Friday, June 24, 2022

Two More from the SRT 201

 Monsoon rains are back in New Mexico.

Kentmere 400 in HC110b.  I wasn't too happy with the processing outcome, so I'm going back to PMK Pyro for the next roll.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Olympus Stylus Epic

 I took my Olympus Stylus Epic on a daytrip to Cerrillos New Mexico recently.  

The film was some old Fuji X-tra 400 which I had found at the bottom of my refrigerator.  I think this is only the third time I have used the camera since I picked it up for three bucks at a local thrift store.  The first roll had shown that the camera was leaking light through the top edge of the back.  I stuffed some black yarn into the back, trying to stop up the leak, but that did not work.  This time, I resorted to a couple strips of black electrician's tape and that got the job done.

In trying to figure out how to best deal with the light leak I googled "mju2 light leaks" and found that the problem was quite a common complaint.  It appears the rubber seals on the back as well as that around the lens become dried out.  I saw some suggestions that a rubber-restoring product available in car parts stores might correct the problem.  I'm happy enough for now with the black tape fix.

If you want to acquire a Stylus Epic and are not lucky as I was to find one in a junk store,  they can typically be had for $300 to $400 on ebay.  I even saw one go for $700.  It is a handy little camera, but paying those prices seems insane.

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Backup Camera

  I saw a posting on ebay for a Minolta 135mm lens at a good price and the seller was in Albuquerque.  I messaged him that it would be nice to pick it up locally and avoid the shipping cost.  The seller agreed and even offered to bring the lens to my place.  He also brought along a couple Minolta SRT cameras, so I acquired the 201 along with the lens.

My justification for acquiring yet another camera was the fact that I see a small problem with the shutter on my Minolta X-700.  At 1/30 second the shutter stays open for about five seconds.  I haven't seen a problem yet at any other speed, but it seems probable that further malfunction is on the way.  The 201 has a mechanical shutter, along with manual aperture and shutter operation.

The Tele Rokkor 135 had a sticky aperture, but it did not take long to disassemble the lens and get it working properly.  An earlier example of this lens made some very nice images for me, but it has required multiple efforts to keep it going.  This new one has had a lot less use.

The picture of the flamingoes was made with the Tele Rokkor.

I stand developed the Kentmere 400 and was not happy with the results, so will go back to HC110-b or PMK Pyro the next time around with this film.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Exercising the X-700

I paid just twenty dollars at a yard sale for my Minolta X-700 three years ago.  Since then it has made a lot of pictures I like.  The camera is light weight and compact and the Minolta lenses I have tried have all produced excellent results.  I took along the X-700 a couple days ago when I visited the Albuquerque Botanical Garden. I mounted the MD 1.7/50 lens and loaded a roll of Kentmere 400.

A couple days later I decided to find out if my MC Tele Rokkor 3.5/135 could be trusted.  I had disassembled the lens several times because of the sluggish action of the aperture stop-down mechanism.  I finished off the roll of Kentmere with some pictures of the informal Friday car show in Old Town.  The lens sounded like it was doing ok, but only half the frames were properly exposed.  That was disappointing as the Tele Rokkor had made some very nice images for me in the past.  I'll probably look for another one as I don't feel a kit is complete without a 135mm.

Thursday, May 19, 2022


 I saw a piece on PBS about the painter/photographer, Barkley L. Hendricks.  The program featured a current exhibit of his work, but I see there is also a recent book about his photography.  It looks like both provide some insights into the relationship between his photos and his paintings.  Hendricks was not on my radar before he was gone, so I'm looking forward now to familiarizing myself with his dual accomplishments.

The attention to the Hendricks show and book immediately brought to mind the work of another painter/photographer, Harold Joe Waldrum, who had his studio in Truth or Consequences and who is best known for his paintings and prints of old adobe churches all around New Mexico.  Waldrum, like Hendricks, apparently initially made his photographs as sketches for his painting and printmaking,  but the photography seemed to take on a life of its own.

Waldrum's polaroids, made with an SX-70, are very carefully composed, showing the same attention to light, shadow, form and color as his painted work.  Thousands of those polaroids ended up in the Museum of New Mexico and are now in the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives.  Over 900 of the little photo prints appeared in an exhibit at the Albuquerque Art Museum which I had the pleasure to attend in 2011.  One of Waldrum's prints of a red walled church was included recently in an exhibit about print making at the Albuquerque Museum; I'm pretty sure there is a polaroid twin.

Exhibits at the Albuquerque Museum are often accompanied by postcard reproductions of the the art works which are made available at no charge to visitors.  In the case of the 2011 Waldrum exhibit, six prints were included in a fanfold booklet, with each being the same size as the originals.  I'm pleased to say I held on to my copy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Time Travel

 After finishing the twelve black and white shots in the Argoflex Forty I made another circuit of the Albuquerque Museum car show with my Olympus Infinity Stylus (mju) loaded with Kodak Gold 200.  The little Olympus has a lot to recommend it for such events.  It is easily slipped in a pocket.  The 35mm lens is very sharp.  The auto-focus and auto-exposure seldom miss their mark.

The two-block walk back to my car found me two classics in the wild, a T-Bird and a Lotus.

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Show

 On a Sunday in May the parking lot and the street in front of the Albuquerque Art Museum are populated by the automotive treasures of the area.  There are an equal number of opportunities and challenges for photographers at the event.  The sun is always very bright and it shines on acres of chrome, producing dazzling reflections interspersed with deep shadows.  The cars, probably around a couple hundred, are packed side by side in each parking lane.  The free show draws a big crowd and it is often difficult to get an unobstructed view of the cars.

I think I logged a couple miles up and down the lanes over a couple hours, so I was glad I chose my lightweight Argoflex Forty to make my pictures of the show.  Quite a few people asked me about the camera.  One fellow took a picture of me and the Argoflex.  Most seemed somewhat surprised to find it was still possible to make pictures with such an instrument.