Sunday, June 13, 2010

State of Photography

This post is dedicated to the living memory of a friend among the 87,150 lives lost in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and their surviving families.

Blessed be our compassionate lord for ever,
we bring you grief in loss of many
and ask for courage to bear it.
We bring you thanks for all you give us in those we love
and we bring you prayers for peace of heart
in the knowledge of your mercy and love


The post started on the same day when my magnifier eyepiece broke off.  It was attached on a fragile makeshift mounting, that is, DK-22 with cut threads and super-glue reinforcement. I have been expecting this for some time; a spare DK-22 was on standby for more than a year. Well, time to do the assembly all over again, this time with more care so it might last a bit longer.

Before you ask me whether I own a serious digital camera, yes I do. It is a staple Nikon D200 bought second-hand from a certain professional store in Parnell, many of you will probably know which one it is.. To put things lightly, I have been ripped off for the purchase. The built-in flash stopped working once their warranty period ran out, I went back and was refused any remedy. Out of options, I sent it to TA Macalister, where they slapped me with a substantial bill and, adding insult to injury, told me that the repair cost more because someone had previously botched the innards of the camera. Needless to say, I have never been back to the same store and have recommended against them to everybody I know. After all, it looks like I am stuck with this poor little thing for a while.

The AFS 18-200VR lens had a more pleasant background: A piece of retired ex-journo equipment from my friend Rob, chief editor of Pacific Wings. He might have taken the lens to miles of skies above the ground, and I have certainly taken her across the oceans to many corners of the world. She is the one that you will definitely see me with in the foreseeable future.

A couple of pics taken with the duo:

Shanghai Dawn, late'08
Posing in front of Federal Hall,early'09

At the same time, I have been trying to reduce my personal belongings into one room. So I took the opportunity to go over what is the remainder of my once glorious camera collection:

I used to own a full platoon of Nikons, including a very nice black paint F with plain prism, F2AS with motor, F4/F4E etc. Right now I am down to 2 film SLRs. This is the last F3, it is the prototype AF body complete with motor and high-point finder. I also have some expensive accessories not included in the photo: DW-4, AS-17, SB-15, MF-6B. Anyway, it is too unwieldy to use, so it sits on a display shelf most of the time, occasionally taken for use as a focusing stage for macros. Lens: AI-mod Nikkor-H.C 50/2 with a interesting serial number, bought from a pianist in Kohi.

The black FA, lens is AIS 24/2 with custom Tiffen hood. The camera was hand-built from the three dead FA bodies by the late friend of mine. He is a highly disciplined technician, keeping track of everything and have me informed with lots of pictures.

He perished in his hometown which was obliterated to the ground: this studio he worked in is still buried under 15 meters of debris, his body never recovered.

R.I.P. pal, I shall safeguard your work for as long as I am alive.


The AIS 300/4.5 ED pictured above is the longest lens I currently have. It might be old, but not losing to any modern offering: razor-sharp and feather-light (relatively speaking). I bought it without the tripod collar, which was later added on a trip to England. Greys of Westminster is probably the best-stocked Nikon store outside Japan, a must see place if you happen to be in London.

Corsair FG-1D flyover, Wanaka, 2005
My Emo Goth Sweetheart, Auckland, 2006

When I started in photography, dad gave me his old Minolta X-700. Unfortunately it was ruined in an accident and later cannibalised for parts.

I have since replaced it with this mint example as a spiritual successor. Thanks Dad. The lens is a "yellow paint" MC Rokkor-X 50/2, with a clamp-on mid-tele hood.

 Location unknown, probably the Botanic Gardens, Early'07

Owairoa School Gala, Howick, 2005


Leica IIf, The only rangefinder I still have. The lens is 25/4 Snapshot-Skopar w/finder. Also present is Canon 50/1.5, one of the better Sonnar-copies, plus an early cradle type Leitz 50mm sports finder, which according to the reference books, had never been produced commercially.

I used to have M cameras too, one M6TTL and a couple of M2s, however those are too bulky and business-like. Knob-wind Barnack models are inherently less accurate beings, and that is the reason users will have to concentrate on what is really-important: The decisive moment and the form of frame.
(Except for IIIg, M3's retarded cousin)

Central, Hong Kong, 2006

Madonna and Child, Macau, 2006

I mentioned in a previous post that I had been a Leicaphile. The problem was, I became one at the wrong time when prices were high and my income was low. Notwithstanding that, the people I met back then were still great friends that I will never give up. Once upon a time, photography was my life-blood, however my interests have waned somewhat over time, especially after I left school and lost convenient access to a wet darkroom. Yet I am determined to keep the hobby going, faugh a ballagh!