My Little Ukrainian Lens

I recently bought a 1954 Leica IIIf red dial which is the Leica that my Dad had when he taught me photography.   I had a hankering to get back into a really basic setup.  This is the camera that my father had when he taught me photography.  It is a rangefinder which means you don’t actually see what the lens sees.  And in fact the LTM ( Leica Thread Mount) Leica has a separate viewfinder from the split screen rangefinder focusing.  The modern Leica M cameras including the digital ones combine the viewfinder with the rangefinder.

The LTM is off getting a CLA ( cleaning, lube and adjustment).  In the meantime I had very few lenses that are LTM - a crappy Russian lens that I had once took apart just to get it to work - no sure that it focuses correctly.  The other was a more modern Cosina 21/4.

This lead me to ETSY to find some Ukrainian LTM which are ridiculously cheap - like $38 cheap


This link will describe more about this specific lens.  While I await the return of the IIIf I can mount this lens on my Fuji X-T2 with adapters.  Here are some of the photos

Not really bad all things considered.  Given that sharpness is over-rated1



And the Award for…..

THE most messed up self developed roll of film goes to……..Ernie Nitka

In 53 years of developing film this IS the most messed up job I can remember!  This is Ilford XP2 developed in Cinestill’s C41 two bath kit.  This roll fell prey to misalignment of the film sprockets, a bunch of strings from the changing bag in the developing tank!  Some of the ‘artistic’ features I’m not able to explain.


I am happy to report that I just developed some Cinestill 800T that came out fine.  


Summer Internship

The Wyndham Hotel chain is offering a Summer Internship for 2 weeks.  You have to submit your itinerary and one photo.The goal is to get some free photos of their properties ( specifically Day’s Inn ). The winner who completes the assignment gets $10,000 and $3000 in per diem.  I came up with a brilliant idea though Vicki didn’t think so.  You be the judge

The plan: visit 11 Days Inn Hotels along route 66. Starting in Tucumcari New

Mexico and ending in Santa Monica California. On the route will be an

experienced film photographer and iPhone videographer assisted by an Art

Director and experienced tourism guru. We know how to have fun!


Stand Developement

Geek time - With Stand Development the film is left to “stand” in very diluted developer for an extended period of time, usually 1 hour or more, with little or no agitation.


There are several reasons to use stand development. It is noted for its perceived sharpness and supposedly relative simplicity. It also gives a compensating effect with your negatives if the film is a high contrast film or shot in high contrast light.


The compensating effect is the developer exhausting itself in areas which require greater development while remaining active in less-exposed areas, which has the effect of boosting shadow detail while preserving bright highlights. Remember, it will not make light where there isn’t light. Stand development is also largely insensitive to variations in exposure and allows for the development of films rated at different speeds to be processed in the same batch. Think about it, you can run a roll of Kodak Tri-X and Ilford FP4 at the same time in the same tank! Found an old roll of film? Just develop it with the stand method, no need to try and find a time for processing or guessing how old it is to compensate with developing times.


The most common developer used with B/W stand developing is Rodinal.  It is by far the slowest, easiest, cheapest, and laziest method of developing black and white film, and it’s perfect for stand developing. It is rumored and written that you do not even have to measure temperature (but this is not true).


https://filmphotographyproject.com/content/howto/2020/03/stand-developing-bw-photos-use-best-results-tips/

I’ve started to do stand development and so far have been pleased with the results.  As the excerpt from FPP notes it requires very little developer, timing is about an hour but is not super critical.  I always thought it would be a drag to wait the hour but instead I found lots of things to do for that hour.  The images are sepia toned only because I scanned them in as RGB - I could have easily desaturated them to pure B and W but instead left this way.


First Spring Thunderstorm

ON the way home from doing errands this morning I saw this to the west and north.

Not a great view but it did show a shelf cloud at the bottom of the stack of cumulus clouds.  This is usually a harbinger of a line of strong thunderstorms.

Here are the maps - top one is from the Storm Prediction Center on Convectivity. The bottom one is a screen grab of the radar shot.


Point and Shoot Cameras

I was trying out a point and shoot camera that I was given about 2 years ago.  An Olympus Epic Zoom - It fired up right away but I wanted to run a roll of film thru before I committed to taking it on a trip.  This one has a pop up flash and a 35-70 zoom.  I have several relatively inexpensive point and shoot film cameras.  I also have a very much wounded Nikon 35Ti which can go for as much as $1000 on the used market.  This one isn’t going anywhere cause the unique set of dials atop the camera no longer work.  It still works in ‘Program’ mode.  Anyway here are some of the picture shot on Kentmere 400 in Rodinal ( a bit more grain than I would like to see)


Cinestill 800T

This is one of those experiments that work out = I have many that haven’t.  I found a roll of Cinestill 800 T - several years outdated.  It is supposed to be shot under tungsten light or shot daylight with a warming filter.  I took a chance and shot it at box speed and no filter - mostly because the point and shoot I was using doesn’t take filters.  I did rely on The Darkroom in California to develop.  I already had too many variables!  I was very happy with the way things turned out.


