There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Thursday, November 26, 2015

52@52 Week 17

I took the Calumet 4×5 out to Sandy Hook on Tuesday. I took the week off from work, so I just headed out there at lunch time. I also brought some New55 film, but my ham-fisted attempt at getting it to develop more evenly kinda ruined the shot, so this week’s photo is this piece of Tri-X 320, from a box that expired in 2008 that I found in Columbus last year.

Looking north towards New York City from Sandy Hook

I rated the film at box speed and developed it in Rodinal 1:50 for 14 minutes. I shot it at f/32 for 1/125 of a second. As I was dismantling my setup, a fisherman walked by and said “I recognize that!” Turns out he was a retired Art Director, presumably from a magazine or agency in the city, and was well-familiar with large format photography. He even recognized that I was shooting Polaroids from the box of New55. That was pretty cool; usually when people approach me when I’m using this camera, I have to explain.

I have two large format cameras coming in the next few weeks that should be more portable than the monorail monstrosity that is the Calumet CC-401. I backed the Intrepid Camera on Kickstarter; the last word I saw was that there should be a shipment of those covering my backer number tomorrow, although the latest update they posted on Kickstarter makes me think some time next week is more likely. The Intrepid is more of a press camera, kind of like an old Speed Graphic, and I should be able to use a more reasonable tripod with it than the lovely, heavy, wooden Berlebach tripod I use for the Calumet. The second camera is a Wanderlust Travelwide, which is something rare, almost a point-and-shoot large format camera; if Lomography did a 4×5 camera, it would be this. The Travelwide is made to shoot handheld in a way that even press cameras struggle with. I missed the Kickstarter for that, but got in early on the pre-orders. They’re shipping cameras to their Kickstarter backers first, and several hundred have made it out into the world. No idea when mine will show up, but I’m hopeful that it will be here soon. It’s almost like there’s a race between the two to see which one gets here first. I look forward to working with both of them.

Posted at 9:46 AM
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Thursday, November 19, 2015

52@52 Week 16

I loaded the Canonette QL17 with Kodak Tri-X (actually its doppelganger, Arista Premium 400, which used to be sold by Freestyle, but it’s the exact same film) and took it out for my walk to Penn Station from our office in Soho.

I shot at 1/30 of a second with the lens wide open at f/1.7. None of the photos are tack sharp, but I’ve long felt that sharpness is overrated. This is one of the sharper ones, and one of the last ones I shot Monday night. This is in Chelsea, somewhere between 14th and 23rd streets on 8th Avenue. Things get progressively less interesting the closer you get to Penn Station. I love the West Village. Chelsea is okay south of 23rd. North of 23rd, it’s less interesting. Still, it all beats the hell out of midtown. The streets are always full of interesting people and interesting businesses.

A street shot taken on 8th Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City

I rated the film at EI 1600 and stand developed it in Rodinal 1:100 for an hour. The histogram in my scans indicates that I have a bit more leeway than I thought, so I think that my next shots in this situation will use a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second to try to and reduce motion blur.

Posted at 8:19 AM
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

52@52 Week 15

We went to Cincinnati last weekend to see one of our favorite bands, the Ass Ponys. They broke up about 10 years ago, and last weekend, they got back together and played a couple of concerts. Added bonus: getting to hang out with our friend Shirley!

We stayed across the river in Covington, Kentucky. Laura and I spent some time wandering around Covington and next-door Newport. Newport seems to be the more, um, downscale of the two cities. I noticed this go-go club with a cool neon sign, the Brass Ass. Looks like maybe the dancers can get their outfits next door.

Halloween decorations

I shot this with my Canonet QL17 GIII on Kodak Plus-X, expired in 2004, developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 12 minutes.

Posted at 10:48 AM
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Thursday, November 5, 2015

52@52 Week 14

I saw this while walking around the West Village at lunch time last week, the day after Halloween.

Halloween decorations

I shot this with my Canonet QL17 GIII on Adox Silvermax film, developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 12 minutes.

Posted at 9:50 PM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

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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