Monday, April 30, 2012

UPDATE Maintenance

Apparently white vinegar is the cure for everything... I just placed new batteries in the CanoSound and, after a couple of sad attempts, it has been reborn!

Now to find out where to purchase and process Super 8 film...


I knew I had more cameras...

After my recent barrage of camera related posts, I found where I had been "hiding" the old CanoSound super 8 film camera. I got a little giddy when I saw that there was still a film cartridge loaded inside. I figured, "What the heck..." and pulled the trigger. Of course nothing happened. So I opened the battery compartment.

I'd like to say I paused for a moment of silence when I saw the battery corrosion... but there was expletive. I was not happy with myself as this was my own fault for not removing the batteries before storing it. I probably thought "It won't be THAT long before I shoot with this again..."

Ah... best laid plans. They do tend to lie around and gather dust.

Since I didn't think I could do any more damage to it --- I mean really, at this point it's just a cool, retro paperweight --- I set about cleaning the battery compartment. I scraped the corrosion off and then cleaned it with white vinegar. I am currently waiting for everything to completely dry.

If it works cool! If not, I'll kick myself and go on. In any event, I think I'll go remove batteries from anything that is not being used.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy World Pinhole Day

Today is World Pinhole Day. You are supposed to take a picture with a pinhole camera today and post the image on the WPD website... ...

I think I've got an old oatmeal box and some black spray paint but my photo chemistry is so old I don't know if it's still viable. I might have to just play with my Inkodyes...

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Getting back to my personal photo-a-day challenge...

My brother started something one year for Christmas... He made luxurious pen and pencil sets for quite a few people in the family. He turns the wood himself. He's actually quite the lathe enthusiast.

Notice that I said "quite a few" instead of "everyone"? We have a large family and cranking out that many small pieces of art is tough for one craftsman. So the rest of us had to wait until the next Christmas. He even came up with a really cool way of crafting the pen he made for our mother (he is, after all, a good and smart son).

The best thing about his project is the passion he has for woodworking. All you have to do is ask him what wood he used and his eyes light up and he will tell you the story of the wood... where he found it it, what it's commonly used for, any special handling he did to accomplish exposing the best grain.

That is the mark of a true craftsman --- the journey in creating something is just as important and the end result.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saga 127

In my recent posts of my cameras, I discovered that I had 3 cameras that use 127 format film. I thought it might be cool to get ahold of some of that film and try those cameras out.

The film is apparently only made in Europe now... Croatia, according to the box. I had to but it online. Three rolls cost just under $10 each and I'll have to ship the film off for processing.

But that's okay by me... It's been a while since I've had a little photo adventure and I'm liking how this is shaking out...

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Growing up, I was surrounded by family. Not just the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and even a great-grandmother... I was also surrounded by stories of great-great-grandparents and distant Scottish relatives.

My paternal grandmother had boxes and albums of old family photos. And by old, I mean ferrotype old. She also had odd keepsakes that had stories attached to them.

Such is the case with this horn. It was her grandfather's and he brought it with him when he left Kilmarnock, Scotland to come to the U.S.
There are initials scratched in it almost like ancient runes.
As kids, my cousins and I would always try to blow it like a trumpet. My cousin Beth was the most successful at that endeavor.

I know one should not become to attached to "things", but I love the fact that I have these little tactile connections to my family.

Now if I could only get my hands on some of the pirate booty that my maternal grandfather was sure existed...

Monday, April 23, 2012

The One That Started It All

Or should I say the "OM-1" that started it all?

When I was 15 I wanted a "real" camera. So I got a job at the Iredell-Statesville YMCA as a summer day camp counselor. I saved every paycheck and at the end of the summer my parents took me to Service Merchandise in Charlotte.

I can't really remember why it had to be an Olympus OM-1, but I do remember standing at the conveyor belt as my new camera slowly rolled my way. I didn't know much, but I knew I wanted to take pictures. Learning to load film was easy as was reading the internal light meter.

I think it was 2005 that I got to go to Paris to take a workshop on street photography. I loved the work of Robert Doisneau and that was where he worked. The course required either a digital camera or a film camera with a 28mm f/2.8 lens... which just happened to be the only lens I had for this camera. Twenty rolls of Ilford Delta 400 film, a plane ticket and a rented worldwide cell phone and I was off.

I love this camera. It makes me happy just to pick it up and look at the world through its viewfinder.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Camera Number Twelve

I was one of those Luddites who did not immediately buy into the digital imaging age. I had shot film since I was 15. I reveled in its simplicity. I adored the poetry of the analog image.

And then I attended Joyce Tenneson's Intimate Portraits workshop in Rockport, Maine. I was using my second-hand medium format camera and started having issues with one of the film backs while we were out shooting.
We had a very smart Canon rep hanging out with our class for the week. He told me that he used to be a rep for Bronica, the manufacturer of my medium format camera. He offered to see what was wrong with it.

As I handed him my camera, he handed me a 1D Mark something or other and said "Why don't you play with this while I fix yours?"

I bought my Canon 5D three weeks later. I love it. It's solid. It had more buttons than I knew what to do with... But I could shoot in color AND black and white. And I can not only get clients their images faster --- if the shoot is not going well, I can show them what I've got and we can fix it together right then without having to do a re-shoot.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Camera Number Eleven

I found this Kodak Brownie Fiesta in the original presentation box in my parent's basement. All of us kids have the gentle edict to remove something of ours from that basement at the end of each visit.

There are quite a few gems lurking among the cobwebs.

If you're curious, this is yet another camera that used the 127 film format. I plan to get on the B & H website this afternoon to get at least one roll for each of the 127 cameras.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Camera Number Ten

When I initially shot the Fisheye this morning, I immediately posted it to my Tumblr account. That was a mistake. The spellcheck changed the name from "Lomo" Fisheye to "Limo" Fisheye.

