Use what you have, revisited.

scan-comparison.jpgA little experiment.

An update on my adventures last Sunday morning with my Zero Image 6×9 pinhole camera.

I developed the Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 that was in the camera back on Thursday, along with the *fat roll I posted about last Tuesday… more on the mystery roll soon.

Everything went smoothly with the developing. Stock D76 @ 68º for 7 minutes 15 seconds.

The negatives hung in the hall bathroom until the next day, and they were dry by the time I was ready to scan.

The Epson V500 I have has been a work horse over the years, handling everything I throw at it. But things went south from the beginning on this particular task.

Things went south from the beginning on this particular task…

There’s a white background that snaps in-and-out of the scanner lid, it’s not needed when scanning film. Took it out. Then I pulled out the 120 negative scan tray and loaded up a strip of three shots, set up the scan software per usual, and went through the process of creating a preview before actually scanning.

That’s when things started to go awry. The preview was splitting up the negatives in a way that was totally unusable.

I fiddled with every the setting I could, but the results did not change.

I remembered watching a You Tube video some time ago that showed how to scan a negative as if it were paper. I figured I’d play a bit and put the white background back in the bottom of the lid and removed the negative from the scan tray, placing it emulsion side down so the film curled away from the glass, then ran the software as normal for scanning documents.

Well, that worked. Kind of…

reg-scan.jpg

Intrigued, but not totally satisfied that I couldn’t get the scanner to work properly, I set about fiddling some more. I noticed a button near the bottom of the interface that was labeled “reset” and thought, what the hell, then clicked it.

And this time the machine worked as designed. Happiness.

After a few dialog boxes, everything seemed like normal, so I set the scanner up again for negatives.

And this time the machine worked as designed. Happiness.

Here’s the result…

neg-scan.jpg

I like them both. You can see more detail in the shadows of the first scan, and I like the somewhat distressed appearance. The second, proper scan is very clear (for a pinhole shot) and not as washed out.

It’s a 3 second exposure, taken at the La Frontera shopping mall, from a car wash located in the southeast corner of the property. I asked permission to park and played in an adjacent field, with my tripod and camera set-up in the shadows cast by the fly-over.

Love the lines, curves, and shadows. The sun was still pretty low in the sky and being blocked by the column on the left side of the image.

* a fat roll is when 120 film does not roll tightly around the take-up spool, usually resulting in light leaking to expose the edges of the last few coils at the end of the roll.

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Research.

bsreel-02.jpg

… and Discovery.

One of my favorite things about photography is learning new methods and techniques.

For example, my return to large format has uncovered a multitude of new tools and toys while combing the internet for info about the process of developing 4 x 5 negatives.

I don’t have a darkroom, so I’ll be using a dark bag to not only load and unload film holders, but to transfer the film from the holders to a nifty new device I came across online, called B’s Reel.

I’d been looking at the Stearman Press SP-445 Compact 4×5 Film Processing System to handle the task of development. And I’d pretty much settled on the SP-445 until I came across a YouTube video made by Dave Rollans titled Developing 4×5 at home with B’s Reel.

Good video. Convinced me to change gears and go with the extremely cool and useful B’s Reel.

The SP-445, because of its small in size, can only develop 4 sheets at a time. B’s can develop 6, using a standard Paterson 3-reel tank.

And with 6 Lisco film holders, this developing system will work just perfectly if I head out to shoot with two different types of film.

Check out Benoît Barbé’s website and goodies shop.

Goin’ large.

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But not quite 4 x 5. Yet.

I’m fiddlin’ ’round with large format photography again.

I broke out my Shen-Hao 4×5 field camera with the Rodenstock 150mm lens, the Polaroid 405 film back, and an expired pack of Fuji FP100c – 12/2011 vintage.

The Polaroid back comes with a mask, but it’s just a little bit off. I’m drawing one in Illustrator that’ll be more accurate for the Fuji 3.25 x 4.25 size.

The first shot was a success, a straight-on photo of the night stand in the war room, with the front standard tilted forward slightly. The point of focus is the lamp switch. It’s just a little fuzzy, I know. My choice of tripod is the cause.

I have an older Calumet tripod with a 3-way head that I should’ve used. I used a Giotto with a hefty ball head that’s hard to manage with the Shen-Hao sittin’ on top of it.

Not bad for the first shot and the film seems to be okay. I’m saving the negatives for reclaiming later on.

More to come.

No nouns.

Whirlwind

Whirlwind.

I’ve been attending meetings for a different kind of photography club, the Round Rock Image Creators. It’s run by Gary Hook and Bill Ledbetter.

