Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fun guys at Mosquito Hill.

I guess the warm and wet summer we had has something to do with it, but there seems to be a bumper crop of mushrooms at Mosquito Hill.  I was going to try to look them up and identify them, but there's over 600 varieties native to Wisconsin.

Stopped at the bottom for the slope that goes all the way to the top, and only after seeing the film, noticed that there were a bunch of mushrooms in the right hand foreground. They seem to favor clustering around the birches.

A classic toadstool

A group of toadstools with more dome-like tops.

A yellow-orange sunburst button group. Doesn't Gibson make Les Pauls with this color scheme?

We haven't been to Mosquito Hill as much as usual this year, but this is the scene near the double birch on the north path I picked last spring to follow through the seasons.

And it's partner looking down the path

The double birch featured in these scenes was the location of one of the more spectacular fungulous displays.

There were cascades of these things all over the place.

Probably the most impressive was this wiggly stripe across the path.

This was about the biggest of these shelfy things.

We encountered this rather large puffball in the meadow. (extra pinhole points for footography).

In other news, one of the old guys is looking a little late-Octoberish.

But there were some hangers on from the angiosperms.  These little purple asters are extremely tough and don't go away until they're under the snow.

The yellow flowers in the prairie are starting to get really crazy looking.

The oxbow is beginning to get a tinge of autumn.

And the frog pond, abstract as usual.

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Left alone with fruit and vegetables.

I recently burned the onions when I wasn't paying attention a couple times, so I've been making sure I stayed in the kitchen and watched them while they cook.  There's also been a lot of produce around, this is right next to the west window of the kitchen and lately this happens just before sunset when the sun is streaming in, and of course, there's usually a pinhole camera sitting on the kitchen table.

It all started with this odd arrangement on an ear of corn.

Of course a lot of this produce is getting chopped up with some extra left over.

They come in all sizes and colors

You can photograph them from either side.

They often sit in this bowl for a while.

In various combinations.

And some you have to handle very carefully.

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Populist for Oshkosh

I ride my bike around Oshkosh a lot, and the primary impression is that it's really flat. The chamber of commerce emphasizes that Winnebago is Wisconsin's most level county.  On top of that I doubt that there are more than 10 buildings that are more than three stories high. So it seemed to me that a Panoramic camera of some sort might have some utility.

I've done this before.  A few years back on f295 someone posted about a camera they had made with a dominoes box with a format of 24 x 96 mm. I don't remember the distance to the pinhole, but it was fairly short.  So I made a Populist at 24mm with that 24x96mm format.  I occasionally got a picture with the full format, but mostly the image only covered about 72mm before fading to black.

This time to increase the image coverage, I increased the distance to the pinhole to 35mm, and made the format 24x72 mm. Mr. Pinhole says it only covers 67mm, but with burning and dodging, I thought I could get a fairly uniform exposure all the way out to the end.  It covers a hair over 90 degrees.

Instead of the folded internal structure, I just made two little boxes attached to the ends for the film bays, raised up to the height of the camera with a couple pieces of foamcore.  I put foamcore on the top and bottom of the image chamber to keep it stiff. But otherwise it's a Populist.  Again, I hand drilled a pinhole, this time .26mm.

The first roll through, the clicker failed and I overlapped most of the images.  I've often mentioned that the clicker was the trickiest part of making a Populist. It can only extend above the divider about 1mm or it just folds over when you push the back of the camera on. It occurred to me that I could put a piece of card stock in the back of the camera with a little cutout to give the clicker a little more room. That seems to have worked. Funny story: When I went out to test the camera it was sunny and I needed a piece of black card stock to cover the pinhole with until the camera stopped moving from opening the shutter with these short exposures.  I just picked up an old piece from the workshop cameras and cut off a bit with a scissors.  When I went to make this layer for the clicker space, this piece turned out to be exactly the right size!  (Not exactly Ripley's Believe-it-or-not, I guess)

I only got several blocks from my house before I found an appropriate subject: the apartment complex at Fairacres which has one of the the storm water runoff wetlands behind it. This is only the middle about 60mm of the image because of the overlap problem.

Got the full frame with these doors at the partially torn down factory next to the railroad tracks, but it was kind of overexposed and there was some flare from the sun just over the roofline.

About the best was the north wall of Kolf Sports Center.  I specifically chose the composition because of the dark tree in the center and the relatively bright walls and lawn that would reduce the vignetting somewhat.

I was trying to keep the camera level not only horizontally, but also up and down, but setting up at the edge of a busy street to photograph the offices of Meritor Corp, I guess I pointed it up a little.  (This plant was where North American Rockwell began.  They no longer have anything to do with it.  It's still an active heavy industry plant right at the edge of the University)

I think this camera has some potential and I've got it reloaded and ready for another bike ride.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Portra 160 in the Evil Cube.

Last Christmas, Sarah gave me 10 rolls of Portra 160, which I had never used before, in 120 format. I was already planning the Evil Cube and it's been in the freezer since. After I certified the camera for light-tightness and reliability of the film transport, I started exploring the new film.

