Last Twin Valley day…


Last Twin Valley day...

My son had his last day with the spring lacrosse team, at a weekend tourney today. He played great – two goals, eight assists. Bring on summer travel!


Large format on the cheap!


Large format on the cheap!

Okay, while you can bottom feed with large format, it’s really not *cheap*. Usually. Lemme ‘splain: Years ago, Mark Sawyer published an article in View Camera about using dollar store magnifying glasses as objectives in LF. I immediately started looking for cheap glass. But everything I found was plastic, small, and had a secondary focal length diopter built into the lens. Didn’t seem like that would work, so I kept looking.

About a month ago, our local Ace had a sale on real, glass, single FL magnifying glasses. Three sizes, a dollar each. I bought one of each size. Mounted one for the 8×10 a couple days ago, but have no film. Tacked the midland length lens (which, turns out, is 7″ f/3.5) into a 4×5 board tonight, strapped a Packard to the front (literally – held on with a bunch of rubber bands) and aimed it at the boy.

I’m happy with what I got. And I’m a little disappointed – all those expensive lenses got very little on this’n. I’m reassessing my Magic Bullet chasing.

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.