To do things, or not do things, that is the question…

Why do something, when you can do nothing?

I have hit a brick wall.

Not so much a brick wall when it comes to coming up with ideas for things, it is more of a not wanting to work on them. I’m at the point where, all I want to do after the baby goes to bed is sit on the couch and look at the internets, or play Team Fortress or Kerbal Space Program. While none of these are inherently bad, there are other things I could and want to be doing:

  • I’ve got a several rolls of film to develop
  • Pictures I want to shoot
  • Posts I want to write
  • Plants I want to plant
  • Practice my Tenor Sax
  • Clean my office
  • Work in the dark room
  • Work on the sewing machine
  • Practice archery

I could spend the rest of this post about things that I could and want to be doing, but just feel so drained that none of that sounds appealing. I even said tonight that I wanted to develop some 120 film that I shot, and here I am, plopped on the couch.

I need to come up with an action plan to knock out some of this stuff… how do you all keep yourself moving forward with your own projects? Do you use treats? Cookies? Let me know what you guys do? I guess one forward step is that I took the time to actually write a post? I guess I can cross that off the things to do list huh?

 

I update this blog about as often as I get my oil changed

Two of my enlargers in my newly upgraded dark room

Two of the enlargers in my newly upgraded dark room

So.. it has been a little while since I’ve updated my blog, life tends to get in the way a bit sometimes. Having a baby, you don’t get a chance to really take pictures of anything other than the baby. Which isn’t nearly a bad thing.

So what have I been up to?

Darkroom

Well one of the biggest things I’ve done recently is updated my darkroom. For Christmas, my parents bought me a bunch of used photography equipment: Beseler 23C Enlarger, 2 El Nikor enlarging lenses, new trays, bulk film supplies, paper, safe lights, all kinds of great stuff. The Photographer who had it before me stopped using it about 5 years ago so I’m putting it to good use. Now that school is over I’m hoping to have some time to actually doing some work down there.

As you can see, most of it is a hodgepodge of

This is actually organized.. trust me.

This is actually organized.. trust me.

equipment, but believe it or not, this is “organized”. Film and Developing Tanks on top, Trays in the middle, chemistry and paper on the middle shelf.

I figure that it is good to have this equipment, as long as it is taken care of, it will last a lifetime. As much as it is rumored, I don’t think film is going away any time soon. Kodak seems to have a renewed interest in pushing its film lines, Fuji still has a fairly robust offering of films, Ilford has many wonderful black and white films and several other groups like The Impossible Project and Lomography are churning out new emulsions, and several smaller company’s are stepping in

to fill market niches that have been left open by Kodak exiting some of its lines. Traditional film is actually looking pretty safe;

Chemistry!

Liquid Chemistry

I have been stocking up on film and chemicals like the film apocalypse is just around the corner though just in case.

 

 

 

Photography Projects

  •  Camera Pass: I haven’t been able to work on anything… not a darn thing… though I have some good ideas. The camera pass is slowly working its way through the list. Someday, I’m sure it will get finished.
  • New Photography Project: Still flushing out some ideas but it is going to involve Doctor Who, cemeteries, and Kodak Traffic Film. Stay tuned for details.

Anyways, I make no promises that I’ll update this regularly, but we’ll see. Have fun everyone and thanks for reading!

App Review – Smart Light Meter Free

Hey everyone, just a quick post tonight.

I’ve started doing some medium format photography with a few older cameras, a TLR and an old Bellows camera (posts about those later). They are neat cameras, but the challenge with is that they do not have light meters on them, rather than guessing, I went to the internet to see what kind of options I had and I stumbled upon this app.

Smart Light Meter Free

Very easy to use, you load up the app, set your ISO, and then dial in either the shutter speed or F-stop and then hit the on button. Depending on which dial you “lock in” it will spit out the appropriate reading. When you hit off, it sticks with the last reading it took. I was running up to gravestones and trees for readings and such and it worked like a charm.

Screenshot of the app in action. (From the app page http://goo.gl/InzXv)

I’m using this app on my Droid 4 from Motorola, and it seemed pretty spot on once I developed the film. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the app on other phones and as always, your mileage will vary, but it seems to work pretty well. I’ll post a few shots here at the bottom post.

