How To


My time machines
over the railway
Dead City
Sunlit rose
Voitlander double

In the world of spiritualism, a medium is someone with the ability to communicate with those who have passed. I recently started a collection of classic and vintage medium format cameras. There is something about the glass in these cameras that evoke the essence of images long past. I have four of these beauties, a Graflex 22 the Voigtlander Brilliant, a Zeiss Ikon Nettar and the iconic Rolleiflex Automat. With the exception of the American made Graflex, these cameras were manufactured in Germany. All were produced from 1937 to 1959. Their souls have never left that time period.

These are all mechanical wonders. No built in light meters or autofocus. No aperture or shutter speed priority modes. No batteries. A basic working knowledge of photography and camera operation is needed to produce images. I really had to brush up on a few things. I loaded a light meter app on my smartphone in order to set proper exposure. I had to get reacquainted with the "sunny 16 rule" and the exposure triangle. Which film ISO works best in different light situations. I made sure I knew how to zone focus each camera. Then I had to use my fading memory and try to make a picture. That remains the most difficult part. The most wonderful thing about all of this was I slowed down. I know I only get one shot to get it right. That alone has improved my photography.

Let me just say that I love my digital cameras, but going back in time occasionally to commune with spirits is an eye-opening experience. With 120 film readily available and online labs to process it. Why not? So now when I switch on that technical marvel digital camera, I see it with new eyes. I apply the old to the new and let the spirit move me.

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4 responses

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (16 May 2017):

    Love this and if I had not nominated a Story earlier today, this would have been it! Kudos to Stefan for the vote...great!

  • Stefan ...

    Stefan ... (Deleted) gave props (16 May 2017):

    My pleasur. Reminds me to my own beginning as a photographer back in 1975/76.

  • Gail Haberman

    Gail Haberman   gave props (16 May 2017):

    Wonderful images and narrative. My favorite lines......I know I only get one shot to get it right. That alone has improved my photography.

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