Archive for December, 2007

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Havin’ a good time!

December 30, 2007

Went out yesterday afternoon to the KU Campus. Becky has her new pinhole cap for her 35mm (but didn’t find anything she was excited to shoot with it 😦 ) and I brought along FrankenRoid and a second pinhole camera I made from cherry wood several years ago but recently modified. Bender Photographic, Inc (http://www.benderphoto.com/) has at least three different kit cameras (4×5 monorail, 8×10 monorail and 4×5 pinhole box). I got started in large format by building one of their 4×5 monorail cameras. I like it a lot. The 4×5 box pinhole isn’t (in my opinion) quite as well designed so I’ve modified it slightly for a shutter and less problems with vignetting. I also need to modify the back so it will hold more securely the film holder.

Two shots with FrankenRoid and two shots with the Bender pinhole. Using 4×5 sheet film in the Bender so it was developed last night and hanging to dry. I’ll work on printing it tonight. I did something you aren’t supposed to do and this is make two major changes at the same time. First was new pinhole for the Bender, second was a completely different formulation of developer. Normally I use either Rodinal or D76 but I want to start working with Pyro based developers so these sheets were done in Pyrocat-HD. And one other boo-boo, looks like I miss-loaded the reel before putting it into the tank because two sheets were touching. Oh well, not like I was taking pictures to prove extraterrestrial life or ‘Nessie!

And I found a pretty good price for Fuji FP-100C (and -100B but not from the same seller) on Amazon.com. You can also go to eBay and find it from UltrafineDirect but his is going to be about 6 months expired, cold-stored. The Amazon.com one claimed to be fresh date for about $0.50 more per box. We shall see…

FrankenRoid Shot on the left (doorway of the Campanile is not as over exposed as the scan looks, need to rework the scan and add it later).  On the right is the result from my modified Bender Pinhole.  Shot on Foma 100, f230, 9 seconds, developed in Pyrocat-HD and printed on Ilford MGIV RC.

Fraiser Hall Flags     Another Fraiser Hall Pinhole Photo

Fuji FP-100C, 8 seconds and armpit development (cold outside). Tab slipped out of my glove at the start of the pull so I ended up with a little uneven development. Mistake or charming?

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Birdsnest, no birds

December 29, 2007

frankenroid_birdsnest_small.jpg

More from FrankenRoid. Put it on the tripod and about 8″ away from the birds-nest. FP-100C, 8 sec. Kinda cold out here this morning.

Comment from somebody at http://www.f295.org, did I whip the eggs into a meringue?

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FrankenRoid

December 28, 2007

FrankenRoid FrontFrankenRoid sideQuick Testshot

FrankenRoid – picked up the body on eBay. Removed the pinhole that somebody had stuck on, made from foil duct tape (and really not very well at that, sorry previous owner-dude). Replaced it with a properly sized (in my opinion) hole, marked the top with three dots for angle of view then attached a shutter. A little further cleaning of the rollers and interior and it is ready to go. The rubber-band is the safety to keep the shutter closed, pinches down a little flap at the top of the sliding part.
The test shot is on the KU campus. I work at Malott Hall so I went downstairs to the SW entrance, balanced the camera on the rail and pointed up at Anschutz Library. Tipped down a bit far but just wanted to see if it worked. FP100c has quite a color shift for long exposure (20 sec).

Still pretty darn cool!

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Punkin’ Pie

December 24, 2007

pies.jpg

Quick check that the Polaroid Model 100 and M3 flash bulb gun is ready to go!

All good but maybe pinch rollers need cleaning… 🙂

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Got me thinking…

December 12, 2007

Every so often I cruise around different photo sites, this time I decided to check out what Dan Coburn might have to say. Especially since I knew he had a recent show opening and also as he is president of the LPA, he acted as host to our group show opening. Dan keeps his blog over at danielcoburn.wordpress.com and in particular, this entry started me thinking.

http://danielcoburn.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/photography-process-vs-art/

Below is an expanded version of the rambling comment I posted to his entry…

In a painting, we know it came from the hand of man so artistic license is accepted without question. With a photograph we have been conditioned to expect it to tell the truth because some set technical process was used. Being more of a process junkie than an “artist” I enjoy the journey as much as if not more than the finished product. So make the image you want with the tools you want. If somebody doesn’t appreciate the work it took to get from idea to finished image then too bad for them. They can still enjoy the image, and they might even understand some of the “deeper meaning” of the imagery (even if it wasn’t put there by the image maker). But if they do start to understand the process, they could start seeing the image you intended to make. It is a rare event that you get EXACTLY the perfect image on the first try, yet that is what the camera / software / film / accessory makers are trying to tell us will happen each and every time we use their product. Understanding the process and how the equipment does what it does will take the image further toward success than just substituting the next great gadget.

