Mother and son…


Mother and son...

Took this photo this weekend of my wife and son, on 4×5. And I’m dissatisfied. It has me, again, ready to swear off large format portraiture. And I’ll tell you why:

  • My daughter gets her giggles from her mother. While my son is capable of sitting stock-still for multiple seconds, my wife couldn’t handle this 1/2 second exposure, and my son couldn’t stand still while he was telling her *she* wasn’t standing still. So, on large format, with a modern Sironar-N lens, the image is soft. Not what I was going for.
  • The exposure and lighting were not what I was shooting for. When I’m using period lenses, I tend to over expose a bit, which is easier for my scanner to recover. With this shuttered lens, the sensitivity to under exposure (using Arista film, which has horrendous reciprocity) is acute. The negative was under exposed by, maybe, half a stop, but that’s thin enough that I lose shadow detail. And it makes my scanner wacko.
  • Post-processing, while simple and full of opportunities and options with digital, are greatly reduced with a thinly-produced, wonky scan. No color option, no post application of various filters.
  • I’m back to where I used to be: Unless I have a specific reason to use LF for portraiture (i.e. – using a period/specialty lens), I can’t justify it anymore. This image should have been shot on digital, would have yielded a more expressive, technically stronger image. Shame on me – I was more about the process than the result.


    Shop cleaning…


    Shop cleaning...

    Sometimes there’s nothing as satisfying as having a clean shop. Only took a few hours, but now the garage/shop is rearranged into something usable, sensible, and appropriate for actually making things. The trash pile is large (the garbage men won’t be happy tomorrow), and I still have to store the mower and gas cans in the shop area when I’m not working. But the power tools have a logical layout now, there’re room to move, and there’s clear benchtops.

    Time to make some sawdust.

    The problem with a garage workshop…


    The problem with a garage workshop...

    23″ of snow in the past four days. A 4′ mound of snow against the shop-side garage door. Temperatures today in the mid-30s. While the garage floor is pitched well, the melting snow has no where to drain, and is backing into the garage. Tomorrow I’ll carve a channel for the melt in the driveway, and Monday I’m rearranging the shop, anyway, to put the bench away from the garage door. In the meantime, I’ve got the one leg hoisted out of the water. Not good to rack the bench thusly, but it’s not moving tonight.

    I’m ready for winter to be done.

    Ahhh – 8×10!



    Okay, I’m starting to remember what shooting large format is about. 4×5 is not large format. 8×10 is. There’s a completely different set of operations, and concentration, and focus. For me, anyway. YMMV. But for me, there’s a world of difference when I step up in format, and it surprises me how quickly I lost that.

    Anyway, far from art, but I sat Maddie in front of the Eastman today. Trying out a Voigtlander lens I got with the camera. She’s far too giggly for large format – always has been – but I like how this turned out.




    My kids are certifiable artichoke fanatics. Have been since they could eat solid food. And they come by it naturally: My parents had me eating them very young. The ‘chokes we get here are artichokes in name only – desiccated, brown, disgusting shells of what were once little packages of deliciousness. A number of years ago we grew our own, very successfully, here in southeastern Pennsylvania (a claim which was discounted by the local horticultural society as “improbably”). We were able to over-winter the plants for a year as well, but haven’t grown them since.

    Last year, I placed an order with a California grower for a number of 1-year-old plants in hopes of having fresh ‘chokes for the summer. She never delivered, though, and we were (again) left with the drech at Redner’s.

    In December, we ordered a few packets of seeds, determined to have viable plants this year. The seeds were planted last week; today we have our first sprouts! About four of the ~20 Violetto seeds have sprouted. I’ll check the Imperial Star pots when the kids are home.

    Summer, here we come!