Saturday, February 24, 2018

Thin Lizzy


I've been saving this Guiness six-pack carton for some time.  I intended to make a 35mm camera to take on our trip to Europe, but something else got in the way, and I ended up taking another camera to carry in my pocket.

Although most of my cameras are somewhat wide-angle, I've shied away from the extreme end, mostly because I dislike vignetting, but that's kind of a limiting attitude, so this seemed like an opportunity to use the Guiness packaging.  A six pack doesn't really have enough cardboard to make much of a long camera, so it was a natural to go shorter. Supper Club Shorty brought me down to 35mm, so I did this one at 30mm - a 90 degree angle of view on a 6x6cm format.  I have made one camera this short before, but it had other issues.


The design is the same on both sides, but on the rear shutter, I lost the little round piece I cut out of the harp, so I thought the most appropriate substitution was the Art from Arthur Guiness's signature.


The winders are my standard 3/8 inch dowels whittled to fit in the slot of a 120 reel.  Because I like the look and the extra torque for winding I glued them into some cut-off cork stoppers.  The problem with this scheme is that the winders are only held in because they fit tightly into the slot.  The problem arises because different film manufacturers have different size slots.  If the winder fits tightly into the narrowest, it will fall right out of the widest.  The answer is that most pinholey of solutions, more tape. I place several layers of tape over the tab until it fits very snuggly into the slot and stays reliably put.

Otherwise it's a standard 120 Populist.


The optimal pinhole size for this distance to the film is .231mm.  After drilling several holes closer to .3, I quit when I got this one at .20 that looked pretty good.  That makes it f150.

I loaded it with Lomography 400 to try it out. I was surprised the vignetting didn't bother me that much.


The wide angle lets me get the entire fern stand in the dining room window without moving the dining room table.


One issue with extreme wide-angle is that if the camera isn't perfectly square with the subject it's particularly noticeable.


I did a little better this time.


One of my pet peeves with extreme wide angle cameras is that people don't get close enough to fill the frame.  You really have to get right in there with things.


Some times you get too close.  When I pulled open the shutter, it hit the subject and pushed it back a bit..  After a few seconds, I decided to stick the knife into the now empty foreground.


Buddha's corner following the post-Yule transition.


Sitting in my usual work space writing out a shopping list with a freshly baked loaf of bread and five pinhole cameras.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Across the ice on foot


For the past several years, my former colleagues, Maureen Muldoon and Peter Westort have walked across Lake Winnebago on the first weekend of sturgeon spearing. I've never been on Lake Winnebago even in a boat and I've wanted to go along ever since I heard about them doing it, and this year I thought I was ready. I wasn't really able to do this before this year, but I was pretty sure my new steel knees could handle it. 

This year Peter had a visiting professorship in Peru so he couldn't make it, but another colleague, Bill Wachholz, and his wife Margaret, volunteered to join the adventure.

Lake Winnebago is 10 miles wide directly across at Oshkosh.

We started at Maureen's house several blocks from the lake.


We left the shore at the end of Merritt Avenue at the south end of Menomonie Park, about where we saw the ice shoves when the ice broke up last year.


Merritt Avenue doesn't so much end as just continues out onto the lake. It was snowing just a bit and you could barely see the other shore.


Much of the traffic on the lake is ATVs and snowmobiles, so just off shore is a pretty sizable parking lot full of trucks and trailers.  Seems a little weird to concentrate that much weight in one spot, but the ice is suppose to be 20 inches thick and seems to be handling it.  Here Maureen takes advantage of one to put on her ice cleats.


Bill checks his cleats on the ice.


The roads are maintained by various fishing clubs around the lake.  There are several giant cracks crossing the lake that push up shoves. The clubs place temporary bridges across them. One of the gaps going north and south is just a few hundred yards off shore.


Trucks and ice shanties are clustered around the lake and get thinner the farther you get out on the lake.  This is about the last bunch about three miles out. (I have no idea what the streak in the upper right is.)


