Tag: Toronto

Delta Def Jam – Part I

Delta Def Jam – Part I

Oh Emulsive, I think through your little contests you’re going to keep film alive ensuring that everyone goes out and buys the stuff to join in these fun little games. After joining in on the Summer Film Parties, the next step is the Delta Def Jam. Wait What? Like the TMax Party, Delta Def Jam celebrates Ilford’s tabular grained film, known as Delta. Also of note, the Delta series of film comes in 100, 400, and 3200.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

Now when it comes to the Delta series I really only like one of the film stocks, Delta 100, although I may play with Delta 400 see if I can’t get it bent to my will. Thankfully I had a single roll of Delta 100 in 35mm left in my stock of film to load up and roll with for September. Recently through a review of the Bronica GS-1, I realized that Delta 100 also looks amazing when pulled just slightly to ASA-80 and then developed in SPUR HRX. If you haven’t heard of SPUR HRX that’s fine, it is a rare developer that I only just heard about also.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

Having a beautiful holiday long weekend right at the start my wife and I headed into Toronto for the Art Fest in the Distillery District. A wiser choice as it was the final day for the CNE, and the trains into the city became packed the further east we travelled. Thankfully they all disembarked before Union Station. The city always makes for a good solid walk and the Distillery District is not that far for us.

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

The Delta Def Jam - Part I

In Medium Format, Delta 100 in HRX has amazing results, but in 35mm with a bit of filtering, sure a deep yellow, it just sings! Looking forward to next month’s Jam! The film is being purchased this week, the camera and location are already chosen. Stay tuned October!

All Photos taken in the Distillery District – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D (Yellow-15) – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-80
SPUR HRX (1+) @ 20C

Large Format in the Park

Large Format in the Park

The trouble with photo walks is that you’re walking, this pretty much takes the idea of bringing large format cameras and tripods along. I mean, I love LF and have a press camera which allows me to shoot the Crown Graphic Handheld as I did back at the Summer Toronto Film Shooters Meetup. But again, when making a meet up especially for large format, you can’t call it a photo walk because it’s hard to walk with an LF camera and I know that many members don’t shoot press, technical, or field cameras they use monorails. You don’t walk around with a monorail, while you can, just not quickly. Thus was born, the Large Format Lugabout.

Remains of a Face

A Lovely Day

The Toronto Film Shooters have been to High Park many times before, so it made sense to use this urban park in Toronto as the base of operations for the walk, moving from the Southern Entrance at Colbourne Lodge to the northern terminus at Bloor Street. At about two kilometres it’s an easy enough walk even when you have an 8×10 on a monorail to lug with you.

The Howard Tomb

The Chimney

As I loaned out my Crown Graphic out to a good friend, I made a point to shoot the eight sheets of 4×5 while I wanted down through the park towards the meeting point before the main event. Even my lovely wife put up with the constant stopping. It proved to be a perfect day to shoot large format and there turned out to be a decent attendance. The highlight for me is finally seeing Colbourne Lodge. The lodge is another one of those hidden museums in Toronto, and one I certainly will be checking out again. But with the meeting starting, I turned over my Crown Graphic to Wu and switched to my Nikon F5 to take photos of the various people in attendance.

Nancy!

It's, it's...taller than me!

Another Big One

Trio of Tripods

A Common Sight

The trouble with such a meet is that everything spreads out in a long thin line, Heather and I along with Wu and Joe formed the front of the line while the long trail of photographers lugging every type of camera came up behind, even some folks carried medium format beasts. But since it was tripod friendly, it gave folks a chance to slow down.

The event turned out much better than I expected and I certainly plan on running with the idea again as people took to the idea of a limited area shoot and allowing us to bring out the big guns.