That Knock of the Door at Midnight

We were unceremoniously awoken at mid nite last nite by a loud knocking at our front door.  This is NEVER good.  Vicki’s first inclination is to open the door which is the WORST thing you should do.  Find out who they are first, ask to see ID if you have a window.  

In our case they said they were from Xcel and needed to get into our backyard.  I still suggested to see ID but before I could Vicki darted outside - where we saw one of those HUGE Utility trucks in front which I thought was proof enough that they were legitimate.

Turns out that the recent heavy wet snow caused a tree limb to fall on the power line going to our neighbors.


Plastic Camera Fun

I am on a mission to see some of my photography equipment that I don’t use.  This includes three plastic cameras:  Holga 120, Holga135 and Lubitel 120.  Much to my surprise I found a partially shot 120 roll in the Holga.  I shot the rest of the roll and then developed it.  I ended up selling all three for $20 on Ebay.  It was afterwards that I scanned the negatives and wondered if I should have held the Holga back from the sale?

The person who bought the three cameras said he was into unusual photography so he should be happy.


Bergger Pancro 400

Recently I’ve had the chance to shoot more of this film.  It is an interesting film in that it has two sensitized layers - one with Silver Bromide and the other Silver Iodide.  This is said to give it more latitude when shooting it.  Nominally it is an ISO 400 film.  In my attempts the grain is fairly large at 400 and not as noticeable if shot at 100 . This tendency is found in other films as well - faster you shoot the larger the grain.  I wonder if this two sensitized layer also adds to this disparity?

These shots were all shot at ISO 400 and developed HC110B for 9 minutes. These were shot at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Preserve

These next images all shot at ISO 100 developed Hc110B for 7 minutes.

The last couple of days shooting Pancro 400 and Foma Retropan 320 Soft I was seeing so much grain that I had to look at more standard stocks to reassure myself that I wasn’t doing something wrong in the processing!

No, it’s just that I now know which film stocks that I use can produce huge grain and which are not so grainy.  Several reviews suggested that the author really like the grain as it spoke to them as an old school emulsion.




Retropan 320 ‘Soft’

Trying a new film - Foma Retropan 320 Soft.  Foma is made in the Czech Republic.  They have formulated the film to have a soft look.  Grain is noticeable and to me it gives a glow to objects similar to Infra Red film.  I wanted to try this film but couldn’t single rolls but I found 100ft at B and H so that’s what I did.  They recommend using their proprietary Retropan Special developer which I used on the 2nd roll.  I rated it at 400 cuz it’s easier to set some cameras to 400.  I stretched the developing time to 6 min instead of the 4-5 min.

It won’t be my go to film but it has a certain look that can be appealing.


1 Star Gallery

The 1 star gallery is my gallery of photos entered into contests but not purchased.  I am happy that some of my work has been selected to show but it would also be nice if they were purchased.  That being said the 1 star gallery is now showing:


BMW at 200K

Well we did it…… made the 2002 BMW go 200,000 miles.  It has a lot wrong with it but the butt warmers, radio, clock all work.  We only take it to the garage when at least 5 warning lights are showing!


Daily Walk

I’ve needed to get in shape for the Summer’s activities.  My endurance has not been good, my back hurts and I put on too much weight during COVID. Fortunately the solution to all three problems is walking. Everyday I go on a walk somewhere.  I try to get in at least 1 mile but I’m not always successful.   Here’s my latest effort at the Van Bibber Open Space in Arvada, CO

I take a camera with me - today was not very fruitful but I did capture this on the trail


Monday Funnies

A couple of funny things - first up Matt Goetz the dumb ass congressman 

Next is a portion of a questionnaire that Northwestern sent to me.  I admit I’m from a backwards generation but all this sexual identity has left me in the dust.  So I replied in the only way I know how to:




Saturday in Colorado Springs

Spent Saturday down in Colorado Springs.  I was going to go to the Pioneer Museum and then look around at the old neighborhoods.  But then my brother called saying that they were still in Colorado Springs so we met for lunch at Edelweiss German Restaurant which is always good.

