Fail Good – Fail Clean – Fail Early

I have buried an idea this afternoon. It was a quick ceremony – no flowers – no music – no mourners. Just the instant realisation that the method I had pursued had not worked. And it was unlikely to work at any time in the future. Dead, Jim, dead.

This was great good news. The project was printing upon vinyl material to stick onto scale models and involved backing the floppy stock to a matt board for transport through the inkjet printer. There was to be a special transport board marked out with spots for the vinyl and it was all going to be scientific. About as scientific as phlogiston…but not as much fun in the bath.

The printer did not like the idea – it messed up the trial run something chronic, and could not be adjusted to do any better. So the idea was shelved…and then I tried printing on regular material with the view to gluing it in place once it was printed. That worked perfectly…at half the cost…and no mess. I do not need to be hit in the head with a shovel to see where my advantage lies.

It is much the same with many other photo projects. We are told that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. That’s as may be, but we often forget that if something is not worth doing, it is worth finding that out as early in the piece as possible and then desisting. The time and money wasted in failing repeatedly in something that need not be done does not bear thinking about. Far better to invest in whiskey and debauchery.

On a brighter note, I tried combinations of flash guns and cameras to see which was most like the old press cameras I used to use – not alike in size or weight, obviously, but alike in ease of use. I wanted to see if I could configure one of the digital mirror-less jobs to a ” Grip And Grin ” press camera for the times when I am covering a commercial event and need stock shots. After a great deal of faffing about with brackets, hot shoes, PC cords, and reflectors I concluded that the standard flash in the standard hot shoe with a scoop reflector stuck on was as close to the old Graflex 6″ bowl as you are likely to get. With a 27mm lens in place, 400 ISO set, 1/125th of a second and f:11 it is fast and safe to shoot and run. I may even process the files as Tri-X just to be nostalgic.


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