Each LPA meeting, we start with a quick trip ’round the room to introduce ourselves. I like to stick in “death before digital” when I make my introduction. Not because I think “analog” photography is better than digital. It isn’t. It is different. I’m leaning more and more toward a hybrid (plug for http://www.hybridphoto.com) method where I mix and match analog and digital to get where I want to be. Putting forth “death before digital” as a mock battle-cry has produced some interesting results. Some people at the meetings have figured out I’m just having them on but other seem to get rather defensive. To me that suggests they aren’t secure in their choice(s) of medium. And still others just don’t listen, and would rather blather on about how well they are doing (with digital it happened), I know they weren’t listening because they quoted me as saying “death to digital” then went on and on about how much better digital is than analog. It amuses me to no end when somebody who is trying to tell me how much better digital is starts to stumble along in the bit of software they are using to demonstrate their point. It always comes back to knowing your tools inside and out, not just moving on to the next big thing. Corollary: use the right tool for the job.

I think Dan’s concern about people questioning technique in photographs more than in a painting is for two reasons. One, because photography is “easy”. “Just pull the string and we do the rest.”, thanks for nothin’ George. These are the magic-bullet chasers (what lens, how many megapixels, which filter in Photoshop, etc). Yes, I do realize there is a bit of “the pot calling the kettle black” in my pointing a finger at magic-bullet chasers. While I don’t lust after the latest and greatest image editing software and dSLR, I do like the idea of a bigger and better camera. Physically bigger, not just the latest model, that is. Since I’m tending to regress, technology wise, I’m more of a magic-pointy-stick chaser. The second is because we have been taught that the camera doesn’t lie and when we see something that doesn’t quite meet our expectations (generally by exceeding them) we want to know why. Well, the camera has told more than the truth (notice I didn’t say the camera lies) from day one. Always has, always will. The camera sees differently than our eyes and little monkey-brains. We see by scanning a scene and constantly changing our exact point of focus. The camera gets one shot to convert the 3-d scene into a 2-d scene (HDR techniques not withstanding). The end result is that with the camera (and lens and printing process) we can control what is and isn’t in focus, what is and isn’t in the scene and what is or isn’t emphasized through color/contrast/aspect ratio etc.

So let them ask their technical questions. Educate the questioner with your answer. Slowly they will learn the difference between photography and snapshots, between technique and technical. The work I have produced thus far has all been the result of my wanting to learn more about how a certain aspect of my equipment works. Could be a lens design, camera movement, camera type, film brand, changes in chemistry, a different photo paper maybe. As a result of all this fooling around I generate a lot of scrap and every once in a while, something I like. Maybe one in twenty or fewer of my negatives get past a proof print. And sometimes I don’t even get past the proof print just looking at them on a light table. Doesn’t mean they are failures (well, let’s be honest, some are complete failures). I’ve asked a lot of stupid questions, I’ve asked (what I hope are) better questions. And I’ve given good and bad answers to questions asked of me. Eventually, we arrive at the right answer or technique for the desired result. And some day I’ll be able to move past the gee-whiz technical stage into artistic technique stage.

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Getting the rug pulled out from under the image…

December 9, 2007

Been a while since I could do much except play Engineer all day and get prints ready for LPA show at night.  But before it turned cold I spend an afternoon back on the KU Campus with the Seneca 8×10 and experimented some more with the last of my J&C Classic 100 film and Ilex lens.  Only a few more sheets of the J&C left so I’m not investing a lot of time into speed and developer testing.

Anyway, I noticed they had finally removed the sheets of plywood from the front of Spooner Hall (oldest building on the campus) and I’ve always liked the stone work and quote above the door.  “Whoso Findeth Wisdom Findeth Life”.  I guess this is from Proverbs but a quick check with Google and I find it also as “Whoso findeth me findeth life”.

Not a bad exposure but I am still having trouble learning to see the whole image.  Otherwise I would have noticed that entry-way rug was all bunched up!

Spooner Hall

It won’t be possible to see in this scanned copy, but in the print, because it is a contact print from an 8×10 negative, the detail is fantastic.  At least to me as I’m still used to seeing 8×10’s that are enlargements from 35mm negs.  The text carved below the center opening is crystal clear.  And I can see minute detail in the surface of the limestone.  And I can see that stupid rug has a “fuzzy side” and a rubber backing!

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Lawrence Photo Alliance All member Exhibit and Print Sale

December 9, 2007

Even the threat of ice and sleet didn’t stop the opening reception and gallery talk.  Saturday night was a bright spot in what would have been a dreary, cold weekend.  Good show opening, good gallery talk.  And even more entertaining, at least to me, was watching the attendies of “The Snow Queen” slip into the main gallery and scarf down the LPA hors d’oeuvres.  Reminded me of the Tanqueray commercial where the guy keeps grabbing handfulls of chilled shrimp…

And after being open for only 3 official days, one print had sold.  And that print was my girlfriend’s!  Becky was quite excited about that! 

Links and promo materials to follow:

http://www.lawrencephotoalliance.org/home.html

http://www.lawrenceartscenter.com/

Postcard :

Postcard