About 21,000 years ago, all of Connecticut and Long Island were covered by glacier ice which was about 1 mile thick. The flow of the glaciers carried along rocks like these, which would pile up at the end of the glacier, where the rate of melting/evaporation, was equal to the rate of advancement of the glacier, forming what is a called moraine. All of Long Island was formed by this process.
Allow me some final photos taken this past summer using a "vintage" Pentax ME Super with Kodak TMax 400 film. These were all taken ignoring the camera's light meter and just using the "Sunny 16" rule for exposure.
New London, CT 2015
So, what did I learn? Having spent some time shooting film, I now have a greater appreciation for photographers who still use film in this digital age. Shooting digital does tend to spoil one. Digital images are instantly available. All the important information is captured in the digital file and can be recalled when processing the images on a computer. It's easier to correct mistakes in the field when shooting digital. I can't tell you how many times I looked at the back of the ME Super expecting to see my recently shot image and seeing only the back of the camera and not the LCD screen! I found myself thinking more about each picture I took when I was using film. I tend to take way too many pictures when I shoot digital, since there is no film cost or processing cost. I'm not sure if my images captured on film are any better than the ones I captured digitally. I do like the look of the black and white images I made using film though.
Niantic, CT 2015
My next steps will be to have my Pentax ME Super taken in for cleaning and some maintenance, and perhaps calibrate the light meter, if that can even be done. Then I have two rolls Ilford Delta 400 film to shoot. If I get really ambitious I might get into scanning the negatives myself, and maybe, just maybe, make some prints. That will become my Autumn and Winter Projects. Thanks for reading!
Scenes at Mystic Seaport look great in black and white. Here are a couple more examples from my last roll of Kodak TMax 400.
Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT 2015
During this entire exercise, I've been interested in doing some of my own scans. All the photos I've posted here were processed by a company called The DarkRoom and I ordered their enhanced scans which provide images at 2048 x 3072 pixels. So far, I'm pretty satisfied, but I'm wondering if I could improve upon the quality by doing my own scans. After all, I do have the negatives. I might make that my winter project.
I would like to thank my followers for all of the comments left on my last two posts. I appreciate all the tips as I continue to trouble shoot my Pentax ME Super. One of the first things I did, after looking at the first two rolls of film I shot was to visit Flickr and search for photos that were tagged with "Pentax ME Super" and "Kodak TMax 400". This is very easy to do in Flickr and returned many photos which gave me an idea of how my photos should look. After looking at the Flickr photos, I was encouraged, since many of the photos look pretty close to my better shots. I had more success with my second roll of film, but still felt the light meter was erratic, and could not be trusted. Researching the many on-line forums I found that this is a common problem with the Pentax ME Super. It also appears that this can be easily fixed. Before I send off the camera for repair I decided to shoot one more roll of film and not rely on the camera's light meter to set my aperture and shutter speed. To do this, I used the tried and true "Sunny 16 Rule" for exposure, which just about every good photographer knows about. So I loaded the camera with my last roll of Kodak TMax 400, and with the ISO set to 400, I set my aperture to f16 and my shutter speed 1/500 of a second off I went on a bright sunny day. This was my most successful roll, containing many more keepers. Some of the better shots are below.
Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT 2015
I'm encouraged by these results, and I plan to have the camera sent off to a local shop for some cleaning and maintenance before I shoot anymore film. At least know I know I can't rely on the camera's light meter, and will determine my exposures in other ways.
I fared a little better with my second roll of Kodak Tmax400 film with a lot more pictures closer to what I was expecting to see. However I found it a little tricky using the Pentax ME Super's light meter which varied wildly from shot to shot. Most of the shots looked like the the following two images.
Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT
I expected to see some grain in the photos, but there were a lot of these images which appeared to be washed out, and of very low contrast. I wasn't really sure if the images were over exposed or not. But from that same roll, I also got the following image, more to my liking.
It appeared to me that I might have a problem with the light meter.
Like many of my generation, we grew up using film for photography and more than likely one of the many simple "point and shoot" cameras of the day made by the Kodak company. If one really developed an interest in photography back then, and had the resources you might be able shoot with a Nikon, Olympus or Pentax 35 mm film camera. Digital photography has changed everything, allowing just about everyone with a phone to take high quality photographs which are instantly viewable and shared around the world. Still there is a market for analog film photography and many photographers prefer film to digital. I'm not going to argue the merits of either, or which is better. They both are just ways to produce images and after all, it's the photograph that's important, not how it was captured. Having learned a lot more about photography using my Nikon D90, I thought it was time to try my hand at some film photography. I had an old Pentax ME Super sitting around for about 30 years in a case and thought I'd break it out again to see first of all if it would still work, and then try to take some images. I bought a reconditioned 50 mm lens from Ebay, some Kodak Tmax 400 film from B&H, loaded the camera with fresh batteries and the film and off I went.
Surprisingly, with fresh batteries, the light meter appeared to work. The Pentax ME Super allows for Automatic shooting or manual shooting. One sets the aperture and then adjusts the shutter speed by pressing one of two buttons on top until the light meter in the view finder is green. After I shot my first roll of film, I sent it off to be processed. The negatives were scanned digitally and within I week I received the negatives, and a CD containing the scanned images. The results of my first efforts were less than spectacular and to me, a little disappointing. Below is perhaps the best shot from that first roll.
North Stonington, CT 2015
Without the aid of all the metadata that's stored in today's digital files, it was hard to determine what went wrong with a lot of the pictures on this roll. I neglected to write down things like aperture, shutter speed, etc. So after one roll of film I wasn't sure if the camera was working properly or not. In addition, perhaps I was so used to looking at digital black and white photos, that I wasn't really sure what to expect. Clearly some troubleshooting was in order. I'll be posting some more examples this week of my film work.
So as I was enjoying my hot lobster roll at Abbott's and watching the steady parade of pleasure craft passing by, this super yacht started to make its way past. It was clearly far larger than any of the other boats normally seen in these waters and dwarfed all the other boats. It was so big, that I couldn't capture the entire yacht with my 85 mm lens which provided some nice views of the other craft. One never has the right lens!!
Noank, CT 2015
At one time the MV Kahu, was a ship in the Royal Navy of New Zealand. It was purchased and refitted into a family yacht by Peter White-Robinson, who very conveniently happens to own the New Zealand based Fitzroy Yachts. He then took his family and some friends on a year and half long cruise around the world. The yacht can now be chartered for adventure cruises. She's 122 ft long and has two diesel engines. You can find out more about her and book your very own adventure cruise here.
No summer is complete without making at least one trip to Abbott's Lobster in the Rough. It is the place to go if you want lobster. After Labor Day they are only open on weekends through Columbus Day weekend, so it's not too late to go if you like lobster.
The Claiborne Pell bridge spans the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, connecting the the town of Jamestown to the west with the city of Newport. This is a view taken from a resort located on Goat Island looking toward Jamestown.
Long time followers of this blog will recognize the US Coast Guard Barque Eagle, one of my favorite subjects. I couldn't let the summer slip by without at least one picture of the Eagle, which was recently docked in New London.
I'll admit is is just a little bit spooky walking amongst the figureheads on display. The sculptors put a lot of expression and detail into the faces of these figureheads and the eyes seem to follow you where ever you go. It wouldn't surprise me if there are some ancient sea-faring spirits lurking about in this room.
One of my favorite exhibits at Mystic Seaport is housed in the Wendell Building and it shows some very dramatic figureheads and ship carvings in the museum's collection I hadn't visited the exhibit in a while so on a recent visit I dropped in and found the display had changed and now featured a number of figureheads I had not seen before.