Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Wild West

Tourists have always come to New Mexico looking for cowboys and Indians.  Albuquerque obliges them during the Balloon Fiesta with free performances throughout the day in Old Town.  I've shot this dancer several times before, but he keeps coming back.  Fabian Fontenelle has Zuni and Omaha roots; his costume here is from the Plains tradition.  His wife, Shelly Morningsong, has a wonderful voice and plays a mean flute.

Old Town is crowded throughout the Fiesta week and you are likely to see some interesting characters wandering the narrow streets.  Some, of course, will be ghosts, but it is hard to tell which and it's probably not a good idea to go around poking old cowboys to find out.

All the pictures here were made with what is probably America's most interesting old film camera, the Mercury II Model CX, which shoots 35mm half frame.  When the first of the line appeared in 1938 it sold for $25, the same price as the Argus A.  This post-war model had a number of improvements including a focal plane rotary shutter with a top speed of 1/1000 that was as accurate and reliable as anything made at the time.

I've done little restoration work on the camera so far; just swabbed a little Ronsonal on the shutter mechanism and rubbed off some of the exterior tarnish from the aluminum/magnesium shell using metal polish.  I'll have more to say about the camera after gaining some experience with it.


Jim said...

That's certainly an odd-looking camera. To what do you attribute the yellow/green caste in many of these images?

Mike said...

Kodak Gold doesn't seem to like my scanner. I adjust the color balance as best I can, but it seems to change rather arbitrarily as I make other corrections.

Norman Montifar said...

Yes, its really an odd-looking camera. It looks like the thing you have have to look through at the eye doctor when fitting for new glasses.
I bring my Kodak Gold films to CVS pharmacy for processing and scanning to CD. (no prints)They usually get the colors right.