Monday, December 29, 2008

Good work if you can get it: Rosa's Photo Corner on Houston Press

Friend, music editor, and all-around nice guy Chris Gray gave me a "job". While it only pays in gratitude, at least it's good incentive to develop quicker. Here is the third installment of Rosa's Photo Corner.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Controlling chemical temperature in your photolab/kitchen sink

I'm working on a little experiment. It's been a few days of wet, warm, dreary weather (for Christmas). It's been in the 70s with 100% humidity since the 23rd. Cooler weather will prevail later tonight, but my chemicals have been stewing on the kitchen counter and are clocking in tonight at 76 degrees fahrenheit.

Instead of playing with my frozen plastic cubes, I'm conducting this one-time experiment for all of us home developers living in balmy climes: How long will it take to reduce 32 oz. of liquid from 76 degrees down to 68 degrees (the temperature of my tap water at the moment) in the fridge (39 degrees)? Drum roll please...

After 36 minutes I re-checked my tap water and found it had gone up to just under 70 degrees at the same point at which my chemicals are reading just a hair over 70 degrees. Close enough! I'm going to start cooking!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ADOX film and developer

I picked up some Adox CHS 100 speed film ($3.99) and Adox ATM 49 developer ($5.99) from Freestyle. It was advertised as having the same old school formulation they've had since the 50s. So of course Weegee, Jr. here had to get some. [Shoot! I just went over there and noticed that Freestyle is out of stock until mid-January].

The developer itself was easy to mix. You dissolve the crystals from one paper packet into 900 ml of water which turns it pink, then you dissolve the crystals from the other paper packet which turns it yellow, then you fill the beaker to 1000 ml. Because I'm a complete dumbass at maff I was convinced that a 1:2 ratio meant that I'd have a total volume of 2 liters. And even if I were correct that I'd end up with 2000 millimeters of liquid, how the hell I was gonna squeeze all that into a 1,850 ml container makes me question how I've gotten this far in life without having blown myself up. So from the get-go I fugged up. Look elsewhere for accuracy in using this product, but for Rosa purposes my first test roll I developed in a soup diluted 1:.85. Then I cooked my film for an amount of time arrived at using the traditional time-honored technique of guessing. In this case that would be a well rounded 10 minutes. Since I couldn't find a suggestion of how to agitate, I just agitated for 10 seconds every minute.

For consistency I took all these pictures on an Olympus Trip AF 50 - a camera so dumbed down that you can't even find what f-stop the damn thing sports on the Olympus' site. Let's take a guess that it shoots at a touristy F7 or F11, shall we? [Note: Found it! It's actually F5.6 per Freestyle's paper catalog.]


Adox prides itself on grays. I'll vouch for that. No highs or lows here, the volume is lowered just enough to eliminate any humming or distortion. Nice.

By the way, this is part of the Imperial Sugar Land complex that will be torn down mostly to make way for some kind of bullshit entertainment mall hybrid thing.

I shot this one straight into the setting winter sun:

That's pretty dense. Especially given that I didn't use a red filter. If you shoot alot of wide open sky, give it a shot. I think I read somewhere that Salgao or however you spell his name uses it. Makes sense.

Here are some nighttime shots.
The kids.

The best dressed bar back in Houston. Or at least at Nostuoh.

Big Star recycles.

So basically, you're safe using Adox 100 with a puny flash if you shoot at speed, and shoot people so that at most two thirds of their standing bodies are in frame. Standing far enough away to get the whole body in frame and you're subject may as well have a cloak over their heads. Too dark.


I don't know if I want to try pushing this film to 200 ISO. I really like that the faces are bright without blowing out and that there is good detail in black leather. Since that's alot of what I shoot, that means Adox 100 is a keeper.

Now before you think this is cheap developer remember that using a dilute solution means that it goes down the drain after each use. And I do so with much trepidation. This developer is highly toxic. And unlike Fixer, I can't take it to my local school dark room to dispose of. Gulp! I'm gonna test another roll with D76 and see if I can't get similar results.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DW002 The Born Liars 7" out now, you crazy person, you!

DW002 THE BORN LIARS 7" - "Don't Tell Me, I Know" b/w "I Don't Know". Born Liars are master songwriters and superior performers. "Don't Tell Me" is a fine example of their raucous rock and roll output. And check out their ripping version of Stevie Wonder's "I Don't Know". I've been singing their praises for years and am proud they asked me to release this. If you know who Wilko Johnson is just go ahead and plunk down your four bucks or whatever.

