Symphonic

“The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra is Worcester’s premiere resident orchestra and was founded in 1947. It regularly performs at its home, Tuckerman Hall, as well as at Worcester’s Mechanics  Hall and Hanover Theatre. During the summer, the Orchestra performs  a highly popular series of free, outdoor concerts in Worcester’s Institute and East Parks before tens of thousands of  concert-goers.  The Orchestra has accompanied world-class touring shows such as Mannheim Steamroller and such artists as Andrea Bocelli and the late Luciano Pavarotti  at Worcester’s DCU Center.” –WorcesterMass.org

As in previous years, I arrived early. This was the annual family concert performance at Institute Park, at WPI. I think the best time to photograph, and get close to the shell, is during sound check and rehearsal. This year’s family concert was moved back a day, due to weather concerns. A warm, humid evening, but otherwise, perfect conditions. As has long been my inspiration, the great Robert Capa, “if your photographs are not good enough, you’re not close enough.” I brought my QL17 G-III, and my Nikon D300, with the 70-200 f/2.8. I soon put the Nikon back into the trunk, as it really is brutal to carry. So, the Canonet came with me right up to the performance stage. Yes, a 40mm lens. Not quite wide, not quite normal. But it really proved to be a handy focal length up close, taking just enough in.

Conductor Myron Romanul gets sound checks with audio crew.

Conductor Myron Romanul gets sound checks with audio crew.

Warming up the strings.

Warming up the strings.

Sharing some laughs during rehearsal.

Sharing some laughs during rehearsal.

Vocal soloists were Jane Shivick and Richard Monroe.

Vocal soloists were Jane Shivick and Richard Monroe.

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Strings tuned, ready to go.

Some Technical Notes:

QL17 G-III mounted with the rare Canonet 5 street photography hood.

QL17 G-III mounted with the rare Canonet 5 street photography hood.

After a bit of a search online, I was able to locate an excellent condition Canonet Hood #5. This very nicely designed hood has a tension screw for mounting onto the front of the 40mm lens, and has a flat top and bottom. I find using it helps to focus the yellow target range of the rangefinder. It very discreetly obstructs the viewfinder, and was designed as such. If it really does cut down on flare or not is somewhat debatable, as the coating on the lens is great. It also supposedly does not influence exposure measured by the electric eye, when shooting in shutter priority mode. But it does look cool, and will be handy in street photography. This concert was my first time using the hood.

Return To The Symphony – Strings

Last month’s performance by The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra at Worcester’s Institute Park, at WPI, continues to be the favorite photographic event of the year. Little question that Kodak Tri-X was the right choice here, for many reasons. Mainly, the contrast, and the timeless look of the film. The first shot here is one of my personal favorites.  A few more scans from July 21st-

The Nikon FE-2's Light Meter Nailed The Exposure Here.

The Nikon FE-2’s Light Meter Nailed The Exposure Here.

Many Newbie Photographers Obsess Over Bokeh, After "Tack Sharp". Shots Like This May Turn Me Into Such A Junkie. Creamy Smooth Bokeh.

Many Newbie Photographers Obsess Over Bokeh, After “Tack Sharp”. Shots Like This May Turn Me Into Such A Junkie. Creamy Smooth Bokeh.

High Contrast Scenes With Bright Highlights And Dark Shadows Were Everywhere This Evening.

High Contrast Scenes With Bright Highlights And Dark Shadows Were Everywhere This Evening.

These Syphony Members, I Think, Were In Roughly The Same Spot At Last Year's Performance.

These Symphony Members, I Think, Were In Roughly The Same Spot At Last Year’s Performance.

More From The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra At Institute Park

Here are a few more shots from this wonderful performance. I wish I could see them Sunday evening, in Auburn. Tri-X was made for events like this.

Warming Up

Warming Up

Ms. Shivick And Mr. Calmes Can Flat Out Belt.

Ms. Shivick And Mr. Calmes Can Flat Out Belt.

The Sheet Music Is Practically Legible Here.

The Sheet Music Is Practically Legible Here.

Sometimes, Rehersal Before The Actual Performance Provides Great Candids.

Sometimes, Rehersal Before The Actual Performance Provides Great Candids.

Thrilled With The Shadow Detail Of Tri-X And HC-110.

Thrilled With The Shadow Detail Of Tri-X And HC-110.

