Presenting The Cuboid Selectascope

After quite a while working with my Cuboid camera I asked Matt Abelson of Abelson Scopeworks if a turret with 6 scopes would be possible to retrofit to my Cuboid while maintaining the ultra wide 25mm focal length… all I have to say is that it is spot on for my artworks and damn does it look nice!!

With the custom SELECTASCOPE option I have the choice of F196 – F32 with a Zone Plate at F45! The varying degree of sharpness and the option of overlaying different levels of sharpness on the same negative through multiple exposure is a creative A-Bomb…. ART Bomb that is!

The Cuboid SELECTASCOPE

Previous articles on the Cuboid:

https://figitalrevolution.com/2010/02/08/the-cuboid-pinhole-camera-pimped-out/

https://figitalrevolution.com/2009/12/18/new-addition-to-the-cuboid/

https://figitalrevolution.com/2009/10/29/the-cuboid-multi-aspect-ratio-pinhole-camera-part-2/

https://figitalrevolution.com/2009/10/22/the-cuboid-pinhole-120-film-camera-abelson-scopeworks-schaub-indianhill/

For those of you who are curious I believe only one Cuboid is left for sale!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

Working at Less Than 100 Percent

Most pinhole images are made using a pinhole that is very close to- or at the optimum size for- the chosen focal length and in most cases this is a good choice for general photography: it lets you get the best quality image a pinhole can produce. That being said, while testing the PinZonie I have been experimenting using pinholes that are in some cases up to 2 stops more open or closed than the optimum setting and really liking the creative options it gives me.

As I always say… experimentation is key!

Pinzone-2Pinhole28mm

Trees in Afternoon Light, Massachussettes. 2009
From the Negative Series
28mm PinZonie, Pinhole Setting, -2 stops from optimum
Kodak BW400CN, Scanned on an Imacon Scanner
d’Vinci Noir Print on Hand-made Bhutan Mitsumata Thick White
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

Kodak BW400CN, Fantastic Misunderestimated Film

Many of the chromogenic (C41) process black and white films get mixed reactions on the web from working photographers, but my recent and continuing exploration of Kodak BW400CN has changed everything in my mind and in a very good way. To listen to the audio portion just click on the audioblog logo.

AudioBlog LogoTest Image: Kodak BW400CN exposed at box speed (400) and scanned on an Imacon Scanner. Minor contrast and density adjustment were applied in Photoshop CS3. Negative was made using a Leica M7 with a 28MM Elmarit F2.8 ASPH lens. Please note the file is larger than most here on FR so you can really see the stunning tonal range and detail. One additional note on the weather here in Vemont… it has been raining a lot and as such this image was made on an overcast day, thus the gray sky.

BW400CN_400

Film Scanning Technique 101

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In this audioblog I present a philosophy of scanning film based on the understanding that in the end photographers make prints and our entire process from film capture to scan to Photoshop to printer is all based on making prints. I outline in detail techniques and settings which will apply to most scanners and will help you get the most of your film and scanner combination. This is a very long audioblog- 27 minutes- and as such have paper and pencil ready, as you won’t want to listen to my voice for this long twice!

Full Process Example Image

YellowSpringPawletVermont2009

Yellow Spring, Vermont. 2009

This recent artwork of mine is a good example of the process outlined in the audioblog. I started with Kodak Ektar 100 film (35mm)- I’ve tested this film and understand how to get the most out of it in a variety of different lighting situations. The camera was my Leica M7 with a 28mm Zone Plate, and the image was made using my Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique outlined here on FR. After processing (C41) the negative was scanned dry on my Imacon at 4000 optical dpi, 16 bit as an RGB positive, with miminal sharpening and dust removal. All other editing and contrast adjustments were done in Photoshop.  My chosen Photoshop color working space as well as the scanning color space?sRGB.

Final thought

Knowing the real limits of your workflow, technology and skill level and having a clear understanding/ feeling for your visualized final print helps make the entire process a very fluid and creative endeavour. Test first and remember: experimentation is key!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

UPDATE: 5.16.09

Link to BETA RGB:http://www.brucelindbloom.com/

Click on Info, then click on Beta RGB: A New Working Space Proposal… the BETA RGB download if found on this page… spend some time on this site as it is a wealth of knowledge.

