Spinning Some Clay

2012-09-06-JMZ-Misa BDay-Yashica Electro 35 CC-HP5-ISO 400-22
Yashica Electro 35 CC, Ilford HP5 Plus

Here is another B&W shot from my Yashica.  This was taken when my DSW and I took our first clay spinning class at Higher Fire in San Jose, California this past Fall.

We had such a blast taking the class (the "2 people, 2 hours, 2 projects" couples event) that we immediately signed up for a multi-week class.  Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.

Don't get me wrong, we loved every minute of it. Well.. except for the bowl making.

I am down with spinning cups, have a great time pressing square plates, and even managed to spin a plate or two (about as thick and heavy as sewer covers…).

But we are definately not at the skill level to create large bowls which bend and warp on the wheel like nothing else.  I need to make a whole set of cups or trays before I try something like a salad bowl again!

My Favorite Camera Straps

Lance, Gordy, and OP/TECH

I am a bit of an accessory fiend.

I love to find accessories for my cameras as much as collecting the cameras themselves. One of the most important accessories is your camera strap and so here are a few of my favorites.

For practical use with serious (read: big) cameras I am big fan of OP/TECH's line of straps.  I use both their Pro Loop Strap and Super Classic Strap (with Pro Loop connectors) with my modern Nikon SLRs.

These straps have great grip and comfort, and with their interchangeable system I can swap straps from camera to camera with ease.  If I don't want to use a strap I remove its quick release and snap the two loop connectors together which can then be used as a short handle.

For vintage, leather style I own several of Gordy's Camera Straps.  I use the non-adjustable strap (without pad) with my light Yashica rangefinder, and the tripod-mount wrist strap with my even lighter, plastic-fantastic Lomography Sprocket Rocket.

The leather was a bit hard initially, but after a few months of use it softened up considerably.  I am happy without a pad using these with light cameras, but for heavier cameras a pad might be needed to better distribute the weight.

My most recent strap addition was a Lance Camera Strap and it has quickly become a fixture attached to my Nikon FA.  It is made out of a woven polyester cord which can fold up into a ball or square into any nook or cranny in a case.

With a 48" non-adjustable strap I can wear the camera across my neck/shoulder and shoot the camera without taking it off my body.  It is so flexible and smooth that I can bring it up to my eye and then slip it back down to my side.

These are my favorite straps for now…  I am always looking out for more accessories!

A Big Lens

2012-07-21-JMZ-Lighthouse-Yashica Electro 35 CC-HP5-ISO 400-18
Yashica Electro 35 CC, Ilford HP5 Plus

No, not that kind of big lens…

I am catching up on some B&W processing from this past year.  I held on to a number of rolls going back to the past summer thinking I was going to try to develop them on my own.

I never got around to trying that so I finally sent them off to Photoworks SF and then scanning & processing them myself.

This is from the Pigeon Point Light Station state park between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California.  I couldn't resist the symmetry of this lens (which is actually on display at ground level in a side-building) and shot it straight on.



I have been using a new camera lately, one which is the original sunny sixteen offering from a Nikon SLR perspective.

This is the original Nikon F… as in before they had to bother putting numbers after the "F".

It has the basic pentaprism without any metering.  It seems to operate very well despite some minor dings and scratches here and there.

Releasing its shutter produces the most satisfying "thunk" sound of any of my Nikons, this is one serious piece of metal.

Even though I shoot a great deal with my F6 (which is likely the last F ever, I guess I have bookends now…) this is a new opportunity for me.  All the F's before the F6 have interchangeable finders, and I am looking forward to finding a waist-level finder to play around with…

Film Scanning with Color Profiles in VueScan

2013-03-19 19.15.30

Dave from Shoot Tokyo
has been working on his medium-format
film scanning technique
.  I commented
on how I manage scanner and film profiling in VueScan
and he asked for more info.

Someday I may write a general introduction to VueScan, but
for today I am assuming that you have the basics down.  I highly recommend the VueScan
as a starting point.

