Slow Speed? Go For It!
Last week I had a chance meeting with Raymond Ford, the American featherweight boxer. He was in England to fight at the Motorpoint. He convincingly won his bout, and we hope to see him again in the UK.
I became engrossed in conversation with Dave. He had travelled from Camden, New York with the boxer, he was at the market eating Nottingham’s traditional food ‘Mushy Peas and Mint Sauce’. It was not long before I asked the magic question: ‘Can I take your photograph?
The camera in the bag was a Nikkormat the lens a Nikkor 50mm f1.4: So I opened up the aperture to 1.4 and set the shutter to 1/15th of a second. Four frames taken on Fomapan 100 yielded two reasonable negatives. (Film developed in Rodinal 50+1 for 12.5 minutes).
Never be afraid to use slow speeds and wide apertures. The images can be rewarding. These two frames are not the sharpest. Although, six by nine-inch prints would look just fine. The subject outweighs the ultimate detail. No cropping as usual and the choice was to frame the image reasonably loosely because of the limited depth of focus.
There is a hard lesson learned here; my thoughts must have been sleeping at home. Why did I only take the four frames? And why didn’t I take individual portraits of Ray and Dave? No Answer other than brain block stupidity. Usually there is no reticence when using film: I’d use a whole cassette on a flower if the subject was worthy.
It would not have mattered if I’d taken thirty-six or seventy-two frames. The opportunity was lost. A hard lesson learned, and one never forgotten. Film costs nothing compared to the memories it records. I know this adage: why didn’t I follow it with the session?
Interestingly my favoured Nikkor 50mm is the f2.0 H. I put the f1.4 on the body by pure chance. The Nikkormat is a superb camera: I own four, and only one has a meter issue. The cameras work faultlessly even though they are nudging fifty years old.
I prefer my Pentax S1a’s above any other camera. But all have needed servicing by Eric at Pentax repairs. I select the Nikkormat’s in rotation as I do with my other cameras. If you desire to keep your cameras working, you need to use them often. It is recommended you run your camera through their shutter speed range once a week. Use ‘em or lose ‘em.
See You Soon