Saturday, June 24, 2017
Photographs taken with a Rolleiflex 3.5E with Schneider Xenotar lens using Kodak Panatomic-X film. I scanner the negatives with a Minolta Scan Multi scanner using Silverfast Ai software.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
|Vermilion flycatcher, an occasional and rare winter visitor, LA route 602 near Mound|
|Smooth bike riding on LA 602 and very little traffic.|
Friday, June 16, 2017
This is a continuation of my irregular series on country stores. It was almost 95° F. one typical day last summer; I had received my Rolleiflex back from repair and wanted to test it. Where to go? Well, Church Hill, on Rte. 533 south of Alcorn State University, had an old country store, so off I went. It was also a good opportunity check some long-expired Kodak Ektar 25 film. This was one of the finest-resolution color print films ever made, and I had 5 rolls still in the freezer.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
|Abandoned cement silo off Rte. 3. 35mm film, Pentax Spotmatic camera, 35mm Super-Takumar lens.|
Most of the square photographs were taken with a Rolleiflex 3.5E camera with Xenotar lens. The film was Kodak Panatomic-X, with expiration date 1989 but it still performs perfectly. I wrote about Panatomic-X earlier this year. The close-up of the crushing mill was from a Mamiya C220 camera with 55mm lens. I previously wrote about the silos in 2010 and in 2017.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
For previous articles on the Delta, type "Mississippi Delta" in the search box on the right.
Photographs taken with a Fuji GW690II 6×9 medium format camera with a 90mm f/3.5 lens. The film was my favorite Kodak Panatomic-X, long discontinued but still in good condition.
Monday, June 5, 2017
|Clay Street, Vicksburg (also known as the ugliest street in America), 150mm lens.|
|Hasselblad 501CM, A12 film back, and Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 CB lens (all 1999 production).|
|Kansas City Southern railroad line from the Confederate Avenue bridge, Vicksburg Military Park, 150mm lens.|
|501 Fairground Street, 150mm lens.|
|503 Fairground Street.|
The five matching houses on Fairground street are typical 1920s cottages. They are wider than shotgun houses but similarly intended as inexpensive housing for urban working families. I have photographed them before many times.
|Fairground Street bridge, 150mm lens (flare is from a light leak in the film back).|
|KCS railroad cut from Washington Street, 150mm lens.|
|Gent with his bicycle, 150mm lens.|
I often like to photograph the Kansas City Southern railroad line where it passes under Washington Street and runs through a deep valley between Belmont and Pine Streets. The gent on the bicycle was coming down the sidewalk and we chatted. He graciously let me take his portrait.
|Tri-State Tire, 2209 Washington Street, Vicksburg.|
This building with its Spanish motif was once an ice cream shop but has been a tire store since the 1970s.
|Stairs on the east side of the unused Mercy Hospital, Grove Street, 80mm lens.|
|2314 Grove Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 80mm lens.|
Thank you, Bob, for letting me use your camera and lenses. But now that I have sampled a Hasselblad, I want to buy one (Hmmm, an element of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) at play here.....).
Friday, June 2, 2017
|Eastern Airlines DC-2.|
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington-Hoover_Airport. That would date my dad's pictures to late-1941, which is possible because I read in one of his 1941 diary entries that he was thinking of buying a 35mm format camera. He bought an American-made Perfex camera, made by the Candid Camera Corporation of Chicago. I assume this roll of film was one of his early tests. The Cameraquest web page describes the Perfex cameras if you are interested.
Unfortunately, there were only 5 frames on this roll with air field photographs. The other frames were rather mundane tourist scenes in Washington (statue of heroic soldier on horse, etc.). This serves as a lesson that as the years pass, scenes or topics that seem ordinary often take on historical importance, or at least interest. But standard tourist sites are rather unchanging unless you include cultural artifacts, such as parked cars or signs.
The old Washington-Hoover airport was soundly criticized by pilots and almost everyone as being dangerous and hopelessly inadequate as the airport for the nation's capital. The runways were short, a nearby dump that was on fire made plumes of thick smoke, nearby radio antennas were a hazard, and Military Road had to be blocked by guards when planes landed or took off. At one time, there was a swimming pool, which children reached by crossing the runway.
