Friday, 18 January 2019

Afternoon in the Heat!

Newcastle, and the rest of Australia, are in the grip of a heatwave!   Here at Newcastle the temperatures have been in the mid to high 30's (Celcius).  Today it is currently 38℃ (about 100℉ in our backyard) and considering it is 3pm here at the moment, it could climb further!.  For the last week the lowest overnight temperature was 21℃  and  the highest day temperature was 40.2℃ (104.4℉ for my friends who are not metric!)  The constant heat of a heatwave just sucks the energy from you!

I have been basically hibernating in the air conditioning at home when not working; it is just too hot to be out and about with cameras.  Perspiration makes for wet, sticky hands which can ruin the leatherette on a camera.  I had a melanoma removed some years ago and I am a bit averse to go out into a day that will fry you after 5 minutes!

So, when the temperature dropped for a short while last week, I grabbed my gear and headed on out to the beach at Newcastle.

My intention that afternoon was to hang around until Sunset.  The big Aussie sky was filled with Cirrocumulus Cloud (little fluffy ones that remind me of a school of fish for some reason!)  I figured that if I went to the end of Nobbys Breakwall, I would get some lovely Sunset photos with these clouds being present for most of the afternoon!

I arrived a couple of hours early for Sunset and went down to Nobbys Beach to start off the afternoon.  It is a lovely beach and you can see all the way up  the beach to Nobbys Lighthouse and the Meteorological buildings.

A couple of photos there and then moved down to Newcastle Beach.  An obligatory photo of the Ocean Baths Pumphouse and of people wading in the Canoe Pool just in an effort to keep cool.

From there I drove up to Nobbys Beach and began the 1.5km walk up to the end of the Newcastle Breakwall.  It wasn't too bad, about 31℃ but there was a sea breeze which made it bearable.  On reaching the end of the breakwall I turned to see where exactly the Sun would set and how I could work it in with the lighthouse and the water in the harbour.  Uh-oh!  My lovely high altitude Cirrocumulus Cloud, which would've looked great just after Sunset, had been replaced by darker Altostratus Cloud which blocked the Sun as it was going down and put paid to any chance of a golden Sunset!

Now, this had happened to me before and I have learned to stick it out because you never know just what will happen!  I took a few photos from the end of the breakwall but unfortunately, the cloud just got thicker as it moved eastward and blocked the Sun entirely.  No lovely golden Sunset for me on that night!

It wasn't an entire waste of the afternoon.  I did get some good photos of Nobbys Beach and down at the Canoe Pool earlier.

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Here you can see those beautiful clouds that had me all excited about the possibilities of the Sunset!
Nobbys Beach - Newcastle, Australia.
Looking up to Nobbys Point from Shortland Esplanade.
Newcastle, Australia
The Sun was getting low and the exposure was a little blown out.  I took three bracketed shots at +/- 1 EV
to merge for a High Dynamic Range photo which I edited with the Nik Collection HDR Efex Pro software.
Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia

