April 29, 2003

Childhood Home


This is where I grew up.


I lived in this neighbourhood from ages 6 through 15. I'm working on project using these photos (and more) that I took a few years ago. It's been like pulling teeth.


I talk about this place all the time, but something about commiting my feelings to a public space is proving to be difficult. Everytime I sit down to work on this I change my focus. It's driving me nuts.

Posted by Gayla at 10:31 AM | Comments (4)

Hoppe is Here


Hoppe is here. Dhoppe is here. You decide.

Woke up abruptly, and far too early twice this morning. First time from the alarm... and just as I was back to sleep and dreaming, a second time by a delivery. The delivery was one of my cameras so I can't really complain, but the early abrupt wake-up has left me in a shitty mood. Kind of like this day.

Later: Thanks to a trip to the art supply store where I bought new books, paper and some pens, followed by some illegal trespassing on the tracks, I'm in a much better mood. The tracks are still one of my favourite places to go despite the fact that the City ruined it last summer by cutting down all the trees and bushes. I took 9 photos along the tracks with the replacement Lubitel 2 that arrived this morning. It's a much older model than the last one and has russian characters on the front instead of english. The other one was nicer looking but this one is in better working order. The other one seemed to open the shutter sometimes when I cocked the shutter cock. This one works perfectly so no having to cover the lens everytime. Plus it has a strap. And I like the case better because the front stays on but falls out of the way when I use the camera while the other one was a pain in the ass and I just took the front of the case off when I went out with it. Now I just hope I get some good pictures with it. I'm hoping to finish the roll in this camera and the Spartus Full-Vue so I can take it all in for developing tomorrow.

Posted by Gayla at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2003


Some local stuff as seen by Pocket DV

Rusty Garbage  View from Community Garden

Hardware  Rust

Fish and Chips  Tracks

Now there's a Pocket DV III. I don't think I can go that far.

Pencam webring. Didn't see any Pocket DVs though.

Posted by Gayla at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2003

Spartus Full Vue Arrives

Spartus Full Vue with Flash Gun attached

My Spartus Full Vue camera arrived this afternoon! It's a brown bakelite twin lens camera that takes 120 film. It's a very, very basic camera. The top viewer has a piece of plastic that pulls up to reveal a very convex piece of glass. There is no focussing, no nothing! It is literally point and shoot. Actually mine has a setting on it called "Time" that I would guess works like "b". It's hard to tell but the lens looks to be plastic. I can't wait to try it out!

I scored on this camera. It came with a box, a flash gun, instruction booklets, assorted literature, 2 rolls of very old 120 film (1970's), and a 620 film reel. Herold, the company that made this camera, produced several different version of the Full-Vue. Sadly mine isn't the prettiest I've seen but it's still pretty darn neat.

Spartus Full Vue with top up

I currently have a few more cameras on the way:

  • Coronet Ambassador box camera (120 film): This site has the manual
  • replacement Lubitel 2
  • Lubitel (the first model)
  • beautiful red Kodak 120 box camera

    Posted by Gayla at 08:58 PM | Comments (1)
  • Rusty Truck 'L'

    Rusty Truck

    I love this truck. The above photo is from my third round of pictures taken there. I just keep going back. I like this round (taken yesterday) best although I did take a few good ones with the Lubitel2 before it died. I took this particular photo because it looks like it says "LIE" on the bolt.

    Empty -- Taken last Thursday travelling north.

    Posted by Gayla at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

    April 24, 2003

    My First Cellphone


    See a similar picture.

    I hate cellphones. I don't like the idea that people can contact me at anytime. I especially don't want people to think I can be available at anytime. I want the few precious minutes I have to myself to be MINE.

    And yet last night we bought a pay-as-you-go cellphone. It became pretty necessary for the next few weeks to have one. I suppose we could have got by without it. But we would have had huge blocks of time with no way to communicate which is definitely not good when trying to run a business partnership. It's usually no big deal for a day or so. But this long block of time was a problem.

    We had to go to The Mall because that's where all the cellphone places are. We knew NOTHING about cellphones. So it was a lot of walking back and forth between stores with questions. Questions I really didn't feel like asking or having answered. I really just wanted to get something and go. I did not think it would be such a hassle. And they're really quite expensive for a device that causes brain cancer. Three year plans, flip-ups, cents-per-minute.... for the first time in my life I found myself wanting a monoploy so I didn't have so many decisions to make. At one point I just freaked and said, "This is too much useless information. I never wanted to have to take up space in my brain with this kind of information. I just want something I can use for a few weeks. End of story."

