The 35mm Breakdown:
One of my “new” cameras, literally broken down.
Even as I type this, I have to count how many I now own. An old Konica SLR student grade camera with serious fungus issues. A Canon AE-1 which I did like very much from my mom. A couple months back I fired the shutter, wouldn’t advance, and subsequently the lens is no frozen in place. Two up, two down and out. I grabbed a cheap Olympus Trip point and shoot off of eBay, and while it looks amazing, the shutter doesn’t operate smoothly. Another one bites the dust.
Now, I’d been loving on the Hasselblad 500C/M I picked up on a lark in the latter half of 2010. But mid January while mindlessly perusing the local Craigslist ads(actually I was looking for a rangefinder), I came across a camera that was super tiny. It was a Rollei 35SE. It’s a point and shoot. View finder without automatic parallax compensation(i.e., it’s not a rangefinder) and zone focus. Simple as hell. I had never used a mechanical point and shoot that wasn’t disposable. This thing blew my mind. After research on its build quality and reliability and knowing how nice the Zeiss Sonnar lenses are, I decided to go for it. I paid a couple bills for it and it was showroom new. I loved it, and I could feel it loving me back. But while out shooting at 6 AM about two weeks ago, I took a shot with it, put it back in its little black zipper case, set it in between some bushes in the shadows and finished a roll off in the Hasselblad. I moved to three different locations and about 30 minutes later, I realized what I’d done. So I frantically hucked everything back into my Ortlieb and rode the two blocks back to the scene. And OF COURSE! It was ghost. Just like that, in the waning hours of the protective night sky, out of the streetlights between bushes, someone found what they probably didn’t really know what to do with. Well, besides selling it. It was a rad, small camera. Too small. I rarely get emotionally caught up with material items. Rarely it will be a bike, most definitely it would be my dogs, maybe vinyl. But for sure my camera vanishing made me feel like inside my stomach a scene from the Never Ending Story could have been shot there. There was a nothingness bigger than the Montana sky. For reals.
So a week before that happened my friend(and a fellow messenger who happens to have a special gift of finding almost exactly what he’s looking for on the street-almost immediately) gave me a little point and shoot from the eighties. You could tell it was from the eighties because it had an old school Apple IIE/Commodore 64 w/tape deck sort of font on it claiming it to be the “Computor 35” model, made by Petri. Oh yeah, my friend has a name. I’ll call him Dee. Now this camera, which I got from this Dee character, is kinda neat, and I thought it would be great for my trip to Tucson, which was set for 2 days after the great Rollei debacle of previous mentioning. Only problem is that what was completely mechanical in the previous version, the Color 35, was now reliant upon a battery. Meaning you couldn’t snap a shot without some juice. Lame. So for now it’s half dead to me.
And we’re up to 3.5 on the broken camera score sheet.
The day after I lost the(god, this hurts every time I speak of it) Rollei, I set out to Beaverton to purchase the creepy doppelganger(because it’s German) version of it. The Rollei B35. Having this camera is like dating the next girl after the one you love got away. It just kinda got me by. Actually it’s so boring, I am now done writing about it.
Recently my Grandpa Banasky passed away. I liked the guy. But after my mom and dad split when I was not even old enough to walk, custody went to my father and we moved to Arizona from Portland, where my mom and her family stayed. There was little involvement from there on. But when we did H.O. it was memorable. He was an engineer at Bonneville Power. He designed, built and then raced his own two man, 20 foot “Y Flyer” flat bottom boat. He was a stud. He was a kind man. I wished to own his boat after he passed, but being all black sheep like, that wasn’t going to happen. But I did get his Pentax Spotmatic. It’s a classic 35mm SLR. It was in great shape, but you could tell he used it. I know he used it. He wasn’t to sort to purchase things on a whim or needlessly.
Having the Pentax really meant more to me this past week since I got back from the frigid, heartless tundra of desert and strip malls which is Tucson. First of all, it’s the only 35mm I had when I got back that worked. Secondly, and more importantly, it allows for a dialog with my grandpa that I really appreciate. It’s almost like he’s still there. It’s also a good go between from the Hasselblad to the new baby that was about to land via USPS stork, right on my front porch.
I had just barely missed a Rollei 35S model on the way to Tucson. I found it on Roseburg, OR Craigslist. It had been posted for well over a month and the price kept dipping. I was going to have this. I was supposed to rendezvou with the seller a few hours south in Roseburg. Only he wasn’t answering the phone and didn’t call me until we were 25 minutes past. So upon returning I sent him payment and he shipped it up. I got it just two days ago, and already ran a couple rolls through it. Totally mechanical(well, the light meter uses a battery, but I don’t use a light meter so I don’t have to worry about that one).
And so now I have seven 35mm cameras. I’m sure I’ll get a couple more eventually, I still don’t have a Leica, so that’s gotta happen…someday. Until then between the older Canon Rebel DSLRm, the 35mm’s, that I just got done rambling about, the two medium formats(one’s a Mamiya C33 TLR), and the 4x5 Calumet field camera(which is mildly intimidating to me as far as dealing with the film goes), I have plenty of reason to finally take at least a darkroom class, if not some post production course.
Alright, that is all for now, my tiny, faithful audience. Keep posted for evidence. I’ll be using different films to see what works best with what. The jury is still out on the Fuji Superia.