30 April 2012

Impossible Project PX680 Old Generation - West Side Market

This morning I spent a couple hours over at the West Side Market in Ohio City. We were there filming a video that we are putting together for Positively Cleveland that highlights some of the city's best, biggest and most interesting attractions. Since the Market's a corner stone of the city and has been there for 100 years now (there will be a huge centennial celebration later this summer), we knew it was an obvious choice when it came to filming locations. Of course we couldn't do it alone, so, we invited along a big Cleveland advocate and one of our favorite Bloggers (Cleveland's a Plum) Alexa Marinos to be our star for the day.

Unfortunately, since the video is still a work in progress over the next few weeks I won't be able to share any of that just yet. What I do have (big surprise) is some instant photos that I took while I was there. Today's film of choice was some Old Generation PX680 Color Shade from the Impossible Project. I've only shot one of these Old Gen packs previously (which was something of an experiment) but I was pleasantly surprised with how well this film still works. This time around I was shooting with my usual SX-70 Sonar with an ND pack filter and, even though the indoor shots were a bit dark, I found that the color of this film was still pretty outstanding.

I still have half of this pack of film remaining in my camera so (fingers crossed) I'll be posting some more shots in the near future...

26 April 2012

Impossible Project PX100 Test Film - Oil Can's and Seagulls

Just some quick shots with some of Impossible Projects PX 100 Silver Shade film. I took this top one in the office's comp room with available window light using an SX-70. This is technically test film, as I bought a bunch of it when it became available originally, but I think it might be my last pack. Either way, I think this might be my favorite film from Impossible thus far (it's tough to choose though between this and the PX 600 Black Frame). Nearly every photo I take with this film comes out beautifully, and, I can only imagine it's just going to continue to get better.

And, for the road, here's another on the PX 100 that I took while out on a walk a few weeks back. I was walking out by the lake and the Seagulls were flying everywhere. I only had one shot left in the pack but wanted to try and get an image of just one bird on a blank sky. I had to completely guess at a focus point and try to time it just right - it's not the best shot in the world, but there's something about it I like. It reminds me of that day, the weather, and the quiet walk along the water... really, isn't that what this stuff's all about?

24 April 2012

Fuji FP-100C45 - Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 - St. Theodosius

The end of last week offered up some weather that was nice enough to allow me a chance to get out and shoot. As usual, once I actually had a load of camera's in the car I had a difficult time finding things that I wanted to shoot. I think that part of me is always worried about wasting film and so I become extremely choosey on what I will and will not shoot.

At the end of the day, or at the end of my drive I should say, I ended up in a familiar spot. I've shot St. Theodosius a few times, but, since I hadn't shot it with my Crown Graphic I decided it wouldn't hurt to take another photo. It really is a great looking place with some beautiful architecture. This photo was taken on Fuji's FP 100-C45 peel-apart film at about 75 degrees with a 120 second development time.

Personally, I really like this film. It appears as though it is consistently a little washed and milky, but, I'm not sure if that's just me, the development timing, the temperature or the batch of film that I have... Either way, I usually end up liking the results.

19 April 2012

The New Impossible Project PX680 Cool - Production Date 3/12 - Release Date 4/12

Finally. The official release date of the new Impossible Project PX 680 Color Shade Cool film. In a very clandestine, ninja like way the Impossible Project has kept this film tightly under wraps - even us Pioneer's who were able to pick up a few test packs a month early haven't been allowed to post or discuss this new film publicly. I know there has been a bit of grumbling about that, which I understand if for no other reason than it's hard to sit on good photos for so long, but, in the long run it's a decision I fully support. 

Through a private flickr group all of the test photographers have been able to upload their content and discuss the in's and out's of this new film - ultimately giving Impossible the feedback they need to continue to make successful advances. I also think that in the long run it gives them invaluable information that they can provide along with the release of their new film - like tips for shooting or known issues - which is better for their company and customer service. Now you will get the full skinny from the company itself, a reliable source who's taken time to gather the information, which should help you avoid a snap decision on a new product based on a single blog or flickr review - like this one.

