Friday, October 20, 2023

Hic sunt dracones.

The only Compact 30 I had left after giving one away and long-term loaning another was the Diversity 30. It's a perfectly working camera, but it looks a little rough after the on-the-fly modifications to correct for an error with the template. I wanted one that's a bit of a show piece. One of those earlier cameras was made from a four-can carton of Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Since then they've redesigned the carton to be a little more low contrast with the dragon now a silvery grey instead of brilliant white.

For the on-axis and rising pinholes I hand-drilled .23mm and .24 holes. Close enough match. It took me three tries. Those edges might look a little rough but look at the pictures below before you make any judgements.

Gloomy weather was predicted so I loaded it with Kentmere 400 which I've only used once before. Although at f130, this is one of my fastest cameras.

Fast film is good for interiors. As I loaded the film, the jar of Arborio rice was sitting next to the stove. Would individual grains of rice be resolved with all that glass refracting them?

The last tomatoes and peppers that had ripened in the garden.

A volunteer vine from the compost grew down the garden path and produced this bicolored little gourd.

The back lighting on the porch made highlights on the edges of everything inside. I've never noticed this before, but when I restored the screens in 2015, I got the middle rail on the right a quarter inch higher than the rest.

Blogger downsamples these a little. The screens in front of the table at the left are resolved on my original 4000 pixel wide file viewed at 200%. Here's what that looks like. The rough edged holes aren't too bad. The hole is also already foreshortened into an oval this far off the axis. There's examples of this all over the negative. By the way, where's the grain in this ISO 400 film? (I think if you do a Save-image-as, you can look at the full resolution file.)

The restored front porch is still pretty exciting.

This extremely long clapboard-sided self-storage unit has been featured here before for it's panoramic format and it's peeling paint. It has also been recently restored with slightly glossy vinyl siding.

Behind Oshkosh Heating and Cooling. With the relatively fast camera and fast film, Pinhole Assist read an eighth of a second in the sunlight and a quarter of a second in the shade. My poor hand exposure was probably about 4 times longer than that, even with card waving, but the semi-stand developing handles the overexposure with ease.

A bin nearby is full of shiny remnants of their work.

The multilevel outside seating at Green's Pour House, located in the vintage granary. It's always surprising how wide angle 90° is. This is on a normal width sidewalk and there's still room for me to stand behind the tripod.

The window display at Salon la Rousse. Since Joe Van Cleave gave us all such a treat for the recent annular eclipse, I thought I'd return the favor with a nice looking antique typewriter in a purely decorative arrangement.

I always thought this structure between the sidewalk and the Public Safety Building was some kind of monument, but there's just a plain steel plate on top of it.

The Kentmere 400 was semistand developed in Rodinal 1:100.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Walkin' in color

Photo Opp organized another photowalk, this time at their home in central Appleton. I have been wanting to do some portraits that weren't just street shots. A gathering of photographers is a likely opportunity for willing sitters. The Variable Cuboid with the long-for-pinhole 60mm front seemed to be the best choice for that, as well as giving me the option to go to another angle of view if necessary. The autumnal date, relatively late in the partly cloudy day prompted me to use Lomography 800 to keep exposures as short as possible.

As we gathered, I expressed my hope to do some pinhole portraits. Brandi Grahl, who flashed me a brilliant smile in Kaukana, volunteered. Sitting on the front steps, she attempted to interpret my instruction to imagine she was being drawn by Hans Holbein, resulting in what I can only describe as a Mona Lisa smile.

By the time we were finished, everyone had photowalked off toward the picturesque City Park, Lawrence University, Downtown, and the Fox River. Left alone to guard was Almon Benton and his lively daughter Linley who both agreed she would sit for me with her matching Instax Camera. Here she interprets her father's prompt "Remember how we freeze and hold still?"

My hopes for portrait subjects were dim so I set out myself, occasionally briefly joining a few others. This jutting entry of the branch of the US Bank with black mullions and angled planes reflecting in different directions was the subject of a few frames and of me taking this one as well.

The announced theme for the walk was "Intersections." The intersections of all these planes of different values of grey caught my eye. I would normally reject a scene with a car so prominently parked in front of it, but the Chrysler 300 is more sculptural than an SUV,  it's charcoal finish matched the monochrome theme of the image and the tail lights echoed the red signs on the building.

Something more wide angle would give me more options on the sidewalks downtown. I sat down on a bench and changed to the 35mm front. A lively group approached me from behind while I had my hands in the changing bag on my lap. It turned out to be a bunch of the photowalkers who already know I'm weird, but not in the way someone who didn't know what I was doing would.

One of Andy's haunts while attending college.

About when I was ready to turn around, I realized the modern church that was half of my double exposure with the parking ramp in last spring's photowalk was just a block away.

Earlier, passing down College Avenue, I had noticed Main Hall in the distance lit by the low sun standing out against the dark foliage.

There were a group of young women in fashionable colorful dresses being photographed by numerous people on the front portico. It turned out it was high school homecoming and the place was crawling with dressed-up teenagers getting pictures for social media against the classical Lawrence University architecture. When I got there the group was just finishing but I asked if I could get a picture too. Just behind me, Mom asked "What for?" Just for my personal blog sounded suspicious. "We'd rather not."  Across the road by the Chapel, these bored young men looking like an Abercrombie and Fitch ad were watching their dates surrounded by cell phones. They agreed to a photograph after I told them they looked cool in kind of interesting light. Asked to just hold still as they were, as soon as the shutter opened, they adopted grotesque clownish grins perhaps to prank the old hippy who curiously was interested in them instead of the girls all around them. Pinhole-time magic somehow rendered their smiles looking pleasant. Mom inquired of my reasons after the fact and I gave her my card. Nobody said anything about the cardboard camera. 

