01 February 2013

Digital TLR? Pfffft.

A few months back, I bought a new digital camera. I had wanted something compact, but with the level of control I have been accustomed to in the last ten years or so of using SLRs. After briefly toying with the idea of just buying a compact digital camera and giving up on the idea of manual photography, I ended up settling for a Nikon Coolpix.

Awful name aside, I was attracted to the camera's ability to let me take the photo I wanted, without having to wrangle complicated menus designed to shield neophytes from ruining Aunt Beryl's wedding with overexposed snaps. In short, what I ended up with was a solidly built camera with manual control, a fairly good wide-angle lens, the ability to shoot in RAW*, and an intuitive interface.

So, how does this possibly relate to my promise that I will still use film? Well, it doesn't directly. However, this week I realised something about the way I shoot with this camera. The live-view screen on the back can be moved around a little. Without thinking too much about what I was doing, I realised I had been sitting the screen at a 90-degree angle to the camera body, and shooting while looking down. Yes, just like you would with a TLR.

Ignore the fact that nothing is mirrored, and it feels like using a top-down viewer. It's a nice way to compose images, it feels kind of natural.

Is there a point to this point? Not really, although perhaps I'm just thinking that the act of photography is still photography, regardless of whether you are using a Hassy with a nice digital back, a vintage Ricoh TLR, or a decent mid-range "enthusiast's" compact. It just took me a little by surprise to realise that despite the comforts and practicalities of digital, the way I use a camera hasn't changed an awful lot because of that...

*I shoot in RAW+JPEG mode mostly - as much as I like to have the RAW files as a high quality "digital negative", I don't have the skills yet to tackle editing in RAW

05 June 2012

Lucky Shinjuku

The Lucky Camera Shop, in Shinjuku, Japan. If you've got a keen eye, you can spot the price tags on some of those TLRs - 32,000 YEN for the Autocord there is equivalent to about $400 Australian. So prices weren't too bad. Of course, what I spent most of my time salivating over was the Leica M3, in just about perfect condition. A cool 500,000 YEN ($6000 Australia) for your rubber-necking, gaijin.

This was only the front window display - inside, pretty much every western, eastern, and soviet manufacturer was represented. There were even a few bakelite beasties that had me scratching my head. Alas, my mind was firmly set on trying to find that rare and most desirable toy, the Fujipet. No luck, I'm afraid.

** note: didn't even buying anything from here, not a sausage. i do think i nearly got kicked out by the owner though - punctuality is important in Japan, and i wasn't quite paying attention to the fact i walked into his shop 5 minutes before he opened. hey, he had the door open and everything...

16 May 2012



i am somewhat surprised to hear that Kodak had a nuclear reactor & a few pounds of enriched uranium in their basement. the article indicates they used it for testing - apparently high enough levels of radioactivity (including those airport x-ray machines, to a small extent) can fog film. so it makes sense, but the implication is this was a secret. interesting.

it's no secret to those who really dig such things that some camera equipment made in the USSR is mildly radioactive. in the FSU, the used to include a coating of lanthane glass on their lenses to correct abberations. this could be worrying, except it has a radius of about a metre  - in fact, people who've tested their cameras with geiger counters found a marked decrease in radioactivity levels from the lens to the back of the camera. levels are also so low that it has a radioactive half-life of 110 billion years. in fact, the level of radiation is less than that you'd pick up from laying down in your backyard for an hour on a sunny day, and is barely more than normal background radiation.

anyways, just thought this was an interesting little article to share - Kodak with a secret nuclear reactor, eh? mad.

18 February 2012

Hong Kong In The 80s

My new project, Hong Kong In The 80s has started. It should appeal to people who like old photos, Hong Kong, the 80s, and those moments that are half-way between dream and memory. Feel free to pop over, have a squizz, and enjoy (hopefully).

caught off guard

The fountain in Princes Square, Launceston, 2002-2003.
Probably taken with a Minolta XG-M, on Ilford HP-5+.

05 February 2012


Holga 135, probably XP-2, possibly Fuji 400

Not really abandoned. Just early morning at the Seaport. I can't for the life of me remember why I was down here early enough to experience an empty car park. Perhaps work? Maybe.

I've always liked this shot, pointy rooves, nice even-ish mix of tones: no black-metal-blacks or blinging whites.

15 January 2012

Chalmers via Soviet Russia

I took this about two years ago for International Commie Camera Day. I used a Zorki 4 with an Industar 50 lens (not the sharpest), and if memory serves, some Fuji 400.

And those are indeed birds on the pointy bits of the tower.

17 December 2011

From the cupboard #1


I recently (well, 6 months ago) migrated to a new laptop, and decided I needed to move old photos to new laptop. This gave me a good reason to go through some old images and see what I have.

So, while I don't use film very requently any more, I'll be posting to odd photo here from the archives.