Bastille Market, Paris, Sept 2016
Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776
“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
Washington, D. C. 3 July 2009
Lake Wheeler Car Show April 2010
1958 Chevrolet Corvette
Lake Wheeler Car Show – 24 April 2010
Driving home, I’ve often looked for this long abandoned garden.
I made photographs in June of 2014. Sedge and Pine have taken over.
And I can hear Tift Merrit, singing about the view from her window in Raleigh
Singing about self and soul
East Garner Road, Wake County, North Carolina
This started simply and innocently. I just wanted to add a Full Fame camera body to my work. And I did. But of course I needed to add to my Full Frame capable lenses. And I did. But they are big, heavy and hard to hold for hours, so a tripod is needed.
But I was already using my tripod in rear of theater with a really long lens. So to use my new to me Full Frame 70-200 with the same Field of View as my APS-C 50-135 I’d need a second tripod. Which I had. Sort of. In the back of the closet.
Here’s the story – in pictures.
Deployment Day To Afghanistan
Camp LeJeune, North Carolina 5 Feb 2011
Try saying that three time fast!
So when we last left our hero (moi), he’d just sort of figured out how to project a pattern with a strobe. But there is more to the story!
12/12/12: I had an epiphany after making a photograph in theater and realizing I had no idea why, as much as instinctively liked it, it looked as it did. Which led to an adult dose of reality about how much I didn’t understand about light. And then I discovered the Kodak Reference For Cinematographers and the work of George Hurrell and Studio Harcourt
It took awhile, but I learned about and accumulated enough Made in Hollywood, Mole Richardson Tungsten Fresnel’s to make a portrait. Four 2801 Mini’s or “Inkies” and a couple of 2351 “Midgets”. I could do key, fill, rim, double rim and back with lights to spare. Okay, you don’t need that many but I fell into a bargain.
And I had all the ways to modify the light, starting with the internal Flood to Spot adjust and then left to right below: Color with a Gel, Reduce size with a Snoot, Shape with Barn Doors and Dim with a Scrim
But I didn’t know I could project a pattern or gobo. Until, I found that Mole made Focal Spot lenses for their fresnels! And they worked like the shutters and pattern holders in theater ellipsoids / lekos! Movie sets are like theaters!
So I found one that fits my Minis / Inkies. It has a rear condenser lens and an adjustable focus lens. Just unscrew an accessory clip, remove the Fresnel lens and mount it. Looks likes this.
This is old legacy stuff and Mole no longer make the Pattern/Gobo Holder or Matte Sets (think manual Iris). The Sales Manager at Mole in Hollywood was kind enough to send me the original engineering drawings for both. Which helped a lot. I found that an ETC Source Four Mini E Size was a perfect fit. And someone in the NYC Barbizon Lighting Warehouse found a set of original Mattes. It all looks like this:
So that works okay with a controlled, ambient light session. But 200 Watt Fresnel’s are anemic compared to strobes. And you can’t fit a strobe into an Inkie like a 2K Watt Junior. So the strobe has to go outside the focal Spot.
Back to the parts bin for these, again for these bits:
Plus some 1/8″ offset Mirror Clips and couple of knobs from a speed ring To make this:
All this was before it occurred to make to adapt the theater ellipsoids. Which are a LOT larger. The E Size pattern of this focal spot compared to the theater B size is well, it looks like this:
Today UPS delivered a Triple Riser Wheeled Junior Stand that will handle 60 lbs to 12 ft.. Which is a factor of three for my Altman Zooms. It was an open box deal and I’m pretty sure its going for a studio test drive next weekend.
It’s a never ending story. Chapter next, soon.
It started innocently. I wanted to project a Gobo pattern with a photo strobe onto a background. The entry level projector was this. And of course, no longer available. Which made me determined to find one.
It didn’t take long surfing the web o sphere to find these had been sold for a long time by different brands:
So I bought one branded as Smith Victor and probably the last one in stock at Adorama in January of 2019 for $82.95. The picture is wrong but the item was right. P/N on the box is Smith Victor 401275, non existent on their web site.
It’s simply two nested metal boxes with a pair of plastic Fresnel lenses and a Pattern Holder or Gobo slot and a gel slot. To focus, just slide the outer box in or out. The plastic mount was meant to fit around a small strobe and be secured by tightening a pair of threaded knobs. The pattern holder is sized for a standard B Size Gobo, the most common size found in theaters.
This is what it looked like out of the box. And it mounted unmodified on my strobes okay. I did however use a Paul C Buff Digibee with an Chip On Board LED Modeling lamp so I wouldn’t melt the plastic Fresnel lenses and still be able to focus the pattern.
