Wednesday, July 31, 2019

UJC #18: We Project a Winner!

Who doesn't love vacation photography, especially when you go "old school" like the Shutter Brothers, Kelley and Kevin Lane. Kelley talks about his success with Kodak's new Ektachrome E100 Super 8 movie film, which was a lot of fun to do and even more fun to watch, especially when projected on a screen. Watching his movie is like going back in time - except that it happened just a month ago. The film and processing/scanning are a bit on the expensive side, but the experience is totally cool!

Kelley shot his movies on his Argus/Cosina 708 Super 8 movie camera using Kodak's new Ektachrome E100 super 8 film. After shooting the three-minute roll, Kelley sent his film to the Film Photography Store to have it developed and scanned. Three weeks later, his developed reel of movie arrived along with a video file of the scan. While it certainly can be projected on a screen using a super 8 movie projector, the scans make it possible to post movies online. Keep watching this blog, as Kelley will post an edited version of his vacation movie to our new Uncle Jonesy's Cameras YouTube channel very soon.

Meanwhile, Kevin talks about the fun he has been having shooting slide film on vacation and the even more fun he has been having developing, mounting, and projecting the slides, thanks to a workflow tip from fellow podcaster Andre Domingues of the Negative Positives Film Photography Podcast. With a slide mounter, a supply of empty slide mounts, and a working slide projector, you can make vacation slide shows come alive on the big screen.




The Shutter Bros wrap the show up with a great listener letter and a question about shooting in areas of high humidity.

You can find the Uncle Jonesy's Podcast in your favorite podcast directory or by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

UJC #17: A Good Camera Goes Bad/Let's Make a Movie!

It's summertime, the livin' is easy, and the Shutter Brothers, Kelley and Kevin Lane, are back with a brand new episode of the Uncle Jonesy's Cameras Podcast. After taking the month of June off due to a busy vacation travel schedule, Kevin tells the sad story of how a good camera, his beloved Minolta X-700, went over to the dark side - literally. When he developed the first batch of vacation photos, Kevin found himself staring unbelievably at partially obscured frames like this:


With some help from online photography friends, Kevin learned that the ruined photos were caused by a malfunctioning shutter. You can read more about this problem and how you can help a good camera from going bad by going to Kevin's blog post here.

Next, Kelley introduces us to his newest fascination, and it's a very moving subject indeed:  home movies. While it hasn't been discussed previously by the Shutter Bros, Uncle Jonesy actually had a third camera in his collection, a Bell and Howell 8mm movie camera that he made fine use of while the Bros were kids growing up in Chattanooga. The camera and those home movies are still in Kelley's collection today. Kelley has recently acquired an Argus/Cosina 708 super 8 movie camera and some newly released Kodak Ektachrome super 8 movie film, and he plans to make a movie of his forth-coming beach vacation this month.
Home movies on film are starting to make a comeback of sorts with inexpensive cameras readily available in antique and thrift stores and online and both b&w and color film available from online sellers like the Film Photography Store. Kelley breaks down the different formats, developing and scanning, and the costs involved.

Finally, Kevin gives a big shot out to the fine folks who have donated cameras to be used by his students at Woodstation Elementary School. The Film Photography Project donated eight 35mm point and shoot cameras that will be used by fourth graders to learn film photography basics, and listener Jay Buie recently donated three Nikon N60 SLR's for lucky fifth graders to shoot for the yearbook. Many thanks to both for your generosity!

While we are on the subject of gratitude, we really want to express our most sincerest "thank you" to all our listeners who take the time to download and listen to our podcast. We never dreamed we would reach as many people as we do, and we really hope you all get something from the show. We would love to hear from you, so if you have a comment, question, tip, or story that you would like to share with us and our listeners, please consider sending us an email. You can even record a voice memo on your smart phone and send that to us, if you like. Our email address is unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com. If email is not your thing, then consider going to our Facebook page and making a post or commenting on an existing post. Also, we have an Instagram account as well (@ujcpodcast), and we would love to have you follow us there. Lastly, we hope you will subscribe to our podcast on whatever podcast app you like (we're on pretty much all of them), so that you will not miss any future shows.

