Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Final

It never ends.
I think.
At least I hope it never ends.
I've shot Waikiki more times than I can count.
Well okay, I can count pretty high so it's not that much, but I've been going into Waikiki for about a year now and just when I think I've just about took all the pictures I can take, I come away with new stuff:

Okay, that includes some not so new stuff, but sort of new.
There are some images there that I can't help but take; the lens sort gravitates towards it.
Waikiki though seems to be in a constant state of flux; the faces of the street changing seemingly be the week.
Or maybe it's just how my eyeballs see it.
This is good thing.
I've stayed out of Waikiki for a couple of weeks now, partly out of boredom and partly because I've got some new fish to fry.
Going back seemed like a bit of a chore; something I just had to do.
I find that I can never tire of Waikiki:

I think it's the interaction of all the people.
People from here, people from there.
All mixed up on the crowded sidewalks, all on some personal mission.
Some actually with no mission at all, just being is good enough.
I've thought of living in Waikiki.
You know, mixing it up a bit, seeing how life goes in the concrete jungle.
I suppose it's a nice place to visit and all that but well, you know the rest.
So much to see!
If you really look.
So it is close to home:

Just when I get ready to put the camera away I find something new.
Okay, not new, just not seen.
Okay, I've seen it before, just not in that way.
I've made the walk home now a hundred times and I'm still managing to pull things out of the darkness!
Why didn't I see that before?
Why did I shoot it tonight and not all those other nights?
Why does Waikiki seem so familiar yet so different?
I can only hope that this doesn't end.
I hope it continues to look like new.
I hope I continue to find something different.
When it all starts to look the same, I know I'm done.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Going here.
Going there.
Going somewhere.
I think.
So I finally developed some rolls I shot a couple of weeks ago when I went out with the photo club.
We ventured into the downtown area and parts about:

Some of the kids are ninth graders, which is unusual since I don't teach ninth graders.
Meaning they have no camera experience.
What they do have is enthusiasm and a willingness to follow me around.
Which may or may not be a good thing.
I have to remember not to do anything stupid cause they're always watching.
I tend to do that every once in a while.
Something stupid I mean.
Anyways off we went to Aloha Tower to finish off the day:

I tried to use a variety of cameras that day, mostly my old fogey film cameras.
The kids always reach for the newest and biggest; poseurs.
Some of them look like they have a decent eyeball, except they don't know what they're doing.
Newest and biggest, they don't know how to operate all the fancy smancy stuff on the cameras.
So that's what we'll be working on next.
I'm going to try and relate some camera stuff to the stuff we go out and do.
Which will be tonight.
Astrophotography is what they decided:

Some shots of Scorpius, one on film the other digital.
We'll just fool around on campus before we lug everything out and get serious.
I can't help but think about what I'm doing here.
I've come to realize that it's difficult to teach, show, explain exactly what I do and how I do it.
These kids lack any kind background in art and so much of what I do now sort of comes naturally to me.
I have a bunch of experience to draw from, tons of books and works that I've seen and been exposed to.
These kids have no clue.
Reality sort of set in when I was trying to explain what abstract art is and I found myself having to do the sixty second version of the history of art.
Things that I take for granted are absolutely new and foreign to the kids.
I think now that with each project I need to introduce one element of art history.
We'll see how that goes.
Meanwhile it looks cloudy right now.
I may have to go to plan B tonight.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Final

So Saturday was Homecoming.
I have to keep explaining the concept of Homecoming to the kids; over the years it's sort of evolved and lost some meaning.
It's become more about a football game than a well, homecoming, a return.
Even the football part is lost as there aren't really any road trips here.
I mean the furthest school is only an hour away.
Anyways, Homecoming it is:

Of course one team has to be the visitors; our side on the left, the visitors on the right.
Their band showed up a bit later.
Doing the alma mater thingy:

I'm always conflicted here: I work there, but I'm not a graduate; do I still sing?
For a school with a large student body, we field a small team numbers wise.
Being an urban school, we just don't have the feeder programs like pop warner and stuff.
Dressing thirty or forty seems to be the norm, then there's academic casualties and injuries and stuff.
Still, they play!
It was also Senior Night:

The last time the seniors take the home field, which is ironic seeing as how we play on the field of another school.
This field is used by three or four schools in the Honolulu district.
We were supposed to get our own field, but the plans were downgraded to just a practice field.
Oh well.
Play ball!
That's baseball.
Kick off!
Or something.