The same photo as the one above.  Converted to Black & White in the Nik Collection
Silver Efex Pro software.  It is part of my work flow to see how photos will look in Black & White as I edit.
Really liked how this one has turned out!
Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia.
It was much cooler on the coast!  This young bloke had the right idea!
See that 'waterhole' in the middle of the photo?  The water in there comes
in via a crevice in the rock.  Each time the waves crash against the rocks
the water pours in through the crevice and the water level rises.  Mind you
it disappears just as quick too!  This young man spent most of his time
jumping in and out as the water reached its highest point.  The man standing
on the rocks was counting the waves to determine the set for when the
biggest wave would hit.
Rock Pools near the Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia.
The leap of faith.  Here we see that young fella jumping in when the water
was at it's peak.  I should probably have changed lenses to get a bit
closer in with this shot but there was a lot of sea spray around and I
didn't want anything to get into the camera!
Rock Pools near the Ocean Baths - Newcastle, Australia.
As soon as I had taken this I knew exactly how I was going to edit it.  Taking the photo directly into the Sun
didn't do much for the exposure and I knew how good it would look with an edit in the Nik Collection
Silver Efex Pro software.  I used the 'Film Noir' preset, which gives a very contrasty finish and added
a burnt vignette.  I think this edit highlights the very mood of the afternoon; everything burned to a
black finish by the hot Sun as the surfer seeks the cool solace of the water.
Canoe Pool - Newcastle, Australia.
Many people decided to just go for a quick paddle in the shallows of the Canoe Pool.
Newcastle, Australia.
This Newcastle Icon is like a magnet for photographers.  The Pump House
of the Ocean Baths.  Every time I see it the light is different in some way and
so I simply have to take a photo.  There was a big blowout in exposure
where the shade from the Ocean Baths wall cut across the Pump House so
I bracketed my shots +/- 2 EV to obtain a better overall exposure after merging
in the Nik Collection HDR software.  Further edited in PS using the Burn
& Dodge tool.
Ocean Baths Pump House - Newcastle, Australia.

So, this is how the lovely high altitude cloud turned out when I reached the end of the breakwall
to get some Sunset photos.  As you can see, the heavier cloud in the west had moved in and was moving
east so it was going to be blocking all that lovely golden light that I had hoped I would capture.
It was still a lovely afternoon out on the breakwall though!
Newcastle, Australia
And this is what was left of the 'Sunset'.  I was lucky to capture that little bright gold hint of colour!
Nobbys Lighthouse - Newcastle, Australia

Sunday, 6 January 2019

In my Bag - Bronica ETSRi and 'Focal' 35mm colour film

It seems like ages since I last posted!  It has been a very busy Christmas and New Year and my  photography has had to take a break!  I hope you all had a Safe & Happy Christmas and New Year!

I have only put one film through my Bronica ETRSi.  That was a 120mm Fomopan (see results here)

When I purchased the Bronica, it came with a 120mm film back and also a 35mm film back (the normal not the wide angle 35mm back).  The 35mm back didn't appear to work as, when connected to the camera, the winder did not work.  I thought that perhaps it needed a film in it to work correctly.  Well, I was wrong!  Even putting the film into it it didn't want to wind on.

I had chosen to load the back with a Focal branded 35mm film.  This is an expired, discontinued K-Mart brand and had been frozen for some years.  It was gifted to me a couple of months ago and, I figured that this would be a good film to use rather than one of my more expensive Ektar rolls.  I am shooting it at box speed (ISO 100) because this is more of an experimental project at this time to see how the Bronica and the 35mm film back work together.

I wasn't concerned about totally over exposing the start of this roll whilst loading the film and during any trouble shooting as to why the camera wouldn't wind on.

I tested the film back before mounting it on the camera.  All of the gears on the film back were turning correctly, before and after loading, using the wind knob on the side of the back and, I had loaded the film correctly.  After mounting the film back onto the camera to find out it was not still winding on, I decided to compare the 35mm film back to the 120mm film back.   I removed the film back from the camera and immediately I noticed 2 anomalies. (see next photo).

The 120mm film back and the 35mm film back have these 2 pins.  The 1 on the lower right hand side is designed to lock in the dark slide when the back is taken off the camera.  However, on this film back it does not do that; I can still remove the dark slide when the back is off the camera.  The pin on the left near the wind on transport cog is activated by the camera during exposure to allow the film to wind on ready for the next exposure.  On the 120mm film back, both these pins were pushed in, on the 35mm film back they were not.

Photo of the 120mm Film Back showing the pins.  The pin on the left determines the winding on of film for the
next exposure

So, using a thin implement, I gently pushed both pins in on the 35mm back.  I re-connected the back to the camera and - Voila! the film was winding on!   I inserted the dark slide and then removed it; the film was NOT winding on.  Ok, so, I surmised that the problem had the be that the pin nearest the wind on transport cog that allowed the film to wind on for next exposure, was not resetting itself after removal of the dark slide.

