30 December 2009

Some recent shots

A local vineyard recently held a food & wine day, so I loaded up the Minolta with some highly prized Kodak 400 (hey, I needed some 400 & it's the only stuff I could get at short notice) & took a few happy snaps.

I was also introduced to Van Dieman Brewing, whose Ragged Jack amber ale (all their beers are named after features of Ben Lomond) is possibly my favourite beer right now. There's so many good local brewers around right now, I feel spoiled for choice. And seeing as this is a film related blog, my current top 5 local beers are:

1. Wizard Smith (english style amber ale, Boags)
2. Ragged Jack (amber ale, Van Dieman)
3. Ironhouse porter (dark, Ironhouse)
4. Hefeweizen (weisbier, Moo Brew)
5. Boags Premium (lager, Boags)

If you can find any of these, & you happen to have a similar taste in beer as I do, you won't be disappointed. There are also some other local small-scale brewers: Wineglass Bay Brewing (east coast), Two-Metre Tall (Derwent Valley), Seven Sheds (Railton), & Taverners (Launceston)...all worth trying if you can find their products!

28 December 2009

Tamar Island preview...

This morning I went for a walk at the Tamar Wetlands, my favourite urban wetland reserve. As well as taking the Minolta out for a spin - and more importantly, testing out Ilford SFX200 - I took a few photos on my mobile as well. These photos are never particularly good, but with a dose of basic levelling in GIMP, they scrub up okay. It does feel kind of odd using digital photos on a blog supposedly dedicated to my bloody minded determination to keep using film, but I consider these a preview of film-based shots to come. Perhaps not black & white, and without the extended red sensitivity, but ehhh...it's my blog, it is.

25 December 2009

New Camera!!!

It's that time of year in offices & workplaces across the country - Secret Santa time. As the office camera nerd, it was inevitable that I would receive something like this: and i present to you, the Pink Princess.

Packed with such features as a pop-up flash, a view finder, and taking one of them fancy flat round battteries, the camera surprises photographer & model alike with authentic phrases such as "Smile!", "You're as pretty as a picture!" and "Oh, beautiful!". As such, it would be a good candidate for circuit bending, if I knew anything about electronics...

Possibly the greatest Secret Santa present I've ever received (the last two years have been cheap bottles of wine).

11 December 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 12

Possibly my great aunt & her...son? I'm a bit hazy on the multitude of relatives on this side of the family.

Nice red dress, though.

10 December 2009

Playing Favourites - Cameras

There are cameras I own that I like, and some I don't. In the interests of being completely biased, here is my top 5 list of the cameras I own:

1. Minolta XG-M - Dependable, solid, aperture priority + fully manual, great lens (1.7 Rokkor MD), and fairly light. It's been with me since 2003, my second year of uni. I know I can always get what I want from it, and it was duly promoted to number one for our honeymoon to NZ. The snaps were good. Damn good.

2. Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super (new) - the name's a bit of a mouthful, but this is a superb SLR. Shutter makes a satisfyingly quirky "zttttt!" noise which I describe as "like a cat sneezing", and despite being over 50, it still works like a dream and is cosmetically close to perfick. The guy was selling it for $85, but when he couldn't figure out how to work the shutter, said I could have it for $40. Good deal.

3. Kiev 6C - Only had two rolls through it, and already it's impressed me to death. As I once said, "it's massive, ugly, and so awesome I could cry". Fully manual, a super lens, a waist level finder - a different way of working, but fun. The only thing that I dislike about the whole contraption is loading film - but I guess it's a matter of practice.

4. Agfa Isolette II - The camera that introduced me to the wonders of square format. I've never spent so much time fixing a camera as I have on this one, and the one roll of film I've put through it so far did not let me down. $20 in a junk shop at Longford, and fairly dirty & unloved when I picked it up. The focus ring was jammed, the bellows were leaking like a sieve, but the shutter fired which fulfills my only criteria for second hand purchases - "they must work". Has recently been having some issues with the shutter.

5. Zorki 4 - this is a rather good looking camera, although the results so far have been a bit soft-looking. However, it's rather good looking. Did I mention that?

honourable mention:
BeLOMO Vilia - this camera kick-started my recent love affair with vintage (and particularly Soviet) cameras. It's solid, but you can really feel the mythical Soviet approach to quality control (ie. patchy at best) in the lens assembly which jiggles slightly. It feels like it was put together by people more used to putting together tanks, but it really does feel like a true "people's camera" - cheap, solid, and simple. The shots are probably more from the LSI school of photography (rather strong vignetting for one), but it revived my interest in all this stuff. Hardly ever gets a run now, but it's still in my heart. Somewhere.

