The Gray Room

Last week my friend John Gray kindly invited us along for a test shoot at his new studio, The Gray Room, in Bridgeton. So with Meg modelling and Sarah also shooting, we went along for a look.

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Bang!

Shari came back into the studio for with a bag of interesting stuff. She knows me well enough to know that interesting is a hat, a corset and a gun with a Bang! flag in it. As always she was immensely patient with the interminable faffing that accompanies me trying to find the shots that I know are there. This is what we made.

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Milky

On Monday I shot Milky for the first time in a few years, and took a couple of infrared images with my old Nikon D100. Looking at these images one thing is abundantly clear. Equipment really doesn’t matter.

The model matters. The light matters. The idea matters. The execution matters. But the camera? My D100 is 15 years old. It has a resolution of 6 megapixels. It was good in its day, but that day was over a decade ago now. The lens was a mid range Nikkor zoom, the 24-85mm f/2.8-f/4 AFD.

Any DSLR you buy now will be better than this setup. OK, mine is infrared converted (a simple internal low-pass filter change), which is why I still use it, and I really should replace it. But it takes images like this one, and that’s hard to dislike.

The moral of the story is don’t worry about your gear. I have better cameras and far better lenses. They don’t take better photographs.  

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Taking shape

I’ve now glued sides and the bed onto the rear standard, and after a bit of a panic about the orientation of the crossbar on the top, I’m happy that everything is lining up as it should. The holes for the focusing spindle had to be enlarged slightly with a 4mm drill, but that appears to be by design as it allows for a good friction fit. I still don’t have enough clamps.

 

 

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Clamps

Gluing has begun. First lesson: buy more clamps. This’ll be much quicker with more clamps.

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Bulldog 8×10

So after many years of procrastination I’ve finally decided to get into 8×10 photography, primarily to shoot tintypes and wet plate collodion.

After hunting for a vintage or second hand modern camera on eBay for a while, I decided to go with the Bulldog 8×10 kit. Vintage cameras tend to use (by modern standards) odd plate sizes which would make finding suitable film and plate holders more difficult, and modern gear is just too expensive for my level of experience.

The Bulldog is made from laser cut MDF, but so far it looks quite promising. The bellows and focusing screen (the important bits) are good. I just need to buy some glue and clamps and decided how to finish the ‘wood.’

More posts to come as the project develops, assuming I don’t glue myself to something.  

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