Saturday, December 22, 2012

TSRA Calendar Photoshoot

Every year, (for the last few years), I've shot the TSRA calendar.  It's a class piece.  Takes about 15 set-ups with firearms and a couple of background shots of rock or bark.  12 months, front and back cover and at least one extra image.  I pick the guns, supply the backgrounds, do all my own styling, shoot, edit, sequence and send off the shots.  It's a fund-raiser for the TSRA and a very effective one.  Without taking undue credit from the hard-working folks who do the computer work, printing and mailing, plus sell the thing, I can take credit for morphing it from an ungainly mess of bad images to a fairly sophisticated piece.

  There is even a little bit of a video up on the Blackfork6 Channel on youtube.  Not very good because I was dang busy trying to do all the above.,

  Just got started.  First image of the project was a Colt and a Savage owned by Jackson and I in a drawer at the studio.  Simple, with a little styling and natural light.  I used a couple of light dams to keep bright spots out.  Uhh.. Not much styling or propping.  It's what the drawer actually looks like.  Sometimes I have to clean a pistol at work.  Still:  You work with what you have at hand.

Nikon 300 on an old Tiltall tripod.  Windowlight and light from a tungsten desk lamp.  I'd like to have about three more of these in the bag before the real photoshoot starts.  The backgrounds and props are the real difficulty.  I use the same backgrounds a couple of times and then they are done.  I've got an old tattered American flag that has made four calendars.  Can't go there again.  Always on the lookout for fresh backgrounds.  35mm on the Nikon zoom.

Update:  Vintage firearm ads that Huffpo thinks we ought to be bothered by.  Wimps.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Printing with Fred.

Fred Picker, curmudgeon, salesman, photographer, designer and general all-around visionary with a very dogmatic and practical side.  His Zone VI enlarger is now up and running.  Ebay.  Fred died in 2002.  Very sophisticated enlarger and electrics.  The enlarge is actually kind of cheap-feeling compared to the Omega 5X7 I was printing on.  Lots of stamped metal.   The timer, sensors and variable contrast head are amazing.  I'm HOPING it gives a better/smoother illumination field.  I really can't tell yet, but it ought to.  The head is a 6X9- much bigger on all sides than my 5X7 negative.  The negative carriers are exact to the negative size, but a little thin-feeling when you are used to your own museum board or Omega carriers.  I printed six negatives, made 12 prints and might have three that will survive.  Not very good odds.  I'm still in the learning curve though I have figured out all the buttons and switches.  The hanging focus knob is a trip, but very handy.

  Printed on 20X24 so it was some expensive lessons.  More printing tomorrow.

Enlarger set-up in the darkroom.  I was changing filters under the lens to change contrast.  Very nice to be able to move around in half-contrast grade steps.  Now I'm dialing it in on a control.  One know for soft and one knob for hard.  The timer measures the light the head is putting out and changes the timing interval to keep it the same for different colors of light, voltage shifts, et.  It has a beep so you can hear it speed up and slow down as things change.  Weird.  But accurate.

Happy with this print but it takes a lot of light.  That probably means its off a bit.  Scene was one of those negatives I kept "remembering" even though it was filed away in a box.  Shot off the side of the bridge at Butler Creek.  First time to print it.  Still sitting in enlarger for tomorrow.

Big copy of a rock wall from Shiprock trip.  Lighter print than it shows here.  Got it.  Just have to spot it.

Might be a little dark and soft on this one.  Very close.  Never printed before, though I have shot this scene several times on different trips.  I think I counted up six nights over the years on this ledge, one trapped behind the waterfall during a thunderstorm.  First light, so you have to sleep up there to see it.

Too dark in the shadows.  The rock has an incredible filigreed texture that I need to do more to bring out.

Completely missed on three other negatives.  Too dark on a little Anasazi rockwork in the Shiprock climber's cave and weird uneven printing in the other two.  It could be that this enlarger doesn't like dense negatives.  I'll find out more in the morning.

  Thanks for all your good works, Fred!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Darkroom Reorganizing.

