Work boots

Back at the beginning of March I took a construction job to keep the cash flowing in.  Here is a pic 3 months into my first construction job, and my Made-in-USA Thorogood steel toe boots look like I’ve had them for years and for the most part were very comfortable.

Unfortunately there was a seam where the upper met the toe box that just did not break in, and eventually I had to retire them in favor of a pair of Danner alloy toe boots just to survive the last two weeks I worked there.  I don’t miss the job and might go back to it in a traveling position (the money is too good), but I will say it helped me in other ways: I experienced a new way of life, picked up a bit of Spanish along the way, and dropped at least 20lbs.

Old cars, etc.

Because again, in Colorado and the Southwest, there are a lot of them.

The first is my pastor’s old Chevy that he’s been working on for the last few years.  The others are at the place I was recently staying, the owner is a big fan of vintage Willys and Plymouth vehicles.  There will probably be plenty more on this in the future.  I hope Jim Grey approves!

Scout

I just found out one of our drivers died recently.  He was a new guy, started back in 2019.

I don’t know that I have many pictures of him, though there is a 4×5 shot that I took right before we were closing down for COVID-19.  I got it developed but never had a chance to get it scanned.  The pic above was taken in May or June 2020 right after we opened back up after shutdown, the pic below is from Territory Days in 2019, I don’t even know that he had hired on with us yet but he certainly looked the part.


Tri-X in the Spotmatic, but you’ve seen it before so I wasn’t going to tag it again.

RIP, Scout.

The endless accessorizing…

Man, do I love the look of the Nikon F with a prism finder, especially a black body with a lot of wear!  I’m now of the opinion that it’s the most beautiful camera in the world, or at least the most beautiful 35mm SLR.  And since my F Apollo’s Photomic finder was:
1) chrome, so not the original finder for a black body
2) far too early to be paired with a post-1972 Apollo body anyway
3) non-functional
4) ugly
I decided it was time to get something much sleeker, lighter, and better-looking, hence:


(I actually bought one in mint condition first but it just looked too new for the rest of the camera)

Now all the beautiful brassing can be appreciated more!  This camera as it looks above is what I’ve been shooting nearly all of 2020 for my photo project.  This thing has already taken a beating over the last half a century so I’m less careful about where I take it and how gently I treat it; every ding is a story and if this camera could talk I’d buy it drinks all night to hear its history.  I’ve never been one to buy camera equipment purely on aesthetics alone but I confess it’s happening more now that I’ve been delving into the Nikon system.  This finder came with the chrome-bodied F in the picture below:


(and the system has continued to grow with more lenses as well)

Not pictured: my original F2A which is taking the picture sporting the 55mm AI-s Micro-Nikkor. I suppose that using one camera means it can’t be in the picture so I’ve yet to get a complete family portrait but since I shot about 5 rolls of color film around September/October, I would keep Black&White in the F and color in the F2.


(I’m not going to add any more tags, but this one’s Fuji Superia 200, for completeness’ sake)

I was also generously given a chrome DE-1 prism finder recently, which has now gone on my chrome F2 (the DP-1 finder wasn’t working; it seems to be a common failing). The chrome F prism finder came off a parts body I bought cheap. I suppose Nikon should be commended for the foresight to have removable finders as it allowed for continuous upgrades of the F from 1959 to 1968.  And of course over the course of the last 50+ years the electronics on those old finders have a pretty high failure rate, so the people who bought the prism finder now appear far-sighted as well as more ballsy.  Now that people are catching on though, their prices keep going up.  But besides the lens, the right finder is an accessory that I’ll go out of my way to find.  I’ve also acquired film doors, soft-shutter releases, focusing screens, finder eyepieces, finder covers, filters, a speedlight setup, the possibilities and combinations seem endless for creating just what I need to shoot on any given day.  For the photographer with a bad case of GAS, a job, and money to “invest” in new equipment, Nikon’s F system always had something else he didn’t have yet.

In fact from talking to people online it would appear that the common definition of a “professional camera” is one with removable/interchangeable finders.  I’m definitely a fan of the non-metered prism finders, as they’re lighter and just look better.  I shoot primarily Tri-X and know it well enough that Sunny-16 doesn’t bother me, though I should probably get a good handheld meter at some point.  Hmmmm, something else to buy…

Mule deer procession

This is the road my mom’s house is on; I was just getting off work for the day and had been testing out (in order): my black F Apollo, a chrome F, and a chrome F2 Photomic (I’ve been building up the system).  I had moved on to my black F2A for the last few shots, and found an aspen tree on my mom’s road that had turned a dark red (rather rare, though I saw more this year than ever before); the sun was setting and I just happened to be there at the perfect time for the sun to light up the leaves.  I also happened to be there at the perfect time to see a family of mule deer cross the road:

Perhaps you remember from an earlier post just how friendly the deer can be around here?  Well they didn’t come right up to me and say hello but they certainly didn’t give me a second thought even though I was probably 6-8 feet away from them when I shot this series.