I removed the film back and then removed the dark slide (exposing more of the film but figured it was worth it to troubleshoot the problem).  I gently pushed in the pin that engages the winding on of the film and then re-mounted the back onto the camera.

Bingo!  It worked!  The film was winding on and I was able to take photos normally.

I decided to leave the dark slide out; I wouldn't be swapping film backs back and forth so it would not be needed whilst the film back is attached to the camera.  Hopefully, I will be able to keep taking photos and winding on from now on.  I will update the blog with the outcome.

I still reckon, after totally over exposing bits and pieces of this film, that I may have about, maybe, 20 exposures left?  I'll still put it in to the lab for development just to see what is on there.

The jury is still out for me as to whether I will be a regular user of a 35mm film back on a Medium Format camera.  I guess it depends on how the shots turn out.  I have many other 35mm cameras!  But, if I have the equipment, I like to think that I can still use it if I want to.

Harking back to my last 'In my Bag' - I still have that Fomapan in the Yashica EE!  Only about 3-4 exposures to go though and I'll get it into the lab this week.  I have also a Fuji Velvia 100 to post to Sydney (the only way I can get slide film developed) so in a couple of weeks you will be bombarded with my film adventures; Stay Tuned!!

Friday, 30 November 2018

Kodak Ektar 100 - Pentax A3

It's been a while since I had shot some Ektar and I am so pleased with the way this roll has turned out.

The word Ektar is actually an acronym for Eastman Kodak TessAR, one of their premium priced pro lenses.  (The lenses were manufactured from 1936 through to the 1960s).  

Ektar film was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1989 as ISO 25, 125 (replaced in 1997 by ISO 100) 400 and, 1000 format.  It was branded as a semi-pro film and should not be confused with todays Ektar.  In 1994, Kodak decided to discontinue Ektar (although ISO 400 was available until 1997). 

In September of 2008, a new film was launched onto the market as Kodak Ektar 100.  It was originally only available in 35mm and later released in a 120mm format.  Because of it's popularity Kodak produced sheet film in  4 x 5  and  8 x 10.  Kodak maintain that this film has the finest grain of any colour negative film.  

Ektar has a vibrant and natural feel to it's colour.  This colour plus the fine grain really makes for a sharp, excellent quality image.

I shot the film on a Pentax A3, a 35mm SLR that I had purchased in Singapore in 1985.  The Pentax A3 has a full programme (point and shoot) mode and an aperture priority mode. Shutter speeds of 2-1/1000 second, ISO range of 25-1600.  Auto film winder. Takes K mount lenses. It was a great beginners camera at the time and I still love to put a roll through it!

Most on this roll are taken in Newcastle; me wandering around in my lunch break!  There are a few taken at South West Rocks and Gladstone, small coastal towns of NSW that our son introduced us to when we went up to visit him and his wife at Crescent Head.

