Werra & Fuji Natura 1600

I have an old East German camera from the 1950s or 1960s, a Werra 5.  There is a rather charming light leak in the last batch of film I ran through it.  The lens is a Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f2.8, which is a pleasantly sharp lens to use.  The last film I loaded into it was an extravagance as it was Fuji Natura 1600, which ran about $13.00 for a 36-exposure roll.  For nearly a year, the film lived in the camera, too precious to use up, until I got totally tired of it!

There are pros and cons to using Natura 1600.  Like I said, it is expensive.  It is also grainy.  The image quality is a bit different from what I am used to as I generally shoot 100-400 iso.  The colors are also subdued, but therein lies the beauty of the film:  it is subtle, but rich.

I like to guess at exposures, based on the Sunny 16 rule.  Nearly all the pictures I took were in the late afternoon / early evening, or at night, such as last Christmas when I wandered through the neighborhood to test the film out on the lighting displays.  Some results were good, some not so spectacular.  Additionally, there was a lot of clean-up to do – the film came back covered with spots and hairs, which seem to be more exaggerated by the film, but maybe not.

This series of Christmas lights gives an example of the work I had to do to even make a presentable image (IMO).  The images below required the same amount of work.  Despite my complaints, a few were salvageable, and in post, produced some pleasant, if rather grainy, images as the light of day decreased.

So, will I use Natura 1600 again?  The answer is yes, I will give it one more try.  I plan to use it in a more advanced camera, one with a metering system that is reliable.  On first use, it seems to have the quiet colors of Portra, but if such is the case on a second run, chances are I will use Portra rather than Natura because of the price point.



Dividing Line

The California Poppy Reserve borders on private property, separated by that classical western fence of barbed wire.  On the other side – but cropped out for aesthetics – was a jeep and a couple of guys, no doubt admiring the view, as were we tourists on this side of the fence!

Against the Sky


Today we went out to the California Poppy Reserve near Lancaster, California.  In Los Angeles County, this is in the middle of nowhere, and here is where you see the beauty that was California before Los Angeles and urban sprawl took over.  The rains of the past winter have produced an abundance of flowers – more than in many years.  Here is the first of a series I took today.

It’s funny how weather can change from one place to another.  We drove 70 miles, through canyons and back roads to get here.  From our 71 F city we came into a cold (50 F) and very, very windy environment (30-50 mph winds).  All I had for cold weather was a vest and a short-sleeved T-shirt.  Brrrr!

This is a panorama of about 5 images.

More Daffodils

I felt like a tourist when I headed out to the botanical garden a few weeks ago.  I had my Olympus XA4, my Kodak Retina IIIc for its maiden voyage, and the Perkeo II loaded with Fuji Neopan 400.  I am so impressed with this film – the blacks are black, and the whites are white.  I didn’t have an orange or red filter with me, so some pictures were not what I would have liked to see; still, the detail and beauty of the film is seen here (and the Perkeo is no slouch, either).  Sadly, Neopan in this form is no longer made – the C-41 form – although Acros is available.


Another image from the first roll of film, Agfa Vista 200, from the Kodak Retina IIIc with Xenon f2 lens.

This is a rather impressive little camera, and I have a feeling I am falling in love with it, particularly because of the detail it gives (when I focus properly) and the smooth, creamy bokeh in the background.

On an aside, we spent the morning cleaning up the patio garden, putting in peppers and tomatoes, transplanting pot-bound herbs and such, as well as setting up seeds for shade flowers and French radishes.  It’s going to be hot this next week, so why not do it now?

About to Fall

Last week I took five rolls of film for processing.  This was taken with Kodak UltraMax 400 with an Olympus Trip 35.  It was a dark and stormy day when I wandered out, but even with 400 iso film, the images came back extremely noisy.  I had to do a bit of work to get the roll even somewhat acceptable, in my eyes, but some of the pictures were really nice.

My cheap “go to” films for 135 are Kodak UltraMax 400 and Agfa Vista 200, but I think I am going to use up the UltraMax to see how it works in different cameras.  It could be that the Olympus was at fault as it died a bit later.  I don’t want to just be done with it, but want to see if there are other issues involved.

This sycamore curves and twists over a steep fall into a barranca.  How it hangs on is rather amazing!  And when the leaves change, it is a stunningly beautiful tree.

In case you don’t know, I absolutely love trees.