Last fall, I went into Camera Casino to buy some film. When I approached the display on the counter I noticed they had Fuji’s Neopan 100 Acros II
. I said to the young guy behind the display: “People have been really raving about this being reintroduced because of the generous reciprocity characteristics.” He kind of shrugged. I then noticed they only had it in 35mm 36 exposure rolls. I have only done 35mm pinhole with black and white film a couple of times. I went ahead and got three rolls anyway.
A week or two ago, I was riding around with the 20mm front on the Variable Cuboid and kept passing up scenes because they were trite or didn’t illustrate some special feature of ultra-wide angle. I ended up not taking any pictures. I recognize this sort of pathology. The only cure is to take a lot of pictures as fast as I can. One easy little camera, small inexpensive negatives. The Manic Expression Cube
is designed expressly for this type of experience and here was a perfect use for the Acros.
The negatives are weird. My previous experience with monochrome in the Manic Expression Cube was with Tri-X.
It is stunning how grainy little pinhole pictures can be. Acros claims to be Super Fine Grain but it’s pretty apparent in these pictures. For one thing, they’re really overexposed. Most of this was in brilliant sun and measured exposures were in the range of a sixth of a second (This is at f140). The fastest I can reliably do waving a black card away from the pinhole and back is about a half second and slower than that when I’m trying to be careful. I also think they might be a little over developed. I was trying to measure 3 grams of Rodinal to make 300ml of 1:100 developer and ended up pouring out 4. It later occurred to me that I could’ve just mixed 400 ml and not used it all. It might just be my imagination, but I think grain is more noticeable in pinhole photographs which you’d never notice when using a sharp lens.
I really don’t care if the images are grainy. In grad school I was once told by a professor that I had a grain problem. I worked in the cataloging department in the library and had just processed a book of Max Waldman’s theater photographs
and was especially taken with his Marat/Sade scenes. I started developing 35mm HP5 in Diafine pushed to 800. Grain is really an essential quality of film and I don’t understand why people object to it being noticeable.
I headed out north on Harrison Street. The WRVM radio tower
on the other side of the railroad, pointed at by the receding line of storage unit doors, caught my eye. I love the way the white sections of the tower merge with the sky and it becomes this floating dotted line that bisects the composition.
The gates came down just as I approached the crossing. The trains that use the Canadian National line through town go about 45 miles per hour but are miles long. I had plenty of time for a picture. I didn’t put on a show for the waiting motorists by setting up the tripod. I had the little flexible Joby in my pocket and wrapped it around the handlebars. My front wheel is pressed against the No Parking sign for stability. The gaps between the cars nicely illustrate how a focal plane shutter works.
Another storage unit facility on the other side of the railroad. It’s amazing how many of these things there are.
Back behind the abandoned studios by the WRVM tower.
Those two big black parallelograms seemed like interesting compositional elements.
The Pepsi plant has several of these high-bay doors behind a fence with only a person-sized door accessing them.
Halfway down the plant, another fenced in door with no access at all.
The sun had just gone past the back wall of the AT&T building but the fire escape and other railings were still sticking out in the sunshine. Despite putting some effort into it, I had a lot of trouble getting the little camera level and had to rotate and crop these quite a bit. This one really shows it.
There were a lot of fishing boats on the Fox.
One of the special little lighting fixtures along the Riverwalk.
One of the first and biggest of the wood manufacturing companies in Oshkosh was Morgan Door. This Old House
did two location shoots here. They closed in 1999 and the factory was torn down shortly after. Most of the time since the property has been full of Oshkosh Trucks
. For the last couple years, there have been plans to build four apartment buildings and it’s been empty except for this giant pile of gravel.
An odd little patch of paint on the wall of one of the Sanitation Department’s buildings.
Farther down river the rest of the Sawdust District is in these differentiated piles.
The back of one of the establishments in the Oregon Street business district.
It is a little ironic that the big deal about Acros is it’s relative lack of reciprocity failure in dim light and I did most of this in full sunlight. I did do this late sunbeam in the corner of the room and expected a 20 minute exposure, but it measured at only three minutes and that seems to have been accurate.
I went to the Farmer’s Market early enough to get the sun reflecting off my favorite sidewalk where they wove it around the hydrant and poles rather than move the utilities.
The wall to the right is the Mercury Marine Engineering Lab. It’s white cement block and is usually pretty non-descript. The light was just raking along it and popping out any relief. I had never noticed these circular decorations in it before.
The regular pattern of the blocks stands out. I lowered the camera and used the rising front to get the top of a trailer on the other side of the wall out of the picture.
I suppose this is probably a fire escape route from the basement of the court house.
In the shadow of the shiny new water tower downtown.
The great white hulk of The Waters.
The storage shed of The Waters.
There were about five frames that were overwhelmingly overexposed and several times I did a second exposure of a scene when I wasn’t sure if I’d moved the camera opening and closing the shutter. I did two double exposures and advanced past about four empty frames because I couldn’t remember if I had wound the film. It took a little over 26 hours to expose the roll.
The Manic Expression Cube has a hand-drilled .17mm pinhole 24mm from a 24x24mm frame.