photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Old Ways

Back to the Country

in Film , Saturday, July 09, 2011

Today was SWISS HARLEY DAYS (well one of them) in downtown Lugano. Yay. I don’t like Harleys, mainly because of the obnoxious and totally unpleasant noise they make. But I had to go downtown anyway - ironically to go the chemist to try to find something to stop me making obnoxious and totally unpleasant noises while I sleep - so I didn’t have much choice but to grin & bear it. And the streets were crawling with Harleys, Harley Guys, Harley Chicks, and people selling pretty much anything with Harley branding.

Great opportunity for street shooting, no ?

Well yeah, but I don’t do street shooting.

So just for a complete change, since I decided to do some street shooting, of Harleys, why not throw in another spanner and dig out my long-retired Canon A1, put a roll of slightly out of date Ektar 100 in it, and bolt my rediscovered 50mm f1.2L on the front ? And so I set off.

Canon a1

Terrible iPhone photo…but rather gorgeous, isn’t it ?

I took me a little while to get into the groove, but I soon got back into it. Frames 14, 15 & 16 have some great shots featuring bits of a bikini-clad biker chick posing for all and sundry on a very impressive Harley. Unlike the slobbering mob focusing on her more obvious attributes, I went for close up, f1.2 gorgeous-detail. Frame 15 features a close up of the tattoo on her ankle against some detailing of the bike’s chrome. Awesome.  Frame 17 is a KILLER. I got a large Harley dude with a patch saying “great legs, what time do they open ?” on his leather jacket, with the patch in the foreground, and her legs, which did indeed match said criteria, in the background, lying on the Harley. WHOA! I’m motoring here.

Well, of course I would have been if the camera had been switched on.

It’s simple, shooting with film, isn’t it ? Just set the aperture, set the speed, focus and click. Bingo. Well yeah. If, that is, you remembered to turn the thing on. Unlike my digital wonderboxes, or indeed my XPan, the A1’s shutter will fire with the camera - and hence the meter - switched off. I’m not sure why. There’s no control over shutter speed, or is there ? Can’t remember.  I’m not sure why I didn’t realise there was no meter display, either. So, after frame 18, I switched it on.

Oh well. Back to the hot chick, who is starting to look a little concerned at this weirdo with the antique camera.  The rest of the roll was sort of ok, but really not as inspired. What the hell, I’ll rewind it and take it the last surviving 1-hour shop.

Oops. Seems I didn’t quite remember how to load a roll of film into an A1.  Oh well. Again.

So I went home and did a bunch of chores, for example lying on the couch thinking about what part of the gardening to do.

And later I went back into town with two more rolls of Ektar, the first properly loaded, camera switched on, Av mode, ready to rock.  The hot girl was looking a bit frazzled by now (it was a hot day) but was still game and so was I, but the bikes and been moved around and the geometry wasn’t there any more. Nevermind, I still took a few shots, and then wandered off to take some details of bikes, and some more street shots, including a nice candid of two pseudo-Angels. At least I hope they were pseudo.

And then I came home. And I decided to write this post. And I took the photo above. And while fooling around with the A1, I noticed that the aperture on the 50mm seemed to be stuck wide open, as it was when I first tried to put it on my E-P2.  Oh well once more. At least a good number of shots were at f1.2, so I guess something will have worked.

But in any case, it was really, really fun using this camera again. I felt, I dunno, somehow sleek and graceful (ha!) compared to all these people lumbering around with huge DSLRs, constantly chimping, photographing from 2 miles across the street with zoom fully extended.

Film is fun. Even when it doesn’t work. Oh, and Harleys are ok, too.



Just bought a 24 f/2.8 and an 85 f/2.8 for my A1 for the sum price of £80 and both in mint condition. With my 50 f/1.8 they make a gorgeous set!

By Tim Parkin, on July 11, 2011

A Canon A1 ... Didn't the owners use to call them Hogs?

By Project Hyakumeizan, on July 26, 2011

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