At The Carnival

Sometimes an evening at the Carnival gives you some quiet time where you can discuss important details with friends.

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Photograph at Home

Sometimes spending time around your own home provides you with some interesting and unique photo opportunities that may not be available elsewhere.

 

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Leica III and Elmar 50/3.5 – Not A Review

Right now this is probably my favorite combination for photographing. Over the past six months I have been using it for family pictures, for amateur sports and for scenic/landscape work. I am certainly not an expert photographer, and I am definitely not a professional camera reviewers, so this really is not a review. Rather it is more of a quick rationale for why this camera and lens combo has become so popular with me.

The reason is really very simple. The Leica III is almost the perfect point and shoot for the photographer who understands manual exposure. Combined with the collapsible LTM Elmar 50/3.5 lens it rides easily in my shirt pocket and, once you are competent using it, can be put into action very quickly.

To support that use, the Elmar 50/3.5 renders very nicely on black and white film. It is sharp without causing your eyes to bleed. The aperture, which for many would seem far too slow, is almost perfect for daylight photography. Finally, with the aperture closed down to f9 or lower, it has amazing depth of field allowing you to almost literally point at anything in the near (or far) distance and create a perfectly focused photograph. I am definitely not an optical designer so I cannot even begin to tell you why this lens is so good. It is a type of Tessar design, that much I know, with enough differences to allow Leitz to use it without paying Zeiss for the pleasure (since the Tessar patent belonged to Zeiss.)

Admittedly, this is an old camera and, like all old cameras, comes with the possibility that the 80+ year old gears, levers and springs will fail while I am trying to take a picture. But Leicas are known to be pretty robust, and I have taken the additional precaution of having this particular camera completely overhauled by a crusty old gentleman by the name of Gus Lazzari. He is a very good technician and certainly did a very good job on my camera. Of course the fact that it has been renewed certainly does not eliminate the possibility of catastrophic failure in the field, but it does reduce the risk quite substantially.

In essence, I really do feel that this camera is the perfect embodiment of the picture that Oskar Barnack held in his mind when he was developing the camera that became the Leica. And it does take some very, very nice photographs.

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Mountain Snowstorm

A few years ago I had spent a day hiking around in one of my favorite locations, Lamoille Canyon. Just as I started driving out of the canyon a sudden snow squal came rolling down the mountain slopes.

As it happened I had my trusty Minolta SRT-101 complete with the wonderful little Rokkor-X MD 45/2 lens attached. I pulled the jeep to the side of the trail, stepped out, and managed to capture this photo on TMX100 black and white film.

Mountain Snowstorm 2014

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How Certain Films Look

Last fall I took a short walk up the Lamoille Lake trail from Road End. I really wasn’t prepared for a long hike, and since I started rather late in the afternoon I didn’t actually go very far.

I had brought my Vivitar V3800n 35mm camera complete with its Vivitar MC 50/1.7 lens loaded with a 24 exposure roll of Fuji Superia 200 color film. Even though I didn’t go far, it was a beautiful fall afternoon so along the walk up the trail I exposed the entire roll film. I actually came back with a few nice images (which I really should print.) I picked one for this post. I don’t know that it is the best of those that I created that afternoon, but it does help make my point, so I decided to use it. Additionally it happened to be handy to upload from my laptop.

Most people know that black and white films have certain looks. The gritty, grainy, documentary film look of Kodak Tri-X is probably the most famous of the examples I could cite. A few months ago I did an extended review of JCH Street Pan 400 black and white film in the form of a post on Rangefinder.com. One of these days I’ll have to move the gist of that review onto this website.But, before I wander to far afield, lets get back to my point.

Color films seem to have different looks as well. Fuji’s ISO 200 consumer color film seems to produce a beautiful, lower contrast, almost painterly look. I really like it but I really have not spent enough time using it to decide whether it produces this look because of the way I use it, or if the way I develop it has a bearing on the look. For most people C-41 (color) film processing is pretty standard so the expectation that developing could have an effect on the look of the print seems a bit foreign. But I think it does. Temperature variations, changes in agitation, brand of chemicals used, can all have an effect. Of course, not everyone develops their own film so if you give your color film to Wal-Mart, who then sends it out to a lab. At least that is the way it is done at my Wal-Mart. Yours may be different.

Anyway, back to the point. Over the next few weeks I intend to go about with my Pentax K1000 and take photographs using various color films. I will start with Fuji 200 (because I have quite a bit of it to use) and then move on to other color films that I have lying about.

So, without further ado, to kick this project off, here the photo already mentioned that was created using Fuji 200 color film.

 

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