Thanks all for now. Happy Shooting!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

When a Good Camera Goes Bad

You try to be a good parent. You set rules and you are there for them whenever they need you. You raise them right and give them second chances. You praise them when they do well. But even then, even after all you have done, sometimes a good one goes bad. And it hurts.

No, I'm not talking about your kids (at least I hope I'm not!) I'm talking about your cameras. The good ones - the ones you thought were safe from turning to the dark side. You've done all you thought you could as an owner, but the day comes when you look at the negatives and it hits you:  This good camera has gone bad. And like I said, as you stare unbelievingly at those hopeless negatives, it hurts. It really hurts.

Ok, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic here. but believe me, you might feel somewhat like this if the negatives your are staring at are negatives from an all-important once-in-a-lifetime family vacation that you thought was getting documented. What's even worse is that you chose to use your vintage film camera because "it's a great camera, and the photos it will make will be more meaningful than what your iPhone can ever do."Yeah, I said that, too. It actually happened to me recently. A good camera went bad.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that my wife, Debbie, and I set out on our much-anticipated road trip west toward Denver, Colorado, where my oldest daughter and her partner live. My younger daughter and her partner, who live in Seattle, were flying in to join us there. Rather than get to Denver as quickly as possible, we decided to take our time, stay off the interstate, and camp along the way. Our route included some places we had always wanted to see, including Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee, the Oklahoma City Memorial, and Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Of course, I carefully selected cameras for this trip, and I decided to go all Minolta with my X-700 and XD-7 SLR's and my 7s rangefinder. The first camera up was my X-700 loaded with Kodak Gold 200. I really like this camera, as it has a very accurate meter and fits well in my hand. It's the very definition of a good camera.
My beloved X-700

What I could not know at the time but would learn later when I viewed the developed negatives, was that it had gone bad - really bad, as you can see here.


Almost half of the frames I shot on two of the three rolls of Kodak Gold 200 I shot in it had the tell-tale signs of a shutter problem. I grabbed the camera, took the lens off, opened the back, and fired the shutter. I could see clearly the shutter lag myself, and I quickly noticed that it only happened at 1/1000 sec. Remembering that I had shot many of these photos in manual mode while using the Sunny f16 rule, I went back to the negatives and saw that, sure enough, nearly all the shots that were made at f8 and 1/1000 sec were affected. Fortunately, it wan't a total disaster, as other shots were fine. Nevertheless, this is exactly what you do not want to happen on an important photography assignment or project.
Reelfoot Lake at Sunset. No shutter problem here.

After posting some details and some photos online, some very helpful fellow film photographers shared their experiences with the same problem and that it can be fixed with proper adjustment. In fact, a very nice photography friend quickly offered to fix it for me. Hopefully, I'll have a working X-700 back in the fold. But I have learned a couple of lessons thought this experience. First, things can go wrong. Cameras or film can fail, and they do not care how important the moments you are trying to capture are. When it is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, don't hesitate to go digital. Second, our vintage film cameras are . . . vintage. They're old! And as such, they will need servicing. While it may cost more money than you originally paid for your vintage film camera, a good CLA (clean-lubricate-adjust) may go a long way toward preventing problems that could lead to losing precious photographs. I like to think of myself as a caretaker for the cameras I own. Proper maintenance can keep a good camera from going bad.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Zealous for My Zorki

My Zorki 1c.
As you may recall, my fellow Shutter Brother, Kelley, gave me a Zorki 1 camera for Christmas last December. In case you do not know, the Zorki 1 is a Russian made copy of a Leica I thread-mount rangefinder. I was quite pleased by this gift, as I had once owned a thread-mount Leica many years ago (it was stolen when my house was broken into in 1994), and as I had recently read a post by Hamish Gill on his 35mmc blog (highly recommended, by the way), I had been hoping to once again own one of these historical wonders.

I say, "once again own one of these historical wonders" quite loosely, because a Zorki 1, while it may closely resemble a Leica ii, reaches nowhere near the same level of quality the camera after which it was copied does. I knew this, of course, but since the costs of all Leica cameras has climbed considerably beyond my reach since 1994, a Russian copy would be the closest I could get to my old Leica iii. Besides, I like taking chances on "underdog" cameras. I figured that, with some perseverance and a little luck, I could make some memorable photographs with this little guy. In other words, I thought it would be fun.

