Friday, October 19, 2018

Roadtrip: Rock and Rochester

Andy and Kristin bought a house, so Sarah and I decided to pack some family stuff and his Fender Blues Junior Amp in the trunk of the Mustang, and drive out to see them. We took the opportunity to indulge our museum and historic site habit along the way.

I took five cameras: The Populist, The New Glarus Populist, The Variable Cuboid with the 45mm front, The New Evil Cube and Long John Pinhole, all loaded with color film. All the images below are with the Populist except where otherwise noted.

Our first night was in a cluster of chain motels in the country, just off the Ohio turnpike. Oshkosh is on the eastern end of the Central Time Zone and Ohio is sort of on the western end of the Eastern Time Zone. We noticed that, according to the clock, the sun came up later. The sky was still pretty dawnish when I went out to the car and took this photo.

Then, I got Long John Pinhole out of the car to get a little closer.

Long John Pinhole - rising pinhole.
Cleveland was our first big city to drive into. Regular readers may recall my naive descriptions of the Raulf Hotel and the First National Bank in Oshkosh as tall buildings. It was kind of neat to see some really tall buildings, although we didn't spend much time among them.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Space-age architecture from I.M. Pei.

The building actually sticks out into Lake Erie and looks a lot different from the side than it does from the front.

The Populist

The exhibits seemed a little hit or miss, but the music was always loud. It was interesting. I had sort of a Punk reaction to it. Maybe I was just frustrated that there was no way to take pinhole pictures in the dark and benchless underground exhibit hall. When I encountered the nicely lit and tidy men's bathroom, I set the camera down on the floor and opened the shutter.

We drove on to Rochester. 

Our first visit the next morning was to George Eastman House, the St. Peter's Basilica for the photography enthusiast. The guide made the point that of course photography is encouraged inside, but no flash and no tripods.

A guided tour was beginning shortly after we arrived and as we sat down to wait at the end of the hallway, I set the Populist on the little tripod next to me on the bench. There were two docents looking right at it during most of the exposure.

If you're leaning on a railing holding the folded tripod legs under your hand, with the camera pointing into the room below, it doesn't really count as using a tripod, does it?

The private garden beyond the windows in the room above is open to visitors, with many convenient places to put a tabletop tripod.

It's bordered by a shady pergola.

There was a neat exhibition by Gail Albert Halaban: Out My Window. She uses social media to coordinate the action of the residents of buildings and to direct them to exact poses and positions for her images. I don't think I'm doing her prints much justice here. This was an inner room in the gallery not visible from the hall and we were all alone, so I set the little tripod and camera on the bench while we looked around the exhibit. We weren't alone long, several visitors came through to look at the photographs, one of whom is faintly recorded looking at the right hand picture. Nobody seemed to notice the camera at all. I just read a photography blogger's post where they went out with a pinhole camera and were immediately approached and engaged in conversation about it. One of the comments was something like: "That's what happens with pinhole." It's only happened to me twice. I was amazed on this trip that although dozens of people looked right at me taking pictures and a few even made some photography related remarks, no one mentioned the cardboard boxes on the tripod.

I had this strange fantasy that to cater to the fanatical photographers making a pilgrimage, the gift shop would have a huge display of all kinds of Kodak film you could buy. It was a little disappointing that they only had 35mm rolls of Portra 400 and a few Fun Savers. It might have been quite appropriate to old George's ideas to buy a Fun Saver there - it works much like a No.1 Kodak. I confessed my delusion to the clerks. They said the film usually got outdated before it sold but they usually also had Tri-X.  A while later, just as we were about to leave, one of the clerks saw me down the hallway and ran over to let me know they had just received a fresh shipment of Tri-X.  Now I have a $13 roll of Tri-X that I have to do something significant with. 

They also had a few pinhole camera kits similar to what you can find on-line. There was no rule against tripods on the grounds, so I got out the medium format cameras and the big Manfrotto.

The front facade of the house facing East Avenue.

The Variable Cuboid with the 45mm front - rising pinhole.

The Porte Cochere.

The New Evil Cube - rising pinhole.

A leafy wall in the back with a cluster of utilility pipes under a cover. What did you expect from me?

The New Evil Cube - rising pinhole.

We next drove across town to Susan B. Anthony's house. A very interesting and inspiring tour.  The bump-out bay on the left edge of the frame and the entire third floor were built to accommodate the National Suffrage Movement. Normally, I'm a little critical of wide angle cameras tilted up making verticals converge, but in this case it gives the house a dynamic stance that makes it look like it's ready to go out and take on The Man. It was a little hard to hear about all this during the last throes of the Supreme Court confirmation. I know that about 80% of my readers are from the U.S. Go out and vote next month. Smash the Patriarchy.

Later, we took advantage of the evening-hours night at the University of Rochester Art Gallery, conveniently just around the corner from our hotel. A cool feature was that they displayed a contemporary work of art in almost every gallery. It was related to the historical period of the room with the caption: "What's this doing here?."

1 comment:

  1. in 2003 I was stuck in Rochester due to hurricanes having shut down most flight for two days. Took a taxi to the Eastman museum. Interested to learn that it was down to local enthusiasts to save the house, let alone bits of technology. After the tour I walked back to my hotel downtown and was told one shouldn't realloy do that, too dangerous.