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Saturday. Good blog posts. Read up.

Brad Trent is a portrait photographer who gets some fun assignments — like photographing singer Tony Bennett recently for The Wall Street Journal. It’s fun to see some of his setup and some of the results. Read Tony Bennett

I never tire of hearing the story of how A Charlie Brown Christmas was so strongly and cluelessly resisted by CBS before they relented and aired it. Ken Levine tells the story. Read A Charlie Brown Christmas meets Mad Men

Mike Connealy took his Pentax Spotmatic and a cumbersome Yashica zoom lens to the zoo and got some delightful black and whites. Read Winter Morning

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In the bay at Rosses Point, Ireland, is this statue of a woman stretching her arms out toward the sea. Called Waiting on Shore, it was installed in 2002 to honor the women who used to wait for their men to return from their work at sea. Sometimes, those men didn’t make it home.

Waiting on Shore

Waiting on Shore

Waiting on Shore

Waiting on Shore

Photography, Road trips

Waiting on Shore

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Lyon's, Sligo

Henry Lyons & Co., Ltd.
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

Lyon’s is a department store in Sligo Town, County Sligo, Ireland.

Photography
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Photography

Go ahead and use alkaline or silver-oxide batteries in your old film cameras that were designed for mercury batteries

If the battery fits, I use it. That’s my rule of thumb with my film cameras.

It is now, anyway. When I started collecting cameras again ten years ago I used to get wrapped around the pole over getting the battery just right. I’d read the warnings all over the Internet: you’ll get good exposures only when you use a battery with the voltage the camera expects.

Many old cameras were designed to take mercury cells for the steady voltages they held right up until the day they lost charge. But mercury cells were banned thirty years ago. Alkaline and silver-oxide cells are often available in the same sizes, but they have higher voltages. And in alkaline cells the voltage drops steadily under use. All of this is said to throw the camera’s exposures off a little.

At first, my solution was to buy Wein cell zinc-air batteries. They deliver a steady 1.35 volts, the voltage a lot of old cameras expect. Unfortunately, they last only a few months, where alkaline and silver-oxide cells can last years. And Wein cells cost more.

A couple times when I couldn’t get a battery of the right size, such as for my Yashica Electro 35 GSN, I bought a device that adapts an available battery. Such adapters sometimes even contain “bridge” circuitry to deliver the voltage the camera expects. But adapters can be pricey.

px625abI soon tired of bleeding cash on batteries. Amazon sells batteries in bulk for good prices, so I bought a bunch of alkaline PX625 and LR44 batteries there. Most of my old cameras take one or the other of these batteries.

I’ve never had a lick of trouble with these batteries. My cameras return good exposures all the time.

Crucially, I almost always shoot negative films, which offer a lot of exposure latitude. Fujicolor 200 is my favorite, and it looks good when underexposed up to one stop or overexposed up to three stops. When I shoot black and white, I reach for Kodak Tri-X a lot, which yields usable results when misexposed by up to three stops in either direction. That’s more than enough to make up for any exposure challenges these batteries’ different voltages create.

Some of my cameras contain bridge circuitry to correct battery voltage. I turn to those cameras when I want to shoot slide film, which requires precise exposure.

But like I said, I shoot mostly negative film. So when a new-to-me old camera lands in my hands, I just drop in a battery that fits and get busy shooting.

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Rosses Point

In the bay at Rosses Point
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

Photography
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Photography, Road trips

Rosses Point Beach in black and white

Why is it that beaches look so good in black and white?

Rosses Point Beach

I never would have guessed until I saw J. R. Smith’s photostream on Flickr. He lives on the northern California coast and photographs the beach in black and white all the time.

Rosses Point Beach

This beach isn’t in California — it’s in northwest Ireland. on a peninsula in County Sligo called Rosses Point.

Rosses Point Beach

Rosses Point is a peninsula with this beach, a harbor, and a small town. Famed poet William Butler Yeats spent his summers here when he was a boy.

Rosses Point Beach

We spent about an hour exploring this beach, and in that time dark clouds parted for full sun, only to yield to gray overcast. The changing sky is a lot of why we stayed so long: new light brought out new and interesting things to photograph.

Rosses Point Beach

My color photos of this beach do not at all show the scalloping in the sand.

Rosses Point Beach

We had other places we wanted to see this day so we reluctantly moved on.

Rosses Point Beach

Nikon N2000, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Kodak T-Max 400

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