Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Instax 210 Zen

Fuji Instax 210 without film (again!), image featuring D.T. Suzuki's book, Andrew D. Barron ©1/23/11
Not long ago, I treated myself to an audio lecture from Joseph Campbell. Mr. Campbell was friends with Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki. It is important to recognize that the human response and need for mythology is a psychological discussion rather than more volatile arenas. In this talk of the cultural significance of mythology, my ears perked as he mentions photography.

Ophir sunset, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/20/11Now I just want to speak about the phases in the development of any mythology; how does it start and what happens to it? I think that one could say this: that all of the high cultures and low cultures and primitive cultures and charming simple cultures and great big enormous ones have grown grown out of myths. They are founded on myths and what these myths have given is inspiration for aspiration.

The economic interpretation of history is for the birds.

Economics is itself is a function of aspiration. It's what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works, and people who don't have any aspirations, you know the problem of a businessman who can't get people to want anything. It's the want, it's the aspiration, and what is wanted is not simply one two or three meals a day and a bed. That's not enough. It's got to be much more than that to make a life. Now where do these aspirations come from? They come from a very wonderful childlike thing: fascination. Now if you wanted to make money today, I think, I'm no economist, but I'll bet, the thing to do would be to invest your money in something like cameras; things that people play with, things that they're fascinated by.

These fascinations are the creations of new activities.

Joseph Campbell, Myths Give Inspiration for Aspiration.
Recorded March 1, 1967 at the Cooper Union, New York City. Series 1 in the collected lectures

I'm a few days behind in dealing with exposures on my dslr. I posted the Hipstamatic image at right on 1/21/11. Below, what the 'good camera' saw as a 3 shot photomerge, and closer to my vision for capturing the scene. As Brian Reagan says, "They're both good. They're both . . . favorites."
Sunset, Ophir beach, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/25/11
Last night (Monday), I caught the sunset with the 3G camera. The best camera is the one you have. Two exposures stitched:
Sunset, Ophir beach, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/20/11

Today is Tuesday and the light was soft and 'doughy'. It was interesting and this photograph caught what was.
Nesika Beach fence, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/25/11
I am going to send some Instax prints out for high resolution scanning at DSI ($15) and see if I can get away with 8x10 enlargements. The quality and character of the instant film is exactly what I had in mind for this shot, well before I ever heard of the Instax 210.

The valley, slowly carved by Euchre Creek, embraced the falling rays of light. With a bored yawn, the sun painted over man's industry affectionately.
The Old, Old House, Euchre Creek Road, Andrew D. Barron ©1/19/11
We live in the city of dreams
We drive on the highway of fire
Should we awake and find it gone,
Remember this, our favorite town.

Talking Heads • City of Dreams

If these 236% enlargements work, I know you'll want one. Technical framework: for an 8"x10"@300dpi one needs 60,960 pixels on the 8" side. This means the Instax scan will need a working resolution ~1800 dpi. In one test, I could not discern between jpg compression levels at 67%, 75% and 82% on 4x6 test prints. More importantly, I've been unable to evaluate dpi precision with Kodak gallery. My suspicion has always been that digital photo labs perform an-across-the-board resampling down to some maximum. You will likely NEVER get to the bottom of these critical variables from Kodak Gallery. Suppose this max is 300dpi. Sending a 500dpi image is no different than sending a 300dpi in terms of printed dpi. However, YOU are more likely to be careful when resampling. Knowing if/what this maximum is would conserve internet bandwidth not to mention the performance improvements on your own computer. Wouldn't it be nice to know these simple variables? But then, we're talking about the company that made their own spool for 120 film and called it 620. They also superseded a functional small-negative (110) format to introduce an horrific 15-frame Disc format. In this change, the already too small negative of 17mm x 13mm of 110 was supplanted by 11mm x 8mm and NINE fewer exposures. Lab processing accommodations to compensate for this tiny negative were not enforced. Did the people fall for it? Take a look at your photos from 86-95. Did the people love the Disc camera? I haven't heard. I discuss some of these stories in a previous blog.

The trick when dealing with analog scans in Photoshop is to have the 'photograph' being worked on. If PS adjustments accentuate the 'scan quality' then you're on the wrong road.

I have a black and white print project looming. I was strongly encouraged to try out Nik Software's Silver EFEX pro for b+w conversion. Take a gander at this 'right now' Shutterbug pre-press article interview with Eric Luden about the enthusiastic state of black and white photographic prints from digital images. Looks like a long, black and white night ahead for me!

I have few easy questions about adding elements to this blog's layout if there are any CSS people out there.

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