There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Thursday, August 27, 2015

52@52 Week 4

Our nephew Nick is growing into quite the young man. We had lunch with him and his Mom Kelly on Sunday. I brought cameras, because Nick loves cameras. I loaned him one of my old Polaroids to take on his vacation. I hope he got some good pictures.

I shot this with my Kiev 88cm, a Ukrainian Hasselblad knockoff, on expired Kodachrome 64X from the Film Photography Project (expiration date December 1994, but stored frozen all this time and shot at box speed). The lens is a 120mm Petzvar, a small run Petzval lens for the Pentacon Six mount created by Dennis Ivanichek. Petzval lenses were designed early in this history of photography (ca. 1840), and produce an interesting blur pattern for the portions of the photos that are out of focus. There has been a lot of notice paid to these kind of lenses recently because Lomography started producing one for Canon and Nikon mount cameras. This one was interesting because there really aren't many new lenses for the oddball Pentacon Six mount that the Kiev 88cm uses.

Nick on the pier in Atlantic Highlands

We love getting together with Nick and Kelly. Nick is sweet, polite, and fun to be around.

Posted at 5:44 AM
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

52@52 Week 3

I shot a roll of lith film in the Rolleiflex 3.5 MX-EVS (made in 1954, 75 mm Xenar lens) this week. It didn’t come out very well. Many of the photos, including the one I wanted to use for my theme of aging, were oddly stained. I’m not sure what happened. I’ve done semi-stand development a number of times, but for some reason, Rollei ATO 2.1 film shot at EI 25 and Rodinal 1:100 for an hour didn’t go together very well. This shot, however, came out pretty well I think.

The view from Moby’s in Highlands, New Jersey

Maybe part of aging is accepting that you can’t control everything, and that sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned, but that the way they do work out can be pretty good anyway.

Posted at 8:14 PM
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

52@52 Week 2

Week 2 of my 52 week photography project. This week, I took my Calumet CC-401 4×5 view camera out to Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, loaded with New55 instant film from the New55 Project. It’s an attempt to recreate the magic of Polaroid Type 55 film, where you got a print and a negative in large format. I backed them on Kickstarter, but I’m still waiting for my reward. They’re having financial challenges, so they’re selling some of the early film they make and shipping some of it to Kickstarter backers. So I got a pack of it.

I decided this week to try to shoot the aging buildings of Officer’ Row at Fort Hancock. Many of these beautiful blonde brick buildings, which once housed Coast Guard officers billeted on the hook, are in advancing states of disrepair. The roofs over the porches are typically held up from falling down completely by 2×6es, and the porches themselves are mostly rotted through. The railings seem to disappear more year after year. It’s a real pity; the buildings are gorgeous. The American Littoral Society uses one of the ones that has been maintained, and I’ve been inside. It would be good to see them preserved and put to good use before they deteriorate irretrievably.

The camera here was, as I said, a Calumet CC-401 View Camera. The lens is a Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 210mm lens in a Copal shutter. I shot the New55 film at ISO 100; they rate it between 100 and 200, but I thought an earlier shot I did at 160 was a little off in its exposure. The film was processed in a Polaroid 545i holder/processor and left to develop for the prescribed four minutes; the negative was then fixed in Photographer’s Formulary TD-4 fixer and washed for ten minutes, then scanned in an Epson 4990 scanner.

Scan of the print of a New55 photo of a building on Officers Row at Sandy Hook, New Jersey

The print is pretty high contrast. It has an interesting look.

Scan of the print of a New55 photo of a building on Officers Row at Sandy Hook, New Jersey

The negative seems to have a lot more information than the print.

Posted at 9:03 PM
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

52 @ 52 Image 1

I turned 52 last week.

For some reason, that number resonated with me. I thought it would be an opportunity to start a new photo project. I've been increasingly frustrated with my photography lately; it's all been single shots, no projects, no stories. So here's a project. I'm going to shoot one roll of film a week — 35mm, 120, Polaroid, whatever — and develop it. I'll post my shots here. I'm going to try to adhere to the theme of age and aging, although we'll see how well that works out.

Also, I may move this somewhere else. Debating whether to post the project on Flickr, or set up a Tumblr site, or build something to self-host. For now, it's here.

For week 1, here's a shot from last Saturday, when my father-in-law Lou turned 83.

My father-in-law with his birthday cake on his 83rd birthday

Posted at 11:19 AM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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