  Shelf up. I must have bought that shelf in about 1995.  Never been installed anywhere.  It's really a great shelf. That cleared the clutter off the counter top.  Lots of stuff going out the door.  Maybe today the lenses and electrics will come in for the new enlarger and I will see if it actually comes on!

  Close enlarger is an Omega D2 with an Omega cold light head on it.  Had an Aristo Grid head on there but the light color was too blue to print on multi-grade paper so I switched back to the dome/ring-tube light head.  It's got a negative of White House Ruin in it from 1976, cranked up high enough to make a 16X16.  Just waiting on a printing day.

White House Ruin, Canyon de Chelly, 1976

Going to be fascinating to see how much better/different the Zone VI enlarger prints than my old big Omega.  It had uneven illumination in the corners where the tube in the head was closest.  Didn't matter much on some negatives but was a bear to handle on negatives with delicate skies or lighter ones.

My darkroom gun is a loaded M1 Get-Off-My-Lawn Garand.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just because.

Faced with installing new enlarger.  Ansel at Yosemite in 1975.  Polaroid P/N negative.  Just for luck.

This print is available for sale.  On 8X10 paper, 150.00

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blurb Book at a bargain.

The Blackfork Guide is available this month at 10 bucks off by putting in the code: GIVE10 in the discount box when checking out.  Makes it even more worth it!  (I did an edit after finding one more typo.  Very nice thing about electronic publishing.)

TCC Photo Gallery show opens.

25 prints up.  Tammy Cromer-Campbell did a nice jog sequencing and hanging them.  Sold five during the evening as a nice crowd came and went.

This one went to some friends from Dallas.  Nice print.  They got the first silver print of it, ever.  I've had as a digital scan but never printed it on real paper.  Very satisfying print and a well-behaved negative.  On Ilford Multigrade warmtone.

Dr. Sneed talking to Scott Campbell in front of The Dot.

One of my students, Michael Morse along the gallery wall.  He and his mother came along with Edie, their dog.  I barely remembered to take a photo, was busy talking all evening.

Katie and Dr. Sneed at Osaka, just around the corner downtown.

Sneed and I spent the day taking down my Omega D3 and putting up the column and head of a Zone VI enlarger I bought from the estate of Mark Noble in Washington State.  The electrics are still coming so it's not operational, but looks like it's going to be fun to use.  Fred Picker, RIP, along with Mark.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New old used enlarger.

  Problems with printing multigrade papers and enlarger head illumination, (nearly all of them are uneven), led me to start shopping around on Ebay for the last enlarger ever designed...a Zone VI model 2 5X7.  Found one in Washington State and managed to get it for a fair price.  One of those pack-and-ship Fed-Ex/UPS stores overcharged me for shipping it down here, (about 4X what normal shipping might be.)  My current enlarger is a 1955 Omega D3, built for 5X7 with a huge domelight-with-flourescent-tube head.  I've made some great prints with it, but it's awful for even illumination with hotspots at all corners.  If you have a dark negative, it's hardly noticeable but lighter tones are always tough.

  Trading my 60 year old enlarger for a 21 year old one.  There aren't any enlargers from this century.

Omega D3 5X7 coming out.

Zone VI 5X7 going in.

  I'm hoping the ZoneVI is a fix.  Got it in today and now I have to uninstall my D3 and install this one.  Looks great.  Hoping for the best.   All the timers, stabilizers, lenses and negative carriers are coming in at a reasonable rate via the seller and my Fed-Ex account number.

Elwood 8X10.

  The usual disaster.  I have most of an 8X10 enlarger, a corroded Elwood, beached on the studio floor.  I rebought a head I had sold for my D2,  (the aristo now a spare), bought longer lenses and mounted them with great effort on the D3, (still missing one lens flange), now they have to go over to the Zone VI.  Bought another D3 at a bargain off ebay, but they couldn't make a reasonable shipping price from New Jersey so that was cancelled.  Purchased everything twice, as always.  I'll start ebaying out the spare parts I guess.

  This one belonged to Mark Noble, from Washington State.  He bought it in 1991.   His widow is selling his darkroom stuff bit by bit.  RIP Mark, and thanks.

