Gregmironchuk's Blog

BackTo Black & White

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on March 27, 2013

My friend, Vin Catania, makes a photo of me, while I make a photo of him…

Somewhere along the way… the thought occurred to me that EVERYONE has a digital camera… and that the Signal To Noise Ratio is trending downward… so I figured that I would do what I love doing, and probably do best, which is to make black and white pictures, with “monochromatic analog capture media”, and scan the negatives.

It’s a LOT of work, but the Craft Aspect makes it worth it.

Some of these are made with my Mamiya 645 cameras, and some with one of those expensive German rangefinder cameras. All were made on actual, real FILM, developed in actual, real Kodak HC-110 Developer, and scanned on my awesome Epson 4870 scanner.

My nephew, Lukas Rainsford, eating some Celantoni pasta.

Gloucester, MA City Hall.

An old, surviving painted-on-a-brick-wall advertisement for Coca-Cola, in an alley, off State St., in Newburyport MA.

The wall, at “Oldies”, on the Harbor, in Newburyport, MA.

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My 4/3 Life Continues

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on November 27, 2012

My new (to me) Olympus E-300, on left, with the Nikon 20mm f/2.8. The older E-300, on the right, is sporting a 35mm f/2.0 Pentax Takumar lens, which is the equivalent of a 70mm f/2.0, on these cameras.

Having put the Nikons away, after my last Gig of 2012… I took the 4/3 gear out, again, and was fortunate enough to find another Olympus E-300 body, for sale, on eBay, for $34.00. It was missing some rubber, on the grip… and had a fair amount of “war damage” showing… but the price was right.

I like the E-300’s even more than my Panasonic Lumix’s… they offer a top flash synch speed of 1/320th of a second (the Lumix’s are firmware-limited to 1/160th of a second), and the old Kodak manufactured imaging sensors have that nice “Kodak Film-ey Appearance”.

They ARE menu-driven… but each function is “one-button, one twist of the control dial”… in practice, not very time or attention consuming.

My sister, Paula… photo made after Thanksgiving Dinner at her son Richard’s apartment, across from the Legal Sea Food restaurant, on Northern Avenue, in South Boston. I used the new E-300, the 40~150 Olympus Zoom, and a Nikon SB-24, bounced off the wall to camera left… f/4.5. Note the nice Kodak Skin Tones, from the old Kodak sensor…

I am now Officially Happy… these are my absolute favorite digital cameras.

The steel bear, from the now-defunct F.A.O. Scwartz Toy Store… formerly on Boylston St., here in Boston… now in front of the Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital For Children, on Washington St., in Boston. E-300, with 11~22mm Olympus Zoom.

A couple of guys with balloons, crossing Charles St., at Boylston, in Boston, in the early AM. What’s so unusual about that???

My 4/3 Life…

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on August 13, 2012

 

My 4/3 stuff… Two Panasonic Lumix L1 bodies, an Olympus E-300 body, a 58mm f/1.4 Minolta Rokkor, an 8mm Russian Fisheye, and a 20mm f/2.8 Nikon AF lens. In the back row, a 60mm Rikenon Macro, and a Pentax Takumar 85mm f/1.9. The disparate lenses are mounted by means of adapters… bought anywhere from $8-12, on eBay.

 

I originally acquired the Lumix boxes, because they were so “Leica-ey”… I was missing The Leica Thing, since becoming a largely digital photographer… I wanted small bodies, and small lenses… gear that would allow me to roll along with a story… not being singled out as a “photographer”, with all the baggage that people bring to that label.

I got the bodies, the very nice 14~50 Leitz-branded (but Panasonic manufactured) lens… the awesome Olympus 11~22mm, and Olympus’ 40-150mm lens… but the small primes, that the 4/3 companies promised, never really materialized. Yeah, there was the freakyexpensive 25mm f/1.4 Leitz branded (and Panasonic manufactured normal lens, and the 50mm f/2 Olympus macro… but no fast, wide primes… no fast prime telephoto primes.

