Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Print: Clown Doggy

Today was a gross, disgusting, snowy day in Chicago.  I decided to make a few prints from some neglected old negatives I had sitting around my darkroom. This print was created from a negative I made a little over a year ago, while exploring an abandoned home in Kildeer, Illinois. This little doggy plush was sitting in the middle of the house's filthy garage floor. I used my Pentax LX with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, and Ilford Delta 400 film. The physical print is 10"x7".

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Print: Chair Desk

I recently created this print a couple weeks ago from a negative I made over the summer. I found this chair desk inside a half-collapsed barn in northern Illinois. I used my panoramic Widelux F7 in order to emphasize the grand scale of the barn that houses the chair. The harsh lighting was difficult to deal with when it came time to make the darkroom print; a lot of dodging and burning was necessary in order to bring out details in both the highlights on the ground and the shadows in the rafters. However, had the lighting been soft, I don't think the photo would be as interesting as it is. I love how the afternoon sun creates a spotlight on the desk, contrasted by the deep shadows of the first floor of the barn.

After owning and using the camera for nearly a year, my Widelux F7 continues to amaze me. :)

The physical print is 9.5"x4".

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Print: Dream Kitchen

Here's a print I made a week or so ago of a kitchen inside an abandoned home in northern Illinois. Just look at all that counter space, and the cabinets! SO much convenient storage. There's even a TV so you can get yourself a snack while not missing a beat of your favorite show. I used my Widelux F7 to capture a dramatic panoramic view of this dream kitchen. I used Ilford Delta 400 film. The physical gelatin silver print is 5"x12".

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Spotlight: Leitz Minolta CL

First released in 1973, the Leitz Minolta CL is the smallest (and one of the cheapest) M-Mount camera you can buy. The CL is often dismissed because it's not an "M" model, and because it was made by Minolta. While the build quality certainly doesn't stand up to the likes of an M3, the CL is still a great little camera for someone looking to get into the Leica M system on a budget.

Unlike "M" cameras, the shutter-speed dial is on the front of the body

The CL has a great viewfinder, which displays much more information than most Leicas. For instance, all the selectable speeds (1/2 to 1/1000th, plus B) are shown at the top of the finder, with a needle that points to the current selected speed. There is also an internal light meter (the second leica rangefinder ever to have one), with a match-needle readout on the right side of the finder. The CL's rangefinder patch is not as clear or contrasty as other M cameras, but is still waaaaaay nicer than most other cameras in the price range.

Waaaaay easier to load film on the CL

Ergonomics are good, despite the camera's tiny size (4.75"x1.25"x1.25"). All the controls are placed pretty much exactly where you'd want them. Film loading is way easier than on M cameras, as the entire back conveniently slides off. You don't have to awkwardly push the film in through the bottom of the camera with the CL!

I took my CL with me for a short road trip, and used it to capture an abandoned mini-golf course I found. I used a Minolta Rokkor-QF 40mm f/2 Lens, and Ilford Delta 400 film. Here are some of my photos:

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Print: Widelux Self-Portrait

Here's a self-portrait I made while exploring an abandoned house over the summer. I'm sitting in the living room. It was a terribly hot day, and the breeze from the windows was refreshing! I used my Widelux F7 and Ilford Delta 400 film. The physical print is 6"x9.5". The print shows the full frame, and is not cropped!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Print: Bedroom Chair

This print depicts a chair I found in an abandoned house in Gurnee. This house was one of the messiest I have ever been in. You could barely see the floor with the clothes, toys, and other crap all over the place. Most houses I go into are pretty empty; it's always way more interesting when there's stuff everywhere. It really helps give the home a sense of history, and more of a hint as to what kind of people once lived there.

I made this print using my Mamiya C330 with an 80mm lens and Kodak Tmax 400 film. The pysical print is 11x14 inches.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Print: The Baby Doll

I found this baby doll inside an abandoned home in Gurnee, Illinois. It was laying on a table next to a bed that had been recently used, encircled by cigarette butts. The window light created a spotlight effect on its face.  I used my Mamiya C330 with an 80mm f/2.8 lens, and Kodak Tmax 400 film. The physical print is 10x10 inches.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Spotlight: Olympus 35 SP

The Olympus 35 SP is a compact 35mm rangefinder camera that was first produced in 1969. The SP is more or less the big brother to the Olympus 35 RC. It has a fixed standard 42mm f/1.7 Zuiko lens that focuses as close as 2.8 feet, and stops down to f/16. The shutter is fully mechanical, so a battery is required only if you want to use the internal light meter or automatic exposure mode. The SP has a full range of shutter speeds, from 1 second to 1/500th, plus bulb.

