Monday, September 27, 2010

Masking for a Vintage Look

A vintage look with some kind of current touch. That's what it seemed the set of photos I brought back from a show of vintage trailers needed. I'd taken them with the 1958 Exakta 35mm SLR of a couple of posts ago, equipped with a vintage German 24mm wide-angle lens.

It was fun chatting with folks as I walked around, peeking into the trailers from the 50's through the 70's, many with the original wood-paneled interiors that reminded me of the folks 1950's Mainliner that took our family on a memorable cross-country trip in 1956. Not only the old trailers, but also my camera sparked conversation.

The photographs were taken on 100 ISO color negative film, which I scanned, then pulled into Lightroom. After cropping I pumped up the color with the vibrance control, then opened a copy for editing in Photoshop CS4. Back in Lightroom, I made a sepia version that was layered in CS4 over the color version. The next steps were to paint black on the mask to let selected colored areas of the base image to show, added a black border, then saved it back into Lightroom where I did some vignetting and called it done.

More of these photos here

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Looking closer

More than ever, photography is about vision. Angie Seckinger's is unique and inspiring. A photograph that causes me to look at something in a way I hadn't before gets my attention. The work of Angie Seckinger certainly does that. She uses a DSLR with a macro lens wide open to capture delicate details of plants.

As plants go to seed in the fall, it may be time to crawl around in the woods or the backyard and see what we can see. I'm going to see what gear I can cobble together to make this work, and will let you know how it works out.

Image by Angie Seckinger

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not Just For Display

For the cost - $74 plus $40 shipping from South Africa - I would have been satisfied with a display version of my first "real" camera. But it seems to actually work. I ran a roll of film through it yesterday at a local "Ride and Tie" event and a farmer's market. The "Steampunk" controls seem to set apertures and shutter speeds as they should. The focusing seems right on. It's the photographer that shows the rust - just holding the thing feels odd, and I kept checking the non-existent LCD after taking the first few shots. But then muscle memory from the many rolls I had put through the original Exakta kicked in, and things started clicking.

All dressed up for a "Ride-and-Tie" event

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So Pretty

Awhile back the photography blog, The Online Photographer, had a thread of comments going related to what folks thought was the best looking camera. Mentioned were Leicas, Rolleis, and some of the sleek new digitals. For me, though, and I suspect also for many others, the most beauteous was the first one lusted for, saved for, and purchased with hard-earned money. It was 1958, and our high school camera club advisor was into the first 35mm SLR, the Exakta. I was enthralled with the view through the pentaprism viewfinder of the same image the film saw.

1958 Exakta Varex IIa with 50mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss Tessar and 135mm f3.5 Schneider Tele-Xenar

After a summer of saving mine was shipped from Bern, Switzerland to our local bank, which was holding the funds for it - about $400 of summer earnings. Once it arrived, and I had inspected it and pronounced that it was indeed what I had ordered, the funds were released to the seller. Kind of a 1958 version of Paypal. But much more exciting. Way exciting. The gleam of chrome against black leather and the intricately turned and engraved knobs produced a better thrill than my first car. It served me for well for many years, including a summer in Europe, until it finally succumbed to age and too many dunkings in the snow during ski outings.

Orleans, France, 1961, a Kodachrome taken with the Exakta

That blog and memories led me to eBay, and a seller in South Africa with a fine looking version of the same model that I had traded away many years ago. Today it arrived, with two solid and precise-feeling German lenses. Everything seems to work smoothly, including the nifty depth-of-field indicator on the Schneider 135mm lens, the unique dual knobs for controlling shutter speed (the slow speed knob must be wound up fer each shot!), the pretty little left-hand operating film advance lever, and the funny shutter release, also left-handed, called for by the semi-automatic diaphragm design. I'm as giddy as a high school boy again, and eager to run some film through it. They do still sell it, don't they?

So what gorgeous hunk of photographic machinery first put stars in your eyes?