Processing film…

tmp_20140409151438_168261806Taking a little break from work and finally got around to processing my rolls of black and white film… I’m embarrassed to say that most of them are from two years ago.  I’ve been busy, but really, this only took me an hour or so, and its hard too believe I haven’t had an hour of free time over the last two years… It was exciting to see the negatives come out, but a bit bittersweet when I came across the roll where my Xpan died half way through.  I have resolved to spend the next bit of woodworking earnings on having it repaired so I can once again enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

 

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Rosewood Studio, Week 6 – Bonus Week!

As week 5 drew to a close I asked Ron what we were doing in week 6.  He replied that normally week 6 is when we wrap up all the uncompleted parts of the various projects we have tackled over the past 5 weeks.  The only problem here is everything was finished.  That’s right, we were so far ahead of schedule that we had a full week of extra time.  Ron suggested I look over the 12 week course and if there were any skills/projects that I’d like to tackle I could do it in my final week.  I’ve always been interested in bending wood, and while I’ve had some experience with steam bending and laminating on a form, I had never done anything with a vacuum bag.  With that in mind, we tackled the “Bow Front Cabinet”.  A small wall hung cabinet with a bow front door.

To the untrained eye, the cabinet looks fairly simple.  It’s not too tall, only has two shelves, has a simple profile routed on top and bottom, and a curved door.  But it’s the curved door that throws everything for a loop.  While the top/bottom and sides are made from solid Mahogany, the front and back are made with plywood covered with Mahogany veneer.  I had to resaw the veneer myself and laminate it onto the plywood in order to hide it’s true makeup.  For the door front, two pieces of wiggle board (bendable plywood) were laminated with a piece of mahogany veneer in the centre.  This was all a very time consuming process (especially slicing the veneer on the bandsaw).  The laminations took a long time as well as each step had to setup for 3 hours in the vacuum bag before we could proceed to the next.

The final bit of trickiness was fitting the door to the cabinet and making sure that there was a small but constant gap around it on all sides.  This took a lot of finicky work with a hand plane but the end result was well worth it.

I managed to finish this project by Friday at lunch, so with an entire afternoon left, I decided to get some more time on the lathe and turn a simple bowl.  I picked a scrap piece of walnut that had incredible figure, but also happened to be full of cracks and checks.  It turned quite well considering the state of the original piece of wood.  I put a few quick coats of shellac on before packing up the car with all my projects and heading home.

Next week I’ll give a quick wrap up on all my thoughts about my time at Rosewood Studio.

Photo Friday

Last Sunday was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.  In the past I’ve made a camera for the occasion but due to time constraints and laziness I opted for a pinhole body cap on my digital camera.  I love how the light flares in the picture, and it also shows how dirty my sensor is!

More info on World Pinhole day and photos from around the world HERE  Click on Gallery at the top of the page for photos.

Death of my xPan

I’m currently on a cross Europe adventure, visiting 8 countries and hoping to take many great photographs. Then as I walk out onto Piazza San Marco in Venice, raise my xPan to my eye, press the shutter and….. Nothing. The mighty xPan was dead. I had a feeling something was wrong as on the last roll it started to make some horrible squeaking noises, but I convinced myself it was the new kind of film I was trying, or maybe the cold weather. Anyways, I’ve been mourning the loss ever since. I’ll send it in to Hasselblad for servicing when I get home, hopefully it is repairable.

In tribute to my xPan, here are some of my shots on Flickr

And here is my all time favorite shot taken last summer in Paris…

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Photo Friday

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Took this shot this morning outside a Paris Cafe. I’ve been waiting since last June to buy a new camera but all the ones I want seem to be back ordered. Anyways, all to say that I haven’t taken as many pics lately as I’m frustrated with my current setup (thought I could handle no viewfinder but I can’t). Anyways, went out this morning and threw on a 75mm voigtlander onto my Nex 3. I bought the lens cause it was a good deal but I don’t use it much. But on the Nex it really seems to shine, and my hit rate is far better than with my Bessa film camera.

Back to the picture, I like the people in the background that you can’t quite make out, makes you linger and think about the picture a bit. Might have preferred if they weren’t quite so out of focus, but overall I’m pretty happy with the shot. Now if my new camera could just show up…

Blurb – Black and White Text Book quality review

I’ve made several books before, but I’ve always been tempted by Blurb’s “Black and White Text” books.  They come in both Trade (6×9″) and Pocket (5×8″), and are significantly cheaper than their other offerings.  You still get a full colour cover, however the inside pages are “cream” and while called “Text only” books, Blurb advises that:

While perfect for text, the textured, low-contrast paper also gives black and white photos and drawings a decidedly edgy and lo-fi feel. 

I’d been reluctant to try as I couldn’t find a single review on the web about printing pictures in this type of book.  So I thought I’d give a quick summary of how it turned out and a few sample pictures side by side with the originals to see how it looks.

Sorry about the thumb, had to hold the book somehow!  Anyways, as you can see, the paper is definitely cream colour, which affects the whites.  Also, the blacks are not that “deep” compared to the original (a scanned black and white negative).  That being said, it still looks fine, not sure if I find it edgy, but lo-fi perhaps.  The type of picture above (contrasty, lots of light and dark but not so much midtones) seems to work best with this format.  It isn’t as good as the original but it’s not bad and not a lot is lost due to the printing.

 

The above picture shows where this format doesn’t work.  The picture has very small differences in shades of dark grey along the fence line.  In the original you can see these differences clearly, in the book however, most of the detail is gone, in fact the one pedestrian is even hard to see.  While this is disappointing, now that I know, I will refrain from using this type of picture.

Finally, this picture shows the quality of the printing up close.  The picture was printed 3.5×3.5″ so it has been blown up significantly.  As you can see, the printing really looks a lot like newsprint.  Good quality newsprint, but newsprint nonetheless.  Again I’m not being critical of this, just pointing out what you can expect from this type of book as examples are hard to find on the web.

Overall I’ve been quite happy with the book.  You can’t beat the price at under $10 for a 150 page 5×8″ book.  So long as you know what types of pictures to include or not to include, you can have an excellent book for a rock bottom price.

If you’re in need of a 5×8″ calendar (day planner) with pictures of Paris, or if you just want to check out the print quality for yourself, click here to see my book (or buy it if you like!).