Photo-walking with Fellow Filmwasters

As you may have noticed, one of the forums linked to on the right column of this blog is Filmwasters. Several members of that forum recently joined me in a photo-walk. A small sample of my photos from that day is in this post – there are many more in the gallery, which may be accessed from the menu bar directly beneath the Filmosaur banner at the top of the page.

Canon L1, Canon 50/1.5, Kodak Gold 200
Canon L1, Canon 50/1.5, Kodak Gold 200
Olympus 35 SP, Kodak Tri-X, Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Olympus 35 SP, Kodak Tri-X, Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 50/1.5, Kodak Gold 200
Canon L1, Canon 50/1.5, Kodak Gold 200
Olympus 35 SP, Kodak Tri-X, Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Olympus 35 SP, Kodak Tri-X, Caffenol-C-H (RS)

 

Fun with Tubes

On a whim, I recently purchased a set of extension tubes for my Pentax SFX. For those unfamiliar, these are simple hollow tubes that can be arranged in multiple lengths to set the lens further forward from the film plane. The purpose is to allow closer focusing; a bellows would offer even more adjustability, but would also be more cumbersome and more expensive. The extension tubes are easy to use, especially with normal lenses.

I didn’t really have any intended purpose for these – I actually bought them to bring an Amazon order up to the “free shipping” threshold – so I figured I’d just throw one on the camera with my SMC-A 50/2, put in a roll of film (Fuji Superia 200), and see what happened. The results were interesting to say the least.

Pentax SFX, Pentax SMC-A 50/2, Fuji Superia 200
Pentax SFX, Pentax SMC-A 50/2, Fuji Superia 200

There were some odd color casts in some frames. I’m not really sure what this is due to – it could be gross overexposure, which is possible as the tubes do cause some light loss and I think the camera’s meter was overcompensating (I was shooting in aperture priority, not knowing exactly how to set things up with these), or it could be internal reflections (the inside surfaces of the tubes are shinier than they should be). Whatever the case, some frames were better desaturated to black-and-white.

Pentax SFX, Pentax SMC-A 50/2, Fuji Superia 200 (desaturated)
Pentax SFX, Pentax SMC-A 50/2, Fuji Superia 200 (desaturated)

Where the color was good, though, it was really good. The tubes allow you to focus so closely that colors that are otherwise not particularly visible come into play. It’s worth noting that the color frames shown here were not adjusted in any way except to remove dust, and none of the photos was otherwise altered – the effects you see are as they are on the negatives.

Pentax SFX, Pentax SMC-A 50/2, Fuji Superia 200
Pentax SFX, Pentax SMC-A 50/2, Fuji Superia 200

These were all shot between f/2 and f/4. The depth-of-field is paper thin, and the out-of-focus areas dissolve very quickly. There’s a softness almost like an impressionist painting in some shots, particularly in those taken wide open. The lack of sharpness that comes from minuscule movements of the subject and camera, as well as using large apertures, is in some ways an asset here – the look would not gain anything from being razor-sharp, and it might well lose something. It was a fascinating experiment, and one that will be repeated soon. Well worth the price of admission.

Copake Falls

It’s been far too long since I posted any sort of cohesive collection of photos – the inconveniences of life continue to intrude – but having been out shooting a bit more recently I think I can finally rectify the situation. I recently returned to one of the places I’ve visited and photographed many times over the years: Copake Falls State Park, and specifically the dyslexically-named Bash-Bish Falls contained therein.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

The latter is a roughly 60-foot waterfall that spills to both sides of a large rock formation, pouring into a deep pool before flowing down into a series of smaller falls and eventually a fast-moving woodland stream. As one might expect, it is particularly dramatic in spring as the surrounding areas drain into the gorge above.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

After the usual hours of deliberation over what camera(s) and film to carry, I ended up resisting the temptation to carry half my collection with me and took one camera and one lens: my Canon L1 with the Canon 35/2.8 and a yellow K2 filter, loaded with Tri-X. The reasoning – beyond trying not to get bogged down with gear – was that most of the time I shoot with normal lenses, and I need to practice with the wides. Plus the new L1 needed to be exercised.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

The surrounding park is on a steep ridge in the southern Berkshires straddling New York and Massachusetts (the falls are on the MA side of the line), primarily made up of massive bedrock formations covered with pine forests. There are several ways to get to the falls, but the most interesting is a trail that wends its way down from an overlook parking area, plunging steeply through the dense woods – so dense that the only sign you’re getting close is the increasing roar of the water – before emerging to meet another trail just before the falls.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

The sun was going in and out. There was a front moving in, and the wind was blowing heavy clouds low and quick toward the east, even squeezing out a few drops of rain every once in a while. Because the light was changing so much, I ended up shooting a bunch of scenes twice, once in bright sun and once in shade. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the former ended up generally being too high contrast. The shots posted here were all taken in at least somewhat subdued light.

Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)
Canon L1, Canon 35/2.8, Kodak Tri-X in Caffenol-C-H (RS)

I was happy with my gear selection. The Canon 35/2.8 is a great little lens, and the Canon rangefinder bodies suit me very well. The high resolution of the lens did a good job rendering the complex textures of the rocks and trees – I was particularly happy with the way it juxtaposed the rock surfaces against the relative smoothness of the water. And Tri-X is never a bad choice.

Incidentally, in case anyone is still awake and reading this far down the page, I’d like to note that this is the 200th post here at Filmosaur. Whether you’ve been wasting your time here since the beginning or just only started doing so, thanks for reading and clicking.