It’s just over a year since I first posted about my Canon EOS1000F with a sticky shutter, and at the time I recall reading anecdotal evidence on the web saying that such a shutter clean would ensure reliable operation for about a year.
A leafy footpath
So just over a year on from that sticky shutter clean I felt the time was about right to give the old girl another whirl and see how my repair was holding out.
As it happens, when I picked up the camera to go out shooting, I discovered that there was already a roll of Fuji C200 film in the camera. After finishing the roll and having it developed, I realised that I must have loaded the film a year ago. I am able to work this out as the image below of an old-style second hand store was taken at a small town called Omarama when Lyn and I did a quick road trip around the South Island in Easter 2018.
Big Rooster Antiques – Omarama
The rest of the images featured here are semi-random photos taken in and around my home town of Invercargill, or in Christchurch. My film was processed by my local lab, and I scanned the negatives – still quite a learning curve – using my Epson V370 scanner.
Dust blemishes were removed, and a mild vignette added, using my software of choice – On1 Photo RAW 2019.
Sunshine through the leaves -Queens Park, Invercargill
Cabbage tree on Queens Drive, Invercargill
Autumn colours – Queens Park
All Saint Church near the bank of the Waihopai River, Invercargill
A grand old lady as she is pulled down to make way for a new hotel – Invercargill
Foot bridge in Halswell Quarry Park – Christchurch
No parking – Christchurch
My next project is to resurrect an elderly Yashica SLR which I was gifted a couple of weeks ago – plus there is a refurbishment of The Occasional Photoblogger website on the way.
Big things are starting to happen in my hometown of Invercargill. In fact the changing face of the city means that what you see today may not be visible tomorrow.
For a long time I had been intending to head downtown and take photos of the old Langlands Building on the corner of Don and Dee Streets where the local Licensing Trust has just started work on a new hotel development.
Unfortunately I left my photo taking expedition too late as the buildings earmarked for demolition to make way for the new hotel are now shrouded with a high plywood fence with demolition work due to start shortly and be completed by late March for construction to begin.
Built in the late 1800s the Langlands Building is listed only as a Class 2 heritage building so it is not protected. Because of the earthquake risk the old building posed it was decided to demolish the building completely, and the old facade will not be incorporated into the new design so will disappear completely, which is quite a shame.
A few days ago my elderly Samsung Galaxy smartphone suddenly started to go flat very quickly. By very quickly, I mean from 60% charge down to 0% in a matter of seconds.
I charged the phone and the same thing happened. I replaced the battery and the same thing happened.
So next I set about cleaning all the trash and unused apps off the phone to see if I there was something running in the background causing the problem.
One thing lead to another and after deleting Facebook, Netflix, Messenger, Stuff, and a handful of other apps, the next thing I knew I was culling photos from my Google Photos account. If you use a smartphone and have a Google Photos account you probably know that every photo you take on your smartphone automatically uploads to Google Photos depending on your account setup.
Thousands of deleted photos later I ended up with a mere 3,043 left in my account. Most of the remaining photos are from our trip to Europe and Rarotonga last year, but many are just random photos taken as I wandered around town.
Here are a few of those that caught my eye in the culling process.
On the outside looking in – the second hand store
Take a seat – Queens Park, Invercargill
No money kept on these premises – in a side alley, Invercargill
Looking east towards the water tower – Leet Street, Invercargill
Through the garden fence
A cool and shady spot in Queens Park, Invercargill
I was very fortunate to receive an Epson V370 scanner as a Christmas gift (thank you Lyn…), and have had the chance over the last couple of days to start to come to grips scanning 35mm film for the first time.
These are some of the first scans of a roll of 35mm film I shot back in early 2017 using an Olympus Trip 35. The film, Lomography 800, was processed at my local photo shop.
All scans were done on the Epson V370 at 2400dpi with the auto exposure setting, then the resulting TIFF files were taken into Luminar 2019 for some “touching up”. This touching up involved, in most cases, reducing highlights slightly, bringing up shadows a wee bit, and mildly tweaking the overall image with Luminar’s AI Boost feature.
On one or two of the photos I also added a small amount of noise reduction to smooth out the obvious 800ASA grain, and Luminar’s ERASE function came in handy to remove blemishes and other distractions.
Using Luminar again has been a bit of a turnaround for me as I told myself I would not use it again because of the delays in Skylum adding the DAM (digital asset module) to it, but I decided to reinstall it, update it and give it another try…and so far, so good!
While not a true DAM, the new module does add some very useful image browsing features which make the new Luminar a lot easier to use.
In addition I tried ImageOptim for the first time. ImageOptim is a Mac only image optimization app that features a drag-and-drop function for optimizing images which are then saved over the top of the starting image. This means that any images must be copies before starting otherwise they are effectively lost when overwritten – a bit of a trap for your players…
Hoopers Inlet boatshed
Inside Meridian Mall, Dunedin
Invercargill Water Tower
First Presbyterian Church, Invercargill
Looking out to sea from The Esplanade, St Clair, Dunedin
An old church converted to a second hand store, Invercargill
The facade of the old Strangs Coffee Mills, Invercargill
2019 is upon us and I have not made any New Year Resolutions simply because I know from past experience that once made, new year resolutions are often, if not always, quickly forgotten.
However, having said that, if I had made any new year resolutions for 2019, there are three that spring to mind in relation to my photography:
To get out and about much more with a camera – or cameras – in hand, and take a lot more photographs than I have done over the last 12 months;
To post more regularly here to my photoblog; and
To shoot more 35mm film, in particular black and white, and to learn to process my own film.
