Wednesday, July 1, 2015

20 for 20

My astronomy club gets together once a month after the "official" monthly meeting for some beer and pizza at a local restaurant called Il Vicino.

This pinhole image was made with a small Zero Image 2000 pinhole camera on 120 Kodak Ektar 100 film.

The exposure was 20 minutes long and there are 20 people at our table, having 20 conversations, probably 20 beers, (not everyone drinks beer, but some have 2 so the math is good I think) 10 pizzas, pasta, salad, and some that just sit and chat and visit and catch up and talk about astronomy, and travel,the weather and The Hubble Space Telescope ( our guest speaker was a former HST fixer upper).

Luckily there was a nice ledge at the end of the table for my pinhole camera.  I stood guard for the 20 minute exposure and observed my friends as they talked, ate and had their conversations.  I also watched my pizza get dropped on the floor at the end of the table.

No, you don't see that in the photo, but all of this happened. It's truly a time capsule of sorts.

Some people move a lot when they eat, or talk, and some as you see, are relatively still while they sit and visit.

Most of them weren't even aware of the camera, or were and just kept on about their meal and conversation.s
I enjoy this. I don't meter and never have...I just observe and when I feel like the emulsion has had enough, I stop the exposure.

Yes it's that simple.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Galaxy Paper

Galaxy Paper

Have you heard the news?
Galaxy Paper is in the works for making a new direct positive photo paper!
Just click the link above for the scoop!

If that's not exciting...
how about the fact that they are working on an emulsion with an ISO that corresponds to film at 32-64.

I'm excited and you should be too!

It's not often we photographers get something made just for us and something that is bound to be well received.

Galaxy Paper is something to look forward to. 

Edit!!!  They are not making direct positive paper as I thought earlier....but they are making reversal paper with a faster ISO.   It's still exciting news!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hanging out with the Woodpeckers

Remember I said I was going to do some bird watching a few posts back?

Well today I spent some time watching a woodpecker hop around looking for bugs in my wood pile.

We heat our house with a wood burning stove, so we have a stash of firewood...always!

This is a bonus because the woodpeckers like to hunt for bugs among the logs.

You can't see it, but there was a Bluebird watching me watch it just on the other side of the bucking rack.

The woodpeckers around my house like to drink the sugar water out of the hummingbird feeders too...I'm not sure what to think of that, but they are fun to watch in all their contortions trying to sit upright while getting their sugar high!

Pinhole photo made with the "Foxy Mouse" pinhole camera on some old Ilford satin paper...and as always dunked in caffenol.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The good, the bad, the ugly and the Dirty Harry

I'm going off the rails for this post....

Before I ever was a pinhole artist geek type, I was an astronomer.
While in the womb, my parents took me to dark places to sky watch so looking up has always been part of my life. After birth and throughout school my parents had no issue with waking me and my younger sisters from deep slumbers to go outside and watch lunar eclipses, meteor showers or to catch a glimpse of a bright comet.
I remember many nights watching the Milky Way from the roof of our barn, or my grandparents farm in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Black velvety skies were the norm.

In 1979 we even had a bulls-eye painted in our yard hoping that when Skylab crashed back to Earth, it would fall in our yard and we would forever be famous and $10,000.00 richer since there was a bounty on the first piece of debris turned in to the San Francisco Examiner.

The debris field was near Perth Australia, so we lucked out of that one!

Anyway, as time passed, I found myself the proud owner of a 10 inch f6 Dobsonian style telescope.
It was build by the soon to be notorious Dennis Zwicky of Sugarland Texas in 1989. I say notorious because Mr. Zwicky found himself in financial woes after I took delivery of my scope and he left a few customers in the lurch without their telescopes after he had taken their money!

This story is really long and convoluted, so I'll skip forward and avoid the long dreary tale of convolution with the scope and just say after having it redone, and giving it to my Dad 20 years's back in my possession and needs another makeover!


The original paint job was a plain red base with a blue tube....I repainted the scope shortly after getting it in 1989 to the Nazca lines you see above.
 Here's the other side of the scope.

The current configuration is 10 inch f5 mirror.....still good!


The bad is this is looking through the focuser and as you can see, things are not lined up. The scope is out of collimation so the line of sight and the photons coming in to the scope are skewed and not aimed directly to my eye.
If everything was happy, you would see concentric circles in this photo. "Houston we have a problem".

