* P H O T O   N O T E S   2 0 0 5


NYC2005, the fourth photo trip to New York City, saw the return to (relative) simplicity in photo gear. After two trips with a digital camera and a PocketPC and a laptop, respectively, for image viewing, it was back to a film camera, a single lens, a bunch of slide film and a spot meter. And of course the apparatus without which any irritable NYC shooting would be incomplete, a tripod.

The equipment:

@ - Canon EF SLR film camera
Contrary to what I wrote five years ago on Photo notes, there's indeed nothing in sight that's going to "wipe away" the 35 mm SLRs from my photo arsenal. The "EF" in the name doesn't in fact stand for Canon's EF mounting system, but is the camera's actual designation. A rare bird from 1973 and of a similar sturdy construction as the legendary F1. An expensive SLR body despite its age, but works like clockwork -- down to its shutter sound... (link (listen to the wonderfully precise click of its vertical metal shutter))
The camera bag was the same as previously.

@ - 35 mm Arsat PCS perspective-correction/shift lens, f1:2.8
This is the Ukrainian wonder, a (relatively) budget alternative for the $1000 Canon and Nikon perspective-correction lenses for their respective mounts. Despite its origins, the lens is of a good quality in terms of shapness and IMO excellent value (review). This lens was the reason for reverting to the film camera, as getting a PC lens for a digi cam is very difficult, ie. pricey, requiring a proper digi SLR body to mount the lens.
The one shortfall that occurred was the use of a lens hood. I had already noticed the forming of vignetting at the top of shots when the lens is considerably shifted. However, I assumed the vignetting to be due to mistakenly not folding the long rubber hood (which can be thus shortened) when taking the test shots. Which was too bad, because it in fact isn't the hood itself that got in the way at all, rather than the metal ring that has the threads to mount the lens hood. So, the vignetting was going to happen even if the lens hood was just attached to the lens. Unfortunately, the effect seemed to be stronger in the final shots than when viewed through the viewfinder, because I thought I'd rather successfully cropped the view through the amount of shifting to include only a minimum amount of vignetting. Didn't quite turn out that way. But there's always next time...

@ - Soligor Spotmaster II spot exposure meter
Bought during the 1997 trip, but then a disappointment as I couldn't seem to get the exposures right with no proper calibration done with a brand new meter. Most of the shots from atop the 2 WTC top deck, for example, came out badly overexposed. But, eight years later another plunge with the film equipment and the spot meter and the results came out, hum, spot on. The spot meter allowed me to utilize a kind of "zone metering" that gave total control over the latitude of the slide film and the overall exposure. By metering different "sections" of the framed subject (sky, darkest point, point which I want to reproduce as 18 % gray (in exposure terms) or other significant points like windows of facade portions) and then entering the chosen aperture and shutter speed values to the camera, I had as good a control over the media as possible (without tampering also with the slide processing). Even though I bracketed the shots one stop up and one down, the metering was in fact so accurate that in only a handful of shots did I use other than the unbracketed shot on the website.

@ - Slik Pro 700 DX tripod with the Pro 700 three-way-pan head
The same goes for this as did in the 2000 photo notes, although the number of individual packings and unpackings of the tripod from the carrying bag was this time "only" somewhere between 40 and 50...

@ - 7 rolls of Fuji Sensia 100 slide film
Happened to be just the correct amount in order to get the shots of the intended buildings (usually bracketing one stop down and one up) as well as some extra "targets of opportunity", but getting consumed before I got totally fed up...

And not along on the trip, but nevertheless bought just to utilize the zoned slide system:

@ - Canon FS4000US 35 mm film scanner
The final piece of the film shooting puzzle; finally a proper method of scanning film shots, and in a good resolution. Also used to rescan many of the first trip shots, many of which in fact turned out to be very good when using a proper scanner.

M A I N   P A G E

lo-go © e t dankwa
7/9 August 2005