Techinal Details:
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135, Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125
Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+25) 7:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 70 – Voigtländer Bessa

CCR Review 70 – Voigtländer Bessa

When it comes to folding cameras, not all cameras are created equal. Many are simply box cameras dressed up with some bellows, while others have full on rangefinders and exposure control. While the Voigtländer Bessa is not top dog, it certainly is a little more usable than a simple box. The Bessa is a step up from a simple box but lacks a rangefinder to couple the manual focus. Couple this with a solid lens, with a full range of aperture and shutter speeds, makes this a solid choice if you’re looking for a folder. The Bessa is a long line of folding cameras that began in 1929 and lasted until 1949 with several changes over the course of product manufacture. This particular model dates between 1935 and 1937. It came into my collection through my Uncle Harvey, brother-in-law to my mother, it belonged to his father who used it well into the 1950s before switching to motion picture film to capture family memories. Special thanks to Uncle Harvey for trusting me with a family camera.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

  • Make: Voigtländer
  • Model: Bessa
  • Type: Folder
  • Format: Medium, 120/620, 6×4.5/6×9
  • Lens: Fixed, Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 1:4,5 F=11cm
  • Year of Manufacture: 1935-1937

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Good
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past reviews is that age doesn’t always mean poor performance. In fact, I’ve had successfully quality images from cameras far older than the Bessa. And the Bessa certainly delivers, the Voigtar lens, based on the Anastigmat design, provides quality sharp images at any aperture, I mostly shot these at f/11 or f/8, the reason will come in the next paragraph. While not exactly the fastest lens on the block at only f/4.5 I only found this to be a problem once and only because I was shooting the film at ASA-50. When it comes to handling, the Bessa is a decent shooter. Probably top on my list is that there’s a shutter release on the lens door, makes it nice and easy to shoot either landscape or portrait. By default the camera shoots in the big and beautiful 6×9 format and produces fantastic images as such, the 11cm (110mm) lens is perfect for the format with no vignetting or fall-off in any corner. But you will only get eight frames per roll. However, you can add a mask to the camera and use the second frame counter window and produce 6×4.5 format images that double the number of exposures per roll to 16. Of course, you need to add a mask to the camera, a mask I don’t have but can be produced I have yet to create such a mask. And finally, the camera is designed to accept both 120 and 620 film rolls, while less of an issue today such compatibility between Kodak Films and everyone else certainly helped the average photographer.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Bad
The Bessas are old cameras, with the earliest models being 88 years old and the youngest dating to 68, not exactly spring chickens. I was lucky that this particular camera is in great working shape. The first thing is that the bellows can get damaged. While some might let in just a bit of light and give a distressed look to the images, others might leak like a sieve and ruin any film run through the camera. Lenses haze over, shutter stick, so if you are looking at one, try and sort out the general shooting capacity of the camera before purchase. Let’s move on, there are two serious issues and two minor issues I have with this particular camera. The first and most severe in my mind is the film winder. Being a dual 120/620, it’s a pretty substantial piece of metal, and I found that it chewed through the plastic take up reel. Thankfully I was able to run through the eight frames before it stopped advancing and I was able to extract the film with a change bag. But for future use, I’ll probably want to stick to either a 120 or 620 spool that is metal. The second issue I have with the camera I eluded to in the previous paragraph, and that has to do with focus. The camera is a manual focus lens without a rangefinder, so you have to give a rough guess on the focus or use an external rangefinder, realising this I made a point to shoot mostly to infinity and stop it down to at least f/11 to get a decent depth of field. The only shot I made at f/8, I missed focus by a touch. If I take this camera out again, I’ll be sure to pack the external rangefinder; it worked great with the Pony 135. The two remaining issues are minor, first is that the lens is uncoated, so you only want to shoot black & white film through the camera to get decent results. And secondly, the shutter speed maxes out at 1/125 of a second. So you don’t want to go shooting Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5+ through the camera unless you plan on seriously pulling the film in development and exposure.

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

CCR Review 70 - Voigtlander Bessa

The Lowdown
When it comes to folding cameras this one, despite the issue with focusing, is a real winner. Certainly would be a good choice if you frequent World War II reenactments, even if it’s just a prop but kudos if you use it to shoot. And if you do find a camera in good working order, it certainly won’t let you down. If you do shoot with the camera, remember when this camera came out Ilford had just released HP (the great-grand daddy of HP5+) and rated at ASA-160. You’ll mostly want to stick to Ilford FP4+, Kodak TMax 100, Ilford Pan F+, Fomapan 100, Ultrafine Xtreme 100, or Rollei RPX 25 to get the best results out of this camera. And the best part is shutter speeds are perfect for Sunny-16 style metering (1/125 to 1/25) and if you’re lucky enough you might even find one with an original metal reel inside. Just remember to save the reel or simply remind you lab to return it.

