What’s cool?

It was a much simpler time.

Yup. That’s a pony, my sister, and I on the driveway of our home, sometime around 1961. It was summer, I’m pretty sure.

Pretty funny now, but very cool when we were kids.

We lived on Fairwood Street. On the corner at Cedarwood. I was eight, maybe nine, my sister five or 6 years old.

A guy, his pony, and a big camera and tripod wandering the streets of suburbia, leaving behind bucket-loads of memories in his wake.

These pictures are precious to me.

Little did I know how obsessed with photography I’d be later in life.

Kings Hwy.

The sign.

I maaaaay have taken a picture or two of this sign.

It stood at Washington and El Camino in Santa Clara, not far from the SCU campus, on a corner lot filled with old, dilapidated bungalows.

I drove past this sign on my way to, and from, work, every weekday for 8 years.

Some shots were taken with film cameras, some with digital.

I recall riding my bike the nearly 2.5 mile trip from our home down El Camino one Saturday morning – with a bag of cameras – to shoot this awesome sign.

A relic of a bygone era.

Sadly, the sign is no longer standing.

I checked Google Maps Street View and all that remains is an empty lot with a tan colored slat/chainlink fence surrounding it.

I’d bet it’s likely condos or high-density housing fill the lot today.

I hope someone saved the sign.

Kismet happens.

texas-kismet.jpg

Feelin’ lucky?

We celebrated our 5th year of Texas Life back around mid-June. A milestone that prompted me to look through the many TtV shots I’ve made so far here in Central Texas, picking out these 9 faves.

That simple exercise got me thinking about photography and kismet.

Fate, I believe, is a more powerful force than luck.

What’s the famous quote about luck? Samuel Goldwyn said “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” He was right. Being prepared is always an advantage.

Luck runs out. Fate doesn’t.

Fate is always peeking around a corner. In your face. Even if you don’t recognize it, fate’s knocking on your door. Tapping you on the shoulder. Fate is the wrong turn you made. The person you met. Fate is the walk you took.

Years of looking through a viewfinder has taught me much, but the one thing I know for certain is magical photos are made when least expected.

Sometimes, kismet happens.

Argus Autronic I.

Broken beauty.

I was given this old Argus Autronic I by a friend, who tells me it belonged to to his dad.

It was produced between 1962-65. 50mm ƒ/2.8. For a 35mm camera it is huge. And it’s pretty heavy, weighing in at 2.77 lbs, including the fan-flash, half-case, and strap.

He also gave me the original manual, a bit tattered but intact.

First thing I did was open up the back, crank the film advance and checked to see of the shutter opened. It didn’t. I tried a few more times, could see the the shutter leaves moving, but no light was coming through. Bummer.

I’m gonna make a wooden stand for it, counter-sink a hole on the top of the stand to accomodate the case knob – so the camera sits flatly on top of the stand – and another hole on the bottom of the stand for a short 1/4-20 bolt/washer to secure it.

I’m thinking I’ll decopage/collage the manual pages to the stand and glue a chunk of felt to the bottom.

It’d be cool to find an old, unused M-base flash bulb, as I’d want to open up the fan-flash while on display and having a bulb in it would be a nice touch. I’ll check eBay.

Very cool.

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.

0000-pinholaroid-35mm-f140

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.