Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Picture Picture on the Wall...

Who's the fairest of them all?
Of course if my pictures were mirrors, it would be me.
There's something disconcerting looking at a picture of myself.
You know, your own smiling mug staring right back at you.
Thankfully I don't have any pictures of myself hanging around.
Not that I'm not good to look at don't you know.
Anyways, I started framing some pictures.
Ghetto style.
Just popping them in the frames, not mounting them, just to see how they looked:

Okay, not the greatest pictures, the pictures of the pictures I mean, but it's late and I had to deal with the glare of the lamp.
Okay, the pictures in the frames aren't the greatest either.
Which brings me to my point.
What looks good on the ole computer, doesn't exactly translate to photographic goodness in person.
Once I print it on paper and stick em in a frame I mean.
The frame adds a whole different dimension, a look, that some pictures just can't hold.
They just don't look good in a frame.
Too small I think.
Mostly too stupid.
I have to face it, I take a lot of pictures of nothing.
Could be something, but mostly nothing.
I sort of feel like all I've been doing for the past two years was just practice.
Maybe it was.
The 8x8s I've been working on look a little better:

The horizon is little off on that last one.
I'll frame them once I figure out a mounting process.
It's difficult to tell how an image is going to look once you frame it, but thankfully I got a large selection to well, select from:

That's about a year's worth of film; not sure how many rolls I've been through but apparently it's quite a bit.
Looks like I got a project in front of me.
Anyways, between printing pictures and work, I also had the chance to take some students to a pumpkin carving contest:

Two of the three students that showed up.
Between the four of us, we had to maul, I mean carve up five pumpkins with the seven wonders of the world as a theme.
We didn't win anything.
I did the first two.
Wanna guess what they represent?
It was fun and the students, who had never carved a pumpkin before, had a nice time.
We'll do better next year.
With that, I hope you have your pumpkin carved, all spooky and scary!
This year I'm dressing up as me!
That's scary enough.
In a handsome sort of way.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Early Edition

Did I miss something?
Like all of last week?
Where did the time go?
Where did I go?
Where did go go?
I've been busy sleeping and stuff.
The stuff includes work and making prints.
Which turns out to be sort of time consuming.
The print making part I mean.
Okay, sleep is time consuming too but in a good way.
The prints?
Oh yeah:

These are all 5x7s.
Or so.
I'm still sort of having problems with the easels:

You basically put the photo paper under those things and they help you frame the enlargements.
Sort of.
On the easel I was using, it has wonky borders so I need to try another one.
On the larger easel, you need to set your own borders and that's a lot of trial and error.
Mostly error.
In my case anyways.
The larger easel is for square format, in this case 8x8s which you can see there.

I'm really liking this sepia stuff although it's sort of nasty to work with.
It basically turns the silver in the prints to some kind of sulfide so the toner smells really bad.
You need to bleach the prints first in some kind of nasty bleacher bath that looks like it would take your skin off.
I like how it adds warmth to the image, a change from the coldness of noir et blanc.
It's still something of a challenge to choose which images work best:

I'm trying to be objective when choosing the negative, but it's difficult not to be biased towards images that are timeless or look old.
The sepia tone alone begs for 'vintage.'
More on this later.
So anyways, I'm going to try and pick up the Bicycle With the Funny Name today, I mean that is if my laziness drills don't go into over time.
If you know what I mean.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The WC: It's Not Just For You Know What Anymore

The training continues.
No, not the laziness drills, I'm pretty much world class in that department.
I haven't been in a photographic darkroom in oh, since back in another life and some stuff is slow to remember.
Some stuff is totally new.
Well, new to me anyways:

I took home one of the enlargers from work, no worry it's so old it's been off the books for a while, and believe it or not it fits in the bathroom.
Sort of cramped but workable.
The smaller enlarger will only do 35mm film, I only have one negative holder, while the bigger one will do larger formats like 6x7.
One of the problems with working in the bathroom is I need to seal off the window and it gets pretty warm once I get going.
I've also started messing with sepia toner and well, it's nasty smelling stuff.
Thing is I need the bathroom for there's a lot of rinsing and washing involved.
It's the stuff that gives photographs that brownish look:

That's a contact print, made by laying the 4x5 negative directly on the paper.
The enlarger doesn't handle large format negatives.

