Something new(ish).

Blue boy.

Back in February I attended a Cyanotype workshop at a local art center and by May I’d assembled the chemicals and miscellaneous tools and materials needed to get started.

I’ve made cyanos using bits of nature, cyanos of original geometric designs, and cyanos using digital negatives created from photos – old and new – picked from the archives.

These are the latest four photo-cyanos…

B’s reel
6″ x 6″ on 9″ x 12″ Canson Bristol board
Original image

Ol’ Glory
6″ x 6″ on 9″ x 12″ Canson Bristol board
Original image

ARS
6″ x 6″ on 9″ x 12″ Canson Bristol board
Original image

Whirlwind
6″ x 6″ on 9″ x 12″ Canson Bristol board
Original image

Kings Hwy.

The sign.

I maaaaay have taken a picture or two of this sign.

It stood at Washington and El Camino in Santa Clara, not far from the SCU campus, on a corner lot filled with old, dilapidated bungalows.

I drove past this sign on my way to, and from, work, every weekday for 8 years.

Some shots were taken with film cameras, some with digital.

I recall riding my bike the nearly 2.5 mile trip from our home down El Camino one Saturday morning – with a bag of cameras – to shoot this awesome sign.

A relic of a bygone era.

Sadly, the sign is no longer standing.

I checked Google Maps Street View and all that remains is an empty lot with a tan colored slat/chainlink fence surrounding it.

I’d bet it’s likely condos or high-density housing fill the lot today.

I hope someone saved the sign.

A $40 experiment…

… continued.

Fall 2020 ‘Roid Week is October 18-23, a month and a half away.

It’s my fave photo-event and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of awesome instant photography from its many participants. So much talent. Check out a Flickr Gallery of my faves from April…

I’ve made good progress with the LX100/SQ10 project.

To start the experiment, I printed a few black and white shots on regular Instax Square film, taken using the LX100 just to see if the idea was feasible.

It was. The three shots above were proof enough.

Over the last month and a half I’ve printed a handful of decent shots, scanned a few, and still have a coupla’ packs of Instax Black to use before ‘Roid Week gets here.

Every shot had differently lighting, so a consistent process was never really an option, but I still managed to get some satisfying results.

Plus, I haven’t wasted toooooo many shots.

It’s been interesting.

Highways 35/45, revisited.

A tale of two exposures.

Sometimes bad is good. Happy accidents. Kismet.

All that.

I brought a few cameras with me that morning. The location is an intersection of highways just north of Austin, TX called 35/45.

I set-up in a field right next to a car wash, and I was able to safely park in their lot. I asked if it was okay. No problem.

The structure is huge and this vantage point is quite something.

I used one of the wide-and-long shadows cast by the early morning sun to set up the tripod.

I used one of the wide-and-long shadows cast by the early morning sun to set up the tripod. Getting there early worked pretty well.

I had with me a pair of pinhole cameras that had some old film in ’em. My GX8. And I also brought along the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9.

I’ve posted before about the pinhole experience.

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.

Emotion.

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.

One more.

EZPZ.

Another example of using my iPhone 8 and the @pixllatr to digitize a black and white negative. It’s working quite nicely.

This shot’s from 2006, Billetproof Antioch. Hasselblad 500cm/80mm + Fuji Neopan Acros 100.

Previously unpublished, love all that shiny chrome.

Pixl-latr.

First impressions.

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.

Wagon wheel.

wagon-wheel.jpg

Cyanotype on Canson Bristol board.

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.

It’s about an 8 minute exposure.

The arc of progress.

arc

Old, but not dead.

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.

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.

Classical glass.

 

tiny-yellow-acid-1080

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.