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Photographic doldrums
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I bought all the equipment and even got my 8x10 system 'portable'. I'm done fixing up, cleaning up, adjusting & testing. Maybe it's just the down side of a "new equipment high", but now I'm completely stagnated (photographically speaking!). I even see some interesting shots right in my own backyard. But I have to get the equipment together, drag it down there, set it up, bring it alll the way back..... Nothing happens... And this is not good...
Now years ago when this occasionally happened in computers or electronics (or even cars for that matter), I could always count on someting in a magazine or book to spark up my interest and get me going. Of course I had a lot more free time back then too. But I haven't found anything recently in photography... Got a lot of books, but how many times can I read them, and they're mostly technical anyway which doesn't do much for creativity or ambition...
So I thought I'd bring it up here and see if anyone had any ideas. This must happen to other people? Are there any good books that jump start the creative process and set fire to the ambition? I prefer shooting outdoors. Lanscapes, closeups & such and in B&W. I know it's just a phase (and has nothing to do with my teenage nephew coming to live with us... ;-( ) and I'll get out of it soon, but a good book for these kinds of occasions would be a great thing to have laying around.
So I'm open for suggestions. Uhh, and I already know the "just go out and do it" one I'm really looking for a book or three here. Too hard to tell from descriptions and a visit to Borders did nothing for me...
I hope someone's got some suggestions out there...
Thanks!


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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First,throw those books away...unless it's something on the great Weegee,remember on his dull days he would sit in cafes photographing people it was'nt all murders on the streets of New York.
He must have felt like you,bored and whats to do...he did'nt read books,he got off his backside and done it-even if it did'nt mean a thing to anyone else.

Listen,last Thursday & Friday,on each occasion I either took the Quarter Plate or Baby Graphics into the heart of London's Theatreland (yes we spell it different here)during daylight hours and done some shots (via the 120 backs)of the facades (no tripods otherwise I would be in trouble with the law).
A couple were passing,and I heard them say "Look at that dear,that's what I call A REAL CAMERA"...OK,already,Im a tourist attraction myself,as people keep well clear of a 'Professional'photographer.

So moral of story is...the pulling power of the Speed Graphic still lives on,even today,perhaps thanks to Hollywood...

...and if you want to be 'somebody'throw away your Nikons,Canons or digital cameras!

Secondly,you are dealing with QUALITY your results will pip anyone elses pictures to the post...the very fact your using this camera should give you inspiration NOT to retain it in mothballs (or read books)but let them see light.

I find out whats going on in the big city and be there...sometime the events may stink,then don't bother others may get you going.

I also done Weegee's trick,one Graphic I had loaded with b/w,I was in one of London's mainline Stations,Waterloo,and I saw a couple sitting on a staircase,I shot the picture from the top looking down...I did'nt take a reading,I guessed it,opened the camera,focused with rangefinder,bang got it!

I've shown a few people and they think it's a wonderful picture,to me it's just normal.Actually,as I looked around I noticed a security camera watching me-but who cares!

The moral of the story is-we all become complacent...cant be bothered...wrong attitude...you have a wonderful camera(s) in your collection,and as they would say in the army "Move It!".

I would have thought as your on the Graphics birth ground-I'd be around N.Y. ferreting out what going on,loading up the film and getting stuck in,cocking that shutter,popping those flash bulbs (OK that does seem a bit ridiculous)but you know what I mean.

Is it sunshine outside...so NO excuses...your poor Graphic need to be taken WALKIES.

Greetings.
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-09-11 22:09, RichS wrote:
But I have to get the equipment together, drag it down there, set it up, bring it alll the way back..... Nothing happens... And this is not good...



I keep everything but the tripod in one bag. None of this get stuff together. I've been known to keep the bag in the back of the jeep if the weather report looks good for awhile. I'll go scouting with the 35mm. Then take the big bag out to a location I've already been to.

So basically don't make it hard on yourself. If you need to spend 30 minutes making sure you've got everything it becomes a job. If you can just stop the car knowing the camera is in back then it can be spur of the moment.

[ This Message was edited by: Nick on 2003-09-12 04:55 ]
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe you just need a fellow Graphicarian (?) to stop by and pay you a visit.

I'll be in Rochester for the Photo History Symposium from the 19th-21st then hanging around Rochester for research on my book.

