It is Difficult to Be Simple in Modern Times - But it is Possible
In our technology-driven busy world, it seems increasingly difficult to be still, quiet, and peaceful. When I visit a mall or shopping center, I watch people.
I am amazed at how many kids and adults, that are mesmerized by their technology gadgets. Almost like walking dead people... I went to a shopping mall over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I watched people walk across busy traffic areas with their face buried in their phones and totally unaware of their surroundings. People were driving in high-traffic areas with their noses in the phones and only occasionally looking up! I must be getting old to notice these things!
Today, I hope to help you slow down and think about something simple and fun...
Nothing is more simple in the photography world than an entirely mechanical roll film camera. My very first camera was a Mamiya C220 TLR. I still own and use this camera to this very day, and it produces incredible photos. Many years ago I picked up a Nikon F 35mm camera along with some Nippon glass and it is one of my absolute cameras to use when I am out exploring.
I purchased a Pentax 645N and Mamiya RZ67 II new back in the late 1990's, and I still use both of them on a regular basis. While these cameras are not quite as simple as the C220 or Nikon F, by today's standards they are very basic. But for simplicity and freedom, the Nikon F is my go-to camera loaded with either Tri-X or HP5+. Using the Sunny 16 rule for the exposure simplifies the experience to the purest form making it something that I cherish and appreciate in a very busy world that is replete with technology gadgets.
Lately, I have been hiking with my Nikon F100 or F6 and photographing wildlife with HP5+ rated up to ISO 1600, and for color, I am using Portra 400 rated up to ISO 1600 as well. I am testing the upper limits of these two films right now, so stay tuned for new articles on this in the near future. I have thoughts about putting a telephoto lens on my Pentax 67II or my 645N next.
Coming home and developing the film and making a contact proof sheet is a great way to finish up the day. I typically look at the contact sheet for a few days or a week before I make any decision on which print or prints I want to make.
What is your favorite "simple camera"? Tell me why you like it and what you like to create with it.
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I have two Pentax MXs, one for colour and one for black and white, and a reasonable set of lenses. Recently been exploring the very wides, Vivitar 19mm and Tamron 17mm, but I'm finding both hard to get on with. Even my Pentax-A 24mm does some very odd swirly things off centre. Longer I'm really enjoying the Pentax-M 100mm f/4 "macro".
Don't find the same pleasure taking digital, though the Fuji X10 is useful for grandchild pics!
What do I want to do with them? Hard to describe; much outside but rarely ''landscape" as I understand it. (Is Golden Hour a cliche? Yes perhaps though getting into one those "great light" situations is SUCH a buzz!) It's more like an exploration of how to make all those amazing patterns and shapes and curves and tones I see in the world around into satisfying pictures. Which very rarely happens. And sounds pretentious!
But can't use any camera at the mo as I broke my arm... :(
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