It just not a big problem...I can fix this easy enough plus there are much worse now we come to the ugly part!

And man is this part ugly!
After sitting in my Dad's shed for about 15 years, and then in my sister's garage in Houston for another 5 years...this is what the mirror looks like! It's scary! It has dust, dirt, some spider webs and mildew on it! Yuck!
You might not realize what you are looking at, but this is the 10 inch primary mirror that sits at the bottom of the optical tube and collects all the photons coming in and apparently a whole mess of dust and crap!
This is kind of gross, but not a killer since I can wash the mirror....although it needs to be re-silvered and the scope will be happy again.
I'm going to take this scope to a star party and put it through some tests and then re build the scope from scratch.

The plywood is d-laminating, big time... it's a wonder the screws holding this thing together even have something to bite into.....yes, it's really that bad. Part of the wood is dry rotted and I think the original builder used cheap low grade plywood so there are a lot of voids in the laminates.
I'll source some cabinet grade plywood for the makeover. Plus there are better and more lightweight designs to build.

What all this means is I have promised myself to rebuild this telescope and not make another pinhole box until the scope is finished.

This scope has been waiting too long and I'm finally going to make it happy again.

If you have any comments about lightweight designs, I'm all ears.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2

Holga Wide Pinhole
Los Cerrillos Cemetery, New Mexico

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tacos occurred!

Life is good in the sunny southwest today!
I had tacos!
I should have pinholed them, but they didn't last long enough to make a photo of...
but I will say that some of the best tacos in albuquerque are at a little place on Central just before you get to the botanical gardens called "Los Compadres."

Carne asada tacos and queso!

No pix today...perhaps maƱana!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

La Aurora

Pushing boards through the table saw makes me happy.
Pushing boards through the table saw to make pinhole cameras makes me even happier!

I don't know if it's just the sound that the blade makes when air whishes past it, or if it's the smell of sawdust that does it, but it's all good.

I didn't really plan on making a camera today, but decided to after looking at a nice piece of pine that's been calling to me for a while in the shed. Pine smells like vanilla when it goes through the table saw so that's a bonus!

Scrap wood smells stinky when it is cut, so having the scent of vanilla wafting about was extra nice.

There are not a lot of photos from the building stages today, but you know how it goes... there's cutting and gluing and clamping and nailing and painting.

The front of the camera is made from the lid of a cut up cigar box.                             

The interior looks as good as the outside....I like that! Beauty inside and out!

If you haven't guessed, this is for a 4 x 5 film holder.

It's pretty shallow, with a focal length of about 2-1/8 inches  so the exposures will be fairly short and the view will be wide....just what I need to photograph Texas next time I go!

Have a great day, and as always thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A break from social media....

If you are one of my fb contacts, then you already know I'm taking a break during the month of May.

I'll still blog here but won't be cross posting anywhere else.

I need to catch up on reading and writing and just taking it easy. Being unplugged and just thinking on my own without too much outside influence is the plan. I also want to draw and bird-watch and do some astronomy.

Pinhole photos will still be made and posting here will still happen...but not on any schedule.
It's just time to be AWOL for a while and eating tacos...

Hasta la Vista!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Foxy Mouse, World Wide Pinhole Day and Los Cerrillos

Worldwide Pinhole day began as a soggy, sweater weather hugging kind of day.

Chilly, damp air and a very shy sun made the morning doubtful so I made a few digital pinhole shots with a Wanderlust pinhole cap on my Lumix GF1. Yeah, I know digital pinhole is considered by some to be impure, but a gal's gotta do something when the weather frowns rain on your head.

After making a few digi pinhole pix, the weather seemed to be improving so my husband and I drove up Hwy 14, also known as The Turquoise Trail, and headed for Los Cerrillos.

Los Cerrillos is one of my favorite spots along this road and is listed as a ghost town on some online sites. It is far from being a ghost, but has the markings of a former fast times boom area during its heyday as a bustling get rich quick mining town.
It was founded in 1879 but has a history older than the little hills it is named for.

Signs of former businesses still greet the curious traveler with a few shops offering goods for sale.

