New Old Stock.

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Quirky new addition.

This little guy arrived in the mail last week. It’s a Smena 8M. A Russian viewfinder camera.

An eBay purchase, it’s New Old Stock. Seriously. The box that showed up in the mail was sealed and unopened. They were manufactured from 1952 until the late 80s, but a little internet research reveals this one’s likely closer to the late 80s.

To call this thing quirky would be an understatement.

Full manual. 35mm. No battery. The shutter needs to be cocked before each shot.

The aperture ring – ƒ/16 to ƒ/4 – is inconvenient as hell, and loading and unloading film will be interesting because the rewind is a smaller-than-a-dime button with a serrated edge on top of the camera. No crank. The film take-up spool is loose.

It has shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/250 second, or one can go by sunny to cloudy icons at the top of the lens barrel.

There are videos aplenty on YouTube, if you’re the curious type.

So, besides the Smena 8M, I’m down to about 20 cameras to document:

  • Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
  • Diana Mini
  • Shen-Hao HZX45-II
  • Polaroid Land Camera Model 180
  • Voigtlander Bessa I
  • Minolta XG-1
  • Minolta XG-7
  • Polaroid Colorpack II
  • Argus 520
  • Debonair 120
  • Pinholaroid (hacked Polaroid Colorpack II pinhole)
  • Sprocket Rocket
  • 8Banners Mc (pinhole)
  • Zero Image 2000 (pinhole)
  • Ondu 6×12 Multiformat (pinhole)
  • Fujifilm XQ1
  • Spartus Fullview
  • Argus Argoflex
  • Yashica-Mat 66

It’ll take a while to go through them all since they’re mostly old film cameras, but it’ll give me a chance – and excuse – to use up my film stash.

I’m pretty sure I’ll keep adding cameras to the list – because GAS – but putting these cameras through their paces will be my main focus for 2020-2021.

Take a few seconds and check out what I’ve put together so far over on @rustyshutters.

Not quite Spring.

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Felt like it, though.

I spent the first Saturday morning of February walking around Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. Around 10 folks showed up for Simi’s PhotowalksATX gathering.

There were a few familiar faces – Greg, George, Ed, Ana – and a few folks I’d not met before – Justin, Derrick, Another Ed, Scott – and some folks whose names I did not get nor hear.

It was a beautiful Winter morning in the garden.

It was a beautiful Winter morning in the garden. A little chilly to start, but by the time folks were heading to lunch, it’d warmed up nicely.

It was my first visit to Zilker Gardens. Beautiful grounds. It has a lot of nice winding, gently sloped, paved paths, for ADA compliance I’m guessing, but there were also steps to use. Thoughtful.

I brought along the Sony RX100 III, my trusty Panasonic Lumix LX100, and it was my first outing with the Fujifilm XQ1.

There were a few paper whites popping out of the ground, and rose blossoms, pansies, and a few other flowers, but since it’s the dead of winter, mostly palms, ferns, and well, just a whole lot of green.

… it was my first outing with the Fujifilm XQ1.

Entrance into the gardens was $7 US for me, a senior, but that included parking. Not bad really.

There was a beautiful waterfall in one section of the gardens that I’m pretty sure everyone got a shot of… my picture was a little off-center, but it managed to catch a little cool lookin’ sun flare.

I was so busy focusing on getting into the gardens that I didn’t notice the front entrance gates, but the Rose Garden Gate on the north side of the property was something to behold. The only reference to the artist that I could find online was Lars Stanley and Louis Herrera.

Lunch was at Schlotsky’s on South Lamar. There weren’t as many folks as on the walk, but it was still a good crowd.

Simi’s photo strolls are always awesome.

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.

Walking among the dead.

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Austin’s history under foot.

I met Kevin Thomas at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin last Sunday morning for a film stroll.

It’s a place I’ve been wanting to shoot since I saw Kat Swansey’s cemetery shots in her IG stream and her recommendation for a visit to Oakwood.

Foggy and a little chilly, it started clearing around noon. The drive down I-35 wasn’t bad at all.

I brought along the Yashica-Mat 66. I loaded a roll of Tri-X 400 in it the day before. Everything seemed pretty normal. Sunday I couldn’t get the film to advance properly. Hmmm.

Also on hand was my little Instax Mini 8, and I burned through two packs of Mono Chrome. Got a coupla’ keepers.

I thought I was prepared. Apparently not!

The Minolta XG-1/24mm ƒ2.8 + mystery roll, too.

I had the Sony RX100MIII in the bag, as well. Sadly, when I tried to use it, I discovered it had a dead battery.

So, I shot bunches with the iPhone 8 and Blackie App.

I thought I was prepared. Apparently not!

It was a good 2+ hour walk.

On my way back home I stopped at Austin Camera to pick up the negs/prints from the 4 rolls of C41 I left there last Saturday. Pretty cool to see what they contained. Around 20 keepers, plus I still have to scan the shots from the Sprocket Rocket.

Every once in a great while.

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Not often, but…

Every once in a while an image I’ve made gets a little attention.

One of my pinhole images was published in SHOTS Magazine, Fall 2019 Issue No. 145 “The Journey.”

It’s 35/45, the picture I made with the Zero Image 6×9 and an expired roll of Fuji Acros 100. The story of this pinhole adventure/experiment is well documented in an earlier post.

I pointed to the same same post when I uploaded the image to Flickr.

To my delight, the picture in that post ended up on Flickr’s Explore, which is something that hasn’t happened for my work in a really long time.

I noticed it earlier this month. Any comments on Flickr are rare these days and the notification made me check it out. At the time there were 58 faves. Crazy. The comments indicated the picture made Explore.

I went there, scrolled through until I found the image. Verification! Pretty cool!

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As of today “35/45. a little experiment” has 9,121 views, 75 faves, and 4 comments.

Amazing.

I make images to satisfy a personal need, but it certainly is nice to have this kind of reaction to my work. And I appreciate it.

Ex Libris.

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Learning is never ending.

A half-dozen photography related books I’ve added to my library over the past year.

Photographers on Photography: How the Masters See, Think & Shoot
Henry Carroll

Analog Photography: Reference Manual for Shooting Film
Andrew Bellamy

A Chronology of Photography: A Cultural Timeline From Camera Obscura to Instagram
Paul Lowe

Photography Changes Everything
Marvin Heiferman

Experimental Photography: A Handbook of Techniques
Marco Antonini, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gómez, Gabriele Lungarella, Luca Bendandi

Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography
David Ulrich

Austin streets.

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A Thursday morning photowalk.

I got out for a film-shooters photowalk in Austin this morning with Chris Ullrich and Amy Jasek.

The only digital camera I had with me was my iPhone 8.

I brought a bunch of film cameras, but mostly used my recently rediscovered Nikon One•Touch Zoom 90 loaded with a 24 exposure roll of 35mm Ilford XP2 Super and my little Olympus Stylus Epic loaded with a 36 exposure roll of Kodak Ektar 100.

Chris had his awesome Leica M6, and Amy had a really slick black Contax G2.

Chris and I walked from the new-ish Austin Library to Intelligentsia Coffee at 3rd and Nueces Street to meet Amy.

After conversation, coffee, and a light breakfast, the stroll began. Cameras in hand, we headed east on 3rd street to Congress Avenue, headed north where Amy broke out her new Ondu 4×5 pinhole camera.

Crossing over around 8th , we headed back down Congress Avenue to 2nd, then winding our way west, back to the library, where – before we went our separate ways – we talked at length about the current state of the Film Shooters Collective.

Great walk. Great conversation. Great people. Great fun. I hope I got some great pictures!