View Full Version : Greeting from K town in LA , new member

6-May-2013, 23:27
Hello my name is Douglas. I was a semi-pro during my college days back in the late 60s early 70s. I shot a 35mm B/W available light photo essay/story of a friend's weddings, before, during and after. No flash, no posed shoots, only candids. It was a hit. Word spread and I was in business. Leica M2/35mm Summicron , Leica M3/ 50mm Summicron Dual Range , Nikon F 85mm Nikkor.

After undergraduate college, onto Chiropractic college, that became my new life. Photography fell by the way side. Retired now and bought a DSLR last year. What fun. Instant feedback and hours playing with a computer. I have been doing a lot of thinking about photography. After a year of serious digital work, I realize that I miss "making" a photograph. I miss the process of seeing, shooting, developing and printing.

Having a very limited budget of only around $150 a month, I have too "keep it simple". I am shooting B/W paper negatives with my DIY 5x7 and making contact prints. I do scan the paper negatives to Lightroom for proofing. So far there is a Ektar f 7.7 203mm ($100) and a 13.5cm Zeiss Tessar ($60). The Tessar produces an interesting image on 5x7. But missing from my kit is a short telephoto like the 85mm for my old Nikon. However, finding a bargain 300mm to 360mm seems unlikely. Pasadena is nearby and they have a monthly used camera show. I'll keep looking. That show is a real treasure, I am so grateful for that resource.

My interest lie in still life, urban landscape and portraits. I do like architecture too. I want a very sharp lens and a soft lens for portraits. I love the human face, some look great in ultra sharpness, some in softness.

I am happy with the 203mm, it is a match with the way I see. It will work fine for environmental portraits, but I really don't know what focal length I will need for a more close up look.

Fortunately, I have space for a small darkroom. "Keep it Simple", I am only developing paper negatives and contact printing. I can see a 8x10 DIY camera in my future, 8x10 contact prints, WOW, but for now my next project will be a better and lighter weight 5x7. My camera building skills are poor but getting better. A large learning curve.

I am having fun "making" photographs.

Glad to be a member of LFPF,

ps Sekonic Studio Deluxe III in mint condition, looks like it has never been used. ($30)
pps I may have to save for a year just to afford one good portrait lens. The Ektar 203mm will have to do for now. Back in the old days, I used one camera and one lens for almost all of my personal work. The M2 with a 35.
ppps I am a cyclists. I ride my bike everywhere, so my 5x7 outfit needs to be lite. Light weight lenses and next DIY 5x7 will be aluminum.
I don't own a car, can you imagine that in LA ?

Daniel Stone
7-May-2013, 00:48
Welcome Douglas!
Please post some of your paper negative contact prints. Its always nice to have more "locals" here in LA.

8-May-2013, 20:51
Hello Dan,
Thanks for the welcome.
Slow to respond due to being busy with moving my darkroom to a permanent location. It was in my workshop, way too much dust to deal with. Now I have about 48 sq ft of countertop. More than enough room for developing and contact printing, plus there is a sink. Lots of storage underneath.

Think that I have solved the lens question. Been researching the forum: the Caltar 215mm convertible to 356mm f 10 may be the solution. Remove the front lens and replace it with a uv filter, that should work for me. A Symmar could work too, but I like the idea that the Caltar converted is a little shorter and little faster. There may not be that much of a difference, but the Caltar just "feels" right.