I stayed in Brookville, a town of about 2,500 people in southeastern Indiana, while I attended the Indiana Byways conference in early November. I’d only been to Brookville once before, many years ago, and hardly stopped. This time, I made sure to set aside time to walk the town’s lovely main street with my camera.
Brookville is old compared to most other Indiana towns, as it was platted in 1808. That’s eight years before Indiana became a state! The downtown strip retains much of its 19th-century charm.
Brookville is on US 52, which was laid out along the old Brookville Road. This road was commissioned by the state in 1821 to connect Indianapolis with the Ohio border near Cincinnati.
I made these photographs with my Pentax ME SE, using my 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M lens. I shot Fomapan 200 at EI 125 and developed it in Ilford ID-11, stock solution.
Lucy Walker Pentax ME SE, 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M Foma Fomapan 200 @ EI 125 Ilford ID-11 stock 2021
It’s unusual for me to test a new-to-me old camera and not immediately review it here on my site, as I’ve done with this Pentax ME SE. But this isn’t the first Pentax ME I’ve owned. It’s more like the third or fourth. I’ve written two reviews of the base ME.
I find but two improvements in the ME SE over the regular ME. The first is a smooth brown leatherette covering, which feels good to the touch. The second, which I like a lot, is a split-prism viewfinder patch canted at -45 degrees. The regular ME’s split prism is horizontal, which means tilting the camera slightly to focus horizontal subjects. It’s not a big deal to do that — but the canted split prism all but eliminates that need as next to no subjects are canted at exactly -45 degrees.
I made this photograph in the welcome center in Metamora, Indiana. It’s the most pleasing photograph I’ve made with the ME SE so far. The 50mm f/1.7 lens never disappoints. And Fomapan 200 sings in ID-11 developer.
I’m sure I’ll write a review of the ME SE in the new year, after I’ve put a few more rolls through it. I intend this ME SE to be one of my handful of go-to cameras.
Harry & Izzy’s Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK Ilford FP4 Plus Ilford ID-11 1+1 2021
Despite what it says over the door, Harry & Izzy’s is a steakhouse. This building only used to be a jeweler’s. Actually, only the facade still stands here — a new building was built behind it. Harry & Izzy’s is part of the sprawling Downtown Indianapolis mall, Circle Centre.
Margaret and I had a Downtown night out not long ago. We saw a play and had dinner. Service wasn’t great so we didn’t linger for an after-dinner drink. The bar at Harry & Izzy’s had exactly two seats open, so that’s where we went.
Clearly, Margaret and I have relaxed our COVID restrictions. We are placing faith in our vaccines. When I’m eligible for a booster, I’ll get it straightaway.
The Kodak VR35 K12 (review forthcoming) is a point-and-shoot camera meant for people to use to photograph their families and their vacations, that sort of thing. I used it to photograph the kinds of things I typically do, which is neither families nor vacations.
The viewfinder is inaccurate, off center to the lens, showing more than what the lens actually sees. That makes it challenging to compose a shot and have any idea whether the frame contains what you want. Fortunately, if your scan is large enough you can crop it liberally.
I tried developing Ilford FP4 Plus in Ilford ID-11 recently.
I had shot a roll of film in my Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK, an early-1960s viewfinder camera with a coupled light meter. I enjoy using this camera for its big, bright viewfinder and smooth controls that all fall right to hand.
Its one fault is that rewinding can be challenging, and I’ve torn two rolls of film now, including this one. I’m sure this isn’t endemic to the camera line; it must be something wrong with mine specifically.
I had mixed results from this combo. I can’t tell whether the Contessa is overexposing, or I underdeveloped. The negatives have good density. And an old selenium meter tends to grow weaker with age, leading to underexposure.
There are so many variables in getting an image. When one doesn’t turn out, I can hardly tell what went wrong. It’s kind of frustrating. My Contessa isn’t getting any younger and may be showing signs of failure. Or I could have miscalculated the development time given that my developer was 22.4° Celsius thanks to the ambient temperature of my warm master bathroom.
I got okay tonality and sharpness with this film in ID-11. After I dialed in my development techniques, I got more pleasing results from HC-110. I like how HC-110 keeps for a good long time, and how little of the concentrate you need to develop a roll.
ID-11, and its Kodak analog D-76, is the developer most people start with and stay with, however. I can see why. Let’s say I left these in the developer for a little too little time. I still got images I could use. HC-110 and Rodinal have much shorter development times, which means it’s much more important to get the time right.
I bought a 1L packet of ID-11 and I’m burning through it quickly. I haven’t had enough time with this developer to evaluate it well. But I have fresh bottles of HC-110 and Rodinal waiting their turns. I have enough ID-11 to develop about one more roll, and after that it’s back to those other two developers.
Of the many large, heavy 35mm rangefinder cameras I tried over the years, the Konica Auto S2 is one of two that I kept. (The other was the sublime Yashica Lynx 14e.) I liked it better than the vaunted Yashica Electro 35, better than the famed Minolta Hi-Matic 7. I don’t think this camera is objectively better than any of my other now-departed rangefinders — it just fits me better somehow.
Of the cameras that I own but don’t need, of which there are many, I’m trying to give them annual exercise. In August and early September, it was the Auto S2’s turn.
I’m pushing through some Fomapan films that I bought on deep sale not long ago. I’m also experimenting with Ilford’s ID-11 developer. I suppose I could have titled this post “Fomapan 200 in ID-11” as well, because that’s just what I did. I shot the film at EI 125, as I seem to have best luck with it there, and developed it at the ISO 200 time.
One thing I like about ID-11 over HC-110, which has been my go-to, is that I get longer development times. Sometimes HC-110 puts me too close for comfort to five minutes — I’ve gotten unpredictable results with development times faster than that. Yet HC-110 is a more convenient developer for how infrequently I develop film. It keeps so well and it stretches so far!
I brought the Auto S2 with me as I went about my business for several weeks until the film was gone. For whatever reason, I encountered a lot scenes that said “shoot portrait, not landscape” to me. I made some decent photographs, but nothing that should go into my portfolio. Here are some of them.