Waving all the flags

I have a flag picture that I took years ago, this is a bit of an updated one.  I’d seen this truck driving around Colorado Springs back in 2019 and every once in a while parked at the old honky tonk by our office.  My photo instructor wanted to see better up-close pictures which I got around to taking after the class concluded.

The flag you can’t see is the Revolutionary War yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

Happy Independence Day.

Selected portraits from the 2022 pre-season meeting

About as current as it gets here at The Resurrected Camera, these date to the middle of May 2022, barely a month ago.  My job hired me to capture portraits of the new drivers at the annual pre-season meeting, to be used on the website; these photos amount to the first professional work I’ve seen out in the wild in quite some time, perhaps ever.  The meeting was held at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort and I used Cheyenne Mountain as a backdrop, shooting out on the patio in the shade of a building as the sun was setting.  I got a few of the not-so-new drivers as well: all in all I made portraits of 15 drivers and include my favorites below:

Besides the cowboys (and cowgirl) themselves, the star of the show was the AI’d Nikkor-PC 105mm f/2.5 portrait lens which was used for all but one of the exposures above.  There’s been so much written over the last 70+ years about the 105mm Nikkor so I don’t know what I can add except to say that I picked it up because it was cheap, I wanted to have at least one portrait lens, and it had a good reputation.  I’ve used it for a few portrait sessions so far and have been extremely happy with the results, as well as that from my AI Nikkor 85mm f/2 lens (which also makes an appearance here).  I would call either of these lenses a must-have for a Nikon manual-focus system, whichever you happen to run across first.  If you can, get both.

I suppose this means that I can call myself a professional photographer, right?  I’m hoping that this can be springboard me to bigger and better things but we’ll see.

Slipped through the cracks

These are culled from four rolls of Tri-X that I shot during the final week or two of taking Advanced Photography, from which this post was taken.  All that semester I had had my instructor Stacy to go through and edit the shots, help me pick out which were the best shots.  But she never got to look at these last four rolls, so even though I had them developed before the Summer break started I never looked too closely at them, I think I just wasn’t feeling too confident with my own editing skills back then.  I feel more confident now, but still I’m sure some day someone might go back through all my shots and say, “Well why didn’t you include these?”  So it goes…

I started my Instagram going in mostly chronological order and have gotten through all of my VA4110 images plus these.

I had just purchased my 2/35 Super-Takumar lens so was trying it out quite a lot back then, and found that I really liked that particular focal length so I didn’t take it off the body for weeks.  Even though I started shooting Nikon in early 2020 I didn’t buy my 35mm f/1.4 AI’d Nikkor until nearly a year and a half later.  Since I have though, that and the 50mm f/1.4 are nearly the only two lenses I use.

Interesting double exposure

My mother’s camera for some reason gave me a few double exposures, about one per roll.  I thought this one was pretty nice and perhaps in the future I’ll do more double exposures, except on purpose.

What I don’t know is how this happened or how to keep it from happening when I don’t want it…

Mother/Tri-X

Yesterday was the first Mother’s Day that my brother and I didn’t have our mother.  Looking back on it, even though we butted heads a lot, I was able to spend a lot of time with her in the last few years and I’m grateful for that now.  This would be the companion piece to my other tribute which was posted back in December.  Honestly I completely forgot about Mother’s Day but I’ve never been a big fan of holidays that promote obligatory consumerism and people punish you for forgetting; I suppose I’ll never have to feel bad for not remembering from now on.

While developing all the rolls I shot in 2020 I came across a few that I’d taken of my mom, usually holding her first grandson.  Thanks to my old photo instructor Stacy for letting me get all that done in the school darkroom, or I don’t know when I would have gotten around to seeing these.  The entire Summer I was shooting nothing but Kodak Tri-X.

My mother’s camera: the Minolta XG-A

This is the camera that I grew up using, for as far back as I can remember…considering that it’s older than I am and my dad got it for my mom before they were even married, I suppose that makes sense.  Now, she didn’t use it much, really after 2004 when she got her digital camera; I got her to use it once about 5 years ago and that was it as far as I know.  Just like most people of the earlier generation, they were mystified by the high technology as well as the convenience of DSLRs and never went back to film.  Most of the cameras I use are much older and less complicated/electronic than this one.  Minolta had an entire series of X cameras of which this was the simplified model with aperture priority only; with a full range of manual speeds as well (as the X-700 has) I would find this camera more useful but did bring it out occasionally back when I was shooting the MD mount system back in my early college days.