    Later over dinner I said to Mr. Risk that the thing with me is if I'm interested in something I soak up information like a sponge, but if I'm not interested my brain rejects it. Probably why I'm not a good bullshitter. I just can't fake interest.

    Posted by Gayla at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

    April 23, 2003

    Queen's Oro

    Taken with Polaroid ColorPack II

    Queen's Oro
    Photo taken with the Polaroid Colorpack II using VERY out-of-date Type 669 film.

    Our new mattress arrived last night. I think I like it.

    Posted by Gayla at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

    April 22, 2003



    How creepy is this? You should have seen the whole thing.

    Posted by Gayla at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

    April 21, 2003

    It Is Finished

    Ladies and gentlemen, the High Priestess of Soul Ms. Nina Simone

    I just found out a few minutes ago that Nina Simone died today.

    I didn't know Nina Simone. I read her book and I listened to her voice sing through my speakers nearly everyday, but I didn't know her. What I do know is that her music and her words had and continue to have a profound effect on me. Her voice is deep, strong and filled with powerful emotion. I don't care for high-pitched female voices. Nina Simone's voice is the kind that pulls your guts up into your throat.

    I remember the first Nina Simone album I bought. It was a Verve compilation. I can't even remember what prompted me to buy it. I must have heard a song somewhere. I don't know. I remember when I played the cd I was disappointed. The first half of that album consists of mostly standards and I wasn't super impressed. The song Ms. Simone is most famous for, "I Loves You Porgy" has never done much for me. I listened to the last half of that album. Then I played it a few more times and it started to rub off on me. Then my brother bought me "Nina Sings the Blues" and I listened to it every single day for an entire year. I had to buy a cd copy because I started to get concerned about wearing down the grooves.

    Nina's protest songs have always been my favourite and I think that body of work exemplifies her at her best. I don't think I have ever been able to sit through "Mississippi Goddamn" with dry eyes. I just love in the live version of that song when she says "This is a showtune but the show hasn't been written for it yet" and the audience laughs. She proceeds to belt out some really heavy verses about the brutality of life in America and follows up to the initial audience reaction with "I bet you thought I was kidding".

    Personal favourites include "Why? (The King of Love is Dead)", "Baltimore" (still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Randy Newman wrote this...), "Wild is the Wind", "Strange Fruit" (Gut wrenching. I often avoid this song because I can't take how much it rips me apart.), "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free", "Revolution (Parts 1 & 2)", "Four Women", "Backlash Blues", "Save Me", "Go Limp". Lately, since my brother bought me "It Is Finished" for Xmas, I have placed "Dambala" at the forefront of my favourites.

    For more about Nina Simone:

  • This Salon article is a good starting place
  • Nina Simone Web
  • Official Website
  • A fan site
  • I Put a Spell on You The autobiography of Nina Simone

    Posted by Gayla at 07:33 PM | Comments (3)
  • Lubitel 2 -- Generation One

    High Park Bathroom Lubitel 2

    Closed for the Season
    Taken with Lubitel 2

    It was a grogeous day yesterday. We went out and leisurely took pictures, lazed in the sun... enjoyed ourselves. Then the Lubitel 2 died. I was on the last photo of the third roll of film to make it through that camera in the week and a half I had it. A week and a half! That's how long it lasted before the shutter busted. But what a glorious week and a half it was. I am now addicted to the top viewer and find myself not swivelling the Nikon but using it as if it were a top viewer. It's just more fun that way.

    Of course I have already purchased a new Lubitel 2. And a 120 box camera. And 10 rolls of 110 film for Mr. Risk. And way too much other good shit off ebay.

    Been fucking around with my Polaroid Land cameras again too. Expensive fun. Now I can't leave the house without 4-5 cameras in tow.

