Gotta love Tri-x and Rodinal…

    I shot some tests to make sure the film I’ve had
sitting around for years is ok. Turns out it is, but I found something
else out. I shot some trees in the backyard and developed the sheet in
Rodinal 1:50 dilution. Since it was a bit overcast when I shot it, I
gave it an N+1 boost to the contrast. WOW. I have never seen  a
negative “pop” like that on a light table. The thing is sharp sharp
sharp, and since the neg is 5×7 inches, you can see that with the naked
eye. It helps that the exposure is perfect, this may be one of the best
exposed, best developed negatives I’ve ever seen. No really, it’s that
good. Too bad it’s just a quick shot of the backyard that’s not framed
well… Oh well, it does give me hope that I’ll be able to get some
really great shots while I’m up in NY. I still need to get a folding
banquet table to set up in my bathroom to process more than one sheet
at a time. I also need to get a print washer. I think I have a line on
a cheapie, it uses a standard pet aquarium, and they have a 5×7
version! SIGH, why does everything cost money?


This year’s Easter memories…

    My aunt Deb saying, “Hurry up, I’m sitting on the shredder.”
    Eating the “poodle” cake. It was supposed to be a lamb cake.
    Hearing “Bang your head” by Quiet Riot on the radio on the way back home.
          “Bang your head,
          wake the dead
          metal health will drive you mad.

That brought back some memories… My Uncle Brian got me “Metal
Health”  on LP for my birthday in 8th grade. I traded it later
on  for a cassette of the Scorpions’ “Rock you Like a
Hurricane.”  Boy, did I get ripped off, the only decent song was
the title track, and Bobby Saunders had failed to mention that the tape
was all screwed up in the middle of the guitar solo… Ahhh, Easter
memories, where would we be without them?


Before Easter, there has to be good friday, for all of us.

O that blessed one, grief laden
Blessed Mother, blessed Maiden,
Mother of the all holy One.

O the silent, ceasless mourning,
O those dim eyes, never turning
From that wondrous, suffering Son.

Who on Christ’s dear Mother gazing,
In her trouble so amazing,
Born of woman, would not weep?

For his people’s sins, in anguish,
There she saw the Victim languish,
Bleed in torments, bleed and die.

Saw the Lord’s Anointed taken;
Saw her Child in death forsaken
Heard His last expiring cry.

In the passion of my Maker
Be my sinful soul partaker,
May I bear with her my part.

Of His Passion bear the token,
In a spirit bowed and broken
Bear His death within my heart.

From Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater, a sadder and more beautiful work than any other I’ve heard.


Damn damn and damn.

Turns out I soldered the components that are supposed to be on the
output of the preamp onto the first set of inputs by mistake. I now
have two options (neither of which am I prepared to do tonight). I can
either just reverse the first set of inputs and the output jacks, or I
can disassemble the thing and put it together properly. Either way is
going to be a pain in the ass, and I’ll probably need some replacement
capacitors and resitors, which I don;t have right now….


    A little while ago a woman passed a stolen credit
card for hers at the store. I was the lucky one who helped her and got
fooled by her. She ended up with about $1600 worth of camera gear. The
police came by and asked me about the whole thing. Turns out I was one
of the few people that paid any attention to her and I was the only one
that had some definate memory of her. Lucky for me that I have a thing
for women with short hair:-)
    Anyway, they sent a sketch artist over to see if I
could come up with some sort of likeness. Let me tell you, it’s tough
to remember someone from a month ago, even if you do feel like you have
a good idea what they look like. I joked with the guy that if I knew I
was going to be quizzed, I would have studied harder! Anyway, we ended
up with something that looks a lot like her, except the hair. I just
couldn’t describe it well. The overall look is similar, but it isn’t
exactly a photograph. Oh well, guess you can’t expect perfection after
a month…
    It was an interesting experience and I hope it can help the police thrack her down.


