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Thursday, February 11, 2016

52@52 Week 28

So here’s my first shot with the Wanderlust Travelwide.

443 Greenwich

I shot this in Tribeca, a few blocks south of my office. I love the cobblestone streets in this part of town. It makes New York seem so old at the same time the construction is making it new.

I put my 1937 beater Angulon 90mm f/6.8 on the camera. Shot this with Arista EDU Ultra 400, developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 11 minutes.

I like the Travelwide. It is amazingly light. I feel the Intrepid, which is also light, when I put it in my backpack. The Travelwide I feel a lot less. I wish I had a lens that wasn’t soft in the corners. Maybe I’ll try the 1972 Angulon on the camera, but I think it showed pretty much the same softness when I used it on the Intrepid.

I loaded up a couple of holders with Portra 400, and I bought some Velvia 100 from B&H and an E6 development kit from the Film Photography Project, so I’ll probably be posting some color shots in the next few weeks. I’ve never developed my own E6 film before; I do my own black and white, and have also done my own C-41 negatives for years, but I’ve always farmed out my transparency film. I was happy with how LTI Lightside did them, but with the office move, it’s not so easy to get there at lunch time. Maybe the Lomography store on 8th Street would do it, but I doubt they would have same day turnaround. Anyway, something new to try. Always there’s something new to try.

Posted at 4:11 AM
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

52@52 Week 27

I took the Intrepid in to work with me on Tuesday, and went out and shot a bit at lunch time. It really requires a tripod, and there isn’t anything to hook a strap to, so it’s a little unwieldy for that situation, but I managed.

Snowed In

This is right behind my office, on Greenwich Street and Houston. These bikes are all over the city. I’ve never ridden one, though, because Laura thinks I’ll get killed if I do. I’m still fascinated by them, though.

Shot this on Arista EDU Ultra 400 at f/32, 1/60 of a second. Developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 11 minutes.

My Wanderlust Travelwide finally showed up on Tuesday, after taking a tour of some other part of my town on Monday when the Post Office loaded the package on the wrong truck. The tracking site said they had tried to deliver but couldn’t find a secure location to leave the package. For future reference, that’s code for “we fucked up, but don’t want it on our record, so we’ll say it’s your fault.” That’s paraphrasing what the guy at the P. O. told me when I called Tuesday morning to complain that they said they had left a notice, but there was no notice to be found. Anyway, the camera is here, and I’ve mounted an Angulon 90mm f/6.8 lens on it (a junker made in 1937 that I found in Columbus, Ohio, for $50, not the Linhof branded one I originally bought for the Travelwide, which I may keep in its lensboard and use with the Intrepid), but it requires calibration, and work is crazy busy this week, so I haven’t had time to do that. Next week I hope to post something from that.

Posted at 6:27 AM
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

52@52 Week 26

We got 19 inches of snow last weekend. So I figured I would take my lemons and make some lemonade. This shot is all about the light on my backyard late in the afternoon last Sunday.

Snowed In

I shot this with the Intrepid again. I got e-mail on Sunday that my Wanderlust Travelwide is shipping this week (today, in fact, but USPS still has no record of the shipment as of 7:23pm), but it’s not here yet. I used the Slik tripod I inherited from my brother, which is definitely stable enough for the Intrepid. I loaded some holders with Arista.EDU Ultra 400 instead of the Tri-X I’ve been shooting lately, and returned to Rodinal for development. I know HC-110 and Rodinal are similar types of developers, but I just prefer the look of Rodinal. There’s something about it that sings to me.

I used the Angulon 90mm f/6.8 for this shot. The corners are pretty blurry, particularly the top right. I think I had the camera set with some rise for this shot. I’ll have to try the lens straight on next time and see if the corners work better.

Oh, and I should note that this is week 26. I’m halfway through my 52 week project. I actually like this week’s photo. Maybe this is working.

Posted at 7:30 PM
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

52@52 Week 25

Took the Intrepid out last weekend, this time with a Schneider-Kreuznach Angulon 90mm f/6.8 lens attached. I couldn’t find the quick release post for my Slik tripod, and I didn’t feel like taking the Berlebach, so I used a monopod that I got from Monoprice. It was a little ungainly and unwieldy, but I managed to make it work.