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All Rights Reserved

Sailing Vessel 'Ruach' moored at Queens Wharf in Port Hunter, Newcastle.  The vessel is a 'Youth with
a Mission' (YWAM) Medical Ship.  It has been moored at Queens Wharf after a 9 month stint in Milne Bay
Papua-New Guinea.
Newcastle, Australia.
SV Ruach at Queens Wharf.
Newcastle, Australia.
 'Spectre' in Newcastle Harbour.  Nobbys Point on the right and Stockton breakwater behind
the boat.
Newcastle, Australia.
A busy Port Hunter.  The Bowsprit of the SV Ruach, the 'Spectre'.  In the background, a Tug Boat
assists the RTM Tasman out of the port.
Newcastle, Australia.
Newcastle is the largest coal exporting port in the world.  As a result we often have
protestors in the port running amok with the large bulk carriers as they leave.  It can get a little
dangerous for both the protestors trying to stop a huge ship like this with small craft and also for other users
of the harbour. Here we see a NSW Police Launch escorting a bulk carrier as it leave
Newcastle with a full load.
The 'Spectre' sailing further into the port.  Probably heading to the Yacht Club Moorings at Carrington.
Newcastle, Australia.
The Tugboats do a great job guiding the huge bulk carriers through the channel of the Harbour.
Newcastle, Australia.
Gotta know how to tie a knot working onboard a sailing ship!  SV Ruach.
Newcastle, Australia.
No!  They are not Beer Taps!  They are Belaying Pins used to secure the Rigging.  SV Ruach.
Newcastle, Australia.
Crew member of the SV Ruach chatting to people on Queens Wharf.
Newcastle, Australia.
Hunter Street Mall .
Newcastle, Australia.
Postman's' Lunch Break.  James Fletcher Park.
Newcastle,  Australia.
Looking south along the Sea Wall from James Fletcher Park -
Newcastle, Australia.
Garside Gardens.
Newcastle, Australia.
The Canoe Pool.
Newcastle, Australia.
Beach Volleyball on Newcastle Beach.
Newcastle, Australia.
Goolawah Beach - Crescent Head, Australia.
The Police Station - Gladstone, NSW, Australia.
Lest we Forget.  War Memorial -
Gladstone, NSW, Australia.
Pines - South West Rocks, Australia.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

In My Camera Bag - Yashica EE

This camera was Kim's Dad's camera.  Produced in late 1962 through to early 1963, it is a 35mm Rangefinder.

A Selenium Cell surrounds the Yashinon 45mm f1.9 lens.  This measures light and converts that measurement to obtain correct exposure.  The light meter however, is not operating and looking through the light meter viewfinder, it is not showing the marked lines that indicate optimum or over/under exposure.  I don't require this though; I can use a light meter to ascertain correct settings.

I have had this camera sitting on the shelf for a few years now.  It had been kept in an leather camera case all its life and is in good condition.  When I first got the camera, the shutter wouldn't open any wider than about f16.  I was a bit stumped and started to search on line about fixing this problem.  One thing I read was that sometimes a stuck self timer can also cause problems for the shutter.  I didn't want to start pulling things apart and thought that this might be a good enough place to start.

I checked the self timer and, sure enough, the spring would not wind all the way back when cocked.

Isopropyl Alcohol was my first attempt at loosening things up inside.  I gave it a good soaking!  The timer would wind back to the start and the shutter opened up wide at f1.9 for a little while but then would jam up again.  I figured I had nothing to lose and so I hit it with some CRC (an electrical cleaning solvent).  This worked a treat!  I set the timer and let it wind down numerous times.  I also put the shutter speed to bulb and opened the shutter right up to f1.9, continually winding on and then releasing the shutter to clear any dust that may have blocked it up.  I have been doing this for a few weeks now, just to make sure things didn't go backwards from non use and, it has paid off.

The shutter is now working at all aperture settings at all speeds.  The fastest shutter speed is 1/500 second.  The ISO settings range from 10-800.

I have replaced the light seals just today and hopefully won't get any problems in that respect.

I have loaded up with a Fomapan Classic 100 film which I found to be a nice sharp film, low grain and a very nice exposure latitude (see previous blog post about Bronica ETRSi and Fomapan).

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All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Minolta XD-7 - the return of the light leak!

Well, for those of you who follow my blog regularly (does anyone follow my blog regularly??), you may remember a post I put up in April this year about a light leak in my Minolta XD-7 .

At the time I had replaced the door seals but not the hinge seal because I didn't want any pressure put on the hinge that might break it.  Anyway, it turns out that I did have to put a hinge seal on because I was getting a light leak from the hinge side of the door.

So, with the hinge seal installed I loaded up with a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 and crossed my fingers.  Well, disappointingly, the seal did not work.  I had used a soft foam material and, unfortunately, even when compressed by the closed door it was too porous to stop the light from coming in.

