Nothing on my mind, 15 – 16 May 2009

2009/05/16

The dual date is because, well, technically, it is the 16th now, but its still the 15th in my messed-up mind, since I’m still awake from the 15th – hence, the hermaphrodite-ish date. Also, as with some of the previous posts under this title, I do, in fact, have plenty on my mind, but since I plan to pass out soon, well. I’ll get to those later. Or forget all about said thoughts by the time I wake up tomorrow. No guarantees.

Anyways, since I’m still awake, and trying to find ways of amusing myself that do not involve uncleanliness, here is yet another photo for your general amusement.

ArgusAF_NickysTree01-Crop

Photo Information:

Camera: Argus Argoflex
Film: Kodak TMax ISO 100 (120 [1])

I shot this particular photo in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk, VA; it is of a “park” area that separates the two halves of Stockley Gardens (which, in point of fact, is not a garden at all, but a street). I cannot, however, claim original credit for this photo, as it is the end result of several attempts to replicate a photo that a friend shot of the same subject.

Of course, there is a story there, so here it is. Since I enjoy using film, I spent quite a bit of my free time hanging around in the local shop that both sold and processed this archaic medium (not to mention also scanning, which helped immensely with the image above). Since I had an “extra” Argus C3 camera lying around, [2] I decided to donate it to the shop as a display item (though, of course, if the shop employees decided to use it, I wasn’t going to argue); in point of fact, one of them did use the camera and captured a composition that I later found to be quite inspirational. [3] As such, I have tried to capture it myself several times after that, mostly unsuccessfully, until I took a digital photo of the original from the link listed below, and used the display on my digital camera as a reference for setting up my own film camera.

This story also informs why I selected this particular shot to display in this post: as noted above, I also used an Argus camera to capture this shot. In my case, though, I was using an Argoflex Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera; you can see a photo and description of the camera in the Flickr set that contains the above photo. There are, of course, some differences between the original and my replication; most notably, the original is in color, while mine is in black and white (I suck at color unless I’m using an autoexposure camera); additionally, the original was shot in the middle of winter (hence, the lack of foliage), while mine was shot in the middle of summer (I told you it took me several tries to get it right). I should also point out that the image you see here and on my Flickr page is a crop; the original negative was not formatted like this. The vertical dimensions are the same, but the Argoflex shoots in the 6×6 square format (6cm per side), so the actual negative contained more horizontal area than the original, which was shot on 35mm with a standard 24mm x 36mm negative. As such, I cropped out the sides of the photo, so that its dimensions would match those of a 35mm print (note that this is not as easy as it sounds, as I had to calculate [*] the correct size using proportions, since the digital image that resulted from the scan was not 60mm x 60mm). So, in short, I used a digital camera to capture a photo of the original from my computer screen, which I used as a guide so that I could use a medium format twin lens Argus camera to replicate in black and white a photo originally shot in color with a 35mm Argus rangefinder camera. I suspect we are not even on the same page anymore…*sigh*

And before you ask, yes. I do enjoy doing things such as this. I suspect that this was less exciting to the poor employee who was unfortunate enough to be on duty when I burst into the shop looking for a copy of the photo (this employee was not the same one who shot the photo, and as such, had no idea what I was talking about – to be fair, I was also in a rush, so I suspect that my normally poor English was especially unintelligible at that point), only to realize that the shop did not have one on display – hence, the screen capture from my computer. I also suspect that I was having a manic episode at the time, but we aren’t going to touch that subject with a ten foot pole. Anyways, enjoy the photo.

Notes:

[1]: For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, 120 film is also known as medium format film; while standard 35mm film is, well, 35mm wide (hence the name…brilliant move, right?), 120 film is 70mm wide, or twice the width of 35mm film. While there are technical reasons for using this film versus using 35mm, the short version is that with a larger negative area, one can capture more detail with sharper results. The number “120” is the original Kodak designation for the film type, and, apart from that, has no other relation to the size or negative format(s) used with the film; 35mm film is technically Kodak No. 135 film, though almost nobody refers to it that way anymore.

[2]: Okay, I didn’t have an “extra;” I had purchased one through eBay, then forgotten I had it, and bought another one about a year or so later – yes, sometimes, I am that forgetful. Thankfully, neither one was particularly expensive (C3s can be had from online sources for quite reasonable prices). Since I did not need two, I donated the former; and no, I didn’t pass off a lemon on the shop, either; both worked just fine, so there was really no objective reason for selecting one or the other for retention.

[3]: The original may be found on my friend’s Myspace page here.

[*]: Despite the fact that I mutually hateful relationship with math, it rears its ugly head in my daily affairs far more often than I would like. In all fairness, this was not the worst math-related photography incident; that involved respooling 35mm film with cut-down, renumbered and framed backing paper onto a Bantam spool. And yes. I know you (yes, you) have no idea what any of that means. But that’s a story for another day.

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