Friday, April 29, 2011

Schneider Gaussoptik Software Available

In case you need to design a lens or two, Schneider offers what appears to be a free download of its Gaussoptik software here.

Elsewhere on Schneider's unusually informative website, you can see their newer tilt shift lenses for Nikon, Mamiya and Canon at the understandable prices of about $4500 each.

And speaking of Gauss, possibly the most important scientist and mathematician ever for among other things his elucidation of the theory of distribution which applies to virtually everything, we are coming up on Chladni Day at Soundwave Research Laboratories, sponsor of this project. I'll alert you to more on Chladni as the day approaches.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Freestyle's new catalog is a fun wish book

Just today I got this Freestyle catalog, printed on actual paper and filled with various films, papers and chemicals from around the world.  What fun!

We have no connection to Freestyle but what they are doing, which appears to be a concentration of analog/photochemical photographic tools and materials, looks like it is good for business. Right next to enlargers is the Epson V700 at a pretty good price, I noticed.

Here is a link to their site.

Lake 128

Surprise again, this unexpected lake, or vernal pool, where the Polaroid Cafeteria was, on Route 128 in Waltham, seen on Marathon Day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DTR and a great negative too

Although the spread is imperfect, that isn't important. Today we achieved our first true P/N on the Efke 25 negative, fully developed and cleared, sharp and artifact free except where we lacked reagent, AND, a real diffusion transfer reversal onto a receiver sheet that was prepared here out of in-production materials that were never intended for instant photography, or DTR.

It was wonderful to see those little nucleating molecules where they should be, and get a great negative, too.

This is an important result that came a little faster than I expected: The Efke looks like it got about a 1 stop boost, and the processing time was 60 seconds.   Except for a slight waviness from the very irregular reagent spread, the negative is quite even, well gradated, and extremely detailed - probably at least as detailed as original T55, and perhaps more.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Weekend with D700

Admit it. You want one of the newer full-frame DSLRs, or you bought one.  It's inevitable that projection plane imaging onto electronically-read surfaces will continue to challenge chemically processed projection plane imaging, for the next decade, at least.  Eventually, surface array imaging and life experience recorders will merge (with their own controversies and social impacts) and put the SX-70 and a DSLR into the same slot with Daguerre's camera, where they probably belong.

"Daddy, why can't I see the picture now?"

Apocryphal or not, the truth of this story continues to be played out as better imaging and display technologies are brought into being. Photography has a fairly short history of only a couple hundred years, so extending out a millennium or so, we can expect that quaint ideas like film, megapixels, and even eye-like lenses to eventually be overtaken by things far more powerful.

Meanwhile, artists, technophiles and others charged with the paying duties of recording weddings, products and news will turn to whatever is the surest, fastest and most reliable, within the confines of quality set by predecessors. Check out any 25 year old Popular Photography magazine and you can see how poor some things we thought were OK seem today.

In that perspective, I offer you this image of the pretzel-lensed Nikon D700 with its 12 quaint megapixels, a paradigm of 2011 photography, with a nod to the past in the form of the much overused and cliche tilt-shift lens attached thereto. Photoshop does a perfectly good job of perspective correction or selective blurring, so who needs this Hartblei 45mm Superrotator noodle? Who indeed? Perhaps this tool for artistic expression, loaded with all its chimerical, almost steampunk componentry, (sans leather and goggles, but you can add them) will be obsolete sooner than we expect. Or maybe it will evolve into something even better, bypassing hilarious NEF raw files, JPEGS and allowing us to see in some new way, maybe even in the mind's eye.

This is a rental from EP Levine, a good place to go and check out equipment in Waltham, MA. Their staff, selection and rentals, and this D700, are excellent.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Norwegian original translates The Impossible Project story

I just happened to be searching for a picture of The Impossible Project factory and ran across a Norwegian language article, which I put through Translator. Sometimes Translator does a very good job, and other times the results are rather humorous. I think that's the case here.

For a Norwegian to English translation of the article, click here

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Polaroid Waltham Cafeteria - gone

Friday as I was driving to visit EP Levine Photo on Bear Hill Rd., I looked across 128 and noticed that the old Polaroid cafeteria that I had posted an image of here, has been demolished.

Parking the car on that hill, even with the four way flashers on, is quite risky, since tractor-trailers and other high speed and mass vehicles aren't used to anyone stopping along that relatively steep and narrow section of Bear Hill. I quickly scooted out and grabbed the digi, shot, and jumped back into the car just as another large tractor-trailer approached, similar to the one you see in the gap where the caf used to be.

Just wanted readers to know there are certain risks to be taken in our quest for more instant photography, which we accept.  Click on the image to see the pile of rubble. Click here to see what this looked like about a year ago.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

i spy with my plastic eye

Sort of reminds me of Luscious Jackson's lyrics to "Naked Eye" which is a favorite here, i spy with my plastic eye consists of artists who we know using various mediums and inexpensive cameras and optics in the most creative and satisfying ways.

Apparently there are two shows and two books, or maybe one new book called i spy with my plastic eye II. To look for yourself (the website won't let me link to or embed any image from it, which makes it difficult for bloggers to point to except this way at this link here.

Well worth a look at this website, and I think I will buy the book!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Interesting "Polaroid" Video

Graflex Super D

We also have a near mint Graflex Super D 4x5 camera with Auto Diaphragm (first ever) and a properly setup graflok back for sale.  The back rotates into portrait or landscape modes with the push of a button.

This is a glimpse of the fine lens, with the lever and spring arrangement. It gets cocked open for focusing, and stops down the instant the shutter button is depressed. What a convenience this must have been!

Just send me an email. This one is all tuned up, very clean, ready for use. I have a PA-45 on it right now, but you can put any modern 4x5 film holder on this camera.

Here is a link to USENET post I wrote about the conversion of this camera to graflok. It is so old I forgot about it, and was posted before google.  Here it is

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waterbury 9" Lens from the 19th Century

While we are waiting for someone to scoop up this cool single element Waterbury lens, made by Scovill of NY, I might ask if someone knows what the proper name for the wheeled stops are in this version. I listed it with "Waterhouse stops" and it has been pointed out that this is not a very accurate term to use.

This is a nice brass lens and I had imagined using it on some wood camera project, but we are clearing out a few of the many photographic artifacts here in the lab to augment the fund for materials (or make room for new toys) and have put a couple of things on ebay, this included.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Polaroid show in Boston you cannot miss

If you are in the Boston area and have any interest at all in fine Polaroid images, you have a month to go see Instant Connections at the Panopticon Gallery, located in the Commonwealth Hotel, in Kenmore Square.  There is a T stop right in front, and it is a very short walk from Fenway Park, so it is easy to get too, and free.

Hunt's Photo has their in town store practically in the gallery, too, so you can pick up film, chemicals and paper after being suitably inspired to make some images.

Here is a link to Panopticon Gallery.

Quick view of the Polaroid 8x10 system