I guess the time was ripe for me to return to the hobby I love.
My online photofinisher has just finished developing and scanning one “found” half-roll of 35mm out of my thrifted Canon AE-1 and one roll of 120 film from the test run of my Agfa Pioneer. I already have a completed roll from the test voyage of the Canon ready to send out, and I’m contemplating which cameras I haven’t tested yet — or just haven’t used in a while.
Sure, I always have my iPhone in my pocket or purse, which means I always have a camera on hand. But it’s not the same. Any camera collector or analog photography aficionado knows that each camera takes unique photos. Not to say that I’d be able to identify after the fact which camera I used to take a particular photo, but I could at least narrow it down to box camera or toy camera or something that actually has settings (like an SLR or rangefinder).
After perusing my dusty shelves of cameras, I’ve decided my next test will be this Argus C3 rangefinder that I picked up who knows when. According to my research, it was manufactured between 1944 and 1954 and is fondly known as “the brick.” I’ve loaded it up with a roll of 200 speed black and white 35mm film and familiarized myself with all its dials and switches. It’ll be the first time in a while I’ve used a camera without an on-board light meter.
Maybe sometime in the future, I’ll run my final roll of 620 film through the Imperial Flash Mark XII to get a “real” test roll out of it — the previous two tests were 35mm sprocket photography, since it can’t take modern 120 film like some old 620 cameras can.
The Diana Mini has only had one roll through it, so I’ve never tried the half-frame format. I should queue that up, too — it’s been almost five years since its first test roll of square format photos. Outdoor spring and summer photos would be an ideal second run-through for the Diana, since the first roll was all overcast winter skies and indoor low-light photos at Christmas.
Some of my potential test and re-test candidates need some TLC — the Praktica and Ricoh both need new seals to prevent light leaks, the Yashica needs to be re-leathered, and I’m sure some cameras need to be cleaned and maintained in general.
In addition to just taking more pictures and posting my test rolls on the blog and Flickr, I also need to take the time some weekend (when I’m sure I’d rather be outside — wish I’d gotten the photo bug before spring hit) to dust, rearrange, store, organize, and generally maintain my camera collection. The Sterilite container full of snap-on leather camera cases doesn’t need to be in plain view, and I need to come up with a better method of storing cables and accessories than piling them in a large leather camera bag.
I’d like to revamp the blog to include info about each camera. I had a small database of camera info in my old Movable Type database, but I never recreated it when I moved to WordPress. I’d love to have a snippet at the top of each camera’s “tag” page to show a photo of the camera and its vital statistics: film format, year of manufacture, general category (box/rangefinder/SLR/etc), that sort of thing. Kind of a mini camera-wiki entry. (Who knows when that will happen, though — it’s not exactly at the top of my priority list, although it would be fun.)
Goodbye, winter depression. Hello, old hobby. I missed you.