Nikon FA and Portra 160

My recent posts have been predominantly black-and white. This post is dedicated to Kodak Portra 160 and my first voyage with my Nikon FA. I am a die-hard fan of Canon SLRs. But having been gifted 4 Nikon SLRs in the past year (all rescued from thrift stores spanning from Georgia to Missouri), I had to start getting busy playing with these beauties. For my trip to Missouri this year, I chose the Nikon FA to be my SLR companion for the trip.

After visiting Lake of the Ozarks late in the summer last year, I was really wanting to get a shot that reflected the “post-season” feeling of the place. Once things have slowed down and there aren’t dozens of boats zipping up and down the lake, there is still a calm beauty present. Even when the boats are covered for the summer, this is still a great place for a week of R and R. I think this image captured that pretty well.

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The shot below, admittedly, was a bit of a joke. I got some nice shots of the lake house from the dock, but this one was just begging to have a bit of fun post work done. I did some color and contrast manipulation to give the shot a more surreal “technicolor” feeling.

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This shot was taken in front of Skyline Lanes in Clarksville, Tennessee. I took several others, but there was a serious problem with them. I’ll discuss that in a later post. At any rate, my unintentional model was a good sport about being in these photos. If you ever find yourself in Clarksville for any reason, find this bowling alley and go in for a few games. It really is like stepping back in time.

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The shot below was one of my favorites from the trip. I did have some glare/reflection issues on the windows, but a polarizer only made them worse. I moved my position as much as I could in order to manipulate the reflections, but it was all for naught. That being said, the reflections serve as a bit of a reality check in what could otherwise be a frozen frame from a dream sequence. The shot has such a sense of peace. Being someone who also collects mid-century pottery, I had to get the stoneware teapots in the photo. This images gives so many things to look at, but they don’t fight one another. I was pretty happy with it.

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I have to say that the Nikon FA was by far the most pleasurable SLR experience I think I’ve ever had. I say that at a very low volume as to not  upset my dear Canons, but it’s the truth. Ease and sensibility of use in all modes made me an instant fan. I was a bit apprehensive as the FA was a last-minute addition to my camera bag. With no light seals left to speak of, I was worried I’d have a bunch of.. well, “lomo” photos with lots of light leaks and all that. Thankfully, that was not the case. Luckily, I had tested the camera’s light meter against my handheld Gossen Digi-Six and the FA was spot-on in every situation I could test.

At any rate, the camera was great and I have developed a deeper love for Portra film.  I hope you enjoy. As always, I welcome comments and critiques.

Tea Time

Shopping in thrift stores is the one thing I love to do about as much as I love taking photos. Like anyone afflicted with the thrift store obsession, I have certain things I like to collect. Among these are mid-century California pottery, cameras (of course), some Japanese porcelain figurines, and tea sets. I don’t even care if there’s a little damage to some of the pieces or if the set isn’t complete.

A week ago, I happened upon a couple of early 1930s harp tables and decided that I would use them as a base for taking some still photography shots of some of the tea sets I have. Using the same extremely shallow depth of field to showcase a certain detail or design, I took to task. The photos you see here are some of the highlights. Incidentally, these photos were taken with a Pentax K-1000 that was also thrifted somewhere in the midwest by my partner in crime. I cleaned it up and replaced its light seals the night before these were taken. Anyway, here we go!

First up, the most complete set I have. Some gorgeous hand-painted Chikaramachi from Japan. The teapot’s spout has some damage, which is the place most teapots are injured. Even with this damage, the colors and scenery in these pieces was just too gorgeous to pass on. I wonder whose pantry these were sitting in for 70+ years? Strangely fascinating.

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Next is a tetsubin with three tea cups and holders. I’ve had the tetsubin for at least a year and a half, but these cups and holders came along a couple of weeks ago. I had been hoping to find something that would even remotely go with the set. Luckily, these came along.

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Finally, my most recent find was several pieces of a Nippon Noritake pattern. The teapot is badly damaged on one side, which I may show in a later project. For now, I wanted to let this girl show off her beauty in all its glory. Sadly, this is the only cup I was able to get. Luckily, there’s a saucer to go with it. I  hope I can get my hands on more of this pattern.

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And to end this post, here’s my shameless plug for Kodak Portra 400. I was so excited about using the Pentax K-1000 for this project, I forgot to set the ASA on the camera to 400. The camera was set on 200 the entire time.  On top of that, many of these shots were overexposed on purpose by about 1/2 stop. With latitude like this, I’ve already ordered and received another 15 rolls. Now if Autumn will just get here already.