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.

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.

One for the peepers

I think I saw more red-colored aspen trees this year than previously and I believe it’s something to do with the amount of rain if I’m not mistaken.  Before this I shot two rolls of slide film in my new F2A, which I will get around to developing eventually.  So this color is a little bit past its top level but still pretty good.  I shot maybe 40 rolls of black & white in 2020 (plus 4×5 sheets as well) and maybe 5 rolls of color, all around September/October.

(that last one is currently my desktop background)

This is my first roll of Ektar 100 in nearly 4 years; for some reason I’ve just never really clicked with this film but I’m still willing to give it a chance every once in a while.  I hope that I’ll get it eventually but as far as Kodak color film goes I think I’m going to like Ektachrome 100 more and even Gold 200 has done better for me in the past.  I suppose that Ektar will really shine in medium format and as I am in the process of moving that direction I will be giving Ektar 100 even more chances…

All this equipment…Tri-X edition

Shooting a couple rolls of Super 8 film back in April 2020 during lockdown.  So here is the time delay between the immediacy of the digital camera on my phone and getting film developed, getting around to scanning it, and finally getting to the order in the queue.  But hopefully it was worth the wait!

It was more to test out my cameras than anything, but if I put my mind to it I might be able to turn it all into an “experimental” short.

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.

The nephew arrives…

My brother and sister-in-law had their first baby at the end of May.  I’d taken the pregnancy announcement pics back in the Fall but of course now with COVID we couldn’t actually be at the hospital for the birth; these were the day after when they came home.  Of course everyone was taking pictures all the time and I’m sure those are the ones that people actually saw, but I (again of course) took the slow (and ultimately archival) route with good old Tri-X.  I had these rolls of film developed very soon after and had pics for the family a week after that which is pretty quick for me.

I had the F2A already halfway through a roll (officially its first) and switched to the F Apollo afterward (only test rolls previously).  Knowing that they were both functioning properly I’ve been shooting a lot whenever I’m down at my brother’s house, all Tri-X, all with the F.

Old Bronco

…which has evidently seen better days but is still in pretty good shape all things considered!  It belongs to a neighbor of mine.

If this vehicle were in Ohio it would be 95% rust…as it is it’s a lot less than that but what’s there tells me it didn’t spend its whole life in the dry air of Colorado.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who have been anticipating the new 2021 Ford Bronco and from what I’ve seen it looks interesting, but I think I’d have more fun driving this.

I don’t dance and that includes the Nikon Shuffle

For the last decade I’ve shot M42 and been extremely happy with the results.  However, as I move forward and mature as a photographer I’ve been running up against the limits of the system I’ve built.  I could see this coming for a while which is why I added a list of cameras to my favorite cameras page that lists what I’ve been looking to try out.  Back in the beginning of December I was down at Cameraworks, my local Colorado Springs camera store, and saw that they had a large collection of Nikon bodies just in, and thanks to some Christmas and birthday money I felt comfortable putting one on layaway (thanks, Mom).  So here it is:

The Nikon F2A, and I bought an AI-modified 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor-S lens with it.  So I’ve finally taken the plunge and said goodbye to M42, Takumar, and Spotmatics.  It could have easily have been a switch to K-mount with the Pentax LX but I felt like this F2 just sort of fell into my lap, so Deus Vult!  I’ve been doing quite a lot of research ahead of time and decided to steer clear of anything non-AI, hence the title of this post.  Johnny Martyr’s post about brand new F6 cameras had me thinking about Nikon and things they still make.  If you go onto Adorama’s or B&H’s sites right now you will still be able to buy these manual focus AI-s Nikkor lenses brand new:
28mm f/2.8 ($540)
35mm f/1.4 ($1100)
50mm f/1.2 ($700)
55mm f/2.8 Micro ($400)
105mm f/2.8 Micro ($800)
(Actually there are more but these are the ones that interest me)  It’s just a shame that the only body they make is the F6.  Remember in 2000 and 2005 when they made limited edition reproductions of the S3 and SP rangefinders?  The 50th anniversary of the F2 is in 2021, I say they bring it back.  The Nikon F2C, with updated metering head.  Hey Nikon, are you listening?

So it was on layaway and I put down the last payment in February, and it’s been mainly sitting since then.  I was hoping to start getting a lot of use out of it but have had no work thanks to COVID-19.  I’ve taken a few shots so far and am halfway through my first roll (Tri-X, naturally) but have devoted more attention to super 8 lately.  But as I write this businesses are starting to open up and people are getting out and about again so hopefully that means that the work will continue.

Shooting half a roll of Tri-X I would say that the camera feels very good in my hands, like it belongs there.  Definitely great build quality, though some pieces feel lighter than I would have imagined.  I would say the F2’s reputation is well-deserved and I’m sure this camera will last me a long time.  There is a problem though: the meter is a bit jumpy at a certain EV value if you’re shooting 1/60sec near wide open.  It will be at – when at f/2 and jumps a bit before settling all the way at + for f/1.4; the experts say jumpy meters are a sure sign of a dirty ring resistor.  While it’s still under warranty I intend to have Cameraworks service the metering head, but I also bought this camera fully intending to send it to Sover Wong, the F2 Master.