Printmaking blues.

cyanotype-positive-001

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.

Out of the blue.

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Now that’s service.

I received a envelope in the mail last week. It was totally unexpected.

After looking at the return address, I had to think back to an eBay win I had back in November 2019. It was the Minolta Spotmeter F w/Case, through a seller known as Classic Camera Authority.

… this is the first time something like this has happened.

The envelope contain the original manual. They sent it gratis. Amazing.

In all the years I’ve been buying photography stuff on eBay, this is the first time something like this has happened.

Ahem… save this seller!

Trust.

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Pure and simple.

My efforts to learn about and appreciate Lone Star talent have resulted in a new addition to the Texan Photographers section of the Morris Library.

Weeping Mary
Photographs by O. Rufus Lovett
First Edition, 2006.

Beautiful images, interesting story.

I spotted a black and white “ussie” of Mr. Lovett and Scott C. Campbell in IG Explore – it’s spooky how much Texas-related stuff shows up there – and noticed a comment made by Keith Carter, another legendary Texas discovery.

Side note: I added Carter’s Fifty Years to my library last year.

Anyway, me, being the snoop I am, had to take a peek at Lovett’s stream. Lots of interesting shots, and after a little more internet research I came across high and wide praise for his charming book of photos of a very small town and its residents in East Texas.

I was able to find a first edition of Weeping Mary in excellent condition for a great price.

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.

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.

My latest film camera crush.

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PENTACON six TL.

The PENTACON six TL is my current film camera crush. 120. Love the square.

The 9 shots above are examples I snagged from Flickr. No attributions, sorry, but here’s the Flickr group photo pool >
https://www.flickr.com/groups/pentaconsix/pool/

Here’s the tag if you want to see more pictures on IG >
https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/pentaconsix/

… and here’s a fairly critical review >
https://www.thephoblographer.com/2017/07/25/vintage-film-camera-review-pentacon-six-tl-6×6-square-format/

And a good guide >
https://emulsive.org/reviews/camera-reviews/pentacon-cameras/camera-review-pentacon-six-tl-a-hopefully-comprehensive-guide-to-a-legend-by-ludwig-hagelstein

I definitely wouldn’t mind adding this medium format shooter to my collection…

Ex Libris.

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Learning is never ending.

A half-dozen photography related books I’ve added to my library over the past year.

Photographers on Photography: How the Masters See, Think & Shoot
Henry Carroll

Analog Photography: Reference Manual for Shooting Film
Andrew Bellamy

A Chronology of Photography: A Cultural Timeline From Camera Obscura to Instagram
Paul Lowe

Photography Changes Everything
Marvin Heiferman

Experimental Photography: A Handbook of Techniques
Marco Antonini, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gómez, Gabriele Lungarella, Luca Bendandi

Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography
David Ulrich

BNW.

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Five of my favorite black and white film photographers on Instagram.

There is so much talent out there!

I’ll be using this platform for sharing some of the artists I come across on social media, people whose work I find compelling.

To kick it off, here are five photographers whose work I see regularly from my Dog Bone Soup IG account. Give them a visit, give them a follow.

> Roberto Gandolfi (@robganda)

> Dikal (@dikalphoto)

> David Johnston (@davidjohnston_diana)

> Liz Potter (@lizpotterphotography)

> Sophie Caretta (@sophiecaretta)

Creativity.

Paper and Light

Ideas, influence, and inspiration.

The co-founder of The North Austin Pfotographic Society, Josh Baker, gave a super-animated prezzy on creativity at last night’s monthly meeting.

There were a lot of great take-aways, from his use of storyboards and sketches, knowing and breaking rules, to taking advantage of spontaneous situations. Josh’s work is large-scale, and he talked about all the planning that kind of photography demands.

At a couple of points in the presentation, he spoke briefly about inspiration, which I think could be the subject of a whole ‘nutha meeting.

It was an excellent talk!

I do think we’re all influenced by our surroundings, and by filling my life with things I love, the work I do is a direct reflection of my interests.

Plus, my interest in photography is more out of curiosity and experimentation – not business – so I tend to look at things on a much smaller scale. I’m not saying big is bad, I just don’t have the budget, the gear, or the network a working professional has.

But small scale doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.

In September of 2005, I enjoyed an exhibition at San Jose Museum of Art titled “Caja de Visiones/Box of Visions: Manuel Álvarez Bravo.” It was wonderful. The show included about 50 black-and-white photographs.

There were a couple of Álvarez Bravo’s images that I found to be so totally different from the the rest of the exhibit, almost out of place, but demonstrated a playful side. They were pictures of paper, folded and bent.

I was excited to try something similar using a Lensbaby 2 that I’d added to my kit. I’d done a series of macros of a plastic rainbow Slinky earlier that Summer and was happy with the results.

Wash machine

One evening I ventured out to the garage with my camera, the Lensbaby, a small LED flashlight, and this idea.

Working on top of our wash machine, I cut a 3/8″ x 14″ piece of layout bond and curled it tightly around an exacto knife handle, let it fall on a piece of black construction paper and made some slight adjustments to the arrangement.

I then pointed an LED flashlight from various angles at the resulting composition and pulled the Lensbaby away from the camera body to get a closer crop.

The experiment was a success.

Of the eleven images made, I had three of them printed, matted, and framed.

Paper and Light 1

Paper and Light 3

Paper and Light 3