There we have it - one Japanese, two West German, one Ukrainian, one from Russia, one from Belarus.

When I get a chance, I might do some more lists. Although I guess film is the logical next step.

04 December 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 11

I don't know whether I can make the assumption that this is the MS Princess of Tasmania (no, not that princess), the first vessel of any meaningful size to provide a connection between Tasmania & the mainland by sea for all & sundry. It appears to be moored on the eastern bank of the Mersey River, which is still the spot that the current Spirit of Tasmania I & II drop off weary (and slightly green-ish) tourists & locals to do whatever it is they feel the urge whilst in Tasmania.

There does seem to be far less on that eastern bank than there is nowadays. It's hard to judge from a 40+ year old still image just where along the bank this is...

03 December 2009

Kiev 6C photos

Latest photos from the MURK. Took about 3 weeks for it to come back via the local camera chain, and cost a small fortune (thanks to someone requesting high-res scans.

Top one is my birthday cake as presented by my wife a few months back.

The three in the middle are of our cat, Ava. She doesn't usually play up to the camera like this. Poser.

The bottom two are from Bridport in NE Tasmania. Nice beach for swimming. People love it. I don't blame them.

I'm loving the MURK. It's one hell of a camera. A bastard to load the film if you're in any kind of a hurry, though. But so far, it hasn't let me down in the quality of images it produces.

And as I am currently prone to making broad sweeping statements of love, I'd like to go on the record as saying I now love square format. A lot.

29 November 2009

Agfa Isolette - Good news...?

I think I've fixed it. Or, rather, it's fixed itself. Someone on Flickr kindly reminded me that the shutter is supposed to stay cocked until the film is wound on - which my Isolette so far hasn't bothered with. So I wound the winderer, et voila! Shutter quite happily fires once more.

So it now appears that what I thought was "broken" is apparently "mysterious & spontaneous correct function".


This does put me in mind that the Isolette might not be the most reliable of beasts in future - so I might see if I can get someone (perhaps Walchs in Hobarts) to at least give it a once-over. It is, after all, older than my dad - it's probably well overdue for a service of some kind.

27 November 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 10

Happy young chap in my great grandparents' garden - where all important moments in time are captured.

I would love to know what kind of camera was used. All I know is that my great grandfather was the photographer most of the time. I'm guessing it was probably a fairly basic 35mm camera of some kind (doesn't seem to be a lot of control over exposure or focus), however as both my great grandparents died over 20 years ago, my curiousity will just have to go unsatisfied...

25 November 2009

Good news - LOMO Sokol 2

Finally arrived yesterday. When I get a bit of time, I'll do a bit of a write-up on this fabulous brick.

24 November 2009

Bad News - Agfa Isolette

My beloved Agfa Isolette II is "buggered" - I think. The shutter cocks, but stays cocked even after much coaxing, tapping, shaking, and (inevitably) shouting. It just sits there waiting for something to happen, but refuses to tell me what I should be doing.

I'm not sure if this is a common problem or not. If I'm feeling plucky one day, I might take it apart (plenty of guides online for doing this) and see if I can fluke a fix.

It'll be a damn shame if it's permanently broken. I quite like how compact it is for a 120 camera, the photos I've taken with it came out amazingly well, and it looks awesome. But it is about 55 years old, and considering it was $25AU in a junk shop, it's amazing it even still worked.

Here's hoping it's only a hiccup on an otherwise uninterrupted long-term photographic partnership.

20 November 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 9

This rather blurry image is the Cenotaph/War Memorial in Burnie's City Park. The flag flying beside it appears to be the Union Jack - anyone have any thoughts why this & not the Australian flag?

18 November 2009

some recent (and not so recent) photos...

I found a roll of film behind the chest of drawers in the hallway. Turns out it included a couple of photos (bottom two) from our portrait session with our wedding photographer. This roll was taken using the Vilia, which I haven't had much time for recently, unfortunately.

The other photos (top three) are from a recent BBQ at Stu & Sam's house, which involved the playing of Wii...

13 November 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 8

Following on from last week's creepy uniformed children, is another uniformed child (my uncle?) - although this one just looks a bit surly.

