The old barn in the city Nikon F2AS, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor Foma Fomapan 100 2016
Every time I’ve used it, Fomapan 100 has been good enough as a general-purpose black-and-white film. On bright days I underexpose it a little to avoid blown highlights. But in even light, it really delivers.
I remember the farms of Pike Township in Indianapolis. Some of them, anyway; by the time I moved there in 1994 many farms had already given way to suburban subdivisions.
I used to go to church with a fellow who grew up near this old barn, and he spoke of being able to stand by this barn and see nothing but farmland for miles.
You’ll still find farmland here and there in Pike Township, if you know where to look. But from anywhere you might stand there, you’re far more likely to see rows of vinyl-sided homes or low light-industrial buildings today.
If you like old houses, you’ll love driving the Michigan Road through Fulton and Marshall Counties. The road is lined with lovely old houses in Rochester, Argos, and Plymouth. We stopped in Rochester and Plymouth on our recent trip. Here are some of the houses in Rochester. Click any of the photos to see them larger. (The flag was at half mast because of the death of President George H. W. Bush.)
Here are some of the lovely older homes in Plymouth.
That first photograph is of an especially notable house: that of Plymouth’s first mayor, Horace Corbin. Here’s an engraving of his house as it stood shortly after it was built.
Some old film cameras have become very popular on the used market. Just try buying an Olympus Stylus Epic or a Canon Canonet QL17 G-III for bargain prices anymore. Yet plenty of highly capable cameras never catch on among modern film photographers and languish in relative obscurity. Like the Konica Auto S2.
This 1965 camera has everything you need to make lovely photographs today: a 45mm f/1.8 lens set in a Copal leaf shutter with top speed of 1/500 sec, a coupled CdS light meter driving shutter-priority autoexposure, and a rangefinder. You might consider it a limitation that it accepts films up to only ISO 400, but I don’t; that’s as fast as I normally go. It returns lovely results, as here on Kodak Gold 200.
For this camera’s turn in Operation Thin the Herd I chose Kodak T-Max 400. I found a fresh PX625 battery in my stash, loaded the film, and got busy.
I started Downtown in Indianapolis one chilly, slightly snowy day. I have been getting my hair cut at a barber shop on Delaware St. and then walking about with my cameras after. These electric scooters litter the street corners.
The Auto S2 nailed this gray-day exposure every time. The only thing I had to do with these photos in Photoshop is straighten them, as I proved unable this day to hold the camera level.
The more I shoot Downtown Indianapolis, the more I want to capture routine street corners and get as many buildings in as I can. The architecture here is varied and, while common, still interesting.
I took the Auto S2 on a sunny-day photowalk in downtown Zionsville. Bright reflections off light-colored surfaces and deep shadows did trip up the Auto S2 a little bit, but generally not so much that a little tweaking in Photoshop couldn’t help considerably.
The Auto S2’s controls generate no feelings of pleasure. You know that camera you want to use because everything feels so good under your fingers? That’s not the Konica Auto S2.
But the Auto S2 isn’t unpleasant to use. It’s neither clumsy nor cumbersome. Everything falls to hand and works well enough. The winder is a little grindy but winds surely. The shutter button doesn’t have too much travel (a common affliction, I find, among fixed-lens rangefinders). The focusing lever is about where your finger needs it to be. Still, the overall tactile experience manages rises only to “meh.”
What makes the Auto S2 remarkable is its lens, which really drinks in detail. The lens is why I put T-Max into it this time — its minimal grain promised to show me what this lens could do. It didn’t disappoint.
I didn’t shoot anything remarkable on either of these photo walks. I made no art. But every photo on this roll came back properly exposed and bursting with detail. The Auto S2 would make a wonderful companion on one of my road trips.
I’m surprised that I like the Konica Auto S2 best of the fixed-lens rangefinder cameras I have shot so far in Operation Thin the Herd. What it lacks in refinement it makes up for in consistent, solid results. The question is, do I need a camera like this? Would I shoot it often enough to justify keeping it? Because it never lets me down, I’m going to let time tell.
View from the hotel window Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor Kodak T-Max P3200 2018
I just love how much definition the T-Max P3200 delivered at night through our Chicago hotel window. Just look at the cars in the glowing parking garage! They’re so clear you can almost tell what make and model some of them are.
If you’re looking at this on a computer monitor rather than on your phone or tablet, you can see how even at this larger size the considerable grain doesn’t detract at all from the image.
Our visit to Chicago included a ride on the L down to Chinatown. We just wanted to see it.
Our view of it began as we exited the train. It stretches out right there before you.
Our visit consisted mostly of walking down and back up Chinatown’s main drag, Wentworth Avenue. We were surprised by how varied the buildings’ facades were.
Ours were the only Caucasian faces out and about here this Sunday morning. While nobody appeared to give us a second glance as we walked and made photographs, I had a distinct feeling of not belonging.
At least the Chinese Christian Union Church had a very kind word for everyone, emblazoned on the side of their building.
Canon PowerShot S95
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Turbaned man passing a Catholic church by Canon PowerShot S95 2018
Have you ever made a photograph and then, later, you noticed something in it that made the image? This is one of those times for me.
Margaret and I happened upon St. Peter’s Church, on W. Madison St. in the Loop in Chicago. It’s such a stunning structure that we had to pause for photographs. Madison St. is relatively narrow, and I couldn’t back up enough to capture the whole building. So I looked for interesting framing within what I could capture.
The building’s symmetry appealed to me — my goodness, but do I love symmetry — so I went for that. Then today, while reviewing these images, I noticed the man in the turban passing by. What a joyful juxtaposition!