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

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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…

Cowboys and Jeeps

(If you’re looking at the header group pic, from L to R that’s Buffalo Phil, Twister, Dutch, Scorpion Cowboy, P-Dog, Denim, Rowdy II, Sidewinder, and Dusty)

One thing that my instructor in Intermediate and Advanced Photo taught me was to make projects out of what you happen to be doing.  Since Summer 2016 I have been dressing up like a cowboy and driving jeep tours around Colorado Springs.  Here are some of the shots I’ve gotten when have a free hand (none while moving, I promise).

 

Besides being an ongoing photo project, I’ve also started making a documentary about life as a tour guide, the growing Colorado Springs tourism industry, and how Colorado and the western states differentiate themselves from the rest of America.  We’re living in the age where cowboys traded in their horses for jeeps.

There have been sprinklings of pics in the past here and there, but not one post dedicated to them.  Some of these pictures date to last summer, and a lot of different rolls of film here, too.  In order: Fujicolor 200, Cinestill 50, Fuji Neopan Acros 100, Kentmere 100/AGFAPhoto APX, Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Tri-X.  I plan to do a lot more shooting and interviewing this summer if I can, but this was conceived as more of a long-term project and probably won’t be finished until I finally graduate, and who knows when that will be…

Love those trains

Well actually, my brother was the train buff when we were growing up, but my fascination with old technology has worked its way to these wonderful contraptions.  Especially steam locomotives: properly maintained, they can work for centuries and besides that they look wonderful.  Engine 169 from the Denver & Rio Grande railroad is a good candidate for restoration, and had been saved and preserved in Alamosa, CO.

William Jackson Palmer was a Quaker from Pennsylvania, went into the railroad business at 15, but felt so strongly about the cause of Abolition that he joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and suffered consequences of that from his family and church.  He served with distinction, became second-youngest General in U.S. history, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Lincoln himself.  After the war, he went back into railroads, came out West, and founded his own railroad running North-South.  The D&RG intersected most other railroads there at the time, and connected many mining towns along the Front Range that had sprung up supplying miners going into the Rockies looking for gold.  General Palmer founded the town of Colorado Springs and lived there the rest of his life.  I was happy to see a Springs connection in Alamosa when I went there for the Southern Colorado Film Festival.

There was a railroad that I considered riding after the festival, but ended up not having time for unfortunately.  I did go into their yard and take a few pics of some of their engines and cars; some are in better condition than others.  What I didn’t see and wish I had was a mid-century diesel engine, though there were later electric engines, though perhaps they were in a different spot.  Alamosa seems to be a repository of old train cars and I hope these will end up being preserved as well.