All Photos Taken In The Distillery District, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Voigtländer Bessa – Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 1:4,5 F=11cm – Ultrafine Xtreme 100 @ ASA-50
Blazinal (1+50) 9:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto is not one that I have explored much. Sure I’ve done a wedding there, the 2015 spring Toronto Film Shooters Meetup happened here, had a week of my latest 52-Roll project there, and even recorded an episode of Classic Camera Revival out there. Okay, so maybe I have spent more time in the Beaches than I thought I had. But, it’s always fun to go and check out a part of the city I don’t often have a chance to visit. Bill Smith, while an Oakville resident often finds himself in the area, and offered to host a little photo walk in the area.

Wrong Stop

Bank Turned Retail

The Beach

The trouble was that I ended up taking the subway one stop further than I should have, also not realising that Main Street does not run all the way down to Queen Street. With a bit of jogging about I finally was on the right path to get to my first destination, the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant.

RC Harris

If you have a keen eye and a love of 1990/2000s Sci-Fi television you’ll probably recognise this place as the shadowy think-tank “The Centre” from The Pretender or the headquarters of the hacker Augur from Earth: Final Conflict. From there it was a short nine-minute walk to the meetup point, The Remarkable Bean, a lovely coffee shop nearly at the furthest stop on Queen Street.

Jumping Off Point

Wondering The Source

It turned out I hadn’t needed to visit RC Harris earlier in the day, as we headed back out to the iconic treatment plant, after sticking around there, it was off along the shores of Lake Ontario where the neighbourhood gets it the name, The Beach. While the chance of rain stayed small, we had to dodge the weather several times as we moved west along the beach, taking shelter mostly under the trees along the boardwalk.

Resovior Dogs

Cold Day for a Dip

Alone on the Rock

This ain't no Baywatch

At the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, we drove north through Kew Gardens back to Queen Street returning to the urban environment. Our final destination on Eastern Avenue is a new craft-brewery in the city, Rorschach Brewing Co. You’ll need a keen eye, it’s easy to walk or drive right past this small historic home, and while it may look small from the outside, like a TARDIS, it is much bigger than it appears. Try their Black IPA; it’s my favourite.

Kew

In Memorial

No. 15

End of Line

If you’re in Toronto and have a love of film photography, we run these meets at minimum four times a year with a handful of specialised events scattered in between. You can find the Toronto Film Shooters on Facebook! It’s a closed group, but if your profile looks like you’re a fellow film nut, we’ll let you in!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 68 – Zenza Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 – Zenza Bronica GS-1

If you’ve used any of the modern Bronica cameras, you’ve mostly used them all. And that is the beauty of them because of they all act, behave and feel the same in both operation and general, cosmetic details. The only difference is the size of the negative. And while I’ve reviewed the smaller of the three, the ETRS earlier this year, I now switch up to the largest of the three the GS-1. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a fan of Bronica cameras, but I like the GS-1 and would easily rate it higher than the Mamiya as it stands up easier on field work when comparing similar bodies, the Pentax 67 out strips both for ease of use in the field. Sadly the camera is a rare beast to find these days even on the used market, but if you can find a full setup, you have a keeper. Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out the beast.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1
The Dirt

  • Make: Zenza
  • Model: Bronica GS-1
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium, 120/220, 6×7
  • Lens: Interchangeable, PG-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1983-2002

