Monday, July 12, 2021

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #34: Keep Your Camera Happy - Get It Serviced!


The Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast is back with a show about an important part of film photography. We may not want to think about it, and we certainly do not like spending the money for it, but the fact of the matter is that our cameras have to be serviced if we want them to keep on making the photographs we love. 

A recent check of my collection of cameras reveals a sobering fact:  They all are vintage, which is a nice way of saying "old." Not a single one of my film cameras are less than twenty-five years old. My Rolleicord Va was made the year I was born (believe me, it's old!) And my newly-acquired Leica iiia, the oldest camera I own, is seventy-five years old. Should I really be surprised that the first roll I shot with it was mostly ruined by shutter problems?

Ugh! Shutter cupping. Time for a CLA (Clean-Lubricate-Adjuct)

Fortunately, most of the problems our vintage cameras have can be corrected with servicing by a qualified professional camera technician. We may be reluctant to spend $100 on a camera we bought for $50, and someone will always say, "you can just replace it instead of getting it fixed." However, with a finite inventory of film cameras in the world, and a growing number of film photographers, we will need every film camera we can get to meet the demand. Since we paid a fraction of the original price for our film cameras (in most cases), why not spend some cash on getting?keeping them in top condition, so that we can obtain the best results from them that they are capable of. I think it's worth the money, and the more we can do to keep our limited number of qualified camera technicians in business, the better.

One of the few good frame from the first roll from my Leica iiia.
This camera, like most of my cameras, is definitely worth repairing.

 I found out (in a bad way) that there are some camera repairs that are best left to a professional. Nevertheless, I have been successful in replacing seals and mirror bumpers in several of my SLRs. Additionally, I have used specialized tools to repair bent filter rings and clean haze and fungus in lenses. Fortunately, YouTube is an indispensable help in "amateur" camera repair. One of the best of these the Fix Old Cameras channel, which has been very helpful to me. I highly recommend it.

With my limited repair skills (and the right tools,)
 I was able to clean my Industar 22 50mm f3.5 lens . . . 

 . . . and get some very nice results from it!

My bent filter ring repair tool . . .

. . . and a scanner wrench like this is essential for 
repairing most old cameras.

We here at Uncle Jonesy's Cameras love to hear from our listeners, so in our last segment, I read some very nice emails from three of our listeners. You, too can email us at unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com (you can even send us a voice memo to play on the air. You also can find us on Facebook and Instagram (@ujcpodcast).

Thanks for listening, and Happy Shooting!

Here is a list of camera technicians with whom I have had positive experiences. Due to a brain freeze while recording the podcast, I forgot to mention Oleg Khalyavin, who performed an amazing job putting my Zorki 4 back into top condition. I put Youxin Ye on the list, because that is where my Leica iiia is headed for repair. I will report back on my experience.

Garry's Camera Repair:  http://www.garryscamera.com

Chicago Camera Specialists:  https://www.chicagocameraspecialists.com

YYeCamera (Youxin Ye):  http://www.yyecamera.com

Mark Hama:  http://www.markhama.com

Oleg Khalyavin Photocameras (all things Russian cameras):  http://okvintagecamera.com

Lens filter ring repair tool

Spanner wrench

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #33: Purple Pleasures, Leica Treasures, and Improvement Measures


Let's get some purple pictures!
Shutter Brother Kevin here, and I'm back with a brand new show. I begin the show with review of Lomography's Lomochrome Purple XR film. Lomochrome Purple XR is a color negative film that is inspirited by a rare color infrared slide film form Kodak called Ektachrome EIR, which goes by the popular name, "Aerochrome." Because Aerochrome is no longer made, and the remaining stock is highly valued by art photographers, Lomography produced Lomochrome Purple, which mimics Aerochrome's dreamy psychedelic color shifts. "Color-Blind Kevin" appreciates that many art-minded film photographers love what it does, but it just may not be my cup of tea (you can see some of my photographs with this roll here.)

Lomochrome Purple XR makes
everything groovy!

Next, I tell a tale that is every film photographer's dream:  Finding a precious camera treasure at a flea market. Once upon a time I owned a Leica ilia, but it was stolen in a home break-in. However, on a recent visit to a parking lot flea market day at a local antique store, I was amazed to find an actual Leica iiia in great shape. The seller quoted me a fair price, and now that camera has a new home!

