Thursday, May 28, 2020

Strays and also-rans

Lately, I’ve been mostly doing posts based on a theme or project, but inevitably there are going to be a few exposures that just happen.

When I was testing the Little Black Cube, I was reminded why I like the New Evil Cube that it was based on so much. I loaded it up with Fomopan 100 and set out with no particular objective in mind.

Some of my favorite scenes downtown involve the First National Bank building looming over the smaller structures around it. I’ve photographed it with the narrow angle 200mm front for the Variable Cuboid a couple times, but with a wider angle camera like the 60mm Evil Cube, if you get close, the foreground buildings obscure the tall structure, and from farther away, there’s usually some big SUV in the foreground. (I know, in the pinhole world, 60mm is hardly extreme wide angle).

During the pandemic shutdown, the parking lot was empty. An unfortunate merger of the false front of the Beckwith Hotel building and the Bank. Would have been better if I’d moved to the left a couple feet.

Castle-Pierce Printing has a small sales office downtown with an antique press by the window featuring this big flywheel.

I’m always attracted to bricked over windows. I guess it was easier to put up a wall inside rather than build the scaffolding it would have taken to do it flush with the outside.

More bricked up windows and an obviously long abandoned loading dock. Anyone else think it looks like a cubist covered up that doorway?

Looking down the Fox toward Lake Winnebago.

Looking across the lake. The exposure was as fast as I could flip a card away from and back over the pinhole and short enough to capture waves on the surface.

Looking back at the clouds along the breakwater at Ames Point.

Then it was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. I did a series of self-portraits with Thin Lizzy and the 10th Anniversary iPhone box camera which included my submission to the WPPD gallery, but I still had a few frames left in the iPhone Box. It was a nice sunny day so I went outside.

The remnants of a hydrangea before it’s resurrection in the spring.

The south wall of the Sun Room, from the outside.

A close up of the ivy along the foundation.

There’s no reshooting since your photo has to be done on Pinhole Day, so I like to make at least a few exposures with a second camera, especially after the incident with the camera in the bath water. I still had the rest of the film in Evil Cube, so I continued with that.

The base of Sarah’s grandmother’s sewing machine that we rescued from a junk pile and has been a plant stand in the garden ever since.

A planter hung on the side door of the garage.

Spenser lying in the sun.

My last attempt for Pinhole Day with an exposure from 8:30 to midnight to catch the trails of the crescent moon and Venus setting in the west.

The Evil Cube has .3mm pinholes on the film axis and 10mm above the axis 60mm from a 6x6cm frame.  It was loaded with Fomapan 100.

The 10th Anniversary iPhone Box camera has a .26mm pinhole 36mm from a 6x6cm frame.  The film is Ilford Delta 400.

Both were semi-stand developed in Rodinal 1:100

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Athens on the Fox

In 1836 Webster Stanley opened a trading post near where the Fox flows into Lake Winnebago. Four years later over 100 settlers were clustered into two communities on either side of the river—Athens on the north and Brooklyn on the south. In 1840 a post office was established and they had to pick a name. Neither side could convince the other and they ended up choosing Oshkosh, after the Menomonie chief who had ceded the land to the U.S. a few years before.

The only remnant of the earlier name south of the river is the recently closed Brooklyn bar. There is no evidence of the name Athens north of the river. There is an abundance of classical Grecian architectural styles on the north side but I don’t think those two things are related.

The ancient Greeks weren’t the first to support a roof with stone columns but the style they developed has persisted through many revivals. The Romans spread it throughout the Mediterranean. The 15th century humanist rediscovery of classical knowledge included Palladio’s architecture. That influenced the early Georgian neoclassical revival which led to Federalism in the new United States. The monumental buildings at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 created a new popularity at the end of the 19th and the early 20th century when these buildings were erected in Oshkosh.

Ancient Greece is associated with the flowering of rational learning so what would be more appropriate for the Oshkosh Public Library built in 1900? It’s probably the most classical interpretation with it’s triangular pediment filled with reliefs, an entablature identifying the building and six Ionic columns. The face masks on the lions are a particularly current detail.