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Good
Despite being a 6×7 camera the GS-1 if properly equipped with a good neck strap and action grip is designed for use in the field, when compared to a camera like the RB/RZ67, even with a waist level finder the action grip makes the camera easy to use. While this is no Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 I found that even the weight is acceptable for walking around, it actually would be a difficult camera to use in the studio. If you’ve used other Bronica cameras of the same period you’ll instantly know how to operate the GS-1 with all the same controls; even the accessories mount in the same fashion as the smaller cameras. And the camera is designed for speed, a familiar crank or double-stroke will advance the film and cock the shutter, and return the mirror. The GS-1 is also a fully modular system so you can customise it to however you need it from finders, backs, grips, and lenses. It also impressed me how quiet it was, of its size and weight I expected a mirror slap that would wake the dead and rattle even the steadiest photographer at 1/60 of a second. And finally, having the large 6×7 negative makes the camera ideal for wedding, travel, landscape, and other situations where the print is king, and you don’t want to lug along a 4×5 large format camera. But my favourite part, the camera has a functioning built in, on/off switch, helps to save that battery, and that battery is pretty standard and can easily be purchased online or at a camera/electronics shop.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Bad
The camera does have the trouble with weight, while less than an RB/RZ, and with a good strap it is not much of an issue, but if you have back troubles this might not want to be a camera of choice. Now I’ve handled cameras with hair triggers before, the Olympus XA comes to mind, and so does the GS-1. I had barely laid my finger on the action grip shutter release and bam; I had taken the shot. I was just glad I hadn’t changed the frame composition. Then when it comes to changing the camera to portrait orentation, you have to hall the whole thing 90 degrees, with the action grip and eye-level finder it’s not too bad, but if you have the waist-level finder, good luck buttercup. However, the biggest trouble with this camera is the rarity of it. I had not even heard of the system until Mike first mentioned he was collecting the parts to make one up. And I find that odd given the near twenty-year life of the GS-1. So why is this a bad thing, well the trouble is that if something breaks or goes wrong, it makes it hard to find replacement parts or accessories and being an electronic camera from the 1980s something will break eventually? And given this rarity and lack of gear on the used market, anything you do find will be relatively costly.

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

CCR Review 68 - Bronica GS-1

The Lowdown
Like any other 6×7 camera I’ve reviewed, the GS-1 is certainly a winner, but as a 4×5 shooter, it just doesn’t fill a need in my toolkit. Also, two frames into my second roll, it stopped working for me, it must know of my loathing of Bronicas. When it went back to its owner, Mike, started working again. If I ever stopped shooting the 4×5 format, I would probably go for a 6×7 camera, but given the rarity and cost attached to a GS-1 and my general distrust of Bronica cameras, my two 6×7 cameras of choice would be a Pentax 67 or Mamiya 7. While I would hazzard reccomending the GS-1, it’s not a bad camera, it’s just there are better options for 6×7 shooting out there. Heck, I’d even run with an RB/RZ67 over a GS-1. Worth the massive back damage if it provides a little more reliablity.

All Photos Taken in The Beach, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Bronica GS-1 – Zenzanon-PG 1:3.5 f=100mm – Delta 100 @ ASA-80
SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Ah the dog days of summer, and yet there’s still the draw to get out, no matter the weather, and just enjoy shooting. This summer meeting saw me visit two areas of the city for some shooting. The first part of the meet was in a part of the city that I don’t often explore, the Riverside neighbourhood on the eastern side of the Don Valley. Fellow film shooter, Bill Smith, did the heavy lifting in planning out the meet. The day started with coffee at the lovely Rooster Coffee Shop. The whole area is a hidden gem in the city with lots to see and photograph. I decided that I would shoot with something a little different than I normally do at these meets, an 85mm lens, look for detail rather than the big picture.

Who the ... Uses a Payphone

Lost Shoe

The Riverdale Cannon

The Jupiter-9 lens is one that I had meant to shoot a little more often, but just never mounted it because it’s somewhat tricky with the double bayonet mount, unlike the standard 50mm lenses (Jupiter-8 and CZ Sonnar). But man it certainly is fun to get away from my usual fare of shooting wide, allowing me a little extra reach and being able to exploit creamy out of focus elements that the lens is known to produce and focus in on details rather than the big picture. Sadly the trouble with the Jupiter-9 is that it suffers from a bit of a focus issue and some shots that I was looking forward to were out. But such is life.

Meet at the Sign of the Rooster

Justice

PVBLIC

We made a point to stop by the Old Don Jail, now part of Bridgepoint Health and then it was east along Gerard Street. A visit, of course, was in order as we walked south on Carlaw to another shop that is close to a few folks in the group, WonderPens! WonderPens is a lovely mum & pop shop that specialises in fine writing. Ink, Pens, and Paper. With a trip to Disney and a historical photography project in the works for next year, it gave me a chance to pick up a couple of new notebooks. Because as you know, every new project needs a new notebook, right?

Wheeled Transport

Film & Fountain Pens

Finally Lunch

Back west we headed along Queen Street almost to where we started at Broadview, sadly the initial stop; Eastbound Brewery opens at 4 pm, so we were a little early to stop in for a taste of some of their beers. But Prohibition Gastro Pub provides a fantastic selection of beers from around Ontario and the world, even some of my favourite from Europe. After lunch, it was a change of pace.

