Friday, September 22, 2017

Waskely Wabbit Holes

When I find myself distracted by a single thought that turns into an lengthy adventure (be it virtual, or in real life) I call it running down a rabbit hole.  In spite of our return to a regulated school schedule (or perhaps because of?) I found myself meandering down more than one rabbit hole in the past few weeks.

Project updates:

I have not taken as many notes as I thought I would on my garden this year, but I have drawn the general conclusion that I should stick with small variety tomatoes, and summer squash, and call it good.  I would rather have enough vegetables ripe at once to make a meal than one tomato, a tiny squash, and the beginning nubs of an eggplant.

Plus, if I stick to the basics of two plants, I have more space to try varieties and still have enough standards.  This is an indigo apple tomato, the vine only produced a few, but they were quite colorful to grow.

Rabbit Hole 1:  Missing Scissors
Having realized that there are situations where I could really use a project in my hands to make use of the time I'm spending when I'm somewhere I would rather not be, or someplace with a lot of waiting time on my hands... I decided to pull out a few ornament embroidery projects.  What should have been a quick 5 minute grab-and-pack turned into an hours long (not all at once, but stretched over a few days) search, because although I had two pair of embroidery scissors in my large tote, I wanted my blue handled embroidery scissors to carry in my purse with my portable projects.  I *just* reorganized my craft room last year, and it was really frustrating me to have "misplaced" my favorite and oldest embroidery scissors.  It was when I realized that my entire mini-sewing kit was missing that I had my breakthrough... clearly I left the mini sewing kit - with the scissors - with a recent project.

Another half an hour of searching finally revealed the sewing kit in my Zentangle drawer, which didn't make sense until I remembered that I had been embroidering Zentangle patterns on towels two years ago, and I packed the project in the tangle drawer instead of the sewing area.

Rabbit Hole #2:
G very innocently said to me one night "Hey mom, do you have that video of my first dance recital?"

It only took me about 10 minutes to find the low-quality versions of the videos backed up on my old external hard drive, then another 10 minutes to find the DVD's of all the dance recitals, but that lead me to thinking about the original tapes.  I still have our old camcorder in the closet so that I can "someday" do a digital backup of our tapes.  I decided to look at the tapes in the camcorder case, that's when I realized they were not *in* the camcorder case.  (the memory I had of tapes in the case were of the blank tapes I used to keep with the camera when we used it for recording)    After searching all our movie storage areas I made myself a cup of tea and sat down, and thought... where did I used to keep the Hi8 tapes?  On the shelf with the CD's... we don't have the CD's out anymore because we use digital streaming for music... so the CD's are in those clear boxes in the attic... which is where the tapes were as well!  That portion of the rabbit hole was a relatively short journey...

...but then I spent some time researching how to transfer the tapes to my computer.  I took this photo of the camcorder plugs for a discussion with a friend, who was able to point me in the directly of an inexpensive video capture device, which I now own, and have tested, and it works.

Not that I have time to transfer my movies to digital at the moment, but at least I have the technology.  Hopefully I'll get around to getting this done before the technology changes again.

Rabbit Hole #3

Halloween Costume.  
I needed some brown fabric from my fabric stash, which lead to me realizing that my fat quarters and felt were split among too many boxes of fabric, and I had also held onto some baby flannel for more than 16 years without using it, and if I ever make another baby quilt I'm likely to buy fresh fabric anyway... I spent some time over last weekend sorting and purging my fabric stash, and getting it down to the point where it fits in my existing boxes, with a little room to spare.

In between the rabbit holes, I pulled my big tote out and set back to work on my bird quilt.  My 4 bluebird squares are done, I'm now working on the intricate Bobwhites.

A teeny tiny preview of my Halloween costume.  I have made great progress on the design and most of the cutting was completed last night.  

I will do a full write up of the process with photos of the end result once it is complete.

Rabbit Hole #4
Film photography.
We are considering a vacation out of the country, which means I'll probably not want to pack my Graflex due to it's size and weight, which lead me to poke around online for a light weight medium format pinhole camera.  Holga used to make one, but as they are discontinued the cost of a new "collecters" item is outrageous.  I did notice online that some people made mods to convert regular Holgas to pinhole, and I have an extra Holga with a broken shutter, so I briefly considered that option... only to set it aside because that old Holga doesn't have a tripod thread.  So then I looked at my newer Holga to see if it had a tripod thread...

