Sunday, August 31, 2014

Print: Entrance

A little over a week ago I was driving around the western suburbs when I came across an abandoned home on the outskirts of Kildeer. The house was a split level, and not too old; probably built in the 60's or 70's. It looked like it had been abandoned for quite some time.

It was fairly difficult getting to the house, as it was right off a pretty busy two lane highway. I didn't want to be spotted parking in the driveway, of course, so I had to leave my car about half a mile away in a restaurant lot. I then walked to the house among the cover of trees that lined the road. It was a pain, but I didn't get discovered, so all the effort was worth it.

This photograph is of the house's front entrance, looking out onto the grassy hill the home stood on. I used my Pentax LX and a 50mm F/1.4 SMC lens, on Ilford HP5+ film. The physical print is 10 x 8 inches.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Spotlight: Canon F-1

The Canon F-1 was made from 1971 through 1976, and was Canon's first fully professional system SLR camera. The F-1 was designed to compete with the startlingly similar-in-name Nikon F-2 (Seriously, how did Nikon not sue?). At the time, Nikon pretty much had a monopoly on the professional slr market, and Canon wanted a piece of that pie. The F-1 was the first camera to feature Canon's FD bayonet lens mount, which replaced the previous breech-lock FL mount, and enabled open aperture metering pleasure. The FD mount would remain standard until Canon introduced the EOS mount in 1987. 

The F-1 is a true system camera, with a variety of interchangeable lenses, prisms, focus screens, and backs. It has a fast top shutter speed of 1/2000th, mirror lock-up mode, and allows for multiple exposures. I found the method for removing the viewfinder and focus screen to be much easier and safer than the Nikon F. The Canon viewfinder slides off smoothly at the light touch of two buttons, rather than Nikon's system, where the viewfinder violently pops off after prodding a very resistant indented button that kills your fingernails.

Canon F-1 sans prism
One other small but important feature I adore on the F-1 is the shutter lock knob. Every camera needs a shutter lock, so that you can keep the shutter cocked without the worry of it going off in your bag. It's shocking to me how many cameras don't have shutter locks. My future father-in-law enjoys being a pain and tripping my Leica M4's shutter when it's hanging over my shoulder. A shutter lock would prevent this from happening!

Anyway, I found the F-1 to be a pleasure to shoot with. My specific F-1 has a shutter capping issue, and the 1/2000th and 1/1000th speeds are unusable. So, I was working with a maximum shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. The camera is a bit large and beefy for a 35mm, but nothing my man hands can't handle. The F-1 feels very solid, and the ergonomics are actually quite nice. I shot a lot of candid photos at the local flea market last weekend, and enjoyed being able to easily slide off the prism viewfinder for the occasional extra sneaky waist level shot.

Here are some of the shots I took on my Canon F-1. I used a 50mm F/1.4 FD Lens and Bergger 400 film.


Katie and I will be getting married here in 1 month!

The wedding planner

Walgreens portrait studio

Well, there you have it. While I'm not a huge fan of Canon cameras, I have to say I had fun with the F-1. It's a well built photo making machine. As always, thanks for looking.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Print: The Machine

This photograph was made inside the abandoned Grease Factory in Huntley, Illinois. There were a few of these large machines in the facotry; I'm not sure what they do, but they're damn impressive looking. I used my Mamiya C330 and a 55mm lens on Kodak TMax 400 film. The physical print is 10 x 10 inches. Thanks for looking!

Edit: This is a boiler, and I am an idiot. Thanks Jeremy. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Print: Barrel

Here's another scene from my visit to the Fox Valley Grease Factory. Someone had taken paint and dripped it from a hole in the ceiling onto an old barrel. I liked the sharp diagonal line the sunlight created on the wall next to the barrel. I used my Mamiya C330 with a 55mm lens on Kodak TMax 400 film. The physical print is around 7x10 inches.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Print: The View From Rock Bottom

Last weekend, Aaron and I explored an abandoned grease factory in Huntley, Illinois. The building has been abandoned for over three decades, and it shows. Walls and ceilings are missing, trees are growing through the floor, and graffiti covers the structure like wallpaper. This chair was sitting in the back room of the factory, overlooking a small forest stream (since the wall had long since fallen down). I used my Mamiya C330 with a 55mm lens, and Kodak T-Max 400 film. The physical print is 10 x 10 inches.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Roll: Into the Woods

Last weekend, Aaron and I explored LaBagh Woods, a forest preserve in northern Chicago. Labagh Woods is a small, claustrophobic preserve that has a somewhat sinister reputation. The woods are a known hangout of unruly teenagers, gangs, and even cults (severed pig heads have been found on multiple occasions slightly off the trails). Graffiti covers many of the trees, bridges, and signs in the preserve. A number of murders and suicides have also occurred in Labagh Woods, and some say the forest is haunted.

While I doubt the woods are haunted, I did have a bit of an uneasy feeling while exploring LaBagh. I brought along my newly acquired Pentax MX, which is in much better condition than the previous MX I owned. I mostly used the 50mm F/1.7 lens that came with the camera, but also used my 24mm F/2.8 for a few shots.

My "new" MX, with 50mm F/1.7 Lens

Here some of my better photos from our trip to LaBagh. Everything was shot on Kodak Tri-X 400.

LaBagh was a fun place to spend a few hours. I recommend taking a walk through the woods... as long as you visit during the day. Thanks for looking!