Sound Checks

Sound Checks

If you have the opportunity to photograph an event like this one with film. You won’t be disappointed. And get close. You’ll be happy that you did.

Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra – Summer, 2012

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”- The Great Robert Capa

Last year, it was my pleasure to attend a summer concert at Institute Park, put on by the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. I posted some photographs that were amongst the very favorite I took that year. This year, I had to return, this time with some different gear. And taken almost a year to the date – 7/9 last year, 7/21 this year. While last year I opted for the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR on the N80, this year I went more old school, with the FE-2, and 135mm f/2.8. This called for getting up a little closer to the stage, and losing the flexibility and convenience that a zoom provides. The 135, though, is such a fine, sharp, contrasty lens. A joy to use, I mounted a Hoya orange filter. I read that this is a great filter to use for skin tones and nice facial exposure.

Here are just a few shots from the second roll. The film here was Tri-X, and the developer HC-110. Maybe some of my favorite shots of this year as well. Many more to come.

Conductor Myron Romanul

Conductor Myron Romanul

Vocalists Jane Shivick And Michael Calmes

Vocalists Jane Shivick And Michael Calmes

The Sunset Lighting Made For Some Great Light And Shadows

The Sunset Lighting Made For Some Great Light And Shadows

A Difference Of A Few Minutes Made For Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions The FE-2's Light Meter Really Kept Up With The Conditions Nicely

A Difference Of A Few Minutes Made For Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions The FE-2’s Light Meter Really Kept Up With The Conditions Nicely

Sunglasses Were Needed Here, Even After 7PM

Sunglasses Were Needed Here, Even After 7PM

Amazing, Talented Pipes, Singing From "The Sound Of Music"

Amazing, Talented Pipes, Singing From “The Sound Of Music”

Slower Shutter Speeds Made For Some Great Baton Action

Slower Shutter Speeds Made For Some Great Baton Action

I cannot wait to scan more of these. This was a wonderful event, which really did produce some spectacular images. I am sure this blog will feature many more in the weeks to come, as I shot almost two complete rolls this night.

My 1st Experience Shooting Ilford Film- Pan F Plus 50

Kodak has always been stocked up in my fridge. And Polaroid. And, on occasion, Fuji. But recently, I shot some Ilford Pan F Plus 50. Photographers online rave about its sharpness. As a true novice to the genre, I guess the 1st goof I made was not using a different developer. I used 1:1 D-76, although I read afterwards that it makes this emulsion look like “mud”. While I would not quite go that far, yes, the final results could have been sharper. Some other observations, though this film has textures unlike any I have ever used. It really shows up in the tree bark in some of these shots. The tonality is incredible.

A word of advice- if you are loading this film into a DX-coding “auto loading” SLR, such as the Nikon N-80 used here, make sure the proper ISO is coded upon loading, and after you turn the camera off, and back on. Mine was defaulting to ISo-25, where this is a box speed of ISO-50. Not sure if this was a quirk peculiar to the N-80, or the coding on the film canister. I experienced the same problem with a few rolls of the now defunct Kodak Plus-X, wanting to rate it at ISO-400. Some, but not all.

Finally, I used a Hoya yellow filter, which I thought was supposed to darken the skies. No such luck. Filters can be somewhat baffling to me, as can not blowing a sky out as 18% gray. May have to dig out Dad’s old Hoya filter guide. But yes, they continue to perplex.

I picked up a few rolls of HP5 Plus as well. I am sure there are not many differences from Tri-X, but should be fun to try out.

Here are some samples from the roll of Pan F-

This shows off the film's texture, and tonality.

This shows off the film's texture, and tonality.

Institute Park- Maybe My Favorite Shot From The Roll.

Institute Park- Maybe My Favorite Shot From The Roll.

Not Sure If This Was Metered At ISO-25, or ISO-50. Still Came Out Pretty Nice.

Not Sure If This Was Metered At ISO-25, or ISO-50. Still Came Out Pretty Nice.

Kodak Plus-X: The Forgotten Emulsion

Wedged in the Kodak B&W lineup, somewhere between the legendary Tri-X, and the purist’s favorite T-Max, with its much hyped T-Grains, is Plus-X. A 125 ISO medium speed daylight film, this has been around forever, and pretty much is a bright outdoor companion film to Tri-X. Unlike T-Max, it will not exhaust fixer at record pace. It will, like T-Max, and Tri-X, produce gorgeous results. Have one 35mm loaded up with this, and one with Tri-X, and you’re ready for just about anything. To my untrained eye, it is sharp, contrasty, and gorgeous. On a recent Saturday morning, at sunrise just before a downpour, I got out and shot a roll. These were developed in HC-110 @ 8 minutes, agitation the 1st 30 sec, and 2 inversions every 30 thereafter.

