Tuesday, May 7, 2019

UJC #15: Filters in the Camera Bag

The Shutter Brothers are here once again to give you a dose of film photography inspiration and education. Do you have filters in your camera bag that you don't know how to use? Was there a filter on the lens of that camera you just came home recently? Chances are that you have one of several filters that some folks simply leave on their lens all the time, but what do they do? Kevin does a deep dive into UV, UV Haze, and UV Skylight filters that, while they may project your lens from dirt and damage, they also have specific purposes that could help you make better photographs in certain conditions.
Next, Kelley introduces us to a great book on American Civil War photography, War Photographs Taken on the Battlefield of the Civil War by Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner. Many of you will recognize the names of Brady and Gardner as well-known Civil War photographers, and this book puts much of their work in one very nice volume. Their photographs are, of course of of the wet plate variety, and the quality of the work is amazing, especially giving the conditions in which they were made. The book can be purchased online here.
Kelley continues with a camera, the Canon T70 SLR, which was Canon's entry into the automated yet fully manual 35mm camera market. The camera utilizes various program and automatic exposure modes, a built-in spot meter, a motor drive and has a large, bright viewfinder. Like many cameras of its era, it completely relies on battery power to work. Without batteries, the camera will not power up. Canon T70's are plentiful and relatively inexpensive, so if you come across one, consider giving it a try.
Finally, the Shutter Brothers answer some great questions from listeners about non-photographic accessories, influential photographers, and those missed photographic opportunities.
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Happy Shooting!

Friday, April 19, 2019

UJC #14: To Flash or Not to Flash - That is the Quest!

The Shutter Brothers are back (with new theme music!) with some really "bright" ideas about how to use flash. Kelley draws upon his experience as a part-time wedding photographer to explain the different kinds of flash units out there and how they can be used to improve your flash photography. You'll want to go grab your camera and flash and follow along as Kelley discusses the difference between manual, automatic, and dedicated flash units, and how to get the best from the particular flash you have. Also, we'll learn about bounce flash and night time flash portraits. Prepare to be illuminated (sorry, couldn't resist.)

While we all will face situations where we really need to use flash to light our subjects, there are situations where we all wish we could shoot without flash. Kevin has been wanting to be able to photograph teachers and students doing what they do daily in the classrooms of the elementary school where he teaches music. While he could have ordered some high speed color negative film (Kodak Portra 800 or Lomography 800, for example), he decided to use the film he had on hand (Kodak ColorPlus 200) make it work as if it was ISO 800 by using a process called "pushing." This allowed him to photograph students and teachers with less distractions, and the results were quite good. Listen as Kevin explains how the shooting and developing process works when pushing color negative film.

The UJC Podcast can be heard on all of your favorite podcast sources, or you can find the feed here. We'd love for you to subscribe so that you will never miss a show.

As always, we love to hear from our listeners. You can send us your questions, comments, and tips in the form of an email or voice memo to unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com. We also are on Facebook @UJCPodcast, and you can reach us there with your questions and comments as well as post your own photography. Finally, we have an Instagram page @UJCPodcast, where you can comment as well.

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pushing It in Color: Part Two

In part one of this post, I discussed how I intended to push Kodak ColorPlus 200 two stops to EI800, so that I could take make photos in the classrooms of the school where I teach without using flash. As one can imagine, using a flash unit in a classroom with a teacher working hard to keep the focus of a roomful of students can present a problem. The first step was to measure the available light in the classrooms. Using a handheld incident light meter (a light meter that measures the amount of light falling on the subject, rather than the amount of light the subject is reflecting back to the camera), I was able to determine my exposure and simply focus and shoot without causing too much of a distraction.

I developed the negatives using the Unicolor C-41 kit, following the instructions for a two-stop push by extending developing time by 1.5. When the negatives came out of the tank, I could see distinct images that looked quite normal, and breathed a sigh of relief. After scanning, I think I can call this experiment a success. nearly all of the photographs were useable with little or no post processing. I also was surprised that there were no noticeable color shifts. I think the reason for this was that our classrooms are extremely well-lit by fluorescent lights, and the color balance of fluorescent lighting is closer to daylight than incandescent lighting, which would have shifted the colors to the warm side. If I were to try this technique at home, I probably would have to use some software color correcting, which (being colorblind, I do not feel confident doing. 

I'd love to share with you all of the photos, but since they involve children who are students, I can only share a few that don't show their faces. The ones I can't post are my favorites, as they are candid looks at our students and teachers hard at work. Nearly all of them will be published in our yearbook.

I definitely will shoot this way again. However, next time I will try an SLR camera so I can use a longer lens. This will allow me to position myself back away from the action to a place where I would be less conspicuous. But since an SLR will make more noise than the rangefinder I used this time, I will need to choose the SLR that makes the least amount of noise. Hmm. I see another experiment here. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Pushing It In Color: Part One

By Kevin Lane

As many of you know, I like to use my film cameras at the elementary school where I teach to shoot photos for the school yearbook. It's fun for me to use my vintage cameras, but also it gives me chances to practice my shooting technique. I convinced the other members of the yearbook team to purchase a quantity of inexpensive Kodak ColorPlus 200 film for me to use, so that I wouldn't have to spend my own money. In return I try to make sure they get all the photographs they need.

