How many cowboys does it take to change…

…a Jeep taillight?  Well I suppose I’ve answered that question now.

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Testing out the Mamiya Macro Sekor 60mm f/2.8

Was this made by Tomioka?  I seem to remember reading that somewhere.  I have the 50mm f/4 S-M-C Macro-Takumar which has a 1:2 resolving power (and also the MCM Chinon Macro 55mm f/1.7), this one has a 1:1, so it is a true macro lens.  It’s also a preset lens, which is a bit annoying. I had these rolls developed and scanned at $15 a roll by Mike’s Camera, and can’t say I’m happy with the amount of evident dust on their scanner.  I’ll certainly rescan on my Pakon once it’s out of storage.

I shot two rolls with this last summer, some Fujicolor 200 and Gold 200, both exposed at ASA100 and that meant keeping the aperture pretty wide occasionally.  Wherever possible I was shooting in direct sunlight, but I didn’t use a flash or anything else like that.  When I got the lens it seems that every flower around me was a yellow flower, so there’s maybe not as much color variation as I could want, but I enjoyed seeing the bees going about their work.

So I don’t know too much about macro photography, but basically I would preset the focus (usually to maximum, move the lens until the bug was in focus, stop the lens down, and take the picture ASAP.  The bees were tricky, they were always going from one flower to another so I’d only have them for a few seconds sometime.  I’ve heard that it’s better to have a 100mm lens (or longer) and a flash, to keep the depth of field as wide as possible under the circumstances.  These shots were the ones that were most in focus, but since some were not in direct sunlight I had to open up the aperture here and there.  I suppose that using something like Portra 400 would have been better, or perhaps a tripod.

The question I’ve been asking myself for a while is, did I really need another macro lens?  Probably not, though this one is a true macro and faster than the Takumar.  But the last time I used that lens I was taking pictures of my super 8 cameras and I just set the camera on a tripod so the extra stop wasn’t needed.  It was an extremely good price and I could make at least four times what I paid by selling it online, so a good investment.  But am I going to start taking pictures of bugs all the time because I own this lens now?  No, in fact I haven’t even used it in a year.

As an aside, all color scans over the last few posts brought to you by Mike’s Camera Colorado Springs with their Frontier scanner.  It’ll give you good scans, but you do have to deal with workers who either don’t know or don’t care.

Blackburn Reunion 2018, Pt.II

Part II: with the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35, which I had along ostensibly to use on the water, but which also came handy for other snapshots when occasioned.  Starting with a roll of Kodak Gold 200, then a roll of T-Max 400.

That roll of T-Max cost me $12.00 or so at the Eastman House gift shop (for a 24exp roll).  I’ll never let myself get ripped of like that again, but I felt I wanted to at least buy one roll from there while I was in Upstate New York.  One day we were visiting different wineries around the Finger Lakes

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!

Color negative film in the Trip 35

I’ve shot color film in the Trip before, but it was always slide film.  I was a bit afraid that the lens wouldn’t be contrasty enough for color negative film, remembering my experiment with the Leitz Summarit.  But I went ahead and risked a $3 roll of Gold 200, and I’m glad I did, because I think these pictures look pretty nice.

So main point to take away?  You won’t know what works until you try.  And now I know that the Olympus Trip 35 is a more versatile camera than I had originally imagined.  I can shoot damn near anything in it and be happy with the results.

Blue, 1982-2017

This is a tribute to Blue, one of my six favorite jeeps (we have six CJs, all 1982-1983, I would have rated Blue in the top three).  She was a good jeep, but sadly she’s no more.  It’s hard to see a beauty like this go out.

 

Actually I was the last one to drive Blue, and something in the engine compartment caught fire as I was taking a group down Rampart Range Rd. just above Balanced Rock, exactly a year ago today.  You can see in some of the pictures where the fire fed off the paint on the top of the hood.  I wish we had spent the money to put her back in commission but sadly it’s not to be, it seems.  She’s just sitting at the lot now, there for whenever we need a part to keep the other five CJs running and so far has donated a windshield and a gas tank to other jeeps.

Personally I’d rather drive one of the old carbureted jeeps any day but I’m in the minority.  I had many drivers (tired old guys) congratulate me on killing Blue off and asking if I could do the same for Bulldog and the others.  Ugh…

I didn’t have my camera with me that day (it’s become a bit of a superstition for me since), but evidently one of my passengers took a pic with her iphone, and one of my fellow jeep drivers got a hold of it.  I post it below, but do not own the image:

bluefire

Bulldog

The legend of Bulldog is that right before it was purchased by our company some 20+ years ago, it was involved in a head-on collision with a Mack truck.  The Mack truck was totaled, the only thing they could salvage was the hood ornament, so we took it…and the Jeep came through without a scratch.

Probably not quite a true story, but still an entertaining one.  Bulldog is the flagship jeep, and usually driven by Denim who besides driving tours is the resident mechanic.  It’s considered an honor to drive the Dog, and this Summer I’ve gotten the honor quite a lot.  Most of these pictures are from 2016, with some from 2017.  I haven’t even developed anything from this year, which means there are probably a lot more Bulldog pics waiting to be shared…

Our company has I think 20 jeeps at last count, 6 of which are early-’80s Jeep CJ-8 Scramblers, of course the most fun to drive: no nonsense, no frills.  That is to say, no automatic transmission, no cloth interiors, no doors or windows, no working gauges, just metal with vinyl seats, easy to hose off when it gets dirty.  Bulldog also features a high-torque first gear/reverse and isn’t used in regular driving, just for pulling other vehicles out of ditches.  As well, it doesn’t have power steering, which makes it akin to wrestling a bulldog, especially when driving up those all-dirt mountain roads…