Those are scans compared to scans of the an actual print.
I would like the images to be a bit darker, the directions actually say to print darker, but these were just tests anyways.
I did do one night shot:

Which I think came out fantabulously well.
I did more prints and I'll be toning them later.
These do take a bit o'time as you need to bleach the original, rinse, then tone and fix.  The whole process takes oh about fifteen or twenty minutes depending on how well you rinse and wash.
In my case in the bathroom sink and in the tub.
Thankfully water is included in my fees here and you can rinse out more than one at a time.
I've also been collecting some picture frames:

Hitting up the local Goodwill.
I'm gonna start to recycle them and mount some of the work like this:

The walls at the Flat Tire Command Center are all still blank so I got lots of space to hang stuff.
I may even try to put some of the smaller ones up on Etsy and see if they get any attention.
This photography stuff needs to start paying for itself.
If you know what I mean.
In other news, following the lead of our friend Steve A, I too got a new hat.
Make that hats.
More on this later.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Still in mourning.
The more I think about it, my bicycle I mean, the more I realize how great it was.
I really did have it set up to do what I needed it do, and I suppose it will take a while to get another bicycle set up the same way.
I'm going to try and pick the Bicycle With the Funny Name this weekend.
If I ever make it out to my brother's house.
This week we had another lunar eclipse:

I hauled out the ole telescope, more on that later, and took some pics through the eyepiece.
You can just see some color in the last frame.
By then the moon was so dark, I had to boost the ISO in my camera something fierce so I switched off to Big Mama:

Here's the set up:

I was going down to the park, but I could see well enough right from the parking lot downstairs.
The eclipse took place just when the moon was around zenith so I had to bend my neck some.
The right angle on the 'scope served me well.
Watching planetary events like this reminds me that we, planet Earth, are just a another small satellite in a bigger picture.
In a bigger bigger picture.
If you know what I mean.
I've been off this week and mainly taking it easy and doing my laziness drills.
The darkroom experiments continue:

More on this later.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Final

I'm still sad.
I really liked that bicycle.
It was all set up they way I needed it to be, you know, with the rack and the cooler thingy and the lights and stuff.
Lesson learned.
I had been out earlier that day, looking for mangos, and I came back to the Flat Tire Command Center (FTCC) to drop some stuff off before going out again.
So in my laziness, I just cabled it to the back fence in the parking lot.
I've done that before, leaving it for half a day even.
I was upstairs for less than a half hour and when I came back well, you know.
That's not where this story ends.
Since I was going back out, and since my bicycle was well, gone, after kicking myself and saying some unholy things I just jumped into my car and headed off.
I mean what could I do?
Until I saw some dude on my bicycle about half a block up the street!
No really.
I must have just missed this guy because there he was, just cruising along!
Now if I was in a right frame of mind I might have done something different.
Unfortunately, I wasn't.
In the right frame of mind I mean.
I step on the gas and try to catch him.
A car pulls out in front of me.
No problem, just get the hell out of my way!
I'm in the right lane, the dude on my bicycle is in the right lane.
I pull up to him and say in my most pleasant voice: you're riding my bicycle motherf*cker!
Then I swerve to try and cut him off.
In a nice way I mean.
Now the sane thing to do would have been to call the cops and follow him.
The sane thing.
Needless to say, I wasn't in a sane frame of mind.
The dude looks at me, hits the brakes, and jumps the curb and takes off.
I look at him, jump the curb and take off after him.
Just like in the movies.
Okay, not really.
I had to get off the sidewalk.
He turns right at the intersection, crosses the street and heads off against traffic.
I turn right and see him go.
I contemplated following him.
Against traffic I mean.
It wasn't as busy as the lane I was in and thinking back, I probably could have made it.
As long as I could have avoided oncoming cars.
Now I'm sitting in car thinking about breaking more traffic laws.
Thankfully I just thought about it.
I also thought about all the different things I could have done.
Unfortunately, what's done is done.
I'm not going to lie, I wish I had run him over with my car.
No really.
Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead and all that.
I could have pinned him in, I could have waited for a stoplight, I could have called the popo.
I've been trying not the think of all the different scenarios.
Cause it makes me sad.
I take some comfort in the fact that he could have pulled off at any time and lost me.
I also take some comfort in the fact that I probably scared the hell out of him.
Still, my bicycle is gone.
Could I have gotten it back?
Would it have been worth it?
Bottom line is I stayed out of trouble and I'm looking for another ride.
Bicycle thieves.
I should have run him over.