Minolta Hi-Matic 7s = Zen?


There’s just something about a mechanical camera. Something special that you don’t get with a modern click box.

Two weeks ago I was lurking the Flickr forums when I came across someone talking about the “Film Photography Podcast”. I was intrigued as my favorite podcast was too long between updates and I needed something new. I started listening, and while it was nothing too special at first I thought, I couldn’t stop listening. It brought me back to my time in the FIU photography lab, listening to my friends talk film, fstops, development times, and arg my film is ruined!

While listening to 2 or 3 I ended up on eBay picking up a new camera. Well, new to me anyway. I decided on a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. Simple fixed lens rangefinder that had the 2 qualities that I deemed necessary to me for a camera these days, a leaf shutter, and an f2 or faster lens. This one had the leaf and the f1.8 45mm lens so it was a no brainer. That and it had a built in meter, automatic mode, and a hot-shoe. Very nice cam that I picked up for $25 US. I think I’m in love with rangefinders now, and I place the blame squarely on the FPP! Thanks to them I’m back to shooting film and loving it. Scanning it is another story, but I’ll get better at it. I really need to do test shots in different lighting conditions with a grey card so I can get baselines for the films that I use. But that’s a story for another day.
I even went out with friends and the little Minolta. Ok, it’s not so little, it’s pretty big actually, but since my other film love is an RZ67 Mamiya, this is small. I don’t know why, but taking pics with this is more fun than with the digitals, and the subjects of the photographs seem to enjoy smiling at the odd box in my hands.


If you want to take a listen to the podcast, and you really, really should, head on over to http://filmphotographypodcast.com/ and download the latest episode.

Check out my flickr stream at : ra2photo @ flickr

Foth Doppel Antistigmat 1:4.5 105m/m on a 5d

Those of you that know me, know that I love to tinker. I don’t know if love is too strong, but sometimes it feels like it’s the only thing that makes sense.

Anyway, this past week I had rented a 16-35mm f2.8 v2 lens. This is supposed to be one of the finest lenses made by Canon. As far as engineering goes, I can’t flaw the lens. It’s amazingly sharp, with good color, contrast, and flare control. It just…doesn’t feel like a nice lens. There’s no magical feeling when you’re putting it on the camera. The kind of lens that makes you think, “Ok, I’ve had a rough photo session, but this’ll help things immensely.” That’s how I feel with my 50 f1.4. If I can’t get a good shot, I go for the nifty 50 and immediately feel better about the quality of the work. Maybe it’s just me, but I want really special lenses (i.e. ones that are worth a bundle) should feel like they are special. They should be heavy, made of some sort of metal. Maybe I’ll just add lead weights to all new lenses I get for the Canon… meh, I’m sure I’ll find magic with the camera again, oh wait! I did!

Remember when I was talking about tinkering, well, I tinkered.

Skimming through eBay the other day I was looking for a folding medium format camera. I could’ve gone with a Kodak Brownie, but those were pulling a pretty good penny at the time. Seems most people were selling “Don’t know if it works”, “Great decoration”, or they had been totally restored and it would’ve killed me to take apart a restored example. So I kept looking, and ended up with a Foth. The Foth Faltkamera (apparnetly this means Roll film?) was a folding medium format 120 roll camera from the early 30′s with a dual doublet lens and 25/50/100/B/T shutter speeds all built like a large format, just smaller. Don’t know what a Foth is? Check this page: http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/entry_C638.html Got it cheap, and took a roll through it, before removing the lens.

The lens I took and mounted to a (using an almost used up roll of electrical tape as the bushing) Pentax macro adapter. The adapter to a Pentacon macro bellows. The bellows to a Pentax to Eos adapter, to Canon 5d. Result? I’ve now got a lens with real character. To use the lens, just put it on T mode, and click the shutter open, set the f-stop you’d like. Then on the camera pretty much shoot away. It’s a bit of a flare monster, but you can tame it pretty easy. You can use Aperture priority as well as full auto if you want to use automatic modes. Focus is by sliding the lens around on the bellows. Now some pics!


It’s large, unwieldy, but my Camera looks like a steam locomotive. That pretty much makes up for any failings.


Choo choo!

And some sample pics:

Pair o palms

Returning to my IT guy ways…

Hey all. Thought I’d throw a little update over here to let you know what’s up.

First off, I’m engaged! For those of you that I know, you already knew this. For everybody else, :-D . Dunno when the wedding is, or any details therein, thereof, so yeah, it’ll be a surprise for me too!

