Congratulations! You’ve boarded the № 2525 headed for Awesomeville (pop. 5,325). I have so little experience with russian cameras that it is time for me to bid these posts adieu, adieu. At the completion of these 4, unsolicited, un-useful, unedifying and ugly posts, any advice I will be able to offer is most likely to consist of ...this. However, here are my final advices.
Wear sunscreen. No, wait, wrong alter-ego.
Make friends love with a Film-Lab To date, I have had one major falling out with my film lab. I thought the levels on their scanning of a film of mine was so far up the boohai shooting Pukeko with a long-handled-shovel, that I sent them a terse email. I climbed down with an exceptionally apologetic tome a few hours later and we’re still friends.
It is important to have friends. The most useful resource of film-photography: I Still Shoot Film - preaches the good gospel when they suggest we use good labs, good film and stop skimping on the good stuff. When I got my first ever film processed, the expert-wizened-eye who processed it left me hand written exposure and metering notes. Someone, took the time wash my film in a dozen chemicals, look at it and tell me what I was doing wrong, all for $7.50. The film lab I use now doesn’t proactively offer such advice, but they will answer an email within minutes and tell me whether the intense colouration is their fault or mine, and they are always quick with a quid-pro-quo. They will process film fast if I need it and they know off by heart that I want all my 35mm negs cut into sixes and filed in clear sleeves.
…off by heart that I want all my 35mm negs cut into sixes and filed in clear sleeves
Suffice to say, that makes me very happy. Find a great film lab and spend your life savings there, take them cheesecake and listen.
Keep your film in the fridge The perfect fridge has a shelf for cheese (yes; a whole shelf), a shelf for cologne, and a shelf for film. Divide this shelf into two: ½ Exposed | ½ Potential. Treat your film with love. I’ve carried cameras into client meetings and put them somewhere cool and dry, instead of leaving them in an oven car. Actually, this has its downsides too; I then had to photograph them and their children, I was so flustered that I totally bombed the shot and had to make the most pathetic excuse to not show them next time I was there.
Buy a Rocket Blower You’ll cultivate serpentine forearms, which will impress people in the Walnut season! Dust is your enemy.
Buy a Light Meter Last time I checked, neither your Zorki 4K nor Fed 2 had any metering. And no matter how savant your memorisation and execution of the Sunny-16-Rule is, you’ll need to meter something, at some point. And since my Leica III never arrived in the mail (and you’ve not bought a Hasselblad), I’m presuming you have a modest budget. No Pentax Spotmeter V for you then. Here’s a trick, take your DSLR with you to a couple of second hand camera stores and find a light meter that’s accurate, and cute, and you can use intuitively! For me, that is the CP Prixcolor. When my DSLR says ISO 100 ƒ8 1/125s, so does my Prixcolor! Job done.
Learn your Russian’s Foibles Wind film before selecting shutter speed, wind film before setting shutter speed, wind film before setting shutter speed, wind film before setting shutter speed. My viewfinder errs left ; so shoot right, my viewfinder errs left; so shoot right, my viewfinder errs left; so shoot right, my viewfinder errs left; so shoot right. Amen.
You will need to compose your own morning prayers and flagellation for getting it wrong. For missing the rest of this Bentley I made myself eat citrus-flavoured-chocolate. Wrong, just wrong.
Your Russians will have similar quirks. Read up and ask Yuri. There is a special kind of purgatory for ham-fisted-camera-feckers.
Rock Out With Your Hyperfocal Technique …Out In fact, I’m not sure that I mean hyperfocal technique. I just mean that thing where you focus on the nearest thing you want in, erm, focus - remember that distance. Then focus on the thing farthest you want in (again?!) focus. You then add these numbers, divide them by the ages of the photographer and the ∜of the cat’s age, multiply this by the frame number you’re shooting and then put that all to the universal constant of forty-two.
Or… watch any number of the excellent (read: fat men geeking out) videos on the internet, or similar posts on the subject. All I know, is that on a normal day (say LV 13) that I can walk about with my Fed 1 preset at ƒ11, 1/50s and set focus to 3m and be sure that everything from two-to-six-and-a-half meters is in focus.
Best you do some reading/watching/fat man porning on this one.
If You Want Some Delicious ‘Bokeh’ Shoot Slow Film I don’t know if the commonly adopted word for DOF blur is right or not. But I love dreamy hexagonal, ellipsoid, and square (I’m not sure that last one is legit) shapes. Admitedly these are all night shots. But if you want shallow DOFs in the day time, then you’ll have to shoot slow film. If your max-shutter-speed is 1/500 like mine, then at LV 15 (remember! our friend 15, sunny-16-rule’s buddy?) then the widest aperture you could go on ISO 400 is going to on be somewhere near ƒ11. Which is not very wide at all! Let alone shallow… Like me [chortle].