Friday, August 31, 2018

From f295: Beantown and Back; my first travel series

F295 was an international discussion forum begun and administered by Tom Persinger. Originally just about pinhole photography, it expanded into all kinds of alternative methods.  I was the first member about a minute or two after I got a message announcing it on Gregg Kemp's legendary Pinhole Visions email list. I immediately posted the first picture. My basic format of pictures and text began there. It was active from 2004 until 2015 but it remains on-line. Recently it disappeared from the web for a few days, and that prompted me to decide to reprise some of my favorites here at Pinholica, for backup if no other reason. Where possible I'll upload the original image files and occasionaly edit for a typo or grammatical error.

The Roadtrip, Abroad and other travel posts with The Populist and a desk-top tripod on this blog began with this one on January 23, 2008.

Weekend before last I attended a conference at Boston College on "Immersive Education," using 3D virtual environments to teach. All taken with the Populist. (Yes, I know, I should have taken the Stereo Populist for this particular event.)

Outagamie County Regional Airport. Doesn't it look cold? United 7213 - On time

O'Hare. United 882. One hour late.

The excitement of business travel. Every hotel room in the United States looks exactly like this. Most have two beds though.

The conference took place at Boston College. We got there a little early and they got started late. This is the rotunda of Gossen Hall. Pretty fancy college the Jesuits run there. It was pretty dark and the place was deserted so I left the camera there while I went to the first demonstrations and came back and got it about half an hour later.

I did get to see my son's apartment while I was there. Don't be alarmed, it's actually a fairly decent place, it's just that his decorating style is a little post-apocalyptic. Of course when one of your parents comes to town, you can expect a free meal out. Here he and his girlfriend decide from all the possibilities. I'm standing behind him talking to his mother on his cell phone during most of the exposure.

The restaurant they picked has 85 kinds of beer on tap and 240 kinds of bottles. What do think that says about what he thinks about his dad? The food was good, though.

Here's one from a session on assessment and learning theory on Sunday. More of that fancy Jesuit college. On the panels of the barrel vaulted ceiling are quotes from Plato in Greek, Webster in English, and Virgil in Latin.

(Technical note. All the above on Walgreens Studio 35, the following on Kodak Gold.)

Another view of the lecture hall. Fancy, but cold. Notice most of the participants are wearing coats. It was like this all weekend. I'm not sure if this was Yankee economy or some kind of idea of penance.

Finally, on our way home. Sunset at Logan Airport.

United 545 from Logan and 5939 from O'Hare - on time.

I didn't include this in the original post: The Populist has a .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Long John Pinhole

I've been carrying around the Moderately Telephoto Pinhole Camera in a Plain Brown Wrapper lately and came to think the camera wasn't completely opaque. It seemed to be fine in lower light situations around the house and on cloudy days, but out in the summer in bright light there seemed to be a few very dense, low-contrast negatives which were denser at the top and bottom of the negative than in the center as if there were photons sneaking through the back and over and under the opaque backing of the film.  If an image was done just after another so it wasn't in the bright light as long, the problem wasn't apparent. The inside of this camera was painted with black interior latex paint. It sure looks opaque, but it could pass some light in the bright sun or when the camera is out for a while even in cloudier situations.

So I put four heavy coats of black Krylon on the inside.

I recently wondered why long image forming objectives were called by the greek-derived word telephoto and short objectives were just referred to by their wide angle of view. It turns out that a telephoto lens is one with a special group of lenses that makes the overall device physically shorter than it's nominal focal length.  I can't use that term for a pinhole camera.

When painting it, I didn't mask off the outside and got quite of bit of paint spatter on it, so it's not in a Plain Brown Wrapper anymore. The punk look of the paint spatter is kind of cool.

So henceforth it shall be called Long John Pinhole!

There's a long tradition of long things being named John.  There's Long John Silver, the archetype of a pirate whom we all speak like in September. Long John Baldry was a favorite member of the British Blues movement.  The one piece union suit workers wore to deal with unheated factories and farms are Long Johns.  An elongated cuboid of fried pastry dough covered with icing is called a Long John.

So out around town in the sunlight to see how this worked out.

