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Christopher Walrath

Fat Man and Little Boy Ride Again

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by , 01-15-2015 at 09:28 PM (2097 Views)
It is done. Rewind two weeks. I really need to get upstairs and clean out that closet. Rewind three years and two months. I need to make a break from photography for a while. Just sell everything. I am getting depressed because it is in the house and not being used.

It is done. Wednesday night I got home from work and decided it was finally time. I started about 5:30. I rearranged my bedroom so that I would have an empty wall. I then, piece by piece, bit by bit, began to cart everything out of that walk-in closet and stow it there. I have a huge pile of mostly stuff that I could sell. But it is a lot of stuff that I could keep. Golf clubs, guitar, telescope, fly fishing rods and stuff, clothes, family pictures. The pile is about three feet high and covers about 30-35 square feet of floor space. Regardless, it will not stay there for long.

Then I get down to brass tacks. First I set up Fat Man (Beseler 57MB) on the old desk that is now retasked as an enlarger table. There is enough headroom underneath for Little Boy (Fujimoto Lucky 60M) when not in use, safely out of the way. I placed the bookshelves on the right so that I could have my dry side stuff handy at a moment's notice. I have a small roll around cart. It now holds all of my developing tanks on its top surface and chemistry and graduates and other things beneath. The bookshelves by the door are chock full of some of my best reads (Garrett, Adams, Lambrecht, Vestal, McLean, Davis, White, Kingslake, etc.)

Tonight I made a stop by ACE Hardware on the way home. I picked up a few things. I now have hung a Christmas gift from my mother last year, a reprint of Adams' Grand Tetons from Snake River Overlook (a tad of inspiration) and my dry erase board for quick notes regarding time and dilutions and the like. I have my Gralab 300 plugged into a power strip and the safelight and Fat Man into that. I rewired Fat Man with a new power cord, the old and, sadly, original cord had become frayed and is a casuality of time and use. It works like a clock, or an enlarger, rather.

It only needs one more thing. And this weekend it just might get it. Some negatives, some paper, some chemistry and some magic. Long overdue. I sold all of the camera gear I had in 2011 after I came to the realiziation that I was stagnant in my photography and its mere presence in the house, laying unused, was a source of angst. Fortunately the darkroom gear never sold and I knew I would use it again one day so I stowed it. Well, that time has come, I am glad to say.

I was reading some old magazine issues today that I had kept. This one a mid 2007 issue of UK Black and White Photography. Mike Johnston had written his piece about being out of touch with his photography, much like I had been the last few years. He spoke about a, I think he called it, "Strategic Break" where you seperated yourself from your photography to gain perspective. To which he personally responded a resounding 'Hell No!' He then went on to write something that, in the wake of my own photographic resurrection, rang so true with me. "Photography is not something you think about. It is something you do." Another quote that I favor is from Stephen King's The Shawshank Redemption. "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'."

Time to do. Time to live. Time to create. Time to see. It is finally time. Now is the time. Now.
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Updated 01-16-2015 at 09:52 PM by Christopher Walrath



  1. Christopher Walrath's Avatar
    Well, today I decided to make sure how light tight the darkroom will be. That material over the window on the left is an old bed sheet doubled over and stapled to the sill. I went in this afternoon when the strongest sunlight of the day falls directly onto that window.

    Damn, was it bright. So I took what was left of the fabric and draped a third layer over that. It still looked bright. Really bright. One cool thing is that red fabric acts as a safelight as long as the paper doesn't fog. So I run a strip and expose a section for 5 minutes, that along with the next for 2 minutes, then added three successive areas on the strip for one more minute each. So, I have a test strip with 10-5-3-2-1 minutes. I was not hopeful. Went into the wet portion of the darkroom (read: upstairs bath). I mix Ilford Multigrade in a 300mL grad cyl 1:9. I insert the strip and agitate it by sliding it up and down for a minute. I then water rinsed for five minutes, agitating constantly.

    Don't you know, along with ever so slight light leaks, VERY SLIGHT, and a little very dim light coming through the fabric around the cracks of the door, NO FOG. Daylight. NO FOG. So, at least I know that I ready to roll for tonight and all day tomorrow.
  2. Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
    I'm happy that you're back into printing. It sounds as if taking a break has been good for your inspiration!
  3. andrew.roos's Avatar
    I hope you have fun with fat man and little boy again. Just be careful not to blow anything up....

  4. OptiKen's Avatar
    I have been 'thinking' about printing for the past 2 or 3 weeks now. I have everything I need and it is all set up in the spare bathroom.
    it has been for the past couple of weeks.

    I sort of feel like I'm in the midst of your process now.
    I also haven't shot any film in the past couple of weeks either. (one exception - an unusual sunrise that I took 2 frames of)

    The quote you posted, "Photography is not something you think about. It is something you do.", hits home.

    It's time to just do.
    This 'thinking about it' is highly over rated.
    Time to explore, capture and print.
    Time to create.

    Good luck with your renewed inspiration.
    I appear to be following behind
  5. mts's Avatar
    That's not the same Fat Man and Little Boy that I remember!



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