Our first stop was the Catholic Cemetery. It is out of town about 2 miles and well worth a visit.
It looks like a cemetery right out of an old western movie, complete with cacti, rocks and wild rabbits. It's perched on one of the little hills so the view is nice and peaceful. Many names on the headstones remembered people that settled the area and whose ancestors still live here.

The photos below were made with a Holga Wide pinhole camera on old film and developed in coffee.

The next photo is of The Casa Grande Trading Post in Los Cerrillos.
It wasn't open today, but I've been inside in the past and it's a wonderland of old mining stuff, rocky rocks, curious curios and lots of things that I'm sure some people just couldn't live without. They also have an enormous collection of vintage bottles...of which I'm quite enamored.

This photo was made with my newly made "Foxy Mouse" mentioned in yesterday's post. It's made with Harman Direct Positive paper, so it created the print you see me holding without any contact printing or hocus pocus. What you see is exactly what came out of the developer.

I get all gushy when I pull one of these out of the developer! Developing negatives gives me a buzz too, but pulling a fresh print is beyond cool!

Here's another little pinhole of the trading post made with a little Ghirardelli chocolate tin with a paper negative sloshed in caffenol.

I like how this little pinhole camera distorts the landscape.  This shot was made the same distance as the one from the "Foxy Mouse".  Fun stuff!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Foxy Mouse

Just for fun, I decided to build a little pinhole camera in honor of William Henry Fox Talbot. A quick trip down the rodent prevention aisle in my grocery store provided the materials, which I promptly made inoperable...but ready for their next life as a camera.

Some cutting, gluing and clamping

Three Foxy they just need to be loaded and taken out for World Wide pinhole Day.

*** I made the Foxy Mouse on the right a couple of weeks ago so I could use it at Hill College for my pinhole workshops last week and it worked great!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

on the way....

On my way to the workshops at Hill College I drove through and stopped in a couple of small towns last week to make a few pinhole images.

I like stopping in towns with astronomical names and the first place that caught my eye was a small bump in the road kind of town named Vega.

Vega is located west of Amarillo and is on old Route 66, so this was a double treat since I'm a big fan of all things about the "Mother Road". I've driven Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles over the years, but somehow missed Vega during these adventures.

Vega is also just about at the midway point on Route 66 between Chicago and LA.....but the city of Adrian has that official distinction and is about 10 miles away.

This first pinhole photo is a 4 x 5 shot of the Vega Motel.

It has the distinction of being one of the rare surviving intact motel complexes left in the small towns of the Texas Panhandle. Next time I drive through here, I'd like to stay in this little place.

Amarillo has several Route 66 motels, but only three are documented as intact survivors outside of the city and the Vega Motel is one of them. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

The next pinhole photo (also 4 x 5) is the cafe across the street from the Vega Motel. It was packed the day I was there....too bad I didn't have enough time to eat there.  Next time I'll make it a priority!

I also think I might need to start shooting color in this 4 x 5 pinhole will show off these amazing skies that are so hypnotic!

Thanks for visiting and tagging along on my adventure. I always appreciate the company!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Here and There and Back again!

I spent last week in Texas and it was an amazing time!

Texas is home for me, or at least my growing up years were spent there so I get homesick for it and the people and the food and the good times.

I was invited by my good friend Tom Sale to be a guest pinhole/caffenol/solargraph workshop artist for 3 days at Hill College in Hilsboro, Texas for his art classes.

We talked about solargraphs, making pinhole cameras and then I demonstrated homemade developer made with instant coffee, vitamin c powder and washing soda. We made pinhole photos and then developed them in the coffee concoction. The classes were great and the students made teaching easy!
I also had a pop-up pinhole show at the art building Thursday evening!

Texas is muy grande big and it was a long drive, but the Bluebonnets were blooming profusely so the roadsides were awash in royal blues for miles across the state. The Bluebonnet is the state flower and if you're from Texas, then you know how special they are.

This first pinhole photo of Tom's art students was made with a Whataburger Spicy Ketchup container I converted to a pinhole camera. The little container is made of black plastic which turned out to be light proof. To make the camera, I just carefully peeled back the top and removed the ketchup, then loaded it with a little piece of photo paper and then taped the thin mylar top back on with black tape.

I didn't make a "proper" pinhole for it. Instead I had the students and Tom pose, then poked the top with a needle to make the pinhole and made a minute long exposure.
To end the exposure I put a piece of black tape over the pinhole and developed the paper in caffenol.
It's almost scary how much detail and information is in this little photo. And who knew Whataburger was giving away cameras?