And it worked! The Circus Tent gobo went in the Pattern Holder in front of a yellow gel that was in front of a piece of Tuff Frost Diffusion to eliminate the hot spot from the round flash tube. And Covid cancelled the show.
So while pandemic home bound, I decided to improve the safety and utility of the mounting. With these bits:
To create this:
But that’s not the end of the story, only the beginning. It’s my Gobo Gateway. To be continued…………
To be Continued…
After buying pre-pandemic tickets, I still get marketing e-Mails.
Marché Bastille, just behind my lens, was a favorite place of my sweetheart.
She thought, like Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina”, that “Paris always a good idea”.
Sometimes, you need a little Paris. Juste un peu.
Recycled and added the original fresnel reflector to fit a Paul C Buff monolight (instead of using a Buff Umbrella Reflector which got used on Project Z). That means I cut a hole in it with a Dremel tool!
Here’s the bare mono light without the reflector in Spot and Flood positions.
Here’s the reflector added, in Spot and Flood positions.
Here’s what it looks like in use, Full Spot and Full Flood. Getting a little bit of flash tube shape in Spot since the Buff Digibee doesn’t have a diffuser like the Buff Einstein but it’s smaller so I get full travel. I’ll probably fix with a piece of Tuff Frost.
I think the light dates from the 1960’s. Mole Richardson moved a few years ago and a lot of old paper records got tossed. The “Ren Mar” stencil on the barn doors means it was at the original DesiLu Studios. Probably used on set for Golden Girls, I Spy and bunch of others. Last week, I used it in studio in two different setups with a dancer as a fill and a key. I’ll post some of those when I get client approval. Meanwhile here are two images made with this as a key light. In the B&W image, it was the only light
Below is my original post from January of 2020
Finished bracket today to swap out the original 2K lamp for a Paul C Buff Einstein in a Mole Richardson 412.
Using this 10″ Fresnel will be a new ball game compared to a half dozen 3″ Mole Midgets & Minis for portraits.
Got to test drive the modified light last week. I’ll post some client images when I get approval.
I forgot there was a Black Pro Mist Filter 2 on this camera body when I made these before strike and load out today. Day before, I hauled out a full cart of gear. Really! But three days of discovering everything that doesn’t work was good. Started to feel alive.
Today, UPS brought my eBay purchase of an Altman Shakespeare Zoom ellipsoidal. Shutters work fine, need to buy a pattern holder for gobos and an iris.
This is partly disassembled with the halogen lamp assembly removed. I’ll cut off the casting above the gray tape to mount a strobe. That will be exponentially brighter than the original lamp, for a 1/1000th of second, which is all I need. Bringing a little bit of Theater to the Studio. Maybe even a little Hollywood.
Today, it’s cold ashes from a lot of months ago. Flanked by windows that frame dull copper winter Beech leaves against a pale twilight. But twenty nine years ago…
If you’re home life is hopelessly miserable and you’re avoiding it after work on a Friday by heading into a neighborhood saloon and the parking lot is blocked by a green Buick stuck in snow due to a trunk full of firewood that eventually has to hand carried to a third floor apartment … it could happen.
And it lasted forever. As much as anyone has forever.
Flâner is a French word with no accurate English translation. It roughly means to wander without direction but be part of a place. To discover what you didn’t know you were looking for. The place to do it is Paris. And Le Marais, where our apartment was, is heaven. We’d explored Place des Vosges and the part of Musee Carnavalet still open before renovation began. And planned to attend the free concert there the following afternoon. After walking for hours, Place Sainte-Catherine on a perfect late September afternoon was our resting place. Lunch was a proper two hour, Parisian dejeuener.
There were Moms and Dads with kids and tourists and a very good busker playing violin. And lovers, both young and like us, old. It was perfect. It was our “La Vie En Rose”.
There are two now, a much newer one at the Bastille and this, designed by Charles Garnier and completed in 1875. It provided the story line and myth for “The Phantom of The Opera”, including his reserved box. There is a lake beneath, created to drain wet land during construction. And a woman was killed in her seat by a fallen piece of chandelier. Before Ballet Russe resurrected ballet here, the balconies were places to be seen. Today, the Paris Ballet is extraordinary. It is the only ballet I have seen as an audience and with my sweet heart. That and a dinner afterward, overlooking a Parisian boulevard, was the last memory we shared.
That scene where two people meet by chance and both instantly know they will spend their lives together? It’s not make believe, it’s real. Happened to us nearly 29 years ago. We had to say goodbye last night at UNC Medical Center, Chapel Hill. Our spirits are still interwoven and will be, always.