If you follow my blog regularly you might know that my mother died recently.  For her memorial service and as a tribute to her, I wanted to take pictures and of course take them with her camera.  Also included are some valuable time spent with friends/family before/after the service.

Three rolls of film, in order: Cinestill 800T, Kodak T-Max P3200 (both expired), and Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600.  There are a lot of photos here that have some technical problems and I don’t know exactly what the problem is because there are too many variables.  I used a 3v lithium battery when I think before it was always alkaline.  Two of the three rolls I shot were expired high speed film that had been in my mom’s freezer for years.  I dropped off the film and expected it to be ready in a week but I guess they ran into staffing problems or something, and had to rush process the film for me, a mistake could have been made there.  And of course it could be that the shutter speeds are off, though usually they tend to get slower with age; of course it could be that the electronics are failing.

What it comes to is that the film all looks underexposed and shadow detail is often lacking, even with overexposing the expired film by one stop.  The better-exposed shots were ones that I took outside or near an open door, which brings up another possibility: that it just doesn’t read dim light correctly.  And of course I’m not sure how much having light sources in the frame might have affected exposure as well. When there is too much light the shutter won’t fire, so there were times I missed shots because of this, going from one part of the church to the other where the light changed too drastically.  After having used shutter priority with the Canon AE-1 I find it much more freeing setting at 1/60 and having the lens stop down as much as needed, it made it easy to set and forget whereas with the aperture priority I was forever worrying about whether the aperture I had it on would make the shutter speed too slow.  It was more an unfounded fear as nearly everything doesn’t show motion blur but I also wanted to give myself as much depth of field as possible because the lens would be focusing in the opposite direction from what I’m used to.  What it boils down to is that I was using a camera that is now unfamiliar to me after having shot Pentax and Nikon for most of the last decade and more.  I don’t know that I will use it much or ever again for that matter but being a family heirloom like my grandfather’s cameras I of course can’t let it go.

No need for the Nikon Shuffle

Not that it necessarily matters, but it occurred to me that I’d made a few posts about the other cameras I’ve been using (here, and here) and this camera had been pretty much the middle child so I thought I’d write a post about it, as my other Nikon F2.  It was in the background of this post and I’ve been shooting the camera for a lot of the 2021 season, from the time I completed the construction job and went back to Jeep tours all the way until the Fall when I sent off both my F2 cameras to be serviced by the great Sover Wong.

So here is the camera in the basic setup that I’ve been shooting it since August 2021.

I acquired a chrome DE-1 finder from a generous guy on a Facebook group and have to say that I like the look as well as the lighter weight that comes from using a non-metered finder (I already linked to the earlier post regarding the non-metered finder on my F Apollo above).  Going back to a photomic finder just seems a bit clunky by and bulky by comparison and checking the meter slows me down sometimes.

I’ve even considered buying a black DE-1 to go with my black F2 though I do like having at least one camera with which to test my guesswork on exposure for difficult lighting situations or film that I don’t use too often.

But the thing is, I’m learning my light pretty well and there aren’t too many times when I miss a shot due to under/over-exposure.  I’ve modified the old Sunny-16 rule and when shooting outdoors try to keep the lens at f/8 the entire time, switching from 1/1000sec in direct sunlight to 1/125 under clouds or in the shade.  Indoor lighting will be f/2.8-f/1.4 at 1/60sec.  I’ve been shooting this way since at least the beginning of 2019 on Tri-X (and later Ilford XP2) and it just works; anything I’ve shot since then that’s black & white is a testament to that.  And it makes me want to tell everyone…you don’t need to get some latch-on meter for your unmetered camera, just try it out a couple times!  Nor do you need to pull out a handheld meter every time you want to take a shot.  It doesn’t matter if the built-in meter dies, your camera isn’t ruined or useless!  I always used to think that someone using a Leica from the ’50s with no meter was unusually ballsy but the reality is that it’s not that hard.  Learning how to properly expose ASA400 film has given me one less thing I need to worry about and allows me to work quicker and just get the shot.

