Been spending a lot of time around Lakeland GA the last few days. Banks Lake is currently being drawn down as a vegetation control measure so it’s been fun breaking out the waders and trekking across the swampy areas.
Anyone with just a passing interest in photography or American history is familiar with Dorothea Lange. The depression era photographer has always been one of my favorites and is best known for taking this iconic photograph of a destitute pea picker in Nipomo California in 1936.
What I didn’t know until this morning was the following year Lange’s work with the Farm Securities Administration, one of F.D.R’s new deal programs that dealt with poverty in rural America, brought her to the south where she documented turpentine industry.
In July of 1937 she produced the following photographs right here in Valdosta.
I’ve had a Calumet 4×5 view camera lying around for the past few years but have sadly never gotten around to using it. It’s an all metal monorail view camera mostly likely produced in the mid to late 60’s. Calumet began producing this model in 1964. It has two lenses. A Schneider Kreuznach 5.6/150mm Symmar (convertible to 12/256mm by removing the rear element). The mounting ring is engraved with “Made in Germany West”, a reminder of the era this equipment was made in. I also have a 6.3/200mm Yamasaki Tele-Congo.
So after 3-4 for years of storage I finally order some film and begin to get to know this fantastic camera.
Before ordering the film though I used a dark room to test the camera for light tightness (by placing a flash light inside the camera and looking for light leaks on the outside). I also checked the shutter speeds of my lenses for accuracy. I’ll write more on these topics in a future post but I was able to determine that I had a working and ready camera so I ordered up some Arista EDU Ultra 100 film, Rodinal and fixer.
Above is one of the first test results. I’m very pleased with the results and the resolution, even with my simple scanning setup, and am looking forward to learning a great deal from this camera.
Going to be having some fun freezing objects in blocks of ice over the next few days. This is the result of a quick first attempt. The trick now is to reduce the number of air bubbles in ice.
Video of the setup. A stainless frying pan was used as the mold. 3 layers of ice were built up one at a time to encase the leaf.