The photo below was made with a quart size paint can pinhole camera on photo paper and shows the tranquil backyard view at the lovely guest house I was staying at. Sitting quietly in the afternoon sun soaking in the lush grass and grazing cattle across the pond was the perfect end to a busy day of workshops. I loved this place, but since I'm such a desert creature now and used to seeing mostly shades of brown and tan, the lush green kinda made my eyes hurt!

This next photo was made while I was doing a pinhole and caffenol demo for the Friday morning art class. This was a spur of the moment decision. I set up one of my homemade pinhole cameras in the classroom and aimed it at the rabbit with the onion on the table across the room and left it exposing for about an hour and fifteen minutes while I taught in the next room and the darkroom.

I like this one. It was made on Harman Direct Positive Paper, so there is no need for reversal or contact printing. This is a one of a kind original! I love this paper....too bad Harman doesn't make it any longer.

After the workshops at Hill College were done, I drove down to Houston to visit my Dad and spent a few days with my sister and her family. It had been 2 years since my last visit so we had a lot of catching up to do. My Dad had triple bypass surgery in February, so it was great to visit with him and see that he is doing great and back to driving and being ornery!
February was really a scared as shit month, but things are immensely better now!!!

This is an illy coffee can pinhole camera photo made at my sister's house done with a paper negative and dunked in coffee. She has a pool and a beautiful beautiful that she often gets yard of the month honors.

I'll have more photos to post and stories to tell later...right now I need to get busy and catch up on my weeks worth of laundry...see ya in a few!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

a few sample shots out of the new box

nothing too exciting as these were just samples to see how the photos look out of the new box I built yesterday.

Pretty sharp and contrasty as I cooked the film a bit warmer than needed.
This is on the library grounds .

Dinosaur in the shade around the other side of the library.  This won't be my goto pinhole box as I like the 4 x 5 format better, but now I have the option of using my long dormant roll film back!

Don't forget, World Pinhole Day is coming up!
April 26th.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's Spring and there's sawdust in the air....

That's right!
I got the itch to build a camera yesterday so went out into the shop and dug through my scrap wood pile and found a few old boards and made a pinhole camera.
Here's  some initial gluing and clamping for the box.....not too exciting...

Here's another view with some more gluing and clamping going on...and now you can see what the pinhole box is for...a #23 Graphic roll film back.

Another view of the clamping and gluing business.... there's a lot of that going on to build a simple box....

Then there's some more gluing internal pieces for stability and light-fastness....I probably overbuild, but the day was nice and I was in a nice working groove with the table saw.

The box is shaping up nicely, so a coat of flat black paint on the insides to prevent glare and internal reflections...  The sun was bright and warm and made for quick drying outside...

Viola!  A new pinhole box for the roll film back!  Yippee!  I have a few pinhole boxes for 4 x 5 sheet film, but never built one for my roll film back....
This is going to be fun!

Stay tuned for photos!  I took the box loaded with some 100 speed black and white to Albuquerque today and shot the roll ( only 8 exposures) around the library on Juan Tabo.

I just developed them in caffenol, and the negs look pretty good so far....I'll post them as soon as they are dry and I can scan them....

Thanks for looking and indulging my sawdust craziness!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Busy times, fun times!

Had an amazing time talking to the alternative process photography class of Carol S. Dass at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs last week.
I talked about solargraphs, pinhole and my mini moon project and then did a caffenol demo. The students were fantastic!
The Heller guest house was my home away from home for a couple of days and it is a beautiful art space.
This is a pinhole photo of what I refer to as the Sun Room, although there was no sun on this day. But just look at those windows! Perfection!

Another view of the sun room at the Heller guest house I stayed at last week in Colorado Springs.
This is a 4x5 pinhole negative I developed during the caffenol demo for the photography class of Emma Powell at Colorado College. Thanks Heather Oelklaus for the invitation to talk about solargraphy, pinhole, mini moons and to demo caffenol. The students were great and I had a blast!

This is no excuse for not posting more often here...but I've been kind of busy.

World pinhole day is April 26th.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Neither Night nor Day...

