Page 1

musings

February 2014


So then, what do have we this month? We have 'A Year In Cameras' where Chris Dodkin explains the reasoning behind buying a film camera per month in 2013. We also feature Tracy Deakin who makes beautiful jewellery by hand from old vinyl records. And of course it will all be intermingled with photographs, quotes and ... well, Musings. Davie


“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.� John Burroughs


He left a flower so she'd know he waited


H c f

1 Da


How many worthwhile pictures can I take in one day... Well lets find out.

ay Shoot


I left my home in Dundee, Scotland at 6am and headed for Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands with the plan to.... Wait, stop for a second!!! Who am I kidding, there was no plan, none at all. After a fairly non-event of a drive I arrived in Glencoe at around 8.30 and to be honest it didn't look great... raining, misty and just generally yucky, there was only one thing for it, to drive along the Glen Etive road. Driving this road is always going to be a spirit lifter for me regardless of the weather as it is an all encompassing vision of Scotland, it has everything.... Waterfalls, Mountains, Forestry, Rivers,Lochs, Wildlife and AMAZING views all in 12 miles of heaven. Today however I was on a mission, I had bought a new camera lens allowing me 300mm of scope, with that in mind I was looking for deer, deer that roam freely along parts of the road, but on a day trip it's a hit and miss situation. As you'll see on the forthcoming pages I got the deer, and to be honest one came close to getting me... well I say that, he was after a fight and frankly I wasn't. Quite often when I am in the highlands I just drive around and hope to find a shot or two and as you can see I had a good day. In the course of driving around you see new things and new roads everytime and whilst on my way to Oban (I wasn't actually going to Oban as I don't really rate the place for photography) I drove to a little village called Appin which has a most intriguing 'beach' , intriguing due to the rock formations, peat bog areas and crashing surf ; whilst on the beach I saw what looked like a Cormorant standing on a rock surveying it's kingdom and luckily with the new lens I was able to somewhat capture it .... A good day for wildlife. It was at this point I started to head towards home on a road I wasn't overly familiar with and I expected to come out at Tyndrum which is a gateway to the Highlands for me in that once you get past it the road starts going up and up and to be fair my mind was already there. Now referring back to my previous statement about new roads it was about the time I spotted one leading to Glen Orchy and whilst I knew where it took me to I'd never actually driven it. The road reminded me a lot of GlenEtive Road with the road running parallel to the river and being surrounded by hills but I wasn't stopping, There was nothing wrong with this road but I was looking forward to getting home and editing what I had, it was going to take something special to make me stop. Something special is an understatement because when I stopped not only did I slam on the brakes but I swore a considerable bit when faced with a 'waterfall' that took my breath away, literally. The river bed just drops and the water fills the resulting hole from all angles... it was amazing and I will be back, possibly with ropes to get a bit closer because the rocks were very slippy and dangerous, and well, I was on my own. The drive home from there was almost a pleasure, my heart was happy, my camera was happy and I was planning when I could come back.

The answer to the original question? Well I've included 14 here and could have included another 5-6 easily.


My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go. Robert Burns


A


All photographs by Davie Hudson


IsIs film dead? dead?


Apparently not is the answer, Chris Dodkin an ex-pat living in California is one of many people who still embrace the idea of using film. His enjoyment of film manifested itself with the buying of one film camera per month in 2013 ... I asked him to describe the cameras and explain...why? What he gave me left me speechless, literally. It is so amazing that I have decided to split it into 3 sections. It is with the greatest of pleasure I give you Part 1


As 2013 dawned, I had a somewhat madcap idea. One which would expand my photographic horizons, and give me a great deal of pleasure throughout the year. I would buy an old (used) film camera each month, clean it up, and learn to shoot with it. So twelve cameras in twelve months - EBAY was going to love me! I had a sort of logic in my madness. I figured that no-one wanted old film cameras anymore, so they should be easily available, and relatively cheap. I also figured that many of the cameras I'd idolized growing up, would now be within reach. Finally, I figured that film and processing were still available, and at a reasonable cost, but recognized that this situation was in flux, and that I couldn't count on that position holding indefinitely.Also, I love researching, buying, and using cameras, so my GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) would be well taken care of.Having made my decision, I went to work. EBAY was a great resource, as were online used camera dealers like KEH. I spread my net far and wide, from local garage sales to used camera specialists in Japan - the world's a small place these days, you can buy a camera from the other side of the planet, and have it in your hands the same week - amazing!


