manitoba

Camera Tales: The Omega D2 Enlarger

I can’t recall when I bought it. 1978 seems about right, the year I acquired the Cambo, my first view camera. Nor can I recall how much I paid for it. $300.00 perhaps.

It was a used enlarger, purchased, like the Cambo, through a Winnipeg Free Press classified ad. I remember visiting an older man, who had carefully stored it under a drape of plastic. He graciously offered a Gra-Lab timer, the de-facto darkroom timer of the day, as part of the package. I like to think he saw me as a serious photographer, someone who would use his equipment to make beautiful prints. The deal was done. I happily lugged the awkward beast home and set about building the first of several darkrooms to house it. (more…)

Camera Tales: The Wista 4” x 5” Field Camera

It’s an object of beauty. Built for desire as much as for function. It was the more portable view camera that I needed in 1983. But so beautiful as well.

Wista 4” x 5” Field cameras are hand-built in Japan. The camera bodies are constructed of rosewood or, like mine, cherrywood with intricate tongue-and-groove joinery, all finished with a clear lacquer to preserve the beauty of the wood. The hardware is all brass plate or finely machined solid brass knobs. The  black bellows and brown carrying handle add accents of leather. This camera exudes craftsmanship in every detail.

Yes, it has a carrying handle. The Wista folds neatly into a relatively light, compact package that can easily fit into a mid-sized shoulder bag. This is a camera built for the prairies, built for backpacking, built for travel. (more…)

Camera Tales: The Cambo 4” x 5” Monorail View Camera

Did this camera choose me or did I choose it? I can’t be sure. What I do see in the photos taken with my Cambo view camera is a wonderful synchronicity of photographer and machine.

I bought it used, in 1978. Found it advertised in the classified ads of the Winnipeg Free Press. At $300, including a high quality Rodenstock 210mm lens, it was a good deal for this university student.  (more…)

Camera Tales: The Konica Autoreflex T (second exposure)

Konica introduced the Autoreflex T in 1968, the company’s first fully automatic 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera with through-the-lens (TTL) metering. The camera is built like a tank and, when the shutter-release button is pushed, it sounds like one. Its heft might suggest it was carved out of a solid block of steel.

The camera came with a 52mm f/1.8 Hexanon lens, those days considered a not-too-wide, not-too-telephoto good standard  focal length. Its all-metal barrel gave it a weight and sense of durability to match the camera body. The bayonet mount, introduced with the Autoreflex T, allowed for quick lens changes. Indeed, my kit soon filled out with 135mm telephoto and 28mm wide angle lenses.

Around 1973, I acquired the just-introduced Konica Autoreflex T3, an updated version of my first camera. The Autoreflex T was relegated to use as a back-up body or loaded with a different film. With two camera bodies, either switching film speeds or film type during a shoot simply required a quick change of lens from one body to the other.

This photography kit would be by my side through the bulk of the 1970s. My understanding of photography would evolve over that period, alongside my design education at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture.  (more…)

The Christmas Train: Day Two

Putting aside the existential train schedule, the Canadian is one of the best train experiences I have had. The food, served on white linen tablecloths with real china, has been excellent. Today's brunch was a tasty ravioli with lobster in a cream sauce. Dinner, a well-prepared rack of lamb. Even the shower – there's one in each sleeper car – is clean and well laid out. Plush white towels along with a bar of soap and shampoo are provided for each passenger at the start of trip.

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A Dog Goes West: Part Three

It is a slow but beautiful road winding its way from Kelowna south down Highway 33 and then east along Highway 3. Styxx reclines in his lair – pretty much the entire rear compartment of our Prius. Occasionally he takes a look out the side or rear windows to examine the endless forests occasionