May 30 2010

Roll #19

Any of you out there who might actually follow this blog may know that the town where I live is kinda kooky. We have a variety of unusual events throughout the year.

Yes, this Memorial Day weekend we will have a parade like many other towns.

But we’re also having a Popcorn Festival that spans 3 fun-filled days (and not the days you would think)!   It was even the top news item for our local weekly paper.

So this weekend I’ll take a roll of that crap PJ800 out with me. Yes, it might be a lot faster than I’ll need. But I’m not sure where I’ll find myself over the holiday, and I’ll want to travel light (i.e. no flashes, extra lenses, etc).

Of course I’ll visit the Popcorn Festival and the parade, but there are also picnics, auctions, bike rallies, and some home maintenance and repair work slated for this holiday weekend.  I might see a great shot indoors or at night, as well as day.

I’m hoping to capture it all with the surreal grainy texture of memories already gone by, which seems to be the only thing this film might be good for.

Have a great weekend everyone!

May 26 2010

FlashBack Alliteration

Dufay, not the first nor the final in the fey fate of film.

May 23 2010

Roll #18

I had one last roll of black and white film.

And I had the opportunity to spend one last day in the darkroom. It was past the date for the students to have turned in their print portfolio, and most of them were on a spring field trip. So I jumped at the chance to have the whole darkroom to myself.

But I didn’t have much time. I had to find something to shoot, soup it, dry it, edit it and print it all in a few hours. I was excited. It felt like old times.

So I decided to zip up to a local country market which is sort of a combination of a farmers market and flea/junk market, and blew through the roll as quickly as I could. Then I zipped back to the darkroom.

There were still a few students sloshing some prints around while I was souping the film, but after lunch, I had the whole place to myself.

That’s when the fun came back. I was working as quickly as I could.  I was running two enlargers at once. I’d have a test print going on one as I was dodging and burning a final print on another.  There were prints floating around in all the chemistry baths.  I was dancing and spinning around to the music of the water trickling from the final wash.

In about an hour and a half, I slammed out a contact sheet and 5 acceptable prints. These are my favorites from my fun day.

I confess to having a weird fascination with mannequins.  Especially when they’re all lined up like beauty pageant contestants.  I mean, this is weird, right?

Since I’m a woman, I guess I’ll never get to go in there and see for myself what lies beyond the door to this mysterious room.

Yes, the fun came back.  And it was bittersweet.

Before this experiment, I hadn’t been in a darkroom for about 10 years.  And after this, I might never get to be in a darkroom again, unless I build one myself.  It might have been easier to say goodbye when I was still angry and frustrated with it.  But I guess it’s better to continue on with the memory of the darkroom like that of a friend who you love, but you never get to see anymore.

May 16 2010

Roll #17

During my time in the class darkroom, I also did a roll of 3200.

I went up into town one rainy night with my tripod looking for streaky wet street scenes.  They were long exposures and I tried to bracket for most shots.

I checked the processing information online before going into class. I wasn’t going to trust their processing chemistry temperature and time chart for another roll of film.

This time my negs are plenty dense. Actually, many of them are too dense. Ugh!

So I picked a neg with a pretty decent exposure and gave it a go. I was on the same enlarger as with the other negatives, so I had the same vignetting and focus issues. This image might not look half bad if it maintained film grain focus from edge to edge and had a true black border.

I decided to try another negative that was too dense, but I liked the image. I didn’t want this print to be full frame, so I raised the enlarger up for a standard 2 inch crop for 8 by 10.   That also cropped away some of the falloff seen in the full frame prints.  Since it was dense, I ended up printing it at something like 100 seconds wide open. It was  impossible to have a sharp print anyway so it didn’t matter if the neg popped from the lamp, and the streakiness of the scene hides the remaining vignetting pretty well. This is my favorite print.

Although I gotta admit, by the end of my time in the darkroom, it was starting to get on my nerves. The tedium of standing over those trays, sloshing the chemistry back and forth had gotten to me. The time it took for my prints to wash and then dry was killing me.

The nostalgia had worn off.

There was once a time when I would spend all day or even all weekend in the darkroom, hunched under the enlarger and over trays of open chemicals. Or maybe I would be running two or three enlargers at a time, striving for the perfect print. If I ever did make it outside at all, I’d squint and blink in the blinding daylight before retreating quickly to my dark hovel.

Photography has changed and so have I.  For the better?

May 12 2010

FlashBack Photoshop

Did someone say “did someone say ‘photoshop?'”