There is a free version of the app, and there is a paid version of the app that can be found here

Pros: Easy to use, Accurate, Can use F Stop or Shutter Speed.

Cons: Sometimes a bit finicky, my shutters speed were sometimes in between recommended, though that isn’t the apps fault.

Images shot with a Argus Argoflex using Tri-X 400 film that expired in 1990

medium-format226

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On Hubris…

I should have listened..

Ok… so Kodak was right…  you can’t put 120 film in the Kodak Brownie Target Six-20…

The other day I made a post about my Kodak Brownie Six-20 and how I was going to put 120 film in there and how I knew better.. how Kodak didn’t know anything even though the camera clearly said “CAUTION: THIS CAMERA DOES NOT TAKE 120 FILM”

I should have just stopped right there.. but no…. I didn’t.

I *thought* I had modded it to take 120 film… boasted that it would be awesome, and that I’d show them… ohh I’d show them…. what the hell did Kodak and their product development people know…

And I was struck down by the camera gods for my hubris. After getting to nearly the end of the roll of film that I had put in the camera it stopped advancing and bound up. After several attempts to “Hulk” it forward, I very carefully opened up the film compartment, and as I feared, the roll had bound up on the 120 side of the camera. The back half of the film was exposed, I don’t think it sealed properly and got some light leaks. I’ll probably still drop it off and see if anything came out on it to post up here.

So.. yeah… I promise to not taunt the film and Kodak gods again, at least when it comes to 620 film and cameras. I figured I’d give it a try. I didn’t hurt the camera, and I’m only out a roll of film that had been sitting in the freezer for a year or so.

Maybe next time I shouldn’t be so boastful and taunting.. lest I be struck down…

5 Months since I’ve last posted.. oof

Hey gang… few updates for you since it has been a while since I’ve posted…

First.. new camera!
My Dad likes to go to yard sales, auctions, and estate sales (who doesn’t) always comes up with new and interesting things. He surprised me by sending me this Brownie Target Six-20 camera made by Kodak. Other than being a little rough around the edges works well. The shutter works, and the lens is pretty clean on it and for being as old as it is (different resources I’ve found say that it is from late 40’s early 50’s) and seems to be light tight and advances film properly.

The only problem… it is only be only able to use 620 film, which is now long discontinued. There is even a little warning in the camera that says “ONLY TO BE USED WITH 620 FILM! DO NOT USE 120! ON PAIN OF DEATH AND DISMEMBERMENT!” or some other kind of onerous warning from Kodak to only use their proprietary, dead format film.

WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME KODAK?!?!

Anyways, after a little bit of investigating, and sacrificing an old roll of Fujichrome 120 64T film, I discovered that the only thing preventing me from using 120 was a little metal spring spacer that was only being held in with a small pin. Turns out it was easy enough to pull out with needle nose pliers. After a little cussing, and nearly ripping my finger open, I was able to get the 120 film in and advance properly. Once I shoot through this roll of film, I’ll open up the inside and show you the warning. It is a fun little box camera, the mirrors for aiming are blown out so you just have to aim it with your best guess.

I love the styling of this camera. Very art deco, and very friendly looking, like a face looking at you. The outer coating is either leather or faux leather, the film advance knob works, and the advance window is clean. I might try and clean it up a bit more to see if I can get it to shine again.

Like I said, earlier, I’ve got some Fujichrome 64T film in there now, all of the research I’ve done for this points to the film used during this time was really “slow” speed film, i.e. 25 – 50 ISO.. with 100 ISO being “Fast”. I’m going to pick up some Ektar film to throw in there and see how it comes out. I’m not too eager to see what the Fujichrome is going to look like since:

1. It was out of date when my friend Alliey was given it a few years ago. She told me she had it for a few years and it was sitting in a box of other random things. It has been sitting my in freezer for a year.
2. The first two shots are going to be burned because I was messing with it.
3. I’m shooting outside with Tungsten balanced film.

Ehh it is retro to make all your stuff like crappy right? 😀 I’ll let you know what it looks like when I get it developed.

Update 2: Camera pass!
It has been passed to 3 new people since I’ve updated it, it has now been all over North East Ohio and now Pittsburgh. I have to look at my list of people, but hopefully I’ll get it shipped out to the net few people here in the next week or so.