Then at halftime came the Homecoming thingys:

Only the second time I've ever been in the stands.
It's like, like you can see everything! from up there!
The King and Queen:

Then the dance club finished up:

I gotta say, up there in the stands is a whole nother ball game!
Down on the field it's all business while up in the stands folks are goofing around having fun and enjoying the game.
Even if we weren't winning.
Speaking of not winning:

I gotta say, I'm proud of the way our students played.
Down the whole game, they never gave up.
I mean even in games where they know they may not have a chance, they strap it on and go hard!
Even though we weren't going to win, nearly everyone stayed till the end, even the band!

I often harp on the kids for not having school spirit, for not investing in their school.
I stood there on the sidelines, listening to crowd continue to chant and cheer even though the scoreboard told a different story.
I got a warm fuzzy.
Homecoming indeed.

Monday Early Edition

So much for Sunday.
Was there a Sunday?
Seems like I missed it.
So anyways, here I am in my prep period, period 3 to be exact, trying to catch on up.
Last week I got in some new glass:

So I finally got around to making the lens boards and I was able to do some testing.
With these lenses, the important thing is coverage, meaning do they project an image that covers the film.
I'm still learning all the ins and outs of large format lenses and as usual I made a mistake.
Well I should have known better, but being hasty and all I went ahead an got me an uncoated lens.
Lenses are coated with anti-reflection and transmission well, coatings.
The newer the lens the better, but for the most part stuff made after WWII is good to go.
Except the lens I got:

Here you can see the difference in the instant film test.
The Ektar lens which I got just doesn't hold up the coated lenses, which includes a 90mm Raptar wide angle lens I also just received.
I was disappointed cause I was really looking forwards to some special Ektar pictures!
Okay, so it's not so contrasty; I'll see how it does at night.
Anyways, I got that 90mm Raptar (you can see the wider angle in the test shots) like I said and I wanted to see how it did for I was worried about whether or not it would cover the film.
It's sort of interesting in that the wider the lens field of view, the smaller the image circle it creates for  the film.
In other words, something like a 210mm lens covers the film better than a 135mm.
The 90mm Raptar lens is nice:

I'm still getting used to that camera and these pics are a bit overexposed for my liking.
Still, that new lens is nice and contrasty, sharp too.
These large format cameras are used primarily for landscapes, but I'm more of an urban shooter.
I need to get used to the FOV the lenses create and pick an all around lens to use.
More on this later.
Well it seems there are more to these large format cameras so I decided to get some help:

Might as well know what I'm doing.
Or at least try to look like what I'm doing.
Image is everything.
Don't you know.
So anyways,  Saturday was Homecoming and I spent part of yesterday going through the 400+ images I took at the game.
That's right frames per seconds fans!
I outdid myself!
I gripped it and ripped it!
I knew I was over three hundred frames, but I didn't think I was in 400+ land!
Oh well.
More on that later.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Early Edition

Today has laziness drills written all over it.
Stay in the Command Center and work hard on my technique.
If you know what I mean.
I got things to do!

I got some new glass for The Beast.
I was so impressed with my Signet 35 and the Ektar lens that I got an Ektar for the big camera.
The Signet!