Note-I am somewhat late to the party, but have read that this emulsion is no longer available in 120 medium format. In 35, it is now my second favorite “go-to” film, behind Tri-X.

What B&W Film Portfolio Doesn't Have Diner Signs? Thanks, Walker Evans! Ralph's Diner, Worcester, MA

What B&W Film Portfolio Doesn't Have Diner Signs? Thanks, Walker Evans! Ralph's Diner, Worcester, MA

Institute Park, As Seen Near Salisbury Pond, Worcester, MA

Institute Park, As Seen Near Salisbury Pond, Worcester, MA

Strings

Just wanted to post a couple more favorites here from Saturday night’s performance of The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra at Institute Park, Worcester, MA. I am convinced that live music makes for some of the very best photographic subjects for film. Would love to do some live jazz, as the late, great William Claxton is one of my all-time favorite photographers. The man lived, ate, and slept Kodak Tri-X. By the way, you can link to this wonderful orchestra’s website, and read more about how to help support them, at www.masymphony.org

A Violinist Makes Adjustments

A Violinist Makes Adjustments

Double Bass

Double Bass

 

Clearcutting

In 2008, New England suffered one of the worst ice storms in recent memory. Thousands of beautiful trees were destroyed. Power was lost for days, and in some towns, weeks. Many trees are still in the process of being cut and cleared, almost three years after it happened.

Stumbled across this one in Institute Park, at Worcester Polytechnical Institute, in Worcester, MA. A great test for the Argus C3 MatchMatic. The glass is so incredibly sharp that no additional post processing sharpening was needed here. it likely would have over sharpened it. The film here was Fujicolor 200, which is likely one stop too fast for the camera. These are slow cameras, with a fastest shutter speed of 1/300th of a second. Then again, I have yet to brave 36 exposure Ektar 100 in an Argus, which I much prefer to use in the Nikon’s. But thrilled with the results.

Insane Sharpness- Argus C3 MatchMatic, 50mm f/3.5 Cintar, Fujicolor 200 Film, Log At Institute Park, Worcester, MA

Insane Sharpness- Argus C3 MatchMatic, 50mm f/3.5 Cintar, Fujicolor 200 Film, Log At Institute Park, Worcester, MA

MatchMatic

Argus C3 MatchMatic, C3 Standard, And “The Argus 35mm Guide”, by Dr. Kenneth Tydings, S.P.E.

Argus C3 MatchMatic, C3 Standard, And “The Argus 35mm Guide”, By Dr. Kenneth Tydings, S.P.E.

These are some of the 1st shots taken with the Argus C3 MatchMatic, AKA The Harry Potter Camera. The MatchMatic system was an Argus attempt to simplify exposure. It really didn’t work. Typical Argus fashion, it made exposure more complicated. The best way to calculate exposure is in the manual, and that is to translate MatchMatic settings to “real” apertures and shutter speeds, and measure exposure externally. The translations are as follows:

Aperture:

3 1/2 f/3.5
4 f/4
5 f/5.6
6 f/8
7 f/11
8 f/16

Shutter:

4 1/10
5 1/30
6 1/60
7 1/125
8 1/300
Institute Park, Worcester, MA, Midday, Fujicolor 200

Institute Park, Worcester, MA, Midday, Fujicolor 200

What were the folks in Ann Arbor thinking? The MatchMatic is a very cool looking camera, but the C3 Standard uses the much more traditional, and straightforward f/stops and shutter speeds known to modern-day photographers, even some digital ones. Still, got some pretty decent shots. These were taken near Worcester Polytechnical Institute, in Massachusetts, at Institute Park, during midday.

Cat Nine Tails, Institute Park, Worcester, MA 5/10/11

Cat Nine Tails, Institute Park, Worcester, MA 5/10/11

The Cintar f/3.5 50mm glass is nothing short of spectacular. Sharp, contrasty, and fantastic color rendition. They can also double as enlarging lenses. Someday, if I ever make it past the darkroom developing stage, might be fun to use as enlarging optics.