Monday, January 08, 2018

On the way to Zuzax

I installed a new beam-splitter mirror in my Leica IIIa with hopes that would enhance the brightness of the viewfinder.  The operation went pretty smoothly thanks to some good on line instructions.  Aside from adding a slight yellow tint to the rangefinder spot, there was little improvement. So, the view through the Leica is still about on a par with that in most of my other old rangefinder cameras.  Fortunately, my surgically enhanced vision makes using any of them more practical.  After slightly readjusting the camera's rangefinder I took it for a photo walk into Old Town.  Mounted on the Leica was the collapsible Industar 22.  The film was Tri-X rated at ASA 200 in anticipation of PMK Pyro processing.

I found the nice old Chevy Wagon parked in front of the church in the Plaza Vieja.  It was one I had not seen before and it looked like it just came off the showroom floor.  Since there is always some nice light in the Museum's sculpture garden I stopped off there too, as I always do when testing any new gear or techniques.

The next day I decided to stick with the vehicle theme and made a short road trip East on I-40.  Leaving Albuquerque, the frontage road is actually a long stretch of  the old Route 66 highway.  There is a big collection of unrestored cars and trucks on the South side of the highway which I have gone by many times, and I decided the time had come to pay it a visit.  This time, I mounted the 35mm Jupiter 12 on the Leica along with the accessory viewfinder.

The yard full of old trucks and cars is on a dead-end off the old highway between Tijeras and Zuzax.  It turns out to be attached to a well regarded East Mountain repair shop, Charlie's Fleet Service.  Charlie and his dogs greeted me at his front door; he said I was welcome to make some pictures so long as I did not open any doors or hoods. 

Part of my plan for the day was to compare Tri-X in PMK with HC-110 semi-stand processing.  After finishing off the roll in the Leica I shot a roll of Tri-X at box speed in the Nikon FE.  The Nikon Series E 50mm and the Rokunar 28mm performed nicely,  but Fate's fickle finger poked a hole in my strategy.

After an hour in the highly dilute HC-110, I fixed and washed the Tri-X from the Nikon.  When I pulled the film off the reel I was dismayed to see that it was a nearly opaque gray color with the images barely discernible.  It looked like a problem with the fixer, so I stuffed the strip of film back in the tank and soaked it for another ten minutes.  The gray was cleared and the negatives looked normal when I took them from the tank again.  I don't know if I just misjudged the time, or if the fixer was near exhaustion.  So, I got some reasonably good pictures from the Nikon after all, but the comparison test was mooted.

Still, a good day.


JR Smith said...

The range of tones in the Pyro processed images are quite nice. This is fun!

Mike said...

I may play with the time and temp a bit still, but I'm mostly happy with the PMK at this point. It comes in two bottles and stays good indefinitely until mixed for use. That and the price makes it competitive with any of the other stuff I regularly use. You do need to use a non-acidic fixer like TF-4.