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2022-01-16 Memories of Another Country That is No More

 I've been working on another way to digitize my old negatives. 20 years ago, I was using a Nikon Coolscan. Looking at those files now, they're ok I guess. Better than nothing. I have an Epson V750, but especially for 35mm, those scans suck. I have access to a drum scanner, but those scans take so much time and work. In any case, I've come up with a method that I'm happy with. This isn't my technical blog, so I'm just gonna show you a few images from Czechoslovakia. Now that country was separated in the "velvet divorce," one of the few country split ups that was peaceful and civil. Back in 1991 when I first visited, Czechoslovakia had recently moved from a planned "socialist" economy towards a western style more capitalist democracy. Prague was a gritty, gray, yet beautiful city mostly visited only by foreigners from the East Block.  Czech out the gallery (isn't that punny?!) here . As always, words and pictures are copyright ©Michael Hal
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2022-01-15 Mountain View Cemetery

 Yesterday, I was itching to get out and do something interesting. For one I wanted to shoot large format and test out some techniques and ideas (more to come, perhaps?)  I went out with my 8x10" Toyo monorail, all my film holders loaded with very outdated film and headed out. But I also brought my Sony kit for digitals.  Right now I have some digital files to share. I developed four sheets of 8x10 yesterday and may go in and scan those and develop another four. For those not familiar with large format photography, it takes alot of time, money and patience. And I'm limited in all those areas.  In any case, if you are into this kind of thing, check out the gallery here . As always, all words and images are copyright ©Michael Halberstadt

Gigapixel Infrared Photos of Mills College in Oakland

For the last four years or so, I've been working in the Photo/Art department at Mills College in Oakland, California. Mills has been in the news due to financial problems and ultimately due to being purchased by Northeastern University. I have no idea how much longer I have a job there. So I thought it might be good to start documenting the beautiful campus while I am there.  So sometimes on breaks or my days off, I'll photograph around campus. Also, it's a good place to test certain gear. Prior to taking the job, I'd done a lot of stitched panoramas. I stopped, in part just because I ran out of bandwith. My job was supposed to be half time, but in reality it took more, which left little time for my other endeavors.  At some point in a discussion I ended up suggesting somebody try stitched panos to increase resolution. And I figured it was time to pull out my trusty old Gigapan. But not to make things too mundane, I thought why not try and combine stitched panos and my

Xray Film, Ringlights and Flowers

  snapshot of 8x10 negative  At my school darkroom where I work I came in on my day off to play. I've had an idea of something I've wanted to try for a long time. The idea would take a few things I can't easily put together. Patience, time, room to photograph, and room to develop right next door. Yesterday the stars aligned. Here's the deal. Xray film is cheap. It has a unique look due to it's orthochromatic character. Ortho films aren't sensitive to red light. So two factors should be clear: you can develop under a red safelight, kinda like paper. And that any red in your motiv will be rendered dark. I recently bought a beautiful Componon-S factory mounted in a shutter from a friend. Normally lenses of this sort are used for enlarging. But such lenses are also well suited for closeups. This lens has a 49mm filter thread, and I have the adapter to my cheap Vivitar ring flash.  What I ended up doing was setting up two large format cameras: a 4x5 and

The End of Covid .... well sorta

 Well the Covid restrictions are dying down here in the US at least. And as such I'm out and about photographing again.  Here are a few photos from my latest foray out and about in Silicon Valley:   Here's a then and now shot: the Uber self driving "garage" in SF was taken in 2016, the Google "garage" in 2021. Both photos were taken just a few feet apart from one another. My suspicion is that Google bought out the Uber location and knocked out the walls. Uber's Self Driving "Garage" in 2016 Google's San Francisco "Garage" right next door in 2021 Some other self driving car observations: Chinese company WeRide self driving vehicle spotted on the Streets of Silicon Valley Hyundai testing at Pony.ai Pony.ai testing Hyundai on the Streets of Silicon Valley Nvidia Testing a Ford Fusion on the Streets of Silicon Valley And lastly, here's a few photos of Apple's Project Titan: Apple's Self Driving Car Testing on the Streets o

Death and Taxes

 On May 15th I had an appointment to scout out a photo location for a future shoot at San Francisco's Sutro Baths. After that recon mission I planned to head down to Colma - "City of the Dead" planning to shoot some large format shots.  I brought my little digital kit, and also filled the back with an 8x10, and 4x5 Toyo monorail kits which took up most of the room in the back of my "cheese wedge" (Gen II Prius.) Normally 15 April is tax day in the US, but due to the pandemic, this year tax day was shifted a month late to 15 May (or actually the next work day, but forget that since that kills my title of "Death and Taxes".) So that afternoon I spent a lovely day at Colma's Italian cemetery. A few things struck me on my visit. First off, how quiet and peaceful it was. I only encountered one other living soul in the couple hours I was there. The weather was perfect from my point of view- cool and overcast with the sun popping out now and again. I'

From the Archives: Above Silicon Valley

 Well, it's still Pandemic time here. So I have fewer opportunities to create more material. When I can I'm hoping to highlight some of my favorite content from the good old days before the attack of the Orange Monster and the resulting disaster that keeps us cowering inside for a year. So here are some photos of Silicon Valley from above. These photos are a combination of photos from a few highrises I was able to get access to, as well as from the hills on either side of The Valley. Enjoy! Thanks for viewing! (all images copyright M Halberstadt)