    Posted by Gayla at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

    April 19, 2003



    Posted by Gayla at 07:17 PM

    April 18, 2003



    Closed for the Season
    Taken with Lubitel 2

    PhotoFriday -- water

    Posted by Gayla at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

    April 17, 2003

    A Great Day


    Taken with the Lubitel 2

    I had such a fucking good day today. Met with a great client about a job that is pretty close to ideal. They're just producing some great stuff and I feel really priviledged to be contributing to the creation of this great stuff. During the meeting I actually got emotional and had a few tears form in the corners of my eyes. Lately I notice that if a person shows strong personal emotions, I react empathically. I instantly tear up and find myself having to hold back my reaction for fear of looking like a total freak. It has happened several times recently and often in a "professional context". It is good that with this client, since they produce work that evokes strong emotional reactions in people, and because they are so passionate about what they do, they liked that. IN fact I think it solidified the feeling that we were really into what they were doing too. Basically it was another moment -- of which I am gladly having more of lately, that gives me hope that everyone in the world isn't fucked up. It's a good feeling. Really good. And it's good to know that I can be honest in my feelings about a situation and have that honesty received in the spirit it was intended. So many times in past (very past thankfully) "professional" situations I was made to feel I had to hide my emotions whatever they were -- that I had to take a clinical approach to what I was producing and how I was producing it. For me the way I make my living is as important as everything else I do. I have never been able to understand that cavelier "it's just business" attitude. I'm just very appreciative that I can be at a point in my life where I don't have to eat shit and I can work in a mutually respectful way with others who share the same approach to their lives.

    In the late afternoon I went to the Farmer's Market and everything that hasn't been there in the last few weeks was there! The rosemary bread fresh and still piping hot from an outdoor bread oven, tiny, fragile, brown speckled quail eggs, wild mushrooms... even pushy annoying customers couldn't get me down.

    Then I went and picked up my first Lubitel 2 prints. The photo above is my favourite. I rarely take people photos and I really like that one alot. I like the film because it has a nice brown tone and brown black is always my favourite. I had alot of crap shots and light leaks and general fuck ups but I learned alot about what this camera does and I'm pretty fucking happy with the turnout. Some of the colour shots are nuts. The colour is really amazing! Even my accidental double exposures turned out nice results. The Lubitel 2 is a damn fine camera.

    Posted by Gayla at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

    April 15, 2003

    360 Train Tracks


    Posted by Gayla at 10:42 PM | Comments (1)

    ebay begets ebay

    highpark_tree.jpg    highpark_cup.jpg
    High Park in April  
    Taken with Pocket DV  

    ebay begets ebay.

    I bought one thing.
    Then I bought another.
    Now I'm on there everyday digging for more stuff.

    Posted by Gayla at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

    April 13, 2003

    Spartus Full-Vue

    Photo taken with Pocket DV    pool_fountain.jpg

    Closed for the season
    Photos taken with Pocket DV

    I bought another camera off of ebay Saturday night. I'd been looking around for a few things and had managed, by chance, to come across an auction for a Spartus Full-Vue camera set that included a flash gun, instruction manuals, the works. The auction was coming up in an hour and no one had bid so I went for it. I got the whole thing for $9.99 US. Waiting to hear on shipping though. Some U.S sellers like to act like shipping to Toronto means the item will have to be brought in on horseback or skidoo.

    I was intrigued by this camera because it has even less features then the Lubitel. It is literally point and shoot with no focussing, aperature settings, shutter speed... nothing. I should add that zero features was exactly what I wanted. We joked that with the Lubitel if the pictures turn out shit I can only really blame myself, whereas if the Spartus pictures turn out shit I can blame the camera. On the aesthetic side the camera has a lovely bakelite body, top viewer, and pretty design. And in my research I have found some people say that the lens is plastic while others say glass but held in with a fused plastic ring. We'll see but I'm betting on (and hoping for) plastic. I looked around online to see if I could find some examples of photos taken with this camera but sadly there aren't too many. However what I did find shows some nice softness around the edges.

    More About the Spartus Full-Vue

  • Some Spartus photos - This guy's camera has some major light leaks
  • Spartus Full-Vue user manual
  • More photos and Spartus info - I like the swings pic best.
  • Old ad endorsing the "Star Performance" of the Spartus Full-Vue

    On Saturday afternoon I went out into our nice sunny weather to try and finish off the first roll taken with the Lubitel 2. I did manage to finish that and have moved on to a roll of b&w. I'm excited to take them in for developing but don't know if I'll have time this week.

