All the ice for the ice queen + some camera talk.

Cooper the black Labrador wandered away and my voice is almost gone due to being very sick, so in the midst of photographing our lake ice I had to go and literally run to get him. He’s almost deaf and I can’t yell and we are a mess in general.

I’m in a coffee shop because there is no internet at our rural home. Maybe it’s not appropriate to be sitting in a public place while I’ve got the plague but I need internet more than I have morals so…that’s a lost battle.

I sent 5 rolls of film for my sister to get developed so very very soon I will be sitting in front of my trusty scanner and scanning film again!

One of the worst parts of 2014 was not shooting as much film. I know that sounds odd but it really made the year seem less memorable. Some people have amazing memories and can pull the most minute aspects of an event out of their minds; I have no such ability. I think the reason I photograph so much is so that I can highlight events and illustrate them in my own slanted way and never forget them. I can remember the random creepy carny wearing devil horns in July at the county fair or remember that my freckles were very vivid that one summer. I can recall details about my loved ones that I couldn’t otherwise, like how their faces have changed in little ways or how they hold their hands, or how we made duct tape dresses for a fashion show and picked raspberries and drove around aimlessly.

CAMERA TALK TIME:

As I mentioned to one blogger, I’m making the big transition really soon to a DSLR! GAH! For the first time in my life I will have good digital gear. I’m not throwing down $3,000 for a Canon 5D iii, and I’m not splurging on any f/1.2 lenses, but I’m getting good, decent gear that will do what I need. I’m nervous to take the plunge- it’s a serious investment, because even if I am not purchasing professional grade photography gear I’m still paying good money that I worked really hard for! (And at a job that I’m really unhappy with…every dollar means that much more!)

WHY:

I’m finally throwing down the cash because of geography. I live in Montana, where getting film developed is getting harder and harder, and also more expensive. Now only specialty photo shops develop film, and for them to scan your images onto a disc or harddrive is over $10/roll. My parents gave me a beautiful Epson V700 scanner, which is truly a beautiful machine, so that I wouldn’t ever have to bother with that again. However, that comes with its own learning curve! (Professional software, patience, etc…) For me to get a single roll of film developed, I either have to drive 90 minutes or mail it there, wait for it to get mailed back, and then scan it after cutting the negatives on my own. It takes a very very long time.

After reading thousands of reviews (I’ve been researching for months now) and thinking about what I really want vs. what I really need, I think I’ve settled on a Canon 60D. I’d rather put a bit more cash into some good lenses than a good body. I’ll then purchase a 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens and probably the Canon or Sigma 50mm f/1.4 (after having an f/1.4 lens on my film cameras I can’t look back). Maybe a zoom lens? We’ll see how much money I can actually put forward (my laptop is also on its last legs and I need a good bright screen for editing and scanning my film, so when I enter grad school I’ll have to drop some cash for a decent Mac).

For a while I was really really tempted to go for the new Olympus Micro Four Thirds system. I’m mostly getting gear for travel photography and portraits. My sister and I are spending 3 weeks in Iceland, the Netherlands, and Belgium and I really want a camera that I can carry around all day alongside my Olympus OM-G. I’ll admit it: I love my Olympus SLR from the 80’s and the Zuiko lenses I have are simply fantastic pieces of glass. Zuiko and Olympus had some good shit going on back in the day and I would love to see what they’ve done with technology. Plus, the cameras are lighter and those little Zuiko lenses on the Four Thirds system are absolutely adorable. The OM-D E-M10 (phew Olympus, couldn’t you make that more of a mouthful!) is also weather sealed and seems pretty hardy, and if it’s anything like my OM-G, it’ll be a beast.

A lot of camera enthusiasts will ask me why I haven’t considered Nikon and I’ll be honest: figuring out which damn lenses go with which bodies confused me so much. I couldn’t do it! I’m sure if I was more focused and paid more attention I would get it, and I know Nikon puts out some awesome cameras and lenses, but Canon and Olympus both had very user friendly systems that didn’t require me to distinguish and really study which lenses go with which bodies. Sorry, Nikon, you got a bit too complex for me.

If anybody has any recommendations or experience with DSLRs and lenses, feel free to give me feedback or ideas! I haven’t made any purchases yet…

And I will always, always shoot film. My OM-G is too sturdy and awesome and those Zuiko lenses are too nice to gather dust.

The “bad” frames

My Argus Argoflex E is about 70-75 years old. It’s sturdy and pretty light, but I wasn’t used to working without a light meter, and didn’t carry one with me.

This meant that many of my frames weren’t properly exposed, or I didn’t time them right. Or I was moving too quickly to focus accurately (bugger). Nonetheless, I don’t see these as wasted frames. They’re learning frames. There’s no way every frame in a roll will be a worthwhile one, or that it will be impeccably framed, focused, and composed. Sometimes they’ll be downright awful.

To me, these are still awesome. They have memories attached. I was fumbling around, dashing, trying to keep up, or having trouble figuring out the intricacies that every camera presents when getting to know it. Especially this one!

My camera collection

agfa_memo)1939

Afga Memo, c. 1939 argus-argoflex-model-e

Argus Argoflex Model E

argus_argoflex

Argus Argoflex Seventy-Fivebrownie_bullseye

Brownie Bulls-Eyekodak_instamatic_150

Kodak Instamatic 150

Thus far I own these cameras- I have only shot out of two of them, as the Instamatic causes serious problems with obtaining film unless I hand roll 35mm onto a special reel. Same with the gorgeous Afga from 1939, my oldest camera!

