Green Machines

I photographed these two automobiles, once again, at the Block Party in Fitchburg. I’ve read a lot online about how Kodak Portra 400 renders the color green. Personally, I think it does a fantastic job. The Plymouth Road Runner appeared a few blog entries back, well, it’s hood did, anyways.

Wile E. Coyote, and The Road Runner.

Wile E. Coyote, and The Road Runner.

This custom hot rod, which you can see behind the Road Runner above, had a much more colorful, brighter green. Still rendered beautifully by Portra. The chrome of the engine just popped so nicely. The automobile looked just like a vintage Hot Wheels car from the 1960’s.

Hot Rod

Hot Rod

I don’t think either Portra, or FujiColor, are particularly accurate films. FujiColor would have likely exaggerated the greens either more than Portra. But, they are both gorgeous looking films. Really is hard to go wrong with either one. But Portra really worked out nicely here.

Captive Subjects

Sometimes, I will photograph mannequins in downtown boutique storefronts. They can be almost like photographing people, but, they won’t get uncomfortable, or feel awkward having their photo taken. More importantly, they can be great test subjects for exposure, contrast, color accuracy, and composition. And, the windows they are behind can add some great imagery through reflections. These were photographed late in the day, in downtown Fitchburg. Shack’s was the store. The Canonet QL17 G-III, and Portra 400.

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I think they were going for a late 60’s Mad Men era look here.

Sometimes, you never know what you’ll get in the reflections. As in the shot below.

That's a street sweeper being reflected on the glass.

That’s a street sweeper being reflected on the glass.

The following shot was taken with an almost wide open aperture.

Born To Be Wild

Born To Be Wild

The street curb showed up as a reflection here.

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Achieving shallow DOF is somewhat tricky on the Canonet. When it works, it really looks nice.

Yes, they are pale. But, they do keep their poses.

Bel Air Sedan, Nomad Wagon- 1955

Before finishing off the roll of Portra 400 at the Block Party that I had in the Canonet, I had to photograph these magnificent 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air’s, a sedan and a Nomad station wagon. Complete with tail fins, beautifully restored and buffed baby blue paint, and shiny chrome, they stood out in the later afternoon/early evening, as the sun started to go down. The 40mm focal length really worked out beautifully, and allowed me to get close, but still take a lot of the cars in. And the colors just seemed to pop. Photos can’t begin to do them justice.

Speed Limit 25?

Speed Limit 25? Bel Air Sedan

No clue what was under this hood- guessing a small block V8. Yes, it was a two door station wagon!

Gorgeous, fully chromed front grille.

Gorgeous, fully chromed front grille.

The sedan had this amazing hood ornament, reminiscent of the jet age, foreshadowing the space era-

This hood ornament is true artwork. Try to even build something like this efficiently in 2013.

This hood ornament is true artwork. Try to even build something like this efficiently in 2013.

I’m not sure if station wagons might be the first choice for a car collector. Then again, this is no ordinary station wagon. Even the back tailgate is beautiful, right down to the “Nomad’ emblem.

Easy cargo access.

Easy cargo access.

Beautiful vintage cars really are a blast to photograph. They can show off your lens, and film quality, so nicely. I could have used a whole roll on these amazing pieces of Americana.

Classic Automobiles

I’ve attempted photographing vintage autos before, and featured them on the blog. These were in black and white, such as last year’s Summer Stroll. A gentleman at a camera show earlier this year told me that he found color film photography to be “flat, and uninteresting”. I recommended that he try, of course, Portra. The colors here really make me think that I gave him the perfect response. From last month’s Block Party, with the Canon AE-1, and the 50mm f/1.4 FD. I know very little about vintage automobiles, other than what I have read, and from collecting Matchbox’s and Hot Wheels as a kid. So, I really tried to photograph what caught my eye. Any caption corrections or clarifications are much appreciated.

Plymouth Road Runner hood and grill.

Plymouth Road Runner hood and grill.

American Motors AMX. Gorgeous paint, colors that no film could do any justice to.

American Motors AMX. Gorgeous paint, colors that no film could do any justice to.

Side view.

