Inauguration Day

Everything seemed business as usual today even though we now have a new president.  I spent my lunch break in chances of seeing America becoming great again.  

Tomorrow I am photographing a rally in Rochester, NY.  I'm there to only observe as I did for a post election rally.  I'd love to photograph pro-Trump people as well.  But for now, anti-Trump rallies it is.

I set my camera at auto-ISO (200 to 6400) with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 and an aperture of f/11.  Rest of the settings:

  • Classic Chrome
  • Dynamic Range: 100%
  • Sharpness: +2
  • Highlight Tone: -1
  • Shadow Tone: +1
  • Noise Reduction: -2
  • Color: +2

Winter Blahs

I hate winter.  I grew up in Upstate NY (outside of Watertown) and now reside in Rochester, NY so I have had my fair share of winters.  The weather will be nice-ish one day and brutal the next.  Winter weather here is like being in an abusive relationship.  I would know.  About both.  Sadly.

In the fall, I told myself and anyone else who would hold me accountable, I would shoot through my winter blues and for the most part, I have.  Now, it's only 10 days into the New Year and I'm ready to hibernate until March.

Knowing my inevitable failure at shooting through it, I'm starting to collaborate with two other local photographers who work I admire and I like being around.  I also donated to become a member to the George Eastman Museum.  If I am not making photos, I may as well be talking about them and looking at them in person instead of a screen.

On the week after Christmas, a friend and wandered to a few small towns close to the Southern Tier.  We like to park the car and walk around all day, taking in these towns and photographing what ever comes our way.  It was very cold and it had just finished freezing rain before we got there so the sidewalks were mostly too dangerous to walk on.   After visiting three towns and having a few close calls on a icy sidewalks we called it quits.

Retina IIa, round 2

After the Presidential Election, there was an Anti-Trump rally at the University of Rochester.   I figured this would be a good chance to practice focusing with Retina and to try to get better acquainted with the camera.

Like before, the Retina IIa didn't like mid day sun much at all.  You have to work to get an exposure that's not overblown.  I'm not sure how much I like the small coupled rangefinder either.  I pretty much just zone focus and point and shoot.  This is the first rangefinder I have shot with so I'm at a disadvantage comparing it to other rangefinders.

KEH had a film sale a while ago and I took advantage, getting a stash of film at around .75 to .80 a roll.  Most of it was Lomography color film.  I stuck with the Lomography to test out the camera.  I also shot two rolls of HP5 at the rally.  Those will not be processed until sometime this winter by me in a darkroom.

Anyways, the Retina performed pretty well.  If you are a street shooter who likes wider lenses, the 50mm lens will require a little getting used to.  I'm still adjusting, positioning myself where I would be with a 35mm or wider lens.

Kodak Retina IIa

I recently acquired a Kodak Retina IIa from a retired Kodak engineer.  There's usually quite a few of these cameras popping up but none in the condition I was able to find.  The camera looked brand new and had the original leather camera case.

First of the roll.

The Retina IIa is very easy to use.  The best feature of the camera is that everything is manual.  No batteries are needed to run a meter.  One downside is that while focusing the lens I sometimes moved the aperture dial.  The Retina IIa seems to be more of a camera you would use for deliberate shooting.  I found the rangefinder to be a bit tough to focus quickly at the start.  I have never shot with a rangefinder before.  As I used it more, I was able to be quicker to focus.  You will get better results zone focusing.

Rochester, NY alley

The Retina IIa is perfect for places like Rochester, NY.  You can only go to 1/500 second shutter speed.  The camera may not like very bright sunny days unless you use 200 speed film or are able to find some expired 64 speed film.

Yellow with Kodak tower in the background.


I tried to shoot in as many conditions as possible.  The 50mm f/2 lens seemed to work perfectly in fairly bright and dark conditions as well as in some challenging lighting conditions like the parking garage in the above photo.

Wings of Progress, Rochester, NY

Corner of Exchange Blvd., Main St., and State St., Rochester, NY

Wilder Building, Rochester, NY

I have since shot a few more rolls.  Once I process the black and white film I used in the darkroom I will share the results.  I think I will enjoy shooting with this camera through the winter.