Monday, May 13, 2019

Archie Texture

OK - so I didn't know that this pun was somehow going to involve a royal babe at arms, but there y'go - might get a few more hits . . . and don't worry there's none of this Danny Baker foolishness - honest, see that Twitter man . . . fecking hell - I honestly think that it makes people believe they're untouchable and above everything.
Well, there y'go - he's a wee bit older than me and should really have known better.
This is after all the world of the non-gender specific Gingerbread Person . .

Seriously . . you didn't know?:

An eye opener isn't it, and certainly puts a new spin on the children's favourite:

 ". . . Run Run As Fast As You Can, You Can't Catch Me, I'm The Gingerbread Person . . . and if you do catch me, I'll have the rozzers on you so there . . ."

We've hit a point where you can't even say boo to a goose without a bunch of goose lovers telling you you're a total b'tard.

What a strange time we've created.

Anyway, what has that got to do with photography?
Exactly,  NOTHING.

Dreamland, V&A Dundee, Easter Morning 2019

So, here we go - I found myself needing to go and take some pictures. I also found myself using the last of my wonderful kit of Pyrocat-HD.
I'd got the kit from an Italian seller on ebay - a chap called Vincenzo whose shop was called


if you click the link it'll take you to his shop - he's not doing Pyrocat at the moment though.
Anyway, I thought I'd look around and actually found a place in the UK doing kits - yes I could have ordered around £40 of raw chemicals and had enough to do me a lifetime, but having over-enthusiasticised the heating of the Sodium Metabisulphite last time, I thought I'd make it easy for myself.
So, Wet Plate Supplies it was - here they are:

Their premix was £6.99 for 100ml (in Glycol and Distilled Water no less).
I combined an order for 300ml with some other stuff I needed and despite the heavy duty postage price (they said it's because few carriers will carry chemicals these days) it promptly arrived and has sat waiting to be used.
But more on that in a minute.

Firstly, I was up and out by 5.40 AM on Easter Sunday.
I'm not a particularly religious person, despite my dark past as an acolyte, but arriving and parking up at Mary Slessor Gardens there was something in the air, and it wasn't water vapour, though there was squidoons of that. 
I was surrounded by peace, despite the higher than expected levels of traffic at such an early hour.
The Biblical statement: 

The Peace Of God Which Passeth All Understanding

rang loud in my head . . .  alongside Nigel Molesworth's Skool Dinner Grace:

"This Piece Of Cod, Which Passeth All Understanding"

Yep, Peace (with a capital P) was in the air and I genuinely felt optimistic for the world as I loaded a roll of nearly expired Delta 400.
My weapon of choice was the SWC/M.

The light was . . well, William McGonagall, a Victorian poet par excellence and a man way before his time (as indeed seems to be the case with a fair chunk of the Victorian population of this fair City) called the River Tay "Silvery" . . and it is at times and quite often, so before I go on, please take a dander through Mr. McGonagall's poetry . . you'll laugh and cry all at the same time:

Anyway, onwards and downwards as they say.
I was ready to go at a shade before sunrise, but pressed for time with regard to taxi duties, I set off at a pace.
How it went is seen here:

Film # 66/57

Oh alright, you did ask for them . . . here's my notes:

#66/57, DELTA 400 EI 200, 21/4/19

1./ 1/4, f8, ZIII MLU Wall
2./ 1/4, f8, ZIII MLU Wall
3./ 15 Secs     - - -   > 55 Secs f22 ZIII??
4./ 1/8th f8 ZIII
5./ 1/8th f8 ZIII
6./ 1/30th, f16, ZIII
7./ 1/8th, f16, ZIII Pool
8./ 1/8th, f11, ZIII Staffroom
9./ 1/30th, f11, ZIII Ugly
10./ 1/30th, f11, ZIII
11./ 1/30th, f11, ZIII
12./ 1/2, f16, ZIII

*NEW* PHD 5+5+500 22℃.
Agit 30 sec, then 4 per min, to 17 mins then stand to 21. No waterbath.

Very overdeveloped negs  - probably just finishing at 17 would do it.
Not sure how they will print, but eyeballing them just now they're dense, but totally readable - remarkable really

My erstwhile companion was this chap:

He looks perky doesn't he, especially on the photographer's friend, the Leitz Table Top Tripod.

I've banged on about the TTT before and whilst these days I tend to find anything with that red logo ridiculously over-priced, the TTT is reasonable AND sturdy. Really sturdy actually - you can easily hold a 500C/M on one - not only that, but in poor light conditions it really does make for a wonderful camera brace - highly recommended from yer Sheephouse.

That's my basic travel light SWC/M kit - it's a Think Tank Suburban Disguise 20, which fits the SWC/M and Lowepro bag (with light meter inside) inside the bag, or, I can also fit a 500C/M with 150mm Sonnar (and hood!) in the bag with the meter/lowepro combo outside. The TTT pops in the back pocket.
You can't really get more unobtrusive or lightweight/easy access. I rate the Think Tank bag too - it's well made with some thoughtful bits and bobs.

