Recently I picked up a Leica, but one of the much older ones. The, Leica IIIF, which is also called a Barnack after its designer. These are the cameras that came out before the M series and really put the 35mm on the map.
It is extremely well built and to me works phenomenally. It slows you down a bit in a few ways, but mainly because the finder and the range finder are separate. This means you have to focus with one view and then compose with the other window. I thought it was going to be super clunky and cumbersome, but it was just a curiosity at first. Now, I'm rather comfortable with it.
In the last few weeks I've shot several rolls through the camera to make sure it works well and also trying out a couple lenses. So far, it has been a wonderful experience.
I wanted to share a few photos I took with it. It is meant to pair with a 50mm lens, which is a focal length I really enjoy.
Most of these were taken with Kodak Trix 400, or Ilford Hp5.
So as often happens to photographers once you get on a roll you keep rolling on.
I picked up a nice Nikon after the Pentax K-1000 and soon after was curious about medium format. Venturing into the vintage market I found that some Medium Format cameras weren't really out of reach financially. I read and looked at many youtube videos on the subject and found that TLR's would be a great way to get into medium format. Most don't have meters and many of them are similar to the expensive models, but without the premium price tag, and were rated well. Note that most TLRs shoot in a 6x6 format so that was also why I was curious to try it out.
So, I looked around for a Yashica camera, from Japan, and found one that seemed to be in good condition. It was a whole new thing for me. The wait level viewfinder is very cool, the knobs in all different places and seeing your scene inverted left to right was all fun, and scary. I must admit that I still need a lot of practice with TLRs in general, but it was very interesting getting the larger film, putting it in correctly and then trying to figure out if you were in focus and aligned properly. Once again, something I need to practice a lot more.
But, I told myself, hey I'm a photographer I'm sure I can figure it out and started taking a few photos. Then had to find a lab to develop them and of course waiting patiently to get the film back. Also, I wanted to do this sooner than later to see if the camera was in good working order as its tough to tell from just looking at it.
Please check out some of my first attempts. No editing involved in any of them and I clearly need to work on exposure, framing and focusing properly.
That's my son Alex!
I forgot that this one below I had cropped to normal dimensions.
And another cropped one.
A couple quick things I noticed is that I should not have been trying to use the lens wide open or near to. The depth of field gets super shallow and it gets easier to miss focus as you can see from my examples. But, I really like the detail and the color in these photos. I believe I was using Portra 160 for these. For a light meter I used a free app on my phone to help me out as well.
Have you used the Yashica D or any other TLR?
Shortly after my first outing with my Pentax K-1000 I remembered I was given an old Nikon from my dad and a old Canonet from my aunt. And I found there was a box of film in with the Canon. It was a common Kodak film. Thinking about the cost of film I decided to try out this film which was long expired. I figured the photos would either come out really poorly or maybe I'd get a decent one in there.
On this occasion I headed to Mt. Wachusett in Westminster. There are a few decent trails there and a nice plateau at the top where you can see a decent part of the state. You do have to be careful if its rainy or wet in any way as much of the way you are walking up rocks and steps made of stone.
As always I was just happy to be getting out and taking some photos. If I remember correctly I took my Fuji camera with me as well, but I was way more interested in seeing these results.
Now although these didn't turn out well at all, and there were many that were way worse, it was an interesting experience seeing them. They do have that grainy film look and at least I was able to work on my composition a little. Also, I noticed that it would be much harder, on film, to shoot close to wide open which I was very accustomed to.
This led me to start looking for a camera that would be more ideal for precise focusing. And I also realized that opening the aperture more is really fun.
Follow the blog to see what I tried out next.
So, when I decided to start getting into film I was excited to look around for a camera to use. Yes, I enjoy gear, so fun!
I looked online and saw everyone talking up the Pentax K-1000 as a solid camera with all the basics covered to get into film photography. Now, I had shot some film back in high school, but that was so long ago and honestly didn't remember much about it.
But, I knew that my general skills in photography, and shooting in manual would really help me with this transition.
The camera is very basic, which I found I really enjoyed. Aperture on the lens, shutter and ISO on the body and a very simple light meter. There is no kind of focus assist other than using your eyes as you focus. It was a little scary having much less things to help you get the right exposure, but it was exciting nonetheless. I will attest that the camera is solid, great ergonomics and has a nice viewfinder. I 100% recommend it for beginners. Most can be found with a 50mm lens for around $80-$100 depending on condition.
So I went on Facebook marketplace and found one in good condition, got a battery (for the light meter) and some film. Don't think I've shot with Ultramax 400 after this outing, but I'll definitely use it again for nature walks as I like the color rendering.
Please enjoy some of my first film photos. Most of these were taken at the Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA.
Let me tell you how nervous I was taking them to not make major mistakes and also when waiting to have them developed. When you start taking photos the frames go by quick versus digital and I was very aware of that.
Although the photos aren't groundbreaking I really enjoyed the results and the look of film.
These were all shot in late December of last year. The winter has finally ended so I'm even more excited now as I have more gear, (which I'll discuss on another blog post) and pumped to get back out there with snow on the ground.
Do you use this film as well or the Pentax K-1000?
This past month I've been really thinking about my photography and where I'd like to go from here as I've retired from covering weddings. Its a big change for me and I'm also cutting back a lot on promoting portrait sessions as well.
I've been really thinking hard about where my photograph interest began and how my path deviated a long time ago. Its very easy to get into photography and once you feel like you're good, or others tell you that you're good, to want to start booking jobs. Many photographers will tell go for it and the money is there and how fun it can be. Most of this is true, but at the same time you need to do what you enjoy. Sometimes you discover something amazing and other times you just learn and improve. There is no need or requirement to make money from your hobby. It is nice to be able recover some of the money spent to help you continue, but that is not the only path.
Having done many years of wedding and portraits I do see them as great experiences and amazing days full of fun and love. I was able to visit many different venues in and out of state and capture beauty.
But, I realized after a while that my true passion was to discover my own photos my own way. I like to check out new places and document as I saw them. And in addition that I enjoy sharing that with others. On my old website I would post almost weekly about an outing that I did in detail and sharing several photos. I found that I really enjoyed doing that.
So, I've since changed up my website and my direction.
These are a few of the main changes:
1. Most of my blog posts will be related to photography based topics. Maybe I'll talk about a location, or gear, or things I've learned.
2. I've removed pricing for weddings and portraits. I really want to focus on my own personal projects. I am for hire if you're interested, but they will be upon request only.
3. You're going to see a lot more film photos on my site. (check out the next post!)
4. You're invited to tag along on my journey as I continue taking photos, learning, improving and exploring. You won't see posts that are just photos.