Sunday, July 11, 2021

Base Ball Portraits (Part 2)

A continuation of the drawings I'm working on for the Chicago Salmon vintage base ball club. These portraits will eventually be featured on the team website, chicagosalmon.org. Each portrait is 6" x 6". 








Sunday, June 27, 2021

Base Ball Portraits (Part 1)

This summer I'm working on making graphite pencil portraits depicting members of the Chicago Salmon vintage base ball club. These portraits will eventually be featured on the team website, chicagosalmon.org. Each portrait is 6" x 6".  







Tuesday, June 22, 2021

First Cyanotypes

This summer I'm trying out a few different photographic alternative processes. I started with a few cyanotypes of my cats, Furiosa and Merry. I contact-printed a digital negative, along with different plants for each cat. I'm enjoying the process, but still need to experiment with how to improve dynamic range. 




 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Photographs: Harbor Country

Harbor Country is a series of photographs I plan to produce over the course of this summer and beyond.

For my entire life, my family has owned a small cottage in Union Pier, Michigan, and I spent every summer there through high school. Recently my wife and I have started to spend a lot of time in Union Pier, which has been phenomenal. However, I've noticed that a lot of places I frequented as a kid are now changed, abandoned, or completely gone. With Harbor Country, I seek to document the once familiar locations I associate with my childhood that have since been erased, no matter how seemingly insignificant. 



Arby's

A former Arby's next to the highway exit we took to get to Union Pier. I don't think I ever actually ate there, but the sign would always greet us on the way to the cottage. 



Gold's Gym - Pool

As a teenager, I used to swim and read Nintendo Power magazines by this pool after working out. The gym used to be a railway roundhouse. 





To be continued. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Spotlight: Nikon F5

 

The Nikon F5, released in 1996, is the ultimate professional 35mm SLR for sports and action. This camera does not mess around. It has a shooting speed of 7.4 frames per second, and weighs in at 3 pounds, 11 ounces with batteries, film, and a 50mm lens. The size and weight kept me away from the F5 for a long time, but I picked one up a few weeks ago to see how it fared shooting baseball. 

I've owned my Nikon F, F2, and F4 cameras for many years now, and absolutely adore them. I enjoy their robust-yet-compact builds, and simplistic mechanical controls. The F5 is a departure from these previous F models, trading mechanical knobs for an electronic display and command dials. It's a very modern setup, one that digital SLR users will immediately be right at home with. Though the hipster in me misses physical controls, the electronic display does nicely streamline the shooting experience. 

The size and weight also differentiates the F5 from previous F models, which were relatively small and light. While the features of the F5 are certainly an upgrade over previous cameras in every way, its hulking frame limits how and where the camera can be used effectively, and it's not exactly discreet. Call me a wimp, but I don't want to lug it around with me for much longer than an hour. Whip this beast out the street, and you're sure to raise some eyebrows. I sure wouldn't recommend it as a travel camera. Though its massive girth can be considered a detriment in many situations, the F5 is also the most solid camera I've ever held in my hands. The grip is incredibly comfortable, and the additional vertical release makes portrait oriented shots a breeze. Overall, handling on the F5 is top notch, as long as you don't plan to walk with it for extended periods of time. 

Essentially, the F5 was built for one thing: SPEED. A blazing fast 7.4 fps fire rate, combined with quick and accurate autofocus, makes the F5 a must-have for sports shooters. This thing just goes. If you're not careful, you can eat through an entire roll of film in mere seconds. There are five autofocus points to choose from, which can be cycled between through via a directional pad on the rear of the camera. Most of my shots came out in sharp focus, and the ones that didn't were probably due to user error. Here is a sequence I made shooting at the max frame rate:


As a guy who enjoys multiple exposures, I appreciate that the F5 has a dedicated multiple exposure button. You just hold down the button and rotate the main command dial to turn the mode on. When you're done with your current frame, hold the button and rotate the command dial again to automatically advance the film. I had fun combining the F5's multiple exposure function with the 7.4 fps: 




One bittersweet fact about the F5 is that it's the final Nikon camera (if not the final 35mm format camera, period) to have interchangeable viewfinders. It's a feature that's sorely lacking in today's cameras. I might just pick up a waist-level finder for my F5 if I can find one for cheap, but they usually go for $150 or more. 

Overall I love the F5. While not a camera I see myself using a lot due to its size, I think I will keep it around for situations that call for its high frame rate and dependable autofocus. Below are a few more photographs I made with my F5 and 80-200mm f2.8 D lens, on Kodak Tmax 400 film. 









Sunday, May 2, 2021

GIF: Katie Teeing Off



I taught myself how to make GIFs, finally. Here is one of Katie teeing off on every golf hole that we played today. Made with my Fujifilm X100V. (Might take a few seconds to load)
 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Spotlight: Konica Auto-Reflex P

 


Half-frame cameras are pretty rad; you get twice the amount of frames on a roll than with a full-frame camera. However, sometimes you want more image quality than those tiny 18x24mm half-frame negatives can offer. What if you could switch between half and full-frame exposures on the fly, without having to change cameras? Well, that's where the gimmick of the Konica Auto-Reflex comes into play. Released in 1965, the Konica Auto-Reflex is the only camera that can switch between half and full-frame formats mid-roll. 

I bought the P version, which came out a year later 1966, and is the same as the original camera in every way except it doesn't have an internal meter, and the rewind knob is a different styling. But, who needs a light meter, anyway? 


Immediately noticeable on top of the camera to the right of the prism is a little switch that toggles between "Full" and "Half." Flipping this switch changes the size of the negative. As you can see below, little metal curtains pop out between the shutter curtain and film plane to form an 18x24mm negative. There are lines etched into the focusing screen to help you compose your half-frame images (or preview what they might look like while still in full-frame mode). When in half-frame mode, black arrows appear at the top of the focusing screen to help remind you. 

This may be obvious to most, but keep in mind, that the field of view changes when switching between formats. The field of view of the 40mm f/1.8 lens I used with the camera became around a 60mm equivalent when I switched to half-frame. 



In addition to changing the negative size, the Full/Half switch also changes how far the advance lever advances the film, and how frequently the frame counter counts frames. With "Half" selected, the frame counter only ticks up once every two shots. A cool little detail! Below is what a roll of film looks like, after switching between full and half-frame multiple times. 


Besides the ability to switch between formats, the Konica Auto-Reflex is a pretty standard 60's SLR. Shutter speeds (1~1/1000 + B) are selectable via a knob on the front of the body. There's a self-timer, which also locks up the mirror for less vibration, which is a nice touch. The viewfinder is frustrating for eyeglass users such as myself, as your eye pretty much has to touch the finder to see the entire focusing screen. With my glasses between my eye and the finder, I can probably only see about 3/4 of the frame. The focusing screen has decent brightness with a large microprism assist, and is not interchangeable. Build quality is about average. The Konica doesn't feel cheap, but it isn't nearly as robust as a Nikon or Pentax from the era. 

Below are a few photographs I made with the Auto-Reflex P, using a 40mm f/1.8 Hexanon and Ilford Delta 400 film.