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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Film Photography

Shooting Adox HR-50

Whitestown

I suppose idle curiosity made me choose Adox HR-50 when the good folks at Analogue Wonderland offered me yet another roll of film to try. HR-50 is a specialty film aimed at landscape and streetscape photography, which is right up my alley. It’s also a relatively new film, as ADOX introduced it in 2018.

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Analogue Wonderland sent me this film in exchange for this mention. Buy Adox HR-50 from them here. Or choose from one of the 200 other films they keep in stock every day!

But then I put off shooting it for several months. As I read about it around the Internet, I got the sense that this film performs best in Adox’s HR-DEV developer. The Massive Dev Chart doesn’t even list times for most popular developers for this film. So how would my usual labs process it?

Fortunately, I was learning how to develop my own film. I figured that after I started getting repeatable results, I’d give this film a go. I bought the smallest bottle of HR-DEV to go with it. All of my preconditions met, I loaded the roll into my Olympus OM-1, mounted a 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens, and took it on photo walks over the next several weeks.

Church doors

Given the film’s slow speed I looked for bright days to shoot it. Even on lightly colored subjects like this sandstone church, HR-50 returned rich, even tones.

Whitestown UMC

I brought the HR-50 out on lunchtime walks through my neighborhood, as well. It kept doing a great job of capturing a good range of tones. I am especially pleased with its rich blacks.

Flowering tree in the front yard

HR-50 even does a good job rendering the sky without using a filter.

Stone column

I made a few photos where the sun was not behind or to the side of the camera. In those cases, the photos came out a little dark and lacking a little shadow detail. I don’t know whether that’s the OM-1’s metering or some characteristic of the HR-50.

Retention pond

Even when the sun reflected off a surface, the HR-50 refused to blow out.

No outlet

Despite this film’s stated use for streetscapes and landscapes, I moved in close for a few photos. HR-50 kept giving me the same solid range of tones and imperceptible grain.

Posies

I developed this film in HR-DEV diluted 1+49 per Adox’s time and temperature instructions. I scanned them using VueScan and my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II. These might just be the best results I’ve ever gotten from my home development and scanning. Nothing like using a film’s recommended developer to remove risk.

Ash leaves

Interestingly, Adox does not recommend using Rodinal, my favorite developer, with this film. It also does not recommend D-76, which makes sending this film out to a lab for processing a challenge as so many of them use D-76 or one of its clones.

I like this film. I’ll use it again. Especially since I have so much HR-DEV developer left!

Like what you see? Buy some Adox HR-50 for yourself at Analogue Wonderland here.

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Film Photography

Kodak T-Max 400 in the Pentax IQZoom 170SL

Lounge chairs

I was deeply impressed with the Pentax IQZoom 170SL when I shot some test rolls in it recently. I got excellent color on consumer-grade Fuji films, and its lens was plenty sharp. If it worked the same magic on black-and-white film, I would keep it in my collection. I bought a fresh CR2 battery, loaded some Kodak T-Max 400, and took it on lunchtime walks around my neighborhood.

Toward the shallow end

I shot a lot of film in the spring! It gave me so much to share here that I’m clearing away a big backlog of photos. I made these about four weeks ago. We had an unusually gray and chilly spring. ISO 400 film is just right for days like that, especially in a point-and-shoot camera.

XOX

I developed this roll in Rodinal 1+50 and scanned the negatives with VueScan on my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mk II. The VueScan produces smoother tones than the software I was using before. These aren’t quite as good as the scans I get from my favorite lab, but they’re plenty good for every purpose I have for them.

Class of 2020

Our subdivision offers the most affordable homes in what is otherwise a wealthy and expensive suburb of Indianapolis. It’s the only way we can afford to live here. We got excellent schools in the bargain. This year’s high-school seniors will have a very different graduation experience from any class before. These signs are for all of the seniors in our subdivision. It’s one of many visible ways the community is celebrating them.

Village club

But back to the IQZoom 170SL. It handled well. Even though it’s a little chunky, it slid right into my jeans back pocket. And it delivered the goods yet again. I can’t believe you can buy one on eBay for under $50, and often under $20. Other equally capable point-and-shoots go for five or ten times that much. Get one now before everybody else gloms onto them and the prices soar.