Hot Dog Vendor

Resistance is Futile

But I had swapped out my Contax IIIa that I had been shooting with earlier in the day with the Crown Graphic. However, I was shooting it a little differently than I normally do. I decided to use the Crown as it historically been shot, handheld. Armed with eight sheets of Rollei RPX 400 film, I headed back out into the downtown core with the aim to make it out to the Distillery District.

The First Post Office

Always Watching

I never made it that far as I had shot all eight sheets when I hit the end of King Street where it merges onto Queen. My legs tired I hit up Eastbound Brewing to pick up their two offerings that are for sale before going back to the 3 Brewers for Dinner at Yonge/Dundas Square. A long day? Absolutely, worth it? Totally.

Eastbound

Technical Details:
Contax IIIa – ЮПИТЕР-9 85mm f/2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C
Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kruzenak Xenar 135mm f/4,7 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Without a doubt, there’s plenty to do in Toronto. And while many prefer to stay in the downtown core, there’s a particular draw to see what the city is like on the outskirts. One such location is right on city’s north line with Vaughn, and that’s Black Creek Pioneer Village. Black Creek is a living history museum, and a ‘false’ village in the sense that it is an amalgamation of many historical buildings from around Ontario gathered into one spot and dressed to look like a small settlement of the 1860s. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you may remember seeing this place as the backdrop for my review on the Mamiya Universal. After shooting at the village, I had wanted to return with a bigger camera. So having a week off with my wife, we decided to head over to the village for a morning.

BCPV - Broom maker Shop

The Province of Ontario, formerly known as Upper Canada before the Canadian Confederation of 1867 has a rich and long history. And I’m thankful that we have several museums around the province that make a point to preserve and teach about this history. I’ve been lucky to visit three such locations, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Westfield Heritage Village, and Upper Canada Village. A Fourth, the Lost Villages Museum remains on my hit list. But this post is about Black Creek Pioneer Village.

BCPV - Laskay Emporium

The village, formerly the property of Daniel Strong; you can visit his barn and other farm buildings. His original log cabin and larger home where he and his wife, Elizabeth, raised their eight children. The Strong Family continued to work the land well into the 20th-Century with the family farm forming the core of the museum in 1960. Over the next decade, the museum increased their inventory of historic buildings from around the Greater Toronto Area.

BCPV - Roblin's Mill

These are the types of museums that make history fun because they make it come alive. Heather and I had a chance to listen in on how one employee came up with her historic impression. Based on an actual person, she researched through the massive archives of historical data in the Provincial and City Archives to build her character. As a reenactor myself, I find this dedication amazing. She brought this one woman back to life here in the 21st-Century. Plus the commitment to ensure that many of these buildings are saved from demolition by the slow march of progress ensuring that our pioneer history isn’t lost.

BCPV - Half Way House

And of course, the highlight of the village is the historic brewery located in the basement of the Half Way House, a pre-confederation inn, and tavern from Scarborough. Where dedicated brew masters continue to use traditional techniques to create some of unique beers I’ve ever tasted. And yes, I brought a growler of their fantastic India Pale Ale back home with me.

All Photos Taken At: Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 16:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 65 – Jiffy Kodak Series II

CCR Review 65 – Jiffy Kodak Series II

There’s always a sense of wonder when working with cameras as old as the Jiffy Kodak. Despite the bellows, it is little more than a fancy dressed up box camera. And yet there is a strange draw to shooting with it; you can just shoot from the hip and hope it works out, and yet there are a few things in this dressed up box that creates a unique shooting experience. But first, I have to speak on how cool this camera is, despite lacking the art deco faceplate that gives the Jiffy Kodak an iconic look for the 1930s, like the Beau Brownie, the Series II does away with that but keeps the slow pop out bellows when you open up the camera. It certainly is a camera that can turn heads. Special thanks to my father-in-law, Dave McCullagh for this beautiful camera. This camera originally belonged to my wife’s great-grandparents and took many photos of her grandfather growing up.

