I’m kind of over Chevy Camaros. They’re one of the most common cars at shows, and most of them have been up-restored, if you will, from lower-trim models into fire-breathing high-performance models.
I’d love, just once, to see a plain-Jane six-cylinder early Camaro at a show. Vinyl seats and two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. The kind we used to call “secretary specials” when that wasn’t considered un-PC.
But the big red stripes on this one were photogenic, so I shot it anyway.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Fuji 100 really loves green. It might be the color negative film I’ve used that renders green best.
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.
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.
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.
What’s this? One Ferrari photo? The contrast between the sensuous hood line and that crisp wheel arch was too strong to ignore.
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.
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.
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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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.
Long story short, UK film-photo blogger Dan James offered to send me 25 rolls of Agfa Vista 200 he bought for £1 each at Poundland, which is to the UK what the dollar store is to the US. Poundland has since stopped selling the stuff, to the anguish of film shooters across the sceptred isle. Dan offered in the nick of time! And Agfa Vista 200 is just Fujicolor 200 in disguise. That’s my everyday color film! Even after I reimbursed him plus shipping, each roll was far cheaper than I can get Fujicolor 200 here. Win!
And then Dan generously dropped two rolls of long-discontinued Fujifilm Superia 100 into the box. Bonus win! He said, “It’s probably the single most impressed I’ve ever been with a colour film. Beautiful colours and subtle grain.”
While I did see solid results on several frames, many others were a little disappointing. But I don’t think I have my scanner and my Silverfast settings sorted after my computer’s hard drive committed seppuku recently. Scanning is fussy enough even when the Silverfast settings are perfect. So I’m reluctant to pass negative judgment on this film.
Still, the shots that hit, hit big. Glory be, yellow! I don’t know of any other negative film I’ve tried that captures yellow worth a damn. This alone makes it a shame that Fujifilm discontinued this film.
And just check those dusky colors on my dianthus! Heavenly! (By the way, I shot this roll with my Nikon F3 and my 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor lens. That lens lets me focus from just a few inches away.)
When I bought my house I was not thrilled it had a deck. My head was filled with visions of power-washing and re-staining it every few years. Ick. Turns out the one time it needed done I was able to pay someone for the job. Otherwise, it’s been lovely to sit out here on cool evenings and take in sunsets. The Superia 100 returned true-to-life color here. Spot on.
Given that I personally spread the mulch in the shot below, I can attest that it’s not actually red-brown. It’s more black-brown. But the hosta leaves are the right colors.
Dan suggested slight overexposure of this film to bring out its best, and in these last two shots I can see why. I had to bring up the shadows in Photoshop to make them usable. And in the shot below I got that weird glowing effect on my hedge trimmer. I’m sure there’s an official photographic term for that effect; if you know it, enlighten me in the comments. By the way, trimming my hedges is my all-time least favorite home-maintenance job.
Ah, for the days when Fujifilm offered a complete range of consumer-grade films. They were all very good for the money. Thanks, Dan, for giving me a chance to shoot this one.
There I was, happily making photographs with the Nikon F2 that was generously donated to the Jim Grey Home for Wayward Cameras, when the same donor e-mailed me asking: Would I like a Nikon F3 that he didn’t use anymore?
Does a wino want a case of Thunderbird?
I can’t add anything to the F3 story that the Internet hasn’t already catalogued. Camera-wiki tells the tale well enough. The sketch: introduced in 1980 to succeed the venerable F2, the F3 required batteries to operate (two LR44 or SR44 button cells), which initially alienated most photographers, who trusted all-manual cameras. Then Nikon went on to manufacture the F3 for a whopping 21 years. Clearly, photographers got over it.
The HP in this F3’s name stands for High Eyepoint, which is that big round viewfinder. Glasses-wearing photographers are supposed to have an easier time seeing into a High Eyepoint viewfinder. I wouldn’t know; I wear contacts. If you look on eBay, you’ll find more F3HPs than regular F3s.
The F3 finally brought aperture-priority autoexposure to Nikon’s flagship camera. (See the A on the shutter-speed dial?) I love aperture-priority shooting, but after shooting the F2 all year I’ve adapted surprisingly well to setting both aperture and shutter speed. I could happily keep shooting the F2 as my only camera forever. But I admit, I enjoyed setting aperture and letting the F3 figure out the shutter speed. It displays both in the viewfinder: the aperture directly off the lens barrel, and shutter speed in a little LED panel. Some people complain that the LED panel is too small and dim, but it was fine for my purposes. The shutter operates steplessly from 8 sec to 1/2000 sec, although the display shows the nearest standard speed.\
By the way, if you groove on the F3 then also check out my reviews of the F2A (here) and F2AS (here). I’ve also reviewed the FA (here), N2000 (here), N90s (here), N60 (here), and N65 (here). Or just check out all of my camera reviews here.
Otherwise, using the F3 feels mighty familiar after shooting the F2 all year. I clipped on my 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens, dropped in two button cells, loaded some Arista Premium 400, and got shooting.
The F3 accompanied me on a trip to Columbus, Ohio. I stopped for coffee in the Short North neighborhood. I crouched low to photograph the counter.
If you like galleries and shops, you’ll like the Short North. One out-of-the-way gallery featured an artist who paints with egg tempera. You can lose yourself in the detail and color in her work. We got to meet the artist, but only after these well-behaved little dogs cleared the way.
When we stepped into the Big Fun store, we entered a world of 1970s and 1980s pop culture and kitsch. Old lunchboxes lined one wall of the store, but I couldn’t find a replacement for the Big Jim lunch box I had in first grade. Darnit.
On another outing I loaded some Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 and shot this trestle in St. Charles, Illinois, still with the 50/2 AI Nikkor.
Yet I seem to lean on black-and-white film in the F3 most of the time. I came upon some expired but always cold stored Kodak Plus-X and made this image under the bridge at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.
The F3 handles easily, far more easily than you’d expect given its bulk. The controls all feel velvety smooth yet built to last.
Fomapan 200 and that 50/2 lens are a winning combination. By this roll I’d learned the F3’s ways and it disappeared in my hands when I went on this photowalk.
I made the photo above from the Indiana War Memorial; below is a detail from the Memorial itself.
This whatever-it-is was new in the cemetery near my home. I love the tones I got in this photo, and the detail in the sky.
Finally, someone gifted me some Fujifilm Superia 100, so I clipped on my 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor and moved in close for this photo.