On the water with the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35

It’s been a bit wintry here in Colorado these last few days, and makes me want my sunburn back for just a little while longer…so here are my vacation pictures (Labor Day weekend) while on Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky, with (most of) my college friends from Ohio State.

note: I apologize for the Bud Light cans marring a few of the images.  It was later in the day and evidently some of my friends have no taste.  In compensation, here’s a (somewhat blurry) picture of me drinking my Magic Hat No. 9:
Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.

Speaking of being just a bit blurry, that’s probably my only real gripe with this camera; I suppose something like a Nikonos would give me just a little bit more control.  I used 100 speed film that day, and I think next time I’ll be sure to bring along some 400 speed as well.  I’m sure ASA100 works fine most of the time, but unfortunately you’ll need that extra stop or two if it clouds over:
(or maybe I could have used the flash?)

On the other hand, I have 2 focal lengths, 50mm and 35mm, and that’s nice to have occasionally.  The only other problem I had with the Weathermatic was with the water spots on the lens (it can be seen in a few of the color shots).  I suppose there is some sort of substance that you can rub on the glass to help keep water off of it, I just didn’t think about it until it was too late.

I’m really pleased with how the camera performed out of water (the black & white pictures) and I think that in a pinch I could go on vacation taking only this camera, as long as everything I was shooting was outdoors.  The shutter is extremely silent (and the auto-winder isn’t all too loud either), to the point that I actually wasted a frame or two making sure it was actually working.  It doesn’t waste all of the leader, either.  On one roll I got 38 exposures, pretty respectable.  While being made sometime in the late ’80s, it’s still water-tight (I didn’t test just how deep I could push it), and amazingly, it floats!  The camera cost me a whole $7.00 from a thrift store, though the 6V lithium battery was probably twice that.  Thankfully I have another camera or two that can use that battery…  I just learned today from reading a few other online reviews that while the camera only shoots at ASA100 and 400, it will accept anything up to ASA1000.  Shooting 800-speed negative film at 400 isn’t such a bad idea anyway, so I might give that a try next time.

The black & white film is AGFAPhoto APX 100, the color is Fuji Provia 100F.  It was a bit risky I suppose to shoot slide film in a camera I’d never used before, but I think that’s the true test of performance, and the results speak for themselves.  AGFAPhoto doesn’t make its own film.  I’ve read that APX 100 is repackaged Kentmere 100 made by Ilford.  I paid around $8.00 for that film (more than I paid for the camera) and it’s really not worth it when one could buy Kentmere-branded film for under $5.00 a roll–it’s the same problem with how much Precisa CT 100 costs now.  Whatever this company is that has bought the rights to the AGFAPhoto brand, I don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish by rebranding other companies’ films and marking the prices up.  Sooner or later people will wise up; they’re not likely to get any more of my money, that’s for sure.  If you want real AGFA film, it’s labelled Rollei now.  The Kentmere 100 film, which I’d never shot before, looks very pleasing to me most of the time, but it is pretty grainy.  I’m not normally one to whine about a bit of grain, but it’s really noticeable for a 100-speed film, so be prepared.  Again, I’m not complaining (except for how much I paid), I think it has a great look to it that reminds me of what film looked like back in the ’60s and ’70s.  That said, it’s grainier than my beloved Tri-X (at least with whatever developer my camera lab is using, and maybe I should ask just what that is) and two stops slower, which makes it hard for me to find reasons to use it right now.

I wish I didn’t live so far away from my friends now, but then a lot of them have moved away as well.  This is the first time I’d seen some of them in 7 years.  It’s hard to know where the time went, but this marked the 10th anniversary of us all being in the dorms together.  It’s scary thinking that there are legal adults now an entire decade younger than me, or to think that I’m in classes with some of them.  I’m thinking about mortality more these days; perhaps still a bit humorous in someone only 28 years old, I’m sure.

My apologies if you don’t like to look at pictures of half-naked hairy fat guys.  We can’t all of us shoot nothing but gorgeous female models, though a lot of people do get away with it (and get paid for their trouble).  I’m just not that lucky I guess…

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.

The Rainbow of Death

If you’ll forgive the Vuescan watermarks.  I haven’t gotten around to buying the actual software yet.

Here’s why:
Phantom pic 1

Can you see it?  The lines are just below the tip of the nose cone.

