October 31, 2012

Faceless Book

Music | Right by Your Side by James Morrison

This article has hit a note with me that I have been thinking of on the outskirts of my own mind...

The Death of Downtime

I've also noticed how people, myself included are hardly ever in abeyance. At the bus stop, the most anyone would be doing would be reading a book while waiting, or listening to music. Now, everyone has their nose stuck in their phones... Do we ever see a bird fly by, or a poetic bag blowing in the wind?

As the article says, which I really highly recommend the short read, our "in between time" is lost. Our minds don't get that space to be filled by our environment or even our own brain wave travel. Like word assosiation, we need to have experience association where we give ourselves time to let our present state of nothingness carry us somewhere not structured by what we read on facebook, text messages, twitter, etc...

I know myself well enough to know I can't go cold turkey and turn everything off... However, I have decided to run an experiment to see if I can notice the subtle differences my life takes if I put my facebook account on deactivate mode for the entire month of November. I'm shutting it down and won't be able to access what has been for the past several years, my lame lifeline to my world. I want my downtime to be mine and see where it takes me. I'm honestly doubtful I will last a month. Here is hoping for a self stimulating, internally intensive time of rebirth...

October 27, 2012

Medium Format Wet Plate Collodion

Music | Alabama by John Coltrane

The close up lens and plate adapter back for the Rolleiflex work out really nice. 2.5 inch square ground glass, getting exactly what you get on plate is fantastic. The tlr design that made Rolleiflex famous really can't touch the accurateness of viewing directly thru the shooting lens. wysiwyg!!!

I'm working out my flow to work with this system. There are a lot of little steps, but each critical to be able to get a nice plate from this camera. Maybe I can show you later, but once all of the steps are followed, the process is very workable.

Because of the nature of Wet Plates, I'm also looking forward to working with a close up filter will enable me to shoot closer, hence smaller objects. I'm positive I won't mind the distortion.

I managed to get off quite a few plates yesterday, 5 of the fan and 4 of the camera. I'll frame one of each up and see what they look like. I think they will made great gift pieces.


Busch Pressman

October 25, 2012

Riding the Gamut...

Music | Lets Get Lost by Tina Dico

So within a peroid of a week, I managed to shoot my usual 4x5 plates, but also 8x10 and 2.5x2.5 inch plates as well. I was going to help out a friend for a test shoot at his studio and I knew he has a large camera stand that would accommodate my Century 4A studio 8x10. I figured out I hadn't shot with that camera in close to 25 years. The problem being I don't have a stand or tripod big enough to carry such a massive camera. Brandon's stand was built for an a 11x14 camera, so there was no problem with holding mine. He was kind enough for me to get off a plate, just for me to know there were no light leaks in the bellows and any other problem that possibly could have cropped up. I can tell I'm going to have a good time shooting with that camera in time.

Dara and I had gone gallery hopping a few weekends ago and at one of them, I saw some small pieces, 2x2 printed objects in nice little frames selling for under $100. They were nice intimate pieces and would go well having several at a time to hang. One of the problems I have with my larger 4x5 and eventual 8x10 plates is that I think they are worth a certain a amount of money, but too much for most people to want to purchase. I really thought having small plates to sell under $100 would be a great idea.

My first go around was to try and use a Holga camera. It was a breeze to set up for 2.5 inch square plates. I did a test run and thought it would be a very good candidate. However, one of the things I didn't like was that the lens is wide angle and focus distance wasn't very good. All of the objects I was thinking of shooting would look too small on the plate. My next thought was the Rolleiflex. This camera has a longer focal length lens and would accommodate close up filters. I asked a friend of mine, Dennis Purdy, a Rolleiflex expert if I could borrow a filter and described my intention. He not only gave me the filter I needed, he also gave me the ultimate solution for me to shoot these objects with the Rolleiflex camera. Back when roll film was relatively new, a lot of photographers weren't confident that the film could be held flat as well as plates. So Rolleiflex made a plate adapter back that also used a ground glass that only utilized the shooting lens of the twin lens reflex design. I would have no parallax issues and would see exactly what I would get on plate. I will be testing this setup tomorrow to see if I can make the wet plates with it. I'm really excited about the possibilities!

Ratio of sizes...

8x10 of Brandon

4x5 of Cain

2.5 inch square of a Fan

October 20, 2012

A Step Up...

Music | Forget Me Nots by Patrice Rushen

Must be close to 25 years since I last used this camera. I remember purchasing it from one of the eminent photographers of the 50's thru the early 80's in NYC and Chicago. Dick Boyer was sharing a space with a photographer I was assisting and he was in his waning years of his profession. He was selling off some old equipment he had used over his career and I happened to get this Century 4A large format camera. I got it more as a vintage piece I could display, but used it to shoot some portraits with film and paper negatives. My biggest problem with the camera was a lack of a stand or tripod big enough to accommodate its large size. So the years stacked up as the camera sat on various shelves, showing off it's gorgeous dark hardwood body.

My friend Brandon I knew had an old camera stand, that would be able to support the Century and I was headed over there to help out. I asked if I could bring the camera by and shoot off a plate and he obliged. I really wanted to get off at least one exposure so as to see the characteristics of the Kodak 405 Portrait Lens and to see if there were any light leaks in the bellows. The stand was a perfect mate for a camera of this magnitude. As a matter of fact, the stand was made to hold even a larger camera than mine.

After taking care of Brandon's test shot, we got the Century mounted and I was able to get a test exposure off. I'm happy to say the camera was a dream to work with and worked flawlessly. All the movements worked smooth, no leaks and best of all, I really like the character of the lens. I'm really wanting to find a stand or tripod to hold the beast so I can start using it.

The 8x10 plate is 4 times the size of what I'm used to shooting. Prepping and holding the final product is an awe inspiring feeling. I'm a little concerned about the expense of shooting so large, but at this point, I know I will have to.

Century 4A w/ Kodak Portrait Lens 405mm f:4.5"

My first shot with the Century in close to 25 years.
8x10 aluminum plate of Brandon"

October 10, 2012


Music | Basique by Little People

Just got back from Chicago. The city becomes even more amazing when you go back and go thru your existence as you did from your memories. The weather is a typical day of coolness, a bit of a bite in the air. Colours of the trees were starting to change. Nothing like Chicago in autumn.

On this great visit, I met up with a gent I haven't seen in close to 30 years, another 2 that I haven't seen in over 15. As time flies by, my relationships with people start to have more meaning, with the time of shared paths of our past. I guess this is what happens when you get older. I can see now where wisdom starts to set in, at least in respect to some things...

I revisited old haunts and discovered new ones. I tasted the ambrosia from when I was a child, teen and thru my time up until I left Chicago over 13 years ago. Eyes of the city thru the CTA was magnified - it's a great way to get to know the neighborhoods and some nuances if you look.

I've had my visits back to Chicago often over the years, but this one, my shortest stay has had a big effect on me. I'm still sorting out why. One thing for sure... I am older and the city has changed, perspectives have changed, but I still think of it as my city.

Skyline from Lincoln Park

Jackson St.

Cermak St. Bridge over the Chicago River

The Loop

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