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Alan7140

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Alan7140 last won the day on 25 December 2019

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About Alan7140

  • Rank
    Grandmaster Member
  • Birthday 07/01/1953

Profile Information

  • Real Name
    Alan Lesheim
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Tasmania, Australia
  • Photographic Interests
    Photography, Guitar
  • Edit my pics?
    Ask Me
  • Fav. Camera
    Pentacon Six
  • Fav. Lens
    4/50
  • Fav. Editor
    Rodinal, with some elbow grease ;)
  1. Neither Victoria or Tasmania had much of an iron/steel industry worth getting excited over, but both had vast stretches of old-growth hardwood Eucalyptus forests that apparently needed destroying, hence wood was a readily available resource for building things out of during the early -mid 20th Century.
  2. Not really - seems to be a country thing. Here's one of the same design doing garden duty at Yackandandah in Northern Victoria back in 2011 (or "Yack" to the locals, which seems appropriate to this subject matter ). I doubt very much that they imported it from Tasmania, probably grabbed it from Yack's main street when the thing was disconnected.
  3. OK, here's a pair of them, still in service, in the main street of Ross, Central Tasmania
  4. Alan7140

    Man on a Mission

    I had a fixation on that uniform when I was a kid (meaning 7-9).
  5. My entire kit is partally visible on the ground just behind his left thigh - a Manfrotto CF Tripod and a Kata Bumblebee backpack with the camera, lens and meter in the lower compartment and four loaded double-dark slides in the upper compartment, and with the camera gear being made mostly of Mahogany, the loaded pack is the lightest its ever been. As for the 20" x 24" camera, he built it himself (with the aid of a CNC machine) for his submission for a Masters (Honours) to his Batchelor of Fine Arts Degree, and most of the parts for which he sourced through his job at the South Hobart Tip Shop. He's the guy that has supplied me with more than a few photographic bargains such as the Olympus OM-1, two lenses & a small Mecablitz flash in a small Tamrac bag all in working order (yes, someone actually threw that away, with the last sale receipt still in the bag dated 1996 from a camera store in Portland, Oregon, with it being anybody's guess as to how it ended up at a tip in southern Tasmania), and a complete set of three Multiblitz Minilight 150 flash heads, stands and brollies which make superb little fill or hair-lights in studio setups, and all of which didn't cost me much over the equivalent of US $50 in total for both the camera and flash outfits.
  6. I wouldn't even begin to guess at the number of "equivalent" Megapickles involved here (20" x 24" paper neg): I was a bit more conservative, also using photographic paper as a neg, but a more practical 6½" x 4¾" half plate Thornton Pickard for a group shot at the same occasion.
  7. Looks like a mass male mid-life crisis to me. And yes, definitely an E-Type for me as well, as long as they throw in a free Jaguar-trained expert mechanic for free.
  8. Alan7140