High Speed Pinhole and Zone Plate Photography, Part 3

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The final installment of this series provides information on all films tested, thoughts on Zone Plate and Pinhole as it relates to these films and observations and conclusion on this process. The audio portion can be heard by clicking on the Audio logo: note the audio portion is around 16 minutes.

PineBudsTmy2testzonem71600
Pine, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3X)
Film: Kodak TMY-2 (Tmax 400) at an EI of 1600, processed in Xtol Developer.
Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

ZonePlateLongHHExpTestEktar100

Spring Blossom, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3X)
Long Hand Held Exposure, 30 sec +/-
Film: Kodak Ektar 100Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

ZonePlateLongHHExpTestEktar100_2

Field Edge, Indian Hill, Vermont. 2009
28mm Zone Plate on Leica M7
Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique (3x)
Long Hand Held Exposure, 20 sec +/-
Film: Kodak Ektar 100Printed on Fabriano 640 gsm, edition size one.
Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

High Speed Pinhole and Zone Plate Photography, Part 2

AudioBlog LogoIn this audio blog I discuss my testing results for Kodak P3200 at an EI of 6400 for hand-held pinhole and zone plate photography as well as the new direction Part 3 in this series will explore. Click on the Audio Logo to listen…

LINK: TMY-2 @ 1600 article here on FR.

High Speed Pinhole and Zone Plate Photography, Part 1

zoneplateimag

Part of my ongoing creative exploration of Zone Plate and Pinhole photography has entered a new area… high speed film. Most applications of Pinhole or Zone Plate photography require the use of a tripod or some sort of support device but that does not fit with my current shooting style SO I have just run tests of Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak P3200 in a variety of different developers from an EI of 3200 – 25,000 to see if it would be possible to hand hold exposures under a variety of common lighting situations and get a negative that-when-scanned would have all of the expressive grey tonality I need with contrast in check… the answer is Yes! The best film for pinhole and zone plate high speed applications in my opinion would be the Kodak P3200 at 3200 – 6400. The sample images below are just a very quick test done at the end of the day in rainy overcast very flat light… the image on the left is a 28mm F32 zone plate on my Leica M7, the image on the right is a 28mm F151 Pinhole also on my Leica M7… both hand-held at shutter speeds over 1/30th even in this dismal low light… shot at an EI of 6400. The cropped image  is a 5″ x 5″  example section of the pinhole image scaled to 20″ x 30″ … remember this is an EI of 6400 shot through a pinhole. I think the visual quality is amazing and I plan on shooting this afternoon and posting a fuller series of articles starting in a few days with the “secret” developer info as well as thoughts on working with pinhole and zone plate with high speed films on a variety of different cameras. Just a quick note- no noise reduction or sharpening has been applied to any image and all images are dry scans on my Imacon Scanner.

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Left Zone Plate, Right Pinhole
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5" x 5" Crop of a 20" x 30" Print.

The sun has just come out (lots of rain here in VT this time of year) so I am off to shoot!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

UPDATE: Ok so most of the day has passed and I have managed to shoot two rolls of the Kodak P3200 at and EI of 6400  (the sun was out for exactly 2 hours!) and just finished processing them… they look fantastic! My exposures were for the most part using the pinhole (f 151) at shutter speeds ranging from 1/60 to 1/15 on my M7. I will post images sometime tomorrow…

A Creative Day – Day 3

I’ve completed my inital testing of Fuji 800Z with the 28mm Zone Plate on my M7… I like the results but I can tell you that getting a good negative/ scan that has decent contrast and PS techniques to keep shadow and highlight detail and enhance local contrast ain’t no small thing! I wish I could find some faster color negative material that that still had good color but it seems that Pro 800 and 800Z are my best bets for now. One thing I really love about the BW images is how the very nature of a black and white image abstracts in a way the color does not and I think this works very well with these images. Thoughts?

