Of all the things I know
I understand almost nothing

zondag 29 augustus 2010

Then and now 4: Florence

Piazza dell'Annunziata, 1856. Fratelli Alinari Museo. And the piazza in 2009 with the 1956 Contina. Yes, the statue and the fountain are still there...

A lot of my Florentine pictures (1985-2009) are on photostream erwinruys (flickr)

vrijdag 27 augustus 2010


In memory of ANTON GEESINK, who died today: one of my judo-photos, made three decades ago. Ushi mata, more or less.

Then and now 3: the Synagogue

We had two Synagogues, this was the small one. Built 1756. (The "now" picture is an old one: April 2009, Canon FTbQL and nFD 35-70, I think. It's more about the cat.And the old man.)
Maybe strange, but I felt more at home between the ruins, then, than in those clean-shaven streets, now.

Then and now 2: Dirk Katje

Famous druggist in the oldest part of Nijmegen.

Those children have gone old, now; look at the houses in the background at the right: they are still there!

PS: RolleiRetro80: 50 ISO, 8min Rodinal is OK

(Small picture: sigh!)

woensdag 25 augustus 2010

Then and now 1: Antonius van Padua

NEW PROJECT, but a bit smaller, and slower, after that "Century". I'll walk through my home town to see what is still standing, after the war and the madness of our politicians.
(I don't have to apologise for that in Nijmegen: here it's common knowledge.)

Problems and technique.

I wanted to end the "Century" with a picture of a church, built in 1915, made with a camera constructed in 1915. I did so, picture was O.K., and then discovered I went to the wrong church, hà! So, first advise: know where you're going...

I plan to take the pictures with the 1977 Praktica LTL 3, and the Super Albinar 28mm because that's the widest angle I have, and there will be a lot of modern buildings standing in the way, so very often I'll have to come nearer than the earlier photographers did.

For that "old feeling" I use a blue filter: looks somewhat orthochromatic. But: that was never so "ortho" (= right), the advise was to use a yellow filter always. I don't like two filters at the time so I use an old trick: overexpose. The gelatine layer will function as a yellow filter (was the theory then).
Because I still use that RolleiRockhard (~Agfa 80) I overexpose and underdevelop anyway, for the softer contrast, and maybe that kills the yellow filter effect, but ehhh...

So, first picture today, the 1915 built Anthony of Padua, still standing now, but there are plans to demolish it.

maandag 23 augustus 2010

1910 - 2010 a Century of photography

Today is the end, or the beginning (depending where you start) of this trip through 100 years of photography, that I started on July 29. And of course it's about my centenarian: Kodak's No.2 Pocket Folding Brownie 120.

We tend to think photography then was primitive. Well it was - like F1 racing was in 1970! And nobody would say that. In 1910 photography was 70 years old, look how sophisticated that camera-front is, read what is written in my also 1910 Brockhaus!

Yes - colour was not common - in Gibson's "Miracles of Photography" (±1912) there are only three chapters about colour-photography (50 years after James Clerk Maxwell's first colour-photograph!) and I couldn't get any Autochrome (so beautiful!) alas.
So we put some Agfa in the Kodak, developed it in Colortec and see how this meniscus performs today! Isn't it great?
Jeroen/Imagraphy made the picture at the 2010 JubJam (100 years Scouting in Holland).

Have another look at the posts below, and enjoy!

the Teens: (almost) gone

In the year my Ernemann Bob 0 was constructed, my old school was already 15 years "in function" - but the statues on the chapel still weren't there. Now they are, but the school behind it, is gone (this is only the front-building).
Sic transit gloria mundi...

In the Bob 0 was FP4, 1/50 sec.
and I set the Detektiv Aplanat on 12,5

zondag 22 augustus 2010


In 1683 you could make a day-trip to the siege of Vienna by the Turks. During the Great War, Ernemann had a camera light enough (and with an unbreakable ground-glass) to send it by Feldpost, so you could make nice pictures of the trenches before being shot to pieces. It's built like a tent, struts inside, 4x6 plate holders or filmpack.