I have been lucky in collecting in that they’ve all been surprises. I have never gone out with the intent to collect cameras, which leaves me at an economic advantage- I got the Argus Seventy-Five, the Brownie Hawkeye and the Instamatic all in one case at a garage sale for $15!

The Agfa from 1939 was $10 in a thrift store- the bellows weren’t out and the front wasn’t opened, so it looked like an odd box, I don’t think anybody thought it was cool.

My most recent camera was my Argus Argoflex Model E from 1940-1947 that I found in a Goodwill here while shopping with Chris for a lamp (we’re cool). It was in a mint condition leather case, which piqued my interest! I quickly had it whisked from behind the glass case, and it was mine for $20. Chris got it out of the case with pliers (danke!) and in my hands I held a mint condition 120 film twin lens reflex camera!

I love collecting cameras and imagining their previous owners and what they shot with their lovely little light boxes.

 

The f/1.4 lens makes a debut!

Okay, guys. I’m excited.

So the photographs I’m posting aren’t my favorites, but the focus of the 1.4 lens is SO awesome that it makes them automatically more fun! I like how it’s soft and crisp at the same time. Plus, it lets it so much more light, and I hate using artificial flash!

When my parents gave it to me, I took of my 50mm f/1.8 and compared it to the f/1.4, and showed them how much more LIGHT will be let it, and I got super ridiculously loud and happy about it. In a public place. Oops.

I’ve got another roll almost ready, and I’m finally starting to get the hang of focusing with the lens, so perhaps the next roll will be a little more awesome, but here are some photographs from the first roll with this beautiful new addition to my lens collection!

Someday I’ll take pictures of all of the lenses I own and give a visual catalog. Some of them are quite lovely! This is my current favorite though.

Camera Repair: 1954 Brownie Bull’s-Eye

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours doing not-very-orthodox Thanksgiving things, like trying to fix the lenses on my little Bull’s-Eye.

I picked it up along with a Kodak Instamatic 50 and an Argus Argoflex Seventy-Five for $15 at a local garage sale- only to find that somehow, along it’s looonnnggg life span, the Bull’s-Eye got submerged or was in a very humid place- there was white fungus in the lenses and around them.

My grandfather loaned me two screw drivers and some lens cleaner, and I set out disassembling the small camera. It came apart easily, and I quickly discovered how cool the inside of the camera looked. I took of the face plate, the back, and several layers of metal- only removing about six screws. We popped off the rubber lens-holder (terminology is not really great, sorry!) and got the two lenses apart. After cleaning them carefully with q-tips and lens cleaner, we put everything back together, all without a hitch!

Now the Bull’s-Eye is actually usuable! It even came with the Midget flash, and some unused Sylvania M-3 flash bulbs, so I am all set to begin using it!

P.S.: I don’t use 620 film- mostly because it’s rare and WAY too expensive when you can find it. What I do instead is grind down a regular 120 mm spool with a metal file and clip it on the edges with a nail clipper until it fits just like a regular 620 spool- it’s effortless and super easy to do. You can definitely do it yourself- don’t buy the $10.99 re-spooled film you find on eBay, you can do it yourself so easily it’s not worth it.

Vorrei qualcosa di bere?

This morning Chelsea and I met at the Bagel Company and snatched a rarely available newspaper off the table.

The goal?

Garage sale hunting.

In short, Chelsea and I had the goal to beat all the early bird old timers at picking out the gems in the (scarce) garage sale-ing market here in our small town. We wrote some addresses on a napkin (classy, I know) and after drinking black coffee and bagels (toasted, of course) we hopped into the Golden Chariot and were off on an adventure in cheap purchases.

The first two places we stopped by had nothing of value; baby clothing or clothing in sixes 2X- we were right in the middle, and therefore drove on, eventually to an odd garage sale happening behind an enormous engineering firm. I purchased a teal blue glass cup for 35 cents (deal!) , and a box made to look like an old book with a red felt interior to hold jewelry (tacky/kistchy goodness!). Chelsea, on the hunt for vintage tea cups, did not make any purchases (and never did- the tea cups were never found).

We eventually found ourselves on Cherry Avenue, where the greatest bargain laid in a pleather brown camera bag.

Not one, not two but three cameras ranging from the 50’s and 60’s lay  in a bag, nestled together, complete with flash cubes and instruction manuals. The price? A mere $15. Who wouldn’t lunge at that?

An Argus Argoflex 75

Kodak Instamatic 150

Kodak Brownie Bull’s-Eye

I’ve had my fingers viciously pounding the keyboard for the last two hours trying to figure out A) how to get 620 film (deemed impossible unless I was wealthy) and then B) how to modify 120 film into 620 film (thank you, Internet and Flickr people!). I think it is possible, and I’m currently toying with the idea of ordering about 10 packs of 120 film from this weird, small and cheap Croatian film company to mess around with. You have to grind down the film and trip the edges to make it compatible for the Argus and the Kodak Brownie bodies, but I think it might be possible!

As for the Kodak Instamatic…well, 126 film is even more difficult to come across, and just as tricky. Some people say you can wind 35 mm (standard) film into a 126 film canister, but my not-to-nimble fingers make me doubtful of my power to A) even get a roll of 126 and B) to correctly use the canister again with 35mm film inside.

This concludes my all-too-enthusiastic post about my new cameras. In the next few weeks who knows, perhaps I will have gotten up the guts (and the dough/cash/moolah/ka-ching/currency) to invest in some 120 film and see if I can get either the Kodak Brownie or the Argues functioning!

Also, the title of this post has nothing to do with the actual content. It translates to, Would you like something to drink? in Italian.