Oh well...

I did notice I've still got a roll of Ilford Delta 100 in this camera... ready and waiting to show a distorted view of my world.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Camera Number Nine

It almost seemed a little, well, sacrilegious to shoot my favorite portrait camera with an iPhone but I'm going with a theme right now.

I bought the Bronica SQ-Ai used at Biggs Camera in Charlotte, NC. It came complete with the body, the 80mm lens, the viewfinder, and one film back. Normally those elements are all sold separately so I was glad to snag it all in one place.

I loved the fact that it shoots square negatives/images. I took it to the Maine Media Workshops when I took a fine art portraiture class with Joyce Tenneson. There were three of us in the class shooting medium format film. That's actually where I was introduced to the digital camera I use now.

But the Bronnie is still my favorite portrait camera. It's solid and boxy and you have to hold it a certain way but there is a romance to shooting with it.

I think I need to go find a roll of 120...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Camera Number Eight

This Kodak Starflash is another little gem that uses 127 format film.

I think I've been feeling a little nostalgic for Kodak ever since I heard about their financial troubles. I never really used black & white film from Kodak but I don't want to see them vanish.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Camera Number Seven

This is my micro 4/3's Olympus PEN PL-2. I was looking for a camera that I could use for street shooting that would not be as heavy as my normal DSLR. I think I'm starting to get arthritis in my thumbs and the 13lbs. of my Canon 5D kind of limits my flexibility.

I also wanted the camera to not be intimidating or off-putting to my shooting subjects. When you start shooting (at least in Charlotte, NC), people tense up and ask "Why are you taking pictures?" as they inch away from you.

But this camera has everything I need to continue with my street photography. It's light-weight, it shoots RAW files and it looks like a toy. The lens even says "Toy Lens". And it has the added 21st century benefit of shooting video.

Not bad for a toy camera...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Camera Number Six

I snagged this little 127/A-8 format Beacon camera on eBay. I think I can still get film for it through several online stores. Of course I haven't done that yet, but it's on the "to do" list.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Camera Number Five

This is my Polaroid camera. It's not quite as romantic as my Mom's.

The body is plastic as opposed to metal... It doesn't have quite the heft or gravitas. From what I remember the film didn't seem quite as dangerous and toxic.

But it's a Polaroid so it still holds some charm.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Camera Number Four

This is my Mom's Polaroid. She used it while my brother and I were young to document our early years.

I remember how she used to have to wait for the image to develop before she could pull the print away from the chemical part. She also used a rubbing stick on the prints which, as a child I never really understood but I always thought it was cool.

This was my early introduction to photography. Although I never got to use this camera as a child, Mom did allow me to experiment with it when I was a teen. My mom is cool like that.

They don't make the film for this kind of camera anymore. That's one of the sad side-effects of progress. I do still have a lot of the prints my mom made with this camera.... Those family documents are priceless to me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Camera Number Three

Actually, I shouldn't tell you about this camera... It's "classified". It doesn't really exist. It should be redacted.

It's the Lemon Cola Camera from the Spy Museum in Washington, DC. This blog post will now self-destruct in 15 seconds...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Camera Number Two

I had been wanting to play with a Holga for a while when I finally picked one up at Biggs Camera in Charlotte, NC. It uses one of my favorite film formats --- 120 medium format --- and the results can be unpredictable in a good way. Sometimes I like leaving certain things to chance.

Franklin at Biggs even mentioned that he normally throws a Holga into the bed of his truck for a few days to create more light leaks. Happy accidents... with an emphasis on the "happy".

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Camera Number One

This is my TLR, or Twin Lens Reflex camera.

It shoots 120 film and the viewfinder shows everything backwards. There's no light meter.

It's not a Rollei... It's a Seagull, which is just fine by me. While I can appreciate what everyone seems to feel is the best, I keep a soft spot in my heart for the not quite as popular things. It's a bit of a sweetheart.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Thing I See in the Morning... her fuzzy little face accompanied by a sweet "meow" and a thunderous purring that should shake the bed. She is definitely a "morning" cat.

Not a bad way to wake up...

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Today's photo of the day is celebrating my first visit of the season to the Farmer's Market.
Of course I keep forgetting that the Farmer's Market out on Yorkmont Road in Charlotte is open year round, but I like to mark the beginning of nice weather with a pilgrimage anyway... my own little celebration.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Another entry in my photo of the day self challenge...

I love wandering around outside --- in parks, in gardens, in people's backyards when they invite me --- and just observing what nature does before humans intervene. As a species, we're quick to pull out the weed-whacker and dispatch with whatever doesn't obey our whims.
I respect vines... especially "invasives." Their entire purpose is to survive... weaving in and around and through other things. Sometimes they choke out less determined plants but isn't that just natural selection?
I know... kind of harsh. But when we apply it to business or some other man-made concept, it is looked upon with favor. At least vines and weeds aren't really making it personal when they do their survival thing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Challenge

It's been 12 days --- just shy of two weeks --- since the APA 30 Day Social Media Challenge ended and I kind of feel like I'm floundering. I've made 10 more un-Challenged blog entries but without set shooting goals it kind of feels... meh... whatevs...

That doesn't do it for me. So I have written down a bit of a list... a self-challenge, if you will. It will officially start tomorrow, April 5th, 2012 and will end when I run out of words.

Until then, here's one of the throw-away words as a preamble... Orange.
(As in my Muse whispering in my ear, "Orange you glad I bugged you about continuing to shoot?")

Monday, April 2, 2012

Something's Afoot...

Sorry... I couldn't resist misquoting Shakespeare when I wandered past this statue today. I like being surprised by another artist's attention to details like this.