Chapel interior

The chapel at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, tends to draw quite a few visitors because of its interesting shape (you can search for pics online).  But also due to its unique architecture it has always suffered problems with leaking, and will therefore close for renovation next year.  If you’re planning on visiting Colorado Springs soon, you might want to check out the Academy chapel as your next opportunity could be at least 5 years from now.

While giving a tour of my city I took the opportunity of the bright sunlight to really let the stained glass do its thing inside the chapel, and the Ektar 100 really let the colors pop.  Below is a view of some of the dormitory buildings.  If you enjoy mid-century modernism the Academy is fantastic, and offers striking contrast with its surroundings.

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Family Gathering 2016

The main event.  A much more joyous occasion than two years ago, we met in Manassas, VA for my cousin’s wedding.  He’s the last cousin to get married, which probably means my brother’s and my days are numbered…

At least we’ll be able to put them through a long plane flight like the ones I’ve had to endure the last few years!

The trial and error continues.  Since last spring I’ve made it a point to shoot and get the hang of Ektar 100…it still hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight that skews the color temperature, or the fact that with a manual camera I’m not getting a proper exposure, or that I didn’t perform a whole lot of color correction in post.  Whatever the reason, the unsatisfying results are just one more reason that I’ll shoot keep shooting the consumer-variety films.

Ektar 100+Summarit 1.5

My first two rolls through my new (2nd) Canon 7, which I bought to be able to use some nice German-made lenses for Leica cameras.  These lenses are quite old even by my standards: the Leitz 5cm Summarit f/1.5 that I have is a relatively modern copy from 1953, and while it is coated (single coated), the contrast is not nearly what I’m used to with my Pentax lenses (younger by approximately 20 years).  The Summarit also has a reputation for being rather soft, though shooting as much as I could at f/8, I think it’s sharp enough for what I’m doing here (not as sharp as my Takumars though).  I’d still like to pick up a screw-mount collapsible Summicron for landscape pictures, but in a pinch the Summarit does nicely.  I’ve wondered about getting one of the modern Voigtlander lenses (or Lomography’s new Jupiter 3+) for color work, as I wasn’t sure how the low-contrast Leitz lenses from the ’50s and earlier would handle color film, but I was also curious what an ultra-saturated film like Ektar 100 would look like, and here are some of the results.

I need to shoot in the sun more, most of the time I was out it was overcast and that didn’t help much, but also I wonder if they weren’t underexposed a bit too.  I don’t have enough experience with Ektar to say if this is indeed the case, but roll #2 (the last 5 pics) show much improved color to my eyes.  I might just buy a few more rolls and continue testing this film/lens combination at some point.

I processed these pictures the same way I’ve been doing black & white, which is taking PSI output at -30 contrast and adding contrast back in using Photoshop.  I also have the regular PSI output, but prefer the added control.  This film captures quite a lot of information, and as someone who has more experience with black & white, it’s hard to get the color I think this film should have while still retaining detail in highlights/shadows.  But I’m learning.

I’ll probably be going back to black & white next for this camera and lens, but the experiments with color will continue!  I plan to shoot a roll or two of Provia and Velvia through the Canon 7 this Summer, and I hope that I’ll like the results of that, as I’m more used to Fuji’s color than I am to Kodak’s.  And Ferrania is coming soon as well, I hope.  I will say this about Ektar though: it handles different and mixed lighting extremely well!  I shot about half of my 2nd roll indoors and usually under fluorescent lights, and was quite satisfied with the colors even working straight out of PSI; very little tweaking was needed, and it was quite easy (a few examples are here).  Yes it was a bit slow for that purpose, but it has me considering Portra 400 for occasional indoor work now

Another year, another wet plate

Even though I wasn’t officially a part of the class this year, I asked at the beginning of the semester to be included when they covered the wet plate process, because it’s a favorite of mine, also because we’d be working with the old (now retired) head of the photography program who is a wonderful lady and a lot of fun.

This was the first roll of film I shot through my new (2nd) Canon 7 with the Summarit.  I’ve wondered what an older low-contrast lens like my 1953 Summarit would handle a high-saturation film like Kodak Ektar 100, and now I know.  I’m working on another post about this so once I shoot that second roll of Ektar I have I will post more thoughts…

Irvin2016

Our timings were off a bit, and with me being outside the entire time minding the camera, I couldn’t help troubleshoot, the result being that most of our plates were overexposed to one degree or another.  Thankfully, mine coming at the very end of the day, we were a bit more dialed in than when we started.  I scanned this plate and printed it at 4x5ft for my Advanced Photography project.  I’ve been holding these photos back for weeks now, meant to post them on World Wet Plate Day, but I forgot, too much going on.

Fujipet EE – Ektar 100

It’s been more than a year since I loaded this camera, and I spent all of last school year with the Fujipet just in my backpack.  Things I learned:
-I didn’t have the film advanced to frame 1 for the first several months I shot it, and it took several months to get to frame 1 because I wasn’t winding it far enough, either (I really didn’t use it that often).
-it might need faster film, or a bit more sun
-maybe I shouldn’t be leaving Ektar 100 lying around in a camera for a year before processing?
-maybe before making any judgements, I need to shoot another roll.  I remember that I didn’t always have any needle action when looking through the viewfinder, I just hoped for the best.

I’ll also admit, I’m a bit rusty on color film now, and the fact that I didn’t have the Pakon’s color profiles really bummed me out.  I scanned on the school’s Epson Perfection 10000 in the Visual Resource Dept. (I assumed that would give me better results than the V600s in the library), which took me about an hour for the 10 images that turned out.  Then another couple hours in Photoshop trying to get the colors to look right (large blue cast, and I don’t think I got completely there with some of them, but I burned out, man).

Ektar looks great when I can get it properly exposed, though why it wasn’t most of the time, still confuses me.  Everything I’ve been able to find about the Fujipet says that it should use ASA100 film, but many of my shots came out really underexposed, and that was with me covering the selenium meter with my hand, telling the camera to give it the widest aperture it could.

I have some Fuji Across in 120 that I bought with the express purpose of putting through this camera, but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t pick up something a bit faster, even going back to Tri-X, because the other thing I’m wondering is if the selenium meter is starting to go.  I do think, however, that I’ll put at least one roll of Acros through it, and I’ll make sure to shoot it on a sunny day.

All complaining aside for a second though, I think the Fujipet has a pretty sharp lens, considering it’s plastic, and I can get plenty of detail on those scans when the camera shake doesn’t affect the picture.  OK, I guess I’m not done complaining, after all.  1/50 second can be kind of hard to use handheld with the 70mm lens.  I’ll have to attach it to the tripod next time.

Some pictures from my earlier days as a photographer

I found out my grandma died last night.  She was nearly 70 when I was born, so I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked.  She had dementia that turned into Alzheimer’s the last 10 years or so, so the clearest memories I have of her aren’t necessarily the best, or representative of how she lived her life, I’m sure.  To keep this photography-related, I started shooting film right before I moved to Colorado and don’t have too many images of her, but there are a few, taken by a younger and less-experienced me, the first two with (her husband) my grandpa’s old camera and cheap consumer film, the last three trying out Ektar 100 for the first time, on a camera I didn’t quite know how to use correctly.  Oh well:

Mary Irvin 1917-2014
She wore combat boots.