Well, after a week of developing film and an evening of scanning I also have a few submissions for this assignment. I've put three in the gallery (and labelled properly for the MSA) but I'll add a couple more here. I spent two weeks in Tohoku photographing festivals, about two thirds in black and white, and one third in colour (I'll get the slides tomorrow). I hope to get into the darkroom this week to get some work prints done at least.
While festivals are kind of an obvious choice for public spaces, I also took a few non-festival shots, specifically for this assignment. The "Loft" picture is barely acceptable -- it was taken handheld, and is a little soft, but I kind of like it regardless.
The street crossing with hundreds (if not thousands) of people is something of a regular fixture at festival time. This was taken in Sendai for Tanabata.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
I agree, but often my images are PLANED for a bigger view than the gallery provides, so I hope Sly uses the thread as the viewer.
Originally Posted by TheToadMen
Great shot - the different levels and the sign at top right. Nice one.
Originally Posted by mooseontheloose
After some hesitation what to post (I shot mostly "public spaces") here is my take: Brussels Metro, the way I experience it - chaotic and alienating. As for the gear, Ectar/ Pentax/ Konica Minolta.
Just upped another one for this months MSA - it's in the gallery!
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I'm going to write the story behind my photo and post it here before I go this afternoon and try to make it. This will also force me to post the photo even if it ends up completely fogged or out of focus . I might otherwise be tempted not to share if comes out as badly flawed as the test print I made a month ago from a normal paper negative...
The center of public activity in my neighborhood 160 years ago was Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo's Rancho Petaluma Adobe. Vallejo was here with other Californios before California became a state and before the great influx of immigrants from the Eastern US in the 1850's. This was before there was even a town of Petaluma or Santa Rosa, and activity in this area all centered around several Ranchos, of which Vallejo's was the largest: over 60,000 acres or about 100 square miles. Between the late 1830's and 1850's, anywhere between about 500 and 2000 people would have been working and living at the Rancho. The courtyard of the Adobe would have been a center of activity, feeding hundreds of people every day. Baking was done in earthen Spanish beehive ovens called hornos. I'll try to include those in my photograph if I can. Today what is left of the Adobe is a large U-shaped building that encloses half of the courtyard. The building that originally closed in the other half is gone. The rancho produced tallow and leather and lots of food.
I've used these MSAs to try to do or learn something new about where I live. For “transport” I visited an air museum for the first time, for “Salt” I learned about a huge wildlife refuge at a salt marsh. I knew about the Petaluma Adobe already, but had never visited it before, so I want to say thanks to Sly for prompting me to discover something new! I've been there twice scouting viewpoints of the courtyard, but have not found a very good composition, so this is probably going to be more about the fun of visiting the location and trying to make a calotype than getting a great photograph, but I'll do the best I can.
I have been learning about calotypes,and they were contemporary to the time of Vallejo's rancho. The fellow whose process I'm copying, Alexander Greenlaw, was making calotypes in India at the same time that Vallejo's rancho was in full operation with thousands of head of livestock and a large working farm. I don't know if there was anyone in California making calotypes, but there is a book that I'd love to read that seems to suggest there was a lot of activity here in America at the same time photography was developing in the UK and Europe, even though it is not very well known.
I have only made one really successful calotype so far, and I have not tried to make salt prints from any yet, so that's my goal for this MSA. To make a photograph of the courtyard that will be similar to a photograph of its time.
Here are some technical details about the calotype.
I am generally following these great instructions by Robsworld over at flickr:
- Canson Marker paper, cut to 7x11 inches.
- Acidified in distilled white vinegar 1:2 for 1 hour, then washed and dried.
- Iodized in a mixture of KI and KBr for 1 hour, then dried and stored between blotters.
- This morning, sensitized by floating on a bath of AgNO3 and Acetic Acid, then washed in distilled water twice for 5 minutes. Right now the calotype is drying between blotters and it will be ready to try in a few hours.
When I come home from making the photograph, I will develop it in gallic acid, possibly with a little acetonitrate added, for anywhere between about 10 minutes and an hour, then wash and fix in hypo.
Wish me luck! It really doesn't matter what happens, this is a lot of fun and it is simply amazing to see an image form on paper you've made yourself. I'll head over to the Adobe in a few hours. If it works that gives me another week to try to make a salt print. If it doesn't, I'll post a scan of the fogged mess....
Last edited by NedL; 08-24-2014 at 04:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Good luck Ned! If nothing else it makes a great read!
Great story to read. Excellent idea to use the MSA to learn about you own region. I hope you have yourself a fine day. Can't wait to see the results.
"Have fun and catch that light beam"
Bert from Holland
"Have fun and catch that light beam!"
Bert from Holland
my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
my Linkedin pinhole group: http://tinyurl.com/pinholegroup
"I enjoy vintage cameras as “users,” rather than imprisoning them in some display case
My favorite cameras: Mamiya C330f, Nikon S2, Hasselblad SWC, Fuji GSW690 II, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T, Nikon F4s, Olympus Pen FT, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras.
Thanks Bert and Tony! The Adobe is in a beautiful peaceful spot along a creek, and it was wonderful just to be there. I was the only one there and really enjoyed making the photo.
The wind was gusting, which is difficult with my big foamcore sliding box camera, so I could not really stop down to get the near ovens and far adobe in focus, it would have required an exposure of half an hour or more. So I let the ovens be soft and focused on the adobe. The camera got hit with a few gusts even during my 2 minute exposure at F/8, so it's not as sharp as it could be but the exposure was just about perfect. It was in the gallic acid for 5 minutes and then I added an eyedropper full of acetonitrate, and a total development of 20 minutes. The negative has some pretty bad staining on it... that has happened to me before and I still need to learn how to avoid it, but there surely is a recognizable picture of the scene and I will try to make a salt print from it, warts and all. All in all a fine day! Also I want to go back again now on a calm day to try again, so I've got something to look forward to.
Just shot my most epic MSA shot ever... I just hope it comes out... I did it on the fly, I mean, for 8x10 I set up and shot and broke down in 3 minutes... developing tomorrow!!!