The Cirkut is Alive! ALIVE!!

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by jimgalli, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    also posted over at lfforum


    If this works right, click on the 'thumbnail' for a larger version.

    It's been about 4 years since I've had the Cirkut out.

    In 1913, George Sheelor did a fine panorama of Tonopah, Nevada with a #10 Cirkut camera. The original hangs proudly in our court house.

    Well, the good people of Tonopah want a 100 year update. And since I have a machine identical to the one Sheelor used, that is what's driving this epic picture.

    So this is my first try, but if you look carefully at Sheelor's image at the LOC, you'll see I failed miserable so far!

    So with a tiny version of the LOC Sheelor original I went back to figure it out. My initial placement was by looking at the gap between the 2 5 story buildings downtown. Pretty close. But then I discovered Sheelor must have been way farther up the slope than me and used a longer lens.

    So I started hiking this afternoon. Sure enough, where the impossibly steep shaley mountain turns into sheer cliffs, there is remains of Sheelor's original wood platform made of railroad ties 100 years ago.

    This story to be continued . . .

    1910 - ish Kodak Cirkut Panoramic Camera, Turner Reich 10 3/4 - 18 - 24" lens (18" component used), Aerial Recon 9.5" Tri-X film. 9.5X57 inches.
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    That's just terrific Jim!
     
  3. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Jim is that the same camera used in the 2010 or 11 Tonapah workshop you had out at Jim's secrete spot. Looks sharp and its nice view.


    Miikke
     
  4. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Certainly looks like Tonopah to me! Good first try Jim but I think you need to have someone start a tire fire for you just out of town to really recreate this right.

    Interesting that the original platform still exists. Am looking forward to the next edition.
     
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Thanks. Yes, I've had that thought. An old military trash can with some diesel fuel ought to work.

    A bunch of rocks have fallen on the original platform but I was thrilled that it was still there! When I stood up there, every line fell into place perfectly.
     
  6. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Yep, that's the one! What year was that? Need to get that picture developed :whistling::D

    It's in a safe place.
     
  7. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Take it to K-mart in Goldfield.

    Mike
     
  8. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Nice Job!! Exactly the same conclusion I drew before even reading your post...

    Examined both photos very closely and the perspective was slightly off. There is a really good original structure foreground reference point just below the now-missing tower on the near side of that whitish open area. An unmistakeable square white attic window. Lining that up with the horizon, it's off just a bit. Did you climb higher and slightly to the left?

    I once tried this same thing by driving up Six Mile Canyon Road above Virginia City with a 4x5 camera and an illustrated copy of the Eliot Lord book. Got pretty close as well. I can remember how much fun I had. You're making me feel young again.

    Can't wait to see the final result!

    Ken
     
  9. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Did you climb higher and slightly to the left? Yep. A LOT higher. Shale. Impossible to get a foothold. It'll be interesting with a 30 pound load. Sheelor must have had animals. Young?? I'm 60! Good thing Sheelor didn't do it in 1927. I won't be re-doing the 100 year version of that.
     
  10. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Of course!! Why didn't I think of that??!
     
  11. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    [​IMG]
    old . .
     
  12. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Ha! You were all the way up this hill behind those houses, weren't you?

    Looks like an easy climb.

    :tongue:

    Ken

    (who should be in bed asleep right now, but no...)
     
  13. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Yep, right next to those sheer cliffs, there's a few 100 year old RR ties. Gotta wait for an overcast day.

    Oh, I'm so going to bed :rolleyes:
     
  14. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Jim - Thanks so much for posting on your Cirkut success. Very inspirational for the aspiring Cirkut shooters out here scattered around the world. I had hope of being retired by this year and having lots of time to devote to my Cirkuts, but it looks like I'll continue working another year, so maybe next year.

    There is a 1922 Cirkut shot of our small E Washington farming town hanging in City Hall that I'd love to do a re-shoot of. Unfortunately it was taken from the roof of a building that is no longer there. It would probably take a really tall bucket truck to get the elevation needed. It is surprising how many of the 1922 buildings are still standing.

