52 Rolls, Week 11: Yay for the Yash!

Yash Yay (1 of 1)If you read my last post you’ll know that I’d had a problem with my Yashica. Since I got it a few weeks ago, I’d used it almost exclusively and been delighted with the results. However, the last roll had delivered 11 shots of the 12 slightly out of focus (with only my TLR selfie in focus). This was frustrating as the pictures were of our family and taken at my daughter’s first birthday party, and event that couldn’t be re-shot.

Added to the disappointment of the results was the worry that the Yashica was broken in some way. I spent some time measuring the focus distances with a plan to recalibrate if necessary, but they all measured up OK. So I checked the viewing lens was secure and that the mirror was where it should be and all looked OK. There was nothing else for it but to shoot another roll and see what happened.

We move house next weekend. After eight happy years here, it’s going to be a wrench to leave. The good news is that the new house is beautiful, and located right next to a wildlife reserve where I imagine my daughter, my camera and I will be spending a lot of time. Before we leave, I’ve been taking more pictures of the house and the village to remember it in the future.

As we needed to tidy the garden before we go, I carried the Yashica with me and burnt through a roll of aging Ilford FP4+. I tried to keep the depth of field narrow, but vary the focus point to try out the camera. I also used a Свердловск-4 meter that I wanted to test – I’d changed the batteries for a stack of LR44s, rather than the chunky AA battery pack. I figured that even if the exposure was off, I’d still get to see if the camera was focusing correctly.

I shot the roll in an hour, processing and drying during the evening. My impatience got the better of me and I tried examining the film as it hung drying, using a magnifying glass, but it was no use, I couldn’t tell…

As I scanned the first frame, I was delighted to see sharp edges – the Yashica lived! While it may be a set of very dull pictures of scruffy garden sheds, I’m happy with them for other reasons.

Yash Yay (6 of 10)

Yash Yay (5 of 10)

Yash Yay (3 of 10)

I’m still not sure what caused the problem with the previous film. I guess it must have been operator error, or perhaps a problem with the pressure plate not keeping the film at the correct distance from the lens. Whatever the reason, I’m delighted that the Yash is back and ready for the rest of the project…


Gubbins:

Yashica-Mat 124G, Ilford FP4+, Ilfotec HC at 1:31 for 8:00 minutes. Scanned on a V500 at 2400dpi.

My 52 rolls so far:

Week 10: The Beacon Spinner

Week 9, part 4: Emily’s Party

Week 9, part 3: Delta Doofus

Week 9 revisited: Good News, Good News

Week 9: Good News, Bad News

Week 8: Newcastle

Week 7: 68 Miles

Week 6: Yashica Test

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

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

She’s Only 21

Today is new (old) camera day! Hooray! etc.

Having seen posts by a number of my friends and contacts who have recently bought old Canon film cameras to use with their more modern lenses, it seemed like a sensible idea and so I been keeping a look-out for a while. Today I took delivery of a EOS 5 with VG-10 grip (and a battery, just in case).

EOS5

The camera has a very plasticy feel after using the 5D2 for so long, but with the grip fitted, it has the best fit in my hand of any camera I’ve ever used. My copy has had ‘the treatment’ that means that the famous sticky-grip issue has been fixed. So far I’ve only used it with the lightweight Canon 50mm f/1.8 (the one that fell off the shelf and damaged itself a few years ago) and had a quick wander round the block with a roll of Kentmere, but everything looks to be as it should.

I blew through the roll quickly before processing and scanning just to make sure focus and metering were ok. Next up, I’ll try it with a better lens and some decent film, maybe even that roll of Ektachrome 64 that I’ve been saving for a rainy day…

EOS5

EOS5

EOS5

 

Radio. Muzyka. Fakty.

Back at the start of December, I posted about a new bit of software I was using to create long-exposure pictures, usually of star trails. Well, since then, I’ve used it to excess and created the pictures below.
The effect is a bit like HDR in that there is a novelty value to it that soon subsides. But the 6 pictures below show how my understanding of the process (and so photography in general) has improved by learning the technique.
I have mixed feelings about the work that goes into these photos. Each one represents an hour or more of standing in the cold and dark, then another hour or so of processing, but I suppose if you want to catch the movement of the solar system, it’s going to take a bit of patience.
I still like using film (for regular photography, not this stuff) because it is so much more time-efficient. Once the shutter is pressed, that’s it, job done. I can’t look at the back of the camera, make some tweaks to settings and have another go (or 5). Likewise, when the negatives come back from Luke (and in future, always from Luke), the scanned image will be the one I use. No messing about with it.

