Posts Tagged ‘ polaroid type 55 ’

Two Black & White Still Lifes

Thistle 16

Thistle 16

One thing I truly love about large format photography is doing still lifes. I It may look simple but I’ve found still lifes to be hard work. Everything has to be perfect and its always a challenge to get there.

Thistle 16 was taken on Ilford FP4+ film, 4×5 sheet. I developed the negative in Pyrocat-HD developer using the extreme minimal agitation technique. My “studio” was set up in the backyard, draping a spare dark cloth over the grill for the background. The sun was high and to the right rear.

Rose 2006

Rose 2006

Rose 2006 was done indoors on the dining room table, natural light, using Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative film.

Hope you enjoy!

Emporia Artist Walk & Flint Hills Landscapes

I will be located in the Pyramid Pizza building, 11 East 6th, downtown Emporia. The Emporia Artist Walk is Saturday, 18 April from 10 am to 4 pm.

With me at Pyramid Pizza will be Rachel Ferrara, a finely talented up-and-coming young photographer. Rachel is Fine Arts student at Emporia State University majoring in photography. I made this video of her senior project show last January.

I finished mounting the big Flint Hills prints. Quite the project to get that big triptych mounted. The final matted size is 40×20 inches. My Emporia¬† Artist Walk display will feature Black & White Flint Hills landscapes from Chase County, Greenwood County, Wabaunsee County, and Geary County.

Hope to see you at the Artist Walk.

On Road CR-2, Greenwood County

On Road CR-2, Greenwood County

Near Texaco Hill, Chase County

Near Texaco Hill, Chase County

A Different Look at the Flint Hills

On Road CR-2 Greenwood County

Near Texaco Hill, Greenwood County

Tully Hill Road, Geary County

Tully Hill Road, Geary County

Hard to believe that I haven’t updated this Blog since October. It’s been a busy year for everything except photography it seems. But, I haven’t been completely lazy.

My latest project on the Flint Hills makes use of multiple prints to form a panoramic display. Using two prints is called diptych (pronounced dip-tick). Using three prints is called a triptych (with similar pronunciation). (People with ArtSpeak  inherently know these pronunciations and meanings, but I was a farm boy and had to look them up.) Using this approach for panoramic landscape departs from the classic construction of a -tych. In the classic construction, each print may be entirely different yet the sum tells a story. I guess one could stretch that classic definition and say that the panorama tells a story about the landscape more adequately than single photographs.

For this technique, I use individual 4×5 negatives and make individual prints. After processing and drying, the prints are trimmed to match, then dry mounted on mat board.

Its really exciting to use multiple 11×14 prints. That brings the image up to a size that’s more in keeping with the feel of the Flint Hills. Using 8×10 prints for an 8×20 diptych or 10x 24 triptych is also nice. The 8×20 format is a standard banquet-camera size, the next step up from the 7×17 format that I use.

I’m participating in the Emporia Art Walk this year on Saturday April 18th. My goal is to have several of these panoramas on display and for sale. Hope to see you there.

Old Stone Fort – Flint Hills

Old Stone FOrt, Wabaunsee County

Old Stone Fort, Wabaunsee County

No one that I’ve talked to knows much about the The Old Stone Fort. Located in southwestern Wabaunsee County, Kansas, this old building sits atop a small hill overlooking the old Trail Drover’s Road and a stream crossing. Privately owned, it serves as a convenient place to feed cattle who are grazing on the rich Flint Hills grass. Going west from Volland on Old K-10, find Trail Drovers Road on the right and follow it for a few miles. You should some to the Old Stone Fort.

My guess is that originally this was a Cavalry outpost for Fort Riley. There is also a stable, just to the left of where I was standing. Both buildings were not built for ranch or farm service; they don’t appear to have had the amenities for permanent occupancy of either humans or livestock. The location makes sense as a good place to station a detachment of Horse Soldiers. Trail Drover’s Road was the main cattle trail in the area for driving the herds to the railroad, some six miles away at Volland. The nearby stream crossing was probably important for the cattle drives too. And, the stream could supply water for the men and horses stationed there. All this is just my rank speculation of course.

The negative for Old Stone Fort was taken on 4×5 Polaroid Type 55 sheet film. I loved that film! One more sigh for its demise.

Prints of the Old Stone Fort are available for sale through my APUG Portfolio. Please contact me via e-mail or a Blog comment if you are interested.

All photographs copyright Alex Hawley

New Black & White Still Life

Skull #1 by Alex Hawley

Skull #1 by Alex Hawley

This may be the obligatory Polaroid Type 55 cow skull photo. Seems everyone does one but that’s not why I did it.

Both elements shown came from the backyard; the wood (which is a walkway I built years ago) from my yard, the skull is from the neighbor’s. The skull is an authentic Kansas Flint Hills cattle skull.

Those of us that used Polaroid Type 55 film have been crying our eyes out ever since Polaroid’s demise earlier this year. I bought five boxes and swore I was going to put it to good use. A final fling I suppose.

Gearhead info: 8×10 Deardorff field camera with 4×5 reducing back. Schneider 305 mm G-Claron lens, Polaroid 545 film holder, and Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative film. This scan was made from an 8×10 enlarged print on Kentmere Kentona fiber paper.

Weston’s Shells

Our merry band of intrepid photographers from the Lawrence Photo Alliance traveled to Kansas City today for a tour of the photography exhibit at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. One of the highlights of the tour for me was to see, first-hand, Edward Weston’s legendary still life “Shells“.

My remark to anyone in the vicinity was “Time to make the obligatory study of an authentic Weston”. After all, Weston is the primal Fine Art photographer, the gold standard to which all others are compared. This print, “Shells” is one of the legendary still lifes from the 1920s.

So what makes it so great? Well, for one thing, its perfect. Perfect in composition, Weston’s trademark. Its simple, which it should be. The tones and lighting are Weston’s choice for his interpretation of the form. These could be varied, but what we see is what Weston decided on. It works. I’m glad I had the opportunity to study it.

My own attempts at still life photographer have been meager, but I try. I’ve found it to be the most challenging form of subject that I’ve tried. Maybe Weston did to. Perhaps his most famous work, “Pepper #30” was reported to be his thirtieth attempt at the photograph. In this example shown below, I did ten takes before I got what I liked. And its still no Weston. (Still Life #10 taken with Polaroid Type 55 film, natural lighting).

Many Thanks to Dan Coburn for organizing and arranging the outing.

Still Life #10″ by Alex Hawley