Monday, June 21, 2021


Analog photographers often have the issue of having some frames left when they finish covering an event or complete some project. It’s a problem, an opportunity and a responsibility.  I had a few frames left in the Evil Cube and The Populist when we got home from Massachusetts on Tuesday, and had to get the film to Camera Casino by Thursday.

First to finish the Evil Cube.

We’re a little behind Massachusetts in the growing season. Our peonies were still tightly balled up and rhododendrons can’t handle our mid-winter temperatures. What we do have are daisies. The city declared No-mow May this year to give the pollinators a boost. We couldn’t quite handle the dandelions in the front yard, but we let the garden go, dominated by a profusion of daisies.

A very closeup view.

Switching to the Populist, a more dynamic and documentary view.


When we were at the garden center this spring, Sarah asked me if I’d like to try cabbages twice.  I didn’t realize that she was asking about separate varieties.

I had a chance to go out on the Wiowash Trail. The Queen Anne’s Lace and the Wild Phlox were way ahead of their garden cousins.

We don’t often have native rock poking out of the ground like they do in the Boston area, but occasionally you see a big one lying around.  This one lies between the trail, which is a former railroad right-of-way, and one of the numerous Viking Quarries in the area.  Hard to tell whether it’s a glacial erratic or the result of the construction of the railroad or the quarry,

The Evil Cube has a .3mm hand-drilled pinhole 6 cm from a. 6x6cm frame. The film is Ektar 100

The Populist has .15mm Gilder Electron Microscope Aperture 24mm from a 24x36mm frame. Fujicolor C200.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Populist on the South Shore

The other 35mm camera I took with me to Massachusetts was The Populist, the camera I've carried with me everywhere for a dozen years. The last time I used it was in an episode of manic expression in 2019.

The first microbrewery destination after lunch with Neville was Barrel House Z, the maker of those stunt beers we enjoyed a few days ago. This is a severe crop of a fairly thin negative that overlapped with the next image, which is fairly dense. I had only wound it about five clicks for some reason.

I can only see a faint wisp of a double exposure on this image. We had intended to go to one of their favorites, Widowmaker Brewery in Braintree, but the newly maskless vaccinated Bostonians had filled up the regular and auxiliary parking lots. We went on to Bin Ends wine store just down the street with a really extensive selection of European wines, artisan whiskeys, craft beers and a couple cases of Bud Light and Coors just in case.

Later on, Andy rolling out the lefse.

Baking the lefse. Almost all lefse equipment in North America comes from Bethany Products in Iowa, but Andy got his lefse flipping stick on a sweltering day we spent in Portland, Maine.

Eating the lefse with Pork Tenderloin and quickly pickled cucumbers.

The weather moderated a little on Memorial Day. I got out the Evil Cube. This is another winding error - this time the whole frame is overlapped. I used a mild expletive when I realized what I had done and was chided for dismissing the possibilities of double exposures.

It’s hard to imagine most of the time, but when anticipating running after a toy, Greyson can hold for pinhole exposures rather well, although not exactly where you want him to be.

You don’t really get long enough to move and adjust the tripod very precisely but occasionally everything lines up.

Sarah just happened to take a picture of Andy and I bowing to him in the process. 

I switched back to the The Populist with the little Joby tripod on the ground which allowed for a little quicker placement.

We finally realized you could fix his gaze wherever you held the ball.

The densely populated South Shore looks like it might be the edge of a rural area because there are large forested areas threaded among the neighborhoods, often featuring the native rock of the region.

The dominant visual all over were the brilliant rhododendrons ranging from potted plants to large trees. This one was resting on a fence post in their neighborhood..

Lunch at Sombrero’s Restaurant. The high divider between the booths that the tripod was attached to was kind of a makeshift pandemic affair and noticeably swayed back and forth.

Down to the actual shore to Untold Brewing in Scituate. I’m surprised that the tasting rooms of these microbreweries usually feature an industrial warehouse vibe and not an intimate colonial pub. Untold also had this quaint little schoolhouse-like room, which unfortunately had bad accoustics and four enthusiastic school children being audibly directed in some game by their parents.

Kristin is an elementary ed special education teacher. We escaped to the less historic but sonically more tolerable environment. I guess beer doesn't wait for a holiday. Twice while we were there a guy climbed the stairs and took some measurements.

Kristin took us to the Scituate Light House which she has often visited since childhood. One of her aunts lived nearby. I had the Evil Cube along. Very dramatic blustery weather fit for a seaside mystery.

A long jetty which defines the harbor extends out into Cape Cod Bay.

Back to the Populist, a more panoramic treatment, although the vertical angle of view of both cameras are the same.

We stopped for dinner at Nguyen's Kitchen, a Vietnamese restaurant in Cohasset. By this time the weather was mostly clear. After our meal - during this exposure - as I was indisposed, the lights and the music went out. One of those times that it pays to be used to being in totally dark rooms. The emergency lights came on after a second or two. Power was out in the whole town. We never did find out what happened but surprisingly had enough cash on us to pay for dinner.

At security at Logan, I forgot to take my Kindle out of my back pack so it had to have a complete examination. The agent was curious about my cameras. He correctly identified the shutter and conjectured that the winders had something to do with focus.

Waiting to board a 737. United really stuffs people in there. The Canadair Jet we took between O’Hare and Appleton was much more comfortable.

