It all started on Thursday night when a friend mentioned that a restaurant owner might be interested in some of my images for decor in his business. I knew I had a handful of good shots I got with my trusty Pentax ZX-5 in 2005 when we went for a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. I also have some from 1990 when I was there with my parents and was using Dad’s Olympus 35DC rangefinder, but that’s a different story for a different day.
I went to my flickr account where I have the majority of what I consider my “quality” work uploaded first. I was surprised to find that I had not uploaded many shots I had remembered from that trip and had to dig back into the backup drive to find them. I located the file and began the process of deciding which images were worthy of uploading to flickr. It certainly is a bittersweet task, as we had visited a short 4 months before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina hit this beautiful gem of a city.
The images I see are those of city rich with history, music, and culture. They are a reminder that this tragedy will not take away the spirit of New Orleans as it is far bigger than a hurricane. That spirit touches all who visit the city and is carried with them to far away locales the world around. My only hope is to be able to visit soon and once again get my fill of the intoxicating brew that is New Orleans.
I have long had a passion for twin lens cameras. Dad let me use his Yashica Mat 124g when I was 13 or 14 years old. He even guided me in the darkroom for developing the 120 negatives. It was the beginning of my medium format shooting and darkroom experiences.
I used my Pentax MX 35mm through high school and college and picked up the Yashica Mat again in the late 80s. There was just something about the twin lens camera that inspired me…the classic ground glass viewing, the large size of the negatives, or maybe just the square format. It was always fun to get the twin lens out for a day of shooting.
“Dilapidated Barn” c. 1988 shot with Dad’s Yashica Mat 124g
Well, Dad had a habit of selling his gear at camera shows in exchange for other stuff, so the Yashica went to a new home. I expressed that I missed the tlr, so he said I could use his Chinese Pearl River version. I took it home and put a few rolls through it, then put it away as the appeal of electronic wizardry snuck into my brain. As the 90s went into the new millennium, I went to digital cameras…until last year (2009) when I dove right back into film photography again. I pulled that Pearl River out of the box of my stored camera collection. The magic was back in my hands…though this was a very lowly version of a tlr, it was a pleasure to use and produced lovely images. This was also the first time in my photographic history that I became comfortable not using a handheld meter and using “the meter in my head.”
Pearl River 4-s Twin Lens Reflex Camera
I made another trip to Virginia recently and Dad “loaned” me yet another tlr…this time a legendary Rolleiflex! I was thrilled to finally get my hands on such a renowned camera. It is one of the earlier Automat models from just after WWII with the Xenar f3.5 lens. Even though it’s not one of the uber expensive 50s or 60s versions, it’s still wonderful. I have shot a couple of rolls in it and the German engineering is truly awe inspiring…especially for its age! I am looking forward to many more years with this vintage beauty.
“Boca Grande Light III” shot with Rolleiflex Automat
I’ve been enjoying my time shooting black and white film photography and love that there are so many options for putting up a website and selling prints. I have most of my images for sale on my website <a href=”Analog Soul Photography”: in many formats including everything from greeting cards to matted and framed prints.
I am setting up my galleries with the material I have and organizing in a way that I feel would be pleasing to the browser’s eye and easy to find what they are looking for. I’ve especially enjoyed doing some shooting recently at our beautiful South Florida beaches and have added a few shots from these locations. I like to show how much I appreciate the place where I live and want to convey the beauty to others.
The world could use some more high quality black and white fine art photography, and this is just my small contribution 😉 I’m hoping to be able to spend more of my time dedicated to this venture as it has been my lifelong passion to do so.
After the Hi-Matic 7s and Minoltina AL-s, I was certainly hooked on Minolta rangefinders, but wanted my next Minolta to be the 7sII…but it was out of my price range. I set my sights on another vintage beauty, the Canon Canonet QL17 GIII (a long name for a legendary camera).
I have certain tactics I use on eBay in order to get the best deal I can. The QL17s I had been watching there were going for about $50 and up and even more for CLA (Cleaned, Lubed, and Adjusted) models. This time, my tactic was to get on eBay during the Super Bowl (best times I’ve found are Super Bowl and World Series), as most people in the US are watching TV instead of prowling eBay. I found a QL17 that was ending during the game that was described as “not in very good shape” and “not sure about functioning.” It looked dirty in the pics, but I could see no damage, so figured it was worth the risk and won it for about $35 with shipping.
I dubbed it “The Ugly Duckling” because it was so grungy. I began cleaning it up and realized all the more what great shape it was in. I even managed to get the residue from masking tape off the top 😉 I popped a battery in it and it came to life…here is “The Swan!”
I thoroughly enjoy using this camera…it has very intuitive controls (which is my pet peeve…I’ve had some that make no sense to use!), shutter priority auto mode, and fully manual mode. One quirky thing is that the meter only works in the “A” mode, not in manual. It’s handy when using this mode since you can change the shutter speed to get the desired aperture. For manual, I meter in A, then decide how I want to change shutter speed and aperture accordingly. Once nice thing about the meter being off in manual is that it’s essentially “off” then…thus if one doesn’t have a lens cap or it falls of, you won’t drain your battery.
Here are a couple of shots I’ve taken with this little beauty:
These were shot handheld in “A” mode on Kodak T-Max 400 developed in Rodinal 1:50.
More shots of/taken with this camera here: Canonet QL17 GIII set on flickr
My foray back into film camera collecting began with the plastic Diana F+, but I got off onto a tangent with vintage rangefinders shortly thereafter. First, with the Argus C-3, Kodak 35 RF, and Minolta Minoltina AL-s. Once I started using that sweet little “Tina”…I was hooked once again.
The Minolta family grows…”Tina” is joined by the big & beautiful Hi-Matic 7s
My web searches on other desireable rangefinder models came up with the Minolta Hi-Matic line. The 7sII looked very appealing, but the prices were out of my range (I normally don’t spend more than $30-$40 on my new acquisitions), so I set my sights on the previous model, the 7s. It had appealing features with fully automatic, aperture priority, and fully manual modes. It’s amazing with a camera of this age to just have to point at your subject, focus, and shoot. I used it at an air show one day and had it on the “Auto” setting the entire time…here are some results from it:
“Patriot Wing” shot with Minolta Hi-Matic 7s 35mm rangefinder w/ Kodak bw400cn film
So, it was official, I am an addict. I began researching which one to purchase next 😉 See my full set of images of/taken with this camera here: Minolta Hi-Matic 7s set on flickr