I’ve been carrying around the mju II now and again for the past few months- when I returned from Byron, I decided it was time to clear out all the stray C-41 around the apartment.
I should have some more posts coming soon as have a few rolls of E-6 slide film in need of development and an assortment of black and white that I’m in the process of scanning. Recently, I purchased 2 big boxes of travel slides from the 60’s, a collection of negatives from WWII, and an assortment of Australiana- stay tuned.
I brought my mju II along on a recent trip to Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, I had loaded it with color film expecting some bright sun but the primarily overcast days were lending themselves more to black and white- I downloaded the tin type package for Hipstamatic and ran with it.
A large pine on the northern end of the beach
The pass on the way to Wategos
The path leading to the most eastern point on the Australian coast
Tea tree lake at The Arts Factory
Lounge singer on the closing weekend of La Playa
A woman out on her hen’s night
This was my first time really trying to work with an iPhone as my old 3G couldn’t handle most modern apps, these were taken on a 4G model I was given by a friend who recently upgraded. I dont feel these look much like real tin types I’ve come across in second hand shops but that could be my using it to photograph whole scenes as opposed to portraits which I believe was the traditional use.
Collodion wet plate developing aside, I doubt even shooting for real tin types is as easy as using the app- I think the main draw was that I could use my ability to see in black and white with a quick auto focus to get a novel result in about any situation, it worked well for a vacation where I didnt feel inspired to do much outside of bounce from pub to pub and explore some nature.
Since acquiring the mju II a couple of months back, I’ve been exploring color a little more than normal with some accumulated portra stock from my fridge- I find its handling better than my GRD III for speed out of pocket. If I use my three middle fingers when reaching for it, I can be opening the clam shell casing and have it ready to fire by the time I can get the viewfinder to my eye.
When it comes to analog AF’s, I hit the jackpot this weekend when I found a Ricoh FF3 Super and a series one Olympus mju for $6 each in the second hand goods store for the Cat Protection Society of New South Wales. Normally I assume every Salvos and St. Vincent’s across the greater Sydney area has been cleaned out of classic camera gear by the type of old men that rule the Ultimo Camera Fair thrice a year but I guess no one thinks to wander into a place like the Cat Protection- I only ended up there while trying to find a half-gallon canning jar to mix up Philly Fish House Punch in for the coming summer- not an easy find out in Oz.
Das Racist with Lakutis performing at the Oxford Art Factory
I’ve taken a little hiatus from shooting around town but I’ll be back in action this Friday at Oxford Art Factory to cover the ‘Big Things Tour’– in preparation I’ve purchased a speedlite 430 and charged up ye olde digital Rebel XSi
I recently acquired an Olympus mju II and have been enjoying the new found freedom from manual focus, allowing a return to a more reactive and looser style akin to when I bought my first DSLR.
In celebration, I thought it would be good to drop the M6 for awhile, put aside the black and white film stock, and try to get outside my normal ways and means of capturing photographs to make this small Paul Graham inspired series that I’ve dubbed “Dolmades in Glebe”.
Despite the camera’s outward appearance (which looks a lot like a cell phone from days gone before smart phones) it handles surprisingly well and I’m generally pleased with the quality of shots I’ve got back on the initial test roll. If you look close you’ll notice it even has the option of imprinting the date onto the shots via its quartz date functionality- I’m assuming my model is from ’96 as this is the default year it loads when the batteries are replaced.
I ended up at the Friend in Hand for a few beers a couple weekends ago- this is the Cockatoo “George” that lives at the bar
This last photo was of a guy named Nigel who came up to me outside the Clarendon to inquire about my camera- he had just order himself a Spotmatic off eBay from Canada for $60.
I found some more old negative packets at a second hand shop and a tag sale up in Katoomba; I’ve been slowly accumulating more and need to find the time to get them all scanned, culled and posted.
While I enjoy looking at color work by photographers by like Martin Parr, Paul Graham and even Alec Soth– I still don’t feel that I can really see or fully understand color. It could be a product of all the street shooting in black and white that I’ve been doing for the past couple years- in The Ongoing Moment Geoff Dyer alludes to something like this when he talks about the start of color photography with the scorn heaped on photographers who clearly saw in black and white but attempted color as opposed to later photographers of the 1970’s and 80’s who clearly saw in color from the start.
I feel like i’m still trying to “solve color as a separate problem” instead of intuitively seeing and shooting in it as naturally as I do black and white.
Part of the issue is that I don’t feel like I can trust color to be accurate to what I saw- this may be in large part due a lack of work flow around my scanner (an Epson v700) or a lack of familiarity with film stocks. Each time I scan a color transparency or negative I get at best a darkened version compared to what I see when I hold it up to the light or at worst a washed out negative scan that requires me to turn on the Epson scan software’s color restoration which sets off alarm bells in my head as I assume the Epson software is making automated judgement calls around proper exposure and color levels that I’m too uneducated on to correct for in something like Adobe Lightroom.
Or maybe its that I’m just not interested enough in it to bother learning to start with, as none of this can really be that complicated- when I think of the work I look at for inspiration its almost always my copy of In The Balkans but rarely my copy of American Surfaces.
Or maybe its a comfort thing- I enjoy a lot more than just shooting with black and white, I like to still develop and do my own proofs. If I ever have issues with my scanner, I can always compare the results of my scans against my analog contact sheets to see the difference- if I don’t like the feel or the texture I can change developers or switch up my film stock- to some extent the hands on work allows me to feel like I’m refining a process that’s already set in motion, or possibly gives me the mental illusion that what I am doing is worth my time because it takes time to do.
This shot was one left over from Mardi Gras that I had forgot to include
I found this cardigan hung over a parking block on the way back to my flat so I shot a few frames with the Rollei; I like to take the Rolleiflex out when I’m running errands or otherwise not going out with the sole intent to shoot even though its somewhat heavier and bulkier than my M6- it makes a great camera for shooting when there’s no need to move fast.
I took a lot looser approach with the camera then I normally would- it yielded a few blurred shots in combination with the overcast weather but I got some decent shots on the lead up to the parade kicking off when compared to last year’s Mardi Gras haul from the same time.
All shots were HP5+ pushed to 1600 and developed in a stock Xtol solution for about 9:28-9:35 at 23C-23.3C depending on the tank.