Friday, March 29, 2013

These aren't the 'roids I was hoping for

The Polaroid film that I had ordered, Impossible PRD2442 PX 70 Color Protection Film for SX-70 Cameras, came yesterday.  I hope I'm doing something wrong, because the results are pretty lack-luster.  Witness this Cooter 'roid(TM) taken in natural light:

Yes, I obviously had to scan it.  Before I waste any more film, I'd better see if I'm doing everything right.  I can see right away that the tripod would be a very good thing here:  notice the blur around the cat's ears.  Looks like I should also dial down the exposure a bit.  A more cooperative subject would also help a lot, too.

This is a stark reminder of how great digital photography can be.  "Getting it right" does not involve experimenting with expensive film or processing.  The only thing wasted there is time and electrons.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another 'roid

Along with the old Polaroid 95A, I also received a newer SX-70 Alpha 1 model that dates from the late-seventies.  Price-wise, it was out of reach for me.  At that time -- more like the late sixties -- I was using the less expensive Swinger model.

There are some interesting things about this camera, though.  It was an SLR, using a complicated series of mirrors to go to the main lens from the viewfinder at the top.  It doesn't have any internal batteries -- power comes from a battery in the film pack.  And it has one of my favorite focusing features:  a split-image rangefinder prism.

But wait!  There's more!  You can still get still get film for it, thanks to the Impossible Project.  I had to bite the bullet at least once.  I ordered a pack of PRD2442 PX 70 Color Protection Film through Amazon.  In this day and age, it will be ironic that I'll have to first scan any pictures I take before you can see them on the computer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ode to an Old Tool

Someone didn't want this old Polaroid 95A camera, which was produced between 1954 and 1957.  I offered to give it a home.

It cleaned up nicely.  I photographed it in a white light box, but then decided to isolate it entirely -- no distractions.

The 95A is pretty iconic in appearance, but it's not in much demand.  Around 500,000 were made during its production run.  In really nice condition, it's said to be worth approximately $60.  That's probably if you have all of the original goodies.

Sadly, film is no longer made for this model.  Someone reports that they've been able to take PZ680 Spectra film and manually load single shots, but I'm not that desperate to resurrect old technology.

You can go retro on the cheap by getting the Instant app for the iPhone or iPad.  I may well give that a try.

Update (next day):  I did get the Instant app for my iPad.  Here's a 'roid of the 'roid:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The old collage try

I'm slow to change things.  The simple color theme on this Blogger page is a classic example. 

It has been a couple of years since I had done the collage of Adobe Illustrator-generated pysanky that I used as my iPhone lock screen.  After hunting down images for my latest Easter basket attempt, I thought I'd also update the collage.

I had to play editor and leave out a few favorites because they just didn't go well in this arrangement.   Though the individual eggs are done in Illustrator, it was not computationally feasible to try an arrangement.  PhotoShop to the rescue.  I added a little neutral gradient shadow effect near the base of the eggs, and I added a lighting effect coming from the top-left.  The background gradient is a Blue 1 from the photographic gradient palette.

So, here are my eggs of 2013, rendered for the iPhone 4 screen of 640 by 960 px.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


It's a pisser when you lose some of your favorite graphics files.  I had created an Easter basket with pysanky a couple of years ago using a combination of Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop.  When I recently got around to swap in some of my newer eggs, however, I discovered that the only thing that I had was an empty basket -- literally.  The candles were gone, too.  I had to start all over with gathering and arranging my eggs in the Easter basket.

Here I am, starting all over again.  Got some new eggs in a somewhat pleasing arrangement.  Now I have to re-learn the art of candlemaking and futz some more with the cloth (rushnyk) arrangement.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ringing in the Sheaves

This yet another attempt at re-working a previous design, which is based on a Bucovinian motif that I saw in the Flickr Easter Eggs group.  Although not as colorful as many of my other efforts, I'm pretty happy with this rendering of the pseudo-grain sheaves. 

Ringing in the Sheaves

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting around that time of year again

... when an Adobe Illustrator obsessive's fancy turns to pysanky.  These are based on some Bucovinian designs I found in the Easter Eggs group on Flick.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Orange Jewelweed

[Gack!  Blogger slipped a few cogs and relocated a post from sometime in summer 2012 to this date.  No idea how to fix it.]

Meet the Orange Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), a.k.a., Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not, or Orange Balsam.  There's a yellow version of this plant -- Yellow Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)-- that I did not realize is a different species. It commonly grows in bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks.

According to the venerable Wikipedia,  this member of the impatience family is North American native.  If you're near water, you can see how the plant might have gotten its jewelweed name by immersing a leaf under water -- it appears shiny silver.

It gets its "Touch-me-not" name from the fact that its seed pods "explode" on contact.

Mug shots of the Orange Jewelweed, showing a face-on view and in profile:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Touching up in Camera Raw

I decided to apply some of the PhotoShop techniques that I've recently learned to some favorite old pictures.  My latest exercise involved a reprocessing of a photo I took with my old Canon XSi and the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens.

It was the evening before with winter solstice in 2009.  The clock on Woodburn Hall read 5:25 p.m.   WVU students were on break, and a fresh snow had recently fallen, leaving the grounds around the downtown campus relatively pristine.

Following tips in Scott Kelby's "The Adobe Photoshop CS6 book (for digital photographers)," I worked directly in Adobe Camera Raw, spot-touching the clipped highlights (shown in red below) around all of the lights.  I then took on the clipped shadows (shown in violet below), which were predominantly among the bushes in the foreground as well as in the trees around the building.

After correcting the exposure in Camera Raw, I finished the touch-up work in PhotoShop, correcting the barrel distortion on Chitwood Hall, to the right of Woodburn.  I removed a little "noise" from some of the dark areas on the building, too.

I really liked those old lights.