Thursday, 4 April 2019

Pentax Espio 105G and Focal 100

In one of my recent posts, I put up some digital photos of Brisbane.

I did take a film camera too.  A Pentax Espio 105G.  I had it loaded with the Focal 100 (see my last post to find out about this film). 

As I went through the Airport Security I asked if they would hand check the spare film I had taken (which they were very kind enough to do).  However, I had already loaded the Focal film into the camera and that had to go through the X-ray machine. Mental note to self for next trip; don't load film into camera before getting through Airport Security!  My concerns were all for naught it turns out; the film was not affected at all!

The Pentax Espio 105G is a great camera to just shove into my bag.  It's not too big, it doesn't weigh much and hasn't got all the bells & whistles that my other film cameras have.  It's a good camera to have when you're just walking around taking in the sights; small and easy to pull out quickly.  It's not too noticeable either, which can be a good thing for street photography.

These are the best of the roll.  The film appears to work better in this camera in the outdoors and bright light.  With some photos I had problems with the built in flash which just went off each time I took a photo, whether it was needed or not.  I thought I had it sorted when it happened again!  Gotta try and figure out how to turn flash off!

I also took along a roll of Fuji Superia 100 as well because the Focal 100 roll has only 24 exposures.  The Fuji is still in the camera, waiting to be finished off.  I'm in no hurry though.

All photos are Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photograph.
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Win, Win! Light Seals and Expired Film!

So, I have been having some problems with a Minolta XD-7 that I picked up second hand for an excellent price (original story here).  I'd had a few problems with a light leak that I had tried to fix a couple of times but the material I was using just wasn't cutting the mustard.  I finally decided on a rubber foam that came from a craft shop.  It is about 2mm thick and is exactly as I said it is; a soft rubber foam.  I didn't stick it into runners on the camera frame where the door fits.  I just cut it to size and inserted it, figuring that when the door is closed the soft rubber foam would get pushed into the runners by the door.  I also put a wider strip down near the hinge which I was loath to do earlier on because I didn't want any pressure put on the hinge and break it.

Well it has worked a treat and now I have a light sealed camera!

I shot with a Minolta MD 28-70mm zoom f3.5-4.8 lens.  As you can see by the portraits here, opened wide at f3.5 gives some really lovely bokeh behind the subject!

The film I used for this post is an expired (2005) Focal ISO100.  Focal is a discontinued Kmart brand.  In it's day, Kmart Focal brand also produced many 35mm SLR Camera, assorted lenses and flash unit and also smaller cameras in 110 format (the much smaller sized camera that took film in small cartridges).  The Focal films were rebranded ANSCO (manufactured in the USA in New York) and Ferrania (an Italian company which was bought out by 3M, USA Company, in 1964) films.

Because this film had been frozen, I shot it at box speed.  Freezing film stops the emulsion from ageing and when it is defrosted, the emulsion on the film is just as good as brand new!

It was with a little trepidation that I loaded the film.  It costs me AU$17 to develop and scan the film at the lab and, at that price, I really want them to come out looking good!  My fears were assuaged, the film turned out great AND, there were no light leaks from the camera!

These photos were taken on various photo safaris out and about in Newcastle and on a trip to visit our Son and his Wife up in Crescent Head (which is a beautiful area along the coast of NSW!)

As you can see, the colour has turned out wonderfully from this film.  It still retains its sharpness although, when zooming in on certain subjects, I have noted that the grain is more noticeable.

The only digital touch up I have made is a very slight contrast adjustment.  I try and keep any digital editing to the bare minimum and if I have to do some digital editing, I keep it to only those functions that can be used in a dark room.

These photos are © Life with Jordy Photography.
Al Rights Reserved

Monday, 25 March 2019

A Weekend in Brisbane - #1

A couple of weeks ago I flew up to Brisbane with my daughter Rhiannan, to visit my Mum who is in an aged care facility.

We spent some great time with Mum, who is doing very well, but we also took advantage of the time up north to have a look around Brisbane.

We started by having some breakfast in West End and then walking over the Victoria Bridge and into the Queen Street Mall to have a look around.  That sort of ended shortly after we started; one mall is just like another and this one wasn't particularly jumping with street photo opportunities.

We ended up going down to the wharf and, for FREE, decided to jump onboard a City Hopper Ferry.

Yes, you read that right, the City Hopper ferries are free and it is a fantastic way to get around Brisbane to have a look at areas that, normally, would cost you money to park after you drove through the city traffic to arrive at!

It was not a particularly hot day but the humidity was killing both of us!  Even though I am a Queenslander, I have become unaccustomed to humidity over the years of living elsewhere.  It was great on the Ferry, gliding up and down the river and taking advantage of the cooler water coming off the water.

