I recently came across a large lot of expired 120 film. The lot included a variety of black and white and color films with a wide range of expiration dates, and the price per roll was a fraction of the cost of new film. I snatched it up. The idea is to perform some informal experiments to see how various films have held up over time, the unknown storage condition notwithstanding, and to test some common axioms used when shooting expired film.
One of the axioms that I want to test, perhaps the only one, is that it is necessary to add one stop for each decade a film has been expired. I have looked for a formula or chart that would help me understand how the base density of film increases over time, but I was unable to find one. Kodak provides some information regarding film degradation in their film storage guidelines, but nothing about the rate of decay due to gamma radiation or negligent storage. So as I use this lot of film I will be looking to corroborate that maxim.
Practice seems like the way to get better at activities, so I thought I’d apply that thinking to film photography. I would quickly get bored with practicing if I was just taking pictures of things around my neighborhood, so I have given myself little projects to get out and shoot. As an added bonus these projects help me shake of the COVID blues, get out of the house, and visit local places which I may never have visited. My first assignment was making interesting images at our local parks.
There are a lot of parks in Summit County Ohio, which would be surprising if you knew how densely populated the area once was. Taking pictures at parks requires little planning, just turn up, find something interesting, and take the photos. Another benefit of taking photos at parks in Summit County is that most lack obvious photographic vistas. So, locations must be scouted, which requires a lot of walking around and paying attention to nature.
I found this very old roll of exposed Kodak Tri-x film in a Shinano Pigeon II camera, and I decided to develop it. I think that perhaps the only reason it survived is because no one could figure out how to open the back on the camera. The back doesn’t swing open like other cameras of this vintage, it detaches down in the same way a Leica back does. Though I’m somewhat satisfied that can explain why no one else removed the film from the camera, I’m curious why the original owner never did. Maybe after taking 8 mundane photos they decided that photography wasn’t for them – but they didn’t have the film developed to see how mundane they were, so the simple explanation is probably not the correct one.
Recent break throughs in neural networks have made the use of computer vision technologies available to a wider audience, and many businesses are looking for ways to apply those technologies. To address the demand, large cloud service providers now providing basic turn-key computer vision services. Computer vision solutions currently perform best when they are asked to do tasks which are limited in scope. So, unless pre-trained models are already available for the task at hand, there could be a steep cost to implementing computer vision.
To make things worse, there are relatively few people who understand computer vision technologies from a wholistic perspective. This dearth of experience is not due to lack of educational resources, rather it is due to the steep learning curve and the inverse distribution of educational materials. There are many ways to learn how to get started with a computer vision project, but there are fewer resources explaining how to apply those initial learnings to harder real world problems.
Due to those challenges, it can be hard for technology managers get the information they need to make informed decision about the implementation of computer vision systems. In this post I will discuss ways to avoid some of the common problems encountered when non-tech companies attempt to implement custom computer vision solutions.
While looking for vintage cameras I came across a yellow and green metal Kodak film canister. Though they are certainly getting rare, I am used to seeing plastic canisters for 35mm film, but I had never seen a metal one. I unscrewed the top and saw a roll of developed black and white film inside. The screw top canister was interesting, so I purchased it for a couple dollars. I assumed the negatives would contain mundane images of someones relatives posing in the parlor. However, when I inspected them I found images of a city; not street photography type images, images of a city taken from the top of a building. I decided to try and figure out the place and time they were taken. But, based upon the title, you already know that I figured it out. I wrote out the steps I used to deduce the answers because I found the process of walking through some of Akron’s history interesting.
Recently I started restoring a vintage Ikoflex TLR camera. Before purchasing the camera I ultimately got, I did some internet research on Ikoflexes. They are not a particularly famous brand, so it was a little harder to get information about them. Fortunately, a lot of great information has been recorded at sites like the camera wiki, Pacific Rim Camera, and Barry Toogood’s TLR Cameras Website. As great as these sites are, there seems to be some minor discrepancies between them in places. Having received some basic training as a historian, I wanted to look over the primary sources. As I started gathering source material and sorting through references to the somewhat confusing Ikoflex model designations, I started taking notes. Rather than just keeping my notes to myself, I thought I would contribute back to the internet by posting them.
The title suggests that this post will contain some sort of narrative history of Ikoflex cameras. But, it doesn’t really. It’s mostly data I grabbed from other sources, organized in a way that makes sense to me. This page is a work in progress, so I will continue to update it as I learn more.
Recently I took a long, multi-day bike ride. Every day I got up early and was on the road at dawn. The heat index was between 90℉ and 100℉, so the goal was to travel as many miles as possible before it got too hot. One morning, after a rough ride, I was looking for a nice place to stop and have a snack. As I emerged from a rocky forested road I found myself looking at a nearly still lake illuminated by the early morning sun. The peacefulness of the scene was exactly what I was trying to get out of my bike ride. I whipped out my phone and took a picture of the scene so that I could enjoy it later. I hopped back on the bike and continued my ride.
As I continued to ride I though about that peaceful lake in the middle of nowhere. Was I really riding all that way through rural Ohio so that I could enjoy it latter? When would that latter come, when I was back in the bustle of everyday life? Perhaps I should take time to notice the beauty around me and appreciate it in the moment. Perhaps I should take time to notice the ugly around me and do more to fix it.
From that thoughtlessly captured photo I also started thinking about how digital technology makes everything easy. Maybe everything shouldn’t be so easy. It’s easy to take a digital photo, and it’s even easier to forget that photo. If it was harder to take would it be appreciated more? Maybe the challenge associated with taking photographs on film – changing the camera’s setting to account for lighting, color, and distance among other things – would make me better appreciate the things I was taking photographs of. Maybe I should try to make some changes which would help me slow down and appreciate the beauty, and ugliness, around me. To that end I would check if film cameras and film were still available, and I would incorporate them into my photography rather than relying so heavily upon the camera in my phone.
Despite having gone on a couple climbing trips this year, we haven’t made it to our favorite East Coast sport climbing spot, the Red River Gorge. Doug built out his trad rack, so we have been doing multi-pitch trad climbing at Seneca Rocks. With the 2019 season winding down, we decided plan a trip. The only time which worked for most of us was the weekend before Thanksgiving weekend; a week before the season ends.
The first time we traveled to the Red, six of us were able to make the trip. The original six were all back for this trip. We all had more experience, especially Doug and Mark, so we were ready to attempt some more interesting climbs. The only problem was the weather. The forecast for Saturday was calling for rain, so we sought out walls with rain protection.