As for cameras, I mostly have been using my Minolta Maxxum 7000, which was the first autofocus SLR that had the autofocus mechanism in the camera body and not the lens. The 7000 is an excellent camera, but because it was a "1st generation" autofocus camera, the autofocus is quite slow and easily confused. Still I like using it for photography children, whose movements can be unpredictable. When I need a flash (which I need a lot inside a school building) I use the powerful Minolta 4000 AF. The children always have the same reaction to the flash ("whoa!!!"), because otherwise the only "flash" they see is on a cell phone.

When I am photographing in a classroom, I worry that the brightness of the flash and the sound of the shutter and auto winder will result in me becoming a distraction for the students and the teacher. So, I began to think about ways I could shoot without flash. I knew of two high speed color films, Kodak Portra 800 and Lomography Color Negative 800, but since I already had some film on hand at the school, I decided to look into pushing the ColorPlus 200.

As you probably know, "pushing" is the practice of I did some research online and found examples of ColorPlus 200 being pushed two stops and more, and the results were better than I expected. But how much pushing would I need to shoot in my school's classrooms? To answer that question, I employed a recently acquired Minolta Autometer IIIF (thank you Wayne Setser!). This handheld light meter fills a big void in my gear:  an incident light meter that, as such, measures the light falling on the subject, rather than the light the subject reflects (as all in-camera light meters do).  If you know the amount of available light in a room, then you can make choices as to ISO, shutter speed, and aperture accordingly.  Using the Autometer IIF, I determined two things:  First, our classrooms are very well-lit with the light being uniform in every classroom I tested, and second, I could freely shoot at f4 at 1/60 of a second if my ISO was 800, which would be a two-stop push for ColorPlus 200.

My next step was to choose a camera. The Maxxum 7000 already had ColorPlus in it, but it was being shot at EI 200. And when you put the autofocus mechanism together with the mirror slap and the autowinder, you've got quite a noise maker. No, this was a job for a manual rangefinder camera with a quite leaf shutter, and so I chose to use my newly cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted Minolta 7s.
It's sharp 45mm lens would work just fine in classroom environments, and no one would ever know when I snapped a photo. Because I already knew my exposure settings, I would not need the cameras on-board light meter.

So, I have pre-set my exposure to f4 at 1/60 of a second, and I am shooting away. Of course the students know I'm in the room, but the Minolta 7s does not draw attention to itself. After a few minutes, I concentrate on capturing good photographs; it's quite fun!

After I have finished a couple of rolls, it will be time to develop the film and see if this pushing thing really works. To do that properly, I must extend my developing time to compensate for the film's two-stop underexposure. Fortunately, the Unicolor C-41 kit that I use has clear instructions for push-processing. For a two-stop push, I will need to extend my developing time by a factor of 1.5. So, if these rolls were the first rolls to be developed with this kit, my developing time would be 3.5 minutes times 1.5, or 5.25 minutes (which works out to 5:15). Since these rolls will be the 7th and 8th rolls on this kit, I will extend the time even more.*

I will publish Part Two of this article as soon as I have photographs to show from these push rolls of ColorPlus. I really am hoping this works, as I would like to be free of my flash when shooting at school.

Happy Shooting!

* To account for the gradual depletion of the C-41 developer, I use this formula to calculate my developing time:  140 / (40-n) = developing time, where n = the number of rolls previously processed with your C-41 kit. For example, my current kit has processed six rolls, so the formula for my next roll(s) will be 140 / 34 = 4.12, which works out in minutes and seconds to 4:07 developing time. However, since my next roll(s) will be push processed two stops, I will extend the developing time as follows:  4.12 x 1.5 = 6.18, which works out to 6:11.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Strategies for Savannah

First of all, I hope you enjoyed our little April Fools Day joke. The Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast is alive and well.

Now for the real reason for this post:  I love Savannah, Georgia. Pure and simple, Savannah is my favorite city that I have actually ever visited. I've been visiting Savannah for at least thirty-five years, and I never tire being there. So, when my wife, Debbie, and I plan a trip to Savannah, it's a big deal. And yet, we actually do very little planning. A typical trip to Savannah goes like this:  We arrive at our place of lodging, which is always in the historic district; we park the car and check in; and we don't drive the car again until it's time to leave for home. All of the time in between is spend on foot, because Savannah is best experienced on foot.

Savannah was founded in 1733 by Gen. James Olgethorpe as the first city of the new colony of Georgia. The original design of the city was laid out by Olgethorpe himself based on the 18th century English towns that he knew. The most noticeable feature of Olgethorpe's design were the twenty-four squares that were laid out in the original city plan, twenty-two of which remain today. Strolling through the streets and squares of Savannah becomes a trip through architectural time, which structures dating from the mid 1700's to the early 1900's. All year long, but especially in the spring with the azaleas and the dogwoods are blooming, Savannah certainly is one of the most beautiful cities on earth and a perfect place for photography.