    Did you tape a leader and trailer to your aerial film, or just darkroom load the film onto the take-up drum and sacrifice a few inches? What developing method did you use? How old is your aerial film? Any noticeable fog? I don't see any in your scan, but it is sometimes hard to tell such things on screen.

    Len
     
  15. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Hi Len. Great to hear from another Cirkut guy.

    No leader on my 1998 Tri-X aerial Recon film. I just load in the dark and tape it direct to the take up drum. It only costs you 4 inches or so. I have 2 partial 125 foot cans of the Tri-X and one is definitely foggier than the other, so I'm using the better stuff first. I have quite a lot of newer Plus X that is in great shape, and that's what I've loaded for the re-take (this Saturday we hope)

    I've hired a couple of sherpa's to help me tote the stuff up up up. My brother and my nephew ;~'))

    I had a 7++ foot long stainless steel tray built that fits in my 8' sink for doing these negs. It has 6 inch sides and is 12" wide. I take the film out of the camera in the dark and tape it emulsion side up to the bottom of the tray with ordinary masking tape. Then I do my thing. As soon as the 2nd water stop bath goes in, I turn the lights on. I never could get negs without banding doing it the bucket and bathtub way you hear about old timers doing. I'm getting good negs now with the big tray. $285 bucks. Only mistake I made was putting a 3/4" pipe bung on the end. Doesn't drain fast enough. A 2" would have been more like it. So I simply grab the sides and invert. Whoosh. Out the developer goes. Saving the fixer is slow.

    I mixed up Calgon and Photoflo for a final rinse on the neg you see, and still got white water spots. Need to work on that some more. Maybe buy a couple gallons of distilled H2O for my final 2 washes, with a bit of Sodium Hexametaphosphate in the final.
     
  16. Len Robertson

    Len Robertson Member

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    Jim - Thanks for great information. I was using 9 1/2" aerial (maybe Plus-X) in my #10 until the mainspring broke. The film had some fog, although years ago a Seattle area Cirkut guy told me sometimes the outer several feet of these rolls are foggier and it gets better farther into the roll. Fixing the broken spring probably won't be too bad, as I've been told they usually break right at the end and a new hole can be drilled for attaching to the spring case. The other problem with the #10 is the rear focusing bellows is so petrified it won't extend all the way out, and I'm afraid of bending the struts. It just occurred to me I could remove it entirely so the focusing screen can be extended and throw a darkcloth over to focus. I also have an #8 Outfit which does run, but was banding like mad the last time I used it with #8 film. In order to use 9 1/2" film in the #8 I'll need to devise a film slitting hack. All of this leads back to "Wish I were retired" and had lots of time!

    The 8" film I developed in Rubbermaid plastic wash pans, rolling and re-rolling from one hand to the other. The development looked even to me. The banding I got I'm sure was the camera not running smooth. I did the old trick of using one finger to "help" the camera on its journey around the gearhead. On one shot I forgot to do this and had much more banding. As Ron Klein has said, using a Cirkut is like playing the violin. Practice, practice!

    Len
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Years ago I repaired a broken spring in an Edison phonograph. Spring steel is impossible to work with, but I was able to make holes through it with a chain saw grinder, like a dremel. I literally ground through the steel with a stone, got some suitable steel for pins, and peened both ends as flat as possible. It went back to work fine.

    Go for it.
     
  18. c.d.ewen

    c.d.ewen Subscriber

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    Jim & Len:

    You guys are getting me exited! Maybe in a couple of months, when the snows finally melt, I'll get my No 10 out again. I haven't had good luck with a Cirkut in the cold.

    RE: drilling spring steel - as you know, that don't happen with a drill bit. Using a small dremel stone works. You can also heat the end couple of inches to take the temper out, then use a drill bit.