The former HoJo in Asbury Park, now McLoone's

I had a dentist appointment that morning, so afterward I drove to Asbury Park. I shot two sheets, a photo of Asbury Lanes a couple of blocks off the boardwalk, and this, my favorite building in Asbury Park, the restaurant formerly known as the Howard Johnson’s, now McLoone’s. It is a distinctive building. The Intrepid is very light, and I like it, but I suspect the Wanderlust Travelwide is going to be better suited for walking around. The Intrepid lacks the viewfinder that a press camera like the Speed Graphic does, meaning that you need to frame on the ground glass, making it more like a really light monorail camera in some ways. Or you can take a page from Lomography and shoot from the hip, I guess. In any case, I still like the camera a lot. I’ve been thinking about screwing a couple of eye bolts into the body to use to hook a neck strap to it so I can try walking around. I have a reasonable idea where infinite focus is on the camera with both the 90mm and 150mm lenses (you can screw down the front standard in different locations to accomodate both of those lenses, and infinity is pretty much in the same spot for both once that’s done). So I’ll see if it works for walking around. Might waste a little film in the process, but that’s part of the fun. Maybe I’ll load some holders with X-Ray film or Arista film; it’s certainly cheaper than the Tri-X I’ve been using lately and maybe better for experimentation.

I developed this in HC-110, dilution G, for 13 minutes. My bottle of Rodinal is down to crystals, and I have the HC-110 hanging around, so I figured I would use it. I still have two or three more bottles of Rodinal, all the original AGFA labelled stuff, but hey, it keeps forever, so no rush to open the next bottle.

I ordered new quick release posts for the tripod from B&H, and they arrived a couple of days ago. Hopefully I can get out of the house this weekend between snowflakes and make use of it to get more shots. Or maybe I’ll just shoot what my backyard looks like with a foot and a half of snow on it.

Posted at 5:31 AM
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

52@52 Week 24

And the winner of the race for which Kickstarted camera would get here first was The Intrepid! I didn't back the Wanderlust Travelwide on Kickstarter, only finding out about it after the campaign was over, but I was one of the first to buy in the pre-order period. Anyway, I picked up the Intrepid at FedEx Tuesday night, and took it in to work with me yesterday (that’s so cool, being able to take a large format camera to work).

Sunset over the Hudson

Our office is in Soho a few blocks from the Hudson River, and this is the view from my desk (okay, I actually took the camera over to the window so you wouldn’t see the desks between me and the outside). We are often treated to impressive sunsets. I picked up some Portra 400 at B&H on Monday, but wanted to shoot black and white for my first shots with the camera.

I took two shots, one at lunch time and the other around 4:30 as the sun was going down. This one works a lot better. The light was just too flat at noon (not surprising). I shot this on my go-to film, the well-expired Tri-X TXP320. I hear this doesn't push well, so I may load a few holders with Arista.EDU 400 and do so early evening work in the West Village in coming weeks. The lens was a Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150, my first time using this lens, which I bought from KEH specifically for this camera. It seemed more suited for a press camera like this than the Symmar-S 210 I’ve been using on my Calumet. I also have a 90mm Angulon mounted in a Linhof lensboard that will work with this camera. I’ll have to give that a try as well.

The camera folds up pretty flat. You can see how it gets set up on their how-to page. I found that it actually fits in the backpack I use to commute to work each day, a Lowepro Fastback 250. It’s a little tight, and I can’t keep the lensboard in place as it’s folded up, but yeah, I can fit a large format camera in my backpack. That’s pretty awesome and opens up a lot of possibilities.

It was maybe 25 degrees out yesterday, so I didn’t take the camera outside, but I can see plenty of opportunity to do so moving forward. Then again, Kathy Akey took an Intrepid to the Arctic, so maybe I have no excuse.

Posted at 4:13 AM
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Thursday, January 7, 2016

52@52 Week 23

I finally made it down to Seaside Heights last weekend. Took the monorail, some New55 P/N ISO 50, and a film holder with two sheets of Tri-X TXP 320. Here are the results of the New55.

Seaside Heights Boardwalk

One of the three New55 shots I took exhibited the "too loose" syndrome I’ve mentioned before and overexposed. The other two shots I took both exhibited signs of faulty popping of developer pods.

Seaside Heights Boardwalk

I have gotten into the habit of taking control shots with Tri-X whenever I shoot New55, even though their ISOs are different. I developed the Tri-X tonight, because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t my saggy bellows getting in the way. I was pretty sure it wasn’t, particularly because the two New55 shots show incompleteness on different sides, but I wanted to be certain. It was not the bellows. I looked at the pods after I developed the New55, and it was clear that they didn't completely open. One side did, one side did not, or did not completely open.

I see shots from other people online with this film that work better. I checked my holder before I loaded it, and it was clean, so I don’t think the holder was to blame.

I’m enjoying trying this film out, but I am also frustrated that I’m not getting better results.

I have another box, and I expect that it won’t be too long before I receive the two boxes from my Kickstarter pledge; I was somewhere around 45% in the list of backers, and Sam and Bob say they’ve shipped 50% of the rewards. Obviously the earlier pledges were for more boxes than later pledges, because otherwise I would have received my Kickstarter boxes by now. Note that I’m not complaining about that. I’m happy to pay for boxes and help the company through this early period. And the film has definitely gotten better. I look forward to continuing to shoot with it, but I’m also going to continue shooting backups with other film.