This style of architecture was used by ancients primarily for temples, so it’s no surprise that it was used for the Masonic Temple with it’s Doric capitals built in 1926 right next to the library

Next door to that, rounding out the trio of temples and orders of columns is the Wisconsin National Life Building. Done a year later it has Corinthian capitals and a more Mesopotamian frieze of winged lions on it’s entablature.

You might think that City Hall was inspired by the Federalism of government buildings. It was, however, built in 1915 as the Oshkosh High School. Remodeled for local government in 1961, the monumental staircase was removed when the entrance was switched to the parking lot on the other side.

The classical facade was perhaps intended to elevate the perception of the Orville Beach Manual Training School built in 1912. When the high school next door was built by the same architect a few years later, it’s facade was probably intended to match this one.

Sometimes the columns were abbreviated to just fluted brackets supporting a pediment to hint at classical style.

Occasionally a classical detail just seems to be tacked on. This pediment is above a side door which leads up to the second floor meeting hall of the Fraternal Order of Odd Fellows.

The Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper’s 1930 addition was probably hoping to reference Herodotus’ innovation of history as factual record rather than myth, as well as the Greeks contributions to written language such as the introduction of alphabetic characters for vowels and left to right reading order.

Another downtown building associated with the printed word is the Goettmann Printing Company building from 1925, just across the street from the Library and Masonic Temple. 

Churches are the modern equivalent to ancient temples, although for the First Church of Christ Scientist, the ancient Greeks’ reputation for deductive reasoning may have been part of the motivation. The banner blocking the doorway is another current events detail.

The First Evangelical Church is less obviously modeled after a temple. The classical entrance just seems to have been grafted on an otherwise normal church.

I don’t think the the Yacht Club was making any reference to classical Greece but was just trying to be stylish and maybe a bit pretentious.

There are lots of little temple-like mausoleums in Lakeside Cemetery. The one for the Paines, a lumber baron family, most resembles a miniature Parthenon.

It was probably built by the H. F. Wenrich Granite Company who built themselves a monumental headquarters on Main Street.

This style was also popular in domestic architecture as featured in the portico of the 1929 Temple Hanson-Dvoracek on Central St.

Done with the Variable Cuboid at 35, 45, 60, 100 and 200 millimeters.
The film is Ilford Pan F+ semi-stand developed in Rodinal 1:100

Friday, May 8, 2020

from f295: Making a panoramic Populist

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.  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.

Matt Ashbrook recently posted on Facebook that he had built a Populist with a 24x70mm format. He wondered if there would be coverage across the whole frame or if it would fade to black at the edges. That reminded me of the first time I built a panoramic camera and posted about it on f295.  Here are two posts about that camera. 

The first was posted on June 29th 2008 under the title Panoramic Populist

My curiosity piqued by PinApples Domino panoramic camera, I put together a version of the Populist with the same film format.

I took two patterns, cut one off at the film bay and one off at the end of the camera and glued them together on the card stock. So the image width should be 36mm + 36mm + 24mm = 96mm.

If that internal assembly on the right looks a little different,I had experimented with making the film bays out of individual little boxes, and for this ultrawide format it seemed to have an advantage over extending the internal assembly to a wider format.

Otherwise, it's just a very wide Populist. I fit it out with a .20mm Gilder EMS hole.

Each frame 21 clicks or about 2 1/2 turns of the winder.

Now to go get some film and give it a whirl. I'm trying to think of some scenes with a dark center and bright edges. This thing is at least two stops different from center to edge.

Several days later after exposing a roll of film in it, I added to the post.

Here are some pictures. It looks like once again, I underestimated the light transmission qualities of the card stock (cereal boxes seem OK, but these Canfield Sparkling water cases seem to have a problem) and got some low level red fogging which isn't noticable in a normally exposed image (like the center of these images), but really dominates in a low exposure situation, like the outside edges. This really freaks my scanner out and makes it pretty nearly impossible to get anything approaching normal color.

Some examples.

