Saturday, April 29, 2023

South Side Sweetie


In a fit of paranoia, I felt the need for one more camera in case the local populace beat down the doors for my Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day Workshop in Appleton (Turns out I have plenty).

We have a standing order with Oaks Candy for a selection of their historic chocolates. They're packed in sturdy white boxes. All my pinhole supplies are stored in them. My experience with white cardboard is that it's very hard to make truly light-tight. One day as we broke down one of the boxes for recycling, I noticed that it's grey cardboard with a white covering and actually pretty opaque.

The cardboard is thicker than most product packaging. It makes a sturdy box but it required a little on-the-fly adjustment to make it fit right.

As it happened, we needed a resupply the next day. Very satisfying to make the camera's first exposure of the front of their South Side headquarters.

The window on the right is still festooned with Easter decorations featuring this giant foil wrapped bunny with two similarly oversized rabbits with their chocolate more exposed.

Some days the mail is more enlightening than others. It would not be inaccurate to describe this scene as illuminated by a star beam.

Out after a different kind of sweet, I stopped for pastries at the Thunderbird Bakery in the Beach Building. The main entrance is at the side near the parking lot, but you can come in through this little lobby behind the formal historic front entrance.

Back across the river to the camera's native South Side. Several years ago, I did a photograph of the beautifully lit, but dilapidated back of La Luz del Mundo Church. Since then the congregation has restored the building to pristine condition.

All winter the shadows of bare trees have been a key feature of my photographs. The vernal transition is now occurring, modifying both the trees and their shadows as they bud and leaf out.

One of those awakening trees in front of the city Transportation Department.

There is one rather large bay off the Fox River leading to some pastoral scenes right in the middle of the city.

Despite working at the University for thirty years and once doing a long video project with community leaders to raise funds to transform it into the Oshkosh Sports Complex, I've never been in Titan Stadium before.

My bicycle looking triumphant in the skate park with the medieval looking barrier atop Garbage Hill, a man made sledding slope, rising above it.

A return to the north side of the Fox for the arched entrance of the Paine Art Center from the parking lot.

South Side Sweetie has a .27mm hand-drilled pinhole 45mm from a 6x6cm frame. The film is 100 semistand developed in Rodinal 1:100. I forgot to get more instant coffee to make Cafennol with.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Kentmere 100 at two angles of view.

For just a little over a decade, Harmon Technologies has offered Kentmere films which are, according to Wikipedia, "particularly aimed at the student market and those new to black and white photography, due to their lower cost and 'forgiving' exposure latitude."  I never seem to outgrow being a student of photography, frugality is a common virtue for pinhole, and another way of saying "forgiving" latitude is the ability to maintain detail in shadow and sunlight. Until last winter, they were only available in 35mm, and since the introduction of 120 have been in strong demand and a little hard to get. Finally found some of the 100 at Midwest Photo.

Next week on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, other people will be using my cameras. Two of them had exhibited slightly stubborn winding and I wanted to make sure they were up for the workshop. The new film went into the Diversity 30 made just last month, and the Fantasy Factory Cube, my first attempt with dual sided adhesives, in this case, carpet tape.

Although I just did a ride with different films in a rectangular 35mm and a 120 square camera, I haven't been out with two cameras of different angles of view with the same format and film for a bit. For some people having the choice between the two cameras is a source of stress. The different angles of view,  53° with the 6cm cube, and 90° at 3cm, should be recognizably different.  I must have thought so when deciding which camera to select for each scene. These are presented more or less in the order they were taken and I'm not going to tell you which is which.

On an unusually warm day in early April, a boat with three fishers was drifting along the shore competing with the pelicans. They were going a little faster than I anticipated and the tripod had to be repeatedly moved to keep them framed under the tree. When everything was finally ready, the composition ended up a little random.

The sun shining on the diamond plate connectors on the docks with the weathered wood in Menomonee Park has gotten to be a bit of an obsession.

A picnic table among the shadows with Monkey Island in the background.

Rockin' the shoreline.

A sunbeam coming over the corner of the entrance to the zoo.

The southern side of The Waters, with it's giant flag, just in case you were out on Lake Winnebago and didn't know which country you were approaching.

It's a good thing to see winter go, but I am going to kind of miss these bare trees casting shadows on everything,

Another at the rear corner of the Wisconsin National Life Building.

More stone and shadows on the front corner of the Beach Building.

Again, at the Courthouse.

Another new luxury apartment building overlooking the river, here portrayed in it's actual colors. This is the fourth building within sight of this with the monochrome color scheme.

Moving on to stucco behind the Mediterranean Revival Pollock House on campus.

A very weary looking steel box near the Heating Plant.

Distracted by the sunshine while making salads.

This structure of white PVC pipes by itself next to the road has a sculptural vibe.

All the wooden benches from the soccer fields under a shelter at the County Park.

The steel tables can handle the elements. Check out the interference pattern where you can see the latticed seat through the latticed tabletop,

A table tennis table, with it's durable net, reflected in a puddle.

The ditch that connects the south lagoon with the wetlands further north in the County Park.