My initial thoughts on this film are that it is not for the faint of heart nor the inexperienced. Beautiful, colorful results are entirely possible with this film - watch flickr over the next couple of days and you will see that - however, achieving those results can be a bit difficult. This film is extremely light sensitive out of camera. Temperature before, during and after are imperative to the color and tones of your final development - as opposed to nearly all predecessors I'm hearing that cooler is better than warmer once you've made your exposure - and consistency seems to be more difficult to achieve across an entire pack.

That being said... when you shoot this film right, it is really right. The colors sometimes look just like a pack of old Polaroid 600. The development times are on the longer end, consistent with most of the Impossible color films. I shot packs with two different SX-70's and a box style 600. The top photo on this page is with the 600, the other two are from my SX-70 sonar with an ND filter. In my (limited) experience with this film I received the best results using the ND filter and setting my lighten/darken wheel 2/3 towards dark as a starting point.

Overall I think this is a good film and a step in the right direction. The colors get better and better with ever release, and, once the opacifier improves I think this film will be outstanding. I've personally had some difficulty with this film and getting the results I want, but, I have seen some really beautiful images on flickr already, and, I have a tendency to be overly critical of my own photos.

If I were to make one recommendation about this film it would be this - if you are a novice, meaning you haven't been shooting Impossible's films since the beginning, start with something a little more forgiving. The PX 100 Silver Shade is one of my favorites and I think it's one of the most beautiful films that has been released. If you want color, try out the PX 70 Color Shade. Work your way up to this film. Practice. With a little patience you will fall in love with all of these films and you will develop a unique way to get the best results from each.

16 April 2012

Fuji FP-100C45 - Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 - Magnolia Blossoms

I spent a lot of time over at Aperture this saturday. During the day I was doing some filming for an upcoming promo piece for the store and about the analog photography lifestyle, and, later that night I was meeting new people, making friends and talking photography while browsing some great work from Mat Marrash. Saturday was Mat's opening for his show Dapper - a documentary style exhibit on barbering shot entirely with an 8x10, and, developed and printed by Mat himself. Needless to say, if you find yourself anywhere near Cleveland while the show remains up (till April 28) you should stop in and take a look.

Of course, all of that conversation about photography with all of those talented people made me want to go out and take some photos myself. Luckily, Sunday was a beautiful day with temperatures up around 80. I took a couple cameras out with me, but, focused mostly on shooting with my 4x5 Crown Graphic - using both Fuji FP-100c45 and some Delta 400 sheet film. I have yet to get any of my sheet film from this camera developed, but the above image of a blooming Magnolia tree is one of the images I did get on the Fuji instant film.

Some more images from this past week coming soon...

12 April 2012

iPhoneography - The Little Camera At Work & The TEDxCLE Intro

For the most part this blog has skewed towards analog photography and my love of old cameras, film and the resurgence of instant photography through The Impossible Project. But to be honest, I have a love and appreciation for all types of photography - including digital and film/video work - which is much more in line with what I do on a daily basis for work here in Cleveland.

While I have posted digital work before, and even some iPhone photographs, one of the things that I haven't shared a lot of here is video work. So, I figured perhaps one of the best ways to transition into that would be to share some recent work that we completed here in the studio I work for (Uppercut Motion and Sound) that is a combination of both video and photography.

The project, completed for TEDxCLE, was shot entirely with iPhone cameras. The final video, honoring this years theme "The Maker Class," was compiled from a series of photographs sourced through the very popular Instagram. Users around the area were asked to generate the content of the video themselves through photos of their city. We then sourced the content by following the user's hash-tag #TEDXCLEMaker. The piece was used as an announcement for the 2012 TEDxCLE speakers, an independently organized TED event here in Cleveland. The photos on this page are some of my contributions to the video as I'm a big proponent of Cleveland myself. 

Here's what it looked like:

Ironically enough, the timing of this video also just so happened to time up with the arrival of my first large format camera - a 4x5 Crown Graphic. Throughout the two weeks this project was going on I was out taking photos with both my iPhone and my Crown. The difference couldn't be any greater - from the size, to the speed of shooting, to the number of frames taken of each subject. The only constant was that the final product was a photograph... my photograph. While I was out, I noticed that I enjoyed something different about each form of photography, but, what I enjoyed the most was the realization of just how embedded photographic expression has become in my life the past couple of years.

Also - If you keep an eye out, you might find more people using Instagram integration in the future. Rufus Wainwright for one is already asking his fans to create a lyrical mosaic of his most recent single Out of the Game. You can read more about that here - but keep in mind Rufus... we beat you to it.

