Sunday, February 8, 2015

CAWP: A Work in Progress. Some changes

Well, you will probably notice a few changes I have made over the weekend.  Kind of fast and furious, I know.  But things should remain as they are for a while.  Some things to make note of...

CHEMISTRY RECIPES (right sidebar)
I have decided that, as they occur to me, I will be adding some darkroom chemical recipes for reference here on the site.  I have started with everyone's favorite, Rodinal (pronounced rod-in-all).  After reading up on it, I may get the required ingredients and use that one myself.  We shall see.  However, as I said, when I decided other recipes are appropriate to be added there, it will be done.

I will be adding photographic publications.  These will primarily be dealing with traditional film photography.  There will be exceptions, however.  Some work just needs to be shared.  And deserves to be shared.  I started with a couple of oldies but goodies.  First are the back issues for Creative Image Maker Magazine, founded by David Vickers of the UK and produced by yours truly for over a year.  It was put on as primarily a technical journal.  Portfolios were generally submitted to coincide with applicable technical content in the same issue.  Sadly defunct, it had a good run and some quality stuff was shown.  Second is Fraction Magazine, founded by Arizona photographer and fellow APUGer, David Bram, showcases beautiful work produced by photographers the world over and is always a joy to view.

SEARCH, TRANSLATE and FOLLOW (lower right sidebar)
More ways to keep up with and sift through CAWP here on Blogspot.

SUBSCRIBE (footer)
You can now subscribe to CAWP and receive alerts whenever new content is added to the blog.

Thank you for viewing CAWP.  I hope to have more photographic content up shortly.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Brand New Canadian Podcast, eh? - Classic Camera Revival

Listening to the very first episode right now.  I have high hopes for it.  And it will be fun to hear them make fun of us southerners.  No, seriously, any program that has film photography as a subject cannot be bad.  Really looking forward to listening in.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Printing with Purpose

I have been reading old magazine issues during my downtime.  Which is all the time as I am waiting on the arrival of some fixer and toner tomorrow.  This particular read was in the Jan-Feb 2007 issue of Lenswork.  The editor, Brooks Jensen, was writing about a new direction in his darkroom printing that really struck home with me.  And here is why.

I have admittedly not done a huge truckload of printing.  I can probably count the number of prints I have done by using both hands and adding mot much more than that in the last six years, postcards withstanding.  I have mulled over theory and have made some decent prints.  Well, some OK prints.  Well, some really flat and poorly dodged and amateurish and hack-like prints that are of poor quality and are probably poorly enough processed tha they may, with any hope, fade away to nothing inside of ten years to remove any proof that i had anything to do with them.

Don't get me wrong.  I have a wonderful vision when it comes to how I want my prints to turn out.  And I really do know how to acheive this in my prints.  But I have yet to accomplish it.  I am close on Stones and once  get my fix and toner tomorrow I will tackle this in the darkroom this weekend.

But my printing to date can be referred to as Random Printing, much like Brooks described eight years ago.  I use different techniques, different papers and chemicals, different apertures, different exposure times, different formats, different orientations.  And my efforts have been met with completely random results.  My mother asked, the other day, where I wanted my photography to go.  I said I would like to put on a show at the public library in a year or two.  I look back at my work to date.

No way, Jose.  Nuh uh!  Forget it.

But I plan to print with a purpose.  I have Stones nearly figured out.  I have an aperture I like.  I have a general exposure time I like to use and stay near.  I have my chemistry down pat and am adding the toner for deeper blacks and permanence in my prints.  I plan to finalize Stones and make four final prints.  I will then try one print in one of four toners options, two different dilutions at two different bath durations.  I will choose the effect I like best and that will be added to the process.

I then will select negatives that look like they would benefit from such a process.  And then I will print them.  It is my goal to have 20 such prints by the end of the year.  It will probably be much more than that, but 20 is not an insurmountable amount.  By doing this I will accomplish two things.  First, I will have fine prints.  Not just prints that I have worked on that I can refer to as 'Working Prints' for the sake of avoiding much due criticism.  Also, I will have prints that will look like they belong together instead of a conglomeration of discumbobulated visual noise, randomness.  I want to have a body of work, not just a bunch of prints I threw together because I had put in some time.

And it is not wasted time either.  It has been educational.  I have learned how certain things react when I do them.  But now is the time to apply some direction to my printing.  Time to apply some purpose.  It is time to go all out with my photography.  and printing is not the same as exposure of film.  That gives me the basic visual information with which I can work.  But it is not printing.  They are two completely separate steps in the process of achieving the end result, a fine print.

