A Vintage Schwinn Bicycle, And Ilford Delta 100 Professional

Handlebars, And Speedometer/Odometer.

Handlebars, And Speedometer/Odometer.

 

For sharpness and freedom from grain, ILFORD DELTA 100 PROFESSIONAL is simply the best in its class – offering the photographer exceptionally fine grain and a level of sharpness rarely seen, resulting in outstanding clarity of detail and the most precise image rendition. -IlfordPhoto.com

I shot this roll of Delta 100 a year ago this September (9/3/12), in downtown Fitchburg. It sat in the refrigerator, unprocessed, all this time. Why I waited a year to develop it, I will never know. All I know is, I want some more. Lots and lots more. Here, a vintage Schwinn bicycle that I came across, parked in front of a vintage consignment shop. The rust and corrosion on the handlebars, brake levers, and the chrome of the speedometer/odometer are all exactly as I remember them. The shadow detail, and the texture, border on perfection.

The film is unlike any B&W wilm. and in 35mm format, looks like large format in the sharpness, detail, and clarity. It takes advantage of the newer tabular grain structures. Photographers online grumble about the contrast, but I think it is superb. I developed in D-76, 1:1, 11 minutes at 68 degrees F. Like all film, play. Myself? I can’t see me making any changes in time or temperature.

The camera used here was the Nikon FE-2, and the lens the 35mm AI Nikkor.

img720

Front end, showing Schwinn nameplate and reflector.

This film is optimized to be shot at ISO100, as metered here. But can also be shot up to ISO200. But, with grain this fine, not sure why anyone would want to. Could be a fun experiment.

img721

This would be fantastic fine art film, or for natural light portraiture. Or, for maybe, any subject. It is that beautiful. I love Tri-X, and Kodak’s T-Max films. But, this may be my new “go-to” film, certainly for outdoors. Like any film, it certainly is not perfect. But, pretty close. When I opened the tank, I knew I came across magic. This past weekend, I tried in vain to find any flaws.

Ilford 100 Delta Professional is the world’s sharpest ISO 100 speed black-and-white camera film. This exceptional film uses the unique Ilford core-shell crystal technology. 100 Delta Professional’s emulsion allows levels of enlargement never before possible without loss of fine detail. -bhphotovideo.com

108310

But some. Buy lots.

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.

93050064

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.

93050050

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.

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-

93050018

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.

Window Dressing- Portra 160 And Colors

After exposing a roll of Portra 160 to maybe too much light, while walking downtown Fitchburg, MA for a bit, I came across some very cool window displays at Shack’s Department Store. They really were the perfect experiment for Portra 160’s rich color palette. While digital photography is now known as a medium that offers a very wide offering of colors, looking at these closely really makes one wonder if there is a viable alternative. The film scans beautifully, and honestly, there are some colors I see here that I have never been able to capture digitally.

I have used 160 NC and VC, the old emulsions, mostly in 120 on the Hasselblad. This new emulsion seems to take the best of both. The colors are certainly rich and vivid, but not in a wonky, over the top fashion, such as in VC, or the previously blogged about Ektar. That is also a beautiful film, but Portra 160, one may argue, is a more realistic one. While it is doubtful that it has the wide latitude of Portra 400, nor the versatility, this film has breathtaking color and sharpness. Yet, it seems almost ideal for portraiture, where Ektar may produce tomato-like skin tones.

Once again, shot with the F3HP, and 50mm f/1.4Ai, these shots really make me want to get out there again soon, and shoot more rolls. Needless to say, thrilled with the results. Kodak, if you are listening, keep pumping out this gorgeous film, please!

These are truly the colors as metered and photographed. At Shack's, Fitchburg, MA.

These are truly the colors as metered and photographed. At Shack’s, Fitchburg, MA.

I think these are some of the best colors I've ever shot with film, including on Kodachrome.

I think these are some of the best colors I’ve ever shot with film, including on Kodachrome.

Flowers

Flowers

Memorial Day, 2012- Nikon F3HP, Portra 160

Took these, out in the midday sun, with Kodak Portra 160. This is the view on Fitchburg Common, Fitchburg, MA. Portra is a gorgeous film, but I did struggle a bit yesterday with overexposure and “hot” images. “The Golden Hour”, while in principle a great rule, is not always practical, or realistic. I have been trying to train myself to shoot away from the sky, and sunlight, but when doing landscape, urban landscape, things of that nature, does not always work. For this walk, I took the newly CLA’d and serviced Nikon F3HP. I also had a brand new LCD display installed, as after 20 plus years, the panels started to dim. Nikon USA service is indeed great, as they had the camera for less than a month. In July, Nikon will no longer sell parts to the general public, or independent service techs. So, if you need coupling prongs, screws, etc, this might be a great time to do it.