Back in the darkroom

    Haven’t done that in a while… Finially developed
the test shots I took months ago at Dad and Butler’s. These are the
first shots with my new (to me) 5×7 field camera. 2 of the three turned
out well, very well actually. They are almost perfect. The third had
nothing on it, but it was uniformally fogged. That makes me worry that
my procrastination has made me waste several boxes of film. They are
expired, but different films age differently. I’m going out tomorrow
and shoot a couple of shots in the back yard to test a couple of boxes
of film out. I don’t mind throwing out the occaisional roll of 35mm
film, but boxes of 5×7 film are a little expensive. I’m going to have
to buy a small freezer to put my film in soon. I have lots of 35mm
film, years worth, so I have to store it properly… I’m hoping to
shoot a lot of it on my upcoming trips next year.
    In the short term, I hope to shoot a bunch on my
trip up to Ithaca. I’m going to go through several rolls of film and
(hopefully) dozens of sheets trying to get a really nice shot of my
cousin, and I’ll do a bunch on the upstate New York scenery and cities
that I love so much. Large format availible light portrature is always
a bit hit or miss, so I’m anticipating wasting a bunch of film. If you
nail that one shot though, you forget all the others… I ordered some
cases for my large format cameras at long last. They’ve been shuffled
between duffle bags and a backpack for too long, Now I’ll be able to
carry them round and protect them properly. With any luck they’ll also
help me shoot a little more often (yeah right).
    I’ve almost got my 35mm enlarger up and running.
Kenji made a couple of negative holders for me. One almost works but it
doesn’t hold the film flat enough, that leads to some parts of the
picture being out of focus on the paper… Once I get that going, I’ll
be able to do 5×7 contact prints and enlargments from 35mm. If I had
more space, I’d also be able to do enlargements from 4×5 as well…
Jenny, I’ll let you know when everything is ready…:-)


Proud Mary…

    Just picked up a live CD of Ike and Tina Turner,
don’t worry, I didn’t pay for it. It was a freebie from my music club,
I’m not about to give Ike any money…. Anyway, it’s pretty hot as you
might expect but I got a kick out of their rendition of Proud Mary.
There’s a line in the song, “Pumped a lot of …” It’s a little
difficult to make out John Foggerty, and I always assumed the Tina was
singing “Pumped a lot of tanks”, but there’s no doubt in the live
version, it’s “Pumped a lot of tang” LOL, and they play that on the
    I also picked up the GoGos first album, I haven’t
had my turntable set up for far too long… It’s a lot of fun, and not
a bad album either although I liked Vacation better then Beauty and the
Beat myself. There’s also a Christopher Parkening cd, he palyes an
Albinez concerto, should be good… This whole buying spree was
prompted by my wanting to get that Loretta Lynn album, so I got that
too:-) I’ll go through them this weekend and let you know if they’re
worth picking up….


Dog snot EWWWW!

    Ah the joys of owning a dog… I was giving Chelsea
a rub down, telling her that she’s a good dog, etc. Well, she got all
excited and whiped her head around and up…. and put her nose right in
my mouth. Blech! Nothing like a cold, wet dog nose in your mouth to
make you question why you were giving attention to the dog at all.
Well, after a liberal dose of listerine, I feel a little better, but
it’ll be a while before I get my head close to her again.


Gahhhh! Ebay….

    OK, I’m going to just stop now, no really I am! Lots
of tubes coming my way, enough for the forseeable future certainly. In
addition to my saving for my big trips and paying off my loan, I’m
going to concentrate on my upcoming trip to Ithaca and when I come back
I will start to accumulate the necessary parts for building some amps.
The transformers will the most expensive part, but there’s all sorts of
other fiddly things I need too. Tube sockets, hookup wire, resisters,
capacitors, fuses, terminal strips, etc. I’m not even going to worry
about a chassis until I get something that works.
    Speaking of working, I’m hoping that I can finish
wiring my preamp today. I do have a problem though, I don’t have much
hope of it working right off the bat but I don’t know if I want to
spend the time trouble shooting it. It would be different if I really
wanted a preamp, or needed one, but I don’t. Well, we’ll see what


Interesting new music…

    Heard a cd from Loretta Lynn and Jack White today.
Yes, that’s the coal miner’s daughter with the business end of the
White Stripes. Apparently she won a Grammy or something silly like that
for this album. The country stations won’t touch this which makes me
the more interested in it… Talk about genre bending, it is pretty
much straight up country most of the time, but it seems a little darker
and it gets “heavy” the way only Jack White can make it. I’ll probably
pick this one up at some point, hopefully it’s got that fat analog
sound that the White Stripes have on their albums…