Anyway, I keep getting sidetracked don't I.

I just set off photographing anything that caught my eye and wandered along to the V&A, where I encountered a group of people (actually older ladies and a man) reading biblical passages and singing hymns quietly as the sun rose.

It was one of those moments when you could have removed all aspects of modernity and buildings and noise and suchlike and moved back several handfuls of centuries. 

The feeling was profound

Their emotion was subtle and raw and hung in the air with the water vapour.

I didn't want to intrude on their worship, so I passed them without photographing and moved a good way under the tunnel, dropped to the floor with the TTT, levelled the bubble on the top of the SW (not easy to do in such low light conditions) metered the walls for ZIII and got 15 seconds . . . which translated to 55 secs for reciprocity.

Easter Sunrise,  V&A Dundee, Easter Morning 2019

I rather like it - weirdly the folks stayed pretty still for 55 seconds!

The above is a scan from the print - not a great scan and not a brilliant print, but there's subtlety which gets lost on-screen.
The print was on ancient Agfa MCC fibre. Because of the over-exposedness of the negatives I actually printed this on Grade 0 (80 Y) and developed it in Kodak Polymax. 
It's had some selenium too. 
The one thing I would say, is it has done a Adams, and dried down to a dull thud - it is probably a combo of incredibly old paper developing a base fog and Grade 0. I might try printing this set again at a different Grade - they're all Grade 0 on this 'ere post.

Anyway, I moved through to the other side, took a picture which Bruce thinks I should have printed, and came back through as they'd finished.

End Of Praise, V&A Dundee, Easter Morning 2019

This is where the TTT proved its usefulness - braced against my chest, an 8th at f8!

Again I rather like this  - the light had lifted a bit and the signboard at the right hand side looks like some sort of serving robot.

Again the print is a tad thud-like . . . the missus just eyeballed both just now and said it looks better onscreen than it does in the flesh which says I need to up the Grade on any subsequent reprints . . . the power of a different pair of eyes!

The strange thing to me is that now they had stopped their worship and were just chatting, the atmosphere changed completely. I said Good Morning as I passed and got the same in return - one of them walked away towards the docks, and after I photographed frames 6,7 and 8, the rest scooted past me, hopped into a very small car (yep, all 5 of them) and zipped off somewhere at breakneck speed.

I carried on taking pictures of shapes - some of which I should really print - I'll maybe get a handle on that for a Part 2 - and finally finished the whole thing in the space of around 40 minutes, which I suppose says something.
Solo, photocentric trips aid concentration - you can throw yourself into the feel of a place and hopefully come away with something.

I developed the film on the same day with the new Pyrocat.
Interestingly, well, it was for me, on my home mixed stuff, when you added Part B to Part A, you went slightly grey, and then when you added water there was a distinctly bluey-grey hue to the solution.
With the new stuff, this was pinkish.
I should have thought twice about this, because when I'd been making up my original batch, I'd overdone the temperature in the double boiler and as such (I think) overcooked the Sodium Metabisulphite.
That would probably explain why my times were quite different from the online guides' times - anyway, I pressed ahead with my old (consistent) time and ended up with this:

OK, so no prizes won for composition, but anyway - they look pretty darn dense to me - how about you?
The density is really thick, but somehow, it has leant something to them. 
Were these developed in a non-staining developer, they'd have been perfect replacement frames for your sunglasses, but in Pyrocat-HD they've gone somewhere else, and in the case of the super-dense ones you can see at the top left, it appears to be dreamland.

V&A Dundee,   Easter Morning 2019

Well there she is, Goode Shippe V&A sailing out of a thick morning fog!
It's really hard to get an idea of the subtlety of the light on the hoardings (which conceal a wasteland reserved for who knows what . . . ah, typical Dundee!) from the scan of the print, but it is there, albeit in a thudlike manner.
There's definitely room for improvement on the printing front, but that's good - if you've nothing to push against you might as well put your trotters up, smoke a couple of cigars and congratulate yourself on how great you are.

And so I have saved my favourite print from this session till last, and I can't even describe what I like about it, apart from the fact that to me it looks like a scene from one of my dreams.

Dreamland, V&A Dundee, Easter Morning 2019

It's a combination of that bollard (writ tiny because of the extreme wideness . . . no not me you cheeky bugger) and the mysterious Z on the hoarding.
The bollard looks like a lost handbag to my eyes, and the super-dense-density has rendered the light in such a way that it has isolated the hoarding for its own mysterious purpose . . .

Bollards! I can hear you shouting and quite rightly - that psycho-babble is a load of old bollards.

It's an OK photo, that's what it is, and that'll do for me.

Well, it would do more for me if it was printed on a more effective paper - I reckon I'll use up some of my old super-rare Galerie Grade 2 (thanks Ilford - can't believe you consigned it to eternity)

And, that's it folks - more grist to the mill, and more fun had by me.

How do you cope reading about all this exciting stuff - it must make your lives seem:

Oh So DULL Dahling, yawn . . . 

Over and out till next time