Thursday, 27 November 2014

My first Kodak Experience

Well, as you may know, I picked up a little gem on eBay a few months ago.  A circa 1959 Kodak Retinette 1A 35mm with a Schneider-Kreuznach Reomar 50mm f3.5 lens.  

In wonderful condition!

The only problem I have with the Kodak is that I wish I could get a faster shutter speed out of it than 1/250!   I wanted to take some shallow depth of field shots but wasn't able to get the aperture any wider than f8.  I am considering getting an ISO 50 film and pulling it to 25 but that is an experiment for the future.

The lens proved to have a sharp sweet spot but still, I would love to get it down to the f3.5 aperture for some portraits etc, just to test it out to the fullest extent.

The Pollux Rangefinder that I use to measure the distance to subject fitted perfectly onto the shoe fitting also.  There is a story here......  Halfway through shooting this roll, I noticed that the Pollux Rangefinder wasn't synching the images together.  The ghost image was out of synch vertically with the subject image.  I actually got a tape measure out and noted that when the images synched horizontally, the distance indicated was also out!  I was able to readjust the synch horizontally and I think this will still give an accurate distance reading but the vertical synch is still out.

This is where it gets interesting.  For the remainder of the film I had to estimate the distance to the subject.   Luckily, I was raised on the Imperial system of measurement and I know what yards, feet and inches are as well as I know centimetres and metres!  Once I had the distance guesstimated and had set the aperture, I was able to use the 'zone focus' marks on the lens.

This is an area on the lens that is used in conjunction with the distance setting.  If you look closely at the photo of the camera on here, you will see an inverted triangle.  Underneath that, you will see the number 10 on the innermost adjustment ring.  That means that the focus has been set for 10 feet (the numbers are upside down but you have to appreciate that you would looking at them from the top of the camera whilst adjusting your settings).  Either side of that inverted triangle, you will see other numbers marked off at various points (3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11  etc ) these numbers represent the aperture setting or f stop that you have set for your shot.

For example, your subject is 10ft away from you and you are using an aperture setting of f8.  Look to the right of the inverted triangle and find the number 8; you will see that it is sitting opposite a distance of just under 7ft.  Look to the left of the inverted triangle and you will find the number 8 sitting opposite a distance of a little over 15ft.  Therefore, if you subject is 10ft away from you and you aperture setting is f8, your depth of field (the range of sharpest focus) is between approx 7ft and 16ft.  If you are using a larger aperture of f3.5 you can see here that your depth of field will be from 8-12 feet approximately.

Needless to say, the larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field and so the distance to subject must be accurate in the first place!

This all may sound a little complicated but this is why I love film photography and vintage cameras; you simply have to know this information and understand how your equipment works.  It gives me a real sense of accomplishment!

This is the first time I have used the Ilford FP4 Plus 125 film.  I found it to have a strong contrast and the tones are deeper than other B&W films I have used.  It is supposed to have a fine grain but it appears grainier (not that there is anything wrong with that) than some of the other films I have used (or maybe I have been spoiled by Fuji NEOPAN Acros 100!)  I still have 2 rolls of it left and will put 1 now into my Pentax for my next adventure!

All the Best


These photos are for sale.  Contact me if you are interested.

All photos on this blog are Copyright Life with Jordy Photography and may not be used without permission.

Living on the Lake, Toronto, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Paddling on the Lake, Eleebana, Australia.

Bolton Point Wharf, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Customs House, Newcastle, Australia.

Eleebana, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Father and Son, Toronto, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

The Hunter in the Shallows, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Steamy Affair in Newcastle!

I love to take photographs of Steam Trains!

Not sure why.  

There is a definite romance about them; engineers stoking that blazing fire, the 'choof choof' noise as they make their way along, the smoke hanging in the air as they go by, steam wafting lazily about the station platform as people bustle about with suitcases boarding their carriages.....

And what about some of the great old movies starring steam trains?  2 that spring to mind immediately are 'Von Ryans' Express'  and  'Breakheart Pass' .  And, of course, the TV series 'Casey Jones' (and the Cannonball Express!).

I have probably inherited it from my Dad.  When I was about 12 I remember being woken up at some ungodly hour of the morning and Dad driving us both out to a small railway siding at Glenapp in SE QLD to see the big loco 3801.  I have a photo of that hanging around somewhere; I must look for it and post it!

Anyway, I started planning this photo safari when I learned that 2 steam trains from the Lachlan Valley Railway were to be running for the weekend on a loop from Newcastle train station, out to Port Waratah and return.  The 2 locomotive running were 3237 a P Class (late a C32 class) Beyer Peacock loco and 5917 a D59 class Mikado.  They keep detailed records of these and the oldest of the 2 is 3237 which had its' first run on the 26 Feb 1893.  

My first vantage point was the road overpass on the Pacific Hwy at Tighes Hill.  There is a nice straight approach from Newcastle up to the overpass; just right for some photos from an 'on high' perspective.  I started clicking using my 18-55mm zoom because I wanted to go wide as the train got closer.  After it had passed I went to the other side of the road to catch it on the return journey.  I swapped over to my 55-250mm zoom to get some close in shots.

From there I went into the CBD and set up just west of the Newcastle Train Station on one of the pedestrian overpass bridges.  Problem there was all of the gantries that support the electric rail system and overhead wiring that obscured the track for a clear shot.  Finally squeezed the camera through the security fence to get a shot of 5917 standing at the platform.  