January-Rollei 35


The meter in the camera was amazingly accurate - but that was the only automation in this little marvel.I had to really think about setting zone focus and using aperture to provide a suitable depth of field for my subject and composition - this is a technique I'd neglected with my modern digital cameras - I was re-learning an essential skill. Image quality was amazing - Zeiss glass really does count for something, and that set me thinking for additional cameras later in the year.January was a big success. The Rollei 35 is a stunning camera - and a blast to use.


I spotted this camera on a '50 Best Cameras Of All Time' list - I was completely unaware of it before then, but the online reviews looked excellent and it came with a real pedigree. To say this camera is small is an understatement it was the smallest 35mm camera in the world when it was launched in 1966. (Ilford 35mm film pack included for scale) It's a deceptive 370 grams, and measures just 97x32x60mm. It just doesn't look big enough to expose a full 35mm frame! Lovely bit of kit though - super build quality, hefty for it's size - lots of metal. It's pocketable size made it easy to carry around, so I took it with me everywhere. Shooting photos out of office windows in LA before a meeting, and shots out of an airplane window on a trip to Denver, things I'd never have done with my digital camera.


February - Werra 1a

My Werra 1a purchase from an EBAY seller in Bulgaria, and arrived here i and had never been used - there was no dust anywhere, no marks or scratch strap had never been worn.So somewhere in Bulgaria there appears to be a

The design is really clean, there's no obvious film winder, leaving the top pl green textured ring at the base of the lens - you rotate this to advance the f to either use a hand-held meter, or use rules of thumb such as the Sunny 16 show how modern metering has fooled us all into thinking we have to have


This is the camera model that my dad purchased in the mid 50s - he had just come pack from Canada where he'd seen the Kodak 35mm cameras in common use, and he wanted something similar for himself. He'd spotted this camera advertised in a British Sunday newspaper, and was attracted to the Zeiss Tessar lens - he'd never heard of Werra, but he'd certainly heard of Zeiss! Dad remembered paying about 20 quid for the camera, which would be over 400 quid in todays money - so not cheap.

in the US in mint condition.In fact, I'm pretty sure it was brand new hes, no base plate marks - nothing - the leather case was mint and the stockpile of 50s Werra cameras that are brand new!

late featureless apart from the shutter release.The film advance is the film.The camera is really basic, no metering of any kind - so I was forced 6 Rule. Both methods seemed to produce good exposures, which goes to e it in order to get a decent exposure.


The Zeiss Tessar lens did a good job - It's certainly of a higher quality than the rest of the camera, which is a little tinny. I did however enjoy the quirky film advance, twisting the lens base between each frame very cool, and it works well. It surprised me that such a basic camera could produce such consistently good results - so I learned a thing or two about metering, and how to rely on my brain and gut-feel, as much as my modern camera's computerized exposure system.


March - Yashica Electro 35 GT


After stripping things down to the basics with the Werra 1a, I wanted my next camera to provide more of the 'modern' luxuries such as automated exposure. I also wanted to get some fast glass, something where I could try shallow DOF shooting without the support structure of modern auto focus. The Yashica Electro 35 GT fit the bill - It's a classic rangefinder model from the 70s, over eight million of them were produced, so they're easy to find and relatively cheap.


The Yashica is a 'full size' camera, very similar in dimensions to a modern Fuji X-Pro1 - with a fixed 45mm f/1.7 Lens and rangefinder focusing. Mine is the black GT model. As was common during the 70s, the lens has 'idiot proof' markings for daylight, cloudy etc, as well as the more normal F stops - an attempt by camera manufacturers to simplify exposure. This is augmented with an under/over exposure indication - with lights on the top of the camera, and in the viewfinder - telling the user if the automatic shutter speed is too slow for handheld use, or out of range at the top end. So camera use is simplified, you set your aperture (and ISO), the camera sets shutter speed based on a very accurate electronic meter. This metering system drives a fully electronic shutter - which is very advanced for the time - allowing accurate exposures in low light of many tens of seconds or even minutes. Shooting shallow DOF with a rangefinder is a challenge - you have an offset viewfinder with a dim focus patch, and that's all the help you have to achieve critical focus. Having said that, it did seem to work amazingly well, and I was able to adjust to using the RF patch to align the focus, and even wide open this appeared to be accurate and repeatable. The electronic metering was amazingly accurate in a wide range of lighting conditions, although issues with discontinued batteries and flaky electronics do make this a challenge for this model of camera - so be warned. Image quality from the lens is contrasty and sharp - a real gem in fact and given the low low prices on these cameras, is a bit of a steal. The camera/lens combo shoots very much like a modern camera - I was used to shooting aperture priority with my Fuji, so the Yashica fitted right


