Territory Days in Old Colorado City

From 2019.  Colorado Ave, the old main drag and original US Hwy 24, is shut down for a few days for the local version of the county fair.  Working in the area all I’d experienced before had been using detours to get around it, but living in the area that summer I decided I should walk down and check it out, shooting I think 2.5 rolls of film.

Can you tell I have problems editing?  I actually broke this up into two parts because I like all these, and am also too busy right now to go through and make deep cuts.  Several of my coworkers made it into this series.

All this equipment…Tri-X edition

Shooting a couple rolls of Super 8 film back in April 2020 during lockdown.  So here is the time delay between the immediacy of the digital camera on my phone and getting film developed, getting around to scanning it, and finally getting to the order in the queue.  But hopefully it was worth the wait!

It was more to test out my cameras than anything, but if I put my mind to it I might be able to turn it all into an “experimental” short.

Oh deer…

Photographing my mom’s neighbors who came over for a block party in her backyard.  I think I’ve talked about tame deer before…these were shot with the 50mm lens, because it was the longest I had at the time.

This was about as close as they’d let me get before moving back to maintain a respectful 6ft distance, very conscientious deer…

This was from my first roll of Tri-X through the F Apollo

The nephew arrives…

My brother and sister-in-law had their first baby at the end of May.  I’d taken the pregnancy announcement pics back in the Fall but of course now with COVID we couldn’t actually be at the hospital for the birth; these were the day after when they came home.  Of course everyone was taking pictures all the time and I’m sure those are the ones that people actually saw, but I (again of course) took the slow (and ultimately archival) route with good old Tri-X.  I had these rolls of film developed very soon after and had pics for the family a week after that which is pretty quick for me.

I had the F2A already halfway through a roll (officially its first) and switched to the F Apollo afterward (only test rolls previously).  Knowing that they were both functioning properly I’ve been shooting a lot whenever I’m down at my brother’s house, all Tri-X, all with the F.

Hoarding all my favorites…

During the lockdown in April 2020 when so many items were unobtanium, I couldn’t find my favorite teas anywhere.  When everything did become available again I made sure to have multiple boxes of everything.  It’s only grown since late May when I took this:

So my favorite teas are:
Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat
St. Dalfour Earl Grey
Taylor’s of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold
Taylor’s of Harrogate Scottish Breakfast (not pictured)
Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice
Bigelow Chamomile (not pictured)

Old Bronco

…which has evidently seen better days but is still in pretty good shape all things considered!  It belongs to a neighbor of mine.

If this vehicle were in Ohio it would be 95% rust…as it is it’s a lot less than that but what’s there tells me it didn’t spend its whole life in the dry air of Colorado.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who have been anticipating the new 2021 Ford Bronco and from what I’ve seen it looks interesting, but I think I’d have more fun driving this.

Peak construction

Pike’s Peak is working on a new donut shop that was supposed to be finished around the same time as the new Cog Railway.  It looks that the new summit house will be finished first, though who knows.  Here are a selection of shots that I took Summer 2019 as a documentation of the ongoing work. (And yes I know I have some shutter problems)

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Scanning a whole summer’s worth of film

40 rolls, to be exact, all Tri-X.  It was an incredibly productive Summer last year, and half the reason I took the 4×5 class in the Fall was so I could develop all that film for free in the university darkroom!  And then of course I have to scan it and thank God for the Pakon: it paid for itself twice over in money and time with just that one batch of negatives.

So as far as photo projects go I’m reminded of something our photo instructor Stacy had us read: The Helsinki Bus Station Theory which I’m sure I’ve posted before.  Hopefully I’ve stayed on the bus long enough to start making something unique, and this is where all my best shots are; I was ramping up quite a bit the second half of Spring ’19 and as you can see my output was steady for months there, as it has been this Summer as well.

As far as all the pictures that I took over last Summer, I usually digitally process every one of them and show them to my photo instructor Stacy, but getting involved with 4×5 for the subsequent semester and now COVID-19 has kept me from doing that (also I procrastinated).  I don’t consider myself the best editor of my own work and there have been many times in the past that I’ve had a shot that the class has liked, I’ve overlooked, and it then waits until the end of the project to be seen.  That’s why I have an entire collection of shots that didn’t get used for one critique; sometimes they end up being favorites of the class.

Between last Summer and this one I think I’m at 75 rolls of Tri-X total, with 35 of them awaiting development, as well as processing and editing.  The work continues…

Shooting 4×5 large format film

This was my last “class,” if you could call it that, shooting 4×5 film in a large format camera.  Actually an independent study that I took for only one credit hour, shared with three other students from Adv.Photo.  The photo department bought three large format camera setups and we had some large photo paper donated to us so there wasn’t as much to supply from the students’ end, thankfully.  Due to scheduling conflicts and weather, we didn’t really get that much done (well, I did but whatever).  Anyway we reconvened in January but that didn’t last long either!  These are a few of the snapshots I took with the Olympus Infinity Stylus that I kept around my neck all of Fall 2019, I kept it in my bag with the 4×5.

I’m using a Standard 4×5 which is aluminum and 3D-printed plastic, with a Schneider 210mm f/5.6 lens, on a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod.  It’s an extremely light setup and I carry everything around in a gym bag taking pictures wherever I feel like, though they’re mostly portraits.  I don’t know exactly why our photo instructor chose Standard monorail cameras over Intrepid field cameras but for what I’m doing a field camera probably would be more practical.  Actually I’d probably be fine with a Speed Graphic for that matter, Bob Jackson tried to sell me one once; I keep thinking about looking him up and buying it.

I used this as an opportunity to try out as many different film stocks as I could, though one thing I stayed away from was slow films.  With a 4x5in negative there’s really no need to worry about grain, so it’s all been ASA400 film: Bergger Panchro 400, Kodak T-Max 400, Ilford HP5+, Rollei RPX400.  Perhaps I’ll shoot some Tri-X 320, but I have read that it’s very finicky stuff and there are so many calculations that need to be taken into account with bellows extension, reciprocity failure, things like that, so I’m not too keen yet.  Plus Kodak does not really price their large format film competitively at all, it’s nearly double what Ilford charges.  Kodak I love you, but just like your price on 100′ bulk rolls of Tri-X, I don’t see why this film should be so much more than Ilford’s.  I only bought 10 sheets of T-Max 400 and I bought it because I wanted a little lifeline, it being the only film out of the bunch with which I was familiar, and I got some of the best results with this film, probably because of that.

Bergger seemed to be nearly the best deal I’d seen for a 50 sheet box, and I’ve seen a lot of good scans of Panchro on 35mm and 120.  They make some of the best photo paper, too.  On 4×5 though, Panchro 400 is a mixed bag, and I agree with what I’ve read online in that it seems to be closer to a 200 speed film, which is disappointing because as much as possible I’ve been trying to pull the film one stop already.  I need to shoot more but I think I’ll have to shoot this at close to 100 if I want to do that.  I knew that Ilford HP5+ would be closest to my beloved Tri-X and it didn’t disappoint me at all.  I could shoot it just the same way and got great results.  It’s also the film I’ll return to first, once I run out of what I have.  The only scanner at UCCS that can handle 4×5 film is the Epson Expression 10000XL which is in the Visual Resource Center and I have to make an appointment to use it.

Love those trains III: Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge

Cripple Creek is a mere half hour South of where I’m currently living, so you’d think I’d get there more often, but I don’t.  Even that day I didn’t do as much as I wanted and decided that I’d have to go back at some point.

Below is one of my first attempts with 4×5 film, marred by either the film holder or uneven development, possibly both.

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