The 4/3 companies later introduced MICRO 4/3… Pen Olympusses, and G Panasonics… and they have a variety of fast prime lenses for THOSE (my lenses will work on the Micros… their lenses won’t work on mine… backfocus)… my cameras are orphans. There won’t be anything newdifferentgreat for them.

Perhaps one day, I’ll move to the newer cams, and get their VERY nice lenses… but, for now, these are what I have, and I’ll work with them.

Olympus E-300, with a Nikon 20mm f/2.8 AF lens, mounted via a $12 adapter, bought from eBay. The camera will manual or autoexpose with the lens, but there’s no autofocus, and you need to work at “shooting aperture”.

I’ve been walking around with the Olympus E-300… partly because I like the look of the file (it seems more ‘filmic’ than a lot of files from my other digital cameras. I don’t really know what that MEANS, but that’s how it looks, to me), and it synchs electronic flash, on ‘Manual’, to 1/320th of a second.

I am using the 20mm AF Nikon lens… the size of the sensor is half the size of a 35mm frame, so the equivalent focal len shape of the 35mm frame)gthe is doubled. This lens is equivalent to a 40mm lens, on a 35mm camera… wider than normal/not very wide. I had been using an 18mm f/3.5 AF lens… but I didn’t like the rendering, and the shape of the frame (a square-er aspect ratio than the 2×3 of 35mm and standard digital frames) ‘feels’ better, at 20, than at 18.

I also take either the 60mm Macro Rikenon, or the 58mm Minolta lens. I keep the 11~22, and the 40~150 in a small bag, with a flash, and some batteries, and I’m Good.

This stuff about the half-sized frame, and the nearly-universal ability to mount all sorts of lenses, is what makes these things exciting. On the wide end… the round 8mm fisheye becomes a full-frame fisheye…

Ann Romney enjoys a cup of ice cream, scooped by her husband, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, at “Memories” Ice Cream Shop, in Kingston NH.

On the long end of things… the small sensor turns smaller, more prosaic lenses into nicely long, fast lenses.

My niece, Abigail, picture made with the E-300, and a 50mm f/1.4 Pentax Takumar lens…

Democratic Presidential Contender John Edwards ponders his progress, exiting the arena at The Pinkerton Academy, in Derry NH… photo made with a Lumix L1, and a 135mm f/2.5 Takumar lens.

The 135mm Takumar, with the half-sized sensor, is equivalent to a 270mm f/2.5… but, unlike an equivalent lens, for a 35mm camera… the 135 is four inches long, and fits in a jacket pocket.

Boston’s Back Bay, photographed across the Charles River, The Longfellow Bridge, and the Cambridge Yacht Club, from Cambridge. Another 135mm shot…

Portrait of my son, William… natural light, with the 58mm f/1.4 Rokkor…

So… I’m happy with this stuff… in spite of its “orphan” status, I’ve managed to raid the closet, and put together a good, lightweight, not-very-intimidating bag of gear… IQ is There, handling is There… flexibility is There.

General Update

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on April 13, 2012

Troop 61, Saugus, starting the Parents' Night Meeting, 3 APR 12. Chris Charleton with the Flag.

I know… I know… it’s been a while. The Fabulous Donna-Marie had her toe operated on, and I have to drive everyone to everywhere, and do all my other stuff, as well…

Still shooting a lot of B&W… I just love the Leicas and the Twin Lens cameras… can’t stay away.

I opened up on Twitter… @GregMironchuk… follow me, and I’ll have some photos that aren’t on FaceBook or this alleged/purported blog…

The Grand Army Of The Republic Hall, and Museum, in Lynn MA.

Pulled out the Super Graphic, for few frames, in Lynn, MA… my sister, Nadine, was writing a grant proposal for the GAR Hall and Museum, and asked if I’d make some photos, to support it. Mostly digital color, but the place really lent itself to some Large Format B&W.

A couple of Old Friends, at the Old Fart Press Photographers of The North Shore monthly luncheon (held on the first friday of each month, at The Mandarin Danvers restaurant, on Endicott St., in Danvers, just off Route 128), on 6 APR 12... Joe Brown (l.) and Don Young (r.).

