Last year as a birthday gift, I received a Kodak Pony II camera. I hoped to be able to clean it up and restore it to workable condition. The friends who bought it for me are getting married in less than a month (stay tuned for their wedding photos!) so I thought I’d get around to fixing it so I could use it to make their wedding photos personal and unique. Unfortunately (with extreme sadness involved) I found the camera was beyond repair since some of the internal springs were broken.
Not to be dissuaded, I used the confidence I had gained through the Pony II teardown to take a 2nd look at my grandfather’s old Olympus 35RD rangefinder. This particular model is considered one of the best in it’s class except for the downside that the internal gear oils have the tendency to gum up the shutter and aperture blades. It’s highly recommended to have this repaired by a seasoned professional, however I found a very good tutorial for taking the lens apart yourself. Feeling adventurous, I took the risk and was able to clean the shutter and aperture blades myself.
After running a test roll through, I left for vacation with 3 more rolls of Fuji Superia 400 in my pocket along with a borrowed lightmeter to accompany my digital kit.
I absolutely loved the results. While I’m familiar with VSCO film and other ‘faux-film’ processes in Photoshop, nothing compares to really using film. The colors and tones have a life of their own, a character that’s lost with the pixel-perfect goals of digital cameras.
I’ll let you comment on the results, but I couldn’t be happier. I plan to carry this little guy with me to all of my weddings this year and shoot at least a roll or two of film to be able to give a truly natural ‘vintage’ look to some of the images i’ll be making.
My girlfriend and I started our vacation with a stop in Pittsburgh where we had lunch before going to the Nationality Rooms at Pittsburgh University. They’re a truly unique tourist attraction that we plan to go see again during the summer (They’re used as classrooms during the school year so you can’t see all of them except on weekends).
Where else would you want to eat lunch?
Joe Mama makes you wash your hands right in the dining area. Sounds like home to me…
Next stop, the Cathedral of Learning. Pretty sure I would have loved to go to a school that looked even remotely like this.
On the 1st and 3rd floor, they have rooms that are decorated (in most cases) very extravagantly in the traditions of various cultures. These shots really show the tastiness of film. I particularly love the shadows in this next frame.
Now, this next shot here might be one of my favorite images of all time (of the photos I’ve shot). However, after you’ve enjoyed the beauty of the image, make sure to note how much this place looks like Hogwart’s…
By far my favorite room was the Israel room. The stonework was beyond breathtaking.
Next destination: Mount Washington via the Duquesne Incline. Here’s some digital shots of Pittsburgh at night.
This was our view from the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto. I’ll spare you images of my whole fish dinner .(but if you’re interested you can find them on my facebook or follow me on Instagram!)
We got going early the next morning so that we could see a couple of attractions before continuing to our further destination in Michigan. Next up, more digital shots; this time from the Phipps Conservatory.
I almost lost Stacy in the Orchid Room…
Some crazy detail courtesy of a borrowed opteka macro/fisheye attachment. You’ve already seen the fisheye in action.
The desert room might actually have been my favorite. Desert plants have such variety in shape and style.
Something simple and peaceful about this image.
They had a few rooms set aside for rental (photo shoots, etc)
And then lunch! The quintessential place to be of course would be…
This is where you get served your order of fries and slaw inside the sandwich by an awesome and friendly chef. (These 2 shots are film!)
Our other attraction of choice was the National Aviary. One of the first things you see on the way in are the eagles. Equal parts fearsome and majestic.
“Can you use the word in a sentence?”
If you’ve seen the video, you know why that’s funny… This is a heron, right?
This guy could lay off the hair gel just a wee bit.
Token pink flamingos. We used to have fake ones randomly appear in our yard when I was a kid. It was a running gag between my parents and some of their friends.
My favorite little bird of the day. Stunning color, and an engagingly curious expression.
Don’t forget the Kookaburra! – too bad we couldn’t get him to laugh.
Somehow this adorable little guy snuck into the aviary… Yep. It’s a sloth… hugging a tree…
Finally we headed out and reached our main destination. My hometown of Marine City, MI. Here’s a film shot from the beach.
My parents and my 2 sisters chipped in and got me a super awesome 30th birthday present. Tickets to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village just outside of Detroit, MI. Interestingly enough, I never went to either in my 19 years of growing up in Michigan, so it was a really neat experience.
Here’s the museum.
I had one of these. Although it certainly wasn’t quite so shiny.
Wright Bros. plane.
Teaching my favorite lady how to assist with off-camera lighting. Thanks, Stacy!
Now the village. For people unfamiliar with Greenfield Village, Henry Ford had buildings from his childhood and other important buildings from the time picked up and moved to be preserved. Anything he couldn’t move he would have replicated as best he could. This includes attractions like Thomas Edison’s workshop, Noah Webster’s house, and the Wright Bros. Bicycle Shop. This last set of images are all film.
Transportation around Greenfield village are horse & carriage, train and Ford Model Ts.
Thomas Edison’s workshop, reconstructed.
This measurement device was so sensitive to vibration that a hole was cut in the workshop floor and a separate stone pillar was driven into the ground to support it so that the workers movements wouldn’t affect it. Impressive for the early 1900s.
Working replicas of early lightbulbs.
Although it looks to me like the bottles were relabeled since then, this shelf of medicines were in a doctor’s office that was locked and preserved by family members for the 30 years between the doctor’s death and it’s move to Greenfield.
In this small town courthouse, Abraham Lincoln practiced law.
This was in the woodworking shed of Edison’s Menlo Park workshop.
“The grass is always greener…”
Thanks for checking these images out. I had a stellar time on my vacation. It was a great chance to relax and unwind and clear my head before wedding season hits. It’s going to be an excellent year with excellent people and I’m really excited for the personal growth and business growth that’s on its way.
Make sure to check out the full gallery of images over on my personal facebook page!