Storm clouds

Derecho
Canon PowerShot S95
2020

Not long ago a derecho storm passed through. This is a storm characterized by heavy rain and straightline winds of 90 mph or more.

The storm cell stretched from south of Indianapolis all the way into Lake Michigan. The worst of the storm passed through northern Illinois and northern Indiana, causing widespread damage. In central Indiana we were in the least severe zone of the storm, which caused far less damage. We got plenty of rain, though.

We could see the storm cloud from way off. It was a giant shelf — sunshine outside it and darkness within.

The light was interesting as the shelf reached us. The sun outside the cloud still lit everything brightly, but the cloud itself darkened the sky. This gave the light a blue-gray hue, and boosted the sense of contrast.

I stepped out my front door to make this quick photograph before the rain started to fall in buckets.

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Photography

single frame: Derecho

A photo of the interesting light as a derecho storm rolled in.

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Film Photography

Kodak T-Max 400 in Adox HR-DEV

Into the tree tunnel

I still have a lot of Adox HR-DEV to use up after buying a small bottle to develop a roll of its companion film, Adox HR-50. I’m developing other films in it to see how it performs. I liked Arista EDU 200 (aka Fomapan 200) in it not long ago, so this time I tried Kodak T-Max 400.

I also took this opportunity to test a second Olympus OM-2n body given to me by the same benefactor who gave me the first one, as well as the Olympus OM-4T I recently shot. This very generous fellow also gave me a whole bunch of lenses and other OM gear. He hadn’t shot his OMs in a long time and he was ready for them not to take up space in his home anymore.

I mounted a large, heavy 35-70mm f/4 S Zuiko Auto-Zoom lens. It’s probably this hefty because of its fixed f/4 aperture — if I recall correctly, variable-aperture zooms can be made much smaller and lighter. Despite the weight, I slung the OM-2n over my shoulder and took it on a long bike ride.

To the left

HR-DEV is supposed to enhance sensitivity, better differentiating light from shadow. I don’t know if I see that; this looks like normal T-Max 400 to me.

High-powered cornfield

But I very much appreciated how sharp these scans were off my flatbed. They still needed a little unsharp masking in Photoshop, but far less aggressively than normal after developing this film in any of my usual developers.

Farmhouse on the hill

I finished the roll on a few walks through the neighborhood. What I especially appreciated about these negatives was how little Photoshopping they required to look good. About half of them needed only that touch of unsharp masking.

In the vinyl village

I made these neighborhood shots on full-sun days, and I think I detect the light areas being lighter than I’m used to with this film under these conditions. Or I could be seeing things.

In the vinyl village

Just a side note: it’s crazy to me how much of the sides and backs of houses you can see on any walk through this neighborhood, and how often windows are placed haphazardly on them.

In the vinyl village

If you look at these images at full scan size, which you can do by clicking any of them to see them on Flickr, there’s detectable grain here. But at blog sizes they look smooth enough.

In the vinyl village

Bottom line, this combination works. Don’t be afraid to try it if you, like me, have some HR-DEV to use up.

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Neighborhood and power lines

Power lines towering overhead
Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK
Arista Premium 100
LegacyPro L110, Dilution H (1+63)
2020

I’m still working on my project to document my vinyl-village neighborhood, with an eye toward publishing a book with the photos.

I think this photo will make a perfect cover for the book! It says a great deal about this neighborhood.

High-voltage power lines cut through the neighborhood. I’ve made a lot of photos involving those lines and their towers lately, trying to show how in some parts of this neighborhood they dominate the view.

In other parts of the neighborhood, such as the part I live in, what dominates is the constant drone of vehicles on nearby I-65.

This neighborhood is a middle-class enclave in what is otherwise a wealthy town. These homes sell for well below Zionsville’s median home price. I suppose detractors such as these power lines and the Interstate is part of the reason why.

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Film Photography

single frame: Power lines towering overhead

A power-line tower dominates this neighborhood scene.

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Film Photography

Olympus Trip 35 and Ferrania P30 Alpha in LegacyPro L110

Bike and power lines

As I continue to practice developing black and white film, I’m shooting up my film stock. I tend to hang onto special films waiting for the perfect reason to use them. Perfect never comes and then the film expires. Nuts to that!

I’m also cycling through my cameras to make sure they all get a little use now and then. That’s how I came to put my last roll of Ferrania P30 Alpha into my Olympus Trip 35. I’ve never shot black and white in the Trip before!

Because I developed my last roll of P30 in Rodinal, this time I used LegacyPro L110, an HC-110 clone, in Dilution H (1+63). Let’s just tweak all of the variables!

I’m not blown away by these results. They’re all soft, even after sharpening as much as I dared in Photoshop. Shadows tended to black. And for whatever reason I was incapable of holding the camera level, although that’s easily fixed in Photoshop.

