Week Eight

December 29, 2016

Week 8 – Kodak Retina 1B

Here we are at week 8 already! I think this week I need to start by introducing my partner in crime – Russell Soper, owner of Soperfect images (nice word play sir!). He worked as a Photographer here in the city primarily in digital, producing those postcard images and framed prints he sold through his gallery/shop on the Barbican mostly of the southwest, also private assignments and as a portrait photographer for local schools. Thats how my wife met him, he took all my kids photos at the school where she works. Now he won't mind me saying, as his twitter bio says “stroke survivor”, a life changing event! Fast forward several months and forced to put down the camera Russell has directed his attention to his gallery and brought his private passion for collecting vintage cameras into the shop now buying and selling. He loves them! A particular passion for Polaroid and all things folding.

The Retina is one of his own, just back from service having bought it with a stuck shutter, he eagerly threw it at me as he wanted to see what it could do. I was happy to oblige. Another distance finder from the late 50s, fold away lens sat in a nice chrome trimmed leather case, it was a looker for sure!

A rare and welcome opportunity found me on the moors with the sole intention of photography. I loaded with Ilford HP5 B&W and set off following the old dried up Devonport Leat, once the main water supply for the old naval town of Devonport, it has miles of interesting features set in beautiful landscape. It was a little dark, spotting with rain but still a nice afternoon shooting. I found the EV system really handy and easy to use, the built in light meter was clear and easy to read and all the twisty ratchety bits were positioned in a nice flowing way. I even liked the advance being on the bottom plate. It just felt nice. Roll finished I returned home and developed it straight away in Ilfosol 3. Problem! Only 16 images! That stuck shutter (in my opinion) wasn't stuck, something just wasn't catching every time so my guess a mechanical fault and probably (hopefully) an easy fix with some part loose or warn. The images themselves were exposed well so no shutter lag and light meter bang on and everything sharp enough to say I was close enough with my distance guesses.

Shutter problem accepted I decided for colour only to risk a Poundland Vista leaving the film speed at 400 to give me a little more flexibility and popped it in my bag while setting off on my pre-Christmas stock runs for work. This took me across the River Plym, about a mile from the mouth (where the city gets its name) and shot a handful of frames by the bridges in good light with the last of the morning mist disappearing. I could now hear the shutter missing which was off putting so I decided there was no point investing time travelling to any specific location. Later that day I took a route walk into the city, now just trying to burn through the roll, detouring up and over the Hoe. Just as the wind picked up this coupled with the high tide gave me the opportunity to try some faster shots of the crashing waves, then emptied the last few frames walking down to Russell's on the Barbican.

The resulting images that it took were good, nicely focused, well exposed with good colour even in the dreary weather. Aside from the missing frames I really enjoyed the experience, easy to use and looks great! Back to the workshop though Russell, I'm sure it will be fine.

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