Clearly, not thinking.

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Starting all over again.

When Torri and I committed to retiring and leaving California, I made a decision about photography that, at the time, seemed sound.

After a few choppy years of on-again-off-again picking up the cameras – totally ignoring my film camera collection – I gave a bunch of my black and white film developing stuff to one of the student interns working in the office, a young lady who was pretty much just starting out as a film shooter.

She got my Paterson tank and extra reels, a dark bag, my notebook with dev charts and notes, all the little accessories that made for loading magic in that little black bag, and the plastic bucket that held it all.

I gave a bunch of my black and white film developing stuff to one of the student interns working in the office.

So, now I’m retired. And after 4 years, we’re settled into our new Texas life. I have plenty of time on my hands. I also have a decent stash of expired 120 and 35mm film, along with a bunch of old Fuji peel apart and some random other bits of film that needs to be used up.

Turns out that was definitely a hasty decision. I’m about to rebuild my film developing set-up.

Digging around in my “archive” I found an old article I snagged from the Web back in July 2006 by Justin Ouellette of (now defunct) chromogenic.net fame that explained all things required to develop black and white film for a reasonable $49.38. Step-by-step in a conversational voice.

Justin’s post was really good and it got me quickly up to speed, seeing as I hadn’t developed black and white since 1969-70!

Here’s his 2006 shopping list…

  • Kodak D-76 Developer (powder, makes 1 gallon) – $5.49
  • Kodak Fixer (powder, makes 1 gallon) – $5.19
  • Kodak Photo-Flo 200 (4 oz. bottle) – $3.95
  • Omega Universal Developing Tank w/ 2 adjustable reels – $16.95
  • Kalt Stainless Steel Film Clips (set of 2) – $3.95
  • (2) Delta Datatainer One-Gallon Chemical Storage Bottles – $2.95 each
  • Delta Datatainer 32 oz. Chemical Storage Bottle – $1.95
  • 16 oz. Funnel – $1.50
  • 20 oz. Graduated Beaker – $4.50

By comparison, here’s what these same – or close to same – items go for today, with a few things added that’ll fit my specific needs, each linked to their source…

It totals up to $192.29 – naturally, some of the items cost quite a bit more than they did in 2006!

It’s likely this list will grow…

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Small wonder.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is one of the smaller cameras in my collection, but its size doesn’t mean it’s a slouch.

A cool little shooter, I’ve been using the LX5 since April 2011.

It has a Leica Vario-Summicron lens, ƒ2.0, a max shutter speed of 1/4000 second, with 24-90mm zoom. At 10 megapixels, and an ISO range of 80-12800, the camera does well in low light.

The camera has a rubber grip on the right-hand side, with just enough of a presence to make holding the LX5 easy and comfortable. Looks nice, too.

At the top of the lens barrel there’s an aspect selector for 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9. On the side of the lens barrel is a switch for auto, macro and manual focus.

The zoom is a lever incorporated into the shutter, with the camera mode dial slightly behind and to the left. There’s a small chrome switch for powering on-off far right on the top of the LX5.

I’m a big fan of the Panny menu system. It’s clean, simple, and easy to use.

The rear display is a roomy 2″ x 3″, but I added the external DMW-LVF1 viewfinder and, even though the LVF1 display is smallish, it works nicely. I especially like that it can be flipped up for low-angle shots. Along with a diopter adjustment, there’s a small, yet convenient button located on the side of the LVF1 for manually switching between the rear display and the external viewfinder.

The control ring and function buttons on the back of the camera are arranged neatly on the right side of the body. There’s a thumb wheel just above them. Handy for changing aperture size and exposure compensation with a simple press or rotate.

The LX5 has a pop-up flash, activated by a small switch, on the left side of the top of the body.

I’m a big fan of the Panny menu system. It’s clean, simple, and easy to use.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is a nice, tight little package that’s a joy to use.

A few samples.

A milestone of sorts.

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Pink Rose – Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

A metric ton of pictures.

The above photo is upload number 6,666 on Flickr. A weird little milestone, I’ll admit.

I joined Flickr on August 8, 2004. I have a pro account. It’s a great platform and I’ve enjoyed much success, made good friends, learned bunches, and experienced some amazing photography in those near fifteen years.

I follow 1,676 people. I have 2,565 followers. I’m part of some 44 groups. My work has been featured on the Flickr blog a time or two.

I’m invested. I’m not going anywhere.

Here are 20 of my Top 200 images, all time views.

Vintage camera ads.

