Monday, September 29, 2014

Roll: Metropolis (Part 3)

Last weekend, I bought a(nother) Nikon F from a nice older guy I met through This F is decked out all in black, and came with a standard prism, Nikon soft release, three Nikkor lenses, and a Luna Pro meter. From the looks of the camera, it was very lightly used, and looks breathtaking. It's almost near-mint.

My black Nikon F with standard prism, soft release, and 50mm F/1.4 lens

At the latest Photorama camera show, I bought a waist-level finder for the camera. It's pretty sexy:

With the waist-level finder and 24mm F/2.8 lens
I took the train down to the city to test the camera out, and had a lot of fun shooting with it. I just love the weight and durability of the F; they don't make them like this anymore, that's for sure. I shot with the 50mm F/1.4 and the 24mm F/2.8 lenses, on Ilford Delta 400 film. Here are some of the results I obtained:

Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Print: Two-Car Garage

This is the garage of the split-level home in Kildeer, Illinois. There was a bunch of random stuff thrown into this junk pile, including golf clubs, a Pocahontas coloring book, and a Snoopy-dressed-as-a-Christmas-Elf plushy. I got pretty lucky with the afternoon lighting here; the junk was lit just about perfectly, allowing for the windows not to be completely blown out in my exposure. For this photograph, I used my Pentax LX with a 24mm F/2.8 lens on Ilford HP5+. The physical print is 8x10 inches.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Roll: Metropolis (Part 2): Pushy People

After a long day of work yesterday, I stayed downtown for a while and photographed some people on the street. I used my Leica M4 and Ilford Delta 400 film. As an experiment, and since the sun was already starting to go down, I shot the film at 3200 speed. This was the first time I'd ever not shot and developed a roll of film at box speed, and Delta 400 is not known for its pushing abilities (it's more of a Tri-X/HP5+ thing), so I really didn't know what to expect. Three stops is also a little bit crazy; you're normally only recommended to push a film two stops further than box speed. I developed the film in Ilford DDX for around 22 minutes, as opposed to the normal 8 or so minutes. The results are pretty grainy, but I kinda like the effect. It turns each picture into a bit of an abstraction; a step towards photographic impressionism.

Here are the rest of the photos:

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Roll: Metropolis (Part 1)

A few months ago, I bought another Nikon F from an estate sale. It's in much nicer condition than my previous F, which I have since sold. This last Saturday, along with Katie, I finally took my new F out with me to the River North and Wicker Park neighborhoods of Chicago.

My "new" Nikon F, with 50mm F/1.4 lens, standard prism, and soft release
The past month or so, I've been attempting to improve my candid/street photography. I'm naturally a very shy person (with a tad bit of social anxiety), so photographing and interacting with strangers on the street is something I don't naturally enjoy doing. However, I've begun to realize that a moment of uncomfortableness is worth it for a great photo. I've found that an awkward smile and a dorky thumbs up is usually enough to diffuse a situation where someone is weirded out that I'm taking their picture.  I'm getting closer, I'm getting ballsier, and I'm improving.

The photo at the top of the page is my favorite from the day, but here are some others photos I took. Everything was shot on my Nikon F with my 50mm F/1.4 and 24mm F/2.8 lenses. I used Ilford Delta 400 Film.

I'd appreciate any critique of my street photography work (or any of my work). I plan on continuing this "Metropolis" series over the next few months and beyond. Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roll: Minnesota Trip

Last weekend, Katie and I took a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two of my prints were accepted into an art show at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts (in Fridley, a suburb of Minneapolis), and we went to attend the opening. The drive was absolutely brutal; seven hours of nothingness. However, we did stop at a cool museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin: the "Circus World Museum". The museum was surprisingly huge; it had multiple buildings filled to the brim with historic circus pieces. The main exhibit was a large hanger filled with dozens of early 1900's circus wagons.

Here are some photos I took at the museum. I used my Pentax LX with my 50mm F/1.4, 35mm F/2, and 100mm F/2.8 lenses. All was shot on Ilford Delta 400 film.

Upon finally arriving in Minneapolis, we had a fantastic time exploring the city with Katie's cousin, Johanna, and her boyfriend, Skot. That Sunday, we went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It was pretty weird going to a ren faire that wasn't in Bristol. It was almost like entering an alternate universe. Here are some shot I took at the festival:

Overall is was an awesome trip. It'll be a while before I'm willing to make that seven hour car ride again, but I think I'll eventually want to go back to the Twin Cities. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spotlight: Minolta XK

The Minolta XK (also known as the X-1 or XM, depending on the country) was first produced in 1971, and was Minolta Camera Company's first attempt at a fully professional 35mm SLR.

This camera is a monster. It's big, it's heavy, and it's hideous looking. However, hiding under its rough exterior, the Minolta XK is an innovative picture taking machine. While the current professional-level Japanese SLR's at the time (Nikon F-2 and Canon F-1) had perfectly capable match-needle exposure meters, the Minolta XK went a step further and created an aperture priority finder. This finder (see above photo) came standard with the XK, and makes the camera look like it has a massive pointy tumor growing out of it.

Besides the Automatic Exposure (AE) Finder, the XK had a few other mentionable innovations. One of these innovations was the "Senswitch", a long button placed directly where your right hand grips the camera. If you have the metering system switched to off, the "Senswitch" will turn on the system for as long as it's held down. Once the Senswitch is released, the meter will instantly turn back off, saving battery.

Another small yet significant innovation is the exposure compensation switch, located right below the shutter dial. Easily accessed by your thumb, you can push the switch to the right or left to over or under expose by up to two stops while in aperture priority mode. This is the only pre-1980's camera I've used that has exposure compensation easily accessible with your eye to the viewfinder. Most of the time it's a stiff dial located far away from where your fingers are able to easily reach.

The XK sans viewfinder. Notice the lack of shutter speed info...
One gripe I have about the XK's design is how the shutter speed dial is attached to the finder. This means that when you remove the finder, you can't tell what speed you're set at. I wish Minolta had done what Nikon did with their metered prisms, and put a dial on the body as well as on the finder. Oh well.

Here are some photos I took on my XK:

Katie with our cat stroller

Thanks for looking!