52 Rolls Week 6: Yashica Test

Another post from 52Rolls.net – so far so good…

As I mentioned in week 4, I recently bought a Yashica 124. It’s a model that I’d always wanted (but never afforded), mostly due to the wonderful work of Patrick Joust over on Flickr. As it happens, I actually bought two. The first was an original 124 model and advertised as a fully working camera. However, once I paid for it, I received a message from the seller telling me that the shutter was broken but he’d offer a £30 discount! I said ‘no thank you’ and demanded my money back, but this eBay seller made up his own rules, ‘fixed’ the shutter and sent me the camera anyway.

Of course, when it arrived, it didn’t work. The repair had been badly bodged to the extent that the leatherette on the lens plate was twisted and stuck back down. The shutter fired, but the blades were gunked up and crept back into the closed position over the course of a few seconds – it was terrible. I returned it, got a refund and left damning feedback.

Yashica HP5-2

The TLR selfie – I’ve read too much Vivian Maier…

The second camera was actually cheaper than the first but in much better condition. It’s a 124G and has the usual problem of fogging on the front of the rear lens element. Everything else appeared to be in good, fully working condition. I ordered a lens spanner so I could remove the element and clean it up, but my impatience got the better of me and I had to get out and shoot a roll before the spanner arrived.

My life at the moment revolves around the sleeping pattern of an 11 month old (who has made several appearances in this blog already). Today, after an early start and a visit to her grandparents, Emily slept and I had an hour or so to get out while she napped. The weather was terrible, raining heavily and with very strong winds, but I realised that I’d have few other chances to tick off this week’s roll. I loaded a roll of HP5+, put on my waterproofs and set off out.

At one end of our street is the steam railway that I’ve shot over the last couple of weeks. At the other end is a reservoir. It can be a photogenic place, but so many pictures are taken there that I usually avoid it. No today though, I needed to get through that roll!

At the end of the reservoir’s dam is a bend in the road that for some reason seems to catch drivers out. It’s where I took some pictures of a fatal crash site a couple of years ago and again during this week when another car crashed and burned. The car was recovered yesterday, but it’s left its mark. The area smells of burnt wood. The fence and trees are black from the fire. There are skid marks, Police tape and a strong smell of fuel. You see why I had to take pictures of it?

I was home, dry and had the film processed before Emily had woken. The results are pretty good and it seems that the camera does what it should. It’s hard to tell quite how much of the haze was the rain and how much is the oil on the lens. What I do know is that Yashica is a joy to handle and the view in the waist level finder makes everything look like a photograph. Now I know it works, I can put some Neopan through it but in better conditions.

A couple of final thoughts. We found out a few of weeks ago that we have to move out of our house. Our landlord has decided to sell and so after eight happy years here, we have to move on. What it has meant is that I seem to be photographing our neighbourhood more than ever before, almost like I need to document it before we leave to remember it in the future.

The good news is that we’re (almost certainly) moving to an even smaller local village that is right next to the River Soar that I photographed last week for this project. The idea of long, summer evenings wandering along the riverside with a camera is very exciting…

Finally, 6 weeks and 10 rolls into this challenge and I’m really enjoying it. I’m even planning future rolls in advance and so spent part of the day re-spooling film backwards onto reels so that I could try redscale. My scanning process is improving and I’m taking more pictures than I would have done otherwise, some of which I’m very pleased with. That’s got to be a good thing…


My 52 rolls so far:

Week 5 continued: Bronica SQ-A

Week 5: More Nikon F2A

Week 4 continued: Nikon F2

Week 4: Farewell Lubitel

Week 3: Reset

Week 2 continued: Scanning

Week 2: Delta 3200

Week 1: Agfa Billy Record

Week 0: Late Already

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