Thursday, July 2, 2015

Many Possible Students

There are lots of possibilities for new workshops in the coming weeks. I will need to get them in before I have to be away doing the Rosebud exhibition stuff in mid September and late October. Teaching the workshops will become more difficult as the season wears on as I will have less and less time to do them. In November I am off to Asia to start working on the "Forgotten Laughter" project.

Today I got another email from an interested party. I now have Julia, Todd, Stu (a returning friend) and now Caroline as possible future workshop students.

Hopefully I can teach all 4 of them, spread the word on film photography and make a few extra dollars. I am also getting a 12 hour OT shift next Thursday so that is a nice money bonus as well. I need to pay my camera bill (unfortunately) and also save some funds to use in Asia.

A Second Look

A second look at the good Rolleiflex F has been favourable. I sent the seller a message asking for a partial refund for meter plastic cover repair (not sure they will go for it). I think this camera eventually will be a very good working unit. The glass looks very nice, the camera fires at all shutters accurately to the ear/eye. The F looks a little more stout and well built as compared to my GX. I think once I get the plastic meter piece fixed and CLA the whole unit I will have a great working tool. I might get a new bright Maxwell focusing screen put in as well. This could become my working camera in places in Asia, especially the more dangerous theft prone regions. I will run a roll of film through it tonight.

The other F I received today is in rough shape, do not know what I can do with it. I might have to just sell it for what I can get, or do a major overhaul to get it working again. I cannot send it back to the seller because in the advert for the sale he mentions the camera needing maintenance. My fault, let the buyer beware!

I might be able to sell some of the Rolleiflex accessories for some doe. I have a very nice every ready case in very good condition ($60-$220 USD on eBay). I have a shitty every ready case in 4 separate pieces and I have the eye level Rollie finder ($80 USD on eBay). If I sold all those pieces I would probably get a good chunk of any CLA and repairs needed on the camera(s) back.

I love the eye level finder, outside of its weight this is a great little item to use in the field to do portraits. I doubt I would sell it. I can see using this finder with either the good F or the GX along with the close up lens I bought yesterday to do portraits in the field.

Update* Quickly shot a roll of old Agfa 400 b/w film in the good F camera. I like shooting it, it has a nice friendly feel, the shutter button is more sensitive than the GX. I also like using the eye level view finder a lot. This looks like a keeper! I need to get the meter plastic fixed and to clean and lube the camera. I hope I can get it back by November. As long as the negs are sharp and the shot spacing OK this will probably be my first choice Rolleiflex to take with me next trip.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Received my 2 Rolleiflex 2.8 cameras todays.

The good:
One of the Rollies looks in good working order, the glass seems clean, the shutter and f stops work, the camera seems ready to shoot. The only thing wrong I can find with the camera is the small plastic clear housing on the meter is missing. The meter seems to be functioning but not for long without the clear plastic housing.

The bad:
The second camera from the WWII vet is in poor shape. The glass seems good, clear etc which is the most important thing. The shutter and f-stops are not functioning. This could be a $938USD paper weight!

The ugly: 
I will need to send one, possibly both cameras in for repair and CLA to Harry Fleenar (Rollie expert repairman) in California. I already sent Harry an email with links asking for advice and a repair estimate. I might be sending both cameras out next week to him.

I might manage to repair both cameras or at worst get Harry to take the best from both cameras to make one super F Rolleiflex. Buying these 2 Fs is costing me to much money and was probably a bad mistake on my part. How can I quit my job and photograph in Asia when I am doing stupid shit like this?

What is weird is that the 2nd Rollie the one that is not working had a perfectly beautiful ever ready leather case. I was able to put the case on the working Rolleiflex F.

These things are quite valuable on eBay, if I can get them both up to snuff again. If Harry Fleenar can work some magic on them, I still might be able to sell them and break even or get a good portion of my money back. I paid about 1/2 of the fully working price for these Rolleiflex F 2.8 cameras, so if they can be repaired I might still be OK.

I would like to get the WWII Alzheimer suffering veterans camera back online, it seems right to do that. It seems right to use his tool to do documentary photography. At least the glass on both cameras seem OK, that is the most important part. I feel disappointed but this is also a good lesson for me. Something I might still recover from.

A fool and his money are soon parted:
I am being foolish on eBay again. Time to shut it down, it gets shutdown tonight, no more buying. I will work and pay off these cameras and start saving again for November. I will try to repair what I bought, try to get at least 1, 100% working Rolleiflex F 2.8 and move on.

Note* I also got a eye level style viewfinder from the better camera purchase. It is a heavy unit but 100% authentic Rollie product that seems to be in great working order without damage. I think I will be able to use this finder on my GX or on 1 of the working Fs.

Rolleiflex GX Film

Shot a roll of film with the Rolleiflex GX 2.8 yesterday. There are no frame advance problems the negs look sharp, exposures accurate. I might have an issue with the meter, it does not seem to want to turnoff. Contacted the seller in Japan last night to get his feedback.

Poem: Memories By Walt Whitman

How sweet the silent backward tracings!
The wanderings as in dreams—the meditation of old times resumed
        —their loves, joys, persons, voyages.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Possible 7 Week Kit

I am very excited about the date being set for my departure back to Asia. I have been thinking about the gear I might take on this short journey.

I need to take my 5x7 camera as I plan on working on my "Forgotten Laughter" project, The Linhof is a big heavy camera, the biggest I have ever shot in the field in Asia (did a 8x10 Masterview in studio). I have a ton of outdated 5x7 film I need to shoot, and this project is perfect for it.