My flea market Leica.

Finally, we all want to be better photographers, so what is the one thing we all could do to accomplish that? Find out in our latest challenge.

As always, Kelley and I love hearing from our listeners. So, send us an email at unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com or go to either our Facebook or Instagram page and leave a comment. 

Happy Shooting!

"7 Reasons You Should Own a Leica Thread Mount Camera" by Hamish Gill


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Please Purple Me: My Date with Lomochrome Purple XR

Over a year ago I was gifted a roll of Lomography's Lomochrome Purple XR film in 35mm format. Lomochrome Purple XR is what I call a ‘special effects” film, There are other films like this, dubblefilm being one example. There is an element of unpredictability with films like these, and my feelings of uncertainty were the cause of me waiting so long to shoot the roll. However, since I have been photographing flowers a lot lately, I figured that the time to give Lomochrome Purple a test drive.

Lomochrome Purple is a film that is inspired by a legendary film made by Eastman Kodak called Ektachrome Infrared EIR, commonly called Aerochrome. Ektachrome Infrared EIR was a false color transparency film that was sensitive to both visible light and infrared light, and it was used primarily by the government for arial surveillance in the detection of criminal activity in highly vegetated areas. More recently, photographs have used the Aerochrome to create color images that can be described as ‘psychedelic” with wild color shifts involving purple and pink, among other colors. Production of Aerochrome ceased on 2011, and today the film is quite rare and expensive. Now that we are in the throws of the resurgence of film photography there are a lot of photographers who have demanded that Kodak bring Aerochrome back, to no avail so far.

Enter Lomography's Lomochrome Purple XR, a color negative film formulated to mimic the psychedelic color shifts of Aerochrome without actually being an infrared film. Greens and reds are converted to various shade of purple, blue, and pink, with occasional yellows and reds appearing as well. At least that is what the bulk of my search told me. In truth, I had no idea how to shoot this film. Even the ISO is confusing. The box says the film can be shot as 100-400 ISO. So which is it? Generally speaking, I am a “box speed” photographer. And what about lighting? Does Lomochrome Purple XR like full sun or shade? 

One other concern I had is that I am quite afflicted with red/green color blindness. So I wondered if I would even notice, much less appreciate the results of Lomochrome Purple XR. 


It was a bright sunny day when I loaded my Minolta Maxxum 600si with Lomochrome Purple XR, and my wife and I drove to Gibbs Gardens, a private botanical garden that is open to the public. I reasoned that the fields of colorful flowers and full sun would be a good opportunity to put Lomochrome Purple to the test. Uncertain what ISO I should choose, I initially dialed in ISO 400. However, after about six frames, and for reasons I can’t explain, I moved the ISO to 200 and continued shooting. A few days later we were camping by a lake, and I shot frames as the sun set over the water. By weeks end, I finished the roll at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a vintage train station that has been converted to a hotel and entertainment complex. 


Shortly afterward, I developed the roll with my C-41 kit, scanned the negatives, and looked over the resulting images. Initially, I thought the images looked as if they had been shot outdoors on slide film balanced for indoor (tungsten) light. Nearly everything had a bluish cast to it. Of course, I knew that what I was seeing was likely shades of purple, but since my color blindness renders nearly all purples as shades of blue. However, with the help of my wife (who’s had perfect color vision), I began to see shades of pink and lavender mixed in with the occasional red, orange, and even yellow. I found that I actually liked some of the images!

I do have four overall observations:

1. Subjects with multiple colors gave more pleasing results.

2. Lomochrome Purple XR is quite contrasty, and on sunny days the sky will get blown out.

3. Changing the ISO from 400 to 200 after six frames seemed to have no effect exposure nor the special effects of the film.

4. In lower light like near sunset, the images look almost devoid of color altogether.


Will I shoot Lomochrome Purple XR again? Probably not. But that’s not to say that you wouldn’t like it. It simply doesn’t fit into my current workflow, given my color blindness and the fact that I like to pre-visualize a photo and control as many variables as I can to get the intended result. However, if I were shooting for a project for which dramatic color shifts would be appropriate (like an album cover, for example), I certainly would put it to good use.  But for now, this first date with Lomochrome Purple XR is as far as we are going to get.