I've noticed the way the morning sun lit this back wall of The Light Of The World, Church Of The Living God, Pillar And Ground Of The Truth, on previous bike rides and returned several times to try to photograph it.  On separate occasions I encountered: three children playing in the front yard next door; an ugly giant SUV parked in front of it; garbage day; an occupied police car parked across the street; and the entire congregation restoring the inside. Finally, last week I got there and the light was perfect and the whole block was deserted.  With just Long John Pinhole along I needed to be out in the street a bit to get the wall parallel to the film.  I worked out the distance, leveled the camera and measured the exposure while still on the curb. After stepping out in the street and starting to adjust the camera pointing, a young women came out to let her dog pee, which appears in the lower left corner.  I explained that I was taking a photograph of the church.  She didn't reply.

While on the subject of churches and putting a tripod in the middle of the street, I've photographed this scene before, but with a 45mm camera.  With Long John, it's much safer on the curb and the compression of the narrow angle makes the proximity of Boots Saloon and St. Mary's school and church more pronounced.

The Howard is a newly restored event and performance venue.  It used to be the Eagles Club.  When Andy was in high school the Madrigal Dinners were held there, the first gig of his band Independent Rain took place in one of the smaller rooms in the front and for a few years the Winter Farmer's Market was held there with a full bar available. It's visible for a mile with the First National Bank looming behind it when you look straight down School Street. As you get closer and the relative distance to them changes, the bank recedes until it's just a detail in the background.

I had noticed the stairway and various balconies on the side and came back to photograph them in the morning light.  When I saw the ladder leaning on the wall, the spirit of William Henry Fox Talbot overcame me. I parked my bike near the street, set up tripod and camera, and then walked into the parking lot toward the building to frame the picture. Turning around after closing the shutter, there were three workers I hadn't noticed sitting on the back of a furniture truck taking their coffee break, watching me. Assuming they wondered about the cardboard box, I told them I was taking a photograph.  One replied that he guessed that, and wondered of what.  I said "Lines, shapes, shadows. A historic building. It tells a story."  He said he could understand that.

Practically across the street from Merrill School is Firehouse No. 8, most recently housing a public relations firm and two posh apartments, and now for sale. I wonder if the tower is part of one of the apartments.

There's an apocryphal story that at the meeting to incorporate the city in 1853, it was named after Chief Oshkosh because the recent settlers from the east, who called their settlement Athens north of the river and Brooklyn to the south, split the ballot and the otherwise minority earlier French and Indian residents voted for the name of the chief and won. This memorial to Chief Oshkosh was created in 1926, 68 years after his death. It's currently being restored.  There's some doubt that it's his body buried there and just about everything about whole memorial is erroneous.  He had a pretty challenging life. In 1827, The U.S. Government got impatient dealing with a loose conglomeration of Menominee leaders spread over half of Wisconsin and appointed him chief so he's the one who shows up on some pretty sketchy treaties.  He did keep his people from being relocated to Minnesota and on the reservation he negotiated for, set up a sustainable logging operation which is still running.  Later in life, he got pretty disillusioned and died in a bar fight. In an ironic twist, between the logging and casinos, the tribe has done quite well in the 21st century and purchased the naming rights to the new Menominee Nation Arena on the south side.

So did the extra layers of paint fix the problem with my negatives? I'm not sure. The dense areas on the bottom are gone, but there were a few negatives that had the issue at the top and overall fogging.  I now think what's going on is plain old fashioned overexposed skies being diffracted by the smaller than optimum pinhole.  I did the digital equivalent of burning through the density and using a number 4 filter and got some kind of dreamy looking scenes people often associate with pinhole.

I wanted to show both sides of the north inlet to Miller's Bay but I missed and you can just barely see the tip of Ames Point on the left.

The south end of Miller's Bay is enclosed by Monkey Island, a settling pond for the city's water supply.  There's a second inlet between it and the park.

All with Long John Pinhole. .33mm pinholes - one on-axis with the film plane and one 12mm above the axis - 120mm from a 6x6cm frame on Ilford HP-5 developed in Rodinal 1:50.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer in the City

This July we have had almost continuously partly sunny skies with all sorts of dramatic clouds.