The Netherlands were neutral during the Great War, so today, with that "Liliput" I went to the Heros of 1939-1945.
And yes - never "dulce et decorum est", but They died for us.

Dulce et decorum est, Wilfred Owen.

zaterdag 21 augustus 2010

the Twenties: soft focus (?)

Digital photography today: very sharp, very colourful. As if that wasn't possible in the Twenties. Look at that March'26 enclosure, or the market picture I made today with the very-low-budget Brownie.
But that was not their aim! Yes, of course there was technical development; very, very interesting. But expression, composition, substance (is that the right word?) that was what they (I, we?) were looking for.
Is Max's photograph (1924) not a hundred times better than mine?

And another thing: today we tell the world proudly it was made with the Hasselblad, the Nikon etc.. Look what Max tells us.

donderdag 19 augustus 2010

the Twenties: Billy

The Weimarer Republik wanted to be "modern", loans from America boosted the economy: no wonder that Agfa called their new camera "Billy". Bad timing though: the 1929 crash changed everything.

A few years later Agfa brought the "Trolita" camera, with that more "Nordic" name (but in fact Trolit, Trolitur is the "Bakelite" they used).

the Thirties: romance, yet

The Kamera Werkstätten Pilot.6 is a minute (620gr.) whispering 6X6 SLR, the mother of the Hasselblad. Very inspiring.
It's from 1936; a year later the Jewish designer fled to Switzerland.
Big theme: "der Wald". You cannot translate that, it's much more than wood or forest. Ask P.Q.Varus.

K.W.Anastigmat 7,5cm. diaphragm 7.7 at ± 0.5 sec. I had to crop the pictures because the angle and composition were dictated by the pickets to put the camera on. FP4

woensdag 18 augustus 2010

the Thirties: 135 film

The Contax was great, of course, and the Leica, but grain, sensitivity, non-coated lenses (even the quality-stuff from Schneider) were big problems for small-camera-lovers. In 1938 Nagel (Kodak) made the fine Retina II (and the bigger Duo 620 with the Tessar I prefer), a small but heavy folder.
I cheated a bit: the Rex II light-meter I used today is from the Forties but the light was very bad. Even on RolleiRockhard80 the Xenon at 5,6 couldn't cope with the contre jour.

"Wer gewinnt ?" Very ominous.

the Forties: the movies

On Discovery you can see all those home-movies, even in colour, often 16mm but mostly N8 (as we called it later, of course, when there was S8, DS8). In 1947 the Federal MFG & Engineering corp. came with a special camera to take stills from your 8mm. Great! With a cute little bakelite lamp and a mega-clever design it still works today.

the Forties: 1949

In the year-books of the amateur photoclubs in Holland you will not see the war, devastation, famine, millions of deads. Only in "Photo-art 1942/3" there is one picture with a WWI gas-mask.
A lot of table-top. Composition.
I tried one in the style of the time (title "circles and fruit") with the Argoflex EF from my year of birth. Looks like a Lubitel, but it's 400gr heavier - the only metal model they made. It's 620 but I hammer 120 in.

maandag 16 augustus 2010

Fifties 1: England

Yes, the 1950 Agifold is probably designed by a bicycle-constructor. But how bad is that? It has a rangefinder, the Nebro-type extinction meter works impeccably and the 9cm (9 centimetre? how English is thàt?) anastigmat is so smooth - I just love this muscle-camera.

BTW E-meter: I did today exactly what it told me, and: 12 perfect negatives.

zaterdag 14 augustus 2010

Fifties 2: Brownieland

Thirty years after the 2A Brownie Model C 116, the square box still was the normal household camera. I made the version of the famous advertisement in 1971 with the Soligor 350mm. (Where did he get the 620 film?)
And look how my ±1955 Six-20 still performs today, on pre-1970 Selochrome.

donderdag 12 augustus 2010

Fifties 3: Italy

Italia negli anni cinquanta - che potrei dire? Dopo il fascismo, la dolce vita. Basta.
Sovraesposta Macocolor 200 (agitata, 8min. in 30gr. Colortec) nella Bencini Comet S (127, 3x4)

Fifties 4: occupied Germany

Until 1955 Germany was occupied - and that is clearly visible on the mini-REX II meter, or the Enna München Sandmar. Strangely enough there's nothing on the Paxette, except the scale in feet, not in meters.
After 1955 there were still severe import restrictions, in England, for Zeiss Ikon cameras. Difficult times (half my family is German) for everyone.