    Fuji X-T4

    If I was still interested in treading the digital camera update spiral, I would definitely be into this: https://petapixel.com/2020/01/10/fuji-x-t4-with-ibis-will-be-announced-next-month-report/?fbclid=IwAR3x_qSDP8Y9X9mkHu1uTXqBWd0QqKg1D2dHLr5pspv9V-TNqleEIdAe5dc As I'm now so completely back into film, there's only a possibility that it might eventually make it into my substantial Fuji gadget bag to replace my now-ageing X-T2 & X-T1 bodies, but only when they become cheap and second-hand - I'm done buying what was a seemingly endless stream of new cameras upon release every 18 months-2 years apart. That would also be dependent on Fuji sticking with the X-Trans sensor and not returning to the ancient design of the Bayer sensor. With Sigma now having all but abandoned its Foveon sensor, we've probably already lost the one other design alternative to the inaccurate Bayer approach, and with the modified interpolation structure of the last Sigma Foveon Quattro sensor being a step to that fully Bayer outcome, that now seems inevitable (unless Sigma pull some sort of rabbit from their hat and work through the limitations that saw the Quattro replace the 'proper' Foveon, and produce a new, higher resolution, proper Foveon replacement). OK, I'm dreaming again - I won't be surprised if the digital world will once again be entirely ruled by Bayer. (...and I'll be committed until death to the ways of silver halide photography, as it always had been before the computer industry usurped it ).
  9. Adding a side-note to the original post - I managed to get Vuescan to override whatever inbuilt and obsolete 30,000px limit that EpsonScan saddles its V700Photo with, and did a full resolution (4800dpi) scan of the above paper neg, and it reminds me once more just what we lost with film when speed became the overriding attributes and 25 ISO, and later 50 ISO B&W film ended up as the slowest available. Scanning the paper neg, on the other hand, failed to reveal any discernible grain in the ~1.5 ISO paper emulsion, rather the texture of the pearl surface of the paper was the thing that became evident rather than grain (I'll be getting fresh gloss surface paper which should avoid this when my supplier re-opens after the holidays). At this resolution, the final image was just over 40,000 x 30,000px, or 1.225 Terrapixels. And people are getting all excited by high-end digital cameras that now deliver a 'massive' 100 Megapixels. So at the file's native resolution, and at Epson printer native resolution of 360dpi, this would deliver a 111.7" (283.8cm) x 84.6" (215cm) print at the same image quality as 100MP files printed at 30"x20" @ 360dpi, if my calculkations are correct. Totally impractical with today's printing hardware, but an interesting thing to contemplate all the same. The 16-bit grayscale Tiff file is 2.28GB, by the way.
  10. Simple tailboard cameras are easy enough to make as is demonstrated by this old agricultural thing I've just got working again, but the bellows are just tedious to construct, and I reckon a lot of the time it's easier to buy an old field camera where you get factory machined parts and bellows as well as a reasonably comprehensive array of movements all included. There were quite a few whole plate field cameras on eBay towards the end of last year, and I almost bought into one of those, but commonsense (I thought at the time) got the better of me. As the Scovill didn't cost me cash money, it was worth trying to get it going with the Petzval lens adapted to it for effectively nothing, I thought. That is, of course, until the Scovill introduced me to whole plate format, and with 6½ x 8½" paper still available from Ilford and fresh negative material being easy to come by, the size seems perfect to me. Surprisingly nowhere near as cumbersome as 8x10, but substantially larger than half plate, and to a degree that I hadn't thought would make much difference originally. I can honestly say that it seems to be just perfect for my uses, and I'll be on the lookout for a whole plate field camera to which I can fit this Petzval lens (it's too large for any Thornton Pickard front standard that I've seen, but the old Wista/Toyo Japanese field cameras seem to be big enough. The main problem with whole plate cameras seems to be the film holders - many still have the fittings for the old wooden "book-type" double-dark holders, but rarely come with the correct holder which manufacturers seemed to make to exclusively fit their camera and no others. Now I've just got to wait for a serviceable and well-priced one to come up for sale, preferably one that has a spring back and takes standard double dark slides. The counter-balancing good thing is of course that obsolete Japanese whole plate cameras are substantially cheaper than their current format counterparts. The lenses are a different matter, but this old Petzval is an absolute corker, and delivers exactly the image characteristics I've been looking for, so I no longer need a new lens as well.
  11. Thanks, Akira, I agree totally re:subject authenticity. I just needed something that was long enough to straddle the middle 2/3 of the frame to give an idea of field curvature along with focus falloff, and something that also had a circle roughly the size of a human head to see how that would fit into the acceptably sharp zone. The banjo was the obvious choice, both from sort-of looking the part and being the right size, plus I don't think any of my acoustic or electric guitars would have suited the shot or size requirements at all.
  12. Thanks, Vivion. Luckily such agricultural construction as this camera was easy to work on - everything is big, rough and crude, and looks more like something out of a high school woodworking class.