Sometimes the photo negative conveys the ambiance better than the right light image....

illy coffee can pinhole
Arista 5 x7 photo paper souped in caffenol
abandoned house along route 66

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mild Mannered illy Coffee can...soon to be super hero pinhole camera

Yes, coffee and a camera all in one...delivered to my front door.
What a deal!
Drill a teeny little pinhole, load with photo paper or film and off we go into the wild blue yonder of making time stand still.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kicking up dust on Route 66

It appears this old car is kicking up dust, but this is pinhole, so the car couldn't possibly kick up any dust.....or could it.

Paint can pinhole camera, old photo paper sloshed in caffenol.
I like using this funky paint can camera....since it doesn't have a tripod socket, I usually just place it on the bumper of my truck to keep it steady, pull the black tape away from the pinhole to make the xposure and let time on paper do its thing!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Instant Koi

A quick side trip to the Koi Pond with a paint can pinhole....

I used some old photo paper, guessed the exposure to be about 75 seconds and here you go!

Not quite instant karma, but close enough...
developed in caffenol just long enough to let the tones mellow.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Winter Walk and Some Cool News!!

Holga pinhole with Kodak Ektar 100

I have found Ektar 100 to be very nice for pinhole. It's my current go-to color film for pinhole.
It shifts a little to blue, but considering this was a 10 second exposure, the blue is not too bad.
Plus, this was a "bluish" kind of day being it was overcast.
Give it a try if you haven't already.  It is really nice shot at box speed in non-pinhole cameras.

In the this is cool news department...
I've got a solo show coming up in April in Texas at Hill College where I'll also be doing a pinhole and caffenol workshop.
I'm also doing 2 caffenol and pinhole teaching/workshop gigs in Colorado Springs at colleges there.  Details on everything soon!

I'm so excited to be working with students and educators!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Owls Have It!

If you happen to be cruising around Socorro, New Mexico you'll more than likely find this old brick wall with this cigar ad painted on bricks. It's a bit faded, but full of charm and character.

It's an afternoon shot, so go have lunch or check out the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge which is about 20 mile south of Socorro and then enjoy an afternoon of exploring around town.

I was really really close to this wall when I made the photo, maybe too close as I cut off some of the artwork, but that's part of the excitement of pinhole. Sometimes you don't know exactly what you will come home with.

Zero Image 2000 pinhole
Kodak Ektar 100 film

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Diner in the Desert

Last fall I went to visit a friend in the Mojave Desert.
While out there, we explored and drove around looking for cool stuff to take photos of and this was one of the spots we stopped at.

This place is owned by some studio and is used for TV and movies.
If you watch NCIS, then you might recognize it as the place where Director Jenny Shepard met her fate in a shootout.

While we were the making photos, some burly looking "bouncer" dude came out and told us we couldn't make pictures of the place.  He especially didn't like my pinhole camera, mainly because it was on a tripod.
Oddly, he didn't care if we made images with our cell phone cameras.

Anyway, while my friend Erin distracted him with the cell phone, I made a couple of pinhole images of the place with my Zero Image 2000 and some Kodak Ektar 100.

Hope you like!

The sky was really nice that day!  I need to go back!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My super power is patience.

I-40 looking east.
Paint can pinhole, paper negative sloshed in caffenol.  75 second exposure
I've decided that my superpower is patience.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Be very still, be very prickly....

From the trip to Tucson.
Holga pinhole, unmodified
Kodak Portra 160

Friday, January 9, 2015

It's 2015.....

This year began with a bang and I've kinda hit the ground running.

New Year's Eve found me being stranded in my Jetta...some major engine failure thing, it's still in the shop-- then the snowblower broke...which is not a good thing to happen this time of year!

Other than a few hiccups here and there, the beginning of 2015 is looking up!

I entered a few competitions and hope to hear something soon, and I was interviewed by "She Shoots Film"  over at SSF.

There's a mix of pinhole, solargraph and some Diana photos in my interview, so check it out.

Over the Christmas break, we went to Tucson for a week and I made a few pinholes there, so look for some of those in the coming weeks.

Also, I'm going to start using Rodinal for developing my black and white film.  I've been using Caffenol for a few years now and have decided I want to try something else for a while.

I'll be teaching a caffenol class in Colorado later this year at the college in Colorado Springs, and will be doing a caffenol workshop in Texas 2015 is looking good.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and the new year is treating you well.