The Pioneer Museum had a special exhibit about the 150 years of Colorado Springs using artifacts for all decades.  I was especially interested in reading about The Cotton Club that was a multi -racial nite club when this wasn’t done.   Fannie Mae Duncan made it happen with her motto of “Everybody Welcome”. 

The Pioneer Museum is located in the old County Courthouse which is an amazing structure.  Here are some of the other exhibits.

One other interesting site in C Springs


Babi Yar on Good Friday

From one of my photo friends I learned about a park East of Denver in Aurora dedicated to slain Ukrainian Jews during the first part of WWII.  It’s called Babi Yar.  I thought it would be appropriate on Good Friday to visit the park.

Babi Yar, also spelled Babiy Yar or Baby Yar, large ravine on the northern edge of the city of Kiev in Ukraine, the site of a mass grave of victims, mostly Jews, whom Nazi German SS squads killed between 1941 and 1943. After the initial massacre of Jews, Babi Yar remained in use as an execution site for Soviet prisoners of war and for Roma (Gypsies) as well as for Jews. Soviet accounts after the war speak of 100,000 dead. The true number may never be known. Babi Yar became the symbol of the first stage of killing during the Holocaust and of the massacres by the Einsatzgruppen (German: “deployment groups”)—the mobile killing units.


The German army gained control of Kiev on September 19, 1941. Earlier that year, Adolf Hitler had ordered special SS squads to follow the regular army into the Soviet Union and to exterminate all Jews and Soviet officials. Moreover, a few days after the fall of Kiev, an explosion rocked the German command post in the city, killing many German soldiers and intensifying Nazi outrage toward the Jews, whom they wrongly blamed for the explosion. When SS troops entered the city, the Jews of Kiev were marked for destruction. On September 29 and 30, over a 36-hour period, nearly 34,000 Jews were marched in small groups to the outskirts of the city, stripped naked, and machine-gunned into the ravine, which was immediately covered over, with some of the victims still alive. Over the next two years the mass grave swelled with thousands of other victims, primarily Jews but also including Communist officials and Soviet prisoners of war. As the German armies retreated from the Soviet Union, the Nazis attempted to hide the evidence of the slaughter. Bulldozers were required to reopen the mounds. Bone-crushing machinery was brought to the scene. The bodies were piled on wooden logs, doused with gas and ignited. The flames of the pyres were seen in Kiev. When the work was done, most of the workers, prisoners who had been brought in from a nearby concentration camp, were killed. Under cover of darkness on September 29, 1943, a number of the prisoners attempted to escape, and some 15 survived to tell what they had seen.


The killings were described in detail by eyewitnesses and are vividly depicted in novels by Ilya Ehrenburg (The Storm; 1948) and Anatoly Kuznetsov (Babi Yar: A Documentary in the Form of a Novel; 1967), as well as in firsthand accounts by non-Jewish eyewitnesses in a work entitled “The Good Old Days”: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders (1991; edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess).


For 25 years after the war, the Soviet Union barely acknowledged Babi Yar. No memorial marked the site. In 1961, in protest against plans to build a sports stadium on the site, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, then a young Soviet poet, wrote a moving poem, Baby Yar, which begins


No gravestone stands on Baby Yar;

Only coarse earth heaped roughly on the gash:

Such dread comes over me.

A year later the poem was set to music by Dmitry Shostakovich as part of his choral 13th Symphony, first performed in Moscow in December 1962. Both Yevtushenko and Shostakovich were reprimanded for their “cosmopolitanism” by the Soviet authorities, who refused to acknowledge the special Jewish significance of a site where other Soviets had been killed.


A small obelisk was constructed at Babi Yar in 1966. In 1974 a 50-foot (15-metre) memorial statue was finally erected. Identification of the victims was vague; the word Jew was not used. Not until 1991, on the 50th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacres, was the identity of the victims recorded on the monument by the newly independent Ukrainian government.


The Park



Bistro Vendome

A special dinner at Bistro Vendome for Vicki’s birthday happened last nite.  It was also sponsored by Laws Whiskey a distillery here in Denver.  The food was great - typical French cuisine - small portions but each serving was a spectacular creation.  Here’s the menu

We both got a little loopy from all the whiskey - Vicki more so than me.  Here are some other shots



A documented Walk in the Neighborhood

Unlike the next post ( actually posted before this one) I’ve documented my walk.  Just like the weight scale I have a nervous distrust of the readings.  This walk seemed like a real killer compared to my usual walks which are on the flat.  But here it is in all it’s glory

Late breaking DATA just in…..

I tend to believe my walk was more than 1.1 miles - 1.9 seems about right.  

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