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

The Dirt

  • Make: Kodak
  • Model: Jiffy Kodak Series II
  • Type: Point and Shoot
  • Format: Medium Format, 620, 6×9
  • Lens: Fixed, Kodak Twindar Lens f=10,5cm ƒ:8
  • Year of Manufacture: 1937-1948

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

The Good
If you’re looking for something to complete a costume or reenacting for World War Two, the Jiffy Kodak Series II would be the perfect addition. If you can pick up a working model, you can shoot some amazing images that will, with the proper film and processing give a look that if done right will make your images have that classic look about them. While the optical quality is not the best, it makes up for it in shooting in the large 6×9 format. The camera also has twin viewfinders for shooting in either portrait or landscape orientation which is rather helpful when shooting with such a large negative. Plus it makes the camera just that bit more usable, and the viewfinders are good and bright even for their age. There’s also a pair of aperture choices f/8 and f/11 with a fixed shutter speed around 1/25 so if you’re shooting on bright days stick to slower films ASA-100 is the maximum speed I use in similar cameras. There’s also a selectable focus for images from infinity to 10 feet and between 10 feet and 5 feet giving it an edge over some even newer box cameras. Another piece that sets the camera apart is that the lens is a Periscopic lens, that means instead of a single-element it’s a two element lens with the shutter and aperture between them, hence twindar. It’s this lens that gives the images that dreamy look. Of course, it could just be haze due to age.

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

The Bad
Despite how cool this camera looks and creates some beautiful images it is relatively awkward to use. It comes down to the placement of the shutter release. It’s located on the front plate of the camera in a position where it works great for shooting in portrait mode, but when it comes to landscape, you have to reach around awkwardly to find it. Combine this with an already slow shutter speed is a recipe for a lot of camera shake. I’d also be remiss to mention that these cameras are old, we’re talking about 70-80 years at this point so make sure everything works before you spend any money and be sure to check the bellows for any light leaks. And I’m talking major holes; smallish pinholes may even give you far more compelling images as I found with an old Polaroid Automatic Land Camera Model 240 back in 2011.

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

CCR Review 65 - Jiffy Kodak Series II

The Lowdown
Now I will mention that this is a medium format camera, but it takes Kodak’s 620 format. While some might group this in the bad category, 620 film is just 120 film spooled onto a different spool. And after a small break, the fine folks over at the Film Photography Project has started manufacturing brand new 620 spools and re-rolling fresh 120 film onto these spools for resale. Just watch out if you’re buying this camera as there are two different models, the Six-20, and Six-16, as the names imply the Six-16 takes the now defunct 116 roll film format, and actually cannot be used anymore.

All Photos Taken In Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Jiffy Kodak Series II – Kodak Twindar Lens f=10,5cm ƒ:8 – Lomography Earl Grey @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+25) 8:00 @ 20C

Doors Open: Toronto

Doors Open: Toronto

When it comes to Doors Open events, there’s no bigger one in Ontario that Toronto’s. With 2017 being the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Toronto made it a goal to have 150 buildings on their doors open event. And what a selection there was, with lots of old favourites and plenty of new ones especially to me. I’ve visited Doors Open Toronto on many occasions, but always seem to hit up the same locations over and over again. So this year I made a point to visit many of the places I’ve never visited, or haven’t been happy with my photographs in the past. I also made a point to visit a few additional sites on Sunday as well. This year I managed to visit a total of fourteen locations, a record for any doors open event I’ve visited in the past. I also made a point this time around, like Doors Open Hamilton, to stick to film with only one location being shot mostly on digital. So without further fanfare, Doors Open Toronto. Photography wise I used my trusty Nikon F5 and carried or more rather lugged a series of lenses along with me, a way to force myself to capture both the wide open spaces that the sites presented but also to focus in on the details. The film I chose is a new favourite of mine, Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 to give me some speed in the spaces where I would have to shoot handheld. Sadly when I pulled the film out of the tank I noticed that most of my interior shots were so dark not even bold efforts in Photoshop could recover them. Of course, it wasn’t until later in a dream (and talking out loud apparently) that I realized my mistake. Streetpan likes sunlight, it thrives on it. Also having no information about the film’s reciprocity, and I was sunk. At least I was able to recover a few shots for each location.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church: Always a favourite of mine, St. Andrew’s is the oldest Presybertian congregation in the city and the regimental church of the 48th Highland Regiment of Canada. Constructed in 1876 under the watchful eye of William G. Storm this Romanesque Revival Church is one of the most ornate Presbyterian Churches I have visited; it even surpasses St. Paul’s Presbyterian in Hamilton, Ontario.

