I’ve been invited onto the committee that looks after a small (and almost full) cemetery in Ajax, so I went out to take a look at it. It’s nice; it’ll last you. One thing I learnt there: RB67 polaroids don’t come out too well if you leave the darkslide in.
On the way back, I headed down Liverpool Road to take pictures of the Pickering wind turbine with the RB67. It’s a strange place, the beachfront at Pickering. There’s beach volleyball with the nuke station lurking toxically in the background.
I don’t know why the town doesn’t rename itself “New Prypiat“, and be done with it.
I tried to get more of a ‘joiner’ effect, but Hugin’s just too good at stitching. Still, it’s angular enough for the Disney Opera House. The original is approximately 90 megapixels.
RB67, 127mm @ f/3.8, expired Polaroid 664, 1/125s
My first attempt with the RB67 and Polaroid back. With the metering prism and the handgrip, the RB67 weighs over 4kg, so it’s not something you want to wave about.
Something’s a bit weird with my film. Every picture I take has the top left corner missing:
Is the developer dry? Am I pulling the film through the rollers too slowly? Too fast? I dunno.
massed roadworks lights on Roncesvalles
I carried my digital camera around all last week, forgetting that the battery was still in the charger at home …
That wouldn’t be a problem if it were the RB67 (all mechanical; no batteries), but I’d end up looking like Louis Cyr if I did.
Pelican Peli desiccant pack, as sold by Vistek – $21.99.
40g Silica gel dehumidifier from Lee Valley – $6.95.
Can you spot the difference?
(and I’m not particularly picking on Vistek; they’re as cheap as anyone for this product when sold as a photo accessory.)
We stayed over in St Thomas the other night, and on the way back came through Erie Shores Wind Farm. I spent a lot of time working on the layout design for this project, but up until now I’ve never seen it built. Sure, I saw some holes in the ground, but nothing higher. Here’s my gallery of mediocre photos: Erie Shores Wind Farm (and man, I must clean my D70’s sensor).
There’s clearly good local acceptance of the project. The beach washrooms have been repainted with a mural that includes a wind turbine, Bayham’s building an interpretive centre, and in downtown Port Burwell, there were cars with Support Wind Energy stickers. It made me happy.
Got the RB67 back from Kominek, and they did a great job. While it still looks a bit beat-up, everything runs silky-smooth. It did cost a bit more to CLA than the camera cost to buy, but I’m very happy with what they’ve done.
My Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 02007 gallery for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.I made an f/90 pinhole lens for the D70 today. Results are not bad. True pinhole freaks will decry the fact that I could just sight through the SLR viewfinder, so all of the images are uncropped.
I also took a roll on my Zero 2000 120 rollfilm pinhole camera. I have to take the film into Toronto Image Works to see the results.
Man, but do pinhole lenses resolve the grot on your DSLR sensor!
It’s actually the UK speed camera warning sign, but it looks quite a lot like an RB67 …
The RB-67 arrived. It’s colossal and heavy. It’ll need a CLA as the shutter release is sticky, but seems to be in okay condition for the price.
(click image for gallery)
Sights: water, bluffs, rock, birds, blue sky.
Sounds: water, redwing blackbirds, grackles, geese, falling limestone.
Smells: the lighting of BBQs.
dog outside Another Story Bookshop on Roncesvalles
I wrote this ages ago, but it wasn’t in the easiest to find place. I discovered today that Ilford fit inside Agfa, and – with a bit of brute force – an Ilford will fit inside an Ilford. So I made a few more of these …
I’ve often wondered why the relatively tough little metal-clad 35mm roll comes in a neat plastic case, while the bigger and more delicate 120 roll has nothing more than foil to protect it. You can buy 120 film cans, but they are expensive after-market things.
