Sunday, June 27, 2021

Success with an Asterisk

 I was gifted this Pentax ES II back in September of 2018.  I believe this model was the last of the Pentax screw-mount cameras.  I put a roll of black and white through the camera and then it just sat on a shelf until recently when I read some nice things about it online.  So, that got me to playing with it, and I discovered the meter no longer worked even after inserting some new batteries.

I took off the bottom cover and found that the problem was that the contacts that activate the meter were not quite coming together when the shutter release was depressed.  It appeared that the red painted adjustment screw was as tight as possible; it seemed the available remedy was to slightly bend down the two little tines under the adjustment screw.  So I did that.

The immediate result was that one of the tines broke off.  Fortunately, the Clumsy Craftsman's luck held and the meter seemed to be working perfectly once I got things back together.  I loaded some Kentmere 400 and shot it at the usual places around town and in the riverside forest.

(Find the fledgling Coopers Hawk)

Monday, June 21, 2021

Vito III Progress

 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.

The camera's shutter seems to be working well at all speeds.  The Ultron lens is performing close to my expectations for it.  I still have not summoned to courage to try cleaning the viewfinder, but it is ok for any outdoor setting.

This was my first roll of film with a new bottle of Legacypro L110 developer.  I was pleased to see that it performed well with the Kentmere film, showing no apparent under-exposure.  When I emptied the previous half-used bottle I saw that there was a large, viscous mass at the bottom which probably indicated that some of the components had precipitated out, leaving a weakened developing solution.  For this roll I used dilution-E for 5.5 minutes at 24.5C to cope with an overly warm ambient temperature.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Yerba Mansa

 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.

The seed forming flowers are actually the small petals clustered on the central cone structure.  The likely function of the showy white bracts is to attract sphinx moths and other night-roaming pollinators.  In addition to the production of copious amounts of seeds, the plants also spread with dense mats of runners near the soil surface.

While the towering cottonwoods are dominant, they share the space with many other shade-tolerant species including Mulberries, Russian Olive, and Wolf Berries.

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.

(See: The Yerba Mansa Project)

Ignore this pic.  It is for another post elsewhere.