Saturday, March 30, 2019

Manic-expression conclusion and summary.

The first roll in this manic episode, with the Philadelphia Populist, took three days to expose. The second, in The Populist took six days. This last one with Neville took a little over two weeks but I made it through the rotation. The mania appeared to be abating and until yesterday, I hadn't taken a photograph in a week.

The first image in that first post was cropped to a square because I hadn't advanced the film far enough when loading. This amarylis dropping its pollen was deliberately cropped to improve the composition. I don't do that very often except to make the image level. I've been toying with the idea of making a 24x24mm populist.

An adventure from the last roll was getting caught putting my camera on top a display case in the Oshkosh Public Museum.  One of my strategies to manage this mania has been to use unusual angles, which turned out to be all high ones. I decided I should explore the view from near the floor.

Upstairs in the museum, the camera is sitting on the lowest step of a ladder leaned up against the wall opposite these frames, but that still makes it a pretty low perspective.

I continued the low point of view on the lanai during another snowfall.

Sunlight filtered through the trees in the late afternoon. A less extreme approach to the lowered point of view, but with the camera deliberately made level to keep the verticals parallel. Maybe I'll put a rising front on that 24x24mm camera.

In an intentional attempt to make the snow look awful, back to the mouse-eye view.

Normally when I put the camera this low, it's usually for a closeup of something on the ground.

I was a little disappointed that this leaf wasn't centered better, but as pinhole will serendipitously do, it yielded a kind of nice rule-of-thirdsy composition. I really like the glacier blue and the translucent ice.

Back inside the house, these white alstromeria outlasted their red and purple compatriots and became their own bouquet in the kitchen next to a selection of pinhole cameras.

Stewart, one of our cats, can hear a pinhole camera coming from the next room. One day, walking through the living room with the camera in my hand, I saw him sleeping on the footstool and tried just setting the camera on the top of the scratching post behind the couch. It worked but only a bit of his back and an ear ended up in the bottom of the picture.

He will sometimes let me come over and pet him and then he will go back to sleep. Later I put the camera on the table pointing directly at the footstool, and the next time he was asleep, succeeded in opening the shutter without him noticing. It was a dim afternoon so the exposure was pretty long and it looks like he left after about a third of it.

I liked the image that started this whole manic episode of the snowstorm from the windows in the front of the house, so I tried that again to catch the dawn from the sun room.

I tried again a few days later from the living room after a snowy night, this time a little earlier. I love the trail of the snow blower fairy's headlight as he passed by. He must have come early in the exposure because you can see the cleared path across the driveway. It doesn't look like much but this was really wet, heavy, icy snow.

I gotta quit getting up so early in the morning. Notice the unabashed exploitation of the wide angle to make me look taller.

When the sun is out there's always a sunbeam to catch. I like the crazy mix of sunbeams and reflections on the right side of the frame.

A sunbeam upstairs.

Burt leans into a sunbeam to bid you good-bye.

So, what have we learned?

You knew this already, but taking photographs with a pinhole camera, even a little one like this, is different from a fast lens and digital sensor. It takes some effort and time. The exposures are long and you have to get the camera in the right place on a stable support. You have to keep track of when you have to go and close the shutter.

It was interesting to try to force the process to see what I could come up with. It was fun and I think I ventured a few places I don't normally go. 35mm is cheap and easy so you can experiment freely with it. There are some things I might follow up with, using medium format.

One of the reasons I think people don't want to use 35mm is because the magnification makes the dust and other flaws more prominent, and they're a little shocked when they see the original scan. Retouching that dust and a few edits like rotating and cropping to make a picture level and adjusting the color balance and contrast can transform an image. It takes time, but I never really spend more than five minutes on one - less than I'd spend in the chemistry in a darkroom. I work on one while the next one is scanning.

I still love the image quality of 35mm pinhole that got me hooked on it in the first place.

What I'm trying to do seems to be to catch the quality of the light. You can make a composition out of anything but light is a transient thing you have to keep a look out for.

The snow is all melted and I'm free to roam the city with my medium format cameras and tripod, so this mania may be contained for the time being. However, I just bought two new desktop tripods and there is that idea of the square format camera that would get 12 more frames per roll of film.

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