For this premier issue, I did a run of 300 on heavy weight vinyl (last of its kind, thank you petroleum prices). The cover is on cardstock and the short story by Eric Springer is pasted over a photo-collage of the band and printed onto glossy paper as an insert.

Available at:

Sound Exchange, Houston, Texas
Vinal Edge, Houston, Texas

Death Exclamations Mailorder

The Born Liars are in their element live so be sure to check them out this Saturday, November 8th at Rudyards. They will be opening for Mr. Lazy Cowgirl himself Pat Todd AND The Hickoids! Miss that and you can catch them at Noise and Smoke on NEXT Saturday the 15th.

Oh and if you haven't yet experienced the life-altering blogomania You Can't Be Metal and Be Comfortable lived and recorded by our very own superscribe, you best get over there and start living the life you know you deserve...

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Ditchwater Empire Shrinks, Grows...

Ditchwater Zine #2 The "Fuck You" Issue is almost gone. Ten remain "under the glass" at Sound Exchange, 1846 Richmond Avenue. Sorry none remain for mailorder.

Thanks so much for your patronage. Look out for Ditchwater Zine #3 this fall.

Next Up: Ditchwater Records. For all your Houston punk and rock and roll needs...

The above fantastic label logo by Mr. Sawblade himself, Daniel Shaw. Label text will be by legendary Montrose poet-at-large and personal muse Eric Springer.

See Ditchwater Record Label's up and coming catalog at:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ditchwater Zine #2


7:00 TO 9:00PM



Saturday, August 2, 2008

Extra Golden

Thrill Jockey artists Extra Golden can't be beat if you're looking for an Afro-pop dance party. They played here last month at The Orange Show. They'll be playing NY in August. Look them up!

Christina Carter, musician

Christina and I have been friends since we found each other at the housewarming party of the legendary punk rock woman, Dorothy Dean in the early nineties. We gabbed in a corner and became fast and furious friends. When she called looking for some promo shots earlier this year, I came running. Christina Carter is based in Austin, Texas these days...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation 2008: Terrastock

Here are some negative scans of the Terrastock part of our summer vacation. This was all done on consumer brand C41 black and white film and scanned at a CVS in Louisville, Kentucky where the festival took place. They were all taken on my trusty Nikon FA with a 50mm/1.4 or my 24mm/3.8 lens. As you can see I didn't grayscale them before saving. My humble apologies for the lack of continuity.

I have never in my life driven so much. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

The festival made the cover of both alt weeklies in town. This was taken at a nice little cafe called Karma Cafe.

We've known Phil for years. Terrastock is his brainchild. He is absolutely the nicest and smartest guy. Three cheers for Phil.

Ptolemaic Terrascope writer (and The Broken Face creator and Houston, Texas fan) Mats Gustafson.

This year's organizers: Erica Ruck and Rob Codey.

Stage left.

Tara Jane O'Neil

Plastic Crimewave!

Makoto Kawabata snapping a pic.

Antietam are natives of Louisville.

Damon and Naomi chatting with Yo La Tengo's side project Sleeping Pill.

Saturday setlist.

Partly Paik.

Mostly Wooden Shipjs.

Rachel and friend.

Major Stars acting the part.

Mono from Japan. This was their only US tour date this year.

And I leave you with Linus Pauling Quartet:

Ramon did a write-up of the festival here for The Free Press. Charlie's diary was published with a few of the above photos on The Houston Press's blog here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

X at Warehouse live, June 2008

Here are a few photographs from X performing at Warehouse live last week. These were shot on a Nikon FA, 50 mm lens. The interior pictures were shot on manual setting at F1.4, 1/60 of a second. The exterior shots were also on manual, 1/60 of a second but most likely at F4. I won't underestimate the brightness of that tiny, tiny flash again! Interestingly enough (or not), I used consumer brand Kodak c41 b&w film, ISO 400 (thinking that I might be shooting them for the press). I had them processed normally and uploaded onto a cd. The results were very purple, so I re-uploaded the pictures to Adobe Express and converted them to gray scale. This is the result.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Working with writers...Free Press and Houston Press

I've had fun with Ramon doing dedicated photo shoots for the bands he interviews (for The Free Press). Here are three we've done together:

Bring Back the Guns

Insect Warfare

Born Liars

And I recently teamed up ex-Houston Press Music editor Chris Gray, to shoot live shows he reviews. Here is our first excursion as a team for The Houston Press blog Houstoned:

Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys at Boondocks