Saturday, 4 February 2012

home on the range...

According to BJP writer Jonathan Eastland, there is no better camera than a rangefinder for shooting the human condition and everything in-between. According to a recent article of his on the photography giant's website: "They still can't be beaten for candid shots", (you can view the full article here:

So, I decided to take Jonathan up on this. Armed with a Canon Canonet QL-19 rangefinder I recently obtained (curtsey of my girlfriend) I hit the streets of Falmouth for some good old fashioned street photography.

Things did not get off to a good start, however. The transparent image which one moves using the calibrated wheel on the lens has severely faded on this model due to age; this made focusing somewhat of a challenge as all I could see was a minute square in the centre of the frame on which to focus. To make matters worse, as I got in to town I discovered that the camera's meter had also deteriorated severely, even after purchasing a new battery cell. So, with a rangefinder which was practically nigh on impossible  to focus, and a light meter which constantly told me I was over-exposing , I was ready to begin. Aren't analogue camera's fun? 

It had been quite some time since I had last indulged in street photography, so at first things were a little bit rusty. As I made my way through the streets of Falmouth I felt the damning eyes of the public fall on me and my camera once again ; I could almost hear the thoughts of condemnation from every mother with her child and every OAP with their dog as they blamed me and my camera for everything that is unjust in this world, as if  at any moment I was about to throw my camera down and kidnap their child or, in the case of the grandma, her Westie.

That aside, I found that I had missed partaking in a bit of street photography, and what ensued was an enjoyable little shoot on a sunny winter's day. I find it interesting how people always think that I am using my camera for sinister and nefarious ways... An argument for another time.

the old man on the pier shot

the old woman in the street shot

Ryan in his wood cutting shop near the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth.

I cam across Ryan as I was wandering around town. He runs a small wood cutting shop which is attached the front of his house, selling souvenirs, puzzles and picture frames to any willing tourists.

Apologies for the graininess of these images, but as the meter on the camera was broken, and as I had no hand-held meter, the images needed quite a bit of work on Photoshop to bring out some contrast and tone. As this was just a test shoot I wasn't particularly bothered with the outcome, and in fact I quite like the shots of Ryan in his workshop - why did I not photograph him for The Person at Work?

As my vogue moved from old people to the soft light emanating from the setting sun, I made my way down to Gyllyngvase Beach to capture some wonderful  'people on the beach during a sunset'  shots... 

Gyllyngvase Road

This picture would be right at home in a hipster's "my favourite photography" shoebox

A brave, brave sole prepairs to face the Atlantic with just a wet suit and testicles made of iron ore.

A kayak instructor being accosted by a pair of beach ramblers.
As you can probably tell, all was going swimmingly. Until this happened:

A clusterfuck of photography. 

Upon processing the film, it became apparent that half way through the shoot my camera decided to give up on normal image making, and instead focused its efforts on producing images which looked more like a fine art photographer's third-year thesis. Nonetheless, the effect is mildly entertaining and, I suppose, typical of the charming personality for which beaten up film cameras are known... or something.

I think this old rangefinder is in need of some TLC.


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