Why I love the Olympus Trip 35

RIP 1968-2018.  Unfortunately after shooting this camera for 3 years the shutter is now stuck halfway open and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet.

It will happen though, because it’s small, light, easy to use, gives me spot-on exposure, and has an absurdly sharp lens.  The Olympus Trip 35 and it’s my favorite mirrorless camera.  Reading about some of my photo friends’ experiences with the Trip and also finding this fantastic store made me want to sing again the praises of this mechanical wonder that I found at the thrift store for all of $8.00.

It needs no battery: it has a selenium meter which gives perfect exposure, something I tested by shooting slide film in it.  After reading about “night tripping” (which basically means using high-speed film in the Trip manually set to f/2.8 and its slower speed of 1/40sec), I’ve felt comfortable using the Trip in all kinds of situations indoors and outdoors.  One thing that I’ve talked about a lot (though never tried yet) is putting a few rolls of Cinestill 800T through it; or now that T-Max P3200 is back that might have to happen.  Either way I’ve yet to test the extremes of film latitude yet, but it will happen.

And the Trip 35 does indeed live up to its name: it travels so well!  I took it to Wales where it was my camera for color film, and threw it into my bag for a last-minute trip to Ohio.  Though the lens sticks out a bit it still easily fits in a jacket pocket without getting in the way.  Speaking of the lens and its zone focusing, you do have to be careful when shooting inside, but made it perfect for shooting my William Klein masters’ study.  Since then focus doesn’t mean as much to me as it used to, though most of the time I’ll get it right.

When looking through all the shots I’ve taken with this camera I couldn’t believe just how much I’ve used it in the last few years!  It’s a large gallery–in order we have: Tri-X (6), Velvia 100 (3), Double-X (4), Provia 100F (3), T-Max 400 (4), Fomapan 100 (2), Kodak Gold 200 (2), Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (2), and Ferrania P30 (2).  There will be other films shot in this camera one day, but for a while now I’ve been concentrating on the Spotmatic for my photo project that’s been going on since January (and long before).

I would definitely recommend this camera for people who don’t want the bulkiness of an SLR, don’t like relying on batteries, but still want an AE camera.  My camera’s shutter still had accurate speeds after nearly half a century.  Zone focusing can take practice but is doable, so don’t let that dissuade you!

Fuel injector modifications

We have 6 CJ-8 Scramblers from the early 1980s which are my favorite to drive, though I’ve killed one of them already.  These are the first vehicles I’ve dealt with that had carbureted engines which I actually enjoy quite a lot and have learned a bit about.  I will say: they do tend to break down easier sometimes but are generally easy to fix if you know what you’re doing.  Evidently a lot of the other drivers are lazy or stupid, either way there have been enough complaints that the company put fuel injectors in three of the CJs and it breaks my heart a bit.  The engine doesn’t look quite like it used to, nor does it sound as mean.


pictured: Ruby’s engine

Of course, putting a fuel injector in doesn’t mean that the thing will never break down:

In fact, maybe that makes just one more thing to go wrong…

Lineworkers’ Rodeo

The 2019 APPA Lineworkers’ Rodeo was held in Colorado Springs at Rock Ledge Ranch  just outside of Garden of the Gods.  When Colorado Springs Utilities was erecting all these telephone poles I had no idea what was going on so when people would ask I’d tell them they were building a UFO observation platform to compete with Alamosa’s.  Despite the attire of the people, it really wasn’t that cold out…

I shot this for my Adv.Photo project but ultimately it was decided that it wasn’t thematically in keeping with what I’d already done.  Still, there were seven or eight images that my instructor liked a lot; I’ve included a few more.

Editorial: Guggenheim Fellows of Photography 2019

Out of the 12 photographers selected for the Guggenheim Fellowship, we were to research the work of three that resonated most deeply with us.

Carl Corey

I was immediately struck by Mr. Corey’s images as they looked familiar…and once I read his project statement I can see why: The Strand all imagery of the Great Lakes and I grew up there, in Ohio, but with trips to Illinois and Wisconsin over the years too.  The Strand immediately made me nostalgic.  In this and his past projects I see a connection to my own work, especially the book Rancher, or the Red Owl, SD project, perhaps also in Blue – Portrait of an American Worker.

I do like the picture of the rancher with the horse, and all the rancher portraits in general.  A lot of his portraits are posed and very formal; it’s not something I do much myself, I tend to shoot more off the cuff but I think I could benefit from this approach a little bit.  Usually their entire body is included in the frame whereas I usually cut something off, something that I’m getting complaints about from classmates.

Jennifer Garza-Cuen

Ms. Garza-Cuen talks of Imag[in]ing America as “…a series of locations in the United States as a residue of cultural memory, an inheritance. It is a metaphorical memoir, a narrative re-telling of facts and fictions and it is also a discovery of the dreamland that still is America.”  This definitely coincides with what I’m doing, I think.  Plus, her portrait appears to be shot on wet plate and has her posing with a large format camera.  What’s not to love there?

I think the picture that definitely drew me in was the one from Buffalo, WY, with deer and antelope heads surrounding a wall-mounted TV playing a western movie (Carl Corey had something similar).  Another favorite from that series is the portrait of the one-handed cowboy.  Ms. Garza-Cuen’s work diverges from my own in that she seems to be photographing decaying landscapes where Colorado Springs (and the state in general) is in a population boom at the moment.  I love the portraits of everyday people living in small towns.

Peter Kayafas

Mr. Kayafas’ new book is to be titled The Way West and seems to be showing the Western culture in the same way that I’m attempting.  On the Guggenheim page the second picture in the series was taken up in Cripple Creek, so of course I had to pick this guy.  A place only half an hour away and I still hardly ever go there.  He’s got pictures dated back to 2006 for this project, so evidently this is a long-term project for him.  I see from looking at his other work that he started The Way West before a few of his past projects, but judging by the dates he must shoot several projects concurrently.

There’s a lot of good street photography there, and I like seeing the shots of people taken from behind.  I have no idea how to take a picture of someone from behind and make it at all interesting.  Looking at his People of New York project and the fact that’s a square ratio, I assume he was using a 6×6 TLR to shoot those, just like Vivian Maier did.  Another project I’m really drawn to is the Coney Island Water Dance, especially because as he mentioned, he got into the frigid water to get up close and personal with the polar bear club members.  The immediacy of the high shutter speed when you see the individual drops of water flying high through the air grabs me.