April - Ricoh 500 GX

First thing I noticed was a cracked viewfinder - which was odd because I couldn't see a cracked viewfinder in the images on the EBAY auction! I contacted the seller, and they blamed the postman - but the camera was well packaged and there was no packaging damage that would indicate an impact. I checked further and found that the images the seller has used were someone else's camera - so I had been bidding based on shots of a nice mint camera - and not the one for sale.


I definitely caught the rangefinder bug with the Yashica, so my next purchase was a mini RF model, the Ricoh 500 GX. I spotted the Ricoh on EBAY, and was immediately taken with it's rather stylish looks - It reminded me of the famous Canonet rangefinders, and that red GX and detailing really made it pop. It's the deluxe version of the 500G. I hit the BUY IT NOW button, as it wasn't expensive at all. Reality hit when the camera arrived in the post - things were not quite as advertised!

So a cautionary note - EBAY shopping has it's challenges. But having said that, this was the only real issue I had all year. The camera worked ok, so I decided to just move on - if it had been more expensive, I might have returned it.


The 500 GX is a small rangefinder, (111Ă—71Ă—56 mm), with battery powered metering. T exposure system offers manual shutter speed selection, with the aperture controlled by the

The battery is a 1.35 volt mercury battery PX675 - so a retrofit cell from Wein is required 40mm, so a little wider than the 'standard' 50mm, which I like - and is a moderately fast then automatically adjusts for any filter you place on the lens.

In use, the rangefinder patch is rather small, so focus takes some care and concentration and shutter release are smooth and quiet.


The shutter speed maxes out at 1/500 which is typical for this era of camera, and the e built-in CdS-meter or manually.

d, as the modern 1.5v cells will mess with the metering accuracy.The Rikenon lens is f/2.8.The light meter cell is located in the front of the lens - which is a great feature as it

the exposure meter display in the viewfinder is good, and easy to read - the film advance


I did have multiple frames spoiled by light leaks when shooting with Ilford XP2, but given the state of the foam light-seals on the camera, it wasn't unexpected. If I liked the camera more, I'd go through the exercise of removing the old foam, and cutting some new custom seals. All in all it's a competent snap-shot camera, although the lack of aperture priority is a deal killer for me. I don't think it's in the same league as a Canonet or Yashica model, but it costs substantially less, so maybe that's to be expected. The f/2.8 lens is not fast enough for my tastes, as it limits both low-light use and narrow DOF photography - this has become a key issue for me when selecting cameras/lenses, and separates cameras into desirable and less desirable categories when searching online. It's got a place on my shelf - but not in my camera bag.

All Photographs and words by Chris Dodkin


Waldeinsamkeit: (German) The fe


eeling of being alone in the woods.


Vinyl Justice What happens when old vinyl records get too worn to play? Tracy Deakin takes them and like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly she turns them into something beautiful and gives them a fabulous new life.