Spring Sunset, Indian Hill, Vermont. 2009
Spring Sunset, Indian Hill, Vermont. 2009

treesatsunsetihiwzoneplatem7800ztest2
Yellow Leaves at Sunset, Vermont. 2009

A Creative Day- Day 2

Today I did finish my client work first and still had time to scan and complete 2 more images from my roll from yesterday…

xp2zonem7olft_testmay09_2
In The Willow, Vermont. 2009
xp2zonem7olft_testmay09_3
Dark Sky, Spring, Vermont. 2009


Viva la Revolution- Stephen

Tech Stuff:

  • Both images were shot with a Leica M7 with a 28mm F32 Zone Plate on Ilford XP2 Super at an EI of 800- in camera overlapping frame panoramic technique, 3X.
  • Scanned on an Imacon Scanner
  • Printed on the d’Vinci Printer as a d’Vinci Noir Print.
  • Edition size: One
  • Copyright Stephen Schaub 2009

A Creative Day

Many of you have been asking for some insight beyond the technical- more of “A Day in the Life” creative -type stuff, SO… here is a good example of how things can happen around here:

Ok, yesterday after posting the video on Focus and DOF here on Figital Revolution I was searching the web and came across a great new attachment which allows youholgaconversionnikandcanto connect a Holga lens to a Canon or Nikon with precision… here is a link. It is made by S.K. Grimes who I have done some work with in the past and I am sure the construction is spot-on. I decided to call Adam at S.K. Grimes and ask about making a device like this for my Leica M. I love the Holga (my second book is all Holga work) and thought this could be a great side project. I also found online a home-made attachment / modification for the Holga lens on the Leica M, LINK, but I would prefer the precision of the S.K. Grimes version if I have a choice.

Then I got to thinking about my Through A Glass Darkly artworks and what I liked about them and remembered that last year I had done some work with Zone Plates on several different camera systems and that I had purchased a 28mm F32 Zone Plate for my Leica M7… so then, of course, I had to go find it. After digging through a few drawers in my studio it ultimately surfaced so now I only needed to find some fast film because at F32, 100 speed film would be out of the question for hand-held exposures (maybe). So, yes, I found a roll (one, lonely little roll!) of XP2 Super which I knew had enough exposure latitude to rate with an EI of 800 or even 1250 if needed (I settled on 800).

Finally I decided to shoot a test roll around my yard here in Vermont. I was really curious to see if I could fuse the look and feel of my Through A Glass Darkly Artworks, the Zone Plate, the Overlapping-Frame Panoramic Technique AND my most recent A New Eden Artworks into one creative stew. About 30 minutes later I was off to my favorite lab Phototec, in Rutland Vermont,  to have the C41 film processed and-equally importantly although perhaps not so much creatively- get my Prius’s oil changed. One hour later my car was running fine and the negatives were dry.

new-zone-plate-image1
Zone Plate Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique

I was surprised at how much I really liked them… really, really liked them! (This is not the way ALL my brilliant ideas go, you know.) So I had to hurry back to the studio, fire up the Imacon and run a test scan. After a bit of thought on how to compensate for the very low contrast negatives I came up with a good scanner setting and set to work on the file. An hour or so later the image was finished and I really liked how it looked on the screen. Buuuuuut as I had chosen to shoot B&W film and my current favorite art paper (hand-coated Fabriano, 640 gsm) only has an icc. for color and not the required K4 linearization for black and white printing on my d’Vinci Printer it was time- oh yes!- to make the linearization. So about an hour after THAT the linearization was complete and I was all set to print. I had several sheets of paper coated both rough and cold press (luckily left over from a client’s job from last week) but I ultimately decided to go with the cold press as the smoother surface texture would, perhaps, help define the soft elements of the image better than the rough would (I plan to run a test soon on this to be sure!)

surfacedetail
Surface Detail of Final Print on Fabriano Cold Press HC

Conclusion… I really liked the image and possible new direction for these artworks- hooray! Did I get my work for client’s done today? No! Is it ultimately worth it, in the end, to go with the “art attack” when it strikes? Always!! You can’t do it all the time, BUT inspiration is too valuable not to follow up whenever humanly possible. And if you can get your car ready for another couple of thousand miles of exploring at the same time… even better.

Next, I think I will try this in color using the Fuji 800Z. And as I always say… experimentation is key! Stay tuned.

Viva la Revolution- Stephen