DO:T 2017 - St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Campbell House: Toronto is home to many museums, some better known than others. The Campbell House is one of the lesser known museums. Built in 1822 in the Georgian style, it was home to William Campbell, the Sixth Justice of Upper Canada. It stands as one of the few surviving examples of buildings from the town of York, saved in 1972 by the Advocates Society from demolition. And as exciting as it was to be finally able to go into this small house that I had passed unnumbered times now, it was this single shot from the outside with the storm clouds and the Canada Life building in the background that struck me.

DO:T 2017 - The Campbell House
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Church of the Holy Trinity: In Toronto there are many buildings that have simply defined the steady march of the city growth, places like Fort York and Campbell House, Montgomery’s Tavern, and Holy Trinity. You might have never even seen this little church because it sits hidden, a small pocket tucked out behind the Eaton Centre. And yet throughout its history, the church has had a big impact on the city. From leading the charge with social justice causes and the arts, has been a lead in fostering social diversity in Toronto in many ways including organizing concerts and community events for gay dances held by the Canadian Homophile Association of Toronto in the 1970’s and providing a location for early church congregations of Armenian and Japanese Canadians. This is the little church that can.

DO:T 2017 - Church of the Holy Trinity
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Kodak Portra 400 @ ASA-800 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

MaRS: While not my usual spot for a Doors Open Event, but having a wife who is in the medical field, a visit to MaRS was certainly in order. Built as the College Wing of Toronto General Hospital in 1913 is certainly a spot that shows the power of adaptive reuse. The Beaux Arts building designed by Frank Darling looks as it did when it was built, but you cross the threshold and it’s a contemporary wonderland. And while like many locations I lost all my interior shots, I did make a point to capture the beauty of the exterior including the central tower.

DO:T 2017 - MaRS
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Church of the Redeemer: When a congregation decides to stay the course and rather than abandon their historic home makes a choice to restore and repair, they are to be applauded. Redeemer is one of those churches that has seen the growth of the city, while not a soaring cathedral, the church now sits in the shadow of skyscrapers. Constructed in 1871 in the Gothic Style, retains its historic beauty and charm. But my favourite feature in the whole church is the World War One Memorial windows showing wounded soldiers being watched over by an image of Jesus Christ.

DO:T 2017 - Church of the Redeemer
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Bloor Street United Church: Like some United Churches, Bloor Street opened its doors as a Presbyterian church back in 1890. The 1920s saw the original entrance to the church demolished with the widening of Bloor Street and the congregation voting to join with the Wesleyans and Methodists to form the United Church in Canada. It was the 1950s that the history of the building gets interesting, a fire destroyed much of the building but rather than build a mid-century modern building, the building was restored to its original Victorian style designed by William R. Gregg. The highlight is, of course, the Great South Window that highlights the mission of the United Church, the unity of everyone. Look closely, you’ll see a sporty red car.

DO:T 2017 - Bloor Street United
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

The Daniels Building: I was excited to see that this building was on the list for doors open. This is the historic home of Knox College, established in 1875 at 1 Spadina Cresent in the Gothic Revival Style. It has been a building I had always be curious as to what secrets were behind the walls. And what a story this building has, it’s been a number of departmental homes for UofT, an Eye Bank, Hospital, Laboratory, Barracks, and currently, the new home of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture, & Design. The original Gothic Revival Building restored and a new addition added to the back. It was also one of the more popular spots.

DO:T 2017 - The Daniels Building
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

The Waterworks Building: This was a throwback for me, the giant empty waterworks building is the result of a make-work program in the city of Toronto during the Great Depression. Leaving the city with an Art Deco work building. Yet the site holds a bit of city history, being the original site of the St. Andrew’s Market, built in 1837, providing folks in the western expansion of the city a market like that of St. Lawerence. Inside it was like many of the industrial abandoned buildings I had visited in the past, at least this time around I wasn’t looking over my shoulder for cops or security.

DO:T 2017 - Waterworks Building
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Fort York: I can technically visit Fort York anytime I want, it is, through reenacting, my home fort. But it made for a good place to end the day. Sadly I missed all the artillery demonstrations that saw the fort show off Canadian and British firepower for the past two centuries from the Anglo-American War of 1812, through the Boer War, the two World Wars and even into modern day conflicts that Canada has been involved in. At least it wasn’t too crowded and Heather and I did grab dinner at our favourite spot in the area, The Banknote.

