resonated with many people. He told me there would be a time for mourning, reflection and then future. He is now beginning the final stage: making the family home his own. Changing his looks and clearing out the old to make way for the future.

Listen to Jon’s Message

Jon says: “We must move on: life is for living: those who loved us would never wish for life to be suffocated by the final act of life.” Powerful words. Jon demonstrates we should mourn and then live. And there is a time to make a definitive turning point and mark the moment with change.

I wish my friend well: He is a most unusual and independent man: watch this space:

See You Soon

 
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