Archive for February, 2012

Crazier by the minute

This semester has been brutal. Things to not appear to be letting up at all. I haven’t even exposed a single frame of film in more than a week. Not fun.

On 35mm

I tell myself I am going to stop shooting 35mm film at least once a week. A roll of 36 exposures takes forever to go through. Once you have been spoiled by the detail of larger formats you just end up underwhelmed by the contents of the tiny little 36x24mm frames.

Then I think about the one role where 35mm shines: pocket camera. My ancient Kodak Retina IIa is not exactly the lightest camera in existence, but it will fit in my pocket. It also has a nice Schneider-Xenon 50mm f/2.0 lens in a near-silent Synchro-Compur leaf shutter. The shutter speeds are limited to whole stop increments from 1s to 1/500s, plus bulb. The aperture only ranges from f/2 to f/16.

Using a slow film, like the slew of discontinued films around which the camera was designed, opens the full range of available shutter speeds and apertures. The other option, and the one I exercise, is using a film that both pushes and pulls well. Several ASA400 emulsions fit that bill quite well. A hefty stash of gifted, but expired, Agfa APX 400 means that when I load a roll that is the emulsion I go with. On my most recent roll, overcast and rainy days were on the horizon. The decision was made to push the film to ASA3200, and even still several exposures called for f/4 at 1/500s. A winning combination if I do say so myself.

Around town

Instead of just putting the Kodak on the shelf, to look pretty, when I run out of my stash of Agfa film I think I’ll go ahead and extend its life by ordering a case of Arista Premium 100 and seeing how that goes.

It is going to be a bumpy ride

Three, maybe four, weeks into the semester and I have already done more work this semester than in the previous four or five combined. For the most part, all of my time is now spent doing homework. My training schedule for the MS150 has all but evaporated. Even when I do take a few hours to ride, I find myself pedaling away while trying to make sense of the most recent tidbits my fluid mechanics textbook has thrown my way.

At this stage in the game, failure is not an option. Thirty is rapidly approaching and I have absolutely no intention of returning to the military, enlisted or commissioned. No, this degree needs to be completed above the standard so I can move on and really start a new chapter. Perhaps once I have more than just a DD-214 to say that I have accomplished some things in my life, focus can be taken off of the fact I have a DD-214 and exist as someone other than a former infantryman. For now, that will provide purpose in the next three semesters. The prospects of an engineer’s salary might provide some motivation as well.

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