Anyway Blogfolks, I promise, this will the the final post of this kind of pictures on here…

crospton polaris
This was my second attempt, taken in the back yard of our house during the Quadrantids meteor shower and started at about 4.15am. The star trails part of it is fine, but the foreground obviuosly needs to be more interesting than next door’s trampoline.
Above the tree to the left of the trampoline is a satellite called Iridium 95 passing 485 miles up and moving at 17,000 miles an hour. The flare that’s visible is the sun reflected in its solar panels. Iridium 29 passed 10 minutes later (just above, but really faint).
This was made from 98 exposures, each of 30 seconds (49 minutes in total).
OJ Stacked.

For my next attempt, I concentrated on that foreground. This meant a trip to our local deer-themed attraction at 4.30am. I decided to go early rather than late, as parking on the hillside carpark in the late evenings only attracts two kinds of people, both of which would spoil my evening.
Here there’s 77 minutes of movement but this time pointing south. Just the other side of this hill is the city of Leicester and its light pollution reflected in the clouds to the left of the picture threatening to wreck it…
The flashes to the right, are me passing 77 minutes at -4C. And just to the right of the tower is another Iridium flare.

A46 Twilight.
Next up was the same technique, but a different subject matter.
The picture above is 20 minutes (80 x 15seconds) of twilight over the A46. The shorter exposures cope with the additional light in the scene. It was still quite light when I began as I wanted to catch the colours in the cold sky.
That star trail to the left is actually the planet Venus – how about that!
45 minutes in Cropston
OK, nearly done…
I decided next to attempt to get some water into the shot and if I was lucky, reflections of the stars. Unfortunately, it was windy enough to cause waves on the surface of the reservoir at the end of our street and so while I got reflections, there were no stars. 
In this shot, I decided to try to embrace the light pollution of Leicester and use the orange glow. This series started at about 7.30pm and I had to abandon it about 45 minutes later as the dew was gathering on my lens.

International Space Station - 23 Jan 2012
The Iridium flares in the first two pictures above are visible for only a second or two. The International Space Station on the other hand is usually visible for a full arc across the sky, about 5 minutes.
To assist in satellite spotting, I use the most excellent app, Sputnik! (their exclamation mark). One of its features is to give you a ten minute warning before a particular satellite will be visible. I was still eating my breakfast when the warning sounded that there was to be a bright pass of the ISS. I grabbed my gear, strapped it to my bike and pedalled out of the village and away from the streetlights that would spoil my view. As I got the camera bolted to the tripod, the space station appeared and I pressed the shutter.
Luckily, the camera settings remained from the last time I had been shooting stars. After 4 thirty second exposures, the space station moved out of shot above me. I picked up the tripod, turned it around and plonked it down and began shooting again. I can’t believe how lucky I was that its arc took it perfectly though the gap in the trees above and off into the sunrise…
Old John Star Trails
OK, last one. And we’re back up Old John again.
This is another 155 exposure (30 seconds each) stack, but this time facing north. This means that the stars appear to rotate around the north star. 
This shot was taken in the evening and for the first time I while shooting these pictures, I had some company. Thanks to Iain, the 77 minutes passed much more quickly… The light on the tower is me running around with my bike light during the first few exposures. If you are going to add this kind of effect to these stacked pictures, it needs to be in the first or last exposures of the sequence. That way, if it doesn’t work out for any reason, you can remove them and not have a gap in the star trails.
So that’s it, my month in star trails. Normal service will now be resumed. 
Read more about Starstax here and see how other people have used it in the Flickr group here.

Warehouse: Songs and Stories.

We are very lucky living where we do.
Most of the houses in our village have their own Post Code. Our’s is a little more modest, but it’s all about ‘location, location, location’ apparently and we certainly have that.
At the end of our street is Cropston Reservoir. On my bicycle commute I pass it at either end of the day. For a few days each spring and again in the autumn, my journey coincides with the sunrise and sunset.
Now is that time of year, although this morning’s sunrise was a little below par…
April 20th, 2011.
CROPSTON RESSY HDR 2
March 4th, 2011
Sunset on Cropston Reservoir.
January 21st, 2011
the day of staggering colours
January 20th, 2011
full moon ressy
July 16th, 2010
cropston fake hdr
February 3rd, 2010
ace
October 12th, 2009
cropston sunset
September 23rd, 2009
cropston sky
March 20th, 2009
newbarssunnyweathergoinghomeonfridaypandas
February 13th, 2009
sunset panda
September 18th, 2008
cropston