Here’s a more visible version:
Phantom pic 2

And it’s still visible in black and white, too:

I’ll have to do more research to determine how to fix this, or if it’s even worth it (the scanner is 15 years old, after all).  I suppose, if nothing else, I could scan the image, flip the negative around, and scan it again!  Sounds like too much work.  What it means though, is that I’ve been taking my stuff back to the pros, and not worrying about it.


I’m a musician.  I write, perform, and record music, as well as compose for the concert hall.  I’m not really sure I had much to say, I just wanted to put this picture out there, because the new semester is here and I haven’t had much time for writing or scanning pictures (or taking pictures for that matter).  It’s from last semester’s photography class, taken with my trusty Minolta SRT-MCII.

Kodak Tri-X 400

Well, back to the aural world now…


It’s about a week now until classes start up again and I’m trying to get everything in order.  I’ve been busy, not much time to write, but at long last I have the cable I needed to connect my scanner to my new SCSI card.  And as I write this I’ve been trying out Vuescan (the free version – see the watermarks?)

What’s wonderful about Vuescan is that they continually update old drivers for hardware that is no longer supported by its manufacturer (like my Minolta Scan Dual F2400), so they provide quite a service by keeping legacy hardware running on modern computers (or in my case, my Windows XP machine from about 2004).  Quite a service.  As I write this I’m testing out the software, trying to learn how to get what I want out of the scan.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Behold my music composition teacher’s beautiful arm. This picture actually became the basis/starting point for one of my projects in VA2110 Intro to Photography.

That’s a straight scan to JPG, with me playing around with darkness and contrast in the scanner settings.  Some people prefer doing all the adjustments digitally in Photoshop, but it takes so much time and I don’t find that I have much need of that, plus I don’t own Photoshop.  Setting up the scanner to do it the way I want seems to fit more with my workflow and since I now have about 40+ rolls of film to scan, I need to find that middle ground between perfection and expediency.

So far I’d say I’m happy with it and more than willing to spend $80 for the full version, so once I set up a dedicated photo machine, wipe the HD and upgrade the ram as much as I can I’ll be ready for scanning for the foreseeable future!  If anyone out there is looking for drivers and software to use an outdated scanner on a modern (or modernish) machine I would encourage them to give Vuescan a try.

The Redheaded Zombie Awards

…is a place for Colorado artists to showcase their best work of 2013, brought to you by Colorado Springs’ local arts collective, The Brainless Horde.  I am proud to say that I have been nominated for best photograph, and you can see it entered here: http://redheadedzombieshow.com/?page_id=1887
I’ve also been nominated in music for best album…happy both ways now.


50mm f/4 1/250 Kodak Tri-X 400

This was taken early last semester for a photography course I took at UCCS.  For most of the semester I was using a Minolta SRT MC-II that I picked up at Goodwill.  I used the Minolta 50mm 1.4 lens that my friends had given me with their camera and that combination served me well for the entire semester, though towards the end I started adding other cameras on top of that one.  I’ll gush more about that camera later I’m sure.  $8.00 camera, free lens, $5.00 roll of film.  I’m really proud of this shot.

Fun with scanners

Last summer I picked up a bottom-of-the-line Minolta dedicated film scanner off Craigslist.  Not too special, has a maximum 2400dpi, which gives me scans around 3300×2200.  To put that in perspective, if one were to get their film processed and scanned at say Walgreens, one would get a scan that is 1800×1215.  So my 15-year-old semi-pro film scanner gives me an image that is four times larger (or is that four times more detailed?) than what Walgreens can do, and I don’t have to pay them 5.00 a roll?  Hmmm, if only I had the extra time to take advantage of that…



My Minolta F2400:

There’s a bit of a learning curve, and sometimes things come out better, sometimes not.  This was my first try; I pulled out some negatives my mom had lying around that came from a Fuji waterproof disposable camera.  Honestly, the biggest hurdle is processing power.  Older scanners are SCSI devices, and I had to use an old Win98 machine that just wasn’t up to the task.  I’m in the process of fixing that now, because scanning one 24-exposure roll of film absolutely should not take 8 hours.  With Microsoft dropping Windows XP this year, I’m going to see how expensive it is to upgrade my RAM, drop in a SCSI card, and turn this computer into a dedicated photo machine.  Hopefully it’ll be able to handle larger files when I find a better scanner, say 4000-5400dpi.