Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Special Photo

Sunday (Easter) I made a special photo that I want to share.

For a little context, I met a nice young woman named Meagan about 5 1/2 years ago. On one of our first dates, we found a cool burnt-out church in Waycross:

It was a neat place and I liked to shoot photos inside the church:

Over the years we made many stops to this church when visiting Waycross. This was one of my favorite photos from there:

On Sunday we were visiting Meagan's family north of this church. As we traveled south the weather was terrible. The rain was so bad I could hardly drive. Amazingly the rain stopped suddenly when we arrived.

I brought my Chamonix 4x5 and set it up to take a few photos. I used my 58mm f/5.6 XL lens. I had thrown an air bulb release into my bag so told Meagan we could take a picture together.

Preparing to press the shutter, I pretended to drop the air release.

Meagan was surprised when I did this:

(She said yes.)

Thanks for reading my blog!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Wehman "Ultralight" 8x10 Field Camera

These days it seems like there is no shortage of new companies building 8x10 and other size field cameras, often with space-age materials and impressive specs (and impressive price). I bought my first 8x10 camera, a Gundlach built in 1899, about 4 years ago. It was cheap and came with a cool lens, and I shot nothing but x-ray film with it for a long time. Later on I found a Wista 8x10, made by Tachihara, that was a bit more versatile and easier to use - but it was still really heavy and the thin paper bellows made me worried when hiking, as an errant tree branch could puncture it and ruin the camera.

I started thinking about upgrading my camera but the expensive new production models, even used, were just not the right fit for me. They were also for the most part still quite heavy. So when I saw a Wehman 8x10 "ultralight" advertised, I was intrigued. Looking up the specs, I discovered it was about 7 pounds, plus another pound could be shaved off by removing the top "clamshell," reducing the total extension (which I rarely would use). My mind was made up. I bought it.

In-hand, I was really amazed by the simple and elegant design and the great look of the camera. In the field, it was the perfect blend of simple usage and versatility. I have read in several places that Wehman only made two of these "ultralight" models but I can not verify that. Either way, I think this is the last 8x10 camera I'll ever need.

Last weekend I took it for its first large hike (about 3 miles). It was easy to carry and didn't weigh me down, and being so light I could also use a slightly less heavy tripod without worry. I hardly broke a sweat carrying the load, with 4 lenses in my bag and 12 sheets of film in 6 holders.

I hiked at Langdale Park, which was closed for "repair" earlier this year - but a local conservation group was allowed access to paddle down the river and take out at Langdale Park, so I tagged along.

Here are the photos from that day. First are a few on Delta 100, developed in FX-39, using either my 210mm f/9 Graphic Kowa, 300mm f/9 Nikkor-M, 25cm f/4.7 Fujinar, or 90mm f/5.6 Schneider XL (cropped slightly):

I also tried out two photos on Efke IR820 AURA film. I have a big box of this I've never used. Here are those photos (duplicates of the above, as I wasn't sure the Wehman bellows were IR light-tight...luckily it is!):

Finally, I had one more sheet of Delta 100, so I took this photo of the WWALS group with that:

Now right before I took this last image, I had one bad thing happen - I slipped and fell pretty bad on some mud. The Wehman 8x10 took a dive and hit the ground hard too. Everything seemed okay, but then I discovered the nylon focus track had a few teeth go missing! I was dismayed, but I sent Mr. Wehman an email to see if he had parts. Amazingly, he responded later that day and offered to send a free replacement! What a great service and awesome guy! I just received the part today and installed it in just a few moments, and it's back to like-new condition (after I cleaned up the mud...).

I love this camera and can't wait to shoot it more!

Oh! One more thing. My friend Julie took this photo of me with the camera before I left:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Banks Lake Drawdown

A couple of weeks ago I was riding around and made my way to Banks Lake in Lakeland, GA. I discovered the lake was almost dry - apparently they "drawdown" the lake every few years to manage plant life and/or erosion. I stopped and shot a few images that evening as the sun was setting:


The clouds were just beautiful that evening. The above were taken with my Linhof 70 and a 105mm APO Lanthar or 53mm f/4 Super Angulon, on Plus-X and Velvia 50. A few days later I went again in the afternoon, which was a harsh and cloudless sky unfortunately. I brought along my Shen-Hao 617 and 72mm XL with my new center filter for that lens:

I wanted to shoot some color again so later that evening I returned once more with my Pentax 67ii and a few lenses, and shot another roll of Velvia, 100F this time. Yes, I went a bit too far with the polarizer...



I have been meaning to go back when the light/clouds were better and shoot some larger formats. I haven't had a chance though - I hope it is still low when I get there!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Adventures in Brookes County

I was driving through Brookes County a couple of weeks ago when I found a beautiful little conservation area. The area is heavily overgrown so I wasn't able to go really far but it was a nice little hike. There were many ducks and other waterfowl there. Here's some photos from the area:


I also explored some abandoned and decrepit buildings nearby. Here are some images from there:



These were all taken with my Pentax 67ii and a variety of lenses, but mostly the 35mm Fisheye. Film was Fuji Acros in Rodinal 1:50 and Kodak 400UC C-41 film.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Trump Terrorizes Title Town

Yesterday, Donald Trump made an appearance here in Valdosta for a rally event before Super Tuesday.

I went as a citizen journalist equipped with a couple of cameras. Unfortunately, I was denied access to the event because my cameras were "too big." I had no real interest in the event, but I wanted to document it. It was a private event and they have every right to do it, but as I told the rude campaign staffer, instead of documenting Trump, I would be documenting the protests and behind-the-scenes action outside.

Here are some of my results. Commentary to follow.

Being outside, I was able to see what the real story was. Trump touted that there was over 10,000 people outside who couldn't get in. That was not true at all. When the doors closed and no one else was let through, the number outside was roughly 1,000, maybe 1,500 tops. About half immediately turned around and left. This comes as no surprise as when I was walking around I saw many people who were simply there to see the spectacle, not actually support Trump. There was of course a large contingent of supporters there, most of whom got in early.

The protesters at their designated spot had many signs and cheered as people honked going by. It's too bad they were not seen by more people waiting to get in. Some people discussed ideology and recent events. As I mentioned to one protester, a dialogue is more important than epithets.

Many people are talking about the group of students led out of the rally before it started. I saw these students in line. They were all dressed in black and in my opinion were certainly there to make a statement. Unfortunately it was a private event and they can eject anyone they want, or not let them in, like me!

Much of the town just stayed away and wanted nothing to do with the event or the traffic snarl. Classes were even cancelled for some students. This event disrupted the entire city!

I am very curious to see how Super Tuesday goes. More photos to come later.

EDIT: I was going to do another post with more photos but I decided to add the last few here:

As an aside, these images were taken with either my Linhof MT and 150mm f/2.8 Xenotar or Pentax 67II and 55-100mm f/4.5 lens. 4x5 images were either HP5+ dev'd in Acufine or Portra 400, while 6x7 images were Tri-X dev'd in SPUR HRX or Fuji NPH-400.