Archive for May, 2010

Know When to Quit

This morning I was torn between a nice long, intense bike ride on my Opus or a photography journey on my Fuji. I chose a photography ride since it is Sunday and the trails would be packed with people. I had trouble deciding what to bring and I finally decided to bring a roll of 120 Tmax 100 and finish off the roll of Ilford 100 in my Minolta Autocord. I also decided to bring my Crown Graphic and two film holders for 4 large formats shots (just in case).

We left around 8:30 and Alex was going to go to Te Aro and work on her paper for Montreal. Off we go on out bikes and once we hit Sherbourne and Gerard we parted ways. On the corner I noticed a door the screamed photo. It was a colour shot so I did nothing about it and just kept heading south on Sherbourne. A few houses down from the door scene was this guy in his front yard with a huge orange , blue and green parrot on his shoulders. The parrot was filled with colour and it’s master’s face was filled with character. I thought dam, I have no colour film so I just kept riding. I turned onto Queen St East and headed for Parliament st. It sudden;y dawned on me that I had my digital Canon G11 and I could have taken both shots. Ok, bad start. I got to Cherry St and turned west towards the docks. Two lakers were at the docks so I stopped the bike and set up my Minolta with filter and lens hood, took a light reading and proceeded to compose and take a shot of the closest boat. I then looked at another shot of the two boats and cranked the film winder to take another. Then I saw I hadn’t set the proper f stop. I set everything up for the next shot and took it. The Minolta was done. I got on my bike to look far a shady spot so I could remove the exposed film and load the next roll. Pulling everything out of my knapsack, I found I had left the new roll on the table back home, arrrggghhh. Oh well, I have four shots with the Crown so off I go on my little route.

I headed towards the water again for a different view of the laker. This time I had the Toronto skyline and the boat in the same frame. One more I pulled the Minolta, the light meter, the G11, the film holders, the Crown and various filter cases from my knapsack. I set up the Crown and pulled the lens board to the infinity stops. I put a film holder into the back and composed through the viewfinder. I took two bracketed shots and started to put everything back. When I folded the Crown I noticed the focusing rails to be at the 8 foot mark. Ok, time to quit since nothing is going right. I sent a text message to Alex saying I was on my way to Te Aro and proceeded to slowly make my way there.]

I’ll post the images when I develop them.

Some days you just have to know when to quit

May 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm 2 comments

Nikon Back

I love doing new things that require a bit of planning. As previous posts show, I have started up photography again and been a bit successful with it. I recently had a photo chosen by the Torontoist to display on their site. If you want to see the photo go here.

Anyhow, that bit of news is not what I want to write about here. In browsing Flickr I discovered a Flickr friend had produced an image using a Canon 5DmkII mounted on a Widepan sliding back attached to a Linhof 4×5″ Technika V camera with a Wollensak 11.5″ lens (see the image here) . I loved the color the lens produced and I also was attracted to the challenge of doing the same thing using my Crown Graphic. I decided I would try to attach my Nikon D80 to the camera. The fun was in the planning.

I needed a mount for the camera and Stan, at International Camera (now closed) gave me an old Nikon lens that had the mount I needed. I took the lens apart and voila, I had the adaptor. My next problem was to decide how to mount the adaptor to the Crown Graphic. I let the problem sit for a few weeks and one morning woke up with the solution. I would go to the art store and pick up a foam board that I could cut to proper dimensions and mount the adaptor on. While looking at the foam boards I saw a 5×7 canvas that artists use to paint on. It was perfect, two glued together would be just the right thickness for the Graflox back on my Crown. I bought some flat black paint and three boards and the total came to $11.

I measured the film holders and applied the measurements to the canvas, cut the canvas, found the centre location for the adaptor and cut the required hole for it. Everything worked like a charm. Actually, I was going to mount the adaptor with the lens barrel but decided to use an extension tube as a spacer for the camera and mount the adaptor fluch on the back. Here is the pre paint (I need to paint the Nikon back black) results……………

Initially I mounted the camera using a 36mm extension tube for a spacer but I couldn’t focus the camera to infinity. I stopped down the lens to f32 and this photo resulted……….

This was my very first picture using the Nikon on my Crown Graphic. Although totally out of focus I was really happy about it.

I exchanged the 36mm tube with a 20 mm one and these are the shots I took with it……….

All the above shots were with the focus on infinity so I had to test a macro shot using the same setup.

Since the Graflex uses bellows there was no reason why I couldn’t get as close as I wanted to my subject. Anyhow, the results of a closeup………………….

The lens on my Crown Graphic is Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135 mm, a “normal” lens for 4×5. I don’t know what the focal length is when my Nikon is mounted on it but I suspect it must be around 500 or 600 mm. It was a fun project and now I need to find another one. Hmmm, maybe build a camera using an old Minolta zoom lens as a start.

May 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm 1 comment


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