Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Raining Canons!

A few years ago I expanded my camera stable to include Canon FD-mount cameras. I did that with the intent to be more knowledgeable about a segment of the SLR world that I really knew little about except what I had read. Over the course of a year or so I acquired a half-dozen bodies and a bunch of lenses and accessories (surprise!). I felt pretty well-versed in the cameras that I had used, and appreciated the general robust build of the Canon FTb, and the other bodies were not bad, either. My favorite of the bunch was the Canon A-1, roughly equivalent to a Nikon FA, though more fiddly. Last year, feeling that I had way more cameras than necessary, I sold off ALL of the Canon gear that I had accumulated. Well, nature abhors a vacuum, so guess what happened? A few weeks ago, a friend gave me his Canon FTb with 50mm 1.4 and 28 f/2 lenses. Today, a curator at the museum gave me his Canon F-1 with 50mm 1.4, 50mm 3.5 macro, extension tube, 135mm 3.5, and 28mm 2.8 lenses. I could have said "no", but I never turn down a free camera. Both the Canon bodies are in good shape, though the F-1 definitely has a bit of brassing. I'll replace the mirror foam, check the light seals, install a new battery and give it a good cleaning. The lenses are in very good shape, and the 50 and 135 came with the proper Canon bayonet-mount lens hoods. A gift from a friend

The Canon FTb QL.

I'll run some film through these two, and hang on to them. They are good examples of Canon's lineup back in the early 1970s. The F-1 is definitely a chunk of metal, and I look forward to shooting with it. The shutter is fairly quiet and the wind mechanism is pretty darn smooth. As Canon's answer to Nikon's F, it was a bit late in the game. Nevertheless, it's a fine camera.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Little Canon QL-17 Love

Thank you, Denis!

I had previously owned one of these fine little rangefinders for about a decade, and sold it over a year ago, complete with the matching flash and manual. I think I paid all of $20 for everything. Well, I sold it after I obtained a Minolta Hi-Matic 7S and fell in love with it. Silly me, I should have kept it. Nothing against the Minolta, but the Canon QL-17 is smaller and the aperture/shutter speeds are easier to set. So, even though I sold that Canon for about 3x what I paid for it, I regretted it later on. Well, Denis Dolgachev, a fellow member of the Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club moved to Baltimore, MD and divested himself of a few crappy cameras. I ended up with a very nice example of the QL-17 with new light seals, a working meter, and in really nice cosmetic condition. That should not have surprised me, as Denis always takes good care of his camera gear. I was eager to try out the camera so I loaded it with a roll of XP-2 chromogenic C-41 b&w film and took it along on the road trip with Marc and John a few weekends ago. The camera appears to work pretty well, and I am quite happy to have one again, especially one in such nice condition. Here are a few images from the first roll of film.

I shot this while waiting for the bus across the street from where I work.

Inside the Cavis Grill. Marc is paying for lunch. Port Huron, MI.

Two All-American boys. Port Huron.

Yep, whatever floats your boat.

The images look fine, and overall, the camera appears to operate normally. It stays in my backpack from now on.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sarnia's Murals

It's been a little while since I have been on a day-long photo trip with my pals John Baird and Marc Akemann, and yesterday, we traveled to Port Huron and then over the bridge to Sarnia, Ontario. It's been at least 6 years since I have been to Canada, which is way too long, considering it's only an hour away if I go to Windsor. I have crossed the Bluewater Bridge several times before, but I was always on the way to somewhere else, so this was my first visit to the city of Sarnia. We had a beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky. The downtown has a lot of interesting arty shops and galleries, as well as some indoor flea markets and antique stores. Oh yes, there are also plenty of bars. However, what caught my interest was all of the different walls that had murals of some sort painted on them. I have previously mentioned some of the murals I saw on a trip to Ohio last fall, but the walls in Sarnia are more with a united theme of the early days of Sarnia, as far as I can tell. In addition to my fascination with the backsides of buildings, which I have also blogged about, the murals transform what are usually drab and uninteresting expanses of concrete block or brick into expressive and interesting focal points. Sometimes they can be done with the intent of trompe l'oeil, which in the case of some of the scenes in Sarnia, are nearly that, but with the added historical theme. In other cases, they can be part of a store or eatery to help advertise their services.

I am impressed by this one. The actual mural is much larger, extending to the left with additional text.

This wall is next to the Sarnia Historical Museum. The planes are not well-rendered, but it does draw your attention. What amazed me was the relative lack of graffiti around town. Some difference from Ann Arbor.

These next few are all at the back of the flea market and other adjacent businesses. Very unified depiction of an earlier time.

This one is on a private residence, but it appears to keep the same theme.

I think this one in an alleyway, is my favorite. Sorta 1970s.

This one incorporates the Bluewater Bridge in a striking graphic design.

Last one. This looked like a good place to have a beer!

It would be nice to go back again on a summer day and have the time to explore a bit more. This is what I like about these road trips. When I go without any specific agenda, I see more and love being surprised by things that demand that I photograph them.