...which is when I discovered I loaded film in it about 5 years ago and haven't finished the roll.  So... another camera to toss in my bag for the next outing.

As to the lightweight pinhole option... I will likely bring the 35mm panoramic pinhole, and I'll see if the new 120 panoramic camera (which is currently in production) might be light enough to carry.  If it feels too heavy for international travel then I might look into the Diana pinhole, or something from the Schlaboratory.  

On film photography...

My E-6 came back slightly underexposed, but still totally usable.  I'm hoping to get another outing in this week that should give me more varied subjects to shoot at a leisurely pace.

Ebey's Landing, Velvia 50, Graflex Pinhole

Friday, September 01, 2017

Projecting Projects

Although I knew about the expected eclipse on August 21 (it was partial here, about 94% coverage) I had not made plans for it due to the inundation of prepping for our travels.  I figured I might pick up viewing glasses at a local store at some point, but didn't write it down, so I didn't get out before the glasses were gone.  As a result, I spent a little time on the 20th creating different eclipse projectors based on the instructions for NASA.

I actually had a fun time playing with boxes, tape, and foil... I made several sizes so that we could test each one and decide which combination of box/hole size worked the best.  I discovered that the smaller the box, the smaller the hole needed to be in order to get a sharp image.  Also, while the largest box made the largest projection, it was also further away from our eyes.  

In the end, the cereal box was everyone's favorite.

We had meandered down to the lake to watch the eclipse and came across some natural eclipse projections along the way.  Also, our neighbors shared their viewing glasses with us, so we were all able to view the eclipse in various ways.  It made for a fun science filled morning.

I've been listening to the Film Photography Project podcast while working, which sometimes will prompt/inspire/instigate me to dig around in my gear and look at my old gear.  My most recent digging brought out my Polaroid Land camera, which uses pack peel-apart film.  I hadn't realized that I still had several boxes of no-longer-manufactured Polaroid film, which can be used for emulsion lifts.  Fuji makes* replacement pack film, but their emulsion lifts like a plastic transparency, rather than a gooey emulsion that adheres the way Polaroid does.
*thinking about emulsion lifts led me down a rabbit hole on the internet where I discovered that Fuji has also stopped making pack film, and the Impossible Project has no plans to re-make pack film, but I found an online darkroom supply store that apparently plans on remaking the pack film.  I wrote to them to ask about it, they say they are "still on it".  So, fingers are crossed that my camera will not become entirely obsolete after I finish my current film packs.

Scrapbooking!  I made progress!  Significant progress!  I'm all the way up to mid-November 2004 in the ephemera album and cruising!

More film photography! 
As I see that we are on the brink of a weather turn, I thought it would be nice to take advantage of the still-warm summer days and have a family outing.  We all needed the fresh air and change of pace, I think.  I did some reading and researching and found a location that was a ferry ride away (which feels like a mini-vacation) had minimal parking and facilities (which means less crowds) and lovely views on Puget Sound.  As I wandered the length of the beach working pinhole scenes, D meandered around taking some photos of his own (and discovering hidden pieces of art along the trail) while G kept herself occupied playing with her own camera and her guitar.  
Shot with my Graflex Pinhole, 3 second exposure, Ilford Delta 100

I came away from the outing with 2 rolls of 120 B&W, 2 rolls of 120 E-6, and one roll of 35mm panoramic B&W.  While I want to concentrate on larger format, I have a drawer full of 35mm film that needs to be used or tossed, and considering the variety of cameras I have to play with... it seems a waste to toss it.  So I've resolved to take a 35mm camera with me just about everywhere I go.
As for my shooting, the B&W looks to be properly exposed and developed, although I'm still getting some strange grains on my film every so often (not every frame, just once in a while)  My E-6 is off to the lab and I will pick that up next week.  My fingers are crossed on that, because although I did calculate the reciprocity correctly this time, my lightmeter was set to 100 instead of 50 for the initial exposures.  However, ISO 50 reading was only about a half second off ISO100, and every exposure was a guesstimate 2-3 seconds, so it's not precisely scientific anyway.  

My super-secret project is coming along, I've made it past a couple of roadblocks and set aside a couple of ideas that are just not panning out.  My plan is to get those completed soon so that I can then concentrate on my Halloween costume.