Earlier and later in the walk, several passersby did approach and ask about my camera.

Sarah and I have spent most of our time on campus in the west wing of the Music Conservatory, location of the main Recital Hall, several classrooms we visited on Parents' Day and WLFM for whom Andy was Loud Rock Director and unofficially ran the place for a year and got critical techie experience converting from FM to teh interwebs. We were guest DJs on his midnight show once.

Photo Opp's building is an old church which they're fundraising to renovate to include a community darkroom, studio and workshop space. It would be particularly pinholy if I got to do workshops there but that might be a while.

The walk was scheduled until sunset so I was one of the first to arrive back. It seemed there was plenty of time for a 13 minute exposure of the softly lit vestibule while Almon and I conversed about the bases of film stocks, C-41 kits and developing tanks. People started arriving with quite a bit of the exposure left, but everyone carefully stepped around my tripod.

Since people were back there was a chance at another portrait. It was getting into twilight by this time so I switched to the ultra-wide 113° 20mm front since at f90, it's considerably faster than anything else I have. Normally cheerful Giles La Rock with his Hasselblad, 150mm lens and Twin Lens T-shirt looking skeptical that he's all in the picture. Of the three groups of photographers I've been associated with recently, this one has by far the most film users.

I also had a long conversation about Solargraphy with Lisa who had a vintage film SLR.

The 60mm front for the Variable Cuboid has a .30mm pinhole, the 35mm front has a .25mm pinhole. Both of these have adjustable rising fronts with 20mm of travel. The 20mm front has a .20mm Gilder Electron Microscope Aperture. The Lomo 800 was the fifth roll developed in's quart kit.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Pinholes as recommended by Lord Rayleigh.

The 4x5 Pinhole Lab Camera has four settings for the distance from pinhole to image plane, ergo angles of view. From stupidly wide 118° at 38mm to almost normal 55° at 120mm. The pinholes, one on the axis and 20mm above it in both dimensions, can be changed for the size with minimal diffraction Lord Rayleigh would recommend with his equations.

As a practical matter, the sizes appropriate to the different settings were the size I first succeeded in drilling three matching pinholes, in the range I was looking for. I've been using .28mm pinholes for the 60mm setting, which is a bit smaller than .32mm that the equations specify. (I also used them for the ultra-wide 38mm setting, because what's optimal when the distance to the pinhole ranges from 38mm at the center to 75mm at the edges?) For 90mm, I made a set at .36mm, again a little small and for the 120mm slot, .45mm holes, closer to the .46mm Lord Rayleigh suggests are the best for that distance than the other sets.

One day rummaging around for something else in my messy pinhole supplies, I encountered an envelope of .40mm Gilder Electron Microscope Apertures from a long ago deal with League of Upper Midwest Pinholers comrade Earl Johnson. I think he still does this for a buck apiece ($) with appropriate postage added. You can only get them from Gilder in quantities of 100.

When you ask Mr. Pinhole, the optimal size for 90mm from the pinhole is exactly .40mm.

It seemed appropriate to my course of studies in Antique Film Large Format Pinhole Photography to see if those mathematically perfect holes, a little smoother than I can drill myself, in a bit thinner metal, make any difference. My assignment is to expose a couple developer-tanks worth of my elderly sheets of Plus-X at moderately-wide 90mm with the repurposed consumable scientific supplies using photons instead of electron beams.

My first encounter was with the metal maze of the backlit shiny bleachers of the softball fields in Menomonee Park.

Along the shore of Lake Winnebago, I passed this fellow with his guitar, playing for no one within a quarter mile. He agreed to my photograph and followed my direction to just go about it as if I wasn't there. After apologizing for his somewhat hoarse voice, he performed a spirited rendition of "Guadalajara." I confessed that I hadn't played guitar much lately, but maybe the solution was to try doing it sitting by the lake shore. 

The haul from the Farmers' Market. After I opened the shutter for the hour long exposure, I realized the ingredients for lunch were in the picture so we ate a little late.

The annual cabbage report.

Perhaps as a student attempt at a new take on a rephotographic project or a desparate measure by an old dude, I've started photographing scenes I've done before, but from the opposite direction.

This image reminds me so much of an early 1900's postcard photograph I'm surprised there's not a hand written "Oshkosh Public Library" etched into the lower left hand corner of the negative.

This is the South Side Branch of the Oshkosh Public Library. Oshkosh's population has always been divided by the Fox River, with the earlier settlers from the east on the north side and the laborer immigrant population south of the river. When they expanded the Main Library and closed the South Side Branch, there was much comment about how the North Side was lording it over the South Side again. 

The curved southwest-facing collonade of the Horizon Village apartment-style residence hall at the University. I tried and failed to shade the pinhole from the sun which is just outside the frame, but it looks like some flare added to the complexity of the lighting situation.

The grand facade of The Waters, originally the Oshkosh Yacht Club, facing Lake Winnebago in the morning sunlight.

I seem to have an obsession with Neo-Federalist architectural details lately.

That's a good enough test of the Gilder Apertures. Switched to the ultra-wide 38mm distance and the .28 pinholes in order to feature the modified-to-meet-code stair railings on the newly restored front porch, done by Metalverse, two guys whose shop is only a few blocks away. All the rest was done by Jacobson Home Repair, one guy who lives four blocks away in the other direction.

These all seem pretty darn sharp, especially the uncropped full-frame ones. (Not sayin' which ones those are.) Looking at them at full resolution I really can't tell if they're better than the smaller hand-drilled pinholes I have been using.

The 4x5 Plus-X was semistand developed in Rodinal 1:100.