Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The time has arrived.

I have 5 rolls of film to be developed finally. I asked Snapfish for mailers, but they never arrived. I'm not sure how much I trust them with black and white film anyway. They'll be going off to an old-fashioned film developer in Kansas--I'll plug them if everything comes back okay (and "okay" will factor in the fact that I hadn't used film cameras since college and certainly not low-tech, vintage ones).

Let's see, out of 16 or so rolls of film, only 5 are going to be developed and only 3 are either in use or haven't been used. Most were shredded by the camera because I didn't know how to get them out of there, some were the fatal result of the camera dying (always likely when they're 50+ years old), and one I tried to bail on and accidentally sucked it back in to the cartridge unused. I have the feeling that at least one of the rolls I'm sending off was shredded in the removal process, and I know that same roll of film will look like I got drunk and took pictures--not in the sense that I took pictures of ridiculous things, but rather that there's no telling where on the film the picture is going to show up. Double exposures, here I come!

The Bolsey and the Seagull are my go-getters. The Bolsey is a little hard to see through, so I generally use it in high light; the Seagull is well-suited for indoor situations with its giant viewfinder/rangefinder. My Nazi/Soviet camera sits in its case looking cute (I just don't have it in me to use it), and the Steinheil--which is finally home after a long sojourn at our old house in DFW--doesn't have a built in rangefinder and therefore drives me batty. And this time I mean it when I say it doesn't have a built in rangefinder--it's not that I haven't found it yet, it's that it's not there. I can either spend money and get a pocket rangefinder or put it on a shelf next to the Nazi/Soviet camera.

My first SLR, a Yashica, died in two days. It sucked the film into its gears and refused to let go, and now its shutter doesn't work. Meanwhile, I have another SLR on the way: a Kodak Retina Reflex III with 3 lenses. I'd be excited, but I'm afraid I'll kill it in an instant too. As soon as I find a place that'll do it, I'll ship the Yashica off for repairs (its prism could use a good clean anyway).

The Olympus, digital camera extraordinaire, is still wonderful for me. Sadly, I couldn't get a UV filter for it, so pictures will continue to be a little gray and washed out. My new thing is the light painting, which is using a long shutter speed and a light source that kind of smears across the screen. You can do it with film, but the instant gratification of digital has really reinvigorated the art. You can either manipulate the light source or the camera, and my favorite thing to do is sit in the car and let the road bounce the camera for me. At dusk, it creates some really beautiful images:
That's the St. Joseph's Professional Building (presumably part of a hospital) in Houston. I call it "Golgotha/Houston."

Anyway, that's all that's fit to print in the camera and photography world. I'll report back with the best and worst of the film once it's back in my clutches.

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