That Ektar lens does some nice things.
So anyways, I got that Ektar for The Beast, it's the one mounted in the lens board.
I also got a wide angle lens, the one on the right not mounted in a lens board:

Which is what I need to make today.
A lens board I mean.
I already sort of made one:

The only thing is hole I cut in it is too large:

By a couple of millimeters.
I had the right hole saw, had being the operative word.
I loaned my set out and when it came back, that particular size had been damaged.
Wouldn't you know it?
So instead of aluminium I'm going to make a temp lens board out of some of that wood I got when I was making them pinhole cameras.
Should be easy enough.
So much for laziness drills.
It's okay though cause I can't wait to test that lens out!
Anyways yesterday I went out with the Photo Club:

We did some picture taking in the downtown area and the harbor.
I think the kids did okay though I won't know until Monday when I see their images.
More on yesterday later.
I got some a cutting and a sanding and mounting to do!
So off I go!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Start to Finish

I'm a rolling now.
I finally decided to take the plunge and try to make my own prints.
One thing that was holding me back was getting a 4x5 camera.
The 4x5 format allows me to create contact prints, prints made with the negative sitting right on the paper.
The simple method of making prints.
The only space I have to create a 'dark room' is my bathroom so in went the enlarger:

I liked it better there than on the counter for on the counter I had to put a board over the sink to accommodate the trays:

Which I picked up today from the local Goodwill.
The trays I mean.
From Goodwill.
I needed four but the plastic one had a cover.
So anyways, you put the negative on the paper, turn on the enlarger and voila!
You have a contact print.
Then you put it in the developer, then the stop, then the fixer, then rinse:

Boy, I need to clean my tub.
Then you hang and dry:

Okay, it's not exactly as easy as all that, but it sort of is.
I mean it's way easier than I expected and if I knew it was this easy I would have been doing this a lot earlier.
Now I have my fingerprints on everything from start to finish,  important stuff.
It's different from just developing the negatives and scanning then printing.
Developing and printing in the darkroom is like well, printing your own pictures!
If you know what I mean.
This changes everything!
Sort of.
I mean now when I give pictures out I can feel good about it knowing I was in it from start to finish.
Don't you know.
Anyways, tonight was the beginning of the testing phase and we'll see how it goes.
Next job is to enlarge a 35mm print and a 120.
Stay tuned.

Somehow this post got filed as a draft so I'm posting it up late.
User error.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Beast

That's what I'm calling it.
Actually it's not that large, but it is heavy and sort of hard to handle.
I've been a waiting and a watching and finally it came along so I had to do it.

Yeah it looks like them other press cameras I got but this one is the big brother.
Busch Pressman model D, it shoots 4x5 film and I got the Polaroid film back to work okay too.
Of course, like anything I dive into head first without looking, there are some bananahead adventures.
So I get the camera and I load it up and I get this:

I'm getting a ghost image.
Of sorts.
Well the lens on this particular camera was made like in the Bronze Age so maybe the optics are not exactly up to par.
Or maybe I'm getting some kind of internal reflections.
Or maybe I just don't know what the hell I'm doing.
Probably the latter.
I'm sad.
I was so looking forward to getting this thing and making some awesome pictures!
This doesn't happen at night!

For the life of me I can't figure out what is wrong.
So I'm looking at the offensive pictures and notice that Hmmmm...they look kinda like pinhole camera images.
Insert facepalm here.
If you look closely at the image of the camera above you will see two holes on the faceplate above and to the left of the lens.
That's where a flash solenoid was attached, the one I took off.
Well at the time it seemed like the holes did not go all the way through the faceplate, but apparently they did.
Just a small enough perforation to act as a pinhole camera!
Some tape on the inside and problem solved:

Now I'm happy!
So off I go to make some pictures:

That last one is another Polaroid, or rather Fuji peel apart.
The thing about these large format cameras is that they can do some pretty neat things.
Like correct for perspective:

You can see in the first image the buildings sort of leaning away from the camera, then in the other picture they are sort of straighter.
I'm still learning how to make the corrections and fooling with the other stuff.
More on that later.
Another great thing about these large format cameras is that you can make pictures via contact method, not really using the enlarger.
Still, I picked up these:

Beseler 67cs enlargers from deep in the school's catacombs.
Time to reconsider the direction of my program.
More on this later too.
I also got this:

Some really old film that probably expired like 30 years ago.
Which I shot today.
More on this well, later.