Ford Truck Smile Wednesday, Oct 17 2012 

I wrote the other day about my Mamiya 645 camera and the fisheye lens I had for it. This is one of the photos I made with it.

Ford Truck Smile

Ford Truck Smile

A local photographer I know suggested that we look for abandoned vehicle lots somewhere south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The field where we found the Desoto Powerflite was one of such locations, and this was another. It looked as if it was someone’s back yard, and it had a lot of old rusted out trucks and cars that still had some really distinctive design features.

I made a few shots with my normal lenses, but then I wanted to play around with the fisheye. The photo is made from about a foot away from the grille of the truck, and the way the lens curves the lines, it makes it seem like the truck is smiling, like a cartoon character.

In the end, I decided that the fisheye lens is a nice toy, but that my preferences lay on the other end of the focal length scale, in the normal to telephoto range. So I sold the lens for a nice profit and eventually used the money to upgrade to the Mamiya 7 I have now. I have no regrets, but I do have a few fun shots.

Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX Thursday, Oct 11 2012 

I mentioned recently that I had some fun shooting expired Kodak Portra 800 film a few years ago. The film expired in 2003, and the first effect of that was that the film lost at least a stop of light sensitivity. So, I exposed the following rolls at EI 400, which yielded much better results. The colors were still hit and miss – in the Desoto shot I posted earlier, they looked great, but they looked quite muted elsewhere.

Deep Ellum, expired film

Deep Ellum, expired film

In terms of content, the murals in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas depict two blues guitar icons, Robert Johnson, who famously sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads, and John Lee Hooker. The third painting seems to show a Dallas skyline, with a cat resting on the half moon above the city.

Final note: on this occasion, I went on a walk through Deep Ellum with two other local photographers, who were also shooting medium format film. It was one of them who gave me the idea to try developing my own film. The process of developing color print film is much more involved, but developing black and white film turned out to be pretty straightforward.

Desoto Powerflite Thursday, Sep 13 2012 

This is one of my all-time favorite photographic surprises.

A few years ago, I scored a fantastic fisheye lens for the Mamiya 645 medium format camera I was shooting at the time. I only paid $50 for the lens in the used section of a local camera store. For good measure, I bought a 5-pack of expired Kodak Portra 800 film in the 220 format for another $20, I think.

After the first roll was developed, I realized that I needed to severely overexpose the film. Soon after that, I was shooting some old rusted out cars in a field just off the I-35 highway and grabbed this photo of a Desoto Powerflite.

Desoto Powerflite

Desoto Powerflite

Surprisingly, I didn’t have to do much to make the colors pop, even on expired, grainy film. Portra seems like it was a nice emulsion for Kodak, although it seems inconsistent. I even tried the recent 160VC, but the results were very underwhelming.

On this photo, I wish I had composed the telegraph post out of the picture, and at 1/60 there is still some movement in the leaves of grass. I didn’t have my digital on purpose, and I never went back to try again, so this is the only photo I have of the scene, but I really like the way it turned out.

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