Printmaking blues.

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Positive.

I made my first attempts at cyanotypes yesterday. Interesting process. Simple, really.

Reminded me of way back, during my mid-20s, when I worked as a draftsman for a civil engineering firm. I made a lot of blueprints in-office for field use. I’ll never forget the smell of ammonia.

Cyanotypes are pretty similar.

It takes mixing two chemicals – ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide – and brushing the mixture on paper in subdued light.

The chemicals are non-toxic, but probably not good to ingest or inhale. Wearing gloves is a good idea.

Perfect? No. Cool? Yup. Fun? Definitely!

I made a cyanotype of this geometric pattern I created in Adobe Illustrator, which I printed out on a sheet of clear acetate.

I placed the acetate over the coated paper and sandwiched ’em both between a thin sheet of plexiglass and a backing board, holding everything together with clamps.

I set it out in the direct sun exposing the paper for about 8 minutes. I unclamped the printing frame, removed the paper, rinsing it under running water. I then dipped the paper into a tray that had a bit of hydrogen peroxide mixed in with water to help darken up the blue.

You can place any number of different things on top of the paper. Besides the graphic, I also used a small branch from a plant. I plan on using photographic negatives from my medium and large format cameras in the near future.

Perfect? No. Cool? Yup. Fun? Definitely!

There are bunches of tutorials on YouTube. Bunches.

Classical glass.

 

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A little macro action.

I have an adapter that allows me to use old manual-focus Minolta lenses on my micro four thirds cameras.

I made this particular lockdown garden shot – one of three Bulbine’s we have in pots on the back patio – using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and a Minolta MD Rokkor X 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens that I’ve had for years.

I shot it square, there’s no cropping, but I did run it through the Urban Acid action, adding a few personal tweaks.

A twilight shot, the camera was pointed into the sun-less early evening sky, I shut it down a bit to get more of the flower and buds in focus – plus a smaller aperture allowed me to move the camera in closer. No flash, all natural light.

Titled “Yellow Bulbine,” I like this shot bunches.

Oh, and sorry about the really poor Mason Williams reference. Sometimes I just can’t help mysef.

The Blue Set.

Check your settings.

I make mistakes. Some big, some little. Consequences vary, but I always learn from them.

Take for instance these half-dozen shots made back in early 2011. I used my Panny GF1 and a c-mount lens, the SLR Magic Toy Lens 26mm f/1.4, to make a few pictures around the neighborhood.

Love that swirly bokeh. But the blue was a bit of a surprise.

Anyway, as I noted in comments made about the portrait on Flickr “…the blue cast is from my not remembering to switch back to AWB before I headed out for a walk around the block. The Tungsten setting casts blue in daylight. But I think it works in the handful of pictures I posted this afternoon. A lesson, of sorts.” The unusual portrait got a good number of views, a coupla’ faves, and a handful of comments.

I seem to recall noticing what I’d done about 6 pictures into my stroll and changing back to AWB. Oh, well. Interesting results.

The lesson? Check your settings.

 

The party’s over.

 

March 2020 FP4 Party: A few final observations.

It was quite the experience.

I enjoyed every aspect.

It got me out with film cameras, new and old.

I tried a film new to me.

My skill at loading 35mm and 120 film on the Paterson reels continues to improve.

Developing with D76 yielded excellent results.

I found a groove every week.

Looking through Twitter at the #fp4party hashtag for the past 7 days to see what other party-goers posted was a treat.

Followed some new folks, gained a few followers on Twitter, IG, and Flickr.

Thanks to the FP4 Party hosts.

Here are my 7 submissions, last-to-first…

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The gate
Georgetown, TX
Saturday, March 7, 2020
ONDU 6×12 Multiformat pinhole, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 7

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Sprinkles
Georgetown, TX
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Smena 8M, FP4+ 35mm, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 6

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Used cars
Thorndale, TX
Friday, March 6, 2020
Hasselblad 500c/m, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 5

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Bridge to nowhere
Georgetown, TX
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Smena 8M, FP4+ 35mm, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 4

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The bucket
Round Rock, TX
Monday, March 2, 2020
Hasselblad 500c/m, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 3

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9 right
Georgetown, TX
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Smena 8M, FP4+ 35mm, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 2

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Mid-century modern emptiness
Taylor, TX
Friday March 6, 2020
ONDU 6×12 Multiformat pinhole, FP4+ 120, D76
FP4 Party Post Week, Day 1

Necessity…

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… is the mother of invention.

I got out with my new-ish ONDU 6×12 Multiformat pinhole camera a coupla’ weeks back for FP4 Plus Party.

Multiformat means it’ll shoot 6×6, 6×9, or 6×12.

I have a really cool 8Banners Mc pinhole that’s set to shoot square, a shiny Zero Image 6×9, so the ONDU will be dedicated to 6×12.

As previously noted, I shot 6 images with the ONDU. Of the 6, 3 had my fat fingers showing in the right side of the frame. Those shots were roughly 1 second exposures. Super-sunny days. There are lines in the top of the camera that tell you what’ll be in view for each, and my fingers fell into that space.

I’ve come up with a nifty way to get my digits out of the picture.