We eventually got off at the Holman Street Wharf and wandered around Captain Bird Park underneath the southern end of the Story Bridge.  From there we wandered down to the Story Bridge Hotel where we sat to cool off with a couple of icy cold beverages!

Because we'd had a late breakfast (which was huge!) we were not particularly worried about finding a spot for lunch.  From the Story Bridge Hotel, we wandered back to the Holman Street Ferry Wharf and jumped on the next free City Hopper back to the Queen Street area.  We did some more wandering around City streets before deciding we had had enough and returned to the car.

Rhiannan wears this Apple Watch and had set it up to measure our distance walked for the day; just on 14kms!  I was only wearing a pair of light canvas shoes; no wonder my feet were aching at the end of the day!

As indicated by the heading, this is the first blog for our Brisbane jaunt.  I also took a small point and shoot film camera with me and will post those photos shortly.

These photos are Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved.

As we were cruising down river, I espied this young lady putting on her sunscreen.
At the very moment I lined up the shot, she raised her head and
looked straight down the lens!

This shot and the one below are taken from the City Hopper.  This pedestrian bridge
is known as the Goodwill Bridge and spans the Brisbane River down near
the Maritime Museum.  Great perspective from underneath!

As we wandered along George Street, we came across this great little laneway.
As you can see, the glass on the building on the right, gave some wonderful
reflections of the laneway and the people in the laneway!

As we walked back to the car park, this quirky looking chap
was on the other side of the road, waiting to cross over as well.
I raised my camera as he started walking against the
 'No Walking' sign.  
South Bank, Brisbane.  For a while the weather looked very threatening.

The "Forceful" was the last coal fired steam Tugboat to operate on the Port of Brisbane.  She
has a chequered history in Australia and you can read more of her exploits
via this link.
The Story Bridge is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.  So elegant looking!

Recently finished, the Felons Brewing Co. is well situated under the northern
end of the Story Bridge.  
The Brisbane Jazz Club is also ideally situated on the Brisbane River.  Would be an ideal
place to visit on the next occassion!

Rhiannan - taken at the Story Bridge Hotel before the cold
drinks arrived.
I love Brisbane.  Although it is full of high rise buildings mixed in with
the older style architecture, it just reminds me of a big country town!
This dome reminds me of the old Newcastle Post Office.
Brisbane has some beautiful buildings!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Yes! You can Freeze your Film!

I recently went out to Port Stephens with my daughter Kassandra.  Our intent was to do some walking up Mount Tomaree where there are wonderful views of the Port Stephens area, Shoal Bay, Zenith Beach and across the Bay to Winda Woppa and Tea Gardens.  It's a beautiful spot and the walk can be a little challenging carrying a bag full of camera gear.

So, I decided to lighten the load a little and only took a film camera and 2 x rolls of Fuji Superia 100 colour film.

We arrived at Anna Bay but, because it was a beautiful day the place was packed up to the gunwales and there seriously was not a car park to be found anywhere.  We decided to drive on to Fingal Bay and see what that area had to offer.  Arriving at a lovely park with a great view 'Barry Park' on Pacific Drive we discovered that there was a walking track that followed the coastline south around Fingal Head.  This gave us great views of Fingal Bay and some of the smaller islands that lie off the coast from there.

The 2 rolls of Fuji Superia 100 were sorta special.   They had been gifted to me last year and, although the expiry year was 2005, they had been frozen since purchase.  The film was also stored in zip lock bags which had the air sucked out of them.  I was eager to get out and about and use the film to test just how successful it is to freeze your film.  I had read quite a few articles about freezing film and the tech reasons behind doing so.  Basically, freezing stops the emulsion on the film from degrading over time and keeps it fresh.  So, ignoring all of the rules about exposure values for expired film, I decided to shoot it at box speed.  Before loading the film I removed the lid off the canister and let it thaw out overnight.

My camera of choice for the day was a Pentax SFXn 35mm with a Sigma 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 Macro Zoom.  The lens gave me some leeway from wide angle with the ability to zoom should I need it.  As you will see, the Macro function also came in very handy with some of the flora that was found along the way.

The results speak for themselves here!  The film turned out wonderfully!  As can happen with expired film, there is no loss of colour, no ultra graininess, no age misting.  It appears that freezing the film has maintained its freshness over the years.  I have some more rolls ready to go to the lab and will drop them in next week; stay tuned!

These photos can be purchased.  Contact Me if interested.

Copyright © Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Silver Efex Pro 2 - the Nik Collection

I recall years ago when I purchased my first DSLR, I was in a quandary about which editing software I should use.

