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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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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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.

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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!

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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

Thursday, 18 October 2018

What happens to my blog now?.........

So, for those who may not have heard the news, Google will be phasing out Google+ over the next 10 months or so.

There have been stories floating around about the media giants answer to the social media question and how it never stood a chance against Facebook.  Google has said that the reason for closing was the slow adoption by the public of it's social media experiment.  Google is well known for dumping it's babies when they don't grow according to the expected growth chart!

The biggest reason for this action though, is that there was a security breach in Google at the beginning of the year which went unreported.  This breach gave access to personal accounts and private data of hundreds of thousands of users!

I originally went with Google+ because it was said that it was great for photographers.  High resolution photos could be uploaded to G+ at no charge and stored under my Google account without any restriction on storage space.

This worked in really well with my Photography Blog as well.  If I were to upload photos directly into my Blog story, there was a storage limit for them in my Google account.  However, if I uploaded my photos to Google+ where there was no storage limit, I can them import them into my Blog!

This method also gave me the bonus of a free online backup for my photos.

After a few years, photos loaded up to Google+ were taken out and swapped over to the new Google Photos section within my main Google account.  I still have the luxury of loading photos to this Google Photos account with unlimited storage and can still import photos from there to my Blog.  When that happened however, I did lose all viewing stats for my photos that had been on Google+ (at the last count, within 3 years I'd had over 4.5 million views and climbing on my photos in Google+).  A lot of interest in my photography! 

At about the same time, Google linked my Google+ profile with my Blog profile.  This was when the stats for my Blog started to climb.  All of the 1700 followers I had for my Google+ profile were now following my Blog.  When I posted on my Blog, it automatically entered as a status update and link onto Google+

Alas, I have no idea anymore how my photography is performing on line.

Once I had heard about the data breach on Google+ and that it would be closed in 10 months anyway, I made the decision to delete my Google+ profile straight up.  If there was any question about my personal details being compromised (and covered up!) then I wanted out.  

I still have Google Photos and my Blog but, Google+ was the lynchpin and interface with the wider public.

I have considered exporting my Blog from Google to other host sites (Word Press, Tumblr, even Wix now offers free blog hosting!)  Problem is that they all seem to have photo upload and storage limits that, in the future, may make things a little difficult.  I have considered having my own website (there are many web hosting sites).  That, however, would cost me to set up and also incurs a regular upkeep fee.  That would be fine if I were advertising and making money from my photography but, as a hobbyist photographer who shoots film, I am already in the red!  Ha ha!  If I go to another host site, I will also lose any search engine optimisation that I have on my current Blog that has accumulated over the years. 

I often wonder where I am going with my photography.  At the moment it is a wonderfully distracting hobby that gets me out and about; recording new places and meeting new people.  I have always said that making a business out of it would take away the spontaneity of the whole experience. 

Unfortunately, being a photographer these days (whether a business or hobby) includes a heavy reliance on social media to get your work out there. 

Praktica LTL3 and CineStill 50D

If you follow my blog, you will know that I wrote a piece at the beginning of the year about problems I had with age fogging on CineStill 50D.

Not wanting to leave it at that, I thought I should give it another try and see how it turned out.

One of my recent purchases was a Praktica LTL3.  A 35mm film camera that came with a Carl Zeiss 50mm f2.8 lens.

I gave it a good clean and loaded the film.

I figured that if the CineStill 50D came out age fogged again it didn't really matter, after all, I was simply testing out a new camera.


The film came out good..........   the Praktica had light leaks!    

Some are not as bad as others but still.....  I guess you can't win 'em all!

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Bronica ETRSi and 35MM N Film Back

You may recall that I wrote in an earlier article  (Jan 2019) about some difficulties I was having with a 35mm N  Film Back on my Bronica ...