View Full Version : This New-Old Guy of 72 has to lift his game

9-Aug-2015, 11:58
Hello Everybody,
I am another new guy, but actually a "new-old" guy since I am 72, and my first view camera was a Calumet 4x5 back in 1964... except for an Ektachrome and AV phase in the 80's I have had a darkroom all my life.
I write this from my home town of Cape Town, South Africa, a city of 4 million (like Rio - huge wealth and tourism, huge poverty) but with only one shop (a pharmacy) left selling analog cameras, film, Ilford paper, and mostly ancient darkroom goods. I write this also from my darkroom , surrounded by workable gear. For a decade my rule has had to be "buy it if you see it", because there's almost nothing to be had here, and it's getting more "Third World" by the month.
Most of it was has been cheap as digital hurtled in. A dysfunctional Durst Laborator 1200 (condenser 4x5), for $40, three Omega DII's minus baseboards for $60 the lot, an E6, Time-o-Lites on garage sales, so also pre-war Kodak and Dallmeyer barrel lenses, an Apo Ronar 360 and G-Clarons, a "Gene Smith" Leitz Valoy II, (wonderful, not the tin of the early Valoys) and any amount of strange large format stuff and enlarger lenses with\without fungus, leaking old 4x5 dd slides etc. Now most of that is clean, usable and\or plugged in.

My main 4x5 baby is "O'Sullivan", a Sinar P, rather worn but OK and lots of Sinar bits, plus some "newer" lenses (they have shutters...) . I seem to be using the 135 Symmar and a 210 Fuji a good deal. I still make up my own chemistry, from raw, since I cannot aford to pay crazy prices for one-litre packs of Ilford chemistry. Our currency, the Rand, was once R2 or R3 to the dollar, now it is R13. Enough said. But...

I will really need you guys, and your know-how, because I am painfully aware that I have not put enough work into 4x5 . Now I have to lift my game, focus hard and take advice. I have a possible exhibition looming and I now have to start REGULARLY printing 16x20. I am embarrassed to say that my work has been too erratic in quality and output, too "rough and ready" for a long time.
I see serious heavyweight knowledge on this site, almost daunting, but I am sure that this move will do me good.
Regards to you all.
RuariAliran... Rory in real life

9-Aug-2015, 12:36
Hi Rory,

Welcome to LFPF. I'll not likely offer advice but will ask one question: Specifically, what advice are you seeking?

9-Aug-2015, 13:59
Rory: Welcome to the forum. I am also an old timer (71), but have a 40 y/o wife who was born in Zimbabwe, but who grew up in and still has most of her family still in Cape Town. I haven't been there yet, but so looking forward to. As you note, there is some tremendous talent on here, and most are more than willing to help with any question you might have. Bob

Randy Moe
9-Aug-2015, 14:37
Yes, welcome! I am a child of 64 years, who only started LF 4 years ago.

One of these days I will shoot LF as well as 35mm...

Like many here, I use all formats and any camera, even digital every day.

A goal of exhibiting is a great motivator, nothing like deadline to activate creativity.

Sorta like writing a school paper, everybody waits till the last moment, but they have been worried about it and internally composing.

That's my BS and I'm sticking to it.

9-Aug-2015, 16:16
I had a sister who lived in Joburgh for a few years and I'd been to Capetown. It's very sad to hear what is happening to South Africa but having said that, it is still one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world (for me at least) so you should have lots to photograph! :-)

John Kasaian
10-Aug-2015, 06:29
Welcome aboard!

10-Aug-2015, 09:14
Welcome! To up your game, focus on using one camera and 1-2 lenses for a while. Starts out frustrating, but it pays off quickly by simplifying things. Simplifying things is good when there is a deadline involved.

10-Aug-2015, 14:38

Welcome. I about to turn 70.

Now, of course, if you want to be accepted here as "true geezer photographer" you must have a beard. :)
Do you have one?

Terry Thomas
Atlanta, Georgia USA

Sirius Glass
10-Aug-2015, 14:45
Welcome to LFPF

11-Aug-2015, 01:16
Jp, you ar so right. I have a quote stuck up about the composer Palestrina (1500's - unaccompanied voices)
"He deliberately restricts his means so as to secure the most perfect flow of melody...
the music moves with such fluency that one may easily overlook the enormous skill... of the composer"

11-Aug-2015, 01:24
Randy Moe, Thanks for that. With the monorail view camera, I fiound that the first thing I must do is to leave the camera assembled, focussed on infinity, and upside down in a light light bag to put onto the tripod. I have grown used to having that over my shoulder. I try to make it seem as "natural" as reaching for a 35... Rory.

11-Aug-2015, 01:29
Macolive, thank you. Yes, Cape Town and its hinterland is\are an amazing landscape. In my town planning days I got to photograph from small planes and choppers,
and then I could understand what some of these most ancient mountains on earth really look like. Amazing.

11-Aug-2015, 01:33
Sirius Glass, thanks. Yes, years ago I should have bought the Kodak Ektar F2.5 150mm Aerial Ektar I encountered.
I had nothing strong enough to carry the weight, then. But I could have just sat and looked at it... Rory

11-Aug-2015, 01:44
Bob the bloodhound, thank you. I have already gained just from the "listening in"
to talented guys sharing their knowhow. For esample, I'm not about th start converting my condenser
Omega E6 to LED, but what I read about that was brilliant. Rory.

11-Aug-2015, 01:47
John Kassian, thank you . I guess no-one will notice the 1/125ths of a second, Petty larceny indeed, but a one minute exposure could be a hanging offence...

Andrew O'Neill
11-Aug-2015, 08:02
Hi Rory, nice introduction. Even up here in Canada it's getting difficult to source 8x10 film and when I find it, it's pretty darn expensive. But, I'll never stop! Enjoying it too much. Look forward to seeing your stuff.


Robert Langham
16-Aug-2015, 18:44
Glad to have you. Don't be shy!