During the past couple weeks I’ve been working with the RZ67, and getting better at scanning negatives and making them nice. I’ve got a nice film holder coming which should make defects due to bendy film a thing of the past. Loving using the camera too, really is a wonderful tool. I’ve been using it a lot handheld (because a bunch of places don’t allow tripods) and am learning why it’s not really a great field camera. It really is very heavy. Then again once I see the negatives (they’re huge! I <3 6x7cm negs) and how creamy they are, I'm hooked once more and all is forgiven. I'll be putting a couple shots from Butterfly World up this week, as well as a couple from Clewiston area Florida.

On the IT guy side of things, I've been working on power policies and making them work with my backup policies. Trying to save a couple nickels on power so I have more to rub together on other things.

I've also dropped Quickbooks online backup in favor of Dropbox + a couple bash scripts on the Ubuntu Server. Quickbooks online has never been able to do a succsessful backup of company files from the linux database server automatically. It really, really is just a horrible little piece of software. Now I've got quickbooks backing up to the Dropbox folder automatically, and Dropbox uploads the new files constantly. So, yay! No more "Quickbooks Online Backup has encountered an error" every time I log into the server, and now I can cut the Quickbooks support bill, a hefty annual sum, from the budget. I don't need the latest versions of the software, especially since every update for the past couple years has required upgrading the server, memory, processor, finally culminating in the linux server to handle the data side.

But even with the database off the main computer, you still need 1gig minimum to run the software. It never goes past 256mb ram on the client computers even with pulling large reports. If they could fix that on client side or at least let us install anyway, I'd consider the annual update deal of the support contract a bit more seriously. As is, we could update every three years and come out ahead licensing wise.

Quick pic from a recent trip to La Belle, Florida. Didn't have the nice cameras just the IS780 Canon P&S, and Gena and I ran around abandoned sugar plantation worker housing. Very creeptastic to say the least. The buildings looked abandoned for quite some time. I'm planning on heading back with real cameras with actual permission from the land owners to do a nice photo session of the site.

Bunking up

Bye now!

Lacking inspiration to…something, something…

(insert witty quip here) :: Or would a quip be by it’s nature, witty? Meh.

Yeah, no 365 today. No real inspiration to take pictures over the weekend. I was doing stuff, but didn’t really feal like taking pics. So, very sorry I don’t have anything for y’all today, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I know the idea of a 365 is to keep you motivated to take a picture a day, but if I’m going to be making crap, why? I like making great images. I don’t like to upload bad photos just for the sake of keeping a promise to myself about a photo a day uploaded. I take a few photos a day. By phone generally, and if something looks cool, I’ll take a shot with the 5d, but generally it’s just snapshots with the phone. I take a picture (or more) a day. I don’t have to upload it to show it. Quite honestly, I think it brings my blog down to a lower level when I start to show all the bad pictures I take. All photographers take bad pictures. The people with great pictures every day of their 365′s are generally photographers, or photo-students. People who are either working, taking pictures, or students with the time to make a great picture. I envy them. I get the evenings after I come home from work to make my art, and it usually takes me a couple nights planning to get the shots I want.

I’ll still be uploading pictures. Some great, some small. You just won’t get one everyday. The quality will go up. Worst case I can start doing Dave Hill-esque portraits of myself. Just lots of light, shiny and over sharpened. (To the real David Hill, you do great work, and being a trendsetter, the copycats really don’t pull it off).

I really need to start refining what my vision is. My style. Move it away from snapshots, and into an actual art form that I’m proud to identify as my own.

Maybe I’ll go back to taking flash photos taking nature into an almost unrealistic light?

Cubanelle Peppers

See ya soon.


365 4 & 5

Hello again! Trying to put how I feel in pictures for #4. It’s been feeling like a long week.

Long Week

#5 was my entry into Digital-Photography-School.com ‘s weekly challenge “Cars”. If you haven’t heard of them, give them a look. Lots of good advice and a very friendly (and HUGE!) forum. It’s been a rainy few days at work, and my car’s gotten a wee bit muddy. Luckily looks like the wax is holding up :)

Veedub Mud

Have a great labor day everyone! I’ll be back with another update on Monday :D

365 Day 3 & 4 Twofer!

Hey Everybody! Sorry for the lack of update, but I had good reason, I was at the Tears for Fears show! They came down to the Broward Performing Arts Center and rocked the house! Now I gotta admit, outside of “Shout”, and “Head Over Heels” I wasn’t a T4F fan. This was probably the finest show I’ve been to since The Eagles came to town a little while ago.
2 hours pretty much straight rockin. No breaks, unless you count the “Leave-the-stage-and-cheer-for-encore” thing as a break. The whole setup was perfect. I’ll definietly be looking for more shows there. Very classy venue. Maybe hit an opera? Sounds like fun to me :D

I’ll have another one for Thursday night, not of the show, but I got an idea what I want a shot of. Let’s see if it turns out!


