Wednesday, February 16, 2011

a bad case of G.A.S.?

I was just getting comfortable with but a fraction of what the Omega B22 enlarger (an incredible 30$ flea market find, by the by) could do, when Chris met a man who made him an offer he [Chris] apparently just couldn't refuse. Long story short, as of Sunday night, the B22 was moved out to the front room (where it now functions largely as a ready-made objet d’art) and the study/darkroom was revamped (yet again) to make room for the [new-to-us] Super Chromega D Dichroic II color 4x5 enlarger. Most happily, the room actually looks bigger since the revamp--my fear had been that the study/darkroom would end up being a space in which we'd be forevermore sentenced to bump into things as we sideways-walked through the space.

But here's the real deal: One of the many Flickr groups to which I belong asks the following of current and potential group members: "Are you addicted to cameras? Do you have the dreaded "GAS" [gear acquisition] syndrome?" Hmm. Provided that the category of "gear" can be extended to darkroom gear, as well as to acquiring and testing various kinds of film, paper, and chemicals, then yeah. I guess we have a really bad case of G.A.S.

Case in point: I was just kinda-sorted getting comfortable with what my (not-so-newly-acquired) Zero Image 45 pinhole was able to do when this puppy arrived late last week. [Needless to say, I was just kinda sorta getting used to what this camera could do when the new enlarger arrived and directed my attention away from photo-taking/making and toward study/darkroom redesign.

. . .oh yes. and this too. I was just kinda-sorta getting comfortable with the potentials of the revamped oatmeal pinhole cam when I decided that I needed one that was capable of making 8x10" paper negatives. [It may well be worth mentioning that this decision was, in fact made, just hours before we began the study/darkroom redesign.]

A busy couple of days? Indeed. And, again, I ask: Am I suffering from a bad case of G.A.S.? Indeed, I most certainly am.

At times like these, I think it helps to prioritize--to start cobbling together a to-do list of things I want, need or simply hope to do sometime in the near future. The trick is trying to stick to that list while resisting the urge to acquire still more stuff--especially stuff that I've little idea how to use. So, in no particular order, here is part of my [too much] to-do list:

1. finish the 8x10 pinhole. [I spray painted the insides of the box flat black last night. All that's left to do is to cut the hole for the pinhole, make the pinhole, affix photo corners to the inside of the box (this will help the photo paper stay in place during the exposure) and work out the exposure times.]
2. learn how to make contact prints (or positives) from the paper negatives I've been making
3. mix more Dektol [I've been going through this pretty quickly with all the paper negatives I've been making]
4. experiment with various techniques for toning prints [I've acquired but not yet found time to work with different kinds of toning chemicals]
5. experiment with making lith prints
6. experiment with various techniques for successfully achieving the sabattier effect [I've experimented a bit with the chromoskedasic chemicals but my results weren't at all consistent or, for that matter, very good. To this end, I'll need to add to my list mixing up some Solarol or something like Select Soft to facilitate the process]
7. familiarize myself with the new enlarger [the most daunting prospect on the list]
8. familiarize myself further with the Crown Graphic and making 4x5 film negatives [I've admittedly been in paper-negative-making mode]
9. familiarize myself further with developing 4x5 film negatives [I kinda sorta scratched the first batch of negatives while pulling them out of the new tank]
10. familiarize myself further with the new 4x5 developing tank
11. test the rest of the expired photo paper we recently acquired [realistically speaking, this will probably be the only item on the list I'll actually accomplish in the near future]

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