Another child seems to have popped up in frame behind the fence, however it's difficult at this stage to tell whether he/she/it is also uniformed...

06 November 2009

Sokol 2

Yay! On the way (not the one from the image, but you get the drift), thanks to anonymous auction site.

I like the cut of it's jib. Automatic exposure probably requires some weird kind of battery, but that's why folks invented sunny-16...

Weekly Vintage Image: 7

A little bit Village of the Damned, no? No idea who these possibly-evil cherubic sailor children are, but an astute guess whould be they're relatives of some sort.

30 October 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 6

There she is, my great grandmother, in all her Queen-Mothery Sunday best. If someone had no knowledge of the culture of Tasmanians in the 1960s, they could be forgiven for thinking that all important photographs should happen underneath the clothes-line.

Those with an intimate knowledge of Burnie will notice an empty patch in the background off to the right where the roads intersect: the current site of Burnie's municipal pool.

23 October 2009

Weekly VIntage Image: 5

The image might be a bit blurry, but the scene is familiar to me from my youth - this is the view from my great gradnparent's garden, a few doors down was where my uncle lived, and a couple of streets to the left is where my grandparents lived. So I spent a bit of time around this area as a wee tacker when our family made visits from where-ever it was we were living at the time.

Not sure about the anonymous sunbather, though...

20 October 2009

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex - first results (finally)

8 months down the track, I've finally got some results from the Zeiss:

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex (first roll)
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex (first roll)
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex (first roll)
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex (first roll)

Also the first roll of Fuji Neopan 400 (B&W, not C41) I've had developed. It's quite grainy, but I don't mind. Seems to do the trick, and at the price I paid I'm certainly not going to complain about quality.

Having another look at it, the film does seem a bit cold, so it might be well suited to non-people shots (architecture? abstract? studies?). I have to admit there were a few people/animal & landscape shots in there that I just didn't like all that much. Well exposed, in focus, but not quite suited to the film.

Could just be the development! Anyways, just my initial thoughts on a film I think I quite like...

16 October 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 4

More from Sisters Beach, North-West Tasmania. The children in photo would be my father & his brothers, the adults being my grandparents (dressed for a day at the beach, of course).

I haven't been to Sisters beach for a good while, and I've been itching to go back recently. It's about a 2½ hour drive from where I currently live, so it's a long trip to do in a day. We've been talking of doing an overnighter up there, just to get away for a bit. Perhaps we should...

14 October 2009

The Impossible Project has become possible...

I just read that the Impossible Project has built enough support & shown their commitment to such a level that Polaroid are going to re-release some of their classic instant cameras.

Which is fabulous news - to think that analogue photography can make a come-back (even if the cameras are, I assume, to be a limited run only) when digital is in the ascendancy. Makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside.

Now if only they're develop film for the Kodak EK2 Instant series...

09 October 2009

Kiev 6C - first results...

The first roll from the Kiev 6C (AKA "The MURK"). I'm pleased, even if the shots aren't that particularly interesting. I don't think I've metered the images well as the water is washed out in quite a few of the images. Either I didn't meter well, or the meter isn't metering well.

Either way, I'm encouraged by the Kiev's performance on this occasion.

Weekly Vintage Image: 3

And that would probably be my great grandmother. Where this was taken, I have no idea - while the slides were boxed up & kept safe & dry (kudos), nobody seems to have thought it a good idea to write any kind of notes on the off chance everyone in the photo might one day have, er, "passed on".

01 October 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 2

This would be my grandparents & one of their 4 kids. Dad? One of his brothers? I can't tell, unfortunately.

If anyone can identify the location, please do. I am assuming it's probably Sisters Beach (about 40 minutes drive west from Burnie) as I know one of my pop's brothers had a shack there, but the quality of the scanner combined with the age of the slides means it can be a bit hit & miss picking the spot!

24 September 2009

Weekly Vintage Image: 1

Something new I want to trial is posting one "vintage" image per week (looks like it'll be Fridays). Recently, I mentioned that my father gave me a box of slides taken by his grandparents in the 1960s. Today, I picked up a cheap film scanner, so this invites me to share these images with whoever stumbles across this blog.

This first image is of my dad, I think. In the garden of his grandparents' house in Burnie, Tasmania. In the background you can make out Round Hill & Emu Bay.