Friday, May 7, 2021

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #32: A Converstation with Mario Piper

Todays UJC show features a conversation with photographer and podcaster Mario Piper. I first became aware of Mario's photography when I discovered his podcast, Gen-X Photography, and I am delighted to have him on the show. Over the course of our hour-long conversation, Mario relates how he first became interested in photography and began using digital cameras before finding his photographic voice with film photography. Unable to contain his excitement over what he was learning and experiencing along the way, Mario began putting his thoughts into a podcast that I have enjoyed very much. Through his use of expired film, he has produced intriguing images that have an "other-worldly" beauty and expression. Since we all are on a journey regarding our photography, I think you will quite enjoy our talk, and you will want to check out his work as well.

You can find Mario on Instagram at @mariopiper and also on Flickr here.

As always, we would love to hear from our beloved listeners, and you can reach us at unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com (text and voice memos are welcome). Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well.

Here are some of Mario's favorite photographs, all made with his Minolta SR-T101 and a variety of Minolta Rokkor lenses. The captions are his.

Lomochrome Metropolis, double exposure, C41. Probably my favorite photo I’ve taken on film thus far.

Kodak 2254 ISO 1.6. Standard C41.

Kodacolor X, expired early 1970’s. Was to be developed in C22 chemicals.
I used stand developing in 
C41 chemicals for 50 minutes at 68ยบ F.

Kodak 2254. A walk in the woods. Developed standard C41.

Kodak 2254, double exposure including my cat. Developed standard C41.











Thursday, April 29, 2021

Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #31: A Conversation with Earth Sun Film's Jerome Carter



My recent discovery of the Earth Sun Film blog has resulted in not only many happy hours of reading, but also some valuable inspiration with regard to my photography, as detailed in my previous blog post. In show #31 I had the fine pleasure of having a conversation with the author of Earth Sun film, Jerome Carter. In the course of our chat, Jerome explained how he began a serious pursuit of film photography as a means to making better photographs of his flower garden endeavors, how he came to create the Earth Sun Film blog, how gardening and photography has changed his life, and how he came to use Minolta cameras and appreciate the story of the Minolta company. I think you will find his story compelling as well as inspiring, and if you are a user of Minolta gear, you are in for a treat.

Please check out Jerome's blog, Earth Sun Film. Naturally, I enjoyed the posts on his journey into film photography and his Minolta love. However, even if you care little for gardening, I believe you will enjoy reading the stories he tells as well as seeing his photography work. 

As always, we here at Uncle Jonesy's Cameras would love to hear from you, so send us an email at unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com. You also can find us on Facebook and Instagram

Happy Shooting!


Friday, April 23, 2021

Borrowed Gardens Project #1: I Am Not a Gardener

Dogwood Tree, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Minolta X-570, Rokkor MD 50mm f1.7, Kodak Color Plus

Today's post is the first of an ongoing series I am planning throughout the year and the beginning of a new project (you know who you are, project-oriented people). This ongoing project will combine my love of photography and my love of . . . 

I was going to say "my love of gardening," but truth compels me to say that . . . I am not a gardener.

Ok, I have done scant bits of gardening in the past. In fact, every spring my wife, Debbie, and I would journey to Lowe's and bring home yard supplies like mulch, week killer, lawn feed, and some colorful flowers to plant in the various flower beds and planters around our house. I happily watered and weeded our plantings, and the bright colors would bring us happiness throughout the long hot north Georgia summer. Nevertheless, the rest of the lawn was a major chore, and it was all done knowing that, no matter how much work and money I invested in it, by July I would be mowing and trimming crabgrass instead of fescue. 

Honeysuckle along the Tennessee Riverpark, Chattanooga
Minolta Maxxum 600si, Minolta AF 50mm f1.7, Kodak Ultramax 400.

When Debbie and I moved to our one bedroom condo in downtown Chattanooga in October of 2019, lawn work was one of the things I was most thankful to be rid of. Besides, our proximity to the riverwalk, numerous parks, and landscaped public buildings meant that we plenty of gardens to explore and enjoy, and straightway we began to do so. And as we did, I discovered that I loved flower gardens more than I had ever realized before! Here were places of great beauty, artfulness, mindfulness, and peace. I wanted to capture those experiences, and it wasn't long before the possibilities of photography began to swirl in my brain.