  Going to miss my little stainless steel wire filter holders that I rigged up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Show delivered in Longview.

  Can't wait to see it hung on the walls.  Always a revelation as to how a curator, in this case Tammy Cromer-Campbell, will sequence and group the prints.  I try to give the installer complete control with only a few notes about what the prints are.  This is quite a selection.  Glad to have this part done.

Friday evening, 5-8, 207 North Center Street in Longview in conjunction with an evening Art Walk.

The official LINK

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Opening of the "Eternal Gift", Friday, December 7, in Longview.

A.C. Gentry-designed frame!

At the TCC Photo Gallery, 207 North Center Street, Longview, Texas, 5-8.  Rare chance to see 20+ Langhams hanging in one place.  Some of them from this fall at Canyon de Chelly or Shiprock in August.  Fun to see them in frames.  Prints looking pretty good.  

Fall Darkroom Video.

Rocks.  Trees.  More rocks.  In the darkroom.  Framing some of those prints today.  Really nice.  Took all day to spot, mat and frame four big ones and one small one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter Printing.

  Print in the Fall and Spring to take advantage of water temps.  In the summer it can run up to 95 degrees out of the cold side.  Too hot for the quantity of water needed to print and wash paper.  I look forward to printing season and yesterday went into the darkroom with a fresh 50-sheet box of 20X24. Hard to get more fun than that!

  I can usually print 5-7 negatives in a day, with care.  I'm eager to get a look at some of the new negatives and have a show I have to deliver next week.

This negative had been reminding me that it hadn't ever been printed for a couple of years.  2009 at Clarksville.  Last weekend, as we left the ranch after a hunting session, I drove over and shot a morning shot of the shadow from the same tree.  Then I came home and printed this one.  I have a portfolio: White Trees, of blooming Spring trees.  That got me looking at black trees....and I'm a noticer of there you go.

Couldn't wait to see this big.  I think it works.

This had been a raging digital print, but never a darkroom print on real silver paper through trays, et.  Cropped the bottom a little and was careful not to over-contrast it.

You have to be an optimist to point a camera at a rock.  Shiprock, last August.  Shot this for the 4th time.

Canyon de Chelly cottonwood from October trip.

This cleaned up nicely.  I was very suspicious when it printed on the first try after a test strip, though I had printed it small a month ago.

Rock face, CDC.

Seven negatives.  Made for a long day.  First print at 9:30 and finished about 7.  Now let's see how they do in the wall test.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Video alert: Canyon de Chelly up.

Video produced with iphone videos and some bad music.  Katie and Jackson and I.  It's too long and I should have pulled about 10 photos of me and the view cameras, but if you want a peek at the canyon it's pretty good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Video up. Shiprock South Dike this last August.

South Dike, Shiprock, 2012  Picked out a nice spot on some tough ground.  Pretty slanty up there.  190 Ektar wide-field in front of a sheet of HP5.

  Photographing the South Dike at Shiprock early on a hazy morning.  Picked out my camera position and then slept on a big split boulder that was almost flat.  Almost.  Just used a little camping pad and a sleeping bag cover.  I'm supposed to be an expert at this and everything was good enough while being ridiculous at the same time.  Didn't want to sleep on the ground because of grit and snakes, plus the packrats.  I was right under the Black Giant which I have always considered home base for Shiprock Poltergeists.  (Just below me was where one tore a perfectly good Fuji 120mm view camera lens in HALF on an early visit.  Then some Navajo kids stole the halves.)  They don't seem to bother me much anymore but it might be because the prefer you to be alone so you carry a sense of paranoia along for the ride.  Had a packrat visitation in the night.  A little distant poltergeisting out in the air over the slope.  (Where are the owls when you need them?)  The last morning we were there.  After this we packed up and headed back to Texas.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back in the pool.

  Jackson wanted to see the olympic pool in the brush so Katie, me, he and Red Chief went out for a late afternoon look.

It needs the color.

Same shot in black and white.

I was just carrying my iphone again.  Katie was photographing with hers and got some very skillful shots. Jackson had a nice Nikon.  Megan was shooting with her phone.  We peeled the pixels off the scene.  Quite a site to work in.