I think the thing in which I have noticed the greatest change in my outlook on my photography is the attitude of my approach.  No, I do not have the absolute best gear that I can have.  But I do not need it.  I know how to make what I have work splendidly.  It is now time for it to be done.  Just done.

Monday, February 2, 2015

D-minus 2 and counting

Well, this is the first opportunity I have had to order some chemistry.  I have been dying to do some film and make some fine prints but this no fixing agent situation has had me on the ropes.  Here's why.

You need to wash the unexposed silver halides from the film and/or paper after it has been run through the developer.  If you do not then there is still unexposed silver halides that cannot be exposed to any light whatsoever.  Otherwise, the film or paper will continue to become exposed and darken.  Without fixer there is no permanence in the film and/or paper.

So, I have ordered enough to get by until I am able to buy more, enough to get me through the year.  I have ordered some Ilford Rapid Fixer.  I have also ordered some Ilford Selenium Toner so that the prints I make will be hardened and will last much longer.  I have not used Selenium Toner before.  It is not all that involved.  Just needs to be done.

See, I have not done a whole lot of printing over the years.  A mess of postcards for APUG postcard exchanges.  A few prints here or there, maybe ten negatives have been printed.  About 30 Contact proof sheets for 35mm and 120 negatives.

But I have never been so motivated until now to dive into darkroom work, and not so much on a grand scale, rather, with such a fervor.  This is something I have wanted to do for over ten years.  And I finally have the place, and the skill, and the desire to do what makes me happy.

So, when the fix arrives on Wednesday, I will get past an appointment after work and either process some film on Wednesday night or on Thursday.  And then this weekend I will finally bury the work on 'Stones'.  And then I will go from there.  I will be able to do some 4x5 photography because I can finally process the film after I shoot it and make the prints once the film is dry.

It's about time.  I can hardly wait.

Friday, January 30, 2015


I love listening to these guys.  The FILM PHOTOGRAPHY PODCAST came into being in 2009.  The hosts, Michael Raso, Leslie Lazenby and Mat Marrash, have being going at it for 118 episodes now, the latest which was released on the 27th earlier this week.  They have guest on and a few regulars over the years and they discuss the news of the day regarding film photography.

(And, yes, there is still news of the day regarding film photography.)

This week they are discussing a couple Nikons, the McCuens Price Guide to Antique Cameras, the old 1930 Kodak Box Brownie, a Large Format segment and more.  They hold workshops, they hold photo walks, they donate cameras to students, they have a storefront where you can purchase photographic supplies and much, much more.

You really ought to follow the link right down there on the right side of this page and dial up an episode and listen in.  They cover all sorts of topics and in a rather humorous way at times.  Very informative.  You can like them on Facebook.  You can find their group on Flickr.  These guys get everywhere.  Kinda like sand.  Everywhere.

Check them out.  The FILM PHOTOGRAPHY PODCAST.  Brought to you by the Film Photography Project.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tangling with a $5 eBay find ... Franken-sr-T

IT'S ALIVE!!!!  ALIVE!!!!!

Well, I decided to find a cheap broke (not really broke) camera on eBay.  I found an old Minolta 35mm SLR.  Minolta sr-T101.  I bought it for $5.00 and it cost $9.50 to ship it.  Hey, if nothing else it is parts and that would total much higher were I to purchase only a dozen of the hundreds that make this beauty work.  Well worth it.

So, I get it.  It needs some TLC.  And when I begin to trip the shutter at longer exposures (1/8th or longer) the shutter curtains are moving slow enough and separated from each other enough so that the curtains cannot engage the mirror return spring and, randomly, the curtain even stays open, not travelling all the way to the left side of the back of the mirror box to end exposure.  So, not only some TLC but a CLA.

The seller also stated the light meter did not work.  Now, sometimes a little foam can flake off inside the top of the camera or, as in this case, a little grease can accumulate inside the edges of a small hole in the side of the exposure meter moving coil set.  So I disassembled the camera.  I removed the top cover by removing the winding lever, the S/S-ISO dial and the rewind crank and four micro screws.  I then was able to remove to screws holding in the prism retainer and lift the prism from above the ground glass.  There was, indeed, a little grime built up in the travel area of the meter needles.  So I removed that, cleaned all surfaces that I had access to, including the viewfinder lens once I removed the assembly.  Put it all together, et viola!

