It’s been over two years since Shaan graduated from Rutgers University. She still does not have a full-time job or a part-time job. She enjoyed working as an assistant market manager for the Montgomery Friends of Open Space Farmers’ Market. I don’t see how the experience at a seasonal market will help her career options. She’ll be ineligible to be on our health insurance for two years. How do I encourage Shaan to do something?
This is my second time shooting Kodak Pro Image 100. I used Kodak Pro Image 100 last fall.
NOTE: I’ll begin this experience report with a brief disclaimer. It’s been less than three years since I returned to shooting 35mm film after switching to digital photography over 20 years ago. I’ve inundated myself with as much film education as possible between web articles and advice from experienced film shooters. But, since my prior experience with film is decades old, this review is from a rather novice point of view.
The photographs from the 36 exposure roll of Kodak Pro Image 100 that I exposed a few weeks ago during our visit to Brick Farm Tavern and East Broad Street have finally been developed and scanned. The Dark Room sent me a link earlier this week.
This is my second time shooting Kodak Pro Image 100. I used Kodak Pro Image 100 last fall, mostly while attending an outdoor beer garden hosted by Flounder Brewing Co. At that time, I was using the Minolta X-700. This roll was exposed using my Minolta XD-11 and Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens.
The Minolta XD-11 is a 35mm film SLR camera produced by Minolta in Japan from 1977 to 1984. The Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2.8 was a popular lens among photographers who valued its excellent optical quality, compact size, and lightweight design. It was designed as a high-end camera, offering advanced features and excellent performance for serious photographers. The XD-11 has a solid, all-metal body that is durable and well-balanced. It features a bright viewfinder that shows the entire frame and provides a clear, accurate view of the scene. The viewfinder also displays the aperture, shutter speed settings, and a battery check indicator. The camera has a wide range of exposure control modes, including manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and program modes. It also features a unique "aperture-preferred automatic" mode, allowing the photographer to set the aperture and let the camera automatically adjust the shutter speed for proper exposure.
The XD-11 has a fast and accurate through-the-lens (TTL) metering system that uses a silicon photodiode sensor to measure light. The metering system provides accurate exposure readings even in difficult lighting conditions, and it also features a centre-weighted averaging mode for more precise metering. Other features of the XD-11 include a self-timer, multiple exposure capability, and a depth-of-field preview button. It also has a metal focal plane shutter that can operate at speeds up to 1/1000th of a second. The Minolta XD-11’s compact size and rugged construction make it a popular choice for photographers who want a high-quality, easy-to-use and reliable SLR camera.
The Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2.8 is a compact and lightweight lens produced by Minolta in the 1970s and 1980s. It is designed for Minolta manual focus SLR cameras such as the XD-11 and is known for its excellent optical quality and durability. The lens has a 45mm focal length, which provides a slightly wider field of view than a standard 50mm lens. It has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, considered fast enough for most lighting conditions, and a minimum aperture of f/22. The lens has a smooth and precise focusing ring, allowing easy and accurate focusing.
The lens's optical construction consists of five elements in four groups, which helps minimise distortion and produce sharp, contrasty images with good colour saturation. The lens also has multi-coated optics, which reduces lens flare and ghosting and improves overall image quality. The lens is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry and use. The lens barrel is made of metal, which adds to its durability and longevity. The lens also has a built-in sliding lens hood, which helps to protect the lens from glare and damage.
I tried capturing the same images I exposed on my Fuji X-T2 that day. Swapping back and forth between the two cameras was challenging, so I enlisted Bhavna's help. I would hand her one camera, and she would return the other. This is one of the few times I have exposed an entire roll of 35mm film in one weekend. Out of a 36-exposure roll, I got back about 32 usable images. My only regret is that I didn't get better-quality scans or make some prints. I could send the negative back to The Dark Room to get prints or scan the negatives using my Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner.
A friend shared a link to an article by Christopher Brennan the growing trend of "data poisoning", a type of misinformation campaign that researcher Priyanka Ranade specifically targets information security professionals.
“I used to work in a cyber security operations center, and the analysts do use a lot of the cyber threat intelligence that’s out there on a daily basis,” Ranade said.