Golden Ragwort near my condo.
Minolta Maxxum 600si, Minolta AF 50mm f1.7, Kodak Ultramax 400.

Coincidentally, I had just discovered a new blog, Earth, Sun, Film, by Jerome Carter (I discuss my high regard for this blog in the Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast #30). Mr. Carter is a gardening enthusiast, having abandoned his failing front lawn and replaced it with a flower garden in 2014. Initially, he used his iPhone to document the progress (and failures) of his garden, but in early 2019 he purchased a film camera (a Minolta Maxxum 7000i) so that he could blur backgrounds and do other things his iPhone could not do. Since then, Mr. Carter has pursued his gardening and photography passions and recorded his learning in his blog. Since I am a sucker for blogs that will teach me something, I was immediately hooked. Of course, his choice of Minolta resonated with me as well. Obviously, he had good taste in cameras.

As I read through the posts in Earth, Sun, Film, I saw not only the progress Mr. Carter was making in his photography, but also I became a kind of "student" in his classroom. I paid attention as he carefully explained what he had learned from the many books he had read, classes he had taken, and the many hours of practice he put in with his cameras. I realized that I, too, wanted to make photographs of flower gardens in an effort to capture the peaceful moments spent there. But while Mr. Carter had his own garden to photograph, I have no garden nor a place to plant one. 

Golden Ragwort and Vinca, Townsend (Tennessee) Riverwalk and Arboretum 
Minolta Maxxum 600si, Minolta AF 50mm f1.7, Kodak Ultramax 400.

That's when the idea of "borrowed gardens" popped into my head. I didn't have to "own" a garden. I have gardens all around me. Every spring the Bradford pear trees and the redbud trees are the first to bloom. Then come the dogwoods, and cherry trees. Daffodil, tulips, and iris put on a show of color. Other flowers are planted by landscapers of the condo buildings which continue to be build all around us. Debbie and I even have memberships in commercial "gardens" like Rock City Gardens and Gibbs Gardens, just so we can stroll peacefully through a garden without having to plant one ourselves. Why not photograph them as if they were ours? I’ll just "borrow" them, thank you.

Live Oak, Spanish Moss, and Azalea, Jekyll Island, Georgia 
Minolta X-570, Rokkor MD 50mm f1.7, Kodak Color Plus

And so today I introduce my new project, the Borrowed Gardens Project. For this project, I will be attempting to capture the beauty, artfulness, mindfulness, and peace of gardens that belong to someone else, like the colorful plantings of the expensive townhouses along the Tennessee Riverwalk, just a short walk from our condo, or the landscaping surrounding the county courthouse, or the walking trail along the Little River in Townsend, Tennessee, that is cared for by the local garden club. Even a springtime blooming tree like the many dogwood trees in Chattanooga or the ubiquitous azaleas on Jekyll Island will become opportunities to practice composition, exposure, and focusing skills. I will even take the time to research the flowers and learn their names (Debbie is a big help with this). Hopefully, I will have pretty photographs of flowers post online and to print and give away to friends and neighbors in my condo building. And along the way I will become a better photographer. At least that is the idea. 

All photographs were developed by me at Safelight District Community Darkroom in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Fringe Tree near my condo.
Minolta Maxxum 600si, Minolta AF 50mm f1.7, Kodak Ultramax 400.



Monday, April 12, 2021

One Negative - Thirty-Nine Years

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia, December 1982. The original print, made in early 1983, is
on the right. The print on the left was made in April of 2021. 

If you have been shooting film as long as I have, you will remember getting your prints back from the photo lab in two-pocket envelopes, one pocket for the prints and one pocket for the negatives. The prints would be added to photo albums, stuck to refrigerators, passed around, given or mailed to family members and friends, and then stored in boxes or even the envelope in which they came. But what about the negatives? Unless used to make reprints, the negatives rarely left the envelope. Over time, the negatives began to take up more and more space, and I now wonder how many people simply threw out the negatives in the belief that they would no longer be needed. 