Ugh! Pinholes in the shutter curtain.
However, the fun turned to disappointment when I looked at the scans of my negatives. Every frame had the same little round light leaks that were clearly the result of tiny "pinholes" in the rubberized cloth shutter curtain. Obviously, I could send the camera out for repair, but some internet research turned up a possible cure:  fabric paint. So I purchased a small bottle of black fabric paint and a small artist paintbrush, then I carefully applied several coats of the fabric paint to the shutter curtain. Once it had dried, I fired the shutter repeatedly, and it worked as it should. Now it was time to test the camera again to see if the home repair worked.









Fabric paint to the rescue!

After several coats.
The opportunity to do that came during the first week of June at the beginning of summer break (I am an elementary music teacher). My wife, Debbie, and I took a trip with her family to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the Zorki came with me along with several other cameras and a supply of film. I waited for a nice bright sunny f16 kind of day, and when it came I loaded the camera with a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 color negative film, which had expired in 2012. Now you may ask:  "Why are you testing a camera with something less than a reliable film?" Well, first, I bought the film from a camera store last year, and it had been refrigerated then. It wasn't too expired, I reasoned. Second, I didn't want to waste a roll of fresh film if the shutter repair was not going to work. At any rate, I shot the roll while walking up and down the Myrtle Beach strip. When I got back home, I developed it myself using a Unicolor C-41 kit from the Film Photography Store, and then I scanned the negatives.

When I looked at the scans, I was both excited and disappointed. The good news was that the pinhole light leaks were gone. The fabric paint repair worked completely! However, there was bad news. First, the expired film looked like, well, like expired film. The colors were muted and the overall look of the photos was dull. Second, the photos lacked the sharpness I had hoped for. Now, I know that the Industar 22 50mm f3.5 collapsable lens that came with the Zorki would not be in the same league with a Leitz-made lens, but I had hoped for a bit more sharpness. Maybe my expectations for this lens are unrealistic. Perhaps the sharpness would be better if I had used fresh film.

The view of the ocean from my room.

The view of the strip.

The SkyWheel.



Your table at Landshark is ready!

An end-of-the-roll shot of my front porch.
So, what are my next steps with this camera? Will I give up on it? Absolutely not! I loved shooting it. It fits in my hand just right, and when the lens in collapsed, it fits in my pocket. Also, I love how the manual nature of this camera forces me to make exposure judgments and to think about composition more. Of course, any camera with a manual setting would do the same thing, but the historical charm of the Zorki (like the Leica thread-mount cameras it copied) cannot be denied. However, I do want good photographs from it, so here is what I plan to do. First, I will shoot a fresh roll of film in it, perhaps a roll of Ultrafine Extreme 100 b&w. It's cheap but good, and I have lots of it. Second, I may consider getting a better lens for it. Obviously, I would love to have a Leitz-made Elmar 50mm f3.5 collapsable lens, but they are quite costly. There are plenty of 3rd party Leica thread-mount lenses out  there. If you have any advice on which are the best bargains, please let me know in the comments below or email me at unclejonesyscamers@gmail.com.



Friday, May 31, 2019

UJC #16: Happy Summer Shooting!

Summer has come to the sunny south, and the Shutter Brothers are celebrating the season by turning the hot dogs on the grill and making some film photography plans. Kelley talks about another flea market find, and this one is epic:  a Nikon N90.
This legendary camera was released just after the F4 (Nikon's first autofocus SLR) and included several improved features. Look for a complete review later this summer.

Meanwhile, Kevin returns to the subject of pushing and pulling film in response to a listener question. If you found yourself in a situation where you wished that you had higher (or lower) speed film, you can shoot the film that you have at a higher (or lower) ISO and compensate for the under (or over) exposure with a change in development time.

Finally, the Shutter Bro's answer some listener questions about toy and box cameras, photo walks, and favorite colors (blue . . . no, green!) Oh, and a BIG thank you to listener Jay Buie for donating two awesome Nikon N60 cameras for students to use as members of the Woodstation Elementary School Camera Club.
Happy Shooting!

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.
Please subscribe, and don't forget to check out our blog. Visit our Facebook page and Instragram feed (@ujcpodcast) as well. And we'd love to hear from you, so send us an email at unclejonesyscameras@gmail.com.

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!