NO

Signs proclaim NO all over our subdivision. No soliciting. No fishing, swimming, ice skating, or boating. No digging, because natural gas and petroleum pipelines flow below our ground. We’re the Village of No.

No Outlet at max zoom

I have but two criticisms of the 170SL. First, images go soft at maximum zoom (as above). But that’s typical of long-zoom point-and-shoots.

Aluminum ladder

Second, the camera flashes automatically when it thinks the light calls for it. You can override it, but I found myself caught by surprise every time it happened. Fortunately, in this photo of little aluminum ladder on our deck in mid-renovation, the image retained detail in the aluminum highlights.

My desk

I meant to use the flash in this shot, from the day my wife and I turned our living room into our home office. It lit the scene evenly, which is not always true of the little flashes on point-and-shoot cameras.

This little camera is a winner. If you like point-and-shoots, get one.

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Camera Reviews

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

Camera makers tried for decades to create systems that made loading film foolproof. Kodak’s 126 and 110 cartridge formats won the race in the 1960s and 1970s. But 35mm SLR photography took off with pros and advanced amateurs in the 1970s, giving 35mm the cachet of quality. As the 1970s came to an end, camera makers figured there was a big market for 35mm cameras that operated as simply as an Instamatic. They were right. The 1981 Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 is one of the early point-and-shoot 35mm cameras and is a big step toward foolproof operation.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

The Hi-Matic AF2 lacks three key features that came to define the genre: motor wind, automatic film loading, and automatic ISO setting. Lacking these things doesn’t make the Hi-Matic AF2 a bad choice today, however. It comes with a good Minolta lens, 38mm f/2.8, of four elements in three groups. It offers a limited range of film speeds, from ISO 25 to 400. You set ISO by turning the knurled wheel around the lens.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

Its active infrared autofocus bounces infrared light off a subject and gauges distance by how long it takes the light to return. It appears to offer two focus zones, one for closer subjects and one for farther subjects. It focuses no closer than 3.3 feet, and the camera bee-bee-beeps when your subject is closer than that. This is a nice feature most point-and-shoots lack. The viewfinder includes close-focus marks for when your subject is between 3.3 and 4 feet. The focus point is in the center of the viewfinder, marked with an oval. To focus, place the subject in the oval and press the shutter button halfway down. Then compose and press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the photo. 2 AA batteries power the camera’s automatic functions and flash.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

If you have earlier Hi-Matic cameras in mind when you pick up the Hi-Matic AF2, you’re in for a disappointment. This camera is nowhere near as well built. It feels light and plasticky in the hand, and it creaks as you handle it. The controls feel flimsy. When you press the shutter button, the camera coughs a sickly wheeze as it stops the aperture blades down and then activates the shutter. The winder, though it has a delightful short throw, feels like it could break right off. When you turn on the flash, thwack! — the strobe pops up.

Film loading may not be automatic but it is foolproof: stick the leader in the slot on the takeup spool and wind. The film takes right up, no fuss. And winding and rewinding follows the 35mm SLR idiom, with all the controls where you’d expect. Press the button underneath the camera, pop the rewind lever out, and crank, crank, crank.

I haven’t figured out how its autoexposure system works. My theory is that it chooses the narrowest aperture it can for best depth of field. When light is low and it can’t do a shutter speed faster than 1/40 second, it beeps continuously to tell you to turn on the flash.

The camera is also large, at 5x3x2 inches. Within a few years, the 35mm point-and-shoot would start to shrink, eventually to pocketable sizes.

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 170SL (here), the Olympus Stylus (here), the Olympus mju Zoom 140 (here), and the Nikon Zoom Touch 400 (here). Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

We were still locked down thanks to COVID-19 when I shot this camera. So I loaded it with Fujicolor 200 and took it on walks to places I could get to and back during my lunch hours while I worked from home.

Wendy's

The nearby shopping centers are full of in-your-face color. They make a surprisingly good place to test a camera with color film.

Old Navy

The parking lots are mostly empty thanks to COVID-19, making it easy to approach the subjects. This also makes it far less likely for me to be accosted by shopping-center security.

Big O is Open

Red, blue yellow, orange — the Hi-Matic AF2’s lens rendered them all bold and true on Fujicolor 200.

