Yes, still here! In terms of vintage photography I have nothing to report. The Nikon FE is out and about as is the Kodak Retina 117, but nothing to add to their pages.
And finally after 20 years, I decided to stop hiding and put up an "about" page, so those of an inquisitive disposition can find out about the author.
November was very busy with the move. Life will be very much different now, but I will attempt to look after the website from time to time. I decided to add a page that explains why, what and how "Rise and Fall" lens movements were used. So many folding cameras were fitted with the feature from the 1900s - I thought it might be useful to someone.
And please visitors, do me a favour... and take a look around the site, visit a few more pages. Whilst the majority of visits come from search engines, this somewhat perversely damages the figures. Visitors who type in a search, visit a page, find out what he or she wants then leaves is recorded as a dis-satisfied customer so far as Google is concerned, as they seem to think that "engagement" is vitally important, ie. - how deep into a web site you go. So sites like this that give you information free of charge and without making you "go round the houses" to get it, are penalised with high "bounce rates". So please, do me a favour, and delve in a little deeper!
What's new indeed.... pretty much everything. New clothes. New home. New Country. New language. New weather. Gave up my job after 30 years in the same company.
Well, no.... that's not entirely true. I did just manage to scurry off to get a film processed that had been languishing in the FED 3 for a while. That's actually one of the things I like about chemical photography, the fact that memories are locked away, latent - as Fox Talbot would have said, awaiting rediscovery upon processing. This instant digital gratification has its place, but I rather do like the wait, and birth of an image. The investment of hope, experience and time. Anyway, I will add a few more images to the FED 3 gallery.
One of my occasional experiments with Autochrome-esque images.
The FED 3 went on some travels to Kazakhstan, no results back from that trip as yet though. recently I was seduced by Reflex Korelle. Every collector wants one of these, and they are fairly common. The unusual one is the Reflex Korelle B, the rarer though cut price simplified version that no one wants, so that is the one I acquired for the camera equivalent of a donkey sanctuary. It's been through the usual deep clean and had a new shutter made for it. It currently has a test film in it, but that's not finished yet. However the restoration can be seen in the workshop pages as project 5.
Sorry, the adverts have to go on again, It looks like I will be unemployed soon, so I cannot afford to fund the website anymore. Hopefully the adverts will cover the cost of the hosting. Apologies, I hate putting them on.
Not much of note going on that's visible. In the background I have been sourcing backing paper for 118, 122, 124 roll films. This will be re-spooled with film I have acquired from Ilford. This should enable me to start sorting out some galleries for some of the more awkward sized cameras. he next problem is processing as I don't have any appropriately sized spirals, but I've got this far so I'm not giving in yet.
A fairly momentous beginning to the year for entirely non camera related reasons..... but on the camera front, a handful of images were added for the rebuilt FED 3 which has proved to be an absolute gem. Although the test film wasn't exactly visually stunning, the experience of using the FED was a delight. Happy New Year to all.
A very attractive FED 3 donated from Russia has been resident in the workshop for some weeks, it has now been restored and joins the collection pages, along with a humble Lomo, Smena Symbol and a No.3 Folding Pocket Kodak dating from around 1907.
The camera that takes the credit for inspiring my interest in old cameras was given an outing earlier this month. Having sat in the display case for some time unused, it required a quick clean and check over, but all seemed in order. It was taken to this old saw mill in late evening, with just one plate loaded.
Yikes.... is it a year since I used any of the cameras? Sadly yes. The cost of replacing the computer to author the web site totally consumed the budget for film and chemicals. However we have just restored the Ensign Midget... it waited 32 years before it got the chance. It was promptly sent to Siberia!
Nestling in the back of the cupboard was an old box of Ilford ID11 powder developer. reputedly this has an almost limitless shelf life. This box was the wrong side of 20 years old.... so in an extreme product test I mixed it up and processed the rolls from the Exakta VP. Mixed to stock then used as 1:3 one shot developer, it was fine! Thumbs up for Ilford ID11. So here's one one image from the Exakta VP-B, depicting Bristol Blenheim returning to RAF Bicester for the first time in 70 years.