“I was reading Krebs on Security one day and I thought ‘How does he get all this information?’ He has to do research and probably has people working under him doing research, but what if they come across something that is misinformation that gets spread on these popular blogs. You have all these analysts reading it and they trust these sources.”
An entertaining piece by science fiction author David Brin in response to people "..that insists on interpreting the legends of illiterate shepherds as physically precise accounts".
Now of course, it is somewhat like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. Past scholars, uncharitable toward literalist believers in “biblical inerrancy,” have calculated the needed size of the Ark, for example. Were even just all known mammal species shoved aboard, shoulder to shoulder — you’d need a hundred modern aircraft carriers.
Alas, that raises a counter question about the fallibility of a deity who had to revise His design. (Not a problem, by modern reckoning! All ambitious projects undergo revision. It is only a quandary – ironically – to the obsequiously devout, who insist on zero-fallibility, a completely unnecessary trait of a creator and, well, a hard piece of flattery to live up to!)
… instead of as the vastly subtle Creator worshipped by Einstein, who concocts a vast cosmos of stunning complexity, diversity and extant — a universe truly worthy of respect. A God who — Albert would tell us, if he were here today — must have gotten things started fourteen billion years ago by uttering the stunning beauty of Maxwell’s Equations, in order to command…
“let there be light.”
Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. Just a week after homeowners on my street organised to protest the creation of new townhomes and affordable housing on the other side of our fence line in the wooded area behind our units, a blog post in my RSS leads me to see another perspective.
Who pays when a capricious preservation ruling sacrifices 200 homes? The developers? They just move on: failed projects are built into their business model. The 200 well-off households that would have rented those shiny new apartments? They just compete for other homes in the city in bidding wars that their flush bank accounts ensure they win. But then that sequential process of outbidding steps down the housing market to lower and lower cost homes until the poorest families are left with nothing they can afford. When historic preservation cuts into home production, the people who pay most dearly are those with the least housing security.
The article includes excellent examples of the problems.
It struck me that wristwatch collecting is probably as close as you can come to a purely passive or undemanding form of gear enthusiasm. It really requires nothing of the collector except that they like watches and want more than one. The only skill required is telling time.
At the other end might be guitar connoisseurship. Does it make any sense at all to collect guitars if you can't play guitar and know nothing about music?
Although I'm sure there must be non-playing guitar geeks out there, because, well, because geekery.
On the spectrum of "active skills required" (guitar geekery) to purely passive (watch geekery), photography is remarkably flexible. Being a photographer can require a great deal of dedication, visual aptitude, and skills at one end of the spectrum. But on the other, well, anyone can take a photograph—just point it and shoot, as the phrase has it. You might not get a masterpiece, but you'll get something. Anyone can participate.
With photography, you pick where you want to be on the active <—> passive scale. You can just collect gear and rarely if ever use it. Or, your whole focus can be shooting and you can all but ignore the gear.
I don't collect cameras. I use them. I don't collect cars. I drive them. I don't collect guitars. I am tone-deaf. I had a small watch collection, but now I just wear the same watch every day.
I do try my best to collect experiences.
When I’ve heard vinyl over the past few years, I’ve generally not been impressed. To my ears it didn’t sound better than a CD or even a good streaming service. That evening with my brother-in-law changed my perception completely. He’s been a vinyl collector for many years and has a lovely set of refurbished 1970s hi-fi separates to play his records on. The sound quality melted the wax in my ears.
What utter shite! The sound quality from vinyl does not compare well to the quality of a CD. A listener may prefer the sound from a vinyl setup but to call the sound quality is hyperbole. So what brought me to this article.
I have some vinyl recordings by soca musicians from the West Indies that are not available in the digital compact disk, or digital streaming audio or downloadable digital audio files. The Caribbean studios recorded these calypso albums long before the advent of compact discs. The market for the 1980s soca is limited. I want to listen to them, but I need a record player, perhaps one with a USB output, to digitize the audio for enjoyment on other devices.
But as I started to explain to my wife why large thin disks were arriving in the mail from Brooklyn, I realized more was going on.
When I was a teenager, Dad was very much into Hi-Fi. Over time, he had built an impressive rig. Dad would sit in the living room on the weekends, place one of his favourites on the turntable, and sit back in the “right” spot for a focused listening session. Sometimes I would join him. We sat there, both enjoying the music, the moment broken by just a few words between us.