One WWII veteran visiting this site said to me “there are almost too many here to photograph”. Sad, but true.

Each memorial has a flag.

Each memorial has a flag.

White subjects under the bright sun did present quite a challenge to photograph.

White subjects under the bright sun did present quite a challenge to photograph.

Johnsonia Relief Fund Music Festival

This past Saturday, I had the sincere pleasure of attending The Johnsonia Relief Fund Music Festival in Fitchburg, MA. The fire that damaged this beautiful building, which left 60 people from 42 condo units without homes, and several businesses out of work, destroyed most everyone’s personal belongings. While the structure itself is in tact, the fire damage to the upper units, and the water damage to the lower businesses, leaves reconstruction in serious doubt. Meanwhile, those displaced need help. 100% of the proceeds from this concert went to those former residents. The music was fantastic, and the people in great spirits. Here are a few shots, taken with Tri-X, the Nikon H3HP, and the fantastic Nikkor 135mm f/2.8. Developed in HC-110-

The Johnsonia Building, Fitchburg, MA, As Seen From Riverfront Park, In Background. Fire Damage Can Be Seen In To Upper Floors.

The Johnsonia Building, Fitchburg, MA, As Seen From Riverfront Park, In Background. Fire Damage Can Be Seen In To Upper Floors.

Acts Gave Their Time And Played To Support This Great Cause

Acts Gave Their Time And Played To Support This Great Cause

Cold, Unfriendly New Englanders Typically Do Not Dance, But A Few Actually Did This Day.

Cold, Unfriendly New Englanders Typically Do Not Dance, But A Few Actually Did This Day.

Thousands Of Dollars Were Raised, 100% Of Which Went To Those Who Lost Their Homes.

Thousands Of Dollars Were Raised, 100% Of Which Went To Those Who Lost Their Homes.

No Rain, On What Turned Out To Be A Perfect Day For Some Great Music.

No Rain, On What Turned Out To Be A Perfect Day For Some Great Music.

Polaroid Hiatus – Ended

Stairs, Leading To The Gazebo

Stairs, Leading To The Gazebo

The stone stairs were built as a way to walk up to the view of Mirror Lake. A perfect spot to watch the return of the swans, every Spring.

Woods, Leading To The Main Trail
Woods, Leading To The Main Trail

The wooded area is well marked, and there are many trails to hike and explore. The wooded area is the view as seen from the main trail, near the lake.

Tree, Coggshall Park
Tree, Coggshall Park

Last Thursday, I was in the Fitchburg, MA area, and as I usually do, returned to scenic Coggshall Park. It is an oasis in a struggling city. A little stone house there was rurned down by arsonists, which were never caught, in 2009. The stone foundation survived, and students of Monty Tech are rebuilding the structure, using original blueprints. The park is 300 acres large, and includes bird sanctuaries, and dedicated conservation land. In the fall, it is a favorite spot for photographers, but year round, some great spots to photograph can be found. The tree above, undamaged by the ice storm of a couple of years ago, thrives, right down to the roots.

Fitchburg Revisited

Took a brisk mini-photowalk through Fitchburg, MA on Thursday. A struggling old city, in Central Massachusetts. The city is so strapped financially that they had to turn the street lights off, raising the already high crime rate even more. If it were not for the university, it might not be on the map.  Yet, it does possess a lot of charm, potential, and spirit. As do the people, many are simply nice people. Walking around the downtown area, I lost count of how many “Good morning!”, and “Nice camera!” greetings I received. Would be a shock to receive such greetings in Boston, which tends to be a very unfriendly city. Move 50 miles or so to the west, and it’s a whole nother ball game.

Urban Artwork Mural, Fitchburg, MA

Urban Artwork Mural, Fitchburg, MA

Every summer in Fitchburg, there is one of the best kept secrets in all of sports, a world class bicycle race circuit, called the Longsjo Classic. Named after Arthur Longjo, who was the US’s 1st athlete to compete in both the Summer (bicycle), and Winter (speed skating) Olympic Games. He was killed in an automobile crash, but his legacy lives on, and a few years back, I even got to see his devoted widow in person, who awards winners their medals. This huge signage is on the side of an abandoned building:

The Longsjo Classic

The Longsjo Classic

A new obsession is Americana/kitsch. It might become a photographic theme this summer. Rapidly fading from stuffy, Brahmin New England, you can still find some. Putnam Street Lanes, a family-owned 10 lane alley, is open 7 days a week. Sorry, no credit or debit cards, please. Cash, and bowl. This is the oldest candlepin bowling house in the United States.

Candlepins For Cash- Putnam Street Lanes, Fitchburg, MA

Candlepins For Cash- Putnam Street Lanes, Fitchburg, MA

Amazing Polaroid subjects are abound. Just open your (Electric) eye.