There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

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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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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