Side view.

How can one of these shows not have at least one Ford Thunderbird?

How can one of these shows not have at least one Ford Thunderbird?

This Galaxie 500 convertable had a meticulously restored and maintained interior.

This Galaxie 500 convertable had a meticulously restored and maintained interior.

Chrysler Indy 500 pace car, with Hemi engine.

Chrysler Indy 500 pace car, with Hemi engine.

Next time, should such subjects present themselves, I’d love to go wide, maybe with a 24mm, or 28mm. And, close. But the 50 really does give a nice perspective, and brings out the clean lines, and beautifully sculpted body panels, with little, if any, lens distortion.

Party Crasher- Street Photography With An SLR

The Block Party in Fitchburg that I blogged about a couple of days ago seemed custom-made for a rangefinder, such as the Canonet. As I am relatively new to calculation of hyperfocal distance, and rangefinder photography in general, I also brought the much larger Canon AE-1, also loaded up with Portra 400. While not by any means a stealthy street photography tool, the shutter priority feature really helped with some of the more fluid shots, such as this street juggler. Here, at an exposure of 1/30th of a second:

Go slow for these shots, and motion is easily conveyed.

Go slow for these shots, and motion is easily conveyed.

I think the next shot was at the same relatively slow speed. While many do not suggest hand holding an SLR with such a slow exposure, it really can work out nicely if you do not want to freeze the action, and want trails along with the moving objects, while keeping the more static ones sharp.

He also showed up in Monday's blog, with a crowd around him.

He also showed up in Monday’s blog, with a crowd around him.

A few “dignitaries” were at the party- such as Congresswoman Niki Tsongas-

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Rep. Tsongas speaking with reconfigured 3rd District residents.

Mayor Lisa Wong of Fitchburg is one of the youngest mayors in Massachusetts-

Mayor Lisa Wong watches kids make sand castles, with their moms.

Mayor Lisa Wong (center) watches kids make sand castles, with their moms.

Finally, while not likely qualifying as a dignitary, I saw this guy at last year’s Block Party. I am not sure if I got any photographs of him then, but was glad to see him again this year. He sings, and plays the accordion. And claims to be driving one of the longest driven Ford Model A’s in existence, and drives it every day-

Playing the accordion, on the bumper of his Model A.

Playing the accordion, on the bumper of his Model A.

I don’t know if he is over 100 years old, or his tire is (see the sign, lower left). His Model A can’t be, as this model was built by Ford from 1927-1931.

Block Party

Earlier this month, I took in a Block Party in Fitchburg, MA. As part of its Civic Days 4th of July celebration every year, the entire downtown of the city is closed off, and local vendors sell food, crafts, as well as participate in various activities. Of course, there are the standard vintage car exhibits, and fun for the kids.

This year, I decided to take two Canon cameras, the Canonet, and the AE-1.  Both loaded up with Portra 400. For candid street photography, I chose the zone focusing approach on the Canonet, f/11, at a range of 10 feet. I think I used exposures of 1/250th of a second. It was a heck of a lot of fun to try. Here are a few of the shots from that roll:

Taking in the various vendors and sites.

Taking in the various vendors and sites.

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Chatting amidst the crowd.

Shooting from the hip with a rangefinder is indeed a very different experience from that of SLR photography. You are not “limited” by the physical constraints of the viewfinder. And, of course, it is a much quieter experience, without that traditional mirror slap.

Family stroll.

Family stroll.

The use of color for street photography does seem odd. But as I have yet to shoot B&W with the Canonet, and the local CVS has been doing a great job scanning my Portra film. And, at less than $5/roll with scans, it is pretty hard to go wrong. There are rumors out there that CVS is going to eliminate many film machines from their stores. So, maybe I’m shooting color like a maniac for a reason.

Watching a juggler.

Watching a juggler.

This could be a very addictive genre. Once you get some cool shots, you want to keep getting more and more keepers. At the preset aperture distance, and focal length I’ve chosen here, chances are pretty good that I will get something in focus. The challenge is getting a good composition, while not using the viewfinder. But when you do, it can be very rewarding indeed.