    Charley




     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thanks Jim
     
  20. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    Hi Jim Glad to see others out shooting with cirkuts. I shot a group shot last year but plan on doing a lot more this year as spring approaches. Is your camera a governor model or fan camera? they started selling governor model 10's around 1915
    Look forward to seeing more pics
    Jamie
     
  21. panoramic

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    Couple of notes about drilling springs...

    Just wanted to pass on a few tips about cirkut springs and this probably applies to a lot of other springs as well.

    I have repaired dozens of cirkut springs over the years. The broken springs usually break on the ends and can be shortened without much change to the overall performance. Here is a good way to do it, Heat a couple of inches with a small torch to remove the temper and then drill your hole being careful to make it perfect, i.e. no burrs or roughness. You will need to hand file the hole to make it pear shaped to fit over the screw head and not pop off. The loss of temper helps when the hole is for the inside connection as the shaft it goes on needs a few wraps that a full tension spring cannot do.

    Another very neat way to drill a hole through a spring and not remove a few inches of temper is to use a blank piece of steel the size of the hole you wish to make or a bit smaller before you drill the hole with a regular drill. This has to be done in a drill press.

    Let me explain, the blank steel rod is used like a drill, only as you bear down on the spring it gets really hot but only at the spot you are drilling the hole. You do this until you see color (red) on the spring and then it has the temper removed only where the hole is going. Replace the steel rod with your drill and make the hole. and you've done it.

    Another quick note about cirkut springs, They actually made different thickness springs so there was more power but less running time. A normal spring takes about 15 full turns to wind and the "power" spring uses about half that to tightly wind. Quite frankly, I don't like the heavier springs. A well tuned cirkut motor doesn't need that. The more important issue is proper lubrication, NOT OIL, use dry graphite on the spring.

    All for now

    Ron Klein
     
  22. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Thanks Jamie, and Ron. Here's a progress report. Some digi talk. Hope that's OK. I decided some time ago to draw the line at the negative stage with these. I've neither the time or space to get serious about wet prints;

    Thanks for all the well wishes and support. Looking almost due east for this image. Looking at the front of the Mizpah Hotel, which is our main landmark.

    Yesterday I was able to borrow the one excellent original copy of Sheelor's image. The museum and the courtroom both had 2nd generation photo copy's from the 1960's and had lost detail and sharpness, but the county assessor's office had an original in it's oak frame.

    [​IMG]
    Tonopah; 1913 (click for larger image)​


    I laid it carefully on some terry towels and proceeded to pull all hundred nails and lay them carefully adjacent on the towels to where they came out. There were 8 pieces of 1/8" pine holding the cardboard behind the photo paper. I numbered them lightly with a red pencil so I could get them back in exactly as removed.

    Then I set a long table under the Epson V700 and proceeded to scan at 240 dpi, and 300 dpi. Takes about 9 scans so you have good overlap.

    The reason I did it twice was because I was seeing some smear and I thought it was photomerge doing a lousy job of sewing my picture back together. Turns out it was Sheelor's Cirkut camera doing a lousy job of painting the image on the film. Also I see a couple of double imaging spots. Those are accountable to movement in the contact printer I think. At original contact size you really don't notice some of this stuff. In fact I'd never been able to see the train engine making the smoke until I scanned the image.

    After the scans I carefully laid the image back in the frame and put each nail back in it's original hole, returned to the assessor's office, and re-hung the picture back in it's place.

    So here also is my final image for 2013 comparison;

    [​IMG]
    Tonopah 2013 (click for larger image)​


    Even though the thumbnails are different sizes, the images are both about 51 1/2" long. Identical for all practical purposes.
     
  23. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Another update. Nevada Magazine will publish a piece about this undertaking with both images in their upcoming May-June issue.

    I need to build a corresponding page on my website and try to sell a few. :rolleyes: I just spent $455 for ink for the Epson! I'm not very good at making money on this kind of stuff, so may never break even.

    My camera is an all black governor model. Newest patent date is 1905 though.