Waiting for beverages at Chili’s Too at O’Hare, complying with the continual announcements to wear your face masks in the terminal and on the aircraft, unless you’re actively eating or drinking. During the entire pandemic, neither of us had to wear a mask for more than a half hour to go into a store. It was kind of revelation to have to keep them on all day. Notice the beautiful summer weather outside the terminal.

The Populist has a .15 Gilder Electron Microscope Aperture, 24mm from a 24x36mm frame. Fujicolor C200.

The Evil Cube has hand-drilled .3mm pinholes, one on the axis, one 10mm above the axis, 6cm from a 6x6cm frame. Ektar 100.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Neville on the South Shore

I haven't loaded a roll of film in a classical 35mm Populist since the last time we were together with Andy and Kristin for Yule in 2019. Although it took me until February to finish it and I had a long run with the square format Manic Expression Cube last summer, it’s been no 24x36mm for me since then.

For our first time back together, I loaded Neville and The Populist with 36 exposure rolls of Fujicolor C200. I used Neville for that last roll. Concerned about the effects of pandemic ennui, I started with him.

Every trip starts with the Mustang, this time just as far as the Appleton Airport. There are no non-stops to Boston from Milwaukee now and just about every one-stop itinerary costs about the same. There were a couple cheaper flights that routed through Atlanta or Denver, somewhere around 7 hours in the air plus layovers. We took the most covenient schedule with a layover at O'Hare.

It was nice we only had to drive 20 minutes, because it was a cold and blustery day.

It was raining fairly heavily by take-off time. These little commuter jets only fly at 12,000 ft. The plane was inside the clouds the entire way to Chicago. We came out of them going west just north of the Loop and flew past O’Hare to Elgin before we turned around to land.

The weather made it to the East Coast shortly after we did and was fully installed by the next morning.

But it was nice sitting around at Andy and Kristin's and getting to know the mysterious ball of canine energy there in front of the window.

I kept telling Andy about how I was required to operate under “Populist Rules.” You have to look for things to photograph and despite less than optimal lighting and support situations, you have to just try to take some photographs and see what happens. The coffee service area in the dining room.

A Populist that Andy made for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day last year.

We got a bit of clear sky so headed out, chauffeured about in their new Subaru.

We went for a walk in Bare Cove Park in Hingham, one of numerous former Navy bases on the South Shore. I also had the Evil Cube with me loaded with Ektar. I only made one exposure of the cove itself.

It was a little weird being in a restaurant again for the first time. We stopped at the clubhouse of the golf course a couple doors down from their home. Very clubhouse menu. Sarah actually had a club sandwich. I tried a Beyond Burger. Not bad, but then I like the bean-based veggie burgers. Everything seemed so normal. Maybe I was distracted because in a room full of windows, we were seated at the only table against a blank wall and exposures took forever. The waitress said the camera was interesting. 

We stopped at Whole Foods on the way home - quite entertaining for a small town cook from the midwest.

Later that afternoon we were entertained with what Andy and Kristin referred to as "stunt beers."

Kristin made Japanese Milk Bread and supper to go with it.

The dutch oven does double duty as a dog-proof bread box.

Greyson is a very happy beagle-like puppy who fortunately needs frequent naps and has been conditioned to take one when he's in his crate.

The next day was the first day that the mask mandate was rescinded in highest-rate-of-vaccinations-in-the-nation Massachusetts, and all the locals had booked every available destination you might want to go to on a rainy afternoon, so we hung out at home.

The rain did let up for a few minutes, so I tried to find things to photograph. They have lots of places to hang out on a nice sunny day. They have a deck just outside the kitchen door.

A brick patio with lots of comfy chairs.

They have a cloth canopy with mosquito netting, now keeping a just-assembled but not-yet-finished potting table out of the rain.

They inherited some nice perenials along the foundation. The last time we were here was over two years ago, before they blossomed. 

A very traditional pink peony.

One very spectacular yellow dripping peony politely perched on the bulkhead door.


Everything is so Historic New England along the South Shore. They get their dairy products delivered in this shiny steel box.

And now for some gratuitis abstraction.

For dinner we went to Lucca's, a pretty swank Italian restaurant, spun off from one of the classics on Hanover Street in the North End. This time it really got to me with kind of a schizophrenic ''This seems so normal"/"This is really weird" experience. Not having gone anywhere at all during the pandemic, we were constantly surprised by all the "no touch" options for things everywhere we went, usually activated by a QR code. Here we all attempt to take in the menu on our phones. Sitting right by a window, by the way. 

They brought paper menus when they heard everyone tell me to just get a newer iPhone. We got cocktails and toasted Katalin Karikó who did the basic research which led to mRNA vaccines just when they were needed most.

Andy felt his recent attempts at the Norwegian traditional flat bread, Lefse, were substandard and wanted some guidance on technique. It is something to do on a cold, rainy day. Potatoes must be boiled, peeled, riced and mixed with butter, cream and salt the night before.

The potatoes must be peeled when they are hot, which requires some expertise.

Same story with the rain the next day. We headed out intended for a microbrewery tour. Started at a lunch spot with the curious name Flanders Field. No mention of WWI. There are several large overhead doors that open onto a patio along the rear wall, of course closed in this wind and rain. The camera is on the little Joby tripod with the magnetic feet attached to one of the steel vertical tracks of one of these doors. Several of the staff thought I was trying to open it and created quite a stir. The young waitress whose shirt and sneakers appear to the right of the table was curious and asked to see the camera and how it worked.

Neville has a .15mm hand-drilled pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame.

Next up, the venerable original, The Populist, finishes the tour, with a few extras from the Evil Cube.