I haven’t been doing as much photography as I’d like lately. One of the big reasons for that is because I’m working on a video. I now have a Nikon D7100, which allows me to rack focus and shoot in dimmer light than the little video camera I had previously did. It’s been four years since college, and I feel the need to brush off my skills and use them rather than continuing to let them get rusty. Since I work full-time, finding the time to do this is a little challenging, but I’m slowly shooting this short video on my love of cameras. I’m in a good place in my life right now to do this. Yes, it’s a learning experience, and no, it won’t be perfect, but part of learning is doing it over again if I need to – taking it slowly and letting it grow and develop as it needs to. The challenge is just making sure I keep moving along without a deadline to motivate me. Below are some stills from what I’ve shot so far.
My parents brought this old 8mm home movie camera to me after visiting relatives. I assume it spent years tucked away in my grandmother’s house, like many common old objects in my father’s family. The 8mm used to be the way to capture fleeting moments of family history like vacations, trips to the beach, or Christmas morning. A bit before my time, to say the least.
This worn yet charming example features an electric eye (a sort of exposure meter) and a rotating turret with three different lens.
Here, you can see the camera’s power source: the hand crank. Wind it up, then press the lever. Kind of like a windup toy.
*Edit: I recently found out this camera came from a church rummage sale, so I can stop wondering if there are any old home movies out there.
Next Time: Old Cars or Nature
Between the holidays, my father and I went to visit my grandma and help my uncle with some repairs on her home. My uncle frequents auctions, and sometimes, he buys a box of things for one item on top. Occasionally, he gets an old camera hidden in the box. One evening, he presented two of such cameras to my father as candidates for induction into The Camera Collection. (For those of you who frequent my blog, most of the cameras I photograph belong to my father. He has an old habit of not getting rid of cameras and picking up interesting specimens.) One look at the case told us this camera was in.
Meet Freddie. He’s an early 1950’s Stereo Camera used to photograph slides for the View-Master. (You know, the little red-orange devices you had as a kid?) Isn’t he handsome?
This is the exposure guide. Look familiar, my fellow former cinema and photo students? Yep, a fancy Sunny 16 guide.
Although it may seem primitive at first, closer examination reveals this camera as a mechanical marvel. You can find more information and a manual here: http://www.vmresource.com/manuals/index.html
Last week, my father kindly agreed to let me photograph his Hasselblad 500 C. Hasselblads have an illustrious history. They’ve always been phenomenal cameras, and the line has kept its reputation into the digital age. The 500 C was manufactured as early as 1959. My father purchased this particular camera previously enjoyed sometime in the 70s or 80s.
They’re medium format cameras that have interchangeable backs for the film. Photographers indicate the film speed in a back using this dial.
Historically, Hasselblads were made in Sweden, and some of them have gone very far from home. NASA had Hasselblad create special cameras to take to the moon. (http://www.clubhasselblad.com/new-book-hasselblad-and-moon). It’s a shame they had to leave the cameras. As far as I know, my father’s spent most of its life quietly in the midwestern United States.
Dad’s Hasselblad doesn’t get used much anymore, but it’s still a valued member of the camera collection and a fine piece of equipment. Who knows, bringing it out may encourage him to use it again.
Next Week: Fall Nature
Weather permitting, of course.
Although it’s been a year or two since I last used it, this Minolta AF-C holds a place in my heart. Back when I was in late grade school, my sister and I started learning photography from our father. Dad wanted to teach us on his first camera, but the shutter broke, so he pulled out this 1983 point and shoot with auto exposure, auto focus, and manual just about everything else. Eventually, my sister obtained another camera, and the AF-C became “my baby”. At first, I carried it arround in the orange and black case my father used to keep it in. However, that case only had a small strap and snap made for attaching the camera to a belt. I didn’t wear a belt, but I made the mistake of trying to hold the case by that strap. The snap popped open, and I nearly lost the camera. After that close call, I purchased a sturdier case with an over the shoulder strap. My baby was safe.
For a point and shoot, she was always a good camera. A little old-fashioned, but still good. Sure I had to load the film manually, but I’ve fussed with auto load, and I’d rather do it myself. OK, so I had to remember to turn the flash on when I needed it, but that’s just practice for bigger friends on manual control. I’ll admit manually advancing the film after every frame is a bit inconvenient, but it becomes habit after a while.
I also had to rewind the film manually, but again, that’s not a problem. After I learned to use an SLR, I was only bothered by the lack of aperture control, zoom lens, and focus control.
I continued to shoot with my baby regularly through my freshman year of college. Some thought it needed to go, others thought it was cool. Because I was a photo minor, I upgraded to my current Nikon D80 my sophomore year. However, I still have fond feelings for that little old point and shoot.
Next Week: A Small Town or Random Objects
If the weather’s good tomorrow, I’m going to cover a small town in my area, like I did late last fall (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/exploring-the-village-a-look-at-a-small-midwestern-town/), only though I’m probably going to write more. If not, I think I could use to practice my indoor shooting skills some more, and random objects I want to photograph have been coming to mind.
In fact, almost no one would use a camera like any of these today. There old. Really old. The newest of the bunch is this 1950s Kodak Brownie Hawkeye with optional flash. It’s a fairly common relic of its day, made of bakelite, the plastic of the time. Also a cute “little” camera.
Even older is this Kodak box camera. I’m not sure of the exact age, but I know this basic style of camera was manufactured from around 1900 through at least the 1920s. It features the same basic controls and elements as the above camera, but it’s made of earlier materials and is much more primitive.
Starting around 1910 (judging by the patent date on the camera) and through at least the 1920s, Kodak also made these elegant folding cameras. Such cameras are less common than their boxy brethren. This one has a few marks on her, but she’s still in decent shape. Folding cameras are a testament to the ingenuity of their time. This one opens with the press of a button concealed under the casing and only vaguely hinted at by a small circle in the decoration. Very clever. (Now that I mention it, you can probably see it, but trust me, the uninformed can spend hours trying to figure out how to open it.)
Cameras like these maybe outdated, but they still have a place in history, as well as a place in the hearts of many camera lovers.
Next Week: Outdoors or Color Study
Spring is progressing in my area, so I may photograph that. On the other hand, I had this idea of doing a color study of sorts. I’d pick a color and only photograph items of that color. This should provide practice using texture and form and seeing how they interact with the emotional impact of color.
Last week, I thought about photographing my first camera, but I decided an old classic would be a better choice. Photographing my father’s Nikon F, the first good SLR he ever owned, with my modern Nikon DSLR was a special experience. It tied together all the big happy camera/photoness in the house. This particular Nikon F is 45 years old and is still dearly beloved by my father. It was the best of its kind back in the day, and it is now a classic camera. Naturally, my dad made me promise I’d be extra careful with it.
To all the Canon people out there, I’m not waging Holy War. I have dear friends who are Canon people. It’s just a little nostalgic Nikon person stuff. I’ll be less controversial next week.
Next Week: Time Outdoors, or Crazy Experiments Indoors
Speaking of next week, I’m thinking of braving the apparent bleakness of March in the faith that there’s something good out there. If not, I’ve heard dropping different liquids into each other is pretty amazing.