Update 3:
My buddy and Big, Tatar, has started a tumblr account. Go take a look here.

 

That is it for now, I will hopefully update a little bit more often than before. Take care guys, and feel free to leave some comments!

 

Camera Pass, Organization or lack there of, and links to more interesting peoples stuff…

Well, the camera has made its next pass! A friend and co-worker named Jamie has it. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. One of the interesting observations I’ve made as well as heard from the three people whom have had the camera so far is “I only get three shots! I don’t know what seems worthy of them!” I think that is one of the interesting things about this whole project is critically thinking about what is worth using a precious frame of film on. It is like the end of the world, zombies are advancing and you only have three bullets left… well not as dire.. but you get the point.

Anyways, it has been two weeks since I’ve posted so it is time to post something.

Organization or lack there of..

This is a screen shot of one of my image folders, as you can see there is a lot of discombobulation involved in it. It looks like a tornado hit it and spit everything back out again…

There are several programs that can help make sense of your pictures. Google Picasa is one and it is a free download. The nice thing is that it inherently reads RAW files no plugin required. It doesn’t allow you to do too much with editing, but it has basic color correction, levels, filters, and cropping abilities. Did I mention that it is a free download?

Photoshop Elements also has an organizer built into it. I haven’t messed around with the organizer side of things, but I have heard some really good things about it.

Once you choose an organizer, here are some tips to help make sure you can find things:

  1. Give your folder names a descriptive file name: i.e. London Day 6 May 23 2011
  2. Rename all of the files in that folder with the same naming convention, most programs will allow you to do a batch rename with an ascending number. No more _DSC13631 file names!! 🙂
  3. Tag your photos!! If you do it right when you download them from your camera, you will save yourself a lot of time. Since the tags are embedded into the file, they will be there no matter what program you are using. 10 years down the road when you are trying to find cat pictures, you’ll be able to search for “Cat” “Raymond” or “Fat” and pull up all of those pictures
  4. Back up your pictures in several places on several mediums! If you have the capability, I would suggest triplicate: On your main computer, on an external hard drive, burned to a DVD. I’d also keep a copy away from everything else. If something bad happens like your computer dies, basement floods, house burns down, aliens, you’ll at least have a backup copy of your work.

I’m not going to even get into my stack of slides and folder full of negatives… and the ones that are still hanging on the drying line… sheesh…

Anyways be kinds… back up and organize!

 

Link round up!

Cari, my wonderful wife has an insightful blog post about Killers of Productivity

Audrey who runs Lightbox Photography got some spiffy new business cards. I am not nearly as creative.. I thought about just getting a stack of $1 and writing my website in marker… kind of like Where’s George.. but.. well not.

Thanks for looking guys, what do you do to organize?

 

 

 

Photographic New Years Resolutions

I looked at the date of the last post I made and realized that I should post more, so I’m going to knock out a nice quick post here tonight!

This year, I’ve decided to actually write down some broad goals to aim for so that I can have push myself. So here are my photographic resolutions for this year

  1. Post on here more – If anything it will give me chance to keep track of different projects
  2. Shoot/Develop more film – I’ve got plenty of film in the freezer that needs shot.
  3. Keep working on photo projects and get put them for sale
  4. Work on technique
  5. Take more pictures!

Short list that seems pretty doable.

So what are your guys photographic resolutions this year?

Next Pass and Film hoarding…

Just a quick update, the camera has made its next pass to Ron! A good friend of mine and amazing photographer from work. I didn’t have a camera with me to record the pass but, he has it.

Anyways, just a short post tonight just to make sure that I keep up at it.

To be honest, I think I may have a slight film hoarding problem.

My “Film Empire” Notice the Arm and Hammer keeps it fresh.

Generally, I find really good deals on old stocks of film that has been sitting around for a while in interesting places especially in gas stations. Most gas stations would stock a few rolls of film since it doesn’t take up much space and it doesn’t need constant tending. You just put it on the shelf and voila someone comes in desperately needing a roll of film there it is! The gas station has saved the day. Well most of them are getting rid of their old rolls of film and generally you can find good deals on slightly outdated film and it is still perfectly usable It is a good way to pick up large bunches of film cheap. Other good places to pick them up is ebay of course, thrift stores and even Walmart occasionally.