Good new for the visitors...bad news for me. After no less than three attempts to buy old MacIntosh computers I got ripped off by some idiot, who ran off with the money...fortunately, ebay refunded me most of the money. Another machine was totally rubbish, it wasn't even worth the postage to send back, so that went to the skip, and finally the one I am writing this on. Then I had to fork out for newer software...... ouch, So the Museum funds are relying on loans.... I can only hope that I get some income from the Google adverts soon, although in light of recent performance this looks unlikely, So sadly there is no money for film and processing for some time. The last four rolls of 127 roll film went into the Exakta VP a few weeks back, sadly they remain unprocessed for now. However I did scrape up enough to process two rolls from the Varex IIa, it was despatched to Uzbekistan back in April.. it was nearly lost, as it was impounded at Uzbek customs along with the VP as they contravened their export rules. The rule is supposed to protect Uzbek antiques from being taken out, but the border officials apply it to old cameras too. Luckily the cameras were being escorted by a UN negotiator, and they won the day. Phew. Some results from the two rolls of film that went through it are on the gallery for it,
The Kodak I restored FOC for the chap in Northern Ireland has now been returned to him. The deal was I got to keep it for three weeks to sit on my shelf. Whilst it was resident I managed to get one image from it. As it was roughly 1912, I managed to find this period aeroplane at Bicester. It's a reasonably convincing replica of a BE2c, modified from Tiger Moth airframe.
Another year rolls by. The end of 2014 saw two new arrivals,
both Exaktas. One a Varex II b and one VP, these are currently workshop
residents, so aren't on the web site yet. The Varex looks to be a straightforward
cleaning task, whilst the VP is likely to be more involved. maybe new
curtains, but the whole thing is jammed currently so hard to tell. I have
added some results for the Praktica
Super TL. I never thought Prakticas got the praise they deserved,
the Super TL performed rather well and in the hands of a decent photographer,
which patently I am not, I imagine it would be possible to get some fairly
spectacular results. Anyway, here's a taster.... happy New Year.
A recent planned outing for the Sanderson revealed the Dial Set Compur had gummed up. It had never been opened up in the 30 years it's been a resident, so it was a bit overdue. Cleaning sorted it out, but whilst I was in there, I did a cut-away picture, you can view the full size by clicking the image, This Compur, mounting an f4.5 Zeiss Tessar, was originally fitted to a Contessa Nettel, whose serial the Compur is proudly displaying. Presumably that camera was broken up at some point and it's shutter/lens combination used to update the Sanderson. In turn, when the Sanderson wound up at the LICM, I rebuilt it with an original Bausch and Lomb Unicum, keeping this Dial Set Compur and Tessar combination as an additional setup.
Well, I have been rather avoiding the website in recent months, concentrating on motorcycle restoration rather than cameras. In April I took a couple of the cameras to Kyrgyzstan again, the Nikon FE and the Rollei 35. The most recent outing was for the Ansco No.3, very much a humble member of the collection, this was the best I could get out of it.
In 1861 the Scottish theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell whose most celebrated work concerns magnetism, electricity and electromagnetic fields, created the first colour photograph. He achieved this by making three exposures of a tartan ribbon, each through a different coloured filter - red, blue and yellow. The resulting negatives were then made into positives, and all three were then projected through their respective filters onto a common screen. This additive process results in a colour image on the screen. As a homage to this event... well, mainly just for the fun of it, I decided to have a go myself. I elected to use the common additive colours used today, known as RGB - or Red, Green and Blue. I used our 1908 Sanderson quarter plate camera for the experiment. This required...as it transpired, a complete service before it decided to play nicely, as the Unicum shutter had decided to jam. So I set up a suitable still life with only natural light from one side, a mirror to shine some light through the back of the glasses... and made my three exposures. I compensated about three stops for the rather dark filters I found. These were then processed in a suitably vintage tank, and the developer was left in too long deliberately, to punch up the contrast and was developed on the warm side. Just to really give it the aged look, the wash was freezing cold to really mess up the emulsion. As I don't have one projector that takes quarter plate... let alone three identical ones, the negatives were projected onto paper, photographed then combined on the computer to finish the process. This is the result. Maxwell's original can be found easily enough online.
On the camera front, we have been very busy in the workshop, acquiring a 1915 Graflex 1A in decidedly rotten condition as a challenge, for my 50th birthday. After many hours work, it has been returned to working order. We are also resurrecting a Ensignette and a Leica III is waiting its turn. Three further images have been added for the 1902 Sanderson, here's one of them.
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