Saturday, March 19, 2011

Camera News and New Work

The repairs on my Olympus OM-1 are going to be a bit pricey, but I am going to bear their burden. I already have money invested into the camera from the purchase alone and I could not guarantee that another one would be in much better condition. The meter and prism needs replacing, the battery chamber needs conversion, and a CLA (clean lubricate adjust) is needed because shutter speeds are off. Argh. Well, I think it would be worth it since the camera and lenses are small and indiscreet while maintaining an altogether different look than Nikon has provided me thus far.

I took my Nikon FE out today with an off-brand 28mm f/2.8 lens today and I am quite dismayed. Something seems to be off - either the lens or the camera. Focusing to infinity did not seem to align properly so I am wondering what about the problem. I need to investigate further, but I would hate to put more money into another camera.

All that being said, I am excited about getting the OM-1 back. If you do not know, it is a completely manual camera (only having a battery for the meter). The ergonomics are excellent by having the shutter speed and aperture adjustable easily adjustable with one hand. The viewfinder is larger than any other camera I have ever used. The OM-10 (its little brother) comes close.

Why not just use the OM-10? Well, there are a few issues that I would need to sink money into and it is not as well built as the OM-1. The meter on my sample is off and it eats the batteries within a matter of days, so I constantly need to take them out after use because the shutter will not fire otherwise. The OM-10 was built as a consumer camera that gave you aperture priority, and if you wanted to control the shutter speed you would need to purchase an accessory (which I have) that is in an unusual shot, and not too conductive to use in manual mode.

I have a Zuiko single coated 35mm f/2.8 lens coming in the mail and I am looking forward to using that focal length - so far I have used 20mm, 28mm, 40mm, 50mm, and 55mm primes, so this will be new and different :)

I am getting the single-coated version (though mixed reviews abound) because black and white photographs come out less contrasty and color photographs come out a little more subtle. Due to the lessened contrast, single-coated lenses appear to be a little less sharp than multi-coated lenses - but I do not find myself losing sleep over that kind of thing, and in fact I am a fan of a slightly melty look.

Well, I think I have meandered enough, so let me show some photos from my Voigtlander Perkeo I with the single-coated Color-Skopar 75mm f/3.5 lens!

This is my black and white photography classmate that was kind enough to help me finish my roll of film. I love how the blur came out! Humorously enough the teacher showed us that night some work from a portraitist who always blurred his subjects.

I saw this girl standing on a rock and looking at the tree, so I got my camera ready to take an indiscreet shot, but as I was setting up she got off the rock and started leaving. I said "Excuse me, would you mind if you get back on the rock and look at the tree so that I can take a picture?" a silence, "Are you a photographer?" "Yes." "Okay." "Is that a little weird?", "A little, but I can see why you would want the picture." Now I have this image, which I am quite happy with, but to me it is not as honest as the clandestine shot I was aiming for.

A Washington Square Park pianist.

flickr photos

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Perkeo and Light *EDIT*

My next suggest assignment was to look for the interaction of light and shadow. Usually, I always try to find interesting light to some degree, but I was really cognisant this time out.

I used the Voigtlander Perkeo I on this assignment and here are some of my favorites from the roll:

*edit* This is my favorite of the bunch. I like the forced perspective of looking through the subway doors. In a way, it is almost telling my story as much as this person's, and is, as Sara mentions below, voyeuristic. The angle gives the image a sense of immediacy on my end. Truth be told I was going to take a rather boring picture of this scene without this person, but I noticed this lady moving about and waited for her to get into the position I wanted. I kept the camera on my lap and pretended to fiddle with it to make it look like I was not planning on taking a picture of her. I feel this was a better option than keeping the camera up to my face looking making it look like I was going to intentionally take a picture. I also wanted the angle from my lap because it would give a much different feel than if shot at eye level. *edit*

I started to analyze my own shots, but I would not want to impose my thoughts onto the viewer. Do you like any of these? Do you have a reason?

I will tell you, however, that I really like the signature of this lens. The images are rendered gently, but are perfectly sharp where it matters. Even blown up to 100% on my computer the detail held up. That is quite a testament to a sixty year old camera with a hundred year old lens design.

On Sunday I ventured to the darkroom to do some printing some shots for the print exchange and, on a whim, tried my hand at making a print of the first shot; I was really blown away by the smooth tones on 8x10. It does not translate well onto a computer screen, but it really is worth it to make a print from some 120 film.

flickr photos