Surprise finds.

I’ve been playing with art a bunch this winter. Paintings, collages, and even a little monotype. You can see my efforts on Instagram.

One of my fave resources for collage material is magazines.

There’s a store in Cedar Park that sells used books, and back in the corner of the store they have a set of shelves with all kinds of magazines. Mostly newer publications, but there’s a handful of cubbies with National Geographic mags, some dating back to the 1960s.

I picked up a few issues – a range of years – a coupla’ weeks ago, and while I was in my studio I started flipping through the 60s issues and noticed a few ads for cameras.

Pretty cool. Check ’em out…

Olympus Pen F - Vol. 126, No. 1 / June 1965

Olympus Pen F – Vol. 126, No. 1 / June 1965

Hasselblad - National Geographic Vol. 128, No. 3 / September 1965

Hasselblad – National Geographic Vol. 128, No. 3 / September 1965

Kodak Instamatic 800 - National Geographic Vol. 126, No. 1 / July 1964

Kodak Instamatic 800 – National Geographic Vol. 126, No. 1 / July 1964

Olympus Pen - National Geographic Vol. 126, No. 1 / July 1964

Olympus Pen – National Geographic Vol. 126, No. 1 / July 1964

Honeywell Pentax & Konica Auto-S - National Geographic Vol. 127 No. 6 / June 1965

Honeywell Pentax & Konica Auto-S – National Geographic Vol. 127 No. 6 / June 1965

1970.

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Heads-up, pick-up.

I was out walking the other day, heading for the mailbox, and crossing the street I noticed a shiny coin near the gutter on the other side.

It was a nickel. Heads-up, so fair game. It’s bad luck to pick up coins that’re tails-up, don’t you know. 8^)

I scraped away some of the schmutz from the face of the coin and saw that it was a 1970 S, minted in San Francisco. Cool.

’70 was a significant year in my life.

Game changer.

panasonic-lumix-dmc-gf1.jpgGood things come in small packages.

This camera was a game changer for me. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. A super-nifty little Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with the legendary 20mm ƒ1.7 lens. So many nice images came from this little gem.

I learned of this camera through a blog post by Craig Mod titled “GF1 Fieldtest – 16 Days in the Himalayas.” His detailed review, high praise, and gorgeous photos with the GF1 were all hard to ignore.

The first time I held one and fiddled with it was December 2009 while attending a photo meet-up in Santa Clara, at the coffee shop across from Loyola Hall on El Camino Real.

One of the folks at the meet-up brought along his recently acquired GF1 and was kind enough to let me hold it and play with it a bit.

The minute I pressed the shutter release I was sold.

The minute I pressed the shutter release I was sold. It made a solid two-part click-thunk combo – you knew you’d just made a picture.

I’d gone from Pentax DSLRs to small point-and-shoot cameras in years prior to the GF1. Samsung NV11, Canon S3IS, Ricoh GRD2, Leica D-LUX 4. All awesome cameras, but the GF1 was so cool. Small, 12 megapixels, used interchangeable Panasonic and Olympus lenses, quick auto-focus, a 3″ display, and an external viewfinder could be added.

By Christmas 2009 I had one of my own, along with the 20mm ƒ1.7 and the EVF.

Some of my fave portraits were made with this little guy and I shot a lot of cool cars and beautiful flowers with it, too.

Journey through the past.

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Drop it.

It must have bothered me. Not enough to act immediately, but I’ve felt compelled lately to right a wrong that occurred some 10 years ago.

I really liked it. Was getting a lot of use out of it, too. I even took it to Omaha, Nebraska. Walked all over town with it while attending a conference for the university. Got amazing results with it. I absolutely loved the user-interface and menu system. Check out the specs on DPReview…

And then one day after work I was getting out of the truck and I dropped it. It wasn’t the first time that had happened. It was the third. And final.

It came with one strap lug and a hand strap. Not my favorite set-up. I’ll never be a fan of that configuration.

I absolutely loved the user-interface and menu system.

Over the years, I’d occasionally scour eBay to see if anyone was selling theirs. In early November I finally found a used Samsung NV11 in near mint condition for an extremely reasonable price. $66, including shipping.

When it arrived, I spent a couple of days reacquainting myself. Played with all the settings and took a bunch of meaningless pictures that eventually got deleted.

It was one of three cameras I used yesterday while on a photo stroll near the Texas State Capitol in Austin. PhotowalksATX. Great gang of folk.

I purposely set it to black and white and ISO 1600, and off I went…