A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of all the destruction-construction going on in the house, a moment on eBay, and this little camera caught my attention: a twin lens reflex 35mm camera. It is an Agfa Flexilette, made only for one year (1960-61 I think). It was a bit of a bidding war and I was really happy to get it. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to play with it, but it is loaded up with Lomo 100 and I hope, as the domestic chaos winds down, I can get it out to see how it does photographically. Mechanically, it’s smooth as silk, with large knobs and dials, which make it work very nicely.
Oh, BTW, I took this picture with my new tablet – an iPad 2018 (I had to replace my dying Samsung) on my new floors in my still-empty studio!
If you know anything about the Olympus XA4 camera, you know that it has a strap which helps measure distances for close-up shot. I used the shortest distance strap, set the distance on the camera, and here we are! Lomo 100 film, Pakon 135 scanner, Olympus XA4, autumn morning . . .
Today is the very, very first day that On1 Photo Raw is available for usage. I think the original idea was to have a product ready to roll in October 2016, but rather than have a “finished” product full of bugs, they realized they had more on their plate, and held off until today, November 23. I’m glad they did – and I am glad, too, that they realize that this really is a “work in progress” as it stands.
Personally, I love On1, and have been using them since version 8, which was a while back. I use it with Lightroom. What makes On1 great as a company is their support, ongoing consistent development, tutorials, and so on. On1 products are sophisticated, and while they do not rival Adobe Photoshop for complexity, On1 products are far easier to use. I prefer their brushes, spot and blemish removal tools, as well as the fact I can create presets which I can store. At this point, the presets from On1 Photo Suite 10 cannot be used in On1 Photo Raw, but I expect they will have the ability to port them later on. The one-up that Photoshop has is its “content-aware” fill.
The image above, Waiting for Lovers, was edited using On1 Photo Raw. It is a film image using Kodak Ektar 100 in a 1930s Welta Weltur rangefinder. The lens is an uncoated Xenar – probably about 75mm – which has an ethereal quality to it that I really love. Scanning the image with my rather dirty Epson V600 (I have since cleaned it), I ended up with a blue streak across the entire image. On1 took it out quite nicely. Spots and threads were also easy to remove. I think On1 did something to their processing algorithm (or whatever), as the spot removal works very quickly.
This image is a pano stitched together in LR, and consists of two images taken with the Olympus XA4 and Lomography 100 film. The only thing I did was perk it up a bit with some detail, in LR and in Photo Raw. It is nearly identical to the SOOC image.
Finally, the above image was really pushed in On1 Photo Raw. Spot removal, brush usage, presets, whatever. This was an overall high-key, pale image, but I set it up to be contrasty and bright – possibly too much so – but wanted see what I could do. This was also taken with the XA4 and Lomo 100 film. Both of these two images were scanned using a Pakon 135 scanner.
There is so much software out there for photographers, that competitors to Photoshop seem to come and go. My favorite and most consistent programs are Lightroom and On1. I also use DxO v. 11, and while it is good for some things, it lacks the diversity of On1. Capture One is good, too, but it makes me crazy as it does not make sense to me at times . . . but I admit, I have not put in time to using it as it has a higher learning curve, and is not, for me, very intuitive. So, two thumbs up to On1 for its Photo Raw software – I think it will prove to be a real winner as they continue to develop it.
While I love the convenience of digital, I find I am being drawn more into the slower moves of analog / film photography because of the subtleties one finds in film. The colors vary with film, exposure factors, lens and camera, and while it is possible to emulate them digitally, it just isn’t there visually.
The tiniest details are always so interesting . . . the lens here is an old one, probably from the 70s. It is an Elicar manual focus macro lens, which can do a 1:1. I think it is very similar to the Nikon 55mm macro. It has a great feel to it, and the beauty of this lens is its diversity – use it like a standard 50-55mm or use it as a macro. One of my favorites!
Where I live, there are few places that are damp or lush. Here, in the undergrowth of the riparian woodland, alongside a creek (or nearby to avoid the poison oak) these tiny flowers grow, only to fade away as summer approaches.
A riparian zone or area is the interface between land and a river or stream, per Wikipedia. In California, it is a woodland which is rich in biodiversity, with trees, shrubs, and ferns, along with an abundance of wildlife, such as birds, squirrel, and deer. The creeks they are near sometimes run dry in the summer. The woodlands are a cool retreat from hot summers, but can be burned to a crisp in a severe wildfire. For me, they are a bit of heaven – a space away from the subdivisions and roads of settled California.