Monday, January 31, 2011

Another First

This could well be the worst photograph I have ever taken, but I'm pretty pleased with it all the same. It's just a view out through our living room window, but it is my first ever picture taken with a large-format camera.

Camera: Calumet 4x5
Lens: Caltar 150mm f5.6
Film: Polaroid 55 (No expiry date, but believed to be over 15 years old)
Exposure: 1/4 sec @ f/8

I'm not sure if the lightness of the image is due to
(a) overexposure (scene metered at 1/4 @ f/11)
(b) underdevelopment, or development at a temperature lower than the recommended 70 F
(c) the age of the film, or a combination of the above.

I learned a couple of lessons from this, including to double-check that all the camera movements are locked down properly, and be careful with the envelope (dark slide).

But oh, what fun!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Projects on the Columbine

Well, we finally got the Columbine up and running, much thanks to my good friend, John Fleeger. Because of the wheel's smaller diameter, it needs to be treadled a bit faster than other wheels, which is challenging for me as I have been trying hard recently to slow down. It does take a bit of getting used to, but we are becoming good friends now. Here are the first two projects I did on the wheel:

This is a bulky single (I only have one bobbin for the Columbine at the moment) made from "day's end" roving from High Prairie Fibers in eastern Iowa, it's a blend of wool, silk, mohair and angelina. The skein is 4 ounces (114 grams), 214 yards (196 metres).

This is sock yarn that I spun on the Babe, and plied on the Columbine. It's wool - we think it may be Corriedale - in natural colour. The skein is 8.65 ounces (245 grams), 1112 yards (1017 metres), and took about 24 hours to spin and four hours to ply.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I'm not going to name names here, but I'm very UPSet over how a certain company delivered my new spinning wheel.

Something REALLY heavy must have landed hard on the box to cause it to burst its bottom like this...

...and to bend the adjuster and frame as severely as this.

The company in question has been informed of this, and I hope we won't see any more foul-UPS like this in the future.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daphne Willis sings... a private house concert last year. These are from one of the first rolls I put through the Leica, some 18-year old Kodak 3200 - a very unfair way to trial-run any camera! The negs turned out extremely thin with boulder-sized grain, and I think it's a tribute to our scanner that it was able to pull these images out of the gloom.

For those of you not in the know, Daphne is an extremely talented singer/songwriter who fairly regularly plays in the area. I strongly recommend you check out her Website or Facebook page.

More Scans

The day after Christmas was really beautiful, and Maggie and I took a walk on the bike trail, with our cameras, of course. Here are a few that I got...

To see the pictures that Maggie took, go to her Blog.

More Scans...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Happy New Year! Today was quite eventful - major dental surgery, followed by the arrival of our new (reconditioned $129.00) Epson V500 scanner. Maggie and I had a lot of fun (helped by Vicodin, in my case :)  ), as we scanned our recently-developed negatives. Here are a few of mine that were taken with my Leica M6 with a Summicron 50mm f2 lens, on Kodak Tri-X:

My lovely daughter Aisling, whose visit here was one of the highest points of 2010. (Come back soon, Ais!)

Another high point of last year was our visit to Chicago. This snapshot, taken from the bus, was my first clear view of Willis Tower.

Union Station has many picturesque aspects - one could easily spend a whole day there, with a camera and dozens of rolls of film...

A class at Harmony Yoga Studio in Des Moines. I shot a lot of digital images of this session for the studio's new website, but popped off a few on Tri-X too.

This is a favourite subject of mine - Prairieland Herbs' beautiful cash register, a 1914 Empire by National. Unfortunately, we are having difficulty interfacing it with Quickbooks, or finding a barcode reader for it.