The Rex still works perfectly; the 100mm Sandmar shows a modern digital problem: heavy vignetting, and the RolleiRockhard80 I had in my Argus today didn't help.

woensdag 11 augustus 2010

the Sixties 1: my first...

Probably in 1960 miss Vroemen (one of the nurses who lived in our house, after-war housing shortage), the smiling girl, gave me (little one left) my very first camera: a Hit. I couldn't develop the film and didn't believe it was real - and look at the picture I made today: I wasn't thàt wrong! (She cooked great onions, and I still have the pocket-knife she gave me; memories, memories...)

A few years later I published my first photos. At the time I loved Record Rapid, and Portriga, the brownish chloride-papers. Canon FX on probably Tri X in Promicrol.

zondag 8 augustus 2010

the Sixties 2: in colour

The small picture is an old one, but typically mid-sixties: 127 HP3
(eBay!) in the Starluxe and look how good the cheap box and the 45+ film perform. Chapeau!

But of course in this decennium colour-photography became normal. Remember those evenings you had to see àll the slides uncle Herbert made in Spain! So I thought it would be appropriate to put some Macocolor in the 1965 Starluxe II.


30 Years ago I had my share of darkroom-colour: additive/subtractive, positive/negative, Cibachrome, the lot. So why not try it again. 5 Cameras, 2 films (Agfa + Maco), different procedures, a proper test. And here are the results:

Tetenal recommends 38 degrees, 3,5 minutes, but 30 degrees would be possible. Which I did, the first time, fresh stuff, Paterson drums, only turning the spiral around. Well - don't do that: I got stripes, very badly. The 30 degr/8 minutes was o.k.

Two days later, also 30 degrees, but now I shook the drums every 30 secs: no stripes, but a dark red mask. Tetenal's advise: bleach again. Didn't work, alas.
(All 5 cameras were boxes, so both the UCN 200 and the Optima 400 wère overexposed.)

5 Days after that, 5 minutes at 35 degrees and Shakin'Jeroen: great result. Nice colour, bright mask.

Hot-dried the film will curl up, just give it time to cool down: no problem. (Remember: when wet, it's a bit "milky".)

Conclusion: Tetenal Colortec - easy to use, good result, for 2 tenners worth a try. Take the higher temperature and: "shaken, not stirred" motion is essential! (Put some gloves on!)
Oct 2011: Colortec could be better when older: today's Maco in over 9 weeks old "coffee" was perfect!

(All results: Flickr photostream erwinruys)

the Sixties 3: behind the curtain

The Sixties not only brought that terrible Berlin Wall (and look at the 910 pages of the Handbook GDR!) but also that remarkable "Zeiss aus Jena" camera, the Werra.

Today in my 1964 Werra 2E was RolleiRetro, at 50 ASA 8 min. in Rodinal 1:50.

The pictures I made in the Sixties behind the Iron Curtain are on my flickr fotostream erwinruys.

zaterdag 7 augustus 2010

Seventies (1)

They were the Big Bang of the SLR - and I bought really loads of them. Not only every model from Canon, but also the lovelier names: Miranda, Edixa, Exakta; and lenses, of course: Komura, Soligor, Orestor... (My excuse: I had started teaching photography.)
Motor-driven also: the F1-MF, the 500 EL/M, the Canon Dial (!)
And then there was that professional (magazine-)format: 6x7, the big cameras.
What a fantastic decade.

Today I had a 1972 55mm Fujinon + Panagor 2x converter on the 1977 Praktica LTL3, with always reliable FP4 in it.