I used Illustrator to draw up a simple extender. Then I used a low-tack spray adhesive to affix the drawing to a piece of repurposed plastic from my 2019 Office Max calendar cover. I keep everything. The perfect-sized hole was made using simple hole punch. I sanded the edges and tied a piece of ribbon in the hole at the other end.

The rubber band was already in place – it keeps the shutter from opening while the box is in my camera case. Now it can hold the extender in place and serve as tension when using the extender. Easy to put on, take off.

Simple. Used stuff I had. Great solution. Free.

I started posting shots for the FP4 Plus Party on Twitter today.

Fingers.

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Always learning.

Photography is a continual learning experience. Every camera I use – and especially if it’s a first time use – reaps lessons learned.

I got a nifty pinhole camera last year. It’s an ONDU 6×12 Multiformat. What that boils down to is it can shoot 3 ways… 1×1, 6×9, or 6×12.

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6×12 is what I’ll be shooting with this cool walnut wood box.

So, if you’ve been following along, you’re aware that I’m participating in the FP4 Plus Party this month. I loaded the 6×12 with a roll of 120 film.

It made sense to get out to parts of Central Texas that I’ve yet to experience. I drove east of Georgetown past Jonah to CR366, down to Taylor, and then out to Thorndale.

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All those miles traveled, I was able to make 6 images using that one roll.

Of those 6, half managed to capture my fingers closing the shutter. Those images were made with roughly 1 second exposures.

I really like my Zero Image 6×9 pinhole. The shutter assembly makes it possible to use a release cable.

I am digging the 6×12 format though, so I’m gonna have to rig up something to keep my fingers out of the frame of the ONDU 6×12.

Stay tuned.

FP4 Plus Party, Dev Week part one.

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Smena 8M + 35mm.

This was my first time out with the Smena. It’s a quirky little Russian camera. Plastic. Toy-like, if not for the fact that it has apertures and shutter speeds and a cocking shutter.

I put gaffer tape over the seams on the lid to the film compartment just in case of light leaks. The viewfinder is pretty close to useless.

Results…
– 27 shots out of a 24 shot roll. Cool.
– 1 accidental double exposure.
– A few underexposed, a few overexposed.
– A handful of not perfectly exposed.
– Bunches not quite framed up the way I’d intended.

Can’t really tell about focus, but there are probably a few keepers, and I’ll know which to submit next week once I run them through the scanner.

Tomorrow.

This is an iPhone shot of the negs, cut and slipped into a negative preserver, placed on an LED light pad, inverted in Photoshop.

Today I’ll tackle the 120 film development.

Cool and dark.

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Life’s about making adjustments.

My extremely rocky re-entry into developing film last year resulted in one botched and one barely salvageable roll of Ilford Pan F Plus, shot with my Hasselblad 500c/m and Holga 120S.

I was using a new dark bag to load the film onto Paterson reels. Even though it was done in an air conditioned room, the amount of heat my nervous and excited hands and arms generated caused enough steam in the bag to make the film stick to itself, totally ruining the Hassy roll.

The Holga roll wasn’t much better. The edges of the film got pretty crinkled, but I managed to feed the whole roll onto the reel without sticking to itself in the process.

Seems like a lot of trouble, huh?

The hall bathroom in our home has a separate water closet with a door. I can close the hall door, get my film rolls, reels, the tank parts, scissors, and any thing else I might need set up on the lid of the plastic tub where all this dev stuff is stored. I then turn off the light over the sinks. It’s easy to move the tub into the closet and close the second door.

It is absolutely dark in there, but I put a rolled up towel at the base of the door, just in case. I also take off my watch. After everything is situated, I sit on the toilet lid with the tub in front of me and turn off the light.

Seems like a lot of trouble, huh?

I haven’t screwed up a single roll since making this change, so the effort is worth it.

Plus, I’ve ditched the dark bag.

Offbeat.

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Fun and funky lenses.

It must be my love of toy cameras that compels me to experiment with offbeat lenses on my mirrorless cameras.

I have a good collection of weird add-ons, from Lensbabies to C-mount CCTV lenses and I recently added an Olympus M.Zuiko 9mm ƒ/8.0 Fisheye Body Cap Lens to use on my m43 boxes. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but reviews and sample images I found were convincing.

Pictured above are are four from my stash of curious and weird lenses… Olympus 9mm ƒ/8 Fisheye Body Cap, Thingyfy Pinhole Pro S, Pentax 25mm ƒ/1.4 CCTV, Lensbaby Composer Pro/Sweet 35.

Party on!

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Ilford FP4 Plus party.

This’ll be my first FP4 Plus Party, and in more ways than one – I’ve not used the film before.

The plan: 6 shots in the Ondu 6×12 Multiformat pinhole, 12 shots in the Hasselblad 500c/m, 24 shots in the Smena 8M.

I’ll need to mix up a fresh batch of D76.

It seems this is primarily a Twitter thing, but I’ll post a few scans here and eventually post a few faves on @dogbonesoup, too.

March 2-8: shoot week
March 9-15: dev/scan week
March 16-22: post week
March 23-29: lamentation week

Should be fun.