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Baby Photos

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When you have a kid, you want to take pictures all the stinking time. And when you get a really handy camera, you take even more. So here’s a handful from the last few months with Paul.

As with all the other film projects/trips, I’ve got a good few rolls of film from Paul’s first 4 or 5 months that I’ve yet to scan. But they are all developed, at least. My goal is to have all those scanned and edited by his first birthday. That’d be nice, anyway.

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Written by ryanstufflebam

June 30, 2017 at 8:56 pm

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Making Practice Possible

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So finding time to sit down and edit blog posts has been difficult enough, let alone developing, scanning, processing the backlog of film. There are at least 3 film blog posts in the works that I’ll get to eventually, but I wanted to sit you down and break the bad news. After 9 years of shooting film almost exclusively, I bought a digital camera. The Fuji x100F, to be exact. And I found it used – so at least there’s that.

But why? The aforementioned time – it dissipates so readily. I wasn’t taking the time to produce film photographs. So I just wasn’t shooting enough, I wasn’t progressing in any quality whatsoever in the photos that I was taking. And disappointment hits hard when you finally do take the time and you’re just never satisfied. So you don’t want to work on them. AND, it’s really cumbersome to carry a child on my back as well as a medium format camera. So I broke down. The desire to shoot and get better outweighed my desire to shoot film. And if I’m being honest, the x100F is really quite fun to shoot.

So I tested it out over Easter weekend with some family in town. Having a little rangefinder was less intimidating for everyone. Way less intimidating than the RB67 or the Fuji 6×9. And obviously much easier to use. It could actually be the right tool to have on hand to shoot for practice and pleasure. Did I mention how fun it is? 

Click through the gallery to see them large.

 

 

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April 26, 2017 at 8:05 am

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Mt. Baker

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So I ran the test rolls through the Zeiss just a few days before work took me out to the state of Washington. We were filming up on Mt. Baker, which supposedly has some great snowboarding.

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The weather was terrible pretty much the entire time we weren’t filming, and most of the time we were filming it was pretty awful, so snow boarding didn’t happen. I kept the Zeiss folded up in my camera bag and if we had a few minutes, I’d just grab a shot from where we were.

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Like I said, pretty rough weather. It would snow and sleet at the drop of a hat. Big thick clouds rolled in out of nowhere. And we’re trying to film, so there was a lot of starts and stops. For instance, the weather started coming in here, way off to the south…

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And five minutes later…

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Normally I’d wander off a little bit while we were on break, but not only did the weather keep us on our toes, but we were actually wearing snow shoes.

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So even with snow shoes, wandering too far was pretty hazardous. Our first camera operator, above, fell through the snow up to his hip at one point. It wouldn’t have been so bad except he went through all the way to the lake we were standing on. He spent the next hour or so drying out his boot in the car.

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We were honest to God standing above the tree tops at one point. (excuse the phone pics)

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I’ve never seen snow that deep and never hope to again. It was just insane.

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We knew the weather would be hit or miss while we were there, so my boss planned for a 3 day trip, just to be sure we could get something. We ended up filming the 2nd day and spent the 3rd hiking around where we stayed a bit before heading back to Seattle.

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There was a waterfall, so of course I took photos of that.

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It was a pretty fun trip, all in all. Except for about 10 minutes when we made it back to the cabin after shooting. I was prepping the cameras for travel and couldn’t find the media cards. I was dead certain all the footage we had was lost in the snow forever up on the mountain. Thankfully, they were indeed in the camera bag. I just gave myself a heart attack for no reason.

Written by ryanstufflebam

July 3, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Super Ikonta Test Run

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Well, on my quest for the perfect travel camera, I ran across an interesting idea while searching forums and eBay. I certainly cannot afford a new high end medium format camera, but I could definitely afford an old folder from the 50s. The only two things I really truly care about are portability and image quality. Medium format folders are probably more portable than a 35mm system. And the lens of the camera I’d been eyeing has a reputation of being legendary.

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The Zeiss Super Ikonta 532/16. I was able to find one for cheap because the lens had a good amount of haze, but looking at the photos, I didn’t think it was fungus. But who can tell, so I took a chance and bought it thinking that I might be able to clean the lens myself. I ran a roll through it just to see how bad it was. Dreamy, but obviously problematic. On the plus side, I expected to see big streaks from light leaks in the bellows, but to my surprise and great delight, there are no leaks to speak of.

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I took the lens mostly apart, which was an ordeal, and cleaned it as best I could with generic glasses lens cleaner. There’s only one surface with a little haze left, but getting to it would take quite a bit of know how. I’d have to take it all apart, degrease everything, re-oil everything, recalibrate the rangefinder, and I’m nowhere near competent enough yet to do that. But here’s the same photo after cleaning.