Out with the old, Pt.II

I’ve had this vintage Lowepro bag for nearly a decade now, it was a gift from a family at church, along with their Minolta X-700; I got more use out of the bag.  While it was with them it made a trip to India and God knows where else; certainly it saw a lot of use with me over the years.  I really loved how well-made the bag was, and started buying other vintage Lowepro bags when I could find them for a reasonable price.  I originally thought this particular bag had been used as an impromptu diaper bag at some point as it did rather tend to smell like a used diaper, but as I acquired more bags and encountered others at thrift stores, I smelled it a lot; it must just be something in the materials.  I also dropped this bag in a pile of horse shit once, but that’s another story (and honestly there isn’t much to tell, but it happened during this outdoor Katy Graves concert).  Anyway, the zipper stopped zipping and that was the last straw for me.  So here’s my new Domke Viewfinder Series photojournalist bag alongside for comparison:

It’s not quite the same but at least Domke still manufactures in America, something the brand formerly known as the Colorado-based Lowe Alpine Systems can’t claim anymore.  I loved the aesthetics of old Lowepro so much that I found a duffel bag with a lot of the same characteristics, from BAD Bags: hand-sewn seams, 1000D Cordura nylon, seatbelt webbing, Fastex fasteners, and YKK zippers (supposedly the best).  But in my case the zipper was the weak link:

YKK Zippers, you’re trying my patience…my jacket that I’ve worn for years is starting to misbehave now too!  I’ve used my new Domke bag for the last 6 months and have been quite happy with it, though I wonder if its being open to the elements will allow more dust than with the old Lowepro.  Of course, the alternative is a lot more zippers…

This is me also trying out the 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor lens that I bought last Summer.

Workflow adjustments and Fall colors

It’s a time of change for me: I’m examining workflow which has been stilted since COVID started; I haven’t even edited any photos in almost a year now but there’s been such a backlog it hasn’t been a problem.  My old way was to scan everything on the Pakon, export to TIFF and stick it on a flash drive, then take it down to school the next time I was there and use their computers and copy of Adobe Photoshop CS6 to adjust contrast/exposure until I got what I wanted.  Now with color negative there wasn’t a whole lot to do, the Pakon’s color profiles are fantastic, so I’d generally accept the JPG output, resize it, watermark it, and call it a day.

With the lockdown and finishing up of all photo classes I haven’t been down there, and the only option I had was to use Photoshop 7 that was installed on my WinXP machine I use hooked up to the Pakon.  I have a Win7 laptop but its display is a bit off as is the monitor on the WinXP machine; I have a few rolls of black & white that I’ve had developed and didn’t want to do anything with them until I had a chance to really set everything correctly, but I finally scanned 3 rolls of color negative and would have just posted them straight from the Pakon.  It would have been fine and they would have looked like this:

(that’s the old original watermark which is the only one I happened to have on my WinXP machine at the time)

However, thanks to being blessed with a new (to me) laptop, I feel comfortable with editing photos at home; this is a big change for me! It’s more powerful and seems to be pretty well calibrated in the screen department so I’m planning to dedicate this machine primarily to photo editing purposes.  I’m not about to pay money on a monthly basis to Adobe for a program that I can’t own so I’ve been exploring Photoshop alternatives.  Currently I’m using a free trial version of Affinity Photo which seems to be not too dissimilar.  It’s allowed me to tweak the levels, etc, while still keeping a very similar workflow.  Here are the results so far:

So a bit more contrast, somewhat darker, and I’m playing around with a few different watermarks: I think this is the new look of The Resurrected Camera.

This is Kodak Gold 200 exposed at ASA100 in 3 different Nikon bodies I picked up last year, I wanted to check out the 1/1000 shutter speeds to make sure that the shutter curtains were in sync.  I used an expired roll of film I bought years ago and color negative is the cheapest to develop; around $4.00 at my local camera store.  This also happened to coincide with the leaves changing in Fall so I ended up shooting several rolls of color around the end of September/beginning of October.  I generally don’t do much on the post-side of things, just adjust the curves to get proper contrast and light levels; I gave a general idea of this here.

Happy to have been selected

Last week I was browsing my Facebook feed and saw that Kodak Professional shared a collection of images, among them one of mine:
https://www.facebook.com/kodakprofessional/posts/3510806662270982
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3510806662270982&id=203851912966490


(Specifically this one, from “It’s growing on me”)

It’s always nice to see my name acknowledged in Kodak’s social media!  Especially since it’s the first time it’s happened.  This is my official entry for the banner competition in the Kodak Film Photographers group.  Small-time I suppose, but I’m grateful for the acknowledgment.

(I’m gonna be showing this off like a proud mom)

I suppose this is a good example of “Your camera doesn’t matter.”  I tried to have this conversation with a high school photography student a couple days ago too, when she was talking about her equipment, but this says it so much better.  Here’s a photo I took on a $3 roll of consumer film I picked up at my local grocery store, shot through a Pentax body that I paid $5 for at a garage sale, mounting a $25 lens from ebay.  So never mind not having the top-of-the-line equipment, use what you have and stop making excuses.  There will be plenty of time down the road for you to grow into something else, if you tell yourself you can’t do anything now because you don’t have the right equipment you’ll never even get started.