My grandfather’s camera: the Kodak Bantam f/4.5

Back in 2009 I picked up a few of my grandfather’s cameras from his house, right before I moved out to Colorado.  I finally got around to shooting a roll in June when I was staying at a vacation rental in Fountain for a few months (I wrote about that here and here; this could be considered Old Cars, Pt.II).

The top-of-the-line model of 828 film cameras back in the late ’30s, I’ve always liked the look and feel of this camera.  It’s sleek and compact, with things that snap into place at the press of the button or just a flick of the thumb.  Everything about this camera cries “Quality!” with every ounce of its rather hefty weight.  This was one of three cameras I brought from my grandparents’ house when I left Ohio in 2009 and whereas the Kalimar A was a camera that I used out of necessity, this was the one I really wanted to use.  The trouble being that it took 828 film which is fucking expensive.  I bought a roll ages ago from B&H Photo because they’re nice enough to roll some Tri-X down to 828 size but it costs $20 (now $24) and you’re only getting 8 exposures.  127 film is looking pretty good now, at only $13 per roll.  I did find this which has inspired me to at least try to load some 35mm film to give this a shot.



Back in the day Kodak had an annoying history of introducing proprietary film formats for use with Kodak cameras ensuring that they could only be used with Kodak film.  Then when the film stopped selling well Kodak would discontinue the film size rendering these cameras, if not completely useless, then very expensive.  And this was a camera that cost the equivalent of $500 in 2021 dollars.  While I might champion their cause today, Big Yellow did have some rather questionable practices back in their heyday.

The roll of 828 film only gives you 8 exposures, with quite a lot of space in between; I have no idea why.  But here are a few of the cars and Jeeps that Regan my landlord has lying around his property waiting for restoration:

Here’s frame No. 1:

It has a better composition than its duplicate, but the rudimentary flip-up sights don’t really lend themselves to precise framing.  This film was spooled using 35mm film and unfortunately several of the perforations were torn; this one in particular was a very large flap that hung over the film and blocked the light from the top of the frame.  There was enough film left for me to get a bit more in:

I haven’t seen it for years, but my grandpa kept a war diary all the way through World War II where he served under General Patton.  From what I remember the pictures he pasted inside were small and square so I don’t think they were taken with this camera, but it is of the right vintage and I wonder if I’ve seen everything.  It’s a credit to the manufacturing standards in Depression-era America that this 80-year-old camera still functions as it should when its last servicing was before the birth of my parents (see header pic).  I wouldn’t vouch strongly for the accuracy of its fast shutter speeds, but besides that I can’t complain.  I can imagine some pretty good things might have come along in the 1960s if Kodak and others had tried to compete with Germany and Japan in the manufacture of fine cameras.  Instead we got shit like the Instamatic.

Now the actual size of the pictures is larger than a standard frame from 35mm film, and went into the sprocket holes on each side, but my Pakon scanner can’t deal with that, so I worked with what I had and ended up with images that were 1.7:1 (cropped very slightly on the sides) as opposed to 1.5:1. I had to use TLX Client Demo to alter the frame width and then recropped using Affinity Photo.  This flexibility is one of the great advantages of the Pakon over other scanners, and makes it if not easy, at least workable to scan frames that are a non-standard size like this, or panoramic, etc.  I’m glad I have this camera that belonged to Grandpa, it’s a family heirloom to me, though the camera is a bit more dated than those I usually shoot.  It has all the handling of other medium format cameras of that era but with the disadvantage of a smaller frame size, plus the film is very expensive.  At $24 (now) per roll and only 8 frames, you’re looking at $3 per image, so you’d better really make them count.  I didn’t, I just wanted to use that roll up so I could put the camera back into storage for the rest of its life.  I’ll probably never use this camera again.

Schoolroom shenanigans

It took almost 7 years when I started going back to college, but I did finally graduate.  I have a lot of memories, and also a lot of degrees…because I ended up getting a double minor (in visual arts emphasis on photography, and film studies).  But through it all I had my camera, especially since the first class I took was Intro to Photography, all the way back in Fall of 2013.  So here is a rather large gallery of memories, with many classmates I’ve known over my time at UCCS; I forget the names of some of them!

I don’t expect anyone else to get anything out of this, it’s more a self-indulgent nostalgia trip for me than anything.  Some of these were never published, some have been posted to Facebook only.  Thanks for the memories…