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Site News Archive - 2017 April  (Click here for current)

2017 April 26

Large Format Film

The 4x5 from the other day is ready to develop (one sheet), but I'm not sure whether to take another photo first or just go for it.  I might use DD-X 1+9 for this;  it's Ilford HP5+ 400 at E.I. 400.  This is one thing I like about 4x5; you can just shoot and develop one sheet at a time, if you want. 

As a reminder-to-self here, it's possible to do "macro" focusing with a Crown Graphic or a Speed Graphic, sort of;  but I always forget how to do that when I'm photographing things.  The whole bed drops on a press camera, and it's supposed to lower the front standard with it.  You're then supposed to be able to get the correct degree of front tilt by raising the front standard again, and possibly tilting it backward to correct for any over-tilting in the forward direction.  I don't know if that description makes any sense, but I know what's supposed to happen there.  Last time I tried it, though, there was some reason why the camera bed wouldn't drop far enough.  (Basics of opening the camera here, but I didn't get to this subject yet).

Press cameras are tons of fun.  I'll get around to doing some pseudo-front-tilt photography one of these days, but in the meantime I'm going to try to assemble my rusty still-lifes using larger items that fill the view from eight or ten feet away.

And another hint, which I didn't try this time: use f/32 or f/45, so everything is in focus even if you get the distance wrong by a little bit.

Metal & Shop

Updated:  Forney Easy Weld 100ST Review.  Remember I said this machine could make better welds than I was able to do?  Well here's a recent 7018 weld, just to give you an idea of how good it really is.  This is part of the Milwaukee hand truck upgrade project that I've been working on.  The woodworking and painting phase is almost complete, too.

2017 April 23

Rusty metal was photographed recently, and I have at least one sheet of 4x5 to develop.  Rust on film looks best with slide film or at least color neg, but B&W has its own way of rendering rust.  I like the way it converts the color into a pure texture-tone rendition.  I really like the look of rusty sheet metal with a thin layer of enamel paint, where the rust is just starting to get through the paint. 

Welding pics soon, too;  I've got a build project that's basically complete, at least the metalworking phase of it;  now the woodworking & painting stage has to be completed. 

OK, a photo, so you at least have some idea what I'm talking about.  This is the type of project that every welder should do, sooner or later;  that is, modifying one of these:

I think it's this one, in case you're looking for one to modify yourself.  You could do any number of welding upgrades to one of these;  some people make really fancy welding carts from this type of thing.  I started simple.  Article soon.  That, and pictures of much better welds than you've been seeing around here thus far.

The welds on this cart look to me like MIG welds or possibly flux-core;  those are what's favored in a mass-production environment today.  When I post more photos you'll be able to see how my beginner welds with a cheap welder stack up to their pro welds with expensive welders. 

2017 April 19

Deal:  Little Giant Alta One 17 Foot Ladder With Work Platform 21% off

Deal:  Makita XT324 3-pc Cordless Kit.... 15% off. 18V LXT Lithium Ion Drill, Driver, and Angle Grinder.  Save $36 on this useful kit.

Deal:  Wilton B.A.S.H. 3-pc Mechanic's Hammer Set.... 47% off.  These are good blacksmithing-weight hammers.  47% off, now that's a discount.

2017 April 18

Metal & Shop

New Article:  Shop Tips - The Bench Vise

Photo:  35mm color negative film. 

2017 April 17

Filters for B&W Photography

Orange filter designations can be confusing.  Different manufacturers often use the same numbers, but they don't always mean the same thing.  To compound this problem, some companies don't even offer specs or Wratten equivalent numbers.

A reader from France was kind enough to email with some more information about orange filters.  Some of it confirms what I'd already found about the B+W 041 and "O2 orange";  both are probably equivalent to Wratten #22.  He also spoke to someone at Hoya who said their Orange G is equivalent to a Wratten 21.  Somewhere I'd read this also, but when I compare the filters visually, Orange G looks a bit lighter than Wratten 21.  It actually looks to me like a Wratten #16. 

