The fuckup elves

Finally found the time and energy to mix chemicals and set everything up in the back yard to take a few pictures. The fuckup elves were out in force today and things went wrong in both old and entirely new ways so I learned quite a bit. Took forever to figure out a good exposure. My basic problem is usually hurrying and today was no exception. I should have just taken the time, made a test plate to figure out exposure, but I thought I could skip that step by guessing, which didn’t work so I ended up wasting more plates than necessary.

It was very sunny today, and I am beginning to think overcast days are better for wet plate. Four finally, sort of, turned out and are posted below, from best to worst (IMO).

I am beginning to get tired of shooting pictures of flowers, and looking forward to going somewhere and doing landscapes or portraits.

Kerria japonica, full sun, 4 seconds at f11. 13x18cm (5x7 in) black aluminum

Kerria japonica, full sun, 4 seconds at f11. 13x18cm (5×7 in) black aluminum

The photo above is the kerria japonica bush in my back yard. I have always loved kerry bushes; my uncle, who lived next door, had one near the hole in his wall the honeybees flew into, and I spent many hours sitting there watching them. I love how this picture turned out. It has fewer specks in person, a lot of the dirt is from the scanner, I think.

Bush, full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm black aluminum.

Bush, full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm black aluminum.

I was hoping the contrast would have turned out a little stronger with this bush (above), I like the patterns and the potential for creepiness. (Actually, the more I look at it, the better I like it.)

Roses (dry), aluminum foil background, full sun. f11, 4 seconds. Wet plate collodion on black aluminum, 13x18cm (5x7 inches).

Roses (dry), aluminum foil background, full sun. f11, 4 seconds. Wet plate collodion on black aluminum, 13x18cm (5×7 inches).

This picture is my first experiment with aluminum foil. I was hoping it would turn out blurrier in the background, but I guess 4 seconds were not enough. I have seen photos by other photographers who move aluminum foil around during the exposure for a misty or smokey or glow effect. In this picture, it just looks like a piece of aluminum foil stretched between two rods…

Roses (dry), full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm (5x7in) black aluminum.

Roses (dry), full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm (5x7in) black aluminum.

A picture of roses in a vase a friend invented – it is basically a plastic collar you screw onto a pickle jar and voila, vase. I think it’s brilliant. The vase. The photo less so. Oh well.Fail better, right? Thanks, fuckup elves!

To do

Knock alarm clock onto floor [x]
Hit ‘on’ button on coffee machine [x]
Realize your wife had already turned it on, so you just turned it back off, so turn it back on [x]
Make coffee [x]
Mop kitchen floor and bathroom floor [x]
Get reprimanded by wife for doing a half-assed job [x]
Check outside temperature, put tortoise out, saying, “You are a very naughty tortoise” [x]
Mop kitchen floor a second time [x]
Write in journal a little [x]
Take shower, get dressed [x]
Go to store for cat food [x]
Drive kid to school [x]
Drive to work [x]
Take a walk at lunch time but fill pocket with peanuts first [x]
When the crow swoops by your ear, feel gratitude at being alive so you can hear the whoosh of a crow flying close [x]
Give crow peanuts [x]
Observe crow hiding peanuts by poking them down into grass and carefully covering them with leaves [x]
Stand there a long time watching the crow, which is big and fat and sleek. Also grey, so grey crow most likely, c. cornix [x]
Buy a sandwich at the store [x]
Give the crow more peanuts until it stops even hiding them and just stares at you, stares you down, then give it part of your sandwich and watch as it throws away the tomatoes and lettuce, throws them with great dislike, and tastes the mozzarella carefully, and flies away with the roll [x]
Wonder why slain and hanged. Were those the only causes of death in ancient Scandinavia? [x]
Develop a theory of the multiverse based on choice, with alternate universes bubbling up like foam, branching off from each other with every choice, a few conscious, most not, most not even imagined or suspected [x]
Think about the foam you used to see on blades of grass in the field in early summer, when the grass was still green, put there by some insect [x]
Realize you just created another universe just now, one in which you actually did think about the grass of your childhood, another where you did not [x]
The crow, however, did not create an alternate universe in which he eats a peanut instead of hiding it, because even though the number of alternate universes is infinite and growing larger all the time, in none of these does the crow eat a peanut, that’s how tired it is of peanuts [x]
Go back to work [x]

There was a strange baby that sang at midnight

A long line of strangers’ cars in the darkness, headlights off, idling or moving slowly. A little moonlight. People walking beside and amongst the cars.
Strangers all.
Near you, a strange woman has a baby and a lot of other things to carry. Maybe she is pulling a wagon. You hold the baby for her.
You want to comfort her and the baby, so you comfort her by comforting the baby.
You hold it gently to yourself, protecting it, and hum.
There in the night, among strangers, you hear a beautiful noise and it takes a while to realize it is the baby singing.
The night is quiet, people murmur, engines idle, tires grind on gravel. Footsteps and your tinnitus whining and whirring and jingling.
The baby’s song rises above all of it like wind whistling through a canyon.
You share a look with the mother. How wonderfully it sings, your eyes say.
How wonderfully the strange baby sings in the night.
What is all this, you ask the dream.
The necessary coexistence of the strange and the beautiful, says the dream.