Send me a note via private message with your phone and we can talk.

Les



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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sid. Great stories, and morals. And you're right, but right now it just doesn't work. That's why I'm looking for a book to read at night sitting here with not much else to do to trigger my ambition and inspiration. Maybe I should get a Weegee book?

Nick: The equipment I use is in bags, ready to go. That's why I mentioned the 8x10 being 'portable' I spent a lot of time finding a bag for that and geting it all to fit & work. The 4x5 Speed has been in a backpack setup for quite a while now, ready to go. Everything's ready to go, but me...

As far as going to a city, that's really out of the question. Too far away and I hate cities... Getting out in the country should be easy since I live there! But seting aside even a couple of hours is a bit difficult now. Things haven't really settled down as much as I had hoped with my nephew moving in.

I think the best thing I can do is just take a day off from work and go for a drive with the intention of 'wasting' a whole day with just me and a camera. A mini vacation of sorts...

And Les: You've hit the major problem. Collecting and using old stuff is a whole lot less fun when there's noone else around interested in it... I'll leave you a private msg as soon as I figure out how
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think someone rightly so should come around and move you from that chair...the question is,if you were given,say a LEICA,would you still be waiting around.

I presume it's the motivation...rather than the camera itself (poor old Graphics).

I live 15-miles from the center of London on the edge of Heathrow airport,like you I don't like big cities and get out as fast as I can..but when I do venture into the city I go with a purpose of photographing something.

Of course,I believe once you get started,and it just needs that push,you will say to yourself,why did I make such a fuss...this is fun!

Don't blame the family-venture outside with those Graphics,they were built to last a lifetime,and still take a magnificent picture.

I spent 50-years in newspapers and magazines and thought of retiring,a 35mm camera I might not have been keen...a Speed Graphic has put back a whole new meaning to photography...you are also holding part of history.

If Weegee does'nt give you inspiration I don't know what will...and don't get shooting up Chicago or New York either...just with a camera,like he did.

Are you still in that chair??
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...Oh,and that goes for the rest of you...don't put it away in a glass cabinet and look at the beauties...,

They are to be used and admired by all-it is part of your American history...

Moms apple pie,baseball and the Speed Graphic..a wonderful combination...as I've said before,at least the NY Daily News has the emblem in it's main banner heading.

A proud respect to a great camera.
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sobahguy



Joined: 09 Oct 2001
Posts: 171
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Graflex Sid,
I've sent you a Pvt message.
SG
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stop thinking about it. A few days ago I was out picking up some things I'd ordered when stopped at the light I noticed what looked like a great photo. I had to drive a few blocks to get turned around and into the parking lot. Even then it turned out I couldn't really take the photo I wanted but I did trip over a different scene. Managed to expose four sheets. Somebody even sent the law after me-)) Well I think so. Some guy with a clipboard showed up and said hi. I assume somebody had seen me with the camera bag and wondered what was up. He looked over the tripod and camera a bit before walking off.

Just let your eye wander. Don't force yourself. The other choice is to set yourself an assignment and force yourself to complete it. That doesn't work for me because it seems like a job and not enjoyment. For others it works great.
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay Sid & Nick. I'm plenty old enough to know about "go out and do it" It's usually my first adice to anyone else. There's just too many reasons not too and way too many things with a higher priority. But since I make the priorities (except those given by the wife), if I get some creative spark the photography can jump way up on the list.
Of course circumstances can easily get in the way. I had ordered and just now received an old box of 8x10 Polaroid film. I thought that would be a great "excuse" to get out and see if it was any good. It worked. Problem is, I can't until at least Monday... Sometimes ya just can't win. Who knew the guy would be so fast shipping it... But it will be waiting for me on Monday...

The other part of this probe is more in the line of "vicarious photography". When I can't get out to shoot (no, not cameras), I'll sit and read a good muzzleloading or bow magazine/book. Same thing for woodworking. I get some enjoyment and ideas without actually doing it myself. I was hoping for the same thing in photography. There are times when I can't go do something I want to, but can spare a half hour for some reading, especially at night. Although if I put this all together, what it really points to is spending my free time finishing the plans for the darkroom, then woodworking it into existence, then spending my nightly free time in there _doing somthing_


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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I'm sort of saying don't go out-)) Just go about your normal life with the camera in tow. Don't make it a chore.

