Sunday, August 11, 2019

What a year...

It is time again to blog into the infinite void that is the Interwebs. It's been almost a year since I have given this place some love. In that time, Spawn the Younger started and completed her first year in college, Google+ died, Facebook had a dozen or so scandals, and Twitter became an even worse cesspool. So here I am.

Honestly, I wasn't sure about using this space again after Google abandoned the G+ project. What's to keep them from shutting down Blogger at random? I don't know the answer, but the content has to go somewhere and that somewhere is definitely not Facebook.

Anyway, let's test out integration with Google Photos. Remember when that was all on Drive and that was integrated with G+ and Picasa? Good times. Let's pull a photo or two...

Okay, this is a very good sign. I was able to select an image from a Google Photos album or one that had been imported to Google Photos from my phone. In this case, I had downloaded images from the Fujifilm X-H1.  My love of vintage glass continues, unabated. Lately, I have been nerding out on fast glass. This is as captured with an Olympus PEN F 42mm f1.2. With selective focus, who needs elaborate lighting or a proper set?

The desk is an absolute mess. My recent glass fetish involves adapting lenses from 16mm and 8mm film cameras for use with the Fuji, a Pentax Q, or Nikon V3. Most of them are from the 1940s - 1960s and have old, gummed up lubricant. I've been doing a lot of lens surgery to take out gunk and put in brand new helical lube imported from Japan.

This beast shines with a Fuji sensor and processing. It's a C-mount Cooke Ivotal 50mm f1.4 from the early 1950s. It was almost seized up. With fresh lube, it was my walk around lens for street photography at the August First Fridays in the Kansas City Crossroads. Here are some out-of-camera samples. Yes, I want all of you to lust after old glass. After all, what modern camera equipment would be usable sixty years from now?

Want a cinematic look? Cinema camera glass is just the thing you need.

Yes, I am in love with this lens.

There's a story behind this photo. Stop here if you don't want to read a short story and a mini-rant.

Last weekend, America was on edge after another couple assault weapon slaughters by angry, young men. At around 10:00 PM, a series of fast shots rang out in the KC Crossroads among the huge First Fridays food truck crowd. I was up the street - downloading images from the Fuji to my phone - when people came screaming up 18th Street. I wasn't going to be the last person visible and we all just assumed it was a mass shooter with an assault rifle since that's the American brand nowadays.

So run I did. No photos or video. I am serious about street photography, but not serious enough to be shot. I turned out to be an angry young man with a 9mm that he emptied into a crowd at random to make a point to the rival kids who were running the other way. A 25-year-old woman was killed. And after almost 15-years, First Fridays is now an ominous thing.

Enough is enough, ya'll. The Crossroads I know is so civilized that two police officers can calmly tell a mobile DJ that it's time to break up a street party and a few hundred people just cooperate. (Photos from 2015). Anyway, we're all better than what this country is becoming.

Thanks for dropping by. The Internet is vast and most of us are just tossing bytes into the void. I genuinely appreciate your time and will continue to post here until the lights go off at Blogger.


  1. Welcome back!
    G+ never seemed to catch on as FB was already more popular. I never got into any social media.
    I too used to adapt old lenses to my film cameras. Good cinema lenses seem to be good at color or B & W as most had good coatings. Other old lenses I used were not so good except for B & W. Another thing I like using is cinema film which has never been all that popular and generally difficult to find a good processor and printer. I've not tried any on a digital body, but the good ones should work with a full frame or larger sensor fine. Some of the smaller sensors may only yeild good results at the lens center though.

    1. Thanks!
      G+ was good while it lasted. It had a great core community of photography nerds that would do meetups around the country. The first iteration got social media right with priority given to accounts tied to verified, actual people. It wasn't originally the haven for trolls and bots that Twitter and Facebook are. I post photos on Instagram, and it is only kinda okay.

      I've been having a blast with old glass on digital bodies. Equivalent sensor sizes:
      Pentax Q = 8mm cinema camera frame
      Nikon 1 V3 = 16mm cinema camera frame
      Fujifilm APS-C = 1/2 35mm frame = Olympus PEN F

      Some of the 16mm cine lenses have a large enough image circle to cover an APS-C sensor. The Cooke Ivotal is one of them. I have a pretty complete set of PEN F lenses and use them extensively. The Pentax Q and Nikon One systems are now defunct as the manufacturers started focusing on bigger and bigger sensors. I like portability and weird rendering.

      I have a number of old 35mm camera lenses with adapters for the Fuji. I could make the jump to full frame with a Sony from a couple years back, but I haven't felt the need given the rendering and noise handling capabilities of the Fuji sensor and processing system. I also don't love lugging around big glass.

      Bottom line: Experimenting keeps me from getting bored and I am always looking for opportunities to shoot. That gets me out of the house :-)

  2. I'm down here in Springfield where a guy thought it would be interesting to waltz through a Walmart in body armor, carrying a high-capacity rifle. Y'all have, no doubt, heard about it, regardless of where in the country you are. As a firm believer in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I do not think any of these recent events are okay. This is not what the old, white, dead guys had in mind.

    Just when we feel disconnected from reality, though, here we have one of our own, out on the streets and reporting on events. It may be an understatement to say we are all better than what the country is becoming. How many people were out there, enjoying social interaction when one knucklehead ruined the party? That majority, loving life, is what we need to aspire to be.

    And now, I want to get out my camera and aspire to take pictures like yours.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I live in the Kansas suburbs of the KC metro. The guy at the Springfield Walmart is lucky there weren't any armed 'stand your ground' advocates in the store. Sorry this happened in your community.

      I grew up in the country and have operated handguns up to .44, shotguns, .22 competition target rifles, larger bore carbines, and an AR-15 back in the pre-ban 1980s. It's shocking how big a hole one of those makes. I support sport shooting and hunters should be able to hunt. The incident at your Walmart is definitely not in the 'well regulated militia' category. There's got to be a reasonable middle ground.

      Observing life on the streets is how I interact with the outside world. I'll continue to go to First Fridays and I will walk everywhere with a camera when I travel to other cities. Accepting fear is how terrorists win. I do feel for the hundreds of teens that were having a great time when gunshots ruined the evening. They grew up with active shooter drills and many are going back to school feeling apprehensive.

      I hope you have a chance to dust off the camera. If you are interested in mirrorless equipment that will take old glass easily, the first generation Fuji X-T1 is darned cheap and still renders nicely. It's far cleaner in low-light situations than the Canon digital equipment I came from. Adapters cost next to nothing. The one I use with the C-mount lenses is $6.

  3. Gah, yeah, I've been re-thinking my Libertarian tendencies lately. People seem to be too damn dumb these days to be allowed to have dangerous tools, so I guess the Federalists had the right idea. /:

    1. America was always a messy and complicated construct. There are no easy solutions in a nation of 330-million people. I can only hope the politicians at least try.


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