I set forth on several rollin' pinholin' adventures to take advantage of the interesting backgrounds.

Built as a response to Wisconsin's first-in-the-nation legislation establishing technical schools, The Beach Building was the Orville Beach Manual Training School from 1912 until the '70's. It was converted to offices, and now apartments. It was designed by noted local architect William Waters, but the front is probably more typical of his work than this back corner.

The Mainview Apartments, originally the Hotel Raulf, looms over the local office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

You can always depend on the Catholic Church for architecture. While I was taking this a preschooler was clinging onto the playground fence thirty yards away yelling "What are you doing?" over and over as loud as he could.  I told him I was taking a photograph. He ran away toward an unseen companion repeating "He's taking a photograph!" at similarly high volume.

Where the hotel parking structure joins the hotel.

The loading docks at the Convention Center.

The Canadian National railroad bridge in it's normal raised position silhouetted against the sky.  This was about a 4 second exposure.  There were at least two boats in the picture that moved too much to be recorded, but the ducks in the lower right stayed put.

This one cloud seemed to make a composition all by itself.  Looks more like a ducky than a horsie to me.

Sailboat masts at the Yacht Club.

Clouds over the four backstops at East Hall Field.  This cloud looks more like an Angry Bird.

The front of a building for a change.  Merrill School. This is the elementary school side.  The second floor windows on the right were Andy's fourth grade classroom where we did a pinhole experience. This is the door they came out of to take their photographs and go back to the improvised darkroom in the copier room in the basement.  What originally caught my eye was the little garden plot planted by students and now completely overgrown in mid-July,

The corner of the middle school side under the shade of this really giant oak.

Our unruly magnolia doing it's impression of a Picasso sculpture

The above were done with the new Evil Cube.  I confess that I used the rising pinhole for all of them.

I also had the Moderately Telephoto Pinhole Camera in a Plain Brown Wrapper with me.  As with the last roll through this camera, in addition to clumsy double exposures and bumping the camera, I also had what I thought were some pretty odd low contrast exposures.  I now think this camera is not totally opaque but I did get a few exposures that were OK.

The Mainview Apartments again, although this time the slight fogging changes the tone and makes it look like it's about to be flattened by an alien death ray.

The Canadian National Bridge lowered with a train going over it. The barriers came down just as I got there.  I tried to get the tripod detached and set up with the camera on it while still sitting on the bike and nearly fell over three times. The train was nearly done by the time I was ready. I held onto the tripod to keep upright and seem to have given it a bit of a shake, but that gives it a kind of ghostly historic vibe.  This was the location of the first railroad bridge to cross the Fox in 1861 carrying all those wood and paper products from the factories powered by the river between Oshkosh and Green Bay to markets in the rest of the country.

There was another railroad bridge up river a mile, but it was dismantled around the turn of the millenium. The area across the river used to be pretty heavy industry centered around the Universal Foundry. It was a brownfield contamination site for years. About the time the bridge came down, the state and city created a program to clean up such sites and provide tax incentives and it's now all giant apartment buildings. The water tower is brand new. They just took down the old one last month. The tripod was sitting on a rocky breakwater on the riverbank.  My first attempt was ruined when I nearly fell in the river and grabbed the tripod for support again. I also took a second exposure before I realized I had turned the camera a little and so took this third one. A good bit of why I think the camera isn't totally opaque is that these exposures made rapidly one after another don't show much sign of the fogging.

Seduced by another cloud. Again, the previous frame was very dense and low contrast, but I was under a pretty thick cloud when I made this seconds later and it's a completely normal exposure.

The first twelve (!) with The New Evil Cube. .3mm pinhole 6cm from 6x6cm frame located 15mm above the axis of the film plane, with Kodak TMax 100.

The last four with The Moderately Telephoto Pinhole Camera in a Plain Brown Wrapper. .33mm pinhole 12cm from 6x6cm frame located 12mm above the axis of the film plane, except the one of the train which was done with the on-axis pinhole, with Ilford HP5.

Both developed in Rodinal 1:50