Thursday, June 28, 2018


I was recently given a 4-pack of Fujifilm Super HQ 200 film with an expiration date of 2007.  I don't normally go looking for expired film; I am more inclined to seek predictability than serendipity.  Nevertheless, it seemed like it would be interesting to see what eleven years on a shelf would produce, so I loaded a roll in my Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim.  I exposed the whole roll at one of my regular test sites, the air and space boneyard behind the nuclear museum.

I gave the film normal processing in Unicolor C-41 and made no exposure adjustments in scanning.  I saw little lessening of sensitivity - perhaps a stop low - and no real color shifts.

I'll probably give away the remaining three rolls at the next meet-up of the New Mexico Film Photographers group, but I think I would feel as comfortable in using this past-due film as if it were newly purchased.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Show Stealer

Whenever I'm making pictures around the house I often devote the last few shots on the roll to images of my cat, Ruthie.  Pretty often, I end up liking those unplanned pet portraits better than what I had originally set out to photograph.

I still tend to think of Ruthie as being a kitten, but she was born to a feral mother in our backyard soon after we moved to Albuquerque, so she is near ten years old now.  Where does the time go?

Monday, June 18, 2018

cowboy days

I enjoyed getting back to shooting my uncomplicated little ultra-wide camera at a car show in Edgewood, east of Albuquerque.  Though mostly regarded as a toy because of its light-weight plastic construction, the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim has a very sharp 22mm lens.  Coupled with a modern wide-latitude color film like Kodak ColorPlus 200, the vuws returns excellent results under a wide variety of lighting conditions.

Staging an event called "Cowboy Days" in a Walmart parking lot may seem a little incongruous, but I suspect similar events are not uncommon across America's midsection.  This car show was more about custom cars than classic restorations, and there seemed to be more stetsons than one would see at a similar show in Albuquerque.  The gently rolling, mostly treeless terrain around Edgewood blends seamlessly into Eastern New Mexico and stretches far into west Texas.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

macro abstract

A typical photo session for me often encompasses a couple miles of walking along the river.  Limiting my field of view to a table top can offer as many opportunities for finding images, but at a different scale.

These images were all made with the Pentax SP and a +4 accessory lens screwed onto either the 1.4/50 or the 2.8/135.  The TMAX 100 was processed in Rodinal 1:100 semi-stand for an hour.  I liked the results ok, but medium format would likely have given me a little wider spectrum of tones.

Monday, June 11, 2018


I am always thrilled to come across greyhounds anywhere.  On Sunday, I went to Hyder Park in Albuquerque to see a gathering of greyhounds sponsored by The New Mexico Chapter of the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas.  Most are former track dogs rescued by the organization.

When I encounter greyhounds in the city, there is always a touch of sadness to the occasion for me.  Most of the adoptive owners I come across treat their dogs like porcelain dolls; they seem afraid they will break their pets if they don't handle them just right.  So, the dogs never get off a leash when outside and they never have a chance to run full out.

Now, to be honest, the dogs never complain about such treatment.  Greyhounds always seem perfectly content to lounge around the house, and to walk sedately beside their owners in city parks.  They are almost never belligerent  toward other dogs or people when in public places.  My guess is that a lot of adoptive owners interpret this gentle and compliant behavior to a sense of gratitude for being rescued from desperate and sometimes cruel circumstances.

What gets overlooked in the well-intentioned rescue process is the real history of the breed, a tradition of selecting traits of stamina, agility, sharp vision and group compatibility that goes back thousands of years.  Over that vast span of time the greyhound was molded to the purpose of chasing down small to medium-sized game animals.  Since the dogs were hunted at least in pairs and often in large packs their aggression had to be finely tuned to focus on the prey and not on their fellow hunters.  So, the sociable character of the greyhound which makes them so appealing today as pets is really the result of rather ruthless culling to eliminate any behavior which would interfere with a perfect hunting strategy adapted to coursing across the deserts and steppes of Asia and the Middle East.

The physical, mental and character traits of greyhounds which made them perfect hunters also made them perfectly suited to competition racing, and the breeding and training techniques for the track are essentially identical to the ancient customs.  The racing industry has come to be held in low regard in recent times; it is seen as exploitative and callously cruel in many cases.  While there is no denying that dark side of dog racing, it is also seems important to acknowledge that it did keep the breed viable to the present day.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Inside the Samoca-35 Super

The little mid-'50s Samoca rangefinder brings a good price on ebay because of its unusual design.  However, you don't see many pictures posted from the camera, and I have never seen anything on line about restoring the Samoca until now.  A few days ago, Urs Fischer emailed me saying he had seen some of my Samoca shots on line.  He asked if I knew anything about adjusting the vertical alignment in the rangefinder as his was out of alignment.  I had to reply that I could be of no help with the problem as mine was in good working order when I got it and I had no need to look under the hood of the camera.

Undeterred, Urs proceeded to completely disassemble the camera, and he sent me the set of pictures.

Urs said he encountered no great difficulty in taking apart the Samoca, or in getting it all back together again.  Unfortunately he did not find the key to adjusting the misaligned rangefinder.  Here is what he reported back about his findings:
I took my camera completely apart, under the topcover one can clean all the glasses and mirrors, but the length adjustment is done by the cogwheel on the frontplate, the beam splitter and the deflector mirror are glued to the rangefinder housing without any possibility of adjustment. The distance measurement is done by a moving lens. That's why I thought of the rangefinder window cover has a adjustment optic and because it is knurled, and because mine is missing.

So anyway, perhaps time will tell,
meanwhile I wait to see the first pictures,
thanks and regards
urs fischer
So, still another chapter to go in the Samoca restoration, but the information Urs contributed is a big step forward for those of us with an interest in the unique little Samoca-35 Super.

UPDATE (June 3, 2022)

The mystery of rangefinder adjustment appears to have been solved!  I received an email from Christian Treiber with the following explanation: 

There is a screw hidden in the axis of the upper Knob that will show the distance.  When you take up the leather, you will see the Nut, and deep in the nut is a screw where you can adjust the Split sreen or picture .  There you can synchronize the infinity of the lens and the split window.

* * *
Since it has been a long time since I last made any pictures with the Samoca, I loaded a roll of Kodak ColorPlus 200 and shot all 36 exposures over the weekend in the Plaza Vieja.

I had to make some substantial contrast adjustment to the pictures from the Samoca.  I suspect that was no fault of the camera, but rather a function of my C-41 processing.  I'll try some Fuji next time around to see if I can sort out the processing issues.

July Albuquerque Meet-Up

New Mexico Film Photographers are invited to attend a meet-up each month to talk about any aspect of film photography.

The next Meet-up:

When: Sunday, July 1st, 9:30 AM
Where: Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters, 202 Bryn Mawr Dr SE, Albuquerque
Who: Veteran film users and anyone looking to get started in film photography.

No dues.
No rules (except an interest in film photography).