Photography

Fujifilm Superia 100 and the Carmel Artomobilia

I love to photograph old cars. When the city of Carmel, Indiana, closed its downtown streets late last month for a car show, I took Margaret and we brought our cameras.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

The Carmel Artomobilia is an annual event and this was its 10th year, but it was my first visit. I assumed for a long time that the show would mostly be newer exotic cars, and those don’t jazz me very much. But I was assured that the show is a good mix of all kinds of interesting cars. So off we went to see.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

I put my last roll of Fujifilm Superia 100 into my Pentax ME, and mounted my 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M lens. I prefer this lens to my 50/1.4 in everyday shooting as it gives extra depth and warmth to colors. It made the Fuji 100 really sing.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

It’s not often I get a roll back from the processor and feel my pleasure deepen with each frame I examine. But that’s just what happened with this roll. I am comfortable and confident with old cars as subjects, I was using my favorite camera, and I chose a lens and film that render color well. It was a recipe for success.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

The Fuji 100 really loves green. It might be the color negative film I’ve used that renders green best.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

The film returned deeply saturated reds similar to what I experience with Kodak Ektar 100. It’s too bad that Fujifilm discontinued this film. I like it as much as Ektar, and it was less expensive. That flare from something reflective out of the frame is a little bit of a bummer in an otherwise satisfying photograph.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

All sorts of cars were present. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Morris Minor in person before. I love it when I get to “meet” a car in this way.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

Plenty of classic American iron was on display, of course. I’m partial to 1960s Mopar muscle. I just adore the crisp and purposeful designs of Elwood Engel, Chrysler’s chief designer during this era.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

What’s this? One Ferrari photo? The contrast between the sensuous hood line and that crisp wheel arch was too strong to ignore.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

I’m old enough to remember when first-generation VW Buses were common hippie-mobiles, clapped out and covered in hand-painted flowers. I’m not old enough, however, to remember them as new. This one was beautifully restored.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

I made so many close shots because, with a 50mm lens, I needed to back way up to get more of each car in the frame. Especially at first, the event was so crowded that when I backed up my viewfinder would quickly be filled with people — usually from shoulder to knee, given where I was composing. Fortunately, I like to make close shots of old cars.

I did get a few photos from a distance. Here’s one of Margaret shooting a Buick. She’s not remotely the car fan I am, and I’m fortunate that she’s so easygoing and will share with me pretty much any experience I ask of her.

Carmel Artomobilia 2017

I also shot my last roll of Kodak Plus-X in my Spotmatic F at this show. I’ll share those photos in an upcoming post.

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Carmel Artomobilia 2017

1951 Studebaker Champion
Pentax ME, 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia 100
2017

Being from South Bend, I’ll always stop to look at a Studebaker. I was born after the company ended operations, but long enough ago that during my childhood Studes still commonly prowled my hometown’s streets.

I’ll share much more tomorrow, but late last month I went to a giant car show in Carmel, just north of Indianapolis.

Photography

single frame: 1951 Studebaker Champion

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Life, Stories Told

Requiem for a Toyota

Have you ever become irrationally attached to something you owned?

Replacement Matrix

I bought this 2003 Toyota Matrix in 2009 after wrecking my previous car, also a Matrix, on vacation with my sons. My first Matrix had been the base model, but this one was the top-of-the-line XRS with its peppier engine. She’s a blast to drive. I made this photo the day I brought her home from the dealership. Doesn’t she look good?

MatrixNose

But after eight years she has rolled over 185,000 hard miles. It’s shocking how badly the paint has worn on this car — it has faded heavily on every horizontal surface, and has chipped off a large portion of the hood. The front ground effects broke off in a mishap, but by then the paint was already in bad shape. I spent the reimbursement check on other things. Her body is scuffed and dented from other minor mishaps, including a low-speed rear-end accident and that time I broke the side mirror while backing out of my garage. Truly, she looks awful.

Systems are failing. I suppose the least of the failures is the windshield-washer motor, but it’s surprising how much you really need it. Yet given her age and condition I didn’t even bother finding out how much it would cost to replace. I just plunked a bottle of Windex into the center console and drove on. More seriously, she’s developed a slow oil leak. And the Check Engine light comes on from time to time to warn me of a problem with the engine’s variable valve timing system. My mechanic’s advice was clear: “Don’t fix it. Not on a car this old. Just keep her oil topped off and drive her gently. She’ll run for a long time like that.” I bought my own OBD II code scanner so I can check for that error code and shut the Check Engine light off.

Key signs your car is a beater: it looks beat up, you are choosing not to fix some of its problems, and you bought your own OBD II code scanner.

When the Check Engine light came on again recently, however, the error code pointed to catalytic-converter failure. And I’d been hearing an ominous clicking sound from the front end when I turned the wheel hard.

You know you’ve gone the distance with an old car when your mechanic calls you by a nickname. “Aw Jimmy,” he said, “I can fix these problems if you want. But it’s gonna cost you big. Two or three times more than this car is worth. You might want to stop and think about whether it makes sense.”

