Tag: Voigtlander

Coming Home

I think I’ve found the perfect street photography camera for me, and ironically it is one I have had since the early 1970’s: my late father’s late 1950’s Voigtlander Vito B. I have not put a roll of film through it since early 1977, and I am happy to report it still works just fine 🙂

What makes it great for street photography in my mind is a feature it lacks — it has no built in rangefinder, just scale focus. This lack forces me to trust zone focusing and hyperfocal distance, getting it ready ahead of time, and then just bringing the large, bright, unencumbered viewfinder to my eye. For today’s image, it was maybe 2 seconds to see the scene, and quickly fire off the frame.

I have left this camera sit idle for far too long; it’s nice to be home.

Caught in the Act

Catching a Train and a Break

Toronto is testing some new subway cars, and one of the nice features is that with these new cars the train is open from end to end, so you can walk between cars. From a photographic point of view, seeing right to the end of the train offers some interesting photographic opportunities. I had been wanting to shoot one of the new trains with a super-wide angle, and this past Saturday morning I lucked out. I had my Leica IIIf with me, with the 21mm/f4 Voigtlander Color Skopar lens. I had to shoot wide-open at 1/40 second, but I did get some that were sharp.

New Subway Cars - Toronto

In Perspective

Today’s image was taken recently with my Leica IIIb and Voigtlander 21mm Super-Wide angle lens. Although this kind of lens does not distort an image the way a “fish-eye” lens does, depending on the angle you can still get plenty of distortion. In the image below though this is accentuated by the building itself, Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. (A very interesting place, well worth the visit by the way.) Its walls have a number of interesting and unusual angles, and in this image it is tricky to tell where the building ends and the lens distortion begins.

Outside the Bata Shoe Museum

Don’t Let Them See You Sweat

Yet another image in my Women and Cameras series, but with an interesting story. When I got to the shoot and pulled out my trusty Mamiya, I realized I had brought the wrong finder (the part you look through; the Mamiya is a modular camera and has a number of options). Instead of bringing the eye-level finder I had brought the so-called waist -level finder, that you look down into. The biggest trick with the waist level finder is that the image you focus on is laterally inverted (backwards like a mirror) and this takes some getting use to; when you move to the left, in the finder it looks like you are moving to the right and vice-versa. Also, doing portrait orientation shots is very difficult; turn the camera on its side. and the image you see becomes upside down. I don’t use the waist level finder much, but I got through it somehow, and was very happy with the results I got of model Erikka, holding the Voigtlander Vito B, my father’s old camera, and the first “good” camera I got to learn on.


When Worlds Collide

Here is another shot from the Voigtlander/Kathleen session. Shot on film, but then enhanced using the Nik SilverFX Pro 2 plug-in. This plug-in is meant for making digital pictures look like vintage black and white film, but I find that it is also useful for working with scans of pictures shot with real black and white film. Purists may scoff, but at the end of the day, I got the image I was looking for.

Voigtlander 2

Three Sentences From a Manual

Here is my first picture (a close up of a shell) from my Voigtlander Avus, a folding camera (9×12 cm plate) almost a century old. Something that really struck me was three sentences from the manual:

“Each camera is supplied with 3 three plate holders. When going on a day’s trip six holders may be required. On longer journeys twelve may be required.”

When you consider that each plate holder only holds one exposure, the importance of a thoughtful, selective approach to photography is really underscored. Imagine going out with a DSLR and only one memory card, with a capacity of six images.

An interesting exercise, to be sure.


Photographs and Memories

As I write this, my father has passed away, and it is a time for reflection. Among the many debts of gratitude I owe my father, one I am thinking about this morning is how he instilled in me his love of photography.

In 1975 I bought a Brownie Hawkeye camera at a garage sale for $1.50. As a gift, he bought me rolls of film (the now discontinued 620 format) some flashbulbs (not cheap!! we have it easy in the strobe era) and processing. Some time later, he let me use his Voigtlander Vito B camera. This camera pictured below (not my father’s, just a representative sample) is a beautiful precision instrument.

Voigtlander Vito B 3

In 1977, when I was 15 he made it possible for me to buy my first SLR, my Yashica TL-Electro, which I still have. I used that camera for many. many years; the last roll of film I shot with my Yashica was of my eldest daughter, when she was born. Both cameras are “retired” but have places of honour in my collection of cameras.

The bulk of what I do know about photography was learned on these two cameras, so every time I snap a shutter in a sense I am paying tribute to my father.

Thanks Dad.