Flamingo Fever

Calder’s masterpiece, unwrapped three ways:

I think this is a good start to a series about Chicago’s public art. There is certainly plenty to work with, not only in the Loop. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’ll be visiting the Flamingo, either.

On the technical side, I’ve started using film, which gives me much better tonality than the paper negatives I’ve been using until now. At the same time, the film is much less reflective, which results in fewer internal reflections in the camera.

For the entirely geeked out among you, the film I’m using is Arista.EDU 400 ISO, developed in Rodinal 1:100 for 12 minutes. The Arista film is made in the Czech Republic, which with near certainty means it’s repackaged Fomapan. Fine by me, I’ve always liked the stuff, and the 2.6×10 inch negatives don’t suffer very much from its manly graininess.

Let me know what you think.

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Under the El Tracks

First sun we’ve had for a while, but since I wasn’t downtown, I had to settle for el tracks. I’m making progress – my improving ability to plan the framing has made the images somewhat easier to read, and the exposures are within some reasonable range. The subject matter isn’t quite as all-enveloping as Loop architecture, but shooting under the tracks has allowed me to fill the frame much better than I would have been able to in most of the city.

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New cameras

I got out to take the first batch of images with the new cameras. The smaller pinholes (around 0.2mm) are clearly sharper than the last batch. I’m getting a bit more vignetting due to the lower ratio between hole size and stock thickness, but it’s still pretty manageable.

Just for grins, here are cameras 1 and 3 in action:

Testing… #chicity_shots #chicago #pinhole #pinholephotography #pinholecamera

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Red on red #chicity_shots #chicago #pinhole #pinholephotography #pinholecamera

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In terms of images, I’m not too elated about the results. I’m most disappointed about the third one, shot under the Calder sculpture on Federal Plaza. I was hoping for a more monumental view and a more recognizable Flamingo. Then again, a big part of the fun with these images is that they surprise me. The curved geometry of the negative makes it very hard to previsualize anything, especially that I’ve decided not to consciously control where the frame begins and ends.

Tomorrow I’m going to test out yet another, more complex camera. Stay tuned.

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Loops of the Loop

Or loops-de-Loop, so to speak. Full circle. I think I may be on to something, even if it’s still hard to see in these. And oh, yes, please pardon the dust. I will make all efforts to eradicate it in the future.

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So I’ve been playing with anamorphic panoramic pinhole cameras, and I’m starting to get passable results. This time, just as an experiment I re-wrapped the strip image to polar coordinates, which basically restored it to something resembling a normal view. The first image is what I got from the camera, the second I got by remapping it to polar coordinates:

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