The last time Debbie and I were in Savannah was for a few days right after Christmas, and of course, I brought cameras and film. In fact, this was going to be my first extended Savannah visit since my return to film photography in the spring of 2017. However, my approach for this trip leaned heavily toward the experimental side, as I decided to use two recently-acquired rangefinders, a Canon Canonet 28 and a Zorki 1c, and some new-to-me film, Kosmo Foto Mono. What happened next was a reminder of how unwise it is to take such chances with camera and film choices when one an important trip. I had not tested the Zorki before, and every shot showed evidence of pinholes in the shutter curtain. The Canonet had been tested before, the the roll of Kosmo Foot Mono in it was defective with lots of spotting on the emulsion (This is no knock against Kosmo Foot Mono, as subsequent rolls have produced great results. I will be shooting lots of this film in the future.) The bottom line was that I ended up with no useable photos from this trip.

This time it will be different. I am shooting my reliable Nikon FE and Nikon FM2n most of the time. The FM2n will have my first rolls of Kodak Ektachrome E100 in it, as color slide film will be the perfect choice for the colors of spring in Savannah. This will be the first time I have used this recently re-introduced film, but because of my many years of shooting Kodachrome, it seems like meeting up with an old friend. The FE will be loaded with Kodak's TMax P3200 for nighttime shooting in Savannah's city streets and music venues. And there will be a third camera to call upon when/if needed:  my Minolta 7s rangefinder (recently CLA'd), which will have some hand-rolled Ultrafine Extreme 100 loaded.

Once I have everything processed, I will publish some of my results here in a future post. Until then, it's on to Savannah!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Announcing the formation of the Classic Film Negatives Sunny Lensless Studio Podcast

Dear listeners,

Film photography podcasts have exploded in number and we, the undisputed, established names in this niche have decided it is time to take action. The collective burden of generating fresh, creative content week-on-week in order to satiate the community lust for "all things analog" is not sustainable. We are putting our hands up to say yes, we have occasionally scraped the bottom of the barrel for content and should, no, must be better (getting EM and Hamish on should be red flags to you all by now).

In March 2019 we our leadership came together to debate how we could collaborate in the interests of our listenership and the wider film and analog photography community. After heated deliberation, we settled on a single and universally effective solution:

We should create a monopoly.

Starting April 2019, our individual podcasts will be merging into a single community mammoth: The Classic Film Negatives Sunny Lensless Studio Podcast (CFNSLSP). A single podcast with over a dozen hosts and a new episode nearly every single day of the week will be providing you with:

Camera reviews, classic lens reviews, industry insight, chatter, interviews and competitions ...to name a few. Understanding that photography is not everything, we will also have special focus events covering adult beverages, classic timepieces and lifestyle tips.

No longer will you need to create playlists for your analogue photography podcast needs. A single voice will be able to provide you with all you need to, or in fact, should know. In the words of Russell Nash, "there can be only one".

Further details to follow. In the interim, please remove yourself from this group and join the newly created "Classic Film Negatives Sunny Lensless Studio Podcast Facebook Group": https://www.facebook.com/groups/CFNSLSP. The first episode will be hosted by the kind folks over at CLP!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal listeners for their patronage and hope to see you join the CFNSLSP family.


Kelley & Kevin Lane
The Shutter Brothers

Friday, March 29, 2019

UJC Podcast #13: I Leica My Zorki!

Spring is here! Time for the Shutter Brothers to load some Ektachrome and capture all the colors of the season. So Kelley and Kevin Lane decided to put their thoughts about spring-appropriate film and cameras into show #13 of the Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast, and you are invited to join in the fun! First, Kevin talks about his adventures with his Zorki 1c, which is a Soviet-made copy of a Leica ii and what he plans to do about the problem of shutter curtain pinhole light leaks. Also, Kevin has just acquired a light box for viewing his negatives, the Zecti A4 LED Light Box. It's a very thin tablet-like USB-powered light table perfect for using the FilmLab app to make quick negative scans.

Next, Kelley talks about a really cool SLR, the Yashica FX-3 Super 2000, which would be the perfect student camera - if you can get one for a good price. The copy Kelley reviews was donated to be used by the fledgling camera club that Kevin is building at the elementary school where he teaches. And speaking of school, Kevin and his wife, Debbie, are celebrating spring break with a trip to one of their favorite cities, Savannah, Georgia. But first, Kevin must decide what cameras and which film to take. Kelley gives him some advice, but he would really love to get some words of listeners from our listeners.

With spring comes March madness, spring training, and graduation. Commencement ceremonies will be held everywhere in just a few weeks, so Kelley leads a discussion on how to capture graduation memories on film or digital. Finally, the Bros answer a listener question about bulk loading film.

You can find the Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast at any of your favorite podcast directories such as iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or you can find it here. Please please please subscribe so you won't miss a show!

We greatly welcome listener feedback, so please consider sending us an email or even voice memo. Our email address is:  unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com. You also can reach us by leaving a
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Happy Shooting!