In the end, I let logic prevail over emotion. It’s time to let the car go.

Dog in the wayback

And I’m sad about it. I love this dumb car. I bought it because my first Matrix worked so well for my family. Even though a Matrix is small on the outside, it offers enormous interior room. I could put my two sons, the dog, and a weekend’s worth of luggage in there. We could take on any adventure we wanted in the Matrix.

Wagon Full of Sod

It has been incredibly useful for moving things. Folding down the back seat opens up a giant cavern of cargo space. I’ve moved an assembled gas grill, a dining room table and six chairs, and many loads of sod. When I recently moved into my new home I moved all my boxes in the Matrix in just a handful of trips.

Brick Lincoln Highway

Along the way she was a great road-trip companion, prowling many old alignments with me. Here, she’s on the Lincoln Highway near Ligonier, Indiana.

Snowy day

Five years ago, as old age began creeping up on my car, I bought a used Ford Focus to be my daily driver and relegated the Matrix to backup duty. I taught my sons to drive in it and let them use it when they needed a car. I used it like a small van to haul house-project supplies home from Lowe’s. And I drove it to church, because then I drove it at least once a week. Though one especially snowy winter I shoveled her in and waited for the thaw. All together I’ve put just 20,000 miles on her since buying the Ford.

I don’t really need her anymore. I haven’t in a few years, really. But I’m sad to see her go just the same.

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Butterfly bush

Butterfly bush branch
Pentax K10D, 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M
2017

Photo blogger Dan James has long sung the praises of his digital Pentax K10D SLR as a way to shoot his vintage Pentax lenses. This is an older DSLR, introduced in 2006. I found one used for a good price and bought it.

I’ve only just started experimenting with it, but I was able to make good images right away. There are a couple menu settings to set right, and a couple extra steps to take with each frame. But these cameras are made to take even the oldest K-mount lenses. And with an adapter (which I haven’t bought yet), they’ll work well with the older screw-mount Takumar lenses, too. I really want to put my 35mm f/3.5 SMC Takumar on this camera!

Photography

single frame: Butterfly bush branch

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Photography

Eastman Double-X 5222 in the Olympus Stylus

I have a terrible habit of buying four or five rolls of a film I’d like to try, shooting one roll, and then buying four or five rolls of another film I’d like to try. I’ve repeated this pattern enough times that I have probably 50 rolls stockpiled in the fridge. So I put a moratorium on buying more film until I shoot what I have.

The last time I shot Eastman Double-X 5222 I used my Nikon F2 and a 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens. This movie film gave me blacks so deep I could have fallen into them, and textures so rich and realistic I expected to feel them if I touched the screen. So when I decided to shoot another roll I chose an entirely different kind of camera: my point-and-shoot Olympus Stylus. I wanted to see if the film behaved differently.

I didn’t get the same rich blacks this time, but I did get the same realistic textures.

Around the Corner

I was at church for a meeting, so I made some quick photos. Once again these images invite me to touch the screen to feel the rough brick.

West Park Christian Church

I brought the Stylus inside to shoot a couple rooms, which were set up for our day care to resume the next morning.

First Steps Day Care

I love the moodiness created by the window light and the corner shadows.

First Steps Day Care

The church is in an old city neighborhood with alleys. Ours is concrete and was probably poured 100 years ago.

Concrete Alley

On the way home I passed this run-down building, which I bet began life as a grocery store. I am impressed with how well the clouds rendered, especially since I didn’t use a yellow or orange filter.

Used Tires

I took the Stylus along on a too-brief visit to South Bend, my home town. I was there on business, but I made a few minutes for a coffee at the Chocolate Cafe downtown.

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

I miss South Bend. I’d love to run a little bookstore in the State Theater building. Too bad this shop owner thought of it first.

Idle Hours

A storm rolled in quickly as I walked a couple blocks of Michigan Street. In reading the light the Stylus misguidedly decided it needed to fire the flash, serving only to create flares off every reflective surface. If I didn’t need to explicitly turn off the flash every time I power up the Stylus, I’d shoot it a lot more often.

Michigan Street

Still, I’m not getting rid of my little Stylus anytime soon. It fits into my jeans pocket and packs a great lens. And it liked the Double-X just fine.

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Blogosphere

Recommended reading

Greetings from Zionsville, Indiana! Enjoy the blog posts I liked most this week.

Nikon made a major marketing blunder recently as they introduced a new DSLR to market. Nick Gerlich, professor of marketing at West Texas A&M University, breaks down how in this world of instant worldwide social commentary, every company is under an unforgiving microscope. Read The Camera Never Blinks

The wonderful Peeling Walls blog, which shares photos from abandoned places, explores the Michigan Theater in Detroit. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of it before, but this time you’ll see some images from hidden places in the theater. Read Detroit: Behind the Boards at the Michigan Theater

Eric Swanger praises the imperfect photograph. Read We Saw Names

This week’s film camera reviews and experience reports:

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