05 April 2012

White SX-70 Model II - Birch Wood Re-skin

It's  not very often that I write a post that is not directly related to a photo or group of photos that I have taken, but, I figured maybe I'd branch out a little bit this morning and talk about a camera refurb that I just recently completed with a white SX-70 Model II. I picked this camera up at a small, used camera store in Downtown Cleveland along with a black SX-70 Model III. Both were in pretty rough shape and took a bit of exercise to get running, but, all said and done I was able to pick up the two cameras with a bunch of accessories and an original Polaroid leather case for $50. Considering the deal I got, I figured it would be worth the extra time and effort to undertake my first SX-70 re-skin.

Here's what the camera looked like when I purchased it (click for full view of any images below) :

A little rough around the edges, but, I saw some potential. So, the first step in my process was to remove the old leathers and clean up the body of the camera the best I could. For this I used a plastic palette knife and some Goo-Gone. I didn't soak the camera like I had seen in a few videos online because I was afraid of getting any of the chemical into the body of the camera, but instead worked slowly with the palette knife... eventually slipping and slicing my thumb open. If you are undertaking one of these skins on your own, this is probably a good time to point out that you should be careful.

All said and done, here's what the body looked like after removing the old skins:

Of course, deciding on what type of skin I wanted to put on the camera was more difficult than expected. I browsed through most of the sites/shops that I could find and watched a few instructional videos, but, I was a little disappointed with the options available to me when it came to a ready made replacement skins. Besides that, I kind of liked the idea of having something a little more custom. Because this was a white camera I liked the idea of keeping it very clean and minimal so I decided to go with a piece of 1/64" thick Birch wood.

The process itself was a bit more tedious than expected, but I really enjoy the final results. I was able to make a pattern for the skin sizes and cut the wood by hand using a pair of kitchen shears (carefully, since the wood has a tendency to want to split along the grain.) From there, it was just a matter of fine tuning the edging and corners with a rotary tool to get everything to fit perfectly. 

With a little multi-purpose glue, and a lot of patience, this is where I landed with this camera:

For my first attempt at a re-skin I'm pretty happy with the results... especially since this was a custom job without any precut patterns. For the finishing touches on this camera I am also putting a coat of sealant to help protect the wood and, hopefully, to help keep this skin in good condition for a long time to come.

Now that this camera is finished I think I will move on to the black Model III... I've already got a few ideas for what kind of custom skin would look good on it...

04 April 2012

Lost Fuji FP-100B - Pennsylvania Bed & Breakfast - The Galloping Inn

I was going through my hard drives this morning as I do from time to time looking for images that may have been overlooked for one reason or another. Taken in April of 2011 during a weekend trip these images never got posted  due to the fact that I had taken and shot with multiple cameras, and, ultimately came back with tons of images that I decided to post instead. I guess one thing led to another and I shot more images, posted more images, and again, left these sitting on a hard drive un-cut, un-cropped and un-posted. 

Funny thing is, I have thought about posting these multiple times over the last year. I never forgot about them and I actually like them quite a bit... they just always seem to be replaced by something else. So finally, since I haven't shot many other things recently, I have decided to pull these out and get them up on the blog.

As I mentioned at top, these were taken almost exactly one year ago. Shot with a Polaroid 250 on the now discontinued Fuji FP-100B these photos were taken at a beautiful bed and breakfast up in Pennsylvania called The Galloping Inn - a historic farmhouse built in the 1860's. It just so happens that this great little place is owned by the CEO of the company I work for here in Cleveland - so, every once in a while, I get to head up there with some friends for a weekend. I won't get into too much detail here, but if you are looking for a relaxing place to get away and find yourself in Northwest Pennsylvania area you should definitely check it out.

As for this film... well, if you haven't ever shot it and you are a fan of the Fuji peel apart films I would recommend that you get ahold of some before it disappears completely. There is definitely a similarity to Fuji's FP-3000B, but, the 100 speed seems to hold a better dynamic range. It's probably also worth mentioning, thought common knowledge to most, that the slower speed of this film makes it much better suited for shooting during the day in full sun - something slightly more difficult with the 3000 speed Fuji unless you have full manual control or a camera capable of high shutter speeds.