Here's a few that were taken quickly enough together so that red fogging didn't have such an impact.
I guess, I'll cover the thing with 3M 235, and try again.

After the promised light proofing, I posted again under the title Panoramica on July 7, 2008

Here's some results from the lightproofed Panoramic Populist.

It's amazing how much variation there is in the drop off from center to edge depending on the scene. I tried to minimize it with burning and dodging, and sometimes you can bring it back almost to unnoticeable levels. This is pretty much the full 96mm wide image area.

And sometimes it goes to black nowhere close to the edge depending on the illumination of the scene. Here it's pretty bright on one side and fades way to black on the other. Also kind of amazing the white chair could expose the film in the less than a second it took me to get my arm back from opening the shutter. The whole exposure was 36 seconds.

It's pretty wide angle. here's me working in my office. This room is 8 by 15 feet. and this one is cropped down a bit in the long dimension.

Too bad I couldn't hold more still in this one.

Didn't get the colors and exposures as balanced in this one, but it does take advantage of the wide angle to emphasize my more prominent features.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Pinhole Day XX

There’s an informal international group of pinholers that have been traveling to meet for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day for several years. They’ve met in Portland, Barcelona, San Francisco and Norwich in the UK. Last year they met in Boston which I missed by a week. This year their destination was Dublin, which of course couldn’t happen. Although I never planned to get together with them, I decided to use Thin Lizzy to celebrate Pinhole Day this year in honor of their cancelled rendezvous.

Regular readers may not be surprised that my Sunday morning routine includes a long soak in a hot bath while Sarah prepares her special Sunday brunches. I had actually planned ahead to do this picture of my feet (extra points for footography) resting on the taps and had the tripod between my knees in the bathwater. The wide angle reproduced the view as I see it from the other end of the tub quite well.

Another thing that has inspired me lately are the pandemic self-portraits posted on Facebook by Scott Stillman, a fellow member of the League of Upper Midwest Pinholers. I’ve also been watching a series of videos about Andre Kertesz who was noted for doing a lot of self portraits. Since I had the tripod in the bath with me, I thought of this image. I intended to have my face submerged more with my nose just barely above the surface so I could breathe, but I’m more of an airhead than I thought and this was the level at which my head floated. I didn’t even think of Ophelia until I saw the negative.

In order to get the camera to fit in the tub with me in it, the tripod was almost completely collapsed with the legs spread just enough to stand up. I thought I had planned everything carefully. When the alarm on my phone went off, I closed the shutter but instead of moving the camera out of the tub first I reached behind me to silence the alarm and knocked the tripod over, very briefly submerging the camera. Not a good thing for a camera made from cardboard. The Guinness package has a glossy surface and on first glance it seemed to have survived.

As I was drying off, looking at myself with my hair in a towel turban, the spirit of Julia Margaret Cameron overcame me. The camera must have also felt Mrs. Cameron’s spirit. It appears a little water made it into the camera and softened the emulsion enough to make the film sticky and this negative sustained significant damage. I spent considerable time retouching scratches but left some of the flaws, another hallmark of Cameron’s images.

The camera took more of a hit from the submersion than I thought and the shutters started to come apart. I swapped the film into the 10th Anniversary iPhone Box camera.

I’ve been reading a book about the daguerrotypes in the collection of the Getty Museum. When my son got married a few years ago, I bought a new suit. They were having a two for one sale, so I also picked out a second one but I’ve never worn it. Inspired by the Getty images, I put it on along with the top hat which the character I portray on Sarah’s blog is often pictured wearing.

Since I had the suit on, I tried a more conventional portrait. Funny how only one lens of my glasses reflected the window so it looks like I’m wearing a monocle.

After changing back into my normal outfit,  I must have watched the news for a while.

You’ll have to visit the Pinhole Day gallery to see which one I chose as my favorite.

Thin Lizzy has a .20mm pinhole 30mm from a 6x6cm frame.
The 10th Anniversary iPhone Box Camera has a .26mm pinhole 36mm from a 6x6cm frame.
The film is Ilford Delta 400 stand developed in Rodinal 1:100.