Historic Rolleiflex

Have you ever seen a camera in a museum and wished you could shoot with it?  Well, maybe we just need to ask.  Here’s a great story about somebody who did just that – someone who was given a remarkable opportunity to use a historic Rolleiflex.  And he created some beautiful images with it.  Read the whole story here.

This is the first time I’ve used this blog to post a link to something like this. Let me know if you like this. I’m inclined to just stick to my usual posts of my own photos, but maybe I’ll start adding some posts about interesting film-photography related stuff I see elsewhere.

Old film discovered in my Pentax K1000

I pulled my old Pentax K1000 off a shelf recently and decided to try shooting it again, only to discover that it still had film in it – it was just sitting there waiting to be used.  I didn’t know when I had last used it, but figured it was around the time I got my first digital camera.  There were still a few shots left, so I put a new battery in the camera so I could use the light meter, shot the rest of the roll and had it developed.  Turned out it was loaded with Kodak Tmax 400 film.  Judging from the age of my son in the shots, this film sat in the camera for about ten years, and no doubt endured some hot weather during that time.  The images on the negs came out extremely thin, like they were severely underexposed, and very low contrast – so that apparently is what happens as Tmax ages. The images that I shot recently were just as thin as the ones shot nine years ago, so it didn’t seem to make a difference if the film was exposed when the film was new, then sat, or if it aged before being shot.  I did some major curves adjustments in Lightroom to pull out these images.  The first two images are old ones, the other two are recent ones.  The image of the leaves has the end of the roll visible at the left edge.

The old K1000 seems to still work great.  I got this camera as a gift from my parents when I was in high school, and I’m sure I’ve shot way more photos on it than any other camera.  Picking it up again after all these years, it took no time at all to feel comfortable shooting it and knowing right where the few controls are (right at your fingertips on a couple simple dials, not hidden inside an electronic menu).

The lens that I have on it is a Tokina f:2.8 28mm that I bought in college.  I had wanted a wide angle lens but couldn’t afford much at the time, and this was a pretty cheap lens — but in my opinion it turned out to be a pretty darn good lens.  I shot for years with that one lens after my 50mm got dropped and broken (it was on the camera at the time, and the camera was fine).  I love the wide angle of that 28mm focal length, and some of my favorite images were shot with it.

Mat Marrash wrote a nice article about the K1000 as the perfect starter camera on the Film Photography Podcast site. It was a perfect starter camera for me.  Using a basic full-manual camera like this is a great way to learn.

I’m looking forward to shooting this camera some more.

I wonder how many half-shot rolls of film are sitting in other peoples’ cameras.  There might be some great family memories just waiting to be developed.

Guest Camera – Zeiss Ikon Tenax

Zeiss Ikon Tenax

This fun little viewfinder camera has a nice sharp lens, and one of the biggest, brightest viewfinders I’ve ever seen on a camera.

It belongs to my friend John, and I did some repair work to get it shooting (and did a little damage in the process – you can read about that on the camera page linked below).  I shot a roll of regular Kodak Gold or something like that in ASA 200.  It shot nice photos regardless of the minor damage I did to the lens.

More about the camera

Mill City Panorama

St. Anthony Falls panorama auto-stitched in Photoshop from two photos taken with the Kodak Retina Automatic III. The concrete wall is the side of the lock that allows boat and barge traffic to navigate the falls, and the buildings beyond are mostly what once was the heart of Minneapolis industry — the flour mills (which were powered by the falls, through an elaborate system of tunnels that brought the water under the mills to drive the machinery). You can click the image to see it slightly larger.

Northeast Minneapolis – Retina IIIc

Looking back through my last batch of negs developed, and longing for these green leaves and warm weather.  Not so green or warm right now.

These shots also remind me what a great place NE Mpls is to walk around and shoot photos — and how walking with a camera hanging around your neck makes you look at things and see things in a completely different way.  I’ll walk in places I might never bother walking without a camera, and slow down and really look at things trying to find beauty or a great composition in places most people simply hurry past.

Shot on Kodak Portra 400, with my 1956 Kodak Retina IIIc rangefinder camera.