What’s unique about this club is the meeting centers around conversation and friendly critique (instead of a judged competition, like NAPƒS) so folks submit an image or two for the monthly meetings and 10 minutes are devoted to talking about each image chosen. Again, it’s friendly. Helpful suggestion is preferred.

The meetings are well organized and lively. Gary and Bill are really good at making people feel comfortable enough to share their opinions. I’ve learned quite a bit from the meetings I’ve attended thus far.

It’s a young club with a diverse age range and attendance has varied from 8-12 people.

An recent example of useful info learned…

At May’s Monday meeting after looking at about a half-dozen images, Gary brought up titles, or the art of giving photographs titles.

I thought I was pretty good at it, but when he and Bill started talking about how most folks use nouns for titles I found that I was guilty as charged.

It made me rethink at least one of the titles I’d given an image I made for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.

Originally titled “Kinetic Sculpture,” I changed the name of the above image to “Whirlwind,” creating a much better visual connection.

You can find the Round Rock Image Creators group on Facebook.

The meetings – FREE – are normally on 2nd Mondays, but for June it’ll be on the 3rd Monday – June 17.

I think it’s important to see things from a different perspective.

 

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

I love a parade.

poppy-alt.jpg

Red poppies everywhere.

I joined in on a photo stroll with a new club I learned about a few months back.

The Round Rock Image Creators had their first walk yesterday in Georgetown. Yup. Right smack dab in the middle of the town’s annual Poppy Festival.

A short drive from our house, I got there about 8 a.m. to make sure I could park near Town Square. Good strategy.

I slowly made my way to the neighborhood just north of all the festival activities, shooting my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 with the Thingyfy Pinhole Pro S11 attached.

Today is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. I wanted to make sure I had a few shots in the can if I don’t get a chance to get out.

After about 45 minutes of walking around I headed back to the Escape to switch cameras for the stroll. I also brought the Panny GX8 with the ƒ2.8/12-40 Pro.

Anyway, a small group of folks from the club met at the north steps of the courthouse and proceeded to walk pretty much the same route I had earlier, but this time around the streets were abuzz with people and vehicles lined up for the Festival’s parade.

Naturally, I lost the RRIC group somewhere along the line.

That made for lots of good shooting. And, naturally, I lost the RRIC group somewhere along the line.

Perfect timing, just like when I organized a stroll around the Day of the Dead parade in Austin back in November of 2011. Shooting in the staging area makes for a lot of up-close and unscripted moments.

I got to meet Chet Garner of Daytripper fame – one of my fave PBS shows here in Central Texas.

I didn’t stay for much longer and was able to get out of Georgetown without any problems, traffic-wise.

 

Up early, with a twist.

Greetings

GTX Photo Fest.

6 a.m. is when I usually get up, but my normal routine includes downing a travel mug of coffee and computer time until 8-ish.

Not so today. I had to be out the door by 7:30 a.m.

Today was the 1st (and hopefully annual) Georgetown Photo Festival.

But let me back up a minute.

I decided to take only my TtV rig with me today.

It’d been a while since I shot Through the Viewfinder and I thought this event would be a perfect fit. Last night I spent a good two hours getting my gear ready – charging batteries, checking camera settings, clearing and formatting the CF card in the ol’ Pentax *ist D – so it’d be a grab-and-go kind of thing after morning coffee and such.

I was ready. And everything worked out perfectly. Wake up. Coffee. Shower. Go.

Georgetown, TX is up the road about 17 minutes, if the traffic signal gods are on my side.

I got to the town square about 10 minutes early and could see folks gathering on the east side of the courthouse. A photostroll was planned for 8-10 a.m.

The morning air was around 46º with a slight breeze out of the north. Brrr. I wore a hoody sweatshirt. Seemed enough. Really wasn’t.

I mingled with people I know from PhotwalksATX, said hello to David Valdez (one of the event organizers), then joined in as everyone congregated on the courthouse steps for a group shot.

I started walking around, and promptly lost the folks partaking in the photostroll. I kept moving and in the span of an hour I’d made about 60 TtV shots. That’s when the 4 AA batteries in the *ist D decided to go dead. Bummer.

I went back to the Escape, looking for the other set of batteries I’d packed. Sadly, they weren’t in the bag. So, I put the TtV rig back in the camera bag and locked up the truck. Then I pulled out my iPhone and headed back into the fray using the Blackie app.

After another half-hour of walking around it was getting close to 10 a.m. and my toes were cold. So I headed back to the truck and drove home.

Yup. You know where this is going… maybe I *should’ve* brought another camera. Lesson learned. Next time bring a back-up camera. Maybe two.

I got around 2 dozen decent shots in all. Here are a few of my faves…