Since I also (used to) shoot 35mm, I tend to end up with a lot of empty film cans. Some brands of film, I noticed, have quite different can diameters. Fuji seems to have the narrowest, Ilford next, and then Agfa the widest. A Fuji can slips quite neatly inside an Agfa can — in fact, if you bore a small hole in the bottom of an Agfa, fill it with water, and slide a Fuji can in as a plunger, it acts as quite an effective single-shot water pistol. But I digress …
But best of all, I discovered that a Fuji can is a tight interference fit into an Ilford can. Since I knew that a 120 spool is a smaller diameter than a 35mm roll, and is less than twice the length, I knew I could do something with this.
You will need:
- an Ilford film can. It doesn’t need to have a lid, as it will be acting as the base of the “stretch” 120 can.
- a Fuji film can. I’ve only used the black kind you get with the faster films. I suspect that the clear cans that are used on the rest of the range might work, but won’t be light-tight.
- a sharp knife. The pictured Opinel may not look much, but it has a razor-like carbon steel blade.
Slice the end off the Fuji can. It helps to poke a hole in the side of the can a couple of millimetres up from the end, and then start slicing where you made the hole.
Jam the now baseless Fuji can into the Ilford can, and push it down to the desire length. It really helps if you take the lid off the Fuji can, as otherwise you’d be working against air compression. It also helps if you have a spare 120 spool handy, to check that you haven’t pushed the two cans too far in to be useful.
And there you are! It might be rather rough and ready, but it works. I don’t know how durable or waterproof these things are, but they’ll afford considerably more protection than having them rolling about loose in your camera bag.
CleVR does allow you to produce animated panoramas with no user input, but it has its flaws. The biggest is that, even though it’s written in Java, it only works properly under Windows.
Here’s a panorama I made earlier: A boring day at Kennedy Commons.
In approximate chronological order:
- Kodak A-1 — got for Christmas or birthday when I was about 8, probably after being insufferable that my sister had a spiffy little Voigtländer Vitoret. Took 110 film and those awful flash strips. Was disappointed when wildlife photos taken with it (fixed focus, fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed) didn’t work too well. Those tiny brown things were supposed to be sparrows, dammit!
- Panasonic AF thing — I don’t actually remember having a camera through my teens, and I think I got this just before going to Japan. I took hundreds of pictures with it, but barely remember anything about it.
- Pentax MX — my first serious camera, and one I really regret getting rid of when I discovered the realities of Negative Cash Flow when I moved to Glasgow G1 in the mid-1990s. I had three lenses; 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, and 135mm f/3.5. A very small SLR, it worked a charm; except, that is after coming back from Fair Isle when the salt jammed the innards. It was fine after a CLA.
- Lubitel 166 — Jessop’s were selling these for £19. It acquainted me with the dreadful packaging and unique smell of Eastern Bloc photographic equipment. It also introduced me to squinty focussing and rampant vignetting that this camera is well known for. Sold on eBay before we left Scotland for about fifty quid; miracles will seldom (if ever) cease.
- Minox 35GT — lovely, tiny, but too delicate for my ham-hands and careless ways. Bought on the recommendation of my sister’s then-fiancé. Managed to crack the top plate and focus ring; oops.
- FED 5B — Think I got this early ’93; a spectacularly shoddy Leica-clone rangefinder. I’d heard about eastern camera copies whilst on Fair Isle, and tracked down someone in Russia on rec.photo who’d sell me one for £50. I sent off my cash in late 1992, and heard nothing for months. I really thought I’d been scammed, and gave up the money for lost. Months later, a small box arrived; it was the FED box with my address written on the back, still sealed. No wrapping. Manual in Русский (or perhaps Українська; my script-fu has never been strong). It worked fine for one film, then the focal plane synch went south. Managed to get it repaired in a magical old-time repair shop just off George Square (Peterson’s?) run by an ancient camera-wizard with a heavy European accent. In true magical ways, the store was gone the next time I looked for it. Sold on ebay for a derisory £20.
- Fujifilm DX-5 — my first digital camera! All of 640×480 resolution, too! Wasn’t quite state of the art by the time I bought it, but cheap things from Morgan’s seldom are.
