Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dec. 31, 2005

last day of the year...
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
It has been an incredibly gray week and a half. I think the sun ALMOST popped out on Wednesday when we had a brief thunderstorm, but withinb a few minutes, it was hidden by more clouds. As a result, I have not been too inclined to go out shooting anywhere -- gray and dull. Instead, I have been scanning in slides and negatives and posting them on Flickr. I am amazed at how many sheets of negatives of b&w film I accumulated this year. Probably about 50 rolls of film, both 35mm and medium format. Only a few sheets of slides, since I had been doing most color work with the digital camera, unless it was landscapes or working with my classic cameras.

I took this shot this afternoon -- it was still gray, but we had wet snow that was melting on the branches, so there were some water drops that were rather cool.

Yes... if you look closely, I have a speck on my sensor that I have to remove. It took all of a month of using the D70 before I found a speck of dust. Considering how many times I have changed lenses, that is pretty good. If I had just left the kit lens on, it would have taken a lot longer, but where is the fun in that?

Happy New Year and best wishes to all of my friends.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Copying Slides

decrepit bar
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I finally tried out a slide copying device with my Nikon Coolpix 995. It's a simple little device that holds the slide in front of the camera. All I had to do was place it on my light-table, put the slide into it, and shoot in macro mode. Amazingly, it works very well, and of course, gets the job done faster than using my dedicated Minolta Dimage slide scanner. Plus, it allows me to look at a sheet of slides on the light table, pop one into the copier and take a shot immediately. For showing the slides online, I think it is a wonderful way to go. If you have a DSLR and a slide copier from your film camera, you can do it the same way.
This shot is of a closed-up bar in Calumet, MI. It has seen better days, but I enjoyed shooting this decrepit entrance with the broken glass blocks. It has a Detroit feel to it, but it was in the UP. Shot on Astia with a Nikon FM2N, and copied from the slide with the coolpix. Not too shabby...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sometimes You Have to Shoot Indoors

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Today was one of those days. I was itching to get out of the house and do some shooting, but it has been one of those gray, barely above freezing days, where the snow is slushy, the sky gray, lighting flatter than Kelsey's nuts, and not conducive to wandering about the countryside.
So, lucky for me, Adrienne had to work at the Botanical Gardens today, and Marjorie and I went out in the afternoon and photographed plants in the conservatory for a while.
It was nice.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Brownie Flash Six-20

brownie flash six-20
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I love finding out new things about old things. In this case, I have a beautiful example of a a Brownie Flash Six-20. Complete with flash unit. I never thought of using it until recently, thinking that I really didn't want to respool some 120 onto 620 reels, when I have so many other simple cameras that work without the extra steps involved.
Well, I pulled it off the shelf, and was pleased to find that a 120 spool of film fits just fine. So, I am shooting with it this week -- only 8 shots on a roll of film, because the negs are those great 6x9 cm size. I am going to play around with doing some contact printing over the winter break, so I will try printing onto some ancient Kodak Velox paper. Perfect for this vintage camera.
You can read more about the Brownie Flash 620 here: Junk Store Cameras and here: The Norwood Teague Brownie Collection

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
There is something about signs that compels people to photograph them. I could have said shoot them, but then that conjures up a completely different image. You know, the ones we see near state land where some moron decides that maybe a stop sign with holes is more fun than trying to shoot a deer.
No, I'm talking about signs we see every day and never think much about. Take this one, for instance... One of the reasons for signs like these is that there too many people with little common sense. Of course, the steps are not being maintained.. there is 2 feet of snow on them, so why in hell would I want to walk there?
Anyhow, I like shooting signs (with my camera). Sometimes they are pathetically true, other times, very funny, perverse (for us smut minds), or plain examples of timing and good fortune. Whatever the reason, they are a part of our lives, and something that we often take for granted.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Winter is a Good Time for Black and White

Lion in the snow
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
If you are some of those unfortunate enough to live in a climate where it never snows, this entry won't be very useful to you. If however, you are able to look out your window right now and see a bunch of white stuff on the ground and don't live next door to an exploded flour mill, then this post applies to you.
WINTER -- monochromatic -- black and white --
Snow and anything it covers; ice and all it surrounds. A great time for black and white photography, whether you are using film, or... ahem, digital.
It's a good time to look at form and shape and subtleties of how the snow makes things look diffferent. Sometimes more beautiful than they were before. Sometimes uglier, too, especially when the slush piles around things.
The photo here was taken several years ago with one of my Argus C-3 cameras with a roll of Kodak C-41 b&w.
Argus C3 standard - an American Classic
Using a manual camera in the winter is a good idea. Batteries can get cold and leave your caamera a useless piece of machinery. But, here are some tips to help with winter shooting:
1. Keep your batteries warm or carry an extra set if you are going to outside for more than a few hours, especially if the temperature is below 20 degress F.
2. Carry a plastic bag to put your camera into when you come inside so that moisture does not condense all over your camera and optics.
3. If you are metering a scene that is snow covered -- compensate your exposure by at least +1. That is, if your meter says f16 at 1/125, shoot at f11 at 1/125 or f16 at 1/60. Your meter will underexpose a pure white scene by at least 1 or 2 stops, so you can also dial that in as +1 or +2 on many cameras, film or digital, unless you are shooting in manual mode.
4. If you are using a tripod -- put a length of foam pipe insulation over the base section of the legs so you won't freeze your hands. It will be a couple of bucks well spent.
5. Black and White Films -- Try some Ilford Pan F 50 for fine-grained results. Some people advise shooting it at an ISO of 32. See what works for you.
Another good film to try is Fuji Neopan 1600 for those low-light evening shots, interiors, etc. Fun stuff to play with.

Have fun, and remember Dec. 21 is the Winter SOLSTICE. Happy Solstice to all. After that, the days get longer...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Natural Ornaments

natural ornaments
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
The other day we received another 6 inches of snow. Since I live only 2 miles from work (unlike all you poor saps that have to commute), I either walk or take the bus. Anyhow, I took the bus Friday morning because I knew the sidewalks would be a real pain in the butt. As I finally made my way to the museum parking lot, I saw a group of snow-laden spruces and this viburnum bush. I had been waiting all fall to take a photo of it, but never really saw a decent shot until that morning. Sometimes you don't have to travel all over to get something that pleases you. It can often be right outside your door.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ypsilanti Pinholes and Meeting New People

Matt Callow
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
Last night Marjorie and I drove over to the Ypsilanti District Library on Whittaker Road (a very cool building) to hear Matt Callow's presentation on pinhole photography and to see his photo exhibit. It was actually a decent crowd of about 30 -- all of the seats were taken. Matt's presentation was informative and hearing how he became "obsessed" with photography certainly resonated inside me. Matt has been photographing the "old" parts of Ypsi, and his pinhole work was a pleasure to view.

It was also a good night to meet other people that we have "met" online via Flickr - Matt, Andrea, and Erich. I also saw my buddy George O'Neal as well as David Bay and Sue Campbell, long-time acquaintances at UM.

Kathy Daly, the contact person at the YDL, did a fine job with the facilities, and it looks like we can look forward to perhaps taking part in some additional photographic shows in 2006.

It was a lot of fun chatting with other photographers, and definitely looks like we made some new friends last night.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Yes, I'm having fun

Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
with my new Nikon D-70s. After seeing my blog last weekend, Santa decided to make an early visit to Big George's and took me along. I am very, very, happy with it.