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The Super Ikonta is kind of a weird camera with a great lens. The lens is really quite sharp, and the out of focus areas render a lot like my father-in-law’s speed graphic from the same era. On the other hand, the viewfinder is terrible. Gets the job done, but incredibly small. Also, it only takes 11 shots per roll instead of the ubiquitous 12 (which you can see on the counter below). It was one of the first automatic frame counters for the format, so I guess the mechanics for 12 just wasn’t there yet or something. For the lens alone, one missing frame is an excellent trade off (particularly for the price).

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The camera arrived early enough that I could test it, clean it, test again, and still had a few days before leaving for another work trip. Took a couple rolls out at Mt. Baker in Washington. There’s still a roll of expired Fuji color in the camera with a couple frames left, but haven’t had an excuse to finish it. For next time…

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May 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

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Sedona

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Sedona is a strangely magnificent place. Home of some of the most interesting geologic formations and landscapes. Home of the modern New Age movement. You can visit a monastery in the hills, or you can take the grand tour of the mystical vortex. Still not entirely sure what that is…

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We drove around Sedona to film at a couple locations, but the real winner was driving up to the Merry-Go-Round formation. To get up there, what’s supposed to happen is you go downtown and rent an off-road ATV. Oversized go carts with monster wheels for adults. They’re made specifically to get you up steep and rocky trails that cars shouldn’t be on. We did not know this. And our formerly new age guide somehow managed to forget to relay this valuable information, even though he was in the car with us. But we managed to make it up to the top in a GMC SUV that has less clearance than a minivan. I don’t know how we’re not still stranded up there…

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I had some time to climb around while my coworkers flew the drone. Still shooting the AE-1. After having shot with it for a while, I really like having all the features a 35mm camera can have. Auto exposure (or at least metering), large viewfinder, easy to focus, lots of exposures per roll, portable… But I’m not quite happy with how the lens performs. It is the standard lens that came with the camera back in the 70s after all. So it’s not incredibly sharp even stopped down to f8 or so. It’s fine for snapshots and fun, but any kind of enlarging will be impossible. Maybe I’ll try to find something a little faster, a little sharper.

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May 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm

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S.P. Crater

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Filming the documentary took us back out to Arizona to see S.P. Crater and the rock formations around Sedona. S.P. Crater was first on the docket. That’s “shit pot” crater, for those not in the know. Evidently, who ever owns the property has naming rights, and this particular rancher was pretty colorful, if not down to earth.

It’s a cinder cone volcano of somewhat recent origin with a 6-mile long basalt flow coming out its side. We ended up filming on top of the basalt rather than the cone, which was definitely for the better. I can’t imagine trying to steady myself on a 45 degree slope made of loose scree.

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That was probably one of the nicer roads we traveled on this trip.

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That’s S.P. Crater in the background.

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The basalt flowed out as liquid lava once upon a time. The reason it’s all rubble now is that as the puddle of lava cools, it cools from the outside in, and it’s got the right chemical composition so that instead of creating one big rock, it cracks. And as it cools more and more, it cracks deeper and deeper until it’s cool the whole way through and there’s nothing left but a bunch of rocks. Giant’s Causeway was made the same exact way, but it’s composition allowed for the cracks at the surface to follow the same path all the way through, which is pretty cool.

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We spent a day here and got most of what we needed. In documentary work, you really just kind of hope you walk away with what you need, but you never know. We spent the next day in Sedona, which will be in another post.

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April 1, 2016 at 10:11 pm

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Grand Canyon – Color

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I shot a few rolls of color film as we continued our loop around the whole of the Grand Canyon. These first couple are from just northeast of the canyon, I think in Hopi Buttes. One of the latest theories of Grand Canyon formation is that water filled this whole area – an inland lake dubbed Hopi Lake. The natural dam that held the water back eventually failed, all that 500-some-odd cubic miles of water then carved out the canyon, and probably created the Colorado River at the same time. That was Steve’s favorite theory, anyway.

Might have been my favorite cliffs of the whole trip.

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Filming on the rim was pretty interesting. It’s government policy that any film crew must be accompanied by an escort of some sort. So we got a fairly green ranger. We expected a bit of trouble, scientists coming around talking theories that don’t comport with the standard line. Evidently, Steve’s been kicked out before. But all was quiet.

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The crew stuck around into the late afternoon before heading off to the next location, shooting b-roll of the canyon. Once I’d run out of digital media, I just walked the southern rim a bit and shot with the AE-1. Since we needed to drive a good 3 hours or so after we finished, we had to leave before the sun had fully set. Which I deeply regret.

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I’ve got another half roll somewhere undeveloped of our time in the Western Canyon. We hiked out 3 or 4 miles to see a fossil bed. I vaguely remember shooting some photos on the hike back out, but it would seem that roll is floating around in the ether. Maybe I’ll find it.

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March 21, 2016 at 9:47 am

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