Now that you have picked up a bulk of film, where are you going to get all of your new found film developed? Well, if I don’t need prints done, Target is the place to go! The photo lab at Target for next day developing will process C-41 for .99 cents a roll. The only downside is that they cut it in strips of 4 which makes scanning a bit of a pain but for .99 I can’t complain.

I love it, it is like a treasure hunt! You never know what you are going to get especially when you can pick up cameras or other random things for cheap!

So… any good finds lately? Cameras, film, records, or other random things?

 

What was your first camera?

The 1st pass is complete! I’ve gotten the camera back from Sue and I’m going to pass it off to the next photographer tomorrow. I’m glad it is going so well!

So anyways, Cari and I were talking about how I kind of became sucked into cameras and photography. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve really become fascinated by cameras, well at least with the operation and actual usage of them, but I do remember what my first camera was! It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 110 film camera.

The neat thing about this camera was that when you took a picture, it put an outline of Michelangelo on the negative so that when you got the prints developed, it showed up on the picture. I only ever remember shooting a few rolls of film on it and I doubt that any of the pictures are even around anymore. I got it for Christmas in the 2nd grade if I am remembering things correctly.

After this camera, I never really took any interest in photography. I remember using an old Super 8 camera to shoot some ninja movies in the back yard with the neighbors, sadly I never got those processed. I also had a Polaroid iZone that was a combination digital camera and Polaroid sticker camera. I think that was in 99-2000?

Besides those, my first “Real” camera that I claim as my own is this Diax 1A with a serial number of 50548.

My Diax 1A

According to the owner of the Diax site, mine is one of the earlier models made as the production run for this body started at 5XXXXX. This is a fully manual Rangefinder made by the W.Voss company of West Germany. The neat thing about this camera is that it had three interchangeable lenses: A 45MM, a 35MM and a 90mm lens. Depending on what lens you have mounted to the camera, you look through one of the viewfinders on top. The lens I have on currently (and from what I have been able to research, the standard lens) is the 45MM 2.8 and is a very snappy lens when you have it focused and set up correctly. I got this camera from the Dubiel Farm when Stanley, my great uncle, passed away. I found it in a drawer of random things and decided to grab it.

I started shooting on this camera with no idea what F-stops were, shutter speed, the difference between film speeds etc and a lot of the shots I took show that, but it pushed me towards wanting to learn more.

One of the advantages of this camera is that it is unobtrusive. I walked around Chicago O’Hare airport taking pictures of people with this camera and no one even bothered to stop me and ask what I was doing. It isn’t like walking around with a (D)SLR and all of your lenses, and the shutter click is super quiet. Add to this the classic look and you’ve got a fine piece of 60 year old camera. Once I dig up some shots from this camera I’ll post them up in a gallery.

 

So dear readers, do you remember you first camera? What did you start shooting on?

1st pass completed!

The camera has made its first pass!

I finished up my third shot this morning on the way to meeting up with the second photographer in this experiment. Deciding what I was going to take pictures of was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The first shot I think is going to be meh, but the second and third ones should be pretty good.

So, with my third shot, it was time to pass the camera on!

Why is it that photographers don't like to have their picture taken?

The next person to have the camera is a friend of mine from my days at the bike shop. Sue was in town today at the Ledges in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for her annual birthday weekend hike. She led a very informative journal through the ledges and the Pennsylvanian era rock formations and outcroppings.We crawled through rocks, and ancient structures. I had never been down there before so it was really interesting.

So Sue is taking shots 4-5-6 on the camera, and getting it back to me next weekend. After that it is probably going to Ron since he is the next easiest to get it to. ^_^

 

 

While we were out in the woods to give the camera, we joined up with a group called Why not adventure who sponsor hikes and other fun outdoors events. I’ll post some of the highlights of the day in a gallery below. I got some neat shots of the rocks and formations and it felt good to haul my butt out of bed at 7:30 on a Sunday to go for a hike. We got to meet a lot of new and fun people and we met Cari’s twin! I swear we didn’t plan it, they just both happen to like purple and went to Hiram.


Ledges