Light meter, check.  Timer, check.  Aside from the curtains not closing for long exposures (so I shoot it at short exposures) is that the DOF preview button is completely missing from the lower right side of the front face of the camera.  The only concern there is that something might inadvertently work its way inside the camera and gum up the hole works.  So I need to find something suitable to plug that up with until I get a true parts camera and can rob the part from it.

I love buying these old cameras that not many know about and getting them up and running again.  Feels good.  And for $5.00 plus post I have another camera.  Win-win in my book.

Admittedly, there is one little thing.  I have four extra screws and do not know where they should have went.  But everything is sandwiched together and operating properly and I am not adventurous for a second breakdown tonight.

Thanks, Dad.  I get it honest.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Another Page Turns

Well, today is my 45th birthday.  45 years ago I sprang forth unto the scene, full of cries and waughs.  I was such a cute baby.  What went wrong.

I have had a camera in my hands and making photographs seriously and otherwise, on and off again, since 1982 with an old box camera for a Christmas gift from my grandmother, Mary Walrath.  It was not an earth shattering gift, I did not see any direction at that early stage.  But I, to this day, fondly remember using that camera and a couple photographs used with it.

I was given a Kodak Disc Camera for Christmas in 1984.  I did not use it much.  however, I documented my own 15th birthday party.  Wow, 30 years ago.  I have a lot of photographs of good childhood friends to this day as a result.  Dean, Mark, GT and others.  No great shakes this camera, but it more than served it purpose.

I then took a point and shoot with me on a mission trip to Ensenada in 1986.  I exposed a few rolls down there.  A lot of landscapes of the desert and coastal mountains which have not survived to this day.  I recall them, though and one might think that given the skill I have today there might have been something going.  As they were, they were documents of what I was experiencing so that I could show all once I returned.

I used my mother's X-370 for yearbook senior year.  I don't recall shooting much that made the yearbook, if anything.  But I made some pretty decent photographs with the camera and black and white film at my youth group in Dover, Delaware in 1989.  I still have a few of those.  Some good poses and a couple of fantastic candids.

I then bounced around a few cameras until I was given my first camera in 1997.  A Minolta XG-M.  And my own photography began in earnest.  I learned the basics of control by using that little yellow booklet that Kodak published on making better 35mm photographs.  The name escapes me but that was probably it.

I used this camera off and on for a few years.  My mother, Kathryn, had learned the ins and outs well enough to get me started down the road of learning how to manipulate a camera through the exposure settings and depth of field and such.  I poured over the pages of Outdoor Photography and fancied myself a Galen Rowell wannabe.

Then in October 2001, Dad and I escaped one weekend to the Outer Banks and I accidentally made the photograph that pushed me over the edge.  We visited old haunts and ended up at Bodie Island Lighthouse. The light was flat, a front had rolled through the night before.  I had made a couple of lackluster exposures.  We pile in the Jeep and I begin to back out of the space when I look up and the lighthouse is brightly lit by the sun.  I scramble out, stalling the Jeep and almost backing over my own foot in the process.  I snap a horizontal and vertical shot of the lighthouse and the turbulent clouds beyond and get back in and we go our way.  Imagine my surprise when getting the photographs back from Cutler Camera in the Dover Mall and finding that someone had stuck a photograph in with all the pictures.  And to this day, I have seen one or two photographs of the Light that rival mine.

In 2002 my photography took off.  I was burning film.  About 40 rolls that year.  On my salary, that was a good bit.  In 2003 I joined my mother in her wedding and portrait business, A Moment In Time Photography.  In 2005 I joined APUG (, the Analog Photography Users Group and have enjoyed a lot of conversations there over the last few years.  Made a few friends as well.  In 2006 I purchased a Mamiya M645j medium format camera.  Also in 2006 I discovered Ansel Adams, his work and his technical series of books.  It is here where I am forced forward in photography.  And I have NEVER looked back.  In 2007 I began to process my own film.  In 2008 I began to make my own prints.  That year I also purchased my first large format camera and made a few exposures with expired Polaroid P/N 55 film.  And on and on.

Yes, a lot has happened in my life.  But, seeing as this is a photography blog after all, I thought it would be good to share my progression through photography through the years.  A lot of people have been influencial to me.  Mary Walrath (grandmother), Kathryn Walrath (mommy), Dot Tarbuck, Damon Clauss (grandfather), Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams, many others, and of course my late wife Faith Elisabeth Walrath.  How I miss her.  She was just really getting into photography. And she encouraged my own photography.  I really appreciated her in my life.

So, what lies ahead?  No one knows.  But I can hardly wait for it to get here.  It will be so grand.

Happy Birthday to me, I guess.