Thank heavens for this cooling rain. Right now I would love to have a balcony or a screened porch. A plane just flew over, and the sound was jarring. I don’t know the stats, so I’ll use blogger stats – the volume of flights has decreased during COVID to the point that the aircraft’s engines sounded strange. I think some of the epidemiology modelers are using data like that – highway traffic, flights, Taco Bell sales – to get a handle on the stay home buy in. (I don’t use the term blogger derisively. There are incredible writers and journalists who have blogs, and there are rambling night owls who have blogs. Hello and welcome to the latter.)
Damn that rain sounds good. Please stay a while. I am the worst sort of fickle. I want dry sunshine during the Seattle winters, and I want lots of thunderstorms during the summers.
I put off grocery shopping again. I was very good early on in COVID to stock up for 2-3 week periods. I have gotten lazy. Once more unto the breach dear friends. Note to self – look up St. Crispin’s Day. That was Henry V Agincourt stuff, right? The military campaign season for France would likely have been during the summer I imagine. But if I recall, Hal pressed his luck by going too early or too late. Things looked bad. But then rain, mud, and the longbow came together to give Kenneth Branagh (sp?) a role of a lifetime.
I mentioned yesterday or last month (the vagaries of the COVID calendar) that I developed some film. Tangent – you probably didn’t notice that I stepped away from the computer for a moment. I heard chatter and what sounded like someone walking heavily on high heels. At this hour, during a pandemic, in the rain? I had to go to the window. A woman was walking her dog. I’m not sure if she was on the phone or talking to her dog. As far as I can tell the dog was not responding.
The film. In December or January I ducked into a vintage shop near my favorite coffee place in Phoenix. Figured I’d see if they had cameras. They did. They had a beautiful Canon FTb quick load, and it looked like the owner really babied it. I did not need another film camera. I have a Pentax K1000, a Hasselblad 500cm, and my grandfather’s Leica IIIa. I don’t use them enough, and I’m convinced it’s a bad idea to have several cameras. I bought it.
I then loaded the camera, with which I was not familiar, with Ilford Ortho Plus, an 80 ISO film with which I was not familiar. This is the sort of decision-making that loses wars. I started shooting the film in Phoenix, very slowly. I’m lazy with film to begin with, and each click of that shutter prompts your wallet to send out an electrical shock. Ouch! It’s also 80 ISO, which means you’re not shooting dark concerts.
The suspense is building, right? I used Cinestill’s df96 monobath to develop the roll at home. This monobath has plenty of passionate fans and critics. Why? A lot of photographers argue you’re sacrificing too much control and quality for the sake of getting rid of a couple of chemicals. Eventually I’d like to get back into full on developing, but right now, the simplicity of the monobath appeals. The second the Tate calls me about my photos, I will jump into a very convincing lie. Of course I don’t use a monobath! I take each roll through a 50 step process that eventually leads to a silver bromide wet print with platinum cubic zirconium filaments dry aged to 1932 Paris standards.
I am not good about getting the film onto the reel. I’m always worried about chopping off a finger when I cut the lead in the dark. I guessed how long I should keep the film in the tank and how vigorously I should agitate it. There are guidelines for temperature, duration, etc., but they all confuse me. I was not optimistic.
But lo and behold, images showed up on about 1/2 – 2/3 of the images. Film is forgiving. The sunny 16 rule worked reasonably well in natural sunlight. I struggled anytime I was opening up the aperture in lower light.
The images on the roll aren’t cohesive. They’re not even good. But I don’t make many things with my hands. I shot and developed that roll. I like that feeling. I debated breaking them into a few different posts, but I said screw that. Just going to post them all here.
“It will be rain tonight.”
“Let it come down.”