When you finish the darkroom you can spend some time in there making new photos from old negatives. I've spent the last while redoing some prints. The photos where taken on a cloudy afternoon. The current prints look like night time not the actual midday.

So you want a book just to read? I always have problems with this sort of question. Alot depends on what you like.

1) Darkroom cookbook by Steve Anchell

2) The Adams bookset [camera,negative and print]

Depends on what you're looking for.

[ This Message was edited by: Nick on 2003-09-12 14:21 ]
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you're saying Nick. I used to carry the 35mm equipment everywhere I went. And it worked great. Problem now is that I don't go anywhere. I work from home. After work is work _on_ home. Weekends are usually filled with chores & assignments from the wife. I'm lucky if I take a drive by myself once every other month or so... And I do miss the drives... Something else I just have to find time for!

I know books are tuff too. Even when browsing them at the book store. I have the Adams series plus the extras of the Polaroid and Artifial Light & Natural Light Photography. Plus at least a dozen others. They all help a bit the first or second time through, but then the brain seems to lock them out. "Large Format Nature Photography" by Jack Dykinga was good, once or twice through Blaker's "Field Photography" was good. And I just finished "How to Photograph the Outdoors in Black & White" by George Schaub which was the best I could find at Borders the last trip I took there. I enjoyed Andrew Sanderson's "Night Photography". And "B&W Landscape Photography" by Collett & Collett wasn't bad.
But they've all been read and re-read. And nothing that really inspires.
Maybe what I'm looking for is more of a journal of a LF nature photographer? Never heard of one before, and it would have to be very well written or be awfully boring
But now that I have that new-old box of Polaroid, I'll bet ya it rains all next week!


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clnfrd



Joined: 26 Mar 2002
Posts: 616
Location: Western Kentucky Lakes Area

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I think there are those of us who get a big kick out of re-discovering the equipment of our youth...collecting, restoring, and testing the fine old stuff...but, when it comes to actually putting it to great use, hit a snag. When I was a young'un I used the Century to photograph "events"...fires, wrecks, ballgames, visits of dignitaries, etc., in hopes of getting them published for a few bucks. Now that I've re-acquired the gear, I find that I probably don't have a creative bone in my entire body, and wouldn't recognize a really creative shot if it were staring me in the face. It's the joy of ownership...and acquiring more. Sure, I take and process a few shots now and then...but what I really want is to find some more stuff at a reasonable price...and fix it up best I can. Also, for those of us who need a nudge, sometimes the first step is all it takes to get the juices flowing again. I also like to fish, but reading about someone else fishing is boring as hell. Same way with photography. Each of us must find and release our own personality...and if "you just can't have too many GVII's"...then why not search for more?
Best regards.
Fred.

[ This Message was edited by: clnfrd on 2003-09-13 04:04 ]
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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you,Sobahguy...I presume you have looked this up on Google for more details..

The Graphic still makes a great impression here in Great Britain and Im sure the rest of Europe.

As Weegee would say:the Graphic goes first,and I follow it..in his case any bullets flying around that got it first.

To the young photographer it is still admired and perhaps best described as like sitting behind an old Rolls-Royce,well upholstered but could'nt afford one.

Keep those flash bulbs popping-Im sure you take the duds home,you don't want a ticket for litter...you can still hear the sounds of crushed bulbs under foot from those old movies.
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Graflite



Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 103
Location: Southeast US

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RichS:

I quite understand how you feel, as now I can't seem to find the time (much less the energy) to shoot or process anything, it might have something to do with the heat and humidity down here during most of the year, perhaps when it turns cooler I might feel like being outdoors more.

I remember as a late teenager taking my old car down to an area called Gibsonton (Gib Town or Carney Town) and shooting everything in sight using an old TLR camera including the old rail line that ran over the Alafia river.

And then eating in a greasy spoon by the bridge called the Giant's Camp and talking with the locals, who seemed grateful that I was interested in visiting their little town on the river, later on I found out why the locals also called it the "Giants Cramp".

If only I had the energy (and health) now that I had back then and the knowledge then that I have now (and still learning) I would be a very happy man!

"graflite"
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