(DH) It's clear to me looking at your creations that you have a deep love for vinyl, so why vinyl? what does it have that inspires you? (TD) I have always loved vinyl, that feel of taking a record out of it's sleeve, placing it lovingly on the turntable & gently placing the needle down, just a beautiful feeling. I feel that the crackles on a record are like the best part of roast pork, the crackling makes it extra special. Also, a few years ago a best friend gave me a solid black plastic gun shaped necklace for my birthday, I wore it loads & it got a lot of comments so I wanted to see if I could make a .45 out of a 45. It took about a year of practice with a handsaw to cut one good enough & plently of snapped saw blades & bleeding knuckles, but eventually as I decided to try different designs & maybe turn it into a business,I was happy to find something which my stubborn streak was useful for too. (DH) How does the process work, from sourcing vinyl to finished product? (TD) I source my vinyl from car boot sales, charity shops, ebay for certain labels & colours of vinyl & sometimes have some donated from friends or people that meet me at markets. Different labels lend themselves towards different things. Firstly I do a rough pencil marking on the vinyl of the shape I want to cut, don my apron & glasses, sit on my doorstep ( as natural light is best & vinyl dust is messy) and cut the shape. Then I sand the piece down & normally drill any holes needed for adding chain if it is going to be a necklace, then varnish the labels to protect them from damp such as light rain, beer spillage perhaps on cuff links! When I make bags I firstly varnish the labels, give them a few days in a toast rack to fully dry, then drill holes all around the edge of the records. sand any edges of half size bags, file down the holes so the thread does not snap when stitching the fabric bases to the vinyl. I use recycled materials as much as I can for the bags, such as old tweed suit jacket sleeves, car seat belts for the straps when I can find some & I always use kilt pins for attaching the straps as then the strap length can be altered to suit it's user or even changed to match a different outfit & the kilt pins also give it a touch of being made in Scotland.


It was obvious to me that these creations are tot throwaway pieces of plastic... These records were completely by hand. It is the by hand nature tha


tally Tracy, they aren't mass produced e lovingly crafted into beautiful items by hand, at makes them special, very very special.


(TD) I cut on my doorstep whatever the weather unless it gets to around minus 5 degree, then it is a pointless effort best left as the vinyl just cracks when the blades touch it. Like 78's made of shellac, they just explode! Temperatures & vinyl are important. I do remind my customers on hot days via my facebook page to remember that dogs die in hot cars, so does good vinyl. The more I buy to cut, the more my personal collection grows as I often get home, put a record on my old ITTKB tuntable & find it is just too good to cut & into the keep plie it goes, You can never stop expanding on your knowledge of music & I tell anyone who thinks they only like one genre of musicthey are not telling the whole truth! Ah, a good vinyl justice story.......... A couple of years ago a nice barmaid in Sofi's bar in Edinburgh asked me if I would like to put a small display of some necklaces on the wall of the back room. That I glady did, then when I popped in a week or so later the barmaid said " Oh, I'm really sorry Tracy!"..." Why?". She then told me that they recieved a letter by post with 2 necklaces in it & a note from 2 girls admitting they were a bit drunk a couple of nights ago & stole 2 of the necklaces! They returned them with a letter of apology & a ÂŁ5 note! Vinyl Justice indeed, ethical thieves. I was actually happy at the time that someone would want to steal one! (DH) The one thing i noticed was the range of products, is that expanding all the time? (TD) Yes, absolutely. I am finding labels I have never seen all the time, so yes, my product range is constantly expanding. Always something new to excite me. I can often be found pencil marking vinyl at 3 or 4 am & looking forward to daylight when I can get outside & get cutting. Luckily there has been a lot of not so very good music pressed on some really pretty labels, so there is always enough to justifiably chop.


(TD) Of course everyone's opinion of what is a good record differs & I can only go by my own tastes & judgement. I will only cut what is a great record if.... a) It is a special request custom order b) It is damaged beyond being able to play or c) If there have been so many presses of it that there are enough copies to go round for those who wish to spin, not wear the vinyl. (DH) Seeing as you use a saw to cut the vinyl there must have been accidents? (TD) The answer to that would be yes, but only slight! Obviously a few bleeds from cut fingers, but sometimes small injuries are important as they prevent bad ones. One sunny day last summer I was sitting in my usual spot cutting away. The saw blades are very, very fine & snap often ( less now though as I have had hundreds of hours of practice). One blade snapped, flew up & got embedded in my lip & I could only pull it out with a pair of tweezers. From that moment on I always wear some form of eye protection as the damage that could have caused is just not worth taking the risk.

I'd like to thank Tracy from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to photograph her products and for allowing me to include it in this magazine, there really is blood, sweat and no doubt tears shed in the making of these beautiful creations and it was an honour to talk to Tracy about it.


To see more of Tracy's remarkable work please go


o to .... www.vinyljustice.com www.facebook.com/vinyljusticerecords or email direct .... tracy@vinyljustice.com


www.vinyljustice.com

Feb musings