Construction of the new National Airport was mired in the standard political and budgetary malarky (nothing has changed in 75 years). There was even controversy about where the boundary between Virginia and the District of Columbia was located. Read the sordid history in the link above. The new National Airport opened just before our entry into World War II. This was fortuitous timing because the world war resulted in a tremendous increase in air traffic into Washington and Virginia.
From the History of Reagan National Airport:
When it opened, National Airport was considered the “last word” in airports – a concentration of the ultramodern developments in design of buildings, handling of planes, air traffic and field traffic control, field lighting, facilities for public comfort and convenience, and surface vehicle traffic control.Well, not quite. Across the ocean, in Berlin, the spectacular Templehof Airport was under construction and almost complete in 1941. Please see my 2016 article on Templehof.
Monday, May 29, 2017
|Former Cities Services station, 3700 5th Street, Meridian, Mississippi|
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
|Overgrown drive welcomes paranormal investigators but no residents.|
|This was a handsome house originally, with symmetry and an imposing entry colonnade.|
|The original millwork came in kit form from Sears, Roebuck & Company.|
Photographs taken with a tripod-mounted Fuji GW690II rangefinder camera; light measured with a Luna-Pro SBC hand-held light meter.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Eastman Kodak Company introduced Panatomic-X in 1933 and discontinued it in 1987. The film had been reformulated during its five-decade existence, so my late production was likely different than the original. It was designed to be an extremely fine grain film, which meant it could be enlarged for large prints and still retain details. This was of value to architectural, fine-art, and aerial photographers. The version I have was rated at ISO 32, but I shot it at 20 or 25 and developed it in Rodinal at 1:50 dilution. Agfa's Rodinal is a developer that retains the grain structure and therefore looks "sharp" (i.e., it does not have solvent action to partly dissolve the edges of the grain clumps). Used with good lenses and careful technique (that means a tripod), the detail in a Panatomic-X negative is astonishing, even in this age of 36-megapixel digital cameras.
|My most recent 1959-vintage Rolleiflex 3.5E with the 5-element 75mm f/3.5 Schneider Xenotar lens.|
|Former residence room in the Junius Ward YMCA on Clay Street in Vicksburg, early 1990.|
|Shotgun houses in Grayson Court, Jackson, 2004.|
|The Junius Ward YMCA on Clay Street, Vicksburg, 2004. The Old Courthouse Museum is in the distance.|
|Two shotgun houses on Bowmar Avenue, Vicksburg, 2005. Both have been town down.|
|The New21 Club on Hwy 61, Valley Park, 2016.|
|Blue Front Cafe, Bentonia, 2010.|
- Even by the 1980s, most photographers wanted faster film so that they would not need to use a tripod.
- Newer T-grain or tabular films like Kodak T-Max or Ilford Delta 100 offered almost as fine grain but with faster speed.
- A friend from Rochester who has worked with Kodak said there was a toxic chemical used in the Panatomic-X production. I have read the same pertaining to Agfapan 25, so maybe slow fine grain films required some chemical technology that manufacturers cannot use today.
|Unused Teen Center, 407 West Green Street, Tallulah, Louisiana, December 2016. Fuji photograph.|
|Unused church in Hermanville, Mississippi, January 2017. Rolleiflex photograph.|
|Little Bayou Pierre, Port Gibson, February 2017. Port Gibson is the town that General Ulysses Grant did not burn during the U.S. Civil War because he admired the architecture so much.|
|Crushing mill, Rte 3, Redwood, Mississippi, 2017. Rolleiflex photograph.|
Readers know I like film. One reason is I used film for 50 years and am comfortable with it. Another reason is it has a familiar look that we saw in prints, magazines, exhibits, and movies for decades, and it works well for recording urban decay. Techno-dweebs on forums like Dpreview despise film because they think they are so superior with their new super digital capture devices. To each his own. Still, if you have aspirations to be a real photographer, you owe it to yourself to use the traditional medium, learn how to calculate exposure manually, and contemplate each picture carefully. You need to think with film; no spray and pray that you might achieve a meaningful picture. Used film cameras are cheap - just go do it.