    Posted by Gayla at 09:48 PM | Comments (1)
  • April 12, 2003

    Loading 120 Film


    Yesterday we went to Henry's to pick up some 120 film for the new Lubitel. First we stopped at the new clearance store where I purchased a new camera bag for a mere 20 bucks! It is the perfect size for holding the Nikon, the Lubitel 2, the Pocket DV, the i-zone (don't laugh), film, a pen, extra flash cards and batteries. The only unfortunate thing is that this bag really fits all of this stuff perfectly and wouldn't be good if the urge took me to carry a different set of cameras. No room for Bill, or the Polaroids or any Super 8's (which I haven't used in literally years anyways so who am I kidding). I also bought a few rolls of outdated 120 film and a ton of outdated polaroid i-zone film.

    Next we went to the main store where Mr. Risk bought 110 film and I bought three more rolls of 120 film. I tried to buy a lens cap for my camera (it didn't come with one) but no such luck. Then we went to the park across the street and chaos ensued as I tried to figure out how to load the Lubitel. I've never experienced 120 film. I knew there was lots of paper before you got to anything but I didn't know how much. I rolled and rolled and started to get very concerned about having gone too far, yet none of the supposed indicators came up in the little window. Then an arrow came up and I assumed that was right. So we went on our way. I stopped and took a few pictures but didn't know how far to advance. Little boxes came up and I assumed that maybe those were the indicators. So I'd take a picture, roll till a little box was in the centre of the window and stop. But the little boxes seemed WAY too close together. Finally I got to a number and realised that all those pictures didn't take and I was only on the first picture. Live and learn.

  • A handy article that has a brief intro to the Lubitel along with info on cross-processing (which I knew zero about).

    +plus today Early Morning YYZ

    Posted by Gayla at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
  • April 11, 2003

    The Lubitel-2

    Today I was going to post about how a week and a half ago I bought a new camera on impulse, but how the camera is being shipped from the Ukraine and would take some time to get here. Well it arrived this morning!


    I had been wanting a medium format camera with a top viewer for some time now but didn't want to spend a lot of cash. I had read about the Russian Lubitel cameras (Lubitel translates to "amateur") via sites such as Toy Camera, PhotoJunkie and numerous other personal collector sites. So last week I had 60 bucks US burning a hole in a PayPal account and I decided on impulse to go ahead and buy a camera. Bill, the Canon AE-1 and I are having "problems" so I thought "Why not buy an even finickier camera that requires lots of fiddling with knobs and time-consumming set-up times?"


    Actually I think my exact thought process was "Those Lubitel-2's sure are neat and pretty with their fancy script typeface and their bake-lite body. Oh look here's one on Ebay that has an actual case and I can just click this Buy Now button and it's mine."

    lubitel2 and the kitty

    I was trying to take some shots of the camera when the cat, who refused to sit still for pictures yesterday, jumped up and began posing next to the camera.

    So my goal for today, aside from actual work and stuff, is to go out and get some film!

    For more info on the Lubitel or the Lubitel-2 see:

  • Lubitel info post (on PhotoJunkie)
  • Lubitel 2 Manual and info page (with excellent pics of camera)
  • Lubitel Resource Page
  • Tips for Using the Lubitel Camera
  • Altering Your Lubitel for Panoramic Shots

    Posted by Gayla at 10:49 AM | Comments (3)
  • April 09, 2003

    A Beautiful Mess

    Feeling Stuck.

    Posted by Gayla at 11:50 PM

    Happy Buddah

    Happy Buddah Takeout

    The Happy Buddah  Barbed Wire Buddah

    This place was located down the street from the Greyhound Station in Gainesville, Florida. It was the first thing that caught our eye in the city yet no one seemed to know of it or care much. I can't for the life of me figure out why all the barbed wire and security?

    Posted by Gayla at 12:08 PM | Comments (1)

    April 08, 2003

    Public Toilets



    Because I misspelled this yesterday LowResolution.

    I've taken the odd photo of a public toilet over the years with the intent of putting together a gallery of all the bathrooms I've visited. I've visited ALOT in the last 4 years as my illness ensures me that I can't go out without stopping at at least one bathroom. Unfortunately the lighting is bad and the photos are usually beyond crap or I just don't bother because I'm in public bathrooms so much it gets kind of tedious.