Here are some of the photos, the ones I think turned out best. The subjects aren’t anything special, just stuff I shot around the neighborhood. I was especially fixated on the high-power lines that run through here.

Torrid
GetGo
Field
Under the base
Power lines
Structure
Lilies

I just finished a roll of Arista Premium 100, said to be rebranded Kodak Plus-X, in my Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK. Photos to come!

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Camera Reviews

Canon Snappy S

In the early 1980s camera makers finally figured out how to make loading 35mm film foolproof. Meanwhile, thanks to the 35mm SLR, 35mm film had taken on the aura of quality photography. These two things finally killed the 126 and 110 film formats and opened the floodgates for 30 years of 35mm point-and-shoot cameras from bare bones basic to highly capable and fully featured. When Canon introduced the Snappy S in 1985, it was among the earliest basic 35mm point-and-shoots.

Canon Snappy S

Canon’s rationale was simple: get Canon quality at an attractive price. On the street these could be had for $50-60, which is about $120-150 today. It offered middling specs, starting with a 35mm f/4.5 lens, a classic triplet of three elements in three groups. Everything from 1.5 feet is in focus. Exposure is automatic, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of system it uses. The shutter operates from 1/40 to 1/250 sec. Flash is integrated, and the camera automatically winds and rewinds film. A red light blinks in the viewfinder when there isn’t enough light. Two AAA batteries power everything. You could get your Snappy S in black, red, green, or yellow.

Canon Snappy S

Mine came to me with the flash broken: plastic cover missing, flash unit dangling. The seller disclosed that, but I didn’t notice it in the listing. The flash even flashed, but I didn’t try it more than once because it didn’t seem quite safe. Also, as I used the camera, the auto-winder got weaker and weaker. The batteries were fresh, so I assume this old, cheap camera is just on its last leg. But it wasn’t objectionable to use that way.

Canon Snappy S

This camera sparked no joy, but there was nothing unpleasant about it. Frame, press the button, off you go. I was a teenager when this camera was new and I would have been perfectly happy with one had I been able to afford one then. It would have been a giant step up from the truly lousy 110 camera that was my main camera.

If you like point-and-shoot cameras, also see my reviews of the Kodak VR35 K40 (here), the Yashica T2 (here), the Canon AF35ML (here), the Pentax IQZoom EZY (here), the Olympus Stylus (here), the Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 (here), and the Nikon Zoom Touch 400 (here). Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

I loaded some Fujicolor 200 into it and took it out into my shrunken world. We were all still encouraged to stay home, or close to home, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. I spent most of my time in the nearby shopping centers looking for colorful subjects.

McAlister's

The Snappy S drank in the color and asked for more.

Wendy's

Everything’s good and sharp.

Denny's

The Snappy S weighs essentially nothing. I wrapped its long strap around my right hand and carried it about easily. In its time, I would have been very pleased to have a camera like this.

Don't order here

All was not perfect with the Snappy S, however. You have to look at the viewfinder perfectly straight on or you will misframe. Here, I thought I had the full Cracker Barrel in the frame.

Cracker Barrel

Here, I thought I had the entire awning over the gas pumps in the frame.

Marathon

Also, the viewfinder is massively inaccurate. I put just the tail end of my car in this frame. Look at how much more the Snappy S actually sees.

VW tail

Also, straight horizontal lines wind up slightly wavy. Notice the line that is the top of this wall.

Meijer

This photo shows it too, especially on the top sill of the garage on the right. Is this a lens aberration? Or does the camera not hold the film perfectly flat?

Utilities

To see more from this camera, check out my Canon Snappy S gallery.

The Canon Snappy S was a pretty good inexpensive point-and-shoot camera in its time. It wasn’t perfect, but I’ll bet most people who bought these neither noticed nor cared.

But because mine has two key issues that spell its imminent demise, I’m about to do something I’ve never done before after reviewing a camera. I’m going to put it into the trash.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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Up the steps to the porch

Old farmhouse
Pentax IQZoom 170SL
Kodak T-Max 400
Rodinal 1+50
2020

My subdivision used to be farmland. When I moved to central Indiana a quarter century ago, I occasionally drove out this way and it was as rural as rural can be. Now it’s all vinyl villages and shopping centers.

An old farmhouse lies around the corner from my house. It’s on a parcel that I’d guess covers just a few acres. A family still lives there — is it the original family that sold the rest of the land for this subdivision?

These steps lead to the farmhouse’s front door, but it’s clear that nobody’s used that door in a long time.

The road I stood on to make this photograph used to be a state highway, but not since the 1960s when it was moved to intersect with the nearby Interstate highway. Now this old road is just the back way into my section of the neighborhood, and it dead ends when it reaches it.

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Film Photography

single frame: Old farmhouse

A look at an old farmhouse in the middle of a suburban neighborhood.

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