About Me

My photo
I take pictures of things. Mostly with film. Mostly with cameras. I am an engineer by trade. What really makes me happy, though, is to find an old camera at a swap meet or antique store and bring it back into working order with a few hours at the workbench. I then like to take them out and shoot some film. This blog is in large part the result of that activity.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the cliché



I am not a professional photographer, obviously.  I take photos of the things around me.  My kids, my dog, my house.  I go for walks at lunch and take shots of the area around my office.  The photographic cliché is not unfamiliar to me. 


This is the biggest one of them all, a kid and a dog.  Of course, to me it is a cute kid and a cute dog, 'cause they're my kid and my dog.  Looking closer though, there's a lot to this photo besides that.  I love the creamy tones, the deep shadow in the upper right corner, the way the light is coming from above but is bouncing around off the light colored floor to illuminate Shea's face.  I also like the way the light falls off on the left side.  I haven't decided yet if I like the power outlet on the wall... I may crop around that, but then I lose the falloff.  I centered the subject, and I've been told that's not a good idea.  I like the way it works in this one.  I just plain LIKE this shot. 


Technical mumbo jumbo warning:
I shot this with a Pentax Spotmatic, a 50mm 1.4 lens and Kodak Tri-x 400 film.  This is one of my favorite combinations for creamy tones and sharp focus.  The Takumar lenses are pure magic.  As much as I like my Nikons and Nikkors, I'll always have a Spotmatic with a Takumar f1.4 50mm on it somewhere.  They just can't be beat.  Tough as nails, sharp as a tack, beautiful blur in the areas that are out of focus. (Incidentally, there is a Japanese word, "bokeh", that is thrown around by photo writers and bloggers which apparently refers to the quality of the out of focus areas.  Since I'm not even sure how to pronounce it I never use it in speech so I figure I won't use it here either.)


This particular Spotmatic is one of the cameras that was 'not working' when I bought it.  I cleaned it up, replaced the light seals and repaired the light meter and got it working.  I actually have a silly number of Spotmatics.  I have both my Father's and my Grandfather's, both of them chrome, both of them cleaned, lubed and re-sealed.  I discovered after poking around that there are black Spotmatics, and of course, I had to have one.  I bid on one that was for a silly low price and won it.  When it arrived I realized that in typical auction rookie fashion I had not throughly read the auction.  It is a Pentax SL, not an SP.  The SL doesn't have a built in light meter.  As it turns out, I've subsequently learned that black Pentax SLs are pretty rare, and it is probably worth more than a metered body.  Regardless, I wanted an SP.   I bid on one on an online auction and, thinking I would certainly be outbid, saw one with a 'buy it now' for the same price and bought it.  I subsequently won the auction, so I have two of them now.  I also discovered that people sell Spotmatics as 'broken' when all they need is a good cleaning, and that they sell for NOTHING, so I ended up buying a whole bunch of them and repairing them.  I've sold off two of them, but I still have rather embarrassing number of them which I need to sell off.  Clearly I'm much better at buying than selling.


I shall also continue to take the cliché photo whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Just wait 'til I start sharing my photos of trees.

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