Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Late Night Collaging

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
Late Night Collaging
I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
Late Night Collaging
I’m Dreaming of a Cold War(MIRV = Multiple Independantly Targetable Reentry Vehicle. ICBM = Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. But sometimes a MIRV warhead is just a glass of Budweiser!)

Late Night Collaging
I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(Note the side windows make for nice tail fins!)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(I particularly like the red and yellow bits that make the fiery exhaust; just ignore the fact that reentry vehicles don't actually have a fiery rocket exhaust, just reentry plasma. But never fear; the conical reentry vehicle is actually a blue Christmas stocking cap, and the red atmospheric glow behind it is a bell pepper!)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(This is the only USSR - themed logo I could find in the Life magazine, from a Dr. Zhivago film article. The dark green (bell pepper) bomb casing references a British nuclear weapon on display at the Atomic Museum in ABQ.)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(The streaky oval part of the mushroom cloud is actually Ronald Reagan's hair, from a Life article about him and Nancy!)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(Another car ad makes for good resource material for this faux-warhead, that isn't supposed to have a fiery rocket exhaust but by now, late in the evening, I had plenty of scraps to work with and the yellow/orange/red exhaust was actually the edge of a foamy head of Budweiser beer! The yellow star against the black circle, behind the warhead nosecone, reminds me of the explosive lenses used in implosion weapons.)

The top image was the last one I did, I really like the simplicity of the layout and the tension between the colored cityscape and the black & white face; and also the simultaneous multiple perspectives of the profile face with eyes seen front-on, as used in Cubism (many cubists were also collagists).

The method I used to make these collages was to start by finding a background image I could work with. I especially like the two with black & white city images, the colored parts on top of them present a nice tension. The faces in the background of the Russian Fright piece are from a Life magazine story about the death of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966.

Then I find parts I can use for a missile or bomb, it sometimes being necessary to rearrange parts to make it appear more missile-like (as with the car ads).

I also find it helpful to look for hot words or other phrases that might play into the theme of the piece, such as "Bright and bracing," or "emp," which references the Electromagnetic Pulse phenomonen of high-altitude nuclear detonations.

There are also more obscure references in these collages, such as the Russian Fright piece with its "Lead-Free" reference. If the secondary of the weapon is lead-free, that means it's optimized for maximum yield and fallout. In this instance, having lead is good! (Er, well, not as bad as not having lead.)

Now that I have this out of my system, perhaps I'll do more happy-go-lucky themes intead! Sorry if this was such a Debbie Downer, subject-wise. Be well.


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Pinholing on the Shortest Day of the Year

Joe by Fence
23 December 2021 Blog Article

Ethan made the exposure of me, seen at the top of the page, as I posed, with my cigar, in the midday sunlight on the shortest day of the year. It was about a 15 second exposure.

I also made several of Ethan. Here's one of him posed by his Jeep. The logo on the hood of the vehicle looms large in the foreground, due to the extremely wide angle view of the camera, and Ethan is left rather diminutive in size in the background. He was actually only about six feet away.

Ethan by Jeep

What I like about this image, besides making Ethan look like a homeless guy (that's the power of pinhole!) is the sky detail that emerges. Typically the skies in these paper negative images will be blown out to pure white, due to the preponderance of UV and blue light that the paper is very sensitive to. I try to compensate by a slow development (using dilute developer) and monitoring the process so I can pull the negative before it becomes too dense. This of course requires that I tray-process them in the darkroom, rather than in the convenience of a developing tank. To do this properly also requires that you have experience in judging what good shadow detail looks like under the dim red safelights, because good shadow detail typically looks darker than normal in the developer tray. And because my garage-based darkroom is cold this time of year, I had to run a space heater and microwave the chemicals to room temperature before use, which makes the process less spontaneous than I'd like.

Another factor in achieving some sky detail in this image was because the camera has such a wide angle of view, it naturally produces a light-falloff caused by vignetting, which tends to darken the sky if it's placed near an edge or corner of the image.

Here's a close-up image of Ethan, I think this one was 30 seconds long, which of course makes it difficult for the subject to remain entirely still (we haven't yet used a head-brace, like the 19th century portraitists did), but I still like this one, and the wild look it gives Ethan, exaggerated by the camera's extremely wide angle of view:

Ethan by Fence

I do like the rich shadow detail of the fence behind Ethan, which remains remarkably sharp despite the use of a pinhole for a lens.

