Monday, October 23, 2006

Fun in Rochester

My new honey
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I returned home last night from my weekend in Rochester, NY, where I attended the Photohistory Symposium XIII. It was a fun time, and I was there along with some other fellow members of the Michigan Photographic Historical Society. Four of us went together in a van, and had no problem with Canadian or US Customs. It had been a few years since I'd been in Canada, and the quick way to Rochester was through Canada. We arrived Friday afternoon, and the evening's get-together featured free drinks. Everyone received a free copy of a huge volume on Steiglitz's photos, courtesy of Eastman Kodak!

Saturday was cool and cloudy, and all of the presentations were at the George Eastman House (GEH), the premier center for photographic history. The first talk of the day was on the history of digital photography -- it was by far, one of the best presentations that day, and also very informative. The rest of the presentations were certainly informative, and like all symposiums, the quality of the presentations varied. There are clearly some amazingly knowledgeable people out there, and I came away with a head full of new facts and ideas.

Starflash color

some nice colorful Brownie Starflash cameras at GEH.
I didn't get too much time to fully explore the GEH, except for the newest exhibits and the gift shop -- which was damned good for a lover of things photographic. Of course, what I really would have liked to have seen is a Kodak Factory Outlet store! I did pick up some nice books, and a GEH hat. They had a lot of goofy plastic cameras there, including the Holga and the Lomo Fisheye. Oh yes, I did try out the real photo booth -- and didn't realize that everything started as soon as I put the money in... it was laugh, though.

Gift Shop Cameras

The camera trade show was Sunday, I was there for a couple of hours -- it was great to see new "junk" that I had not seen before. That's the trouble with going to local camer shows year after year, so a new place was refreshing. I didn't buy too much because I just didn't have the money, but it was fun looking. (I'd also like to know where in hell some of these people get their prices...)

sale table

Trade Show sample

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Traveling Light

Traveling Light
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I'm leaving with some friends tomorrow -- for a trip to Rochester, NY, where we will be attending Photohistory XIII. This conference takes place every three years, and features a range of topics having to do with the history of photography. What better place to go, than the cradle of American photo industry -- the city of Rochester. Historically, there have been a bunch of companies in that region that have had a lot to do with optics and photographic processes, including of course, the company once known as the Great Yellow Father. I'm not going to digress into the problems with the once mighty Kodak, but there is a lot more past there than future.

Since I'll probably be attending a lot of the presentations, I won't have too much time for wandering around -- though a George Eastman House visit is much anticipated. Consequently, I'm going light with the camera gear this time -- A Holga, Nikon Coolpix 995, and my Nikon N80. B&W film, a couple of filters, and a flash for the Holga. Memory cards and spare Li-on battery packs for the coolpix. Yes, I could have packed the D70 and that could have been it, but it seems only fitting that I shoot film in the place where the US film industry started. I'll use the coolpix for displays and at the trade show.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ektachrome -- The beauty of slide film.

carpenter bee on anemone
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I don't shoot slide film like I used to. I remember coming back from a week-long trip to New Mexico in 2003 and sending off something like 30+ rolls of slide film for processing. Most of my color work is digital now, unless I am shooting medium format or playing around with vintage cameras. However, every once in a while I like to shoot some slide film, if nothing more than to keep me honest. Now, I might shoot less than a dozen rolls of 35mm slide film a year, but I still shoot a LOT of B&W.

I put a cassette of Ektachrome 200 ED in my Nikon 8008 - back in August, and finally got it processed last week. The color palette of slide film is so different from digital. The ED200 isn't as fine-grained as the 100, or even Kodachrome 64. But -- it has a depth and pleasing appearance that digital just does not have - yet.

I have a roll of really old Kodachrome 25 in my Nikkormat. I shot some not so long ago, and the color looked great for 25 year old film!

With scanners being so cheap today -- transparency film is a blast - especially with medium format cameras. It really is much easier than the old days when one had to get an internegative made from a slide if you wanted prints. Now - just scan and you are good to go.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rural Magic

Afternoon Sun
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I was driving down a dirt road a few weeks ago in Sharon Township, and the afternoon sun was just perfect for those richly-colored shots. Some warmth from the low angle, nice raking light, and of course, a picturesque subject helps, too. I shot this with a recently-acquired Brownie Hawkeye Flash (BHF) -- I picked up 3 cameras on ebay for $13.50, which included the shipping. I was using expired Agfa Optima (125) film, which has great saturation.

I am always amazed every time I get a roll of nice images from these cameras, but maybe by now I shouldn't be. They have attained a semblance of cult status among certain types of photographers, and given that they sell so cheaply and produce such decent results, I am amazed that the prices haven't gone up. However, Kodak made a bazillion of them, so there is a huge supply of them out there (unlike the Diana cameras, which now go for as much as $75).

If you want to try something a little different, get yourself a BHF. Make sure that you have a 620 takeup spool for your 120 film, and if you are not developing your own film, remember to ask the lab to return your spool.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Roadside attractions

the fence keeps the sky in
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.
I know it's time to pull off the road when I see something that I know I have to photograph. In this case, I was driving N on Easudes Rd from the Nan Weston Nature Preserve. I had passed by the fence going the other way an hour or so before, but on the way back the sky and the sun were perfect. I had to pull over on the dirt road and capture this moment. The white fence dividing the earth from the sky and few puffy clouds were a perfect moment. It was one of those times that something just grabs me and I have to shoot it. If I didn't, I'd think about it the rest of the day. I stopped the car... and then backed up about 100 feet to get back to the spot that I knew was perfect.