If you want dramatic skies and want to carry only one filter, I'd go with something equivalent to a Wratten 22.  See my article on orange filters.

2017 April 14

Slide Film

A reader wants to take photos in a museum with a Canon AE-1 using slide film.  These will be ambient-light photos, no flash.  He wants to know what slide film would be best.

All the currently-made slide films top out around ISO 100, so we'll have to start with a tripod.  Figure on slow shutter speeds, one second or longer.  Sometimes, eight seconds or more. 

In a partially-sunlit store with its own lighting, I did manage to get some photos at around 1/8 of a second, but this still requires a tripod (I used a shelf). 

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E
f/2.8 @ 1/8 or 1/15 second

Notice the closer objects are blurred.  I didn't have a tripod, so I braced the camera on a shelf that wasn't all that steady.  f/11 would have been much better for this type of shot.

Velvia 50 costs more than 100 right now, and the 100 has the extra stop.  For most purposes I would just get the Velvia 100;  there are color differences between the 50 and the 100, but they're subtle.  It really depends on what you photograph.  (Velvia 100F was different for sure;  it wasn't as good as the regular 50 and 100.)

Velvia 50 makes fluorescent lighting appear green, which I like.  (I haven't tried this with the 100).  If you want to be sure of a more neutral color balance, then use Provia 100F instead of either type of Velvia.  Provia is what I would choose for the most faithful color reproduction in a museum setting... but once again, don't forget the tripod.  (And make sure they're OK with it.)

2017 April 9

Film Developing

You've seen a lot of the photos where I used nearly-spent chems to develop the film.  And I successfully proved, to my own satisfaction and hopefully yours, that a batch of C-41 could last for five months if properly handled.  So we get that.

Thing is, I'm not saying you should necessarily try to get the last bit of developing out of every batch of chems.  Once you develop the negatives, what you get is what you get.  There is a limit to how much color correction you can do.  It's smart to use chems that are still known to be working before you commence the developing steps.

Much of what I do is testing stuff out so I can review it, etc;  a lot of it is stuff that I could re-photograph if I wanted to.  So it's OK with me if it has that bleach-bypass look;  and sometimes a bluish cast looks interesting on a photo that's supposed to be whites and grays and whatever.  Speaking of which...

Paint and Color

In the making of stuff (as well as the photographing), the subject of color is like this whole world that we sometimes take for granted.  But what is it about certain colors that you like?  Did you ever wonder that?  I got thinking about this while painting a piece of plywood, of all things. 

A lot of shop stuff looks good when painted "battleship grey".  I thought this had some blue in it, but I'm reading that it's actually got less blue than green or red.  Then again, is there only one "battleship grey"?  Not sure.

When I went looking for good shades to paint a shelf, I realized there must be a million shades of grey-with-blue, grey-with-green, and grey-with-who-knows-what.  Many of them have names that make no intrinsic sense, yet some of them do.  Some of them remind me of fog, and distant trees on an overcast day.  Others are like East Berlin, 1980.

Whatever this one is, I like it. 

I'm reminded that black & white pictures actually look best-- to me, anyway-- when they're not really zero-saturation grey.  This is why we do split-toning, color overlays, etc, instead of just using "Desaturate" on the scans.

Woodworking & Tools

Review:  Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander

(Color negative film, that one.  The C-41 chems at this point were like a sanding disc that still sands just a little bit...)

2017 April 6.5
Thursday or so

Deal:  Yost 865-DI 6.5" Heavy Duty Reversible Bench Vise... Made In USA.  At the moment, it's about $50 less than it was last week.  No idea how long that sale will last.  Great vise;  I'm hoping to review this soon. 

6.2-Amp Angle Grinder With Corrugated Steel

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 @ EI 400
Developed in Kodak HC-110

2017 April 2

New Article:  Polyurethane, Particle Board, and Bubbles.  A look at the ever-present challenge when applying a poly finish to your favorite woodworking project.  In this case, a workbench top made from cabinet-grade particle board.


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