Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and other stuff

September 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I was listening to the radio just now and I heard a TEDtalk about procrastination and in that specific talk, they mentioned making a blog ever 10 weeks. 

I'm the first to admit that I'm not into the whole blog thing. I wouldn't mind doing it more, but I'm not driven to post some of the most mundane things I do. Also, the fact that my 'darkroom' is hot during the summer doesn't help much either. I just want to get things done and not labor more to show you what I'm doing. 

Anyways, I've been doing a lot more large format recently. I have gone so far as to say that all of my personal photography for the last few months has been entirely film, and entirely large that's 4x5 and 8x10. 

The most recent outing is mentioned on my Facebook page where I brought my 8x10 Burke & James camera out to New Haven, IN and was set on getting a good film shot of the 765 (temporarily renamed 767) NKP steam locomotive as operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. I wanted to get a normal shot, but also a denser negative for salt printing trials (more on salt printing later).

The Day.

It was a hot day, but not horrible. It was hot enough and sunny enough that the kids waiting in line for caboose rides were starting to cry and become very restless by the time Helen and I arrived. It was a pretty long line and I was reminded of how even now I get those tired feelings where I just want to give up what I'm doing and go home, or get in the car with A/C, or something that makes me more comfortable than I am. 

I found the train I was going to photograph, but it had de-railed, and I figured we could walk around and look at other stuff in the hopes (hah!) that it would be re-railed and operating by the time we got back to it. No such luck, but I figured it'd be a cool shot anyways, since you rarely see a train without all it's feet firmly planted. 

Anyways, I got my camera out (Helen was a huge help helping me carry gear) and began setting it up. The place was crowded, with people constantly moving, but slowly, so as usual, I had many eyes on me setting up my camera. 

"I'm going to take a guess and say that's not digital..." one person said.   

...I'm not going to say that I enjoy the attention it gets me, but as somebody who's pretty much been an introvert, it's nice from time to time.

One of the problems with this camera and tripod is that it's difficult to get everything all lined up and even. When I got the shot framed, I noticed that the bottom of the photograph was in focus, but the top wasn't. I eventually tipped the front standard backward a little and got the focus I was looking for. I metered my exposure, f32 at around 1/90second or something like that. I got the first shot, and then changed up my exposure to something different to try to get a denser negative for salt printing. 

Next shot I set up more of a landscape. Didn't take too long, but I had somebody else specifically tell me "that's quite the camera." Shout out to you if you see this. I think you're the only person I gave a card to. I replied, "It gets the job done," in a pretty sarcastic but friendly way. 

I developed the shot to find that I had some kind of fogging. I have yet to do the sleuthing to find what caused it, but I was pretty down that something went wrong, but hey, it was the first time I'd used that camera out in the bright sunlight I later realized. 

Here's the link to the photo on my Facebook page:

Annnnnyways, I've been transfixed by some even older processes lately. I've been watching the videos of Borut Peterlin in Slovenia and have 'developed' and urge to try wet plate collodion photography....though for now I've decided that salt printing is the closest I can comfortably get for a while. 

In short, salt printing is a way of making my own photographic paper. So far, I've only purchased pre-made light sensitive paper to print my photographs, but this will allow me to buy art paper, chemistry, and use a brush to coat a silver solution on the paper and print like they did in the 19th century. 

If you want to see what I've been watching and thinking's a video from the guy in Slovenia...

Well, looks like it's time to go to something else! 


Until next time!


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