I am glad to say that I still have most, if not all of our negatives, and recently I had a chance to reconnect with a thirty-nine year old negative that I shot on Jekyll Island, Georgia, in late December of 1982. Here is the backstory:

During the week after Christmas, 1982, my parents took me, Kelley, and our younger brother, Mike, to Jekyll Island for a week. We stayed in a rented house near the beach, and the idea was that this might be the last "family" vacation for the five of us. Kelley and I had left our teaching jobs to continue our education, and Mike had just entered college the previous fall. We all were going in different directions, so it was good to have this time together, especially in such a magical place. We took lots of walks around the island, and I took lots of photos (Kodachrome slides in my Minolta XG-1 and Kodak Tri-X 400 in my Minolta SR-T 201). One of those took us to the northern tip where the beach erosion had creating a moody but magnificent landscape called Driftwood Beach. Dying live oak trees jut skyward in bizarre directions as the surf constantly berates and eventually brings them down as driftwood scattered on the sand. On this particular day, the sky was overcast with rain eminent, and I was glad that I had 400 ISO film in my camera. As I walked the beach, I saw a single dead live oak tree with most of its branches missing and its roots exposed above the sand. The tree appeared to be pointing to a healthy tree farther down the beach, but the pounding surf may soon reach it as well. It is as if the dead tree is predicting the future of the healthy tree. I raised my camera to my eye and framed a shot of the dead tree with the healthy tree in the distance. 

This film was in my camera the day I shot frame #20 that day on
Driftwood Beach, in late December, 1982. 

At that particular time, I was attending a small bible college in southwest Atlanta. I shot black and white photos for the college yearbook and developed and printed the photos in the small darkroom on campus. It was my first experience making prints in an actual darkroom, and although I didn't really know what I was doing, I loved it. I was allowed to develop and print as much of my own photographs as I wanted, and I still have some of those prints today, like the Driftwood Beach, 1982 print that hangs on the wall of my condo today. I remember how pleased I was that I could make something so beautiful (to me) completely by myself. 

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia, March 2021.
Minolta Maxxum 7000, with Minolta AF 35-105mm
f3.5-4.5 zoom lens, on Kodak Tri-X 400 film. Printed 
at Safelight Community Darkroom.

Fast forward thirty-nine years. My wife, Debbie, and I have made two recent visits to Jekyll Island already this year. Our walks along Driftwood Beach were just as magical as it was for me in 1982, and I happily shot a number of frames (also on Tri-X 400). Of course, the beach is constantly changing as nature does its work, but once a photography is made, time is frozen. I began to think about that shot I made thirty-nine years ago, and it hit me:  I should try to make a new print of the old negative and see what it tells me. On a recent trip to our community darkroom, Safelight District (Chattanooga, Tennessee), I removed the negative from the sleeve where it had resided for almost four decades and began the printmaking process. My goal was not to make an exact copy of the original 1982 print but to "reinterpret" it in light of new skills I have acquired since returning to the darkroom just over a year ago. I routinely use a technique called Split Grade Printing to bring out details in the shadows while holding the right amount of highlight details and overall contrast. The resulting print looks a bit brighter, but I quite like it. While not perfect, I think it captures the mystery and wonder of the moment in my memory, as photography does.

Takeaways? Obviously, keep your negatives in a safe place. After all, it was that film that was "touched" by the light that came from your subject. The negative represents the closest you can get to the moment that was captured. It was there. Beyond that, I am happy that I can see growth (albeit small) in my printing technique. I've only ever worked in two darkrooms with a gap of thirty-four years in between, so there is much to be learned on my way to my goal of becoming a "master" printer, if that even is possible for me. However, it is my goal as I keep shooting, developing, printing, reading, and asking questions of experienced photographers. Finally, I am reminded of the essence of photography:  the preservation of an instant of light. Photography makes the temporary permanent. I have a strip of celluloid in a plastic sleeve and a silver gelatin print on the wall to prove it.

Sunrise on Jekyll Island, December, 1982. A Kodachrome taken with my Minolta XG-1.
Great colors, if not a great composition.

Walking Path Along the Salt Marsh, Jekyll Island, Georgia, December, 1982. Another Kodachrome 
from my Minolta XG-1. The lens for these color shots was the Rokkor-X 45mm f2.