Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Print: Echo

"Echo" is a series that I've had planned in my head for a while now. Transitioning back to the suburbs after four years in a small college town has made me realize how boring and repetitive American suburbia really is. I believe that "The Glen", a housing development in a neighboring town, is the ultimate symbolization of suburbia, with its cookie cutter houses that lack any kind of originality. "Echo", which will ultimately be made up of nine different prints, seeks to capture suburban repetition through multiple-exposure photographs. This first print, for example, is made up of six different exposures of six different houses in the Glen. Stay tuned for future installments!

I used my Mamiya C330 with an 80mm lens.

Thanks for looking. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Roll: Exakta Waist Level Madness!

Today I decided to take one of my Exakta's out for a spin... but with a twist! I used the waist level finder, and only the waist level finder. Up until today I'd only ever used the prism finder with the Exakta, because it has a nice split prism focus screen in it. The waist level is a pure matte focus screen. It's also really difficult to get vertical shots, due to the angle and the reverse mirror effect. However, using the waist level finder is a fun and refreshing way to shoot 35mm.

My Exakta VX with Waist-Level Finder installed. Sexy!

I think I got some nice shots, but just about every frame I shot suffered from a thin line appearing on the right half of the frame. I can only assume this has something to do with the focal plane shutter being somewhat faulty. Dang. This sucks, because the Exakta is one of my favorite cameras. :(

Anyway, here are some of the shots I got today. Enjoy!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Print: The Boarded House

Hidden in the shade along the Metra tracks sits this lonely house in the Evanston suburbs. Its doors and windows are all boarded up to prevent squatters. It was pure luck that my friend David and I found this house about a month back. It's pretty secluded as the very last house at the end of a long sketchy alley. The uneven light also made this a tricky subject to photograph and print successfully, but I'm pretty happy about the way it turned out.

I used my Mamiya C330 with a 55mm lens. 

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spotlight: Pentax Auto 110

I love Pentax. Simply put, they make great cameras. They're also innovators in the camera world; unafraid to give crazy ideas a go. The Pentax Auto 110 is one of those ideas. The Pentax Auto 110 is a single lens reflex camera that takes miniature 110 cartridge film. The most amazing part? It has interchangeable lenses. Little tiny baby lenses. The 18mm wide-angle, 24mm standard, and 50mm telephoto lenses launched with the Auto 110, while more were released later (including a zoom lens!).

18mm, 24mm, and 50mm lenses, all in the palm of your hand!

What makes the Pentax Auto 110 so unique, is that it's the first (and most likely only) system camera that uses 110 film. Before this camera came out, 110 film was considered a novice-only format, since it's so dang tiny(About 1/4th the size of 35mm film, which is already pretty small itself). Most other cameras that use 110 are crappy little fixed-focus plastic pieces of crap. The Pentax Auto 110 has some pretty professional features, such as a split prism focus screen, many different apertures and shutter speeds, and interchangeable lenses, as mentioned before.

The camera is insanely easy to operate. All you do is just plop in the film, wind, focus, and fire the shutter. The camera does the rest. The Auto110 is completely automatic, and chooses the appropriate shutter speed and aperture for you. When you're ready to take a picture, you press the shutter button down halfway. If you see a green light, it means you're safe to hand-hold the camera. If you see a yellow light, it mean the shutter speed will be too slow, and you'll need a tripod or a flash. It's a very simple and effective system. All of my shots came out acceptably exposed.

The camera is so pocket-able and easy to use, I brought it along to our wedding, and took a photo of Katie, my beautiful bride, at the altar:

 Here are some more shots taken with the Auto 110:

I'm pretty impressed with this little camera. I thought it'd be a one-use kind of deal, but when you use 100 speed film, the photos are actually decent! I can see myself using the Pentax Auto 110 again in the future. Maybe I'll even pick up another couple of lenses for it.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Print: Harvey

I picked this guy up at an estate sale a few months ago, and let him gradually decay in my backyard. I think his tongue/bottom jaw is the most interesting part to him. He looks like a "Harvey", don't you think? Shot on my Pentax 6x7 using a 135mm macro lens.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spotlight: Perfex Speed Candid

About a week ago I attended a camera swap meet in Skokie, Illinois. There were hundreds of awesome cameras for sale, including a gold plated Leica. I couldn't afford the gold Leica, so I bought this little 35mm Perfex camera instead. The Perfex Speed Candid was made by the Candid Camera Corporation of America, based in Chicago, in 1938.

The camera definitely has a... unique look. I do like those nice art deco lines on the sides of the body, but WHY are there TEN huge exposed screws on the front of the body? Why?

The Perfex's biggest claim to fame is that it is the first camera manufactured in the United States to feature a focal plane shutter. Pretty cool! It has shutter speeds ranging from 1/25th to 1/500th, plus B. A pretty nice range for a consumer grade camera in 1938! This camera also probably has the best shutter sound out of any camera ever.

So yeah... the Perfex is a pretty cool little camera, but does it take decent pictures? NOOOOOPE! The negatives this camera produced were absolutely terrible. Everything turned out drastically underexposed for some reason. It could be because the shutter speeds are way off, or that there's a good amount of fungus and dust in the lens. The shutter also appears to be full of little holes, which is why there are white specks all over every shot. Here are some of my results:

I actually kind of like how these turned out, in a hipster sort of way. I especially like the shot of the pool. Looks pretty dream-like. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Print: Worthless

I came across this car (a mustang?) behind an auto-body shop in Winnetka. The owner of the shop said it had been sitting there for over ten years, and that he was planning on getting rid of it soon. It's pretty sad, that this beautifully constructed car is sitting in a dusty back-alley; tires flat, windows broken, body rusted out, just waiting to die. It makes me think of "The Brave Little Toaster", when the toaster and his friends end up in a junkyard, and the cars all sing as they get sent to the crusher.

This song used to scare the shit out of me as kid. The face on that crusher... ugh. Now, looking back, I think it's an excellent, yet depressing song, with some great lyrics, especially for a kid's movie. The song teachers that no matter who we are, or what we do, we're all going to die in the end, so we have to enjoy the time we have.

As I was making the print, I found myself wondering what kind of adventures this back-alley car had been on. What would its song be like?

I used my Mamiya C330 with a 55mm wide-angle lens. Thanks for looking!