Photography Decisions for Vacation

 

Yesterday, I packed up the rest of the choices I’d made for the photographic gear I want to take on our trip.  It was a really hard, but choices had to be made.

My first decision was the bag size.  I have back packs and over-the-shoulder bags of varying sizes, along with a sling bag.  I decided on an over-the-shoulder bag, which is roomy, but not large, and is now carrying the following:

  • Nikon V3
  • 1 Nikon 70-300mm
  • 1 Nikon 10-110mm
  • 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm
  • 1 Nikon 10mm
  • 1 Nikon 18.5mm
  • 1 Nikon 32mm
  • Olympus OM-1n
  • Olympus Zuiko 50mm
  • Olympus Zuiko 35-70mm Close Focus
  • 49mm yellow, orange, and UV filters
  • 55mm ND filters

The OM system and the Nikon 1 system were chosen because they are small and lightweight, but deliver good quality.

I am also bringing 12 rolls of 35mm film, in black and white, and in color, ranging in speed.  It’s still a toss-up between the XA4 and the Trip 35, but I am inclined to take the XA4 as it is more diverse, smaller, and has a covered lens.  No medium format camera made it to the final mix.  I may bring a tripod.   I am also packing some art supplies and my Kindle.  Some knitting, too.  Headphones.  Chrome Book.  Plugs and cords and a power strip.  Yeah, stuff.  Clothes, shoes, and a toothbrush!

Old Things, New Things

Film

With film disappearing – and reappearing – it seems the only new cameras for film are made of plastic and don’t cost too much or else are quite expensive.  There is something to be said for both approaches, but the quality of pictures taken with a plastic camera are not as “good” to my eye as are ones made from better quality film cameras, whether old or new.

Lizard Mouth at Sunset Jimson Weed

Of late, I have been enjoying the usage of old folding cameras, made from the 1930s and into the 1950s, which use both 35mm and 120mm film.  Besides the folders, I do have some SLRs, but, those are for discussing another time.  The folders are weird (compared to today’s digital) and definitely slower.  I mean, you have to get the film developed, or do it yourself!  The majority of folding cameras use 120mm film, but 35mm did make its debut in the 1930s, popularized by Leica.

The Road Beyond West

When I become interested in something, I tend to end up with a small collection.  That is what has happened with folding cameras.  I have ones which range from 6×4.5 to 6×6 to 6×9, all in cm, not inches.  They use 120 film, and the results can be great to deplorable, but always interesting.  The 6×6 square format is perhaps the most challenging because the viewfinders are offset and the image – as is for all of these kinds of cameras (non-SLR) – but with a square format, the eye wants to move into the center.

A View at Sundown

Autumn in the Valley

So, here are some images.  I plan on taking some of these cameras up to the Sierra Nevadas next week, along with a digital or two . . .

Prickly Pear

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy all these square images, taken with an early 1950s Perkeo II by Voigtlander, sporting a 75mm Color Skopar f3.5 lens, and Portra 400 film by Kodak.  Post in LR and other critters.

I Forget About My Phone . . .

Usually, I take my cell phone with me, set so I don’t hear it ring. I bring it for emergencies, not because I want to text friends or take calls or listen to spammers or check my email or the stock market. It’s a practical tool. I forget about it unless there is something I want from it. And I forget that it has a respectable camera on it – the Samsung Galaxy 5 is not a slouch of a camera, and I even have VSCO on it as my primary editor. When I want to, I use it.

Yesterday, out on The Trail for the Blind here in town, early in morning, I was wishing I had my camera with me – so many beautiful things to see in the morning sun. And, as I was looking, hands in pockets (it was only 44F!), the answer to my desires appeared in my hand. Rather magical on a magical morning!

Lens

As a birthday present – a bit early – I got the Nikon 32mm f1.2 for the Nikon 1 cameras.  I have the V1.  This lens, equivalent roughly to an 85mm lens, has a separate manual focus element on it, unlike the others in the Nikon 1 series.

Yesterday, I went to a local garden, and took a series of pictures.  Some I used the automatic focusing, on others I used the manual focusing.  I need to figure out how to use it.  The main, point, though, of the excursion was to simply evaluate the lens at f1.2, to check the bokeh, to check the accuracy, and to simply see how it worked.

Follows are some of the shots, with some post-processing, just because that is what I do, but I did very little sharpening because that was the main focal point – observe the depth of field of the lens.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the lens, but there is definitely a time and place for such a wide open f/stop.  Click on the composite picture below, then click again to enlarge it, if you want to see more of the details.

Nikon 32mm f1.2

The Eyes Have It

Josh 85mm +4

Every now and again we set out for several weeks, driving all the way, and stopping at various places to visit family, friends, and see the sights.  This year is a tour of scenic places, and places with character.  Because I want to take some good pictures, I have been going through my lenses and checking them for accuracy in focus.  Of course, some lenses are better than others, and some systems work better than others.

Josh 85mm +3

The Nikon D7000 has the ability to adjust the autofocus in different lenses, and store those manual adjustments in the menu, for up to twelve different lenses.  I have been going through all my autofocus lenses, rather painstakingly, to sort them out.  Only one is really out of kilter, and it could be that I just need to send it in to be refurbished by the manufacturer to factory specifications.  Needless to say, it will not be traveling with me!

Josh 85mm +2

There are a lot of ways to check the focus of a lens, so I won’t get into it here. The final test, though, is on the eyes of my victim.  His left eye is the one I use – don’t ask why, I don’t know!  Once I like what I see in the lens, I record it by naming the picture with the adjustment in the camera, the f/stop, and file it in a calibrations directory.  I’ve heard that lenses should be checked every 6 months or so, and certainly be checked out with any new camera.

50mm 2