Week 5: Fuji GS645S w/ TMAX 400 @ 320

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Week 5 will feature a nice little rangefinder that I purchased a long time back – The Fuji GS645S. This camera is all-plastic. And it feels pretty cheap. However it’s certainly a capable little shooter. This medium format rangefinder shoots 6 x 4.5 cm frames in portrait format. It features a useful over/under meter with LED indicator in the viewfinder, activated with a half-press. I had previously written about fixing the low contrast of the rangefinder patch on this camera. Something that surprised me was that despite having left the batteries in the camera for almost four years, they are still not flat. Looking forward to using this!

Week 4: Olympus OM-1 with Neopan 400 @ISO320

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Alright. Chugging along, this week I’ll be shooting the venerable Olympus OM-1 with one of my last rolls of Neopan. This is camera is one that I particularly like, but haven’t shot with much. Part of the appeal of the camera is that it reminds me of the Pentax, but much more refined. The film winding is smooth; the shutter sounds great; there’s little mirror slap. Just very well-dampened motion all round. I only have a single OM-series lens so I’ve not shot with it nearly as much as I’d like. Despite having owned it for around 5 years, this is just the second or third roll with it!

Week 2: Pentax Spotmatic, SMC Takumar 50/1.4, Fujicolor 100

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Week 2 of the project features the camera that started it all – the Pentax Spotmatic (old readers may recall the tale of woe associated with this camera). Or at least, it would have featured said camera if it hadn’t developed a mirror flip down problem. So I am using the Honeywell Spotmatic – a virtual copy without hotshoe (who needs flash anyway?!). It’s a hefty piece of gear so I expect slightly more difficulty, but I am optimistic!

On a related note, I was recently asked about some old M42 lens, and came across some sites that mentioned that the SMC Takumar 50/1.4 is quite radioactive. Does anyone know for sure? Would love some help with verifying this information!

Update on Blog Revival

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I’ve completed week one! Leica M4-P was used to shoot half a roll of Neopan 400 @ 320 (this project was started on a Friday, and all things considered it’s not bad that I have it shot within two days). I will be developing and scanning these in batches, but I’m excited about restarting film photography!

 

A sampling of Szarkowski’s wisdom

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Read this while leafing through my copy of “William Eggleston’s Guide”.

[I] have observed that the poem or picture is likely to seem a faithful document if we get to know it first and the unedited reality afterwards – whereas a new work of art that describes something we had known well is likely to seem as unfamiliar and arbitrary as our own passport photos.

 – Szarkowski, introduction to the Guide.

The Cruelty of the Single Frame

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Photography, as practiced by many street photographers (myself included), is an inherently cruel act. The process of extracting a person or people out of their context, placing them, disoriented, on a frame of our choosing, robs them of their humanity to a certain degree. They have no recourse to redress their grievances. There is no conversation; no back and forth; no room for discussion. The photographer, by the simple act of releasing the shutter, has all the power in this relationship. Yet, we cannot help but abstract the essence of life in a fleeting moment, if for no other reason than our own pleasure. Perhaps we even have grandiose dreams of “capturing the quintessence of an age”; to represent for posterity what it means to be alive in our time. Like the old masters we want to be revered for our unerring and astute eye, distilling that which makes now, now. At least these are the tales that we can tell ourselves.

Shooting Action

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Some time back, I read that a sports photographer practiced his craft by photographing sports telecast. I decided to try something similar. I’ve always wanted to photograph dancers, but I don’t know any and haven’t been able to become familiar with any. So, I tuned in to Mezzo (a channel on cable) and shot a contemporary dance performance. I don’t know enough about the choreography to predict the action, so it was a lot of misses. These below, I consider to be the hits.L1008628L1008622L1008612

Dance is beautiful.

Off-Topic: How I Met Your Mother Finale

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This post was originally written in May 2014, but never published. Here it is.

I have been watching HIMYM for years now. I was first introduced to the show by a friend, though I initially brushed it off as another Friends wannabe. It wasn’t until I caught some re-runs on TV in 2009 (first episode I remember watching – “No Tomorrow”) that I started following the show closely. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to the antics of all the characters, and I can say that the Ted/Robin storyline is a bust. The whole build-up to meeting the Mother was too long to be swept under the rug in a simple 5 minute musical montage.

On the other hand, I think the real masterstroke in this finale is that they spent a whole season talking about the Barney/Robin wedding (the relationship between those two was always a stretch), only to have them divorce in the second half of the finale. Those two were never meant to be tied down, and sad though it may have been, Robin should have remained single. In trying to have closure for the Ted and Robin, the creators of the show neglected that life is full of regrets. That would have been a fitting, if imperfect, ending, for what is, in many ways, a coming-of-age-show.