    Anyways I could relate to these photos. Last months LaLaLand theme was public toilets as well.

    Posted by Gayla at 11:06 AM | Comments (1)

    April 07, 2003

    Barber is Here


    Wig Store in Parkdale  

    I pass this sign on trips to the post office and I love it so much! I especially love the scissors in the head and the strangely positioned eyes.

    From out of the ashes LowResolution.

    Posted by Gayla at 12:14 PM | Comments (2)

    April 05, 2003

    between knowing and understanding

    These were everywhere in Florida

    Bottlebrush Bush - Florida

    A few nights ago my brother said to me:

      "The other day I was riding the streetcar and I saw a woman wearing a ton of makeup on her face. All of a sudden I thought to myself 'You don't need that. Why are you doing that to yourself?' I realised right then how much our culture, our world makes us hate ourselves... cultivates our self-hatred.

      It's not something new, something I didn't know already. But at that moment I really understood it."

    Posted by Gayla at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

    April 04, 2003

    Yesterday in My Life


    Behind the Greyhound Station, St. Augustine, Florida

    So many new things. Yesterday afternoon we went to the Farmer's Market at Dufferin Grove Park. My brother and I tried to go there one Saturday assuming it was running on Saturdays, and discovered there was no market. I then located the website and discovered the market day is Thursday. I try to buy alot of my organic produce at Farmer's Markets because they are way cheaper and the quality is usually better. I really like Dufferin Grove Park. It just has a really good feeling about it. They even have outdoor bread ovens.

    This is so great... but I hate to inform the City of Toronto, but many people (including myself) have been walking the paths along the tracks for years. It's one of my favourite places to take pictures in the summer.

    Also in Toronto: Cinematheque is currently playing a series of Satyajit Ray films. I'm eager to get out and see some of them but the hail and freezing rain is holding me back. That and laziness. Do go and see them if you get a chance. I can't say enough about Satyajit Ray. His films are just incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking beyond words. They often rip me to shreds emotionally -- always a sign of a good film in my book. Actually one of my favourites Mahangar (The Big City) is more uplifting than heartbreaking.

    In other good news it looks like I got a small space in a community garden right around the corner from my place. I am too excited about this. I still plan to garden on my deck as always, but it means growing veggies in actual dirt again and having a small pool of plant geeks to garden with communally. It also means I can grow more tomatoes. Yesterday in preparation for a slightly late seed starting extraveganza I bought a heated greenhouse. It's just a box with a heating pad underneath not an actual greenhouse in the proper sense of the word. I wish.

    As I wrote this I listened to: Darker Than Blue: Soul from Jamdown 1973-1980 (Borrowed from my brother) As an aside I love the cover of this album. I was also shocked to discover a version of one of my favourite songs sung by Nina Simone "Baltimore" (written by Randy Newman which always blows my mind as someone who does not care for the musical stylings of the man). This version isn't as good as Nina's but I still enjoyed it. "Baltimore" is my favourite song to listen to on the walkman while walking down the street.

    Posted by Gayla at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

    April 03, 2003

    Pocket DV2


    Close-up Gator

    I can't believe I missed this. Aiptek has come out with the Pocket DV 2 and it appears to kick the ass of the first generation model I currently use. Plus it costs the same amount I paid for the first one, which is now half the price! The new model has an LCD display, has a higher resolution, and best of all takes actual memory cards now.

    There's a part of me that wants to immediately get the new one, and another part that remembers that the low-tech toyness of the camera is the reason I love it so much in the first place. My fear is that it won't take those screwed up, post-apocalyptic pictures anymore and that having an actual display will mean losing the randomness that I enjoy. I mean, I have a camera that does a hell of a lot higher than 1.3 mega pixels so I certainly don't own the Pocket DV for the same reason. But I do have to say that the lack of card is a very annoying element of the first model. In Florida my batteries wore out and as a result I couldn't take any more pics. Once the batteries die you can not replace the batteries until you dump the images onto your computer.

    Posted by Gayla at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

    April 02, 2003

    This Is Florida

    Florida as seen by the Pocket DV

    Sunshine Ladies  Spanish Moss

    Palm  Azaleas

    Palm Bark  Warm enough to go sockless

    Posted by Gayla at 08:36 PM | Comments (2)