Occasionally the sun would pop out and highlight the relief of the snowdrifts and tracks.  The road parallels one of the large cracks that goes all the way across the lake, silhouetted at the top of the frame.


There are less severe cracks of various widths every several yards along the way.


The major cracks, and the road, are marked by discarded Christmas trees placed on the ice every tenth of a mile. Major waypoints are marked by multiple trees.  Here, five miles out, we're right in the middle.


Despite the emptiness of the middle four miles, occasionally a set of tracks would head off the road.


Approaching the shore at Quinney.


We rewarded ourselves with beer, burgers and fries at a basic Wisconsin bar a few yards past the shore, and got a look at at least one sturgeon being registered, although at just over three feet long, a rather small one.


All with the PrePopulist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x50mm frame on Kodak Gold 200.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Slightly distant domestics

With the Moderately Telephoto Pinhole Camera in a Plain Brown Wrapper.

In Eau Claire when we first lived together, we passed this alabaster Buddha in a store window on the way from our apartment to the Joynt. Sarah got it for me for my birthday.


You can tell from his hat that it's winter.


Glassware is a common assignment in photography class. Flirting with refraction here again.



Butter in a white dish. Not as common as eggs, but a popular food assignment in color photography class.


I can't unsee that face.


I seem to have a thing for squares lately.


Another tissue inspired composition.



Birthday roses.


Flowers just to brighten the table in January.


The cats' perch in the sun room windows.


Upstairs again. A calmer view of the bath products.


And, a sunny window.


All with the Moderately Telephoto Pinhole Camera in a Plain Brown Wrapper. .33mm pinhole 120mm from 6x6cm frame.  Portra 400.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Nutcracker in the Castle

Over the holidays, our local art museum, a mansion surrounded by gardens, decorates with a Nutcracker theme, complete with acting and ballet.

In November, The Populist needed more tape, and I couldn't find the New Glarus Populist, when one day I was going out and thought I needed a 35mm camera with me so I grabbed the vintage PrePopulist, which has a 24x50mm semi-panoramic format. It had for some reason been stripped of it's shutter. I ripped the shutter off a 24x96mm camera I wasn't likely to use again and taped it on to the PrePopulist.  As it turned out I didn't take any pictures that day. When I got home I added some new viewfinders, and I ended up just carrying that camera around for two months.

Just before The Paine took the Nutcracker down, Sarah and I went over there so she could unleash the D750 on the decorations.  I didn't expect to take any pictures. Tripods are not normally allowed except by advance arrangement, so it's a pretty tough assignment for pinhole.  However, for the Nutcracker, they place a book stand in each room opened to a page from the story which is interpreted by the room decorations.  Under the book is a small shelf.  Just big enough to put a table-top tripod on.

The dining room is the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Too bad you can't see the outrageous pile of sweets on the table.  There is kind of a pinhole treat though.  The curved chair back overlaying the mullions of the window and a silhouette of the cake toppers look for all the world like it's being distorted by a lens.


The Breakfast Room, a glassed in porch, is the Land of Snow, echoing the view outside.


Mrs. Paine's drawing room may have been the dance of the flowers.


Another pinhole treat. All these little tree lights are a great model for diffraction.  For you fans of Lord Rayleigh, here's a full resolution crop which depicts the Airy disks that those equations predict.  n.b. .15mm Gilder electron microscope aperture, 24mm from the film.


The Chinese Dance takes place in the Great Hall.  The camera this time is on a handrail.  The trees to the left are just barely perceptibly rotating.


Upstairs they give up the ballet pretext and characterize it as the Stahlbahm family home. They don't have the books anymore, but each room has a freestanding lecturn with some text about the room that will hold a desktop tripod. Here in the sitting room I think is where she may have gotten the Nutcracker.


The parents' bedroom.


Mom's closet.


On the stairway landing is Herr Drosselmeyer's workshop.


The Gothic gallery overlooking the garden was originally built as a place for musicians to entertain guests in the Great Hall behind it below, but it never got finished. Now it's full of built-in cases to display objects, containing - what else - nutcrackers.


All with the PrePopulist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x50mm frame.