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.

Fiddlin’…

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… in the digital darkroom.

I played around with one of my shots from last Sunday’s car show over in Round Rock at Centennial Plaza. This is the badge and right front-end of a silver colored Porsche 1600/356. 1956, I’m guessing.

The original photo was color, taken using the vivid setting available in the Sony RX100M3.

I use an older version of Photoshop, CS5 Extended, or Photoshop 12. I haven’t yet fully embraced Adobe’s subscription model and this rather old version still works on my trusty old 2012 Mac Mini.

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I have the free version of the NIK software bundle installed and use it often for both color and black and white edits.

I haven’t yet fully embraced their subscription model…

For this shot, I used the Silver Efex Pro 2/030 Film Noir 1 filter to make the conversion to BNW. Love the grain from this filter. There are plenty of settings to mess with, including film types, vignette, and brightness/contrast. I also removed the image border.

Next I used the Photoshop burn tool to darken up the letter “P” at the top of the badge. I was pretty much shooting into the sun at ƒ/1.8 and a it got a little blown out, but there was enough there to recover.

I like that blown-out area to the left of the badge, framed by the badge and the curve of the fender, with the trees in the background and the fender’s shadow fore.

K-scope, revisited.

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Hexagon city.

I had one of those days yesterday.

The weather was funky. Grey, foggy, drizzly. I didn’t want to leave the house. At all.

So I played indoors. It’s been a while since I put together the Leica D-Lux 4 and the toy kaleidoscope I keep in my studio.

Play. Play. Play.

I fiddled with that cool little combo for hours. Patterns, shapes, color. So much fun.

Play. Play. Play.

I attended a talk in the Spring of 1998 put on by the UCSC Extension in Mountain View, CA. The speaker was digital artist David Biedny.

It was part of their Creativity in the Digital Age series. I don’t remember much about the talk in general, but the one thing he said that evening that’s stuck with me all these years was that creativity and play go hand-in-hand.

So true.

A pair of Jacks.

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Macro Jacks, that is.

Diggin’ ’round in the archive. These are from May 2013.

A pair of shots, one made with the Olympus E-PL3, an extension tube, and the Lensbaby Composer Pro + Sweet 35, the other made with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Wanderlust Pinwide.

Cool that I wrote about how I made the Pinwide shot on Flickr. “I found it while I was out back watering the roses. It was corroded and covered in dirt. I cleaned it up a bit with water from the hose and let it dry.”

It was corroded and covered in dirt.

“I took the picture later in the day. The sun was on its way down allowing a sliver of light to peek under our old and slightly uneven garage door. I got the shot by laying on the garage floor with the Pinwide less than an inch away from the jack.”

I love the shadow and contrast, not to mention that gorgeous blurry bokeh at the top and swirl at the bottom of the EPL-3 shot. Pretty cool.

Diggin’ ’round in the dirt has its rewards. Same with the archives!

 

Bookin’.

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… and lookin’ so fly.

The Shutterfly book I put together using pictures from our Portugal/Spain trip arrived in the mail last week.

Except for a few text alignment issues and me not making the shot on the front cover large enough, it turned out pretty nice.

Love the materials they used for this basic order. The cover is quite thick, nice and glossy. The pages are sturdy and semi-matte finished.

I’m happy with the results.

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Practice makes perfect.

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Seeing makes pictures.

I attended last night’s NAPƒS meeting to hear Ted Keller talk about “The Value of Practice.” It was a good talk and his experience with teaching/training was apparent.

It struck me how many of his theories and methods I’ve unconsciously used in my years of playing with cameras.

I am not a classically train photographer. I learn (even to this day) by research, applied practice, and a whole lot of intuition.

I like to play. Experiment. I also spend a lot of time looking at the work of other photographers. I read about photography. I watch videos. I make a lot of pictures.

And that’s where my interest in photography starts… with the picture.

… I’m convinced that paying attention, being in the moment, and seeing is even more critical.

Sure, knowing how to use a camera is important, but I’m convinced that paying attention, being in the moment, and seeing is even more critical.

I’m more interested in the act of making a photograph than I am in the technical details of operating a camera. I find that using extremely simple film cameras – like the Agfa Click I or the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim is a liberating experience.

See. Point. Shoot.

Modern cameras – in all their complexity – can be intimidating. And unforgiving. So Ted’s insistence that practice prepares one for being ready is absolutely true.

Just don’t forget to look around or you might miss the shot you were practicing to get.

One last thing… the member print exhibit. Patti Mitchell’s concert shots were stellar. To paraphrase Bill Bunton, “It’s easy to see why she consistently wins in the competition every month.”

Note: The last photo club meeting I attended was the second Monday back in September, the Round Rock Image Creators. I’ve only attended one Round Rock Photography Club meeting. Now that NAPƒS has split the competition to 1st Thursday and the Speaker to 3rd Thursday I’ll have to weigh which club gets my eyes and ears in 2020. Bummer.