Saturday, April 13, 2013

Back to my roots....back to film that is

Guess I have had a long hiatus from blogging. Sometimes one gets caught in the fast lane and it takes some doing to get off that "Going to Nowhere" train. I have not done much shooting, the influx of Instagram, Pinterest and the likes mean stock photography is bidding time. To survive and stay relevant, these stock photo agencies find ways to jiggle their existing contract with contributors so they can keep more of a shrinking pie and pay the contributors less. I know that day would come, sooner than later. I stop shooting digital, in fact I sold most of my lenses and kept only my Canon 10D. I was so happy to pick up that film camera again and to process my own film....There is something special about shooting film I cannot put it into words but you know what I mean.

I acquired a Koni Rapid Omega with 120 back on Ebay for $69 Buy It Now price (I got lucky) plus $23.95 shipping. A beautiful medium format rangefinder camera, the Koni Rapid weighs a good 4.5 lbs. It is a beast!! I love shooting street photography, the impromptu scene, the not posed images. Being able to use available light, finding subjects in ordinary places makes shooting so much more rewarding for me. I will now add the Koni Rapid Omega to the list of cameras I enjoy shooting: Mamiya RB ProSD, the Bronica Zenza S2A and now the Koni Rapid Omega. They all share a few things in common: sharp lenses, weigh a ton, battery-less, totally mechanical. What a bliss!

In the last 6 years or so, I have gone through a few photo enlargers, setting up a home darkroom whenever possible (call it the learning curve, finding out what your like and what you don't and the quirks). However, each time I was getting ready to move, I dreaded having to move it and so I got rid of them by passing it along to the next person. Amongst them: the very massive Beseler 23C, the Saunders LPL, Omega D6, Omega C700 the list goes on. Up until this morning, I was effectively "enlarger-less". However my photography world just got that much better as I spotted a Durst M601 in superb condition for sale on Craigslist for $30 last night. I decided I had to drive 50 miles south to go and get it, never mind I can't set up a darkroom now. What a great enlarger! Everything I wished the other enlargers could be I found in the Durst. Solid, steady, extremely well built means one can print without worrying about the enlarger moving or shaking ever so slightly. The glass negative holder holds one's negative flat no matter how long one has been printing (not curled as with many negative holders when things get hot). Two sliding red knobs on the neg holder allow one to adjust the masking on the negative as desired. Not having to remove and reposition means less dusts will be introduced!! The column measures 3 ft, the base 20 x 20, the head can be tilted and locked at an angle for larger enlargement. The movement up and down is smooth, quiet and the knob handle folds and locks (much like the winder on a Bronica). Made in Italy, this Durst M601 for $30 has to be one of my best hauls ever ($50 including gas)! Never mind that my printing will have to wait until I can find an abode that has an extra room/garage or outside barn for the darkroom again.

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