  13. Hugh, I was looking at making new bellows, but before I went to the trouble of finding and procuring the things needed I went down the "may as well try to fix it and see:" route, used some cloth-backed black adhesive tape for the corners and liberally applied (via direct spray from the can and locally with a brush) many coats of Vinyl restore paint, with which I had previously fixes a very light-porous shutter curtain of an otherwise pristine old Pentacon F 35mm camera, which is still working fine with the paint not cracking up even after repeatedly being wound tightly on the feeder and pickup spindles of the shutter. It might take a few further local applications later, particularly on the outside of the edge tapes which are not very resistant to the black coating flaking with flexing and which I would have preferred not to have used, but the folded corners, although they may not appear to be so in the photo, were completely shot. The bellows material is cloth-backed cardboard inside, with some sort of coated material outside covering. It's not the traditional leather of the period, but now is is well-coated inside and out with the flexible black paint, which I'll monitor for leaks while maybe making a new bellows in the interim - if I can get motivated. Doing so looks like it could be a bit tedious, though, even if these are the simplest bellows I've yet seen - usually there are many more smaller folds.
  14. I admit to finding some amusement in many Facebook photography groups reading peoples' posts on their quests to obtain lenses with "classic bokeh" (for want of a better description) for their digital cameras, and manufacturers responding with increasingly more pricey and exotic lens designs aimed at getting wider and wider apertures to obtain shallower and shallower depth of field and supposedly larger separation and greater out-of-focus backgrounds to replicate bokeh that was almost routinely achieved in 19th Century photographs with the large format wet plate cameras and relatively simple lens designs of the day. If the escalating prices on the used market of those remaining antique lenses is any indication, many people are trying to recreate the visual image effects of those lenses by adapting them to their digital equipment, and are equally finding out that it doesn't really work like that. Zenit even made a fortune by crowd-funding a recreation of the Petzval design in a focal length suitable for 135 format, and while this produced the "swirly bokeh" that seems to be so sought after to an almost overwhelming degree, the actual visual effect of a 240mm or 300mm Petzval lens in front of a whole-plate negative was unsurprisingly missing. Which leads to the point of this post: A while ago I received a box with a rather run-down Thornton-Pickard half-plate camera and a bunch of other old photographic junk as a thank-you for past photographic favours rendered. The Thornton-Pickard I restored and am happily using outdoors as I've posted earlier, but also in the box was a really beat-up and disassembled black-painted whole-plate camera chassis which was so primitively made and so basic that I thought it must be some sort of amateur effort. However, cleaning it up revealed a stamp "Scovill Manufacturing Co. New York" impressed in the wood, another with "American Optical Co." on the double plate holder, and an Internet search showed that the former had acquired the latter company in 1867, and that this example was the "lowest quality Box #2" model dating from the late 1860's to early 1870's. The bellows was almost disintegrating in the corners and fold seams, and the lens fitted to it was a trashed Thornton Pickard Rapid rectilinear model from the early 1900's from which the aperture blades and assembly had been completely removed. I put the lot aside while I was restoring the Thornton Pickard half-plate camera, although intermittently working on patching up the bellows of the Scovill from time to time. Also in the box was a large, unbranded but definitely Petzval-design lens with good glass, with an intact iris aperture and a rack & pinion focus mechanism, and which had a mounting ring but no camera. Internet searches show images of similar-looking lenses dating from around the 1870s-80s. To cut a hole at this size in the Scovill camera's lens board would have destroyed the maker's stamp, so I decided last week to make a new lens board for the lens to fit the Scovill, a new ground glass to fill the hole long since devoid of any viewing glass, and to finish the bellows if possible. Much and all as all of this probably destroys its true "collectors value" quality, to me a camera is useless unless I am able to (and actually do) use it, so middle finger extended to collectors, I went ahead. Fortuitously the circular brass tripod socket with its stripped thread was an almost exact fit to be replaced by a similar chrome-plated brass tripod socket on one of my parts-only Pentacon Six TL bodies, the mounting screws being only the conversion from metric-Imperial off centre, but everything else was the same, and I now had a good mount for an Arca plate to fit my RRS tripod head. Which returns me to the heading of the article. I found a half-full box of 8½ x 6½" (i.e. Whole Plate) Ilford Multigrade paper in my darkroom, age unknown, so with a sheet loaded into the dark slide in front of an improvised aluminium pressure-plate to make up for the thickness of a glass plate, I grabbed a banjo off my guitar rack, placed it on a woodpile in the back yard, with the the background about 20 yards behind consisting of a shed, two water tanks and an oak tree, with a sunlit paddock further behind that, I took the following shot at 1 second, wide open. The lens has no f/stop markings, just the equally spaced numbers 1 through 5 on the aperture adjustment, presumably referring to what might have been the circular apertures cut into the more common Waterhouse stops of the day, so I was totally guessing the exposure as a consequence. The years of experience in this game must finally be paying off as the exposure was spot-on, and the result, as you can see, absolutely (and totally unsurprisingly) captures the 19th Century "look" of Petzval bokeh, field curvature/focus and brightness falloff as well as background separation to perfection. |t occurs to me that this is the first time I have ever taken a photo with 100% original and authentic mid-late 19th century equipment (with the exception of the actual negative material, of course, but the spectral colour sensitivity of the paper neg is similar to that of collodion plates). *Just adding: I scanned this paper negative with my Epson V700 Photo scanner to save messing about with the copy stand, and set at a relatively modest 2400 dpi (the scanner supposedly has an optical resolution of 4800 x 9600 dpi @ 4.0 D-Max), the final file size was - ahem - 297 Megapixels.
  15. It's nearly over here already, but have a good one all the same!
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