Sunday, November 15, 2009

Roll #2 - tests in aperture

So I am a little behind on updating this blog (that's what happens when I get back into work). But bit by bit, I will keep uploading more.
The new set of pics on my Picasa site (titled Roll #2) were taken during the September long weekend. I was excited to get this roll back because it was the first time I had been able to take candid shots of people (and animals)... I couldn't wait to see what they would come out like. I was actually really happy with a lot of the shots that came back. I am realizing that the lens that is on my camera is really well suited to close-up portrait style shots. When I try to take longer distance shots, there isn't really a clear focus; the pictures tend to lack depth and interest. If anyone has tips as to how I can get depth in these shots without needing to change the lens, I am open to suggestions!
The other great thing about this roll of film is that I started to learn how to adjust my shutter speed to control lighting levels (although I am still mastering this art). I also read up on adjusting the aperture and was testing it out. Adjusting the shutter speed will change how quickly shutter opens and closes. The faster the shutter speed, the less light. So generally a fast shutter speed (on my camera the highest shutter speed is 500 or 1/500th of a second) I use for outdoor shots when the sun is shining directly on my shot. The aperture on the other hand controls the size of the diaphram to allow in more or less light (like the iris of your eye). The larger the aperature number, the smaller the size of the diaphram. My camera's aperture varies from 2.8 to 16.

The lower aperture settings (larger diaphram size) allow me to focus on one object while having the surrounding areas "blurred". Using this feature on this roll of film really helped me to get pictures that are more interesting and have more depth and detail. I am still working on balancing the aperture and shutter speed though. Some of the pictures where I had a larger diaprham on the aperture, I didn't have the shutter speed high enough and so the pictures came back washed out.
Overall, this roll of film really motivated me to continue playing with my camera and testing things out. I learned a lot about the capabilities and about some photography techniques. Definitely worth the $2 at the garage sale! More pics to come... (I think I have at least 1 or 2 more rolls after this one to post... and one in the camera that is almost done!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Updated Album

In an attempt to not fall too far behind on recording my experiments, I finished editing and uploading the last pics to my first Picassa Web album ("First attempts"). All these pics are still from my first roll and a half of film on which I knew very little about photography, let alone anything about my specific camera.
I am excited about the last few rolls that I have developed and am hoping that I'll need to do less and less editing with photoshop as I learn more. I will create a new album for my second roll of film and update as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First Attempts

When I first found my treasure at a garage sale, it had film still in it. The film was lord-only-knows how old, and it was a low quality asa 100 film. I didn't have great expectations from that roll, only to discover if the the camera actually worked or not. I was pretty excited when I got the first roll back and there were actual pictures on there! The quality was really poor and spent hours pouring over them on my computer trying to get the right contrast, to get some decent colour out of them. I managed to salvage a few that have some interest.
For my second roll of film, I was sure to buy a higher quality asa 400 film, but I still knew nothing about photography! So Jeffrey and I went on a photographic adventure to figure out just what my new toy could do with some decent film in it. J, who also has an old film camera, gave me a few tips about adjusting shutter speed for light levels, but we didn't really know the right adjustments for my particular camera.
I learned a lot from the roll of film, namely that I need to set my shutter speed higher than J would with his camera, as a lot of my pictures came back washed out. Also, with the lens that is on my camera it is a lot more difficult to take interesting pictures of larger landscapes (i.e. it captures objects close-up much better than far away). Also I found that my Olympus Pen F can capture amazing colour, but it doesn't fair well on white or light backgrounds. (On my next roll I have started to learn about and experiment with apature to try to correct some of this, but that is for a later entry).
Overall, my first roll and a half of film still required some help from the computer after developing to really get quality photos but there was some progress.

** I have created a Picasa Web Album to support this blog since it will allow me to create albums and hold more pictures. I have added a slideshow on the left side of the blog with those pictures, but you can check out all my pics and view them out in more detail on that site (click on the slideshow to be automatically directed to my Picasa Albums).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My New Toy

We live in a world today of constant, instant gratification.
Point, click, instant access to anything you want…
Want to find out some information? Point and click at Google.
Want to listen to music? Point and click on your ipod.
Want to talk to someone anywhere in the world? Click away on your cell phone.
Want to take pictures of your special moments? Point and click on a high-tech autofocus digital camera (don’t forget to check the review screen and delete it if it didn’t turn out).
Want to share those pictures with friends? Point and click to text, email, or facebook them.

On one of my recent garage sale ventures, I came across an old Olympus Pen F camera (a manual 35mm film camera that was originally released in 1963). Having watched and admired Jeffrey’s handy work with his old skool film camera, I was inspired to try it out myself. So, for a mere $2 (film included!), I picked up what has now become my most beloved toy (next to my old skool beach cruiser bike complete with basket, of course). The camera is original, to say the least, because it actually takes two pictures within a regular single frame (thus on a 24 roll of film, I actually get 48 pictures). It has basic focus functions on the lens as well as the ability to adjust light levels. It doesn’t have a zoom lens with it (although I could probably get one if I searched one out).

But the best part of my new toy is the anticipation! I love seeing a great shot, taking the time to adjust light levels and manually focus the lens before I click away (and remember to wind it after each shot!). And having to wait to see how the pictures turned out. Getting the pictures back is like Christmas! I can hardly wait to see what the rewards of my efforts will be.

It has reminded me that, in our world of instant gratification, we need to step back and take the time to enjoy that sweet anticipation of the unknown.

So I have created this blog to document my experiments in re-discovering this old technology. To help myself keep focus, and to share my adventures with anyone who is willing to follow along.

First attempts taken with old 100-film (the stuff that came with the camera) when I wasn't sure it was even working. Photo was edited using a photo-editing program to rebalance light levels and enhance colour.