I did a couple morning walks through Albuquerque's Old Town with my Voigtländer Vito III; the film was Kentmere 400. I have gotten a little more comfortable with the unconventional layout of the controls. However, I am still having a little difficulty framing my shots to properly account for parallax error.
Monday, June 21, 2021
Tuesday, June 08, 2021
Summer along the middle Rio Grande is announced by the blooming of the Yerba Mansa. This year the season started a little early, probably thanks to warm temperatures and some welcome rains.
The dense patches of fleshy green leaves blanket acres of the boggy cottonwood forest floor. The plants do well in the deep shade, but the blossoms are thickest where a bit of direct sunlight reaches them during the day.
These first pictures of the year were made with my Nikon F on TMAX 400 film. I look forward to visiting the Yerba Mansa several more times as they mature during the summer with other cameras. I am also pleased to see that the small Yerba Mansa which I planted a couple years ago beside the house look like they might finally produce a few flowers.
Saturday, May 29, 2021
I decided to shoot the last roll of expired Kodak Gold 200 in my Minolta X-700. The first frames of the roll were exposed on a walk in the Sandia foothills to see the peak blooming of local wildflowers. We found a lot of Apache Plume, some red and purple cactus blossoms, thistles, and several stands of Indian Paintbrush, along with a lot of little yellow flowers whose names always escape me.
The best wildflower show, though, was right beside the sidewalk on the south side of our house where I planted some Desert Four O'Clock a couple years ago. The plant produces a big mound of greenery and purple flowers which bloom each afternoon all summer. I have not found the Four O'Clock in the wild near Albuquerque, but it is common in desert arroyos in southern New Mexico.
The Spring sun has also produced a spectacular crop of artichokes for Margaret; the two big plants look like they will give us about a dozen artichokes each.
Most of our walks in the neighborhood and beyond include the dog, Roxie. She talks us into trips to the river a couple times a week where she likes to splash in the shallows.
The box the film came in says "Bright Sun & Flash" and "Made in China for Eastman Kodak Company", along with the admonition to "Develop Before 05/2006". Not being able to meet that requirement, I shot the roll at one stop slower than the 200 ISO rating. I developed normally in Cinestill C-41 and scanned with my Epson flatbed using a Silverfast Portra setting to compensate for a bit of color shifting.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Saturday, May 22, 2021
One wonders how something like this gets lost or discarded. I probably should have photographed it in place to document the circumstances of its discovery. Instead I took it home thinking I might frame it and hang it on the wall.
I tried scanning the piece, but result was very dull; it needed to be lighted obliquely in order to properly illuminate the polished surfaces. I then photographed it with my digital camera against a white background in subdued window light.
A shot of the back of the mosaic reveals something of its origin.
Friday, May 21, 2021
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
We spent a few days visiting with friends and family in Las Cruces. Our motel was close to the little town of Mesilla, so it just took a couple minutes to drive there on a Friday morning to visit the plaza and shoot a roll of film in my Brownie Hawkeye Flash.
The town clings tenaciously to its past; things change, but more slowly than in most places. The economy is still closely attached to the land, and traveling south or west quickly brings visitors to fields of onions and vast pecan orchards irrigated only with ground water. The Rio Grande is mostly dry long before it gets to Mesilla; the acequias that run through town contain only sand.
The Kodak Tri-X Pan Professional film I shot in Mesilla was rated at ISO 320; that would be a bit fast for a sunny day in the Brownie Hawkeye Flash, but it seemed like the twenty-seven years beyond the expiration date would likely have tempered the sensitivity of the film sufficiently to allow use in the old box camera. I processed the film as recommended in the data sheet in the film box and I thought the results were pretty good.
Monday, May 17, 2021
The Classic Camera Repair Forum is back online. The forum was the undisputed best place to find information on the repair and restoration of old film cameras. The archived forum was available online through the Rangefinderforum site for quite a while, but new questions could not be posted and there was no obvious way to search the forum contents.
I posted a little search widget for the forum on my blog which worked with the RFF site, but that is no longer needed, so I removed it. Visit the site now and help to get it going again.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
After putting a couple rolls of b&w through the new Vito III, I felt a nostalgic tug to shoot some color in my Vito II. The only color film I had on hand was some Kodak Gold 200 with an expiration date of 04/2003. I shot half the roll on a bike ride to Albuquerque's central downtown and the rest on a walk through Old Town.
I gave the Kodak Gold 200 an extra stop of exposure to allow for its age, but I was pretty confident of getting acceptable results because film had spent the intervening eighteen years in a freezer, so I processed normally with a Cinestill C-41 kit. Scanning with Photoshop's Kodak Gold profile did produce images with a decided green tint, but using the Portra profile and a bit of further color adjustment got pretty normal looking hues.
Friday, April 30, 2021
I was pleased to find on receiving the camera that the seller's claims were largely justified. There is a little brassing on the lower side and a couple corners of the covering will need to be glued down. The viewfinder could benefit from a cleaning, but it is usable, and the coupled rangefinder is accurate. The Ultron f2/50 lens is clear, the shutter seems accurate, and the controls work smoothly.
These pictures from the camera were made on a roll of Kentmere 400 which I exposed at a stop slow for processing in PMK Pyro. The early morning light in the riverside forest was a little on the dim side.
The light was a better the next day during a stroll through Old Town.
The images from the camera lived up to my expectations. It will take some time, however, to get used to the unconventional placements and operation of some of the controls. Focusing is accomplished by turning the knob on the top-left of the camera which also contains a pop-up rewind key. The viewfinder window is to the right of center, so parallax must be allowed for in the opposite direction from that required by most of my rangefinder cameras.