Wednesday, September 30, 2009

At the Conservatory

I've attempted four or five times to clean up my old Contaflex 1. The last try seems to have gotten the shutter and aperture mechanisms functioning properly. I like these pictures mostly for that, but I was also pleased with the tonal qualities obtained from the C41 Kodak film.

Monday, September 28, 2009

2926 in color

I'm super pleased with the quality of the first images from my Argoflex 40, a bakelite twin lens camera from the 1950's.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2926 Update

The restoration team held an open house this morning to show off their progress on the locomotive.

The Santa Fe 2926 was one of the last steam locomotives built in the U.S. It was operated from 1944 to 1953, travelling about a million and a quarter miles, often at speeds near 100 mph.

Recently, the cab was lifted back into place, and a set of new flue tubes have been purchased at a cost of $75,000. The ultrasound testing of the boiler showed no important problems, and the restorers project a new sense of optimism about getting the massive machine back on the tracks within a year or so.

These b&w photos were shot with one of my recently acquired Voigtländer Vito II cameras. I also did some color with a medium format camera from the same era, an Argoflex 40. I should have those negatives back from the lab on Monday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

happy ducks

Selena brought Cate to meet us at Tingley Beach. The ducks held us captive briefly, but agreed to let us go following Cate's offering of all her Cheerios.

The camera was one of two Voigtländer Vito II which I recently acquired for shamefully low prices. A Vito was responsible for most of the photos and all the color that I shot on a trip to Greece a few years ago. Both the new ones have Compur-Rapid shutters that go to 1/500 and beautiful Color Skopar lenses. After I've done a bit more work with them, I'll update my web page on the Vito.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


There is an amusing article in today's Guardian about the the world's largest yacht:

"Roman Abramovich's latest extravagance, Eclipse, probably so-called because it's almost big enough to block out the sun, is the world's largest mega-yacht. Measuring 557ft long, it boasts two swimming pools, two helipads and an onboard missile defence system. And, just in case any missiles do get through, it comes complete with an escape pod: its own submarine. Its most curious feature, however, defends it against an altogether more insidious weapon: the prying eyes of the paparazzi."

The anti-paparazzi system detects nearby digital cameras, probably, by their focusing signal, and blasts the location with an obliterating flash of light. Of course, this only works if the paparazzi are toting digital cameras. All it takes to defeat the system is any old manually-operated film camera. Since I have quite a few such cameras in my collection, I figure I'm well-positioned to cash in on the niche market for specialized paparazzi gear.

Were I to undertake the photographing of celebrity high jinks on the Eclipse, my first choice would likely be one of the Folding Autographic Brownies as one of those was responsible for one of my favorite nautical shots from New England:

I also liked the results I got from my Olympus 35RC while visiting Portland, Maine:

And, my favorite travel camera, the Voigtländer Vito II, captured many fine marine scenes in the Greek Islands:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

More A2F Color

I had planned to try some b&w with my Argus, but the Tmax I ordered from Adorama took longer to get to me than anticipated. So, I threw in another roll of Kodak Gold 200 with the intent mostly of trying out the unusual close focusing capability of the A2F.

The photo of the red flowers was made by setting the focus to the minimum 15 inches and carefully measuring the distance to the flower from the front of the camera. Usually, focal distance is measured from the film plane, but Argus apparently decided that users would find a measurement from the camera front easier to deal with, and that was the instruction provided in the camera's manual.

The self-portrait was made at arm's length, again with the help of a tape measure with one end at the tip of my chin and the other at the camera front. The focal distance was 18 inches.

The last picture was a lucky guess with the the focal distance set to the minimum 15 inches. Several other guestimate shots didn't work. There just isn't enough depth of field when shooting that close to accommodate sloppy technique.

I've put what I've learned about the A2F so far into a page at my vintage cameras web site.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009