Once again, the old Mamiyaflex, and the 55mm f/4.5 lens… a favorite combination of mine…

William, at The Saugus Ironworks National Site, up Central Street, from where we live. The Ironworks is like having a Mini Sturbridge Village, right in your neighborhood!

William, at The Airport Cafe, in North Hampton NH... a great spot for breakfast.

Finally, a couple of nice photos of my William… he’s easy…

Something Old, Something New…

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on February 22, 2012

My William, at The Lynn, MA, Observatory, looking for a picture or two...

I’m on a 120 Film/Twin Lens Camera jag, this week… found an old box with a couple of dead YashicaMats in it… assembled them into a whole, working YashicaMat, and took it out with us, while we looked for some pictures to put toward William’s ‘portfolio’, to take to The Boy Scouts’ Merit Badge University (at Harvard University) course in photography, next week.
I loaned William my favorite Olympus E300, with the 14-45mm lens, and we went cruising around The North Shore.
One of my favorite spots is High Rock Tower and Observatory, in Lynn. They have a 12″ Meade telescope, in the Observatory, and one can reserve a time to use it, at . There’s a GREAT view, in any direction, and it’s just Peaceful, up there.

We’re Havin’ A Party

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on February 1, 2012

(l. to r.) Ben E. King, Tony Orlando, and Lala Brooks (of the Crystals) sing at my friend, Wesley Reed's house, during his annual Winter Party.

My friend, Wes Reed, has the one-and-only Ben E. King, and his band, come to his house to entertain, at least once, every year. They are friends, and have been doing this for at least a dozen years. This year, somehow, someway… Wes was able to engineer having Ben’s biggest fan, Tony Orlando (yeah, THAT Tony Orlando) surprise Ben, by coming in, during Ben’s set, and sing a few songs with him.

The Maraschino Cherry on the whole thing, was Ben bringing Lala Brooks, the voice you hear most strongly in songs by The Crystals (‘Dah Do Run Run’, ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’).

Whatta night!

Lala Brooks, from The Crystals.

Memory Lane

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on November 7, 2011

My old Minoltas... two SRT's, two XD11's, an XG9, and lenses from 20mm to 300mm... and a Halliburton case.

Modern cameras are boring… when I started, back in 1492, lenses featured something called “knurling” on the focus rings… metal cut into a fluted pattern, that the tips of your fingers could find themselves nestled into, to make small and constant, focus tweaks. The textured rubber, that replaced knurling, was much cheaper to put onto a lens, and saved the manufacturers of cameras and lenses a lot of money and employee-hours… and then there were Autofocus lenses, that diminished the focus ring, altogether… sigh… it’s just not a tactile as it used to be. I like the feel of the knurling, and miss it.

cameras… portraits…

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on October 30, 2011

Clown-Themed trash bucket, Halloween Carnival, Salem, Massachusetts

Mike Huckabee, running for President, in NH, buttonholed by a Republican Voter in the old Merrimack Restaurant.

OK… I posted both the above photos to FaceBook, in the last week… and, apart from the more obvious similarities… both were made with old Canon Lenses, on Leica cameras… the clown with the old 25mm f/3.5, and Huckabee with the old Canon 50mm f/1.4.

I bring this up, after reading Kirk Tuck’s column, in The Online Photographer, this morning. Tuck, a commercial photographer, in Austin TX, has had his own blog (http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/), for some time. He recently ceased writing it, citing the feeling that he was standing at a cliff, shouting out into the air, and had no reason to believe that anyone was listening.

As it happened, LOTS of people were listening, and he has resumed writing it. Tuck was also quite surprised at how many people were interested in his musings on Camera Equipment. He holds a Contrarian View of such things, as compared to The Conventional Internet Wisdom, and has suffered a good deal of the anonymous thrashing that a lot of Contrarians suffer, from anonymous readers who disagree.

So… if Mr. Tuck is up for the challenge… so am I… here is my Non-Leica Leica Posting.