As I started to search the Internet, one programme that stood out to me was Silver Efex Pro.  I used to search for photos edited in Silver Efex Pro; it seemed to be the very software that I was looking for.  It had all that I wanted for converting my photos to Black & White apart from just hitting a 'convert' button on some generic programme that came pre-loaded on Windows 95.  It did make it difficult, however, that the software was developed in the USA.  I searched the shops here in Australia but it seemed that no one had it available.

As a couple of years went by, I began to note that it was but one of a few photo editing programmes developed by a company called Nik Software, owned by private investors plus the camera giant Nikon.   Finally, about 9 years ago (or thereabouts), thanks to an article I found online, I was able to purchase the entire Nik Collection via internet download for $149.  I jumped at it and have never looked back.

In 2012, Google purchased The Nik Collection along with popular Nik Software programme 'Snapseed'.  A short while later, Google was giving away the Nik Collection for free!  Whilst many photographers were dancing in the streets about that news, it was dampened by the news only a short time later that Google was not going to upgrade the Nik Collection and that it planned to discontinue the software.  I believe that the reasoning for this was that Google wanted people to use the Snapseed programme and also use the on line editing for its new formed Google Photos page.  

A lot of sad photographers over the world realised that, with the advent of new operating systems and 64 bit processing, the Nik Collection would gradually become defunct if not upgraded.

But there was to be a reprieve on the horizon.  Once Google announced it was not updating the Nik Collection, enter DxO, a company already known for its advanced image processing tech.  DxO acquired the Nik Collection.  They were able to update the source code to make it compatible with modern Operating Systems and as plugins for other photo editing software.

Silver Efex Pro is great software for black & white conversion.  It emulates many of the effects and skills of the darkroom through preset functions.  These presets are not written in stone though, each one comes with slide controllers for a finer adjustment which means that I can take a generic preset and adjust it exactly to my liking.  I can also save any changes to a personal preset and keep it for later use.  It also uses 'U-Point' technology that allows for localised adjustments within a photo without having to adjust the entire photo.

Now that I have given you that little snippet of Nik Collection history, have a look at how I put it to use.

So, about a week or so ago, I was at a loose end.  We have been having the worst Summer heat wave that I have seen for years!  As a result I'd been hibernating inside in the air conditioning to escape the heat and the Sun.  I sat down at the computer and decided that I was going to re-visit some files and re-edit them in black & white with Silver Efex Pro.

My favourite preset in Silver Efex Pro is definitely the Film Noir 1 preset.  It enhances the contrast of the original file, and puts a level of grain into the photo that reminds me of Ilford Delta 3200 film.  Sometimes I keep the grain because it has a certain air of nostalgia about it.  The preset also puts a white border around the photo, reminiscent of the old style prints printed in a dark room as opposed to an electronic machine.  I remove the white frame because I prefer the subject of my photo to go right to the edge.  Also around the edge of the frame is a vignette that can be adjusted to represent either a burn or dodge process.  The software also offers a selection of film types; mimicking the results that would be found if processing from film. It also comes with a range of colour tones that can enhance a photo to make it look old.

Here are the results of that mini project that kept me busy for a few days.

These photos can be made available as prints.  Contact me if interested.

Copyright © Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

2012 Pittwater to Port Stephens Yacht Race.  The yachts stopped over in Newcastle
for the night.
Port Hunter, Newcastle, Australia

2012 Pittwater to Port Stephens Yacht Race.  Yachts jostle for position prior to the start of
the 2nd leg of the race from - Newcastle, Australia

2012 Pittwater to Port Stephens Yacht Race.  Yachts racing out to sea for the final leg.
Port Hunter, Newcastle, Australia

May 2011.  A famous Newcastle icon building on the left; The Star Hotel.
 It has since been renovated and is looking wonderful with al fresco dining
outside of a night in the laneway.
Devonshire Street, Newcastle, Australia

May 2011.  This entire area has been renovated since and looks totally different today!
Newcastle, Australia

May 2011.  This entire area has been renovated since and looks totally different today!
Newcastle, Australia

Rainforest - Dorrigo National Park, Dorrigo, Australia.

The applying of the black & white effect on this has it reminding me of a
French Provincial scene.  It is
actually just outside of Dorrigo, NSW, Australia

An awesome looking country fence!
Nymboida, Australia

Abandoned Farm House - Trenayr, NSW, Australia

Abandoned at Trenayr, NSW, Australia

Pentax Espio 105G and Focal 100

In one of my recent posts, I put up some digital photos of Brisbane. I did take a film camera too.  A Pentax Espio 105G.  I had it loa...