People have asked me about the pre-flashing I do to the paper in the darkroom beforehand, and what effect it has on the final image. This is done to increase the shadow detail of the image without influencing the highlights, which tends to moderate the otherwise excessive contrast intrinsic to photo paper images. I pre-flashed these particular negatives when they were already in the film holders. But the angle of view of the camera is wider than the pre-flash light source I used, hence if you look at the upper left edge of the above image you can see a direct comparison between pre-flashed and normal paper. You should notice in the upper left edge the sky is darker than in the main part of the image, as is also the edge of the roof line of the shop building. The pinhole image extends slightly beyond the pre-flashed area of the negative, making it very obvious the difference that this technique makes.

The typecast was made onto newsprint paper using the Royal KMM with the very inky cotton ribbon. Not ideal, a bit messy-looking, but I prefer that to a too faint imprint. The search for the perfect ribbon for the KMM goes on!


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

More Gregg, Less Marsha

Oh goodie, twelve more pads of Gregg-ruled steno pads!

Here's my supply of pre-cut 3-hole punched adapter strips, already for archiving my 6"x9" steno pad typewritings:
Yesterday's four-page blog article taped to one adapter strip, ready to archive:
Each page can be flipped open individually for easy reading:
The four-page blog article now archived in the 3-ring binder:
I'm curious as to how other typecast bloggers archive their original sheets. I trust my paper filing system better than some mega-corporation with my data, that's essentially only as permanently secure as my account with them. One goof with your email account or password and poof! it's all gone. Of course, paper can be destroyed in some physical catastrophe, as minor as a water leak, or whatever. And then there's the issue of the space it takes to store binders-full of typewritings from decades past. But at least I know the basics of how to secure things in the physical realm, I feel I have control there. How about you?

Regarding the late-night typing and the noise I was causing, Aunt Pat's Royal 10 has hard rubber feet and feet bushings, it does sound like a herd of horses atop my wooden table. That large towel folded into quarters really did the trick of dampening the noise. Still, I need to be more considerate late at night, all the better reason to employ a thermal typewriter in those situations.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Front Yard Typewriting, or Not Yet Performance Art

Here's my setup, in the now fading daylight, as the sun sets below the ponderosa pine across the street:

Since typecasting became a regular part of my blog, I've always held in tension the necessity to include images of typewritten text, while also enjoying the sponteneity of keyboarding text directly, as a means of expounding on things I may not have thought about whilst typewriting. It represents a kind of duality, having thoughts typed as ink on paper and also thoughts more immediately keyboarded into the template, as if they were two different planes or levels of perspective.

Just as I've done since starting this blog in 2006, I may yet post "articles" (1) that are only keyboarded, not typecast, perhaps pasted from other works I've written. Despite blogging being considered outdated, I enjoy this format as a more thoughtful form of thought-sharing, and also easier to archive and retrieve, as evidenced by the long historic list of previous articles, over on the righthand column.


(1) Are blog posts considered "posts" or "articles" or "entries?" What's the appropriate terminology?


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Fujifilm, Lomography and Instant Fun

A Day at Ethan’s

One of the camera's we used was Ethan's laser-cut 4x5 pinhole camera, made from a kit that he sells. Here's the Lomography Graflok back mounted to the camera:
Pinhole Camera with Lomo Graflok Back

Here's the camera and Lomo back mounted to a tripod:

Fuji's Instax Wide instant print film has up to now only been usable in plastic point-and-shoot cameras, which offer a limited amount of control over exposure and focus. But now with Lomography's 4x5 back for Instax wide, it can be exposed in any camera that offers a graflok film back, opening up a new world of opportunity for creative photographers.

Ethan has been using this film back with his 3D printed camera that adapts Mamiya press lenses. He also has made his own focusing adapter that has an integral viewing screen, making it more convenient to use than Lomography's supplied focus adapter, that requires the camera's native view screen be repeatedly installed and removed between each shot.

During our photo shoot today, I had the idea of using Ethan's backyard wooden fence as a makeshift gallery space. The fence's old iron nails worked well with rare-earth magnets as a means for attaching the Instax prints.

We noted with the longer exposures using the pinhole camera (3-5 seconds) that reciprocity failure caused the Instax color film to shift toward purple in these cloudy daylight shots.

The Instax film has an ISO speed rating of 800, much faster than the slow photo paper (ISO 6-12) that I typically use in pinhole cameras. As such, I was surprised when my light meter app recommended only a few seconds exposure in today's cloudy weather.

Typecast on Olympia Splendid 33 using Gregg-ruled shorthand paper.

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