Kiev 4

And here it is - the Kiev 4, which has been dubbed "Kneb"*. Thankyou again, anonymous eBay camera dealer.

It's a bit more beat up than other cameras I have bought online, but I was aware it wasn't perfect and it seems to work like a dream. It has some interesting quirks I will need to get used to - one being that the focussing mechanism locks at infinity! You need to either press down on the front cog thingy to get it to turn, or there's a rather pointy lever on the front which does the same thing. Another is the rangefinder window is right where I usually like to put my right middle finger when I take a photo - well documented, and easy to get around with a bit of practice.

It came with a 35mm cassette which I don't think I'll use, thankfully the take-up spool from the Contaflex fits perfectly (for those who don't know, the Kiev rangefinders are copies of the Zeiss Contax rangefinders).

First impressions? I could get used to the new KNEB...

* for interests' sake, the Kiev 6C is now known as "The MURK" ("Massive Ugly Russian Kamera"), or "URK" for short. The Kiev 6C deserved a slightly more elaborate name to match it's monstrousness, and Kneb sounds a bit too cute...

11 September 2009

Kodal EK2 Instant Camera

When mum was cleaning out nan's wardrobe late last year, she found what she thought was a Polaroid camera. Knowing me, she promised I could have it & sent it to me as a Christmas gift.

Upon removing the wrapping, I discovered not the Polaroid I was hoping for, but this: a Kodak EK2 Instant Camera. A bit of research discovered that unfortunately these distinctive (and familiar) cameras are in fact next to unuseable - the instant film hasn't been produced since a highly publicised lawsuit Kodak lost to Polaroid in the mid 1980s.

Still, despite breaking my rule that all cameras in my collection must be useable (as well as the film being out of production, the shutter doesn't trip), I quite like it. It's an evolutionary cul-de-sac, virtually extinct for over 20 years, and a real curio (although often mistaken for a Polaroid, for obvious reasons). It also has sentimental value: I've got several photos of myself with my grandparents taken with this camera.

08 September 2009

I have a problem: Kiev 4

I have a Kiev 4 on the way from the Ukraine, thanks to an anonymous paid-donor on ebay. It comes with the M42 Jupiter 8m lens, which I think was standard for the Kiev rangefinders. I've been wanting to buy one for the Zorki for a while, but never bothered. Now I will have one that won't fit the Zorki anyways. Huzzah!

I blame the USD-AUD exchange rate.

11 August 2009

Sausages, Monkeys & Cyclamens

Kiev 6C

KNEB has landed in all his massively impressive glory.

I've decided that "The Beasht" is a bit of an obvious name, so this one will just be KNEB (the K is definitely not silent), in honour of the English rendering of the Cyrillic letters for "Kiev", as seen on the front. And he's definitely a boy.

Just for the sake of knowing, I weighed KNEB on the kitchen scales, and he weighs in at just over 1.5kg - about twice the weight of the Zeiss Ikon, which is small, solid & nuggety. KNEB is just a monster.

Took me a while as well to realise this morning what was so different about the view-finder: everything's in mirror-image. Bit odd at first, but I'm sure i'll get used to it with a bit of practice.

Welcome to the family, KNEB.

Reala gone?

I was told today that Reala is no longer being manufactured. As I can't find anything to back this up, I'm running with the idea that it might have been a sales pitch (especially as the salesperson in question also said "we'll be doing an order soon, so if you want to buy 20 rolls, you better get in quick". Hmmmm.

I'll wait until I confirm this news before I start to panic.

05 August 2009

Velvia? No thanks.

When we finally booked our honeymoon to NZ, I went a bit nuts with the idea of taking the Minolta on a bit of a trip. I'd always regretted not taking it to Europe in 2007, so I was determined to make this a good'un.

So I stocked up on film: 10 x Reala, 2 x Velvia 100, 2 x Kodak slide film (not used).

After quite a while of waiting, I finally got the Velvia developed. Results above. The thing holding me back was that it was going to cost a lot of money to have them developed & scanned (about $42 each film done locally). SO thanks to a reasonably favourable return from Mr Swan, I finally got them done.

And I found out that I don't much like Velvia. It's okay, but not something I'll be using again. Feels a bit...er...over saturated. Silly thing to notice about Velvia, I know. But I just don't much like the feel of it. Over saturated & very cold (the examples above don't relfect this well, as all those scenes were fairly cold anyways).

Another learning experience. I'll stick to Fuji & Ilford print film in future.