Built by a local foundation, The Tiny House Village will provide "short term, affordable housing for families paired with life, home management and financial skills."

The warm weather forced the magnolia into blossom. Then it rained and kept the flowers rather wet. The temperature has returned to the lower end of seasonal and the cooler conditions let the display go on longer.

Out again for some more stone and shadow on the courthouse walls.

The doors to the courthouse are surrounded by Art Deco faces labeled with some classification such as Farmer, Worker, Native, and lastly in the lower right, Vacationist.

The Kentmere film was fine. I'm not the best person to do a serious review of a film stock. I like the pictures I got with it. I wasn't shy about choosing very high contrast scenes and the film seemed to handle it. The scans took the usual compliment of levels adjustment and burning and dodging, but no more than usual. No matter what guitar you gave Eddie Van Halen, he would still sound like Eddie Van Halen.  These look like my pictures.

The Diversity 30 has .23mm hand-drilled pinholes 30mm from a 6x6cm frame, on the axis and 11mm above it. The Fantasy Factory Cube has .30mm hand-drilled pinholes, 60mm from a 6x6cm frame, on the axis and 15mm above it.  The Kentmere 100 was semistand developed in Cafennol.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

A Little Old Response to the Black & White Challenge

The Fox Valley Photographic Group's challenge this month is Black & White. These challenges are meant to encourage members to go out of their comfort zones and explore something new about photography. I'm pretty comfortable with monochrome. What can I do to make the challenge special?

Black and white 35mm came to mind after a recent experience with some 40-year-old Tri-X. I still have probably 60 feet of it left.

There are two modes that I typically work in - rather formally composed, optimally diffracted images using medium format cameras mostly in black & white, and spontaneous grab-it-if-you-can photography in color done with 35mm film while I'm traveling. What if I did sort of a freaky Friday and used the antique 35mm Tri-X to do the kind-of-formal work? This would also give me something my digital associates would have to fake - film grain

The counter on the bulk loader doesn't work very well so I wasn't sure how many frames I loaded. It turned out to be about my height for 36 exposures. I could just barely reach for a single stroke of the squeegee.

This idea came to me just before leaving to participate in hanging a show with the Fox Valley Photographic Group at the Kaukanna Public Library. This is the entire process of hanging the northwest wall portion of the exhibit from about 9:20 and throughout the artist reception until about 11:00.

I was so determined to abide by my special challenge, I took it along with The Crackona square medium format camera, determined to just let the proportions of the image decide which camera I used, except maybe not be so picky with the little camera full of a lot of free film.

A pine reflecting in the Menomonee Park puddles.

Two pines reflecting in the Menomonee Park puddles.

A wide establishing shot of Miller's Bay looking south.

Jonathon Livingston Seagull is supposed to be a symbol of peace and freedom but they're actually pretty fierce predators.

The wooden ramp next to the boat launch farther south in the bay.

Looking down the dock a few meters to the right of the previous frame.

Looking across all three docks at the boat launch.


At the far south end of the bay, the shore is defined by this somewhat worn wooden bulwark.

The floating slabs.

There is less ice floating in the Lagoon.

A distinct current is flowing through the inlet into the Lagoon.

The wind blowing over the ice was forming a stream of fog where it crossed the warmer shoreline but the film didn't capture that.

The last giant pile of an ice shove in the park.

A closeup of the forward edge.

My refusal to use refractionist terms like focal length and pinhole lens gives me the reputation of somewhat of a grammar nag. Is the pizza not food or the food not great?

A pile of cuboids behind the east side of the 500 block of Main Street.

Finished the film in the bigger camera so I was free to continue to explore without having to decide about the format.

Heirloom tomatoes and a lemon.

A half dozen eggs.

Out again in the other direction toward the Fox River. 

The faux Tudor back of the Paine Art Center Conservatory. No rising front on a 35mm Populist, by the way.

The modern Charter Center attached to the Neo-Romanesque Algoma Methodist Church.

Across the street is a praire-style house Frank Lloyd Wright designed for a lumber company executive for whom he had done an earlier house in Illinois. Wright would have hated those overhead wires.

The bell tower of the Read School looks down on me disapprovingly.

The fly loft over the University Theatre posing dramatically.

The HVAC plant no longer burns any coal.

The University has done a lot to move toward sustainable energy use.

Sage Hall was designed particularly to use window daylighting to reduce energy consumption. I was responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the projection and audio systems of those brightly lit classrooms about the time I was given responsibility for the entire Information Technology Division. I attended quite a few meetings behind those second floor windows discussing all this with the College of Business Faculty. One thing about the graininess is it makes things look like something you saw in a nightmare dream.

Flower-like solar panels follow the sun across the sky in the parking lot.

The great blancmange of the winterized athletic fields.

If this is how you're entering the courthouse, it's probably not a good day.

A last random arrangement of light.

Neville has a .17mm hand-drilled pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame. The old Tri-X was semistand developed in old Rodinal 1:100.

I think I can pick one from this group for the discussion. I might bring props to hand around at the meeting including the bulk loader and the last dregs in my ancient bottle of Rodinal. When we discussed approaches for the challenge last month, nobody wanted to talk about development.