Qdoba

Look at the lovely dusky colors I got as the sun went down outside my back door!

Evening over the Toyota dealer

I shot the rest of the roll around my neighborhood, starting on my front stoop. The too-close beep really helped me make this photo: I backed up until the camera quit beeping.

Flower pots on the stoop

One pet peeve I have with point-and-shoot cameras is inaccurate viewfinders. I centered this car in the viewfinder, but it is shifted left in the image

Red Matrix

To make this photo, I placed the backboard in the viewfinder’s center oval and pressed the shutter down halfway so the camera would focus on it. Turns out it was unnecessary, as with this much light it chose a narrow enough aperture that everything was going to be in focus.

Goal shadow

The Hi-Matic AF2 was a pleasant enough camera to carry despite its size. It was light enough to be unobtrusive. And these results are fine: sharp and colorful, with no distortion.

Clubhouse

To see more from this camera, check out my Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 gallery.

This Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 once belonged to my father-in-law. I found it in the garage while looking for something else. I shot it with Margaret’s permission. My father-in-law chose a simple camera that delivered reliably good results. But for the collector and user today, many point-and-shoot choices offer equally good lenses in smaller packages with more amenities.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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Film Photography

Another go with LegacyPro L110 developer

I’m not loving Arista EDU 200 in LegacyPro L110 developer, a Kodak HC-110 clone. This time, my fixer was starting to exhaust. It affected the whole roll to varying extents. But a handful of photos turned out all right enough, and I’m willing to make my claim based on them. Next time I use L110, I’m choosing a different film.

Tree by the pond

At least I had a good time with my Pentax ME and its 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M lens. Shooting the ME always brings me a little joy. Before the pandemic and the stay-at-home order, I’d been shooting my 35mm f/2.8 lens most of the time. I work in Downtown Indianapolis and that wider lens lets me get more in the frame without having to step into the busy street. But here in the vinyl village there’s plenty of room to roam. 50mm is perfect.

In the vinyl village

These are the best of the images from several lunchtime walks around my neighborhood. I just shot whatever. The shooting itself was therapeutic. I still have my vinyl-village project in mind, so whatever I shot I tried to grab lots of surrounding context.

What road?

Arista EDU 200 develops mighty fast in L110. Using Dilution B, 1:31, it develops in 3:30. My meager experience tells me that development times of under 5 minutes are not a great idea — there’s so little margin for timing error. Last time I worked around this by using Dilution E, 1:47. I didn’t love the results. This time I used Dilution H, 1:63. To get enough developer into the tank that it wouldn’t exhaust before developing finished, I had to use my 500ml tank rather than my 290ml tank.

Fence

The photo forums say that HC-110 (and I presume its clones) work well with Tri-X, HP5+, FP4+ — films with a traditional grain structure. Too bad I don’t have any of those films on hand. Arista EDU 200, which is Fomapan 200 in disguise, has more of a tabular grain structure I gather.

In the vinyl village

I’m realizing I’m still on my film-developing learning curve. I had only just started to get repeatable, decent results from Rodinal when I decided to plunge into L110. I’m so impulsive. I should have stuck with Rodinal until I mastered it.

In the vinyl village

My goal was to be able to develop a roll of Adox HR-50 I’m shooting. Rodinal is not recommended for that film; the Massive Dev Chart doesn’t even list this combo. After our discussion in the comments on my last L110 post, I ordered the Adox HR-DEV developer that is meant for HR-50 film. That ought to lead to the best possible results.

Pipeline

If you’re thinking, “What’s he bellyaching about? These are fine” — well, I don’t disagree with you. I’m not showing you the ones that didn’t work out at all, however.

2" or More

I need to shoot up some film that’s expired but, since the garage fridge died, I can’t store cold anymore. I have a roll of original-emulsion Agfa APX100 left, and from what I hear that film was made for Rodinal. A reader sent me a roll of Arista Premium 100, which is said to be repackaged Kodak Plus-X. I’ve seen some samples of Plus-X in Rodinal in the forums and I love the look. I also have one last roll of Ferrania P30 Alpha to shoot. I tried that film in Rodinal before but the Rodinal was, surprisingly, exhausted. I’d like to give that film another go in fresh Rodinal.

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