Monday, November 28, 2005

Pinhole Exhibit in Ypsi

Exhibition Flyer
Originally uploaded by Matt Blackcustard.
Another photographer that showcases his work on Flickr, Matt Callow (known as Matt Blackcustard on Flickr), will be exhibiting some of his pinhole work at the Ypsilanti District Library on Whittaker Road.

Matt's images on Flickr are memorable, as he has been doing a lot of prints using the VanDyke Brown process, as well as conventional B&W work with pinhole and toy cameras.

If you get a chance, check out the exhibit.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What I want for Christmas!

Now that the holiday frenzy has started, beginning with what retailers call "Black Friday", it is only fitting that I post my very short Christmas list. Yesterday's paper came with dozens of inserts from retailers, wanting my dollars on gifts that for the most part, don't do much for me...

My want list:
1. Peace on Earth
2. Democracy and integrity in our government
3. Nikon D70s

The first two items I can forget, since it's wishful thinking, and anyway, they would never be delivered on time for Christmas. Santa just can only do so much.

Item three, though... hmmm. I think that Santa (and I know my Santa is a female) could probably fit this item into her sleigh. It's lightweight (the camera, not the sleigh), powerful, and with the 18-55mm lens, I will be pretty well set with a complement of lenses, as I am covered with all my other AF lenses at home. Why the more expensive D70s instead of the less-pricey D50? Well, Santa, you see, the D50 uses SD memory cards, instead of the CF cards that the D70s and all our other digital cameras in the house use. Buying enough SD cards would eat up another couple of hundred dollars, and introduce another memory card format to complicate matters. The D70s has other functions, such as depth-of-field preview that a photographer like me needs for macro work. The special white balance functions are essential, too. The D70 is a fast, versatile DSLR that has a bunch of great features that will allow me to use all my older flashes, too. So, yes, the D70s is the camera for me.

A couple of sites have some excellent reviews. I love Ken Rockwell's site -- he's an avid Nikon user, and his review is based on a real user's perspective, not a generalist review or something from a photo magazine. DPreview is another good site with in-depth reviews of lots of other cameras, too.

So, if you are finally looking to buy a DSLR, I think the time has come. Price/features are really something. Yes, a new film SLR is still cheaper (though not for guys like me -- a Nikon F6 is more expensive than the D70s). I am NOT abandoning film -- b&w and classic cameras are still a heck of a lot of fun, as is Medium Format. However, for color work, I think digital has largely won over many. I have greatly enjoyed my Fuji FinePix S7000 over the past year -- I have probably shot close to 10,000 images, if not more. But, I miss the ability to use a lot of my fine lenses and macro gear that I can use with my Nikon cameras. In addition, the ability to shoot at f/1.8 if I want or at f/22, is a big advantage of a DSLR over a fixed-lens camera like the FinePix.

So, Santa, I hope you feel generous this year. I'll even put a some extras out for you...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Winter Photography

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Today is the first real snow of the season -- the roads are icy, and it looks like we will get a few inches. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I think they should reschedule that holiday to much earlier in the fall so that travellers don't get snowed in, like so many seem to. Doesn't bother me... we usually stay home.

Shooting in winter presents a whole new range of photographic opportunities, as well as challenges. Keeping ourselves warm and dry...and keeping our camera gear dry. Most of the vibrant colors of the other seasons are missing from our landscape, and when we find those colors, they contrast so well with snow. In addition, the daylength is oh so short. For those of us that like to shoot after work, forget it... it's dark when I leave for home. So, weekends and days off become more important for outdoor shooting. That raking light of the somewhat diminished sun makes great shadows on the landscape. Dark clouds behind front-lit trees. Black and white compositions with snow and trees. Lots of things to shoot if you just look.

If you are not the cold-weather type -- try doing still-lifes inside. There are lots of subjects to try out, and it's a good time to try using different lighting techniques and backgrounds, as well as different lenses and accessories.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Expired Film?

hawkeye shot
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Last weekend I shot a roll of Verichrome Pan 620 in my Brownie Hawkeye. The film came from a lot that someone gave me at the Argus Meeting back in May. The expiration date was 1961, meaning that the film is at least 45 years old! It rolled on okay into the camera, and I took some shots with it in Jackson and Hillsdale, MI.

Developing was fairly straightforward, though it took several tries to get it on the reel. I developed in Diafine for 3 minutes. This is a sample frame, scanned directly from the negative. All I did was adjust the curves a bit. Frankly, I am pleasantly surprised at the fact that the film was still useable, let alone getting a decent image from it.

Here is a pic of the camera!

That's the wonder of analog photography. Try doing this with a 45 year old digicam...

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Other Mike Myers

An acquaintance of mine, Mike Myers, has a really interesting exhibit at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti. Titled "Animal Dreams", the exhibit runs from Nov. 2 to Nov. 23, and Mike will often be there on Friday evenings with his work. His photographs are interesting, offbeat, and delighful. The b&w images were taken at places like Cabela's in Dundee, a private "Dinosaur Museum" in Michigan, and other similar venues. Mike's photographs are humorously titled, and the black and white depiction of what might be typical tourist spots, give them an altogether different mood. Check out the exhibit!

Michael C. Myers - Animal Dreams

Riverside Arts Center
76 North Huron Street
Ypsilanti, MI
Gallery - 734-761-3661

See more of Mike's work here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In Praise of Well-crafted Cameras

Contina for Me
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I purchased this Zeiss-Ikon Contina III at the MiPHS camera show in late October for $40. It's a beautiful camera. It's in excellent condition, everything moves as it should, with a precise feeling about it. It came with a 45mm f/2.8 Pantar lens, which I now know is removeable, thanks to my friends over on Craig Nelson's site . If anyone has the 30mm and 75 mm front elements for this camera, send me an email. These cameras were made 1955-1958, which means this camera is about the same age as I am.

Right now, I am shooting a roll of Ektachrome 100, and from everything I have heard, the images ought to be very good, unless I goofed somewhere...