There Is No Cat

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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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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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