It’s that time again.

brownie-trio

Shitty, shitty, shitty.

The Shitty Camera Challenge is happening soon. It’ll be a little different than last year, I think, as it’s being touted as the “Quarantine Special” this time ’round.

It lasts from June 1 to August 31, 2020. Not exactly clear about when to post, but I’m sure that’ll all get figured out as time progresses.

I looked on eBay to see if I could find some camera that’d be adequately awful to use, but found zero inspiration. I was about ready to throw in the towel.

Larry found it in the garage when they moved into the house…

Fiddlin’ in the studio I came a cross a handful of old 120 spools, mostly plastic, but one of them was metal. It has the words “KODAK FILM” embossed on both ends. Pretty cool.

It reminded me that I have a 50th Anniversary Kodak Brownie that a neighbor in the old ‘hood gave me. That old thing had a roll of Verichrome Pan in it, which I developed using D76. That’s where the spool came from.

wp-brownie

Of the three pictures that turned out (see top of post), two looked to be from the seventies and one looked earlier, maybe late fifties or early sixties.

Larry found it in the garage when they moved into the house, held onto it until late 2007, when he gave the camera to me.

I also have two rolls of expired film to use, a March 1968 expired roll of Verichrome Pan plus a June 2008 expired roll of Plus-X. The camera shoots ~6×9 so I’ll get 8 shots per roll.

 I’ll probably rig something up so I can compose and shoot horizontally…

Today I dusted it off and cleaned the, uh, viewfinder. It’s really not much of a viewfinder, honestly. I’ll probably rig something up so I can compose and shoot horizontally… you know, landscape.

The little red window that’s supposed to show the picture numbers has faded to a fairly transparent orange-ish yellow, so I made a little flap out of a piece of gaffers to cover-up between advancing shots. Should help.

I think it’ll do. Funky, fun, and free.

Rusty shutters #36.

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Pinholaroid.

September 2008.

Modified Polaroid Colorpack II – 35mm @ ƒ/140. No batteries required!

After removing the lens and shutter, I lopped off a good portion the front, then fitted a neatly cut and trimmed piece of black ABS to cover the resulting hole. This made for a shorter distance to the film plane and a wide angle of view.

I measured for center, then drilled a 4/16″ hole through the front plate. The shutter and shutter-stops came next. I measured for the shutter location, drilled a pilot hole, then attached the shutter with a small brass screw, washer and nut. The stops were super-glued. Super-simple operation.

I cut a 3/4″ square piece of soda can and used a very small sewing needle and a sheet of binder paper folded up a bit and placed beneath it to punch the hole through the aluminum, slowly, sanding the back of the puncture to smooth it out. The pinhole is attached to the inside of the camera with gaffer tape.

I turned the camera upside down and added a viewfinder, using a simple 200 degree peep-hole from Home Depot. I used ABS for the viewfinder support, drilled a hole to accommodate the peep-hole and super-glued the bracket to the camera body. The viewfinder placement is dead center above the pinhole.

Having removed the original Colorpack II viewfinder – which is now on the bottom of the camera – I cut out 6 of pieces of ABS that mimicked the shape of the Manfrotto tripod mount I use, each slightly smaller than the next. I glued them together, then drilled a hole for a 1/4-20 sleeve to attach the Manfrotto mount.

In a stroke of good luck, the pattern on the ABS was a close match to that of the Colorpack II. I finished off the Pinholaroid by painting all the exposed ABS satin black.

A fun little project. I even have a decent stash of Fuji pack-film to use with this camera.

The Blue Set.

Check your settings.

I make mistakes. Some big, some little. Consequences vary, but I always learn from them.

Take for instance these half-dozen shots made back in early 2011. I used my Panny GF1 and a c-mount lens, the SLR Magic Toy Lens 26mm f/1.4, to make a few pictures around the neighborhood.

Love that swirly bokeh. But the blue was a bit of a surprise.

Anyway, as I noted in comments made about the portrait on Flickr “…the blue cast is from my not remembering to switch back to AWB before I headed out for a walk around the block. The Tungsten setting casts blue in daylight. But I think it works in the handful of pictures I posted this afternoon. A lesson, of sorts.” The unusual portrait got a good number of views, a coupla’ faves, and a handful of comments.

I seem to recall noticing what I’d done about 6 pictures into my stroll and changing back to AWB. Oh, well. Interesting results.

The lesson? Check your settings.

 

Out of the blue.

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Now that’s service.

I received a envelope in the mail last week. It was totally unexpected.

After looking at the return address, I had to think back to an eBay win I had back in November 2019. It was the Minolta Spotmeter F w/Case, through a seller known as Classic Camera Authority.

… this is the first time something like this has happened.

The envelope contain the original manual. They sent it gratis. Amazing.

In all the years I’ve been buying photography stuff on eBay, this is the first time something like this has happened.

Ahem… save this seller!

Rusty shutters #33.

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Polaroid SX-70 SE Sonar OneStep.

October 2007.

This blue-button SX-70 – that’s why it has “SE” as part of the camera’s name, maybe – was purchased at the San Jose Photofair.