As a whole, ergonomics are excellent. The camera is small, yet solid, and all the controls are in exactly the right place! Shutter speed, aperture, and focus controls are all located on the lens barrel, directly at your fingertips. There's also a self-timer located on the lens barrel that's easily accessible when you need it. Focus is silky smooth with a pretty short throw that's great for quick shooting. Another great little feature is that the lens has a standard 49mm filter thread, so all your normal hoods and filters will fit on the 35 SP. One thing I hated about the Olympus 35 RC was its bizarre 43.5mm filter thread I could never find a cap for.

The SP has built-in average and spot metering, which is pretty cool for a camera of the time. The spot metering is activated by pushing a little button on the rear of the body. The meter unfortunately uses the terrible PX625 mercury batteries, which can be a pain to find, and are not very reliable. I just shot without batteries and used my external meter.

The rangefinder patch in the 35 SP is much brighter and more contrasty than the one in the RC. I found focusing to be a breeze, and just about all my shots came out sharp, even when shot wide-open. The framelines in the viewfinder do not automatically adjust for parallax error, which is a shame, but certainly not a deal-breaker.

Here are some photos I made with the Olympus 35 SP over the last week. I used Ilford Delta 400 film.

If you're looking for a high-quality compact 35mm rangefinder that won't break the bank, the Olympus 35 SP is it. As always, thanks for looking!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Print: Dartmouth

Here's a photograph depicting Dartmouth Street in Wilmette. It's 32 exposures of 32 different houses on the block. I used my Nikon F2 with a 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens, and Portra 160 film.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Print: Elmwood

Continuing my series of Wilmette blocks, here is Elmwood Avenue. This photograph is made up of 32 exposures of 32 different houses on the street. I used my Nikon F2 with a 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens, and shot on Kodak Portra 160 film.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Print: Beach Haven

For our anniversary trip, Katie and I stayed at my parent's cottage in Union Pier, Michigan. Their place is part of a row of cottages named "Beach Haven". This is a multiple-exposure photograph of all 7 cottages in the row. I used my Nikon F2 with a 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens and Portra 160 film.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Roll: Katie's Half Marathon!

Last weekend my wife, Katie, ran her first half marathon. That's 13.1 freakin' miles! She's pretty incredible. I'm not so incredible, so I just documented the event. Normally I would have used my DSLR for this kind of thing, but my digital Nikon DF was away being repaired at the time, so I decided to shoot film. I used my Nikon F with 50mm f/1.4 and 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor lenses and Ilford Delta 400 film. It'd been awhile since I'd shot fast moving subjects using manual focus, so some photos were a bit soft, but I think I still got some good ones.

Here's Katie at her big race!

It was TOO cold, and TOO early. 

We had to take a (school) bus to the starting line


The look of determination seconds before she started


Lil' Gladiator

The race was in a pretty scenic forest preserve

The big finish!

Stretching after a run is important.


I had a great time watching my babe complete her first half marathon. It was also a fun challenge using a completely manual camera to cover an event. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Spotlight: Nikon 50mm f1.2 AI Lens

About a month ago, I bought a bag of Nikon gear from a guy off Craigslist to re-sell. One of the items was a beautiful Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AI lens. This is the fastest 50mm f-mount lens Nikon ever made, and is the fastest lens I've ever had the pleasure of using. The lens is pretty massive. Just look at that front element! It's much wider and heavier than the 50mm f/1.4 that I usually have on my F2. While I've since sold this gorgeous lens (gotta make money), I took the time to shoot some photos with it during our anniversary weekend in Michigan. The following photographs were all shot wide-open at f1.2. I mean, you don't own an f1.2 lens to shoot at f4!

I loved using this lens. The results are a bit soft, but super dreamy. You get crazy-awesome subject isolation. Thanks for looking!