Sept. 18 I had a day when I was up north babysitting the grandbabies
and my sweet bride said "go play"! That's exactly what I did. Nobody has to tell
me twice! I combined several of my favorite things together in a single afternoon
that was most satisfactory. Good friends, ancient automobiles, and equally antique
large format cameras and lenses. Bliss.
First I had
to fix the Ford. Glen and Rachelle, his daughter, were heading to
August Nights last month when the '40 decided it would rather stay home. Starter
locked up and no amount of rocking would have it otherwise. I crawled under and
had my way with a tire iron. Good as new!
That set the
mood right for portraits with the 8X10! I had the Kodak 2D with a
freshly installed 7" Packard, along with 3 old portrait lenses I was dying to use. A
14" f4.5 Voigtlander Heliar, 12 3/4" Cooke Portrellic Series IIb f4.5 diffusion control,
and a Wooly 12" f6 Versar. I had just received the Versar the day previous.
is a very different lens than the Heliar and the Cooke. I had envisioned
a shootout with those 2 as they have a very similar look and effect. The Versar
would get chosen if I was photographing an old cowboy with deep facial lines and
hoary beard because it has a wirey sharpness to it.
are some of the most pleasing I've ever made. I wanted wide open
apertures with the Cooke and the Heliar. The Packard was working well and I knew
I could count on about 1/15th second exposures but my meter was telling me I'd
be 1 1/2 to 2 stops over exposed. So that's what I did. I developed in PMK Pyro
and cut back development 2/5ths. 8 1/2 min on my Efke 100 instead of a normal
13 1/2 min.s' The negatives are robust with a fine spread of values.
So here are
the pics. I suppose it's laughable that you can tell apart fine nuances
portrait lens character in an 55kb .jpg. Have to work with what we've got I suppose.
3 were done with the Cooke. f4.5 and diffusion set to '2'.
The Cooke is a seriously pretty lens and a pleasure to put to use.
Rachelle. She's 12 and smarter than me and her dad combined. No really.
This time I stopped down to f8 1/2 and set the diffusion to '3'.
Next is the
Heliar. f4.5. Note that I did use camera tilts and swings to
equalize focus plane.
Glen and Maxine. Maxine needs to watch out for me because I have a burning
desire to get one of those huge magic markers, put a black circle around one eye, and
change her name to Petey! Oh dear, I'm really REALLY dating myself. Yep, Little Rascals.
This is the single best portrait I've made to date.
Me. Must be worried about the gear. Did that shutter trip?
the Versar. It has a brushed chrome Wollensak shutter
that someone added later. Probably Burke & James. It has a
correct matching aperture scale. This time I wanted the wirey
sharpness. These were shot at f22, 1/2 sec.