I have been a Leica Guy, for a LOOONG TIME. I like the small cameras, and the even-smaller lenses. I like the quiet. I like not looking like a photographer… I don’t “do” a photo vest, a huge Domke Bag, 132 ID’s on a lanyard, around my neck, and four Big Digital CaNikons, with Huge Zoom Lenses… I like a jacket and tie, and a couple of dinky cameras… more lenses and “analog capture media” in my pockets.

I still use ’em… and “analog capture media”… because I can’t really GET a good digital camera, that does for me what my M2/3/4’s do for me.

Yeah, yeah… I know… M8/9… Epson RD-1/s/x… I do NOT make enough money to buy an M9… or an M8… and the RD-1’s are all cruising toward the end of their useful lives… and are darned expensive, used, as well.

I have used a Canon G9… which is CLOSE… I also have non-micro 4/3 Panasonic cameras, which are also CLOSE… but no cigar, for either.

My bitch with the Panasonics (and The 4/3 Community) is the lack of small and fast non-zoom lenses… and my bitch with the G9 (lost, sadly, falling off a piano, in the basement of a Unitarian-Universalist Church) is that it is still, basically, a menu-driven P&S camera, that just plain takes too long to make basic adjustments to.

Panasonic has come tantalizingly close, with their GF-1 Micro 4/3 camera, and with the 14, 20, and 45mm lenses… but the GF-1 is now out of production… to be replaced by a new camera (GX-1), that has fewer analog dials, and a Touch Screen, for camera control, which is just about the dumbest thing that I can imagine, for a device that is supposed to be mashed against your face and nose, whilst peering through the auxiliary finder, that you’ll have to buy separately, and fit onto the top of the camera…

Sigh…

Time…

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on October 15, 2011

Former Malden, MA Fire Chief, Frank Fitzgerald.

Finally, some time, to play with The Blog, again… featured is a nice portrait of Frank Fitzgerald, Malden MA’s longtime Fire Chief.

Fitzgerald was a Visionary… he insinuated his way onto every Board and Committee in Malden… anyone renewing a license, or filing for anything, would get buttonholed by Fitzgerald, and he would offer to vote in their behalf, if they brought their facility up to code, added fire extinguishers, relocated a safety door… in the five years that I worked at The Malden Evening News, there wasn’t a serious fire, until (literally) my last day on the job. Fitzgerald was a One-Man Fire Prevention Squad, and a very nice man, to boot…

Moi, at The Imaging Station of The Upstairs Lounge, at La Hacienda Mironchuk, in glorious Saugus, MA.

I don’t make prints anymore… but I still do develop film, in my sink, in my former darkroom… so I took my old Dual G4 Tower, my 17″ Samsung monitor, and my all-time-favorite Epson 2450 scanner, and set ’em up to work, in the room where the film is developed, and stored in file cabinets. Thankfully, I rarely need it to be dark enough for open film… I have tanks, for up to 4″x5″ film.

I found a bag of color negative 120 sized film (Thanks, Vin!!), and a bunch of C-41 chemistry, under the sink… sooooo… shoot up a roll, and see if the Bleach is still good. Apparently… it is… hot off the scanner (the scanner in the lower right-hand corner!) today… me at the G4G4.

Shot with a Mamiya C-220, and a 55mm lens, for those who care about such things, lit by a no-longer-blacked-out window, behind the camera.

I need a shave…

Goin’ Home…

Posted in Uncategorized by gregmironchuk on September 3, 2011

Lone worker cleaning the steps of The Mighty Capitol Building

On our way home… a Good Time in Washington, but my legs are sore, and I wanna go Home… The early light was kind to The Capitol, friday morning…

Donna-Marie and William, on tour, in The Capitol Rotunda

Donna-Marie and William, in The Rotunda, during The Standard Capitol Tour. The tour was very short, but the film that they are showing, “Out Of Many…” is first-class.

A Claes Oldenburg, in The National Sculpture Garden.

The Find Of The Day was the giant Typewriter Eraser, by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, in The National Sculpture Garden. A breath of humor, in a city that need it, so…