My Current Toys

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So here’s a few of the things I’ve been playing with recently – a Zenith microscope, a Bowens Illumitran 3s, Mamiya C330 and a Moskva II. I’ve had all of these things for a number of years but haven’t had access to them for a while as they were trapped inside what will hopefully one day be a photography shop owned and operated by yours truly. I’ll write a separate article on this project in the future.

I’ve been using the microscope and the illumitran (macro table/slide copier) with My Nikon D3 for some ridiculous macro and micro photography. I’ve been grabbing pretty much anything that’ll fit under the microscope and sticking it in. Lighting has been an issue for some thicker objects but I’ve found ways round that which I’ll again write about in a separate, dedicated post.

The Mamiya and the Moskva are two medium format cameras – the Mamiya being a twin lens reflex type (TLR) with 6×6 square format and the Moskva II being a folding bellows type with a 6×9 format. I love both of these cameras – the image quality from medium format is simply stunning. The Mamiya has fantastic optics and I really enjoy the top down viewfinder. The Moskva is really compact when folded and can easily slip into my coat pocket. With the press of a button it snaps open finishing with a satisfying click as the lens reaches the end of it’s guide rails and locks firmly into position. This camera also features a coupled rangefinder and I’m a sucker for rangefinders…

At the moment I’m trying to decide what to do with them. I have a fridge full of Velvia 50 and would love to produce some huge slides (using the Moskva) perhaps mounted some sort of light box. Would need to get materials together for that and also decide exactly what to take photos of as I’d like some sort of consistency in the images. Would also like to do some cross process stuff but getting that processed is a bitch since nowhere in town will do it (until my shop opens that is!)

Paper Negative using Mamiya C330

Also keen to do some more paper negatives – medium format is great for this as the negative size is significantly higher than in 35mm. The results I’ve had before have had a very unique look – old and haunting. The example here was taken using the Mamiya with an hour long exposure time. In case you can’t tell the picture is off a book case with a framed print hanging on the wall above it.

Paper negatives is something I’ve been mulling over for a while since I’ve been asked to run “Victorian” photography workshops for schools. This is decidedly low tech and could fit in well with those. Combined with pinhole cameras I reckon this could be a great set up for solargraphs – photgraphs with exposure times lasting months which capture the motion of the sun as it crosses the sky, however I’m not sure if this is something that would be suitable for the workshops or not. Either way it’s something I intend to try for myself fairly soon.



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