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Exakta VP, 127 roll film SLR, results gallery

Chor Minar Maddrasah, Bukhara

The delightful tiny Maddrasah of Char Minar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan secreted away behind back streets and alleyways, though well worth seeking out. This image was snatched as dawn broke on my last day in the town, with just 40 minutes to get to the railway station. This was my last opportunity to get an image with some sun on the building, just time to walk there, fraternize with the local stray cats, take a couple of images and walk back for the train.

This print was sepia toned to warm it up a little, as befits dawn.

Uzbek paper making

At the traditional paper making workshop at Samarkand, Mulberry sticks are soaked in water before the bark is stripped away by these two girls. From here the bark is pulverized by waterwheel driven pummels until the fibres have separated out. This is then mixed with water to produce a slurry, separated over a mesh and dried in the sun to form remarkably fine sheets. The process came originally from China in the 7th century.

Issyk Kul Trees

Towards the Eastern End of Issyk Kul lake, on its Northern side, these trees overloaded with blossom and lit up against the dark clear sky looked as though there was sufficient tonal difference to stand out, but not quite. A Zeiss graduated yellow filer was used to help pull put the cloud, without much success on this occasion.

Whilst comparing the Exakta VP to recent SLRs reveals many shortcomings, but considering the era from which the Exakta hails, you have to be impressed, It's easy to use, the lever advance sweeps the next frame in reasonably quickly and the controls are easily set. Fine focussing is a little tricky, but gets the desired result. A fine instrument of the day, a good working example is worth persevering with.

Krygyz Graveyard A Kyrgyz Muslim graveyard. The grave markers and plots are made from mud brick, in a similar way to many rural dwellings in the area, the area is encircled with a semi derelict low stone wall. The mud constructions give a wonderful ancient feeling, but this is a little misleading, as one of the markers was just 12 years old. Black and white renders the scene in a totally different way to reality, which is precisely why I use it, rediscovering a scene I took, in this case months ago, allows me to revisit the memory and re-interpret it.
Krygyz Graveyard The same Kyrgyz Muslim graveyard treated completely differently. The camera has been prone to scratching the film, luckily at the size you see here, it's not too much of a problem.

Bristol Blenhein MK1 Aeroplane, RAF Bicester

The Bristol Blenheim medium bomber made it's first flight in 1936 as a development of the earlier civil Bristol 142. Although fast by the standards of the day when it was ordered, it was relatively easy prey by the time it entered service, such was the speed of development brought about by conflict. This early MK 1 is seen at RAF Bicester in Oxfordshire, a typical grass airfield of the era.

The Exakta VP and Bleinheim are close contemporaries, so I was delighted when this sole survivor of the type visited the Blenheim base of RAF Bicester in 2015. This particular aeroplane, newly restored for 2015 started out as Bolingbroke IV, but has been reverse engineered to the much prettier Blenheim MK1, and was the first return of the type in 70years.

Bristol Blenhein MK1 Aeroplane, RAF Bicester

A row of cottages at Buckler's Hard in Hampshire, the slope runs down to the River Beaulieu. Wooden ships were built here using oak from the New Forest from 1744, including three that fought at Trafalgar in 1805.

The Exakta has resolved each brick clearly on the negative.

Bristol Blenhein MK1 Aeroplane, RAF Bicester

Old winding gear for a sluice gate in Dorset. The Exakta is quite tricky to focus, the ground glass screen is quite small the little magnifier doesn't align with the centre of the frame, but with a little practice you get used to it. The biggest drawback is the limited number of images per roll, just eight. Within a few years, 135 film would become popularized offering 35 images per roll, which ultimately would supplant the old Vest Pocket 127 roll film.

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