Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Camera Challenges with Challenged Cameras

One aspect of photography I enjoy is to work with vintage and antique cameras.  Many of these are "challenged" (in need of serious cleaning and repair) or they may be working as-new with fine cosmetics. I do like to work on cameras that are in need of repair to get them operating as they were designed. That is the challenge for me.

This past weekend I did some photography with an Argus camera from the 1950s. It is an Argus Super Seventy-Five and uses a large film that is rolled with a paper backing, unlike 35mm film. The other problem is that it uses a film that is rolled on spools that are no longer manufactured and are hard to find. It is a 620 sized spool.  However, the film itself is still manufactured and is used mainly by professionals and art photographers but is rolled onto a 120 sized spool. A 120 spool won't fit into a 620 camera. The challenge to using the Argus camera is to first re-roll the film from the 120 film onto a 620 spool in the dark. That done, the film can be loaded into the camera and used for photography.

Simply because a camera is 50 or 60 years old does not mean that it can't produce fine photographs. I develop the film myself but then I scan the negatives digitally. This way I can work with the scanned image in Photoshop and make the image of higher quality than what would have been printed by a photo lab 50+ years ago.

This is a challenge for me and it is a challenge for the camera to perform as it was designed, but it is an enjoyable experience. 

Here are a few photos that I took using the 1950s Argus over the weekend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Path To Follow

A friend recently gave me 20 rolls of 120 Ilford XP-2 film. This is a Black and White film that is intended to be processed with what is called C-41 color chemicals in a photo lab.  Not living close to a lab that processes 120 size film, I decided to see if I could do that myself using standard Black and White chemicals. After some research and asking a few questions I came up with a method for using Kodak HC-110 BW developer and when I tried this the results were stunning. Here are a few samples taken with a vintage Yashica TLR camera. I scan my own negatives. I'm very pleased with the image quality.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Bessa -L Photos, Point Lobos, Weston Beach

I finally had a chance to use the Bessa-L camera with the 21mm lens at Weston Beach at Point Lobos, Monterey wharf and a few snaps around my place. The camera is a dream to use: so light weight and the wide angle lens allows me to just set an approximate distance and shoot.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Al's Old Camera Lives

Al Kaplan was a good friend and photographer who passed away on December 29, 2009. He was also a long time photojournalist. During his later life he lived in North Miami Florida and spent most of his time out and about with his camera photographing the people and happenings of his city often including himself in the photos using a small Voigtlander Bessa-L camera and an ultra wide angle 15mm lens. He also published a blog on Blogspot and wrote wonderfully interesting articles related to the photos he snapped, the people he met, and the events happening in his town.

Before his death, the camera body he used broke down and he sent it to me knowing I enjoy tinkering with old and broken cameras. He told me to keep the camera and to enjoy it if I was able to repair it.  He put his 15mm lens on a new camera body and continued with his blog and photography. Here is Al's blog: http://thepriceofsilver.blogspot.com/  Look into his archives and enjoy the journey.

I was able to repair the camera and bought a lens from his son. Al's camera is alive again, I will use it, and will post photos taken with it here from time to time.

Al is holding the camera he sent to me in the photo above. The photo was taken by his friend James Mitchell.

God bless his memory.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The little town in which I live is Dos Palos. It's been here forever and has a diverse variety of neighborhoods. All of the outlying areas is farmland, however. Cotton is a major crop as is feed corn, melons, and alfalfa. Across the street is a goat farm that are raised for meat. There is one section that is composed of old houses in various states of deterioration. This area is in renewal and the old places are mixed in with fine new homes. These photos show a few of the buildings when Dos Palos was young. Photos taken with a vintage Moskva-5 folding camera made in the USSR many years ago.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I haven't posted to this blog since October 15, 2007. Since then we bought a house and I changed my email address. For some reason I was unable to log-in. I just found out that the reason was a one letter error in my user name so now I can continue with the blog, hopefully a couple times a week.

We moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to a small farm community in the Central Vally of California and we have about an acre of land to play with, so the direction of my blog will change to a more rural perspective.

For starters, I want to share a few photos of the success of my first attempt at growing artichokes. When I planted them last year, they did nothing, but continued to grow and are now producing wonderfully delicious chokes. They are now at a point where I don't even need to water them. Here are a couple of photos.

Monday, October 15, 2007

At a weekly street music festival, Summer 2007. These photos were taken with a wonderful Nikon D70s that was given to me by a good friend. They were taken with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens and the people were very gracious about being photographed. "Street Photography" isn't really very dangerous if your are happy and positive to those whom we are photographing. Kindness works miracles.