After his passing, my brothers found Dad’s LP12 in storage in pieces. Termites had eaten the wood plinth, and the metal parts were water damaged. We don’t know what happened to the rest of Dad’s HiFi gear.
…the buyer market is shrinking and not backfilling. The leading profile for vintage audio buyers is ~50+ year old males. Buyer motivation is a mix of appreciation of sonics, mid-century design style and ?nostalgia for gear they grew up with?. When I sell vintage audio gear, almost without exception, buyers are 50+ year old males — while my personal experiences are anecdotal, they represent a small snapshot of a global trend to all HiFi, not simply vintage audio.
I’ve spoken to several leaders in the HiFi world that corroborate even today, the focus market for high-end HiFi gear is male, over 50 years old. Even the contemporary high-end audiophile buyer market is shrinking precipitously. Supporting evidence, the Stereophile Magazine media kit that includes readership demographics, 99% male, average age, 47.
I don’t need expensive audio gear to recreate the moments of focused listening with Dad, and I don’t want an extensive HiFi setup. I listen to a lot of digital audio, and Apple recently updated their Apple Music service to lossless audio. My iPhone is a convenient digital audio source. Apple’s audio catalogue is extensive. Schiit Audio makes capable DACs and headphone amps with phono inputs. I think I can build my audio listening experience around that. It’s not about the gear. It’s about the memories.
My brother-in-law Dipan sent out an SMS. Come hang out in the backyard. We'll grill, make some frozen cocktails and hang out. This was fun.
The family get-together provided ample subjects to practice shooting the aperture of the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 lens wide open. I had adapted the MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 to my Fuji-XT2, and with the 1.52 crop factor, this lens offers an angle of view similar to a 76mm lens on a full-frame 35mm camera. That's a "short" portrait lens range, and the f/1.7 produced some creamy background.
While hid Dad, Dipan grilled, Rahul offered up his usual cheesy smile. We chatted about the new 85" TV Dipan had bought to "hang out with your friends in the basement" room. I immediately ordered a copy of the F1 2021 racing game to be delivered. We are going to have some fun.
Shaan wanted me to take her portrait, which is unusual for my kids. She wanted some headshots and some full-body photos. I took all at maximum aperture.
Dipan grilled hotdogs, veggie burgers, mushrooms with a spicy marinade, jalapeno peppers, and corn on the cob while mixing up frozen margaritas.
Dipan bought a new Honda Odyssey mini-van. I had warned him that although spacious and comfortable, mini-vans were boring to drive. They are young Dad cars. I know. We used to have one. He acknowledged that I was spot on, but the mini-van is what he wants for the long roads trips with Rohan, Rahul and his parents. This summer, they want to spend some time exploring the northeast - the Maine coastline, perhaps Niagara Falls, Canada, etc.
Above, Mukesh talking excitedly with Dipan about the mini-van.
Bhavna was happy to be with her family. She had a rough week with sleep, and this was a pleasant distraction. I can see the happiness in her eyes.
Later in the evening, we sat on lounge chairs in a circle, having those witty but deeply connecting conversations that families have. Rohan finally sat still long enough for me to capture his portrait.
Lens-Artists Challenge #154 – One Photo Two Ways
When I was at my sister-in-law's home last night, I noticed these flowers that she planted along the side of the hose near the garage. I thought it would be great to focus my Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 lens, which I had adapted to my Fuji X-T2, on something other than portraits of the family. Just like with the portraits above, I set this nearly 40-year-old lens at its maximum aperture.
I almost always forget to attach an image for the weekly Lens-Artists Challenge. I am either too busy during the week, don't get outside, or get too busy on the weekend, hastily post my journal for the week, and forget to attach images. I remembered this morning - Monday - so I did some quick editing in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar AI. This week's challenge is One Photo Two Ways.
The original image (below) is underexposed.
I wanted the brighten the image but still let the flowers play the central role. I increased exposure and white balance and then pulled back the shadows to darken the leaves framing these purple-pink flowers. There is some colour shifting in the flowers.
My second edit was a bit simpler. I applied a fade to the image while increasing highlights and whites just a bit.