DO:T 2017 - Fort York
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Humber Lakeshore Campus: Built as the Mimico Asylum in 1888, the hospital was the first in Ontario to use the Cottage Plan first pioneered by Medfield State Hospital as a way to control overcrowding at Toronto and Hamilton. The doors opened in 1890 the hospital would grow to 10 buildings. The hospital would go on to trial several different treatment methods. Like many hospitals across North America by the 1970s the treatment of mental health issues moved to a more in-patient method and the smaller hospitals were closed, Mimico would close in 1979. The campus would be broken up, with the old hospital buildings being leased by Humber College in 1991. The cottages and administration building would become office and classroom spaces; even the tunnels saw restoration and use. The old carriage house/fire hall would be the only service building to survive and now is a Tim Hortons. While I originally wanted to include a photo of the tunnels as I was able to secure a tour, I decided to use a photo taken of one of the old female cottages against a bright blue sky. Much stronger images than the snaps in the tunnel.

DO:T 2017 - Humber Lakeshore/Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital
Sony a6000 – Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

Montgomery’s Inn: Despite being a fairly old city, it takes a lot of effort to find the hidden historical sites within the modern structures. And yet they’re still there. Now I have never had the pleasure of visiting Montgomery’s Inn, despite having heard about it through a fellow reenactor. While rather hidden, it’s in a rather modern looking area. I think that’s what I like about it the most is that it’s again that little pocket of history among the modern city of Toronto.

DO:T 2017 - Montgomery's Inn
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Applewood, The Shaver Homestead: Inside you’ll find all sorts of people who will tell you more history about the place than you need to know, the gentleman greeted me at the entrance. And for such a tiny museum it has a huge history that stretches out across the country. This 1851 Victorian farmhouse would become the birthplace of James Shaver Woodsworth, he would go on to form the democratic socialist movement in Canada and the political party he founded would form the foundation of the New Democrat Party of Canada. When the vote on Canada’s entry into World War Two reached Ottawa, it was Woodsworth alone who would oppose it, he would die in 1942. That’s a lot of history for such a tiny home.

DO:T 2017 - Applewood, The Shaver Homestead
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

I think next year if I do Doors Open Toronto I’m going to focus on the eastern side of the city, use my car to move around at first before hitting the streets on foot. But we shall see. If you want to see more, check out the whole collection over on Flickr.

It’s a TMAX Party – Part II

It’s a TMAX Party – Part II

The April TMax party happened to fall right into the perfect schedule with the Spring 2017 Toronto Film Shooters Meetup falling right into the shoot week! After careful consideration and having moved many of my cameras over the condo where I’ll be living before the month is up (actually next week once Heather and I get back from the honeymoon). I settled on my trusty Hasselblad 500c; it has been seeing a little less use this year after getting a lot of love with the 52:500c project.

TFSM - Spring '17
Downtown Camera where the meet started and the best spot in downtown Toronto to pickup anything film releated!

TFSM - Spring '17
A slightly sad wall, needs something more than just grey and white paint.

All through downtown Toronto, we went, taking in the various sites and sounds of the city’s core with a solid group of photographers from the little group I gathered together. This meet was the brainchild of James McFarlane. A long-time friend and the man who is going to be the photographer at the wedding in a couple of days!

TFSM - Spring '17
The man himself!

TFSM - Spring '17
St. Lawrence Hall from the park. Back in 2016 I tried to get a night shot from this angle, but failed.

Despite being a day of mixed lighting conditions with the bright cloud cover, it was great to get out with a 400-speed film so that no matter what happened I could shoot handheld which is important on a photo walk. Tracing along Queen Street and into St. James Park there were plenty of things to shoot, and because I wasn’t leading the walk, I could settle back and enjoy just shooting. And for a TFS meetup, it’s an oddity.

TFSM - Spring '17
One of the side doors of the St. James Cathedral. I would have gone inside but I wasn’t equipped for indoor shooting on the day

TFSM - Spring '17
But there’s still lots of shoot on the outside of St. James

As always big thank you to Emulsive for organizing this little party (and I look forward to the next film party, maybe a Tri-X Shindig?) and to Downtown Camera for being a big supporter of the TFS group!

Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C