365-Day 2

Just got the retro-cam app for my phone, and got my hair cut. So…put the two together and got myself a very overly dramatic self portrait. Gives me the idea to try to recreate this shot with a nice camera tomorrow…should be fun!


You can get a similar effect using the hipster camera app on the iphone. Amazing how popular recreating old, scratchy, single lens vintage film cameras has become.

Starting a 365

This is a short one folks, I’m starting a 365 project. Starting tonight, I will post a picture and a short post about it every night. I’ll try to make sure it’s not another shot from the same moment, I will be taking at least 1 shot per day, and putting it up. Here’s the first one: Cross-stitching

Gena was cross-stitching(crosstitch? spelling failure) and I was playing with setting my camera to black and white, and +contrast and +sharpness to their maximum, while also adding further grain to it in DXO. I’m loving the B&W grain look. I’m venturing more and more into grain. Really think I’m starting to not only simply let it slide, but embracing it. Grain is good. I think the famous James Gecko said that. (ooh, the false movie reference-ish. I’m so clever :P )

Something my photo teacher showed/ taught us ( or tried to anyway, some concepts take a while to sink in); was asking yourself, “Does this image need color?”. If it does, go for it. If it doesn’t then why not try it in B&W? I adore color, but I’m trying to make that distinction, and this picture had plenty of shadows and lines, but the colors really wouldn’t have added to it, so I cut them out. Who knows, maybe down the line I’ll just leave the colors back in on it. Gotta love the digital workroom right?

See ya tomorrow,


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Radio Lollipop’s 14th Birthday Bash

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of shooting, by far, my most entertaining event.

My friend Melissa has spent the past couple years volunteering her time at Miami Children’s Hospital, with the amazing people at Radio Lollipop. If you are looking for either an opportunity to volunteer, or you’re looking for an organization to send a donation to, you’d be hard pressed to find a more worthy organization. They in a literal sense, are an in hospital radio station specifically for the in patient kids. There are a whole lot of kids that are at the hospital with heavy diseases that can’t go home for a while. Radio lollipop hosts not only music, but also has giveaways and events for the kids that are at the hospital. Really, really, great work.


So yeah, back to Melissa. About a month ago, I get a phone call, it’s her and she’s asking me to take some pictures of the 14th anniversary party of Radio Lollipop. I figured, OK, this could be fun. Didn’t really have any plans for a Thursday anyway. I wasn’t expecting much, but hey, any excuse to be allowed, nay, requested to take pictures is a dream come true.

I got dressed sort of western, it was a Toy Story theme, grabbed my gear and ran over to the hospital immediately after work to get ready.

I show up to the calm before the storm. Volunteers dressed up, but no kids. Luckily even though there was a ton of traffic, I got there early. I got some baseline shots to get my settings close and waited for the fireworks to start. I spent the next three and a half hours following around the Toy Story crew, visiting a bunch of smiling faces. Generally we’d get requested to visit by a patient, and we’d head out. Generally we’d go from room to room. We didn’t sit down until the event was over at 9:00PM-ish. I got a ton of pictures, and loved every minute of the evening. It felt amazing to be a part of what felt like a moment. The kids loved it, and everyone was happy, so I guess mission accomplished.


I’ve already volunteered myself for any other events they might be throwing, so here’s hoping they want me back. :)

I’m putting the pictures up now, mainly because I wanted to make sure it was ok with the hosts of the party. Hope you guys like.


The Last Exorcism…or is it?

Well tonight I saw the grand film that I was hoping would give me shivers and make me jump a few times…
Yeah, didn’t happen. It’s more of a “What’s going to happen”, than a “AAAAH! Lookit that!”. I was looking for the latter, so I wasn’t very enthused about the movie. For what it was, it was good. It was an honest to goodness, old school horror flick. If you’re thinking about watching it, just wait till you can rent it. Not really worth the movie theater prices.

I did end up getting a nice shot of the sconces while I was in the theater. I <3 the 50mm f1.4. Probably my favorite/ most usable lens on any format.
This was one shot, no post other than cropping to 16:9 format. I wanted it as a wallpaper :)

As usual, I thank my beautiful girlfriend,
and my friends Daniella, and Andres for helping make the movie experience more…memorable. DanierraAndres