Monday, June 27, 2011

Best wishes.

Happy Birthday, Ken, where ever you are. Hope life is treating you well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's often the simplest things.

This sort of thing happens to me all the time - I don't take a picture or pursue a thought for an image because I figure whatever I thought to point my camera at "won't be interesting enough". A defeatist view, definitely, and something that largely causes my "dry spells" with photography. It's a lesson I can't seem to learn enough: you can find an interesting image anywhere.

Take the above image, for example. I'd been noodling around with making images of objects placed on my light box, and I had a thought to try randomly-thrown paper circles as my object of the day. So I took a hole punch and went through my paper supplies and pulled out some complementary colors and punched out about 20 holes per color. I shook them all together to get the colors mixed up, then tossed them on the light box. I zoomed the lens during the exposure, to get a blurred effect. Truth be told, the end results weren't all that impressive, but I selected a couple of the best tries and gazed at them a while to see if I could find a pattern that looked visually appealing. Once I found that, I worked on color and tone. What you see here is the end product. I think it has a gentle, calming appearance, but with a level of abstraction you can get lost in. And it came out of aiming my camera at about 100 1/4-inch diameter pieces of colored paper. Interesting enough for you?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting back on the horse.

Or trying to, anyway. I dropped off taking photographs substantially in the past year, but I'm working to break that creative block. So hopefully going forward I'll be posting more often.

The image above was taken of leaves from my backyard, arranged on a light box.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Whoops. I ignored my blog again. I got a new scanner, as I've mentioned, and have started up a couple of projects scanning family photos and my vintage photo collection, so pretty much all my time has been sucked up by that. If you are interested in vintage photos, feel free to follow the link to my Flickr photostream and have a look. I've only just started posting the images, and there's a good amount to see already, but the pile will definitely get bigger.

I do have some blog posts in mind though - just haven't started them; I'll have to get those together. And SoFoBoMo has started, but I neither have a start date for myself nor an idea of what to do. The latest I can start is very late June (or certainly no later than July 1), in order for my 31-day project to fall within the time frame. I have been (besides scanning) also building some homemade lensless cameras, so maybe if I get my act together I'll do something pinhole-y or zone plate-y with them. Hmmm...two SoFoBoMo books in a row with nothing sharply focused - can you stand it?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Polaroid Land "Automatic" 100

The Polaroid Land "Automatic" 100 was manufactured between 1963 and 1966, and takes Polaroid 100-type packfilm. Pictured here, you can see what it looks like when it is enclosed in its hard case, and also when it is out of the case and the bellows is fully extended. It was the first model in a series of folding rangefinder cameras and featured automatic exposure (although you have some control with a lighten/darken knob). Accessories include the usual remote shutter mechanisms, flashes, a variety of filters, and kits that allow closer focus - "portrait", to get you within 1.5 feet of your subject, and "close-up" to get you within about 9 inches (normal minimum focusing distance is about 3.5 feet). For the autoexposure feature, the camera requires batteries - a battery type which is near-to-completely obsolete by now. But the camera I use has been adapted to take regular AA batteries - I did not perform the adaptation on this particular camera, but I've read tutorials online about it and it appears to be a relatively simple process. I have another 100 that is not converted, and I may attempt it myself sometime in the near future.

I enjoy using this camera, but like pretty much all Polaroid cameras, it's a bit ungainly and cumbersome to carry around. I find I had to get used to accounting a bit for parallax error, but once you get the hang of that it's really a very easy camera to use. You can either get old Polaroid packfilm (still available, but at usurious prices) or from Fujifilm, who makes an instant film that fits Polaroid packfilm cameras, and apparently they have no plans to discontinue it.

After you take a picture you pull a series of tabs from an opening on the side that brings the image out through a pair of metal rollers, releasing the development chemicals encased in each picture and spreading it across the image. After the appropriate amount of time has passed - depending on temperature and type of film, this can take about 1-2 minutes - you separate the image from its backing and there it is - instant image! [Yeah I know, you could have fired off fifty digital images in that amount of time, humor me!]

Here's some examples of pictures taken with the camera:

Sometimes if you pull the print out too quickly, you get some smeared chemicals and spots (and sometimes you can misjudge the focus!):

And since you don't actually develop the image until you pull it out of the camera (unlike other Polaroid cams which instantly spit out the print whether you like it or not), you can experiment with multiple exposures:

I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane - officially, it is the first trip, for my long-term Old Cameras Project, which *cough* I'm just about five months behind in starting it. Better late than never!

Sunday, April 25, 2010