Sunday, August 30, 2009


Hard to put aside the Olympus Infinity Stylus (mju). It's a great little no-fuss machine to have in your pocket. Mine has a bit of a light leak showing up near the top edge of the images. Some black tape didn't solve the problem, so I guess I'll try replacing the light seals all around.

The People's Cameras

In the Soviet Union, they were built by Fed and Zorki. Here, Kodak and Argus were the companies that made photography accessible to ordinary folks. Kodak can certainly take credit for getting the ball rolling, but Argus overtook the juggernaut of Rochester in regard to style and popularity.

I haven't done much with any of my Argus family members. As generations of photographers discovered, it is hard to take a bad picture with the C3. The Argus twin-lens reflexes are more challenging. The lenses are quite good, but the features - or lack thereof - require more focus than I've been able to muster so far.

The main issue with the first model Argoflex is the dim viewing screen which inspires little confidence during the shooting process. The camera also has a lens that is very subject to flare. The brilliant viewfinder of the Super 75 is a vast improvement, but the non-coupled focus screen and the shutter limited to Time and Instant settings limits possiblities.

So, those are my excuses, though they aren't very good ones. I've had better results with much simpler cameras. I thought I might look for some further inspiration by acquiring one more example from the Argus A line, which was the company's first big success that really revolutionized photography in the U.S. I've been prowling around ebay recently in search of a good, affordable specimen, so hope to have something new to show soon.


Friday, August 28, 2009


When I went out this morning I noticed that the morning glory had grown about six inches in length over-night, wrapping around both the garden hose and the spigot. Coming back with the camera, I found Stripey in the flowerbed in pursuit of a little half-tailed lizard.

Stripey is always a cooperative subject and has posed many times for her portrait.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Indian Ponies

Ash Spring

Chaco Canyon

Alamo Mountain

The spectacular ancient petroglyphs left by Puebloan peoples along the middle Rio Grande include relatively few representations of horses and their riders. It seems that the horse was not essential to the Puebloan farming culture. For interesting and accurately drawn rock art depicting horses, one has to look at the petroglyphs and pictographs left behind by the semi-nomadic cultures of the area.

In New Mexico and the adjacent southwestern states, scenes of warfare and the hunt including horses and their riders are likely to be the work of Navaho and Apache artists. The representations of the horse and rider left behind by those people are characterized by well-proportioned figures in dynamic, graceful compositions.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

photos, misc, bw, ½ doz.

Friday, August 14, 2009


New Mexico is experiencing slightly cooler weather from overcast skies.

I'm pleased to see that my 1953 Contaflex is performing well following its last cleaning. I gave the shutter a good soaking in Ronsonal and a final light brushing with extra fine graphite suspended in a little lighter fluid. The Tessar lens and Reala film are always a nice combination.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lunch at the Aquarium

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Back at the Zoo

This time with the No. 1-A Folding Pocket Kodak Special. The camera will be one hundred years old this year. Its Rapid Rectilinear lens consists of four elements in two groups, placed on either side of the aperture in a design dating back to U.S. Civil War times. The symmetrical arrangement of the lens elements does a good job of nullifying spherical aberration, but the uncoated optics are subject to flare in contrasty lighting situations.

Using 120-format film rather than the 116 that the camera was designed for, I get a negative that is 2.25 inches wide by 4.25 inches long. That size is a challenge to scan with my Epson 2450. I can lay the negative in the 4x5 scanner frame, but it is difficult to get an image without Newton rings due to contact with the glass.

Those small problems aside, it is very rewarding to coax photographic images from such an early camera. One gains respect for the excellent work that was accomplished in the past with this simple equipment, as well as an appreciation for the subsequent technical advances that steadily made photography easier and more accessible.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Black-Crowned Night Heron

The Night Heron appears in great numbers along the banks of the middle Rio Grande. This one and another have made themselves at home on rock perches in the Albuquerque zoo's bandstand duck pond.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Using 120 rollfilm in a 116 folder

I put another roll of film through my No. 1-A Folding Pocket Kodak Special after making some modifications to make it easier to use 120 rollfilm.

The easiest part of the conversion is the modification of the 116 take-up spool. I made a couple washers from the rubber backing material off a mouse pad, cut them in half and glued them to the inside faces of the spool end disks. The 1/8-inch thickness is just right to shield the edges of the 120 film against the light.

For the supply-side, I made a film holder from a plastic Adox film can. A hole in the bottom and another in the rubber disk holds everything in place securely, and the film comes out through the slit down the side. Besides being simple to implement, this solution didn't require any irreversible modification to the camera.

The film rails need to be just an eighth-inch wider on each side to properly mask and support the 120 width film. I used some black mounting board. The first strip was made a bit wider so it would slide under the existing frame rails and help support the new ones. On top of that, I glued two more 1/8-inch-wide strips, and these were also glued on the outer sides to the metal frame using hide glue. The mounting board is tough stuff to cut, but using my mat cutter enabled me to make the strips thin and straight.

One solution to frame spacing is to relocate the red window to the center of the camera back, enabling the use of the center row of numerals on the 120 backing paper; using every other number yields six non-overlapping frames per roll.

I was reluctant to drill a hole in my nice old Kodak folder to get the proper frame spacing. However, I found that the existing red window in the lower right corner of the back let me make use of the 6x4.5 framing numerals to get five evenly spaced frames using every third number, starting with number 3.

I'm not sure that I made any real improvement in image quality through the conversion, but the camera is quite a bit easier to use. One problem that cropped up was that the film edge is closer to the red window, and I am presently getting quite a bit of light leakage onto that side. I'll try painting out half of the window, and I'll also see if some well-placed foam light seal helps.

So, still a bit of work to be done, but I only have an hour or two into the project, and it turned out to be quite a bit easier than I had anticipated.