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.

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