old and new

Ahhh rainy days… for me they’re more like rainy dahhhs… Can’t really do much outdoors, so I usually end up just sleeping all day. You know that old limerick, “it’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…” Yea that’s me.

This weekend was an especially rainy one, but luckily I wasn’t in bed snoring all day… (not that there’s really anything wrong with that.) This weekend I ended up going to three separate museums on two separate man-dates. I find it kind of weird and ironic that it always ends up being just guys going to museums and musicals. The girls I’ve talked to seem to always be surprised that I’m into that sort of stuff. I guess they assume that I’m some sort of caveman. That actually might not be that far from the truth. But hey, even cavemen enjoy cave paintings and rain dances and enjoy the company of cavewomen from time to time…

It sounds like I’m griping about being single. I’m not. In truth it’s not that hard to be in some semblance of a relationship if you really want to. At this point in my life though, I actually enjoy my freedom and autonomy a lot. Of course those feelings can change rapidly if you meet someone awesome (or see someone you already know in a new light). It’s funny actually, last night a friend offer me a match.com subscription for Christmas (I turned it down). But this is a topic for another day.

So anyways the museums I visited were the Asian Art Museum and De Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. I’ve actually been to all of these museums in some point of my life, but since then all of them have either moved or expanded and remodeled, so it was cool to compare with my old memories of these places. In keeping with the old/new theme I decided to try a mix of old and new technologies in the pictures I took this weekend.

On Saturday in SF I stuck a 30 year old 35mm lens on my 2 year old digital SLR. It was fun to play around with everything being fully manual. I find it really cool that you can use all this vintage glass on current cameras. The only problem is the manual focus. The camera lights up the focus point when you are in focus, just like when you’re shooting in auto-focus, but there’s a little bit of play in it– it will still light up if it’s slightly off focus. It worked ok with the 35mm f/3.5 I had on it, but with a lens with a shallower depth of field, like my Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 I could see it being a problem. On old film cameras there’s a split prism focusing screen that allows you to see when you’re in focus. If I buy a second DSLR I will probably buy one of these focusing screens for my current DSLR so I can play around with vintage glass more often. (Basically I went through this whole technical spiel to explain why my pictures from Saturday weren’t very sharp.)

On the way back from SF we stopped at Treasure Island to take a city skyline shot. I didn’t have a tripod, and didn’t have the right lens, but I ended up with a shot that I’m somewhat happy with, despite it being slightly out of focus.

Today continued the old/new theme. I stuck a 30 year old 50mm f/1.4 lens on my digital SLR, and then I stuck a 2 year old 24mm f/1.8 lens on my 30 year old film camera. The 24mm lens looks amazing on the film camera, providing a nice wide view. The 50mm lens looks really good on my digital SLR too, but like I said, it’s hard to get critically sharp photos on it. So I switched halfway through so I could use auto-focus. I had a really fun time shooting with both cameras, but especially with the film camera. At one point a security guard came up to me, and I was thinking, “Crap, what did I do…” He said I was the first guy he had seen with a film camera, and I ended up talking to him for a while about the merits of film vs digital. In truth, digital blows film away in practicality, but film just feels so awesome. There’s something special about turning the aperture ring and feeling it click, looking through the viewfinder into the split prism and adjusting focus until it’s just perfect, then feeling the satisfying mechanical click of the mirror moving and the shutter releasing. It’s so much more deliberate than the fast paced world of digital.

I ended up shooting one roll of 35mm film, 24 shots. Again it’s more deliberate, because you have a finite number of shots. I shot my favorite pieces in both film and digital, so I’m really curious to see how the quality stacks up against my trusty DSLR.

Anyways, here are my pictures from the weekend. Again, a lot of them aren’t all that sharp. I’ll definitely do this again though, and hopefully I can get more practice shooting with manual focus so future pix will be better.

http://picasaweb.google.com/mikehong81/RainyDayMuseums#

One thought on “old and new”

  1. sweet. film has this quality to the printouts that you can never replicate fully with digital. but yes digital practicality…i dont really wanna go back to that darkroom. enlargers, and expensive developers/papers of the film world.

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