Of course, when I saw that I hadn't defeated the light leak, I was very disappointed.  Not all exposures were affected by the light leak though; I think that depending upon how I held the camera,  the angle to the Sun, and if I was shooting on a bright sunny day may have determined how much light got in through the door hinge.

So, I figured I would hunt around for something else to seal the camera with and, shopping around I found the (hopefully) perfect seal material in a craft shop.  It is a soft rubbery foam that is about 2mm thick.  It is not porous at all so hopefully not even the smallest amount of light will get through.  I replaced the porous foam all around the door and hinge this time.  The camera door is a little tight to close but I am hoping this is the sign of a good seal around the edges, especially the hinge.

The film that I used this time around was an Ilford XP2 Super 400.  It is a black and white Chromogenic Film.  That means to say that it is developed in C41 Colour Film Developer.  Not many of them left in the market from what I believe.  This film was gifted to me by a friend and was a little over 10 years past its expiry date.  You can shoot film that is past its expiry date, there is just some small adjustments to be made to the camera settings.  As per general rule of thumb, expired film should be shot at minus 1 stop of exposure for every 10 years expired.  Or it can be pushed through the development stage.  I always opt for the underexposure whilst shooting.  To achieve the underexposure, I shot this film at ISO200, and not the box speed of 400.

This was a very low contrast film and so I made some small contrast adjustments in Lightroom.  Mind you, that was the only adjustment required.  The film is wonderfully sharp and for an ISO400 film, I was happy that it did not display a heavy grain that can be found in some films.

All Photos are Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 3 November 2018

New Zealand Christmas Bush & Bees

We have 3 beautiful New Zealand Christmas Bush trees in our front yard.   Thanks to the very welcome rain we had a few weeks ago, they are in full bloom now.

They look beautiful but seriously, they are not doing my hay fever or asthma any favours!

The local bees are in Heaven!

Photographing bees on flowers is always a little difficult; it's easy to catch them on the flower but I like to try and catch them in flight.  They are pretty quick though and it can be difficult to focus and get a sharp photo.  I did initially start to shoot in AI Focus mode (made for moving objects) but, the bees were just too quick.  Also, the flowers were moving a lot in the breeze which kept confusing the focus.  I switched to One Shot focus using a single focus point and this worked much better.

I shot with my  Canon 600D.  Initially, I put on my EF 85mm f1.8 prime lens; I thought it would give a lovely depth of field and that f1.8 is pretty fast!  Trouble was, on the APSC camera, the 85mm is equivalent to a 135mm and so I had to stand back a little too far, which made focussing on a small bee a little difficult.

So, I swapped over to my trusty kit lens EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 zoom.  This was much better.  I was able to zoom out to get the location of the subject bee, then zoom in to get up much closer! Once zoomed in, and having the larger subject in the view finder, focusing was easier.  Shooting at the fastest aperture available (because it does change when zooming in and out)  I got some great shots.  

I think the compromise with using this kit lens was that (in my opinion) the photos could have been a little sharper.  Compared to the 85mm, I also think that the background bokeh from the kit lens, when zoomed right in, is more pleasing to the eye.  Maybe I need to get a dedicated macro lens?

Still, I think that these turned out pretty good!

All photos Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

Shot with the 55-250 zoom @ ƒ/5.61/500250 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/51/640131 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/51/640131 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/5.61/640187 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/5.61/320229 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/5.61/500250 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/5.61/500194 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/5.61/400250 mmISO400

Shot with the 55-250mm zoom @ ƒ/5.61/400250 mmISO400

Shot with the 85mm prime @ ƒ/1.81/400085 mmISO400

Shot with the 85mm prime @ ƒ/1.81/400085 mmISO400

Afternoon in the Heat!

Newcastle, and the rest of Australia, are in the grip of a heatwave!   Here at Newcastle the temperatures have been in the mid to high 30&#...