Sadly, I no longer have this camera. It started to produce a series of 4 small, fuzzy, and bright yellowish dots vertically just off-center left. Don’t know why or how that began, but I stopped using it altogether about a year after I got it.

I got some great shots with it before its demise, though.

I did a slight variation of Adrian Hanft’s hack

Auto focus was pretty cool. I was able to use a bit of my 600 film stash, too. At the time 600 film was still available and I would snag 5-packs at Costco for around $40 US, as I recall. A good deal.

To use that film in the Sonar OneStep, I did a slight variation of Adrian Hanft’s hack, which involved just removing the ND filter over the photocell and turning the light/dark dial all the way to dark for each shot. It worked well.

Body: Black plastic with brown vinyl porvair
Focusing: Split-image rangefinder. manual or autofocus
Lens: 4-element 116mm glass
Manual focus: 10.4 inches – infinity
Shutter: Electronic
Shutter speeds: 1/180th to 14 seconds
Aperture range: f/8 – f/74
Dimensions: DWH 6.49in x 3.93in x 1.77in

K-scope, revisited.

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Hexagon city.

I had one of those days yesterday.

The weather was funky. Grey, foggy, drizzly. I didn’t want to leave the house. At all.

So I played indoors. It’s been a while since I put together the Leica D-Lux 4 and the toy kaleidoscope I keep in my studio.

Play. Play. Play.

I fiddled with that cool little combo for hours. Patterns, shapes, color. So much fun.

Play. Play. Play.

I attended a talk in the Spring of 1998 put on by the UCSC Extension in Mountain View, CA. The speaker was digital artist David Biedny.

It was part of their Creativity in the Digital Age series. I don’t remember much about the talk in general, but the one thing he said that evening that’s stuck with me all these years was that creativity and play go hand-in-hand.

So true.

Rusty shutters #32.

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Canon PowerShot SD780 IS.

May 2010.

I bought this tiny little shooter for one reason only… its size. Amazingly, it’s the same width and height as a credit card.

What I discovered after it arrived is that it has fantastic image quality and super macro capability.

I haven’t used this ultra-compact camera nearly as much as I should, but in putting this post together I rediscovered a little gem that I’m gonna start carrying around.

Resolution: 12 megapixels
Max image size: 4000 x 3000
Display: 2.5in fixed screen
Rangefinder: Optical zoom
ISO: Auto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Shutter Speeds: 15 – 1/1500 sec
Aperture: ƒ/3.2 – ƒ/5.8
Macro: 1.1in
Focal Length: 33 – 100mm
Zoom: 3x
Metering: Evaluative, center, spot
Dimensions WDH: 3.4in x .72in x 2.1in
Weight: 4.7oz
Power: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (Canon NB-4L)
Memory card: SD/MMC/SDHC

A pair of Jacks.

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Macro Jacks, that is.

Diggin’ ’round in the archive. These are from May 2013.

A pair of shots, one made with the Olympus E-PL3, an extension tube, and the Lensbaby Composer Pro + Sweet 35, the other made with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and the Wanderlust Pinwide.

Cool that I wrote about how I made the Pinwide shot on Flickr. “I found it while I was out back watering the roses. It was corroded and covered in dirt. I cleaned it up a bit with water from the hose and let it dry.”

It was corroded and covered in dirt.

“I took the picture later in the day. The sun was on its way down allowing a sliver of light to peek under our old and slightly uneven garage door. I got the shot by laying on the garage floor with the Pinwide less than an inch away from the jack.”

I love the shadow and contrast, not to mention that gorgeous blurry bokeh at the top and swirl at the bottom of the EPL-3 shot. Pretty cool.

Diggin’ ’round in the dirt has its rewards. Same with the archives!

 

Rusty shutters #31.

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Olympus Stylus Epic.

February 2008.

I know I bought this camera new, but I can’t recall where I got it. I could find no evidence of purchases online at the usual vendors. I may have bought this at a brick and mortar store in Silicon Valley, likely San Jose Camera or Keeble and Schucat.

It’s a fun little 35mm film camera. So compact, it’ll fit in a shirt pocket. And with the ƒ/2.8 lens and high ISO capability, it performs well in all types of light.

The only bother with this camera is that every time the cover is opened/closed the camera resets to default settings and the flash is enabled.

Other than that, it’s a pretty cool little shooter.

Film type: 35mm
Weight: 4.7 oz
Lens: E. Zuiko 35mm
Aperture: ƒ/11 – ƒ2.8
Focus: 13.8in – infinity
Shutter speeds: 4 – 1/1000sec
Film advance: Automatic
Viewfinder: Real image rangefinder
ISO: DX-coded, 50 – 3200
Dimensions WHD: 4.3in x 2.3in x 1.5in
Battery: CR123A 3V Lithium

2019 Gallery

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Faves from the past year.

Among photographers, I’m sure this is not uncommon – at the end of each year, I take a look back at my body of work and pick out the photos I like most.

My choices may be due to a particular memory, maybe the composition, or the planning that went into a particular photo. It could be the happenstance, the color, or perhaps the light. Maybe it’s the mood or a good story.

For those reasons and more, this group of shots – and a few others – are my favorites for 2019 – please, take a peek at my year-end gallery.