Not wanting to get any more overhead shots, I went to Wickham station where I caught 3237 returning on the up line to Newcastle for its next run.

Possibly, these photos (and others taken by photographers on the day) are of some historic value.  In a short while, the 4km of track between Hamilton and Newcastle is due to close to heavy rail use.  It is planned to install a light rail system for commuters and remove the heavy rail track and corridor altogether.  This is planned to open up the foreshore area on Port Hunter to the shopping and business precinct of the Newcastle CBD which, at present, is cut in half by the heavy rail track.

These photos could very well record the last steam trains to run on that line.


These photos are for sale. contact me if you are interested.
All photos on this websit are Copyright Life with Jordy Photography and may not be used without permission.

3237 at Wickham.  Newcastle, Australia.

Coal dust and Steam.  From the overpass at Tighes Hill.  Newcastle, Australia.

5917 departs Newcastle, Australia.

Last steam train out? 5917 at the station. Newcastle, Australia.

3237 from Tighes Hill overpass.  Newcastle, Australia.

Smoke and Steam.  Newcastle, Australia.

Where there's smoke.... There's STEAM!  Tighes Hill, Newcastle, Australia.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Exposed at Lake Macquarie!

During the hotter weather which we are now getting into here in Australia, we can go for weeks without rain.  Now that is a problem for all but it also means that there is no cloud hanging around for a sunset safari.   That big beautiful yellow orb flashing its' light onto soft fluffy clouds always makes for a contented end to the day; to just sit back and drink in the beauty of it all.

Especially on Lake Macquarie.

It was over 30 degrees celcius yesterday afternoon.  Kim and I had been over at Lachlans' place helping him out with a few things.  On the way home I notice the cloud hanging about, soft wispy trailing clouds and some lovely puffy white clouds.

Now at this time of year here in New South Wales in beautiful Australia, we are on daylight saving time and the Sun sets at 0720pm.  It was now 5.30 pm-ish  so I had time to get home, grab the gear and get down to the Lake.  I have had other locations in mind for sunset photos but, because of the turn around time, I didn't have time to implement a visit to any of those locations.  When in doubt and with little time to spare, Lake Macquarie can put on quite a show!

So, I get home and start to get things together.   My daughter asks me if I can drop her off at a Halloween party at a friends house.  It's not far from here but in totally the opposite direction.  Of course, I said yes straight away; she is responsible enough not to drink and drive and actually drives many times as the designated driver whilst her friends enjoy the beverages! 

Anyway, I drop her off and head off for the Lake.  By this time it was getting later and the Sun was starting to get worryingly low in the sky.  Of course I had to contend with traffic lights and the traffic and as I got closer I considered turning back for home and contemplating what might have been over a cold beer.  Faint hand never won a bloody heart though, and I kept going.

Arrived at Eleebana just as the bottom of the Sun was touching the top of the hills.  Grabbed the gear out of the back and made a beeline for the shore...... DAMN, tripod still in the car!  Smack myself in the forehead and go back to the car.....

Anyway, as I hit the foreshore it didn't take long to get out the gear and start snapping.

Set ISO at 400, attach Cokin filter holder, slide in ND2 graduated filter.

Have you ever hung around for a sunset, waited for that moment and...... WHAM!  It's all over in the blink of an eye?  Well, after I got a few photos of a lovely golden sun reflected off some awesome looking clouds, I knew it was time for the ND8 full filter.  

I know people who, as soon as the Sun disappears from view, will say to themselves 'Well, that's it - home time now'.  They don't realise that if they stick around they will get some lovely reflections off the clouds.  As the sun sinks under the horizon those rays of light are still shining directly on the clouds which are higher up in the sky!  Not only that but......

It is amazing how much residual light is still around for a long exposure shot!  

Take these photos on this blog status of mine, the long exposure photos were taken about 32 minutes after the sun had set!  I am very happy with these long exposure shots; I have recently been calculating long exposure time manually and the maths is paying off!   The colour shot was a 92 second exposure and the black and white an 88 second exposure.

Of the 2 photos of the actual sunset, one is a High Dynamic Range photo comprising of 3 bracketed exposure shots at +/- 2 EV.  This means to say, 1 shot is under exposed by a value of -2, 1 shot is over exposed by a value of +2 and a third shot is as per normal exposure.  For this I used some new software I purchased a couple of weeks ago; NIK HDR Efex Pro 2.  It merges the 3 differently exposed photos together to give a properly exposed photo.

The second of the sunset photos is edited with NIK Viveza 2 software.  This operates as a plugin to Lightroom 5 and allows me to select a preset look for a photo which doesn't take up my time in Photoshop as I play around to get that desired look.  Although it is a preset edit, the NIK software also has sliders for finer control and, levels and curves to further adjust tonality.

Anyway, for what was a quick decision to get out and about I am really happy with the results!


These photos are for sale contact me if you are interested.

All photos on this blog are copyright Life with Jordy Photography and may not be used without permission.

Sunset at Eleebana, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Eleebana Sunset, Lake Macquarie, Australia

Lake Macquarie from the Eleebana foreshore, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

Long exposure of Lake Macquarie from Eleebana, Australia