- Yashica T5 — I probably most regret selling this of any camera. Tack-sharp and contrasty Zeiss Tessar T* lens; nifty waist-level finder. Only a so-so AF system, but very small and solid, like a budget Contax. Sold before moving to Canada. These have subsequently rocketed up in price, so my casual interest in them doesn’t warrant buying one.
- Fujifilm MX-1200 — 1.3 megapixel; w00t! I still actually have this, and it amazes me how nifty I thought this was when I see how clunky and slow it feels now. Bought from Morgan in Brum; I seem to remember actually walking from Cobuild’s office to the store to get it.
- Voigtländer Bessa-R— of all the cameras I’ve ever owned, I think I’ve had the most lenses for this one. Was a bit sad to see it go (trade-in for the D70), but I took many (good?) photos with it. The lenses I owned (not all at once) were:
- Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/3.5 — a lens so good I kept it after selling the body.
- Snapshot-Skopar 25mm f/4 — never got the hang of this one. Sold it very soon after getting it with the camera.
- “Pancake” Color-Skopar 35mm f/2.5
- Ultron Aspherical 35mm f/1.7.
- Nokton 50mm f/1.5
- Color-Heliar 75mm f/2.5
- APO Lanthar 90mm f/3.5
- Yashica-Mat — an eBay purchase from a market trader in Hemel Hempstead. Was a bit beat up, and had the wrong size of case, and occasionally misfired, but a pleasantly solid unit. Took some early photos in Canada with it, but it mostly sat around. Discovered, on trading in in 2004, that the taking lens was a spider-web of fungus.
- Yashica Electro 35GT — nice lens, and can meter down to almost nothing. Auto-exposure only, and handles flair, um, creatively. Really quiet shutter, but (on mine at least) the meter circuitry made a weird groaning noise. I used a Yashica Guy battery; you might want to too.
- Voigtländer Vitoret 110EL — I actually had two of these. One was very beat-up, while the other was absolutely mint, complete with flash. It’s a shame that 110 film was almost dead by the time I got this, as it was an ultra-stealth camera and had great metering.
- Olympus mju/Stylus Infiniti — I was carrying my Bessa-R everywhere wrapped in (what I thought was) an adequately-padded hat when I discovered that the rigours of the TTC had induced a ding in the top plate. Immediately rushed out to buy a 35mm compact that I wouldn’t cry over if it broke. The mju was my carry-about camera for years (even after I went digital). I think I still have an unprocessed film from it. Traded in mid-2004 as a (tiny) part of the D70.
- Nikon CoolPix 2500 — first digital camera in Canada. Bought when I worked across the road from Black’s HQ in Markham, so got it at one of their tent sales. Not a bad wee camera, but a little slow so you sometimes missed a shot or photographed your feet.
- Zero Image 2000 — beautiful wooden pinhole camera which I bought from Karen Nakamura. She’s too kind about some of the imagery I’ve made with it. It’ll get a good workout on the 29th of this month.
- Pentacon six TL — a huge brick of a camera, but the lens was unspectacular, and the innards too fragile. Partly traded-in for the D70. I still have my info page on the Pentacon six TL.
- Voigtländer Bessa-L — I never actually used this. I bought it from Stephen Gandy to use with the 15mm Super Wide Heliar (along with a Kaidan pano head), and sold it on eBay.
- Zorki — an eBay purchase, but there was a spool missing. The guys at russianplaza refunded me without question.
- Nikon D70 — you don’t want to know how much I paid for this, but I have had it since summer 2004 and had great use from it.
- Sony Cybershot P100 — this was my first (and probably only) peacock-blue camera. Henry’s had this for $200 less than the silver model.
- ThreeEyeFish digital minicam — makes a Lomo look like a Leica.
- Panasonic Lumix LX2 — what a lovely looking camera! Shame about the operation …
The small image doesn’t do them justice, but I saw two Raleigh Superbes locked together near Dundas on Yonge. These were the deluxe ones with the locking steering column and the front dynohub. Lovely bikes, definitely sensible.