So, I started down the garden path again, right after a brief, but intense thunder storm.

A classic bowl of fruit.

Fruit on the vine.

The door to Sarah's studio.  To get this image, the door needs to be closed, so I had to set up the shot, open the shutter, open the door and get out without whacking the tripod, close the door, and reverse the process a half hour later.

This isn't exactly the composition I was planning, but there's not a lot of room to get behind a fully extended tripod in a bathtub, and I kind of like the geometric composition that resulted.

The promised color retake of a piece from a previous post. You can see why color tells a much different story than the black and white version.

And, the corner of the bedroom. I think this image represents much of what I want to achieve with this camera.

All with the Evil Cube, .29mm pinhole, 6 cm from 6x6cm frame on Portra 160.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Down the garden path, again.

Honestly, I've been leading you down the garden path quite a bit lately. Let's go all the way to the end.

At the entrance, the habaneros are doing really well.

The anemone actually is blocking the path now and you have to go around the herb garden the other way.

The white rose bush is not quite back to it's glory prior to the polar vortex, but it's getting better.

Just beyond the arbor, the Black-eyed Susans have become lazy Susans after a particularly heavy rain.

The white half of the crabapple yields green apples.

and the pink side, red apples.

They're all over the place.

I noticed a bit of red out by the corner of the garage, and thought for a minute I had discovered privet berries, but it's a single nightshade vine wrapped up in the privet.

With a volunteer squash underneath, probably escaped from the compost barrel.

And a single phlox beginning a new colony under the privet.

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A new Evil Cube

The Glenmorangie Evil Cube was an interesting try, but because of limits on the size of the original box and limits I set myself to feature the design of the original whiskey packaging, it never lived up to my expectations.  The nail in the coffin was that the images it produced were only 6x5 cm. Just wasting that much film made it evil.

But I was still enamored of the format. Work I had done with the 120 Stereo Populist made me want to play with the 6x6cm square format more.  I liked the 6cm pinhole to film distance with that size film (vertically about the same as the Populist), and I'm enough of a metalhead to be attracted to 666 numerology. I intended to make this camera for a long time. I bought the cardstock about a year ago, did the template drawing on the computer last spring, printed the template about the beginning of July and finally made the camera Labor Day weekend.

It's all made from flat stock put together with Aleenes tacky glue and 3M#235 tape. I did one template for the top and bottom of the film holder and outer box, and one for the front and back. I taped the template to the cardstock and cut out the parts. The internal dividers and the outer sides I just measured and cut to fit after I had everything else put together.

The front and film holder are one part and the outside box another.

I used some cut off nails to insert into the film reels at the bottom to keep them parallel.  The winders are oak 3/8" dowels with the ends sculpted to insert in the slot on the 120 reel.  The film loads in the normal box camera up-and-around-the-sides style.

The collars on the winders are made out of several layers of 3M #235. That was easier to cut than anything else, and it's flexible and thin enough to slide between layers.

I extended the front a little around the sides and had to add some baffles and put some felt inside the channel where the back joins the front to eliminate light leaks after testing it in the sun with a strip of photographic paper. A second test was completely clear.

The flexible winder collars slip under the front of the box and the rubber bands keep them firmly down on top the camera and keep them from falling out and getting lost.

It requires a loosen-supply-then-advance-the-takeup method for winding the film. but it seems to go smoothly and fast enough for pinhole.

I've been using Gilder electron microscope apertures for the last ten years.  They're so perfectly round, on really thin metal and are terribly cheap compared to pinholes sold specifically to be used for pinhole photography, but lately I've been feeling a conflict of making a homemade camera, and then buying the pinhole.  Ever since I got a scanner where I could really accurately measure them, I've been hand drilling the pinholes in .003 inch brass. I hold the brass against the hard surface of a table and just pierce it with the tip of the needle. It was pretty easy to get it to be .29mm, which Mr. Pinhole says is ideal for 6cm from the film. It's not as perfect as the Gilder aperture, but it's not bad, and the pictures look pretty good.

The shutter and a shutter for the film counter are three layer sliding shutters.  That works out pretty well in the front since the pinhole is recessed enough that it makes a usable "lens" hood.

I stuck some beaded pins for viewfinding gun sights and covered it all over with 3M #235 for that leatherette feeling. After that long delay in getting started, I loaded it with role of 400, exposed it all and developed it in Microphen 1:1. in one day.

This was about ten o'clock in the morning,

For this picture, the tripod was leaning against the couch where, like a genius, I decided to sit to prevent the cats from bumping the tripod.  This image really screams for color so I'm planning to do it again (and go to another room during the exposure.)

I spent about a year once photographing nothing but this kitchen window.

I wasn't even in the house during most of this exposure.

This kind of strikes me as having kind of a Bruce Davidson or Diane Arbus feel to it, except there's no people in it.

Would you believe it was me if I didn't include a self-portrait?

I kinda like this camera so far. Put one of the rolls of Portra 160 that Sarah gave me for Christmas in it.

I was a bit surprised that it turned out to be so compact, so it's not only evil, but it's sneaky too.  This should be fun.