I should post scans of the prints from these two here. I find that the prints from the ISO 50 film are pretty awful. The prints from the ISO 100/200 film were much better. But I think the negatives on the ISO 50 are a little better, my issues with pod problems notwithstanding.

Posted at 9:23 PM
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Thursday, December 31, 2015

52@52 Week 22

Took the Calumet out to Popamora Point yesterday. It was a cloudy day. I metered using a Pentax Spotmeter V that I bought from KEH on Black Friday when accessories were 50% off. First time I used it. That is a sweet piece of a equipment.

Sandy Hook seen from Popamora Point

The New55 worked this time. The gouge in the negative on the right had nothing to do with New55 and everything to do with me being a little sloppy carrying the drying negative upstairs. I had the negative hanging from my MOD54 film hanger, a wonderful little piece of equipment, when the hanger fell off its clip and dropped to the floor. That’s how the negative got gouged. Oh well. At least it’s at the edge; if I print this, I need to rotate it slightly anyway, and can set it up to not show that.

This package of New55 is one of the ISO 50 packages that get developed for 2 minutes, instead of the 4 minutes that the ISO 100-200 packages get. I was happy to receive these packages, as I was wondering how they would work differently. I was very happy with the negative. I was less so with the print. But this is only one exposure, on a day when the range of information in the screen went all the way from EV 11 to EV 12 according to the aforementioned Pentax Spotmeter V. So it was a pretty flat scene from a lighting perspective, and the print reflected that. I hope to get a bit more contrast next time I shoot this to see how it responds.

I’ve lived in this area for almost 40 years, and I didn’t even know that Popamora Point existed. It’s off in the corner of Highlands. Laura and I discovered it on Christmas Day. We went for a walk on the Henry Hudson Trail starting in Atlantic Highlands, not knowing if the trail was even open (it was closed for a long time after Sandy), and not knowing where it ended. It ended (or actually started) at Popamora Point. The Henry Hudson Trail covers 22 miles in Monmouth County. I love this section of it; it’s right on Raritan Bay and has some beautiful views.

Posted at 8:25 PM
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

52@52 Week 21

I’m taking some time off from work for the holidays. I went down the shore yesterday. My original intention was to go to Seaside Heights and shoot on the boardwalk, but while it was only drizzling when I left home, the rain picked up on my way down the Parkway. So I decided to head south a little further and get some lunch at my favorite spot on Long Beach Island and just see what happened.

Barnegat Lighthouse

The rain let up for a little while after lunch, so I figured I would make the best of it while it lasted and head up to the north end of the island to take a couple of pictures of the lighthouse. This is what I got.

This was actually one of the backup shots. My original intention was to shoot New55. I got another couple of packs, and this time it was the ISO 50 variant that you develop for 2 minutes instead of the ISO 100 variant that you develop for 4 minutes. Everything went fine with it at the shoot, the envelope clicked into the holder nicely, slid right in and out, definitely easier to use in the holder than earlier packs. I pulled the pack out of the holder and put it in my bag. And that was my mistake. When I got home and went to pull it out of the bag to develop, the negative holder just slid out of the the envelope, exposing and ruining the film. I didn't even bother to develop it. This film is a constant learning experience, a reminder to mindfulness.

So I shot this with the Tri-X 320 that I’ve been using as backup for my attempts at New55, knowing that shit happens and I can’t always count on it working the way I expect it to. Same camera set up, Calumet CC-401, Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 210mm f/5.6. The guys at Intrepid started shipping last week, but only got up to backer 93 from their starting point at backer 77; I’m backer 99. And they’re taking the week between Christmas and New Years off (good for them), so unless they built and shipped it this week, it looks like they won’t get to it until January. No news on the Wanderlust Travelwide, although I saw on one of the sites that they told their Kickstarter backers that they were about to ship the last batch of Kickstarter fulfillments, so I’m hopeful they’ll get to the pre-orders soon. I think I was pretty early in the pre-orders, first day they went up, but it’s not east to tell the way it is on Kickstarter where you fit in the list.

Anyway, the rain held off for a while and I got a couple of shots off with the Calumet. I also brought the Rolleiflex, but didn’t finish the roll yet, so I haven’t developed it. And I also brought my Bubl 360 degree camera. Haven’t looked at the shots from that yet, but it’s digital, and outside the scope of this project. After about 15 minutes, the rain showed signs of starting to get heavier, so I packed up and headed to a nearby brewery to sample their candy cane porter (it was good enough to buy a small growler, but not good enough to bring to Christmas celebrations).

Hopefully I’ll get to Seaside with the camera next week.

Posted at 4:41 AM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2016, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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