For slide film (positive) profiling you:

  1. Obtain color
    slide(s) in your film(s) of choice
  2. Scan the color target slide using your scanner (no need
    to save)
  3. Use the Profile Scanner function (it will require
    the data file that came with the target) and save the profile with a
    descriptive name (in case you have multiple scanners and/or films)
  4. Use the resulting profile in the "Color | Scanner
    ICC profile" field to base the color of future scans of this film

This results in slide scans to be very true
to the original as viewed on a light box. 
Of course, if the color cast in the slide is off you will need to correct it later (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.).

For color print film (negative) profiling you:

  1. Obtain color target in your slide film of choice or a printed target
  2. Take a photograph of said target using your film camera
    & negative film of choice under normal lighting.  Use even or diffused mid-day sunlight or flash.
  3. Process and scan the negative film frame with the color
    target (no need to save)
  4. Use the Profile Film function in a similar
    fashion as above, feeding it the data file for the color target you took the
    photograph of
  5. Use the resulting profile in the "Color | Film ICC
    profile" field to base the color of future scans of this film

This results in negative scans to be very neutral and consistent in color. Again, if the color cast was off in the shot to begin with it will still need some correction.

I used my Nikon F6, a macro lens, and a slide copying adapter to shoot a Fuji Provia 100F slide target.  You can probably make use of any camera-lens with decent close focus ability to shoot a printed color target.

Using a neutral target like Provia for profiling Kodak Portra 400 shots produces very natural results. 
I tried a Velvia target for fun (which has very saturated colors) and the resulting profile was wonky and
"not Portra like".

This process is a bit of a hassle to setup, but once you have the profiles in place you can save a lot of time by reducing your "normalizing" color correction work.

A Very Forward Ship

Nikon D300, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

This is another shot from my 2010 visit to Oslo.  The statue is of  Fridtjof Nansen standing in front of his creation, the icebreaker Fram or "Forward".

A who's who list of explorers used this ship in the last 19th and early 20th centuries including Nansen and later Otto Sverdrup exploring the arctic and finally Roald Amundsen exploring the south pole.

It was restored in 1935 and continues to stand to this day in the Fram Museum in Oslo.

Moody Oslo Waters

Nikon D300, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

I am finally getting around to bringing the photos I took while on a business trip to Europe in the Fall of 2010 into Lightroom and Flickr.

I spent a week or so in Oslo and a few days in London.  I had borrowed my Dear Sweet Wife's D300 for the trip and had a Saturday in Oslo as well as a day off in London to do some photography.

The weather was on the grey side while I was in Oslo, they were getting some of their first serious snow of the year.  Even though the light and colors were a bit drab I like the mood I was able to achieve with the above shot.

For Distant Viewing

Nikon FA, Nikkor Ai-S 50/1.8, Kodak Portra 400

I shot several rolls of film over Thanksgiving and just got around to scanning & processing the last one.

There is always a backlog of processing to do in the new year, as the combined holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas create a lot of photos as well as plenty of other activities to keep one busy.

One top of that my DSW also gave me a new Win 8 PC as a present (to replace my aged Vista box) which took several weeks to transfer over to.  But I am back in the swing of things now and enjoying faster scanning and Lightroom performance.

Happy New Year & Hello 2013


Nikon FA, Nikkor AF 24/2.8 D, Fujicolor Natura 1600

Happy New Year everyone!

2012 was a busy year for me, but also a fantastic one.

There are many highlights both personally and photographically, but I have to say that our family vacation to Japan during the summer was the high point in both regards. (And my DW agrees.)

Looking back at my resolutions last year I think I did a pretty good job streamlining my photography work flow. I incorporated Adobe Lightroom, improved the automation in my film scanning, and can get more images from film to on line (or print) with less effort than before.

My other resolutions didn't advance so much, but life wouldn't be fun without room for improvement! (ahem…)

Looking forward to 2013 my photographic resolutions are to:

  • Experiment more with medium format
  • Try developing my own B&W film
  • Post more often, but keep them simple

I think I try to write too much at times, so I will work to increase the posts, pictures and fun while reducing the complexity.

I wish you and yours the best in 2013!