To get me off on the right foot, here are a few photos I have taken in Christchurch today – New Years Day – and over the last couple of days of 2018.
St James Anglican Church, Harewood, Christchurch
St James Anglican Church, Harewood Road, Christchurch
St James Anglican Church, Harewood Road, Christchurch
Looking in some respects like a church straight out of rural England, St James Anglican Church is located at the airport end of Harewood Road near the roundabout on the bypass highway that takes traffic travelling from north to south and vice versa around the Christchurch city centre.
Not far from St James, heading south on the bypass is this fantastic arch of the Memorial Avenue Gateway Bridge, at the entrance to Christchurch Airport.
Memorial Avenue Gateway Bridge
I know the 60km/hr sign is distracting so I made sure it didn’t appear in this next picture.
Memorial Avenue Gateway Bridge from the roadside
And – few days ago I shot a few photos in the centre of Christchurch with a view to converting them to black and white to try to get a feel for black and white and build some confidence to start shooting the Lomography black and white film loaded in my Nikon F75.
Street corner – Manchester Street
Protect your investment
A long abandoned building
All photos were taken with my Nikon D5100 and were processed in On1 Photo RAW 2019.
It wasn’t too long ago that I switched my blog from WordPress to Squarespace, and at that time I felt I had a raft of good reasons to do so.
But now, less than 12 months later, I have reverted The Occasional Photoblogger back to WordPress, and it is once again hosted here in New Zealand by Hoopla Hosting.
Interestingly (to me at least) I stand by most of the reasons to switch to Squarespace in the first place but over the last few months one or two issues have come into play that have encouraged me to do an about face.
The cost of Squarespace
Cost is the prime reason I have left Squarespace.
With the slide in the value of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar over recent months, the annual cost of my Squarespace Personal Plan increased to NZ$212.75, plus an extra NZ$30.00 to renew my domain, for a total annual cost of NZ$242.75.
Compare that annual cost with NZ$91.50 for hosting with Hoopla, plus NZ$21.50 to renew my domain name. That’s NZ$113.00 – less than half the Squarespace cost.
Sure my New Zealand hosting plan doesn’t give me unlimited storage – but there is more space than I’ll be needing for a very long time to come.
The versatility of WordPress
There are many things that can be done within WordPress that it is just not possible to do in Squarespace because with Squarespace there is no access to the back end. Admittedly the Squarespace Business plan offers a few more options but it costs half as much again as the Personal Plan.
As an example of lack of versatility is the fact that there is no media library in Squarespace. This means that if an image is needed in multiple locations on a website or blog, then a separate copy of that image must be uploaded for use in each location. Frustrating!
And as well as WordPress’s built in features, the vast number of themes and plugins – both free and premium versions – allows almost anything to be done with a WordPress website. In essence the prime difference between the two website platforms is with WordPress – everything can be customized; with Squarespace – very little can be customized.
I admit I did enjoy my brief Squarespace experience. It is very easy to use for non-tech savvy people; it has some classy themes; it is a fully managed platform; and many people make beautiful websites with it. On the other hand WordPress is more work to set up and and has a steeper learning curve. It also requires a bit of user maintenance to do updates to themes and plugins, to do back-ups, and so on.
But, and finally – there is another that I am happy that The Occasional Photoblogger is back on WordPress.
I have always liked to support local businesses – and now my blog is back, hosted in New Zealand, with Hoopla Hosting who, I think, have a great service that is relatively inexpensive and is certainly reliable.
P.S. I do earn a small commission if you link through and purchase website hosting with Hoopla Hosting.
Yesterday, the first of September was officially the first day of Spring for us in New Zealand.
The day broke crisp and clear – 5 degrees with a real feel of 2, so what better way to mark it than with a brisk morning walk with the dogs along the Waihopai Walkway, and back home through Queens Park.
View from the Waihopai Walkway
Alongside the Waihopai River looking towards North Road bridge
She’s been locked away in a cupboard for quite a while now and I only came across Holga by chance on Sunday when I was looking for a lens cap.
I’m talking about the hit or miss plastic fantastic Holga lens I have for my Nikon D5100.We had a brief flirtation in Queen’s Park while out dog walking last Sunday and she performed true to form. Hit or miss Holga presented me with a series of – well, in a nutshell – lousy, soft, out-of-focus and vignetted images that have a certain “je ne sais quoi” about them that almost appeals to me.
Holga uses zone focussing like my Olympus Trip 35 but I still don’t seem to nail the focus everytime, and as a result it’s probably fair to say that these images fall into the lomography category.
And talking of focus issues – that is the prime reason I have sold my Nikkormat and Zenit 35mm SLRs. I struggled with the manual focus lenses due to a combination of poor eyesight and graduated lenses in my glasses. But that, perhaps, is another story for another time.
My flirtation with film photography continues – albeit on a random, occasional basis.
Gallery and stalls entrance
This time around I have just finished running a roll of Fujicolor C200 through a recently acquired Nikon F75. The acquisition of the Nikon F75 came about because I was having difficulty focussing the manual cameras I had, so decided I would put my faith in an auto-focus setup.As a result the Nikkormat FT2 and the Zenit ET have been relocated to new owners, new homes.
Anyway – back to the F75.
I’m not sure whether I am entirely pleased with the results. There seems to be an awful lot of grain and noise in the images, especially in the sky areas, and I am hoping that that is primarily down to the negative-to-digital scanning process. I normally have my negatives scanned to TIFF as on the one occasion I had them scanned to JPEG I was definitely not happy with the results.
For better or for worse, here is a handful of the pictures, all having had a little bit of noise reduction added using Luminar 2018.