I made four instant shots in-between setting up and shooting with the pinholes.
I was quite happy with one particular instant and posted it on my film IG, @dogbonesoup
The other three didn’t seem to capture the story, how I feel, or what I liked about this location and vantage point.
This was back in July 2019. Over a year ago.
This past week I’ve looked back again at the instants from that morning – they’re in a stack of various sized instant shots on my desk I need to organize and store – and what caught my eye this time around was a different shot that was a little overexposed and somewhat blown out.
My position in relation to the sun had changed, and when I moved I lost the shade from the structure.
My position in relation to the sun had changed, and when I moved I lost the shade from the structure. That also means that a couple of these instants were overexposed because I didn’t change the settings on the camera accordingly.
Anyway, today I scanned the two that illustrated the point I’m trying make, here…
Looking at the two scans side-by-side, I am drawn to the dream-like feel of the overexposed shot.
The good exposure, while nicely composed, looks a little tame. Staid. A well documented structure. Very little emotion.
In contrast, the overexposed instant has so much more going for it. I holds a story. Feeling. Nostalgia. Mystery. A sense of wanderlust.
I love that this shot has a toy-camera vibe to it. I guess stepping out of that shadow proved to be a good thing.
This is my first attempt at using Hamish Gill’s @pixllatr.
I used my iPhone 8, hand held, to make the image. The light source was my 9×12 Artograph lightbox.
I used a mask that I made from chipboard to block out any extraneous light (I’m already thinking of ways to make that gizmo and process a little smoother).
I transfered the shot to my Mac Mini via AirDrop, opened the image in Photoshop, converted to black and white, used the Transform/Skew tool to square it up, then adjusted levels.
The results look pretty darned good. An absolute success.
Side note… I made this image back in 2006 with my Holga 120N using Ilford HP5+ 400. The shot was made in downtown San Jose, CA in front of the convention center on West San Carlos Street, directly across from the main office of The Tech Museum of Innovation, where I worked at the time.
The film was developed by Calypso Imaging, a Santa Clara company that went under not long after these negs were developed. Like many companies at the time, the advent of digital cameras was disastrous for the film industry.
I started developing my own black and white film soon thereafter.
This is a digital shot I made a coupla’ weeks back using my old Pentax 330GS.
The image was converted to black and white using Photoshop, where I also increased the contrast a bit, and inverted it to make a negative. I then opened the file in Illustrator, scaled it to around 8″ x 10″, then printed the image on acetate using our old Samsung laser printer.
Over the past three weeks I’ve been checkin’ out the #ShittyCameraChallenge tag on Twitter and I’ve noticed that folks are using any old shitty camera they can get their hands on, including ‘vintage’ digital.
I still have my old Pentax Optio 300GS. It’s a tiny compact digital camera I bought in 2003. It’s a whoppin’ 3.2 MP, uses a 128 MB Compact Flash card, and it runs on AA batteries.
It’s not really shitty, but it is old.
It’s not really shitty, but it is old. And after 17 years, the sensor has a handful of dead pixels.
So, yesterday I walked around the house, garage, and backyard shooting whatever caught my eye.
These two shots had a similar feel, seemed meant for each other. A wagon wheel, and leaves from one of the Pride of Barbados plants out back.
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.
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.