Here is a possible gear kit for my 7 week trip.

-5x7 Linhof camera
-120mm Nikon lens for the Linhof
-150-250 sheets of 5x7 Tri-x
- Gitzo tripod with small lighter head
- Reflector
- Pentax spot meter or handheld Gossen Luna Pro

-Rolleiflex 80mm  f2.8 camera
- Close up lens
- 50-75 rolls of 120 Tri-x

- Leica M6 body with 35mm f1.4 lens
- 21mm f2.8 lens
- 75-100 rolls of Tri-x 35mm

Plaubel Makina 67?
Canon Digital?
Leica R6?
Graflex RB Super D?
A 1/2 frame camera?
2nd M6 Leica body?

Note* The film numbers might also come down.

Bought Rolleiflex Rolleinar Close Up Lens

I bought 2 good condition close up lens for my 2.8 Rollies. These close up lens allow for close focus and are supposed to be amazing in their quality and sharpness. There are 3 different sizes (Bay models 1, 2 and 3) and 3 different styles of lens for closer and closer focusing. These packages are made up of 2 lens, one for the taking lens and one for the viewing lens (to correct for parallax issues).

With the Rolleinar 1 on my 80mm lens I can focus from 40 inches to 20 inches.
With my Roleinar 2 on my 80mm lens I can focus from 20 inches to 13 inches.

Now I can do the noble heads I have been thinking of doing in asia. Square format heads from low angles with neutral (sky?) backgrounds. I can focus as close as I want to, will probably use the Rolleinar 1.

Cost of these items was $395 USD plus shipping, far from cheap but much cheaper than any of the other similar close up lens packages on eBay. I hope this purchase will lead to some strong portrait work. I might be able to use it extensively for the "Lost Innocence"project.

Rolleinar 2 Rollei Bay-III
Rolleinar 1 Rollei Bay-III

The Master Battle Plan

With the rejection of my leave, I have gone into big time planning mode. I need to figure out how to work on my fathers dedication book idea "Forgotten Laughter" (portraits of children living in poverty) project. My current plan is as follows.

1) Take my regular 2015 holidays, my 3 weeks off work at the beginning of November. My 3 weeks off along with my regular 4 weeks off (I work 1 week on, 1 week off) will allow me 7 weeks in a row. With that 7 weeks I will make a start on my project.

2) Take the first 2 weeks of 2016 holidays in February of 2016. The 2 weeks plus my regular 3 weeks off will give me 5 weeks total. I will travel to Cambodia or the Philippines to continue the "Forgotten Laughter" (portraits of children living in poverty) project.

3) In July 2016, I might have a chance to visit Africa for the first time. I would take my last week of 2016 holidays at that time.

4) At work we have a plant shutdown in September of 2016. I will fulfill my commitment to my company and work through that period. After the shutdown is over I will request a 3 month/ 6 month leave again. If that request is accepted I will take the time to continue my work on the project. If that leave request is rejected, I will quit my job and go to Asia long term, possibly 6 months to 1 year. I would then have absolute freedom to create for a long period of time without any pressure to return. I started at my current security site in 1996, if I do leave in 2016 that would be a 20 year period. A nice number!

Note* I just sent an email vacation request for the above times off work. Hopefully there will be no kinks. I need to start working on this very important photo project. Now I have a start date in mind! The count down begins! I better work out harder!

The Plan

I got some very disappointing news today after my night shift. it looks like the 3 month or 6 month leaves are both no goes. I did not get the support of my on site boss so as a result no leave. Now all I will be able to do is to take my regular 3 weeks off work, which will allow me a total of 7 consecutive weeks when I combine them with my normal weeks off (I work a 1 week on, 1 week off schedule).

As a result of this major setback I have devised a plan for my future that at present seems the way to go. I will take the 7 week trip this year starting in November after the Rosebud exhibition. In September 2016 we have a plant wide shutdown at work so it is important I live up to my responsibilities and work through that period. After the shutdown is over I will ask for a leave again. I will have a new site boss at that time who may offer his/her support, if not, if it's a no go a second time then I will most likely quit my job. At that time I would have worked this one security site for 20 years, from 1996 to 2016. Leaving after 20 years would be tough but 20 is a good number. That's what dad said about the length of his lifespan "82 is a good number." 82 years of living is a good number and 20 years at the same job is a good number.

I would hate to leave where I work now as I have a comfortable job, and I work with good people but there are times in life thou when you have to make difficult choices. I want to do some important photography before I die, time is running out on me. I am 51 and counting, by then I will be 52 almost 53.

If I cannot get time off work my only other option is to quit. I will then have all the freedom I desire to make my pictures, and in between photo opportunities I can work odd security jobs here and there at various sites for less pay. If I have the freedom to make photographs, then I can take working a shitty security job at lower pay for 5 or 6 months until the next photo trip arrives. If I am working lousy sites I can start up and quit at my leisure without feeling any guilt or losing anything that is important. I can work when I want and photograph when I want. It could turn into a very creative and productive period of my life.

There are many reasons to go forward with this plan, most importantly I owe it to my father to fulfil my vow, to try to do the book and the dedication. I am not going to break my word. I might not succeed in this book dedication attempt but I sure as fuck am going to give it my all. I am going to swing for the fences, if I strike out, fine, I strike out, at least I was not a coward, I went for it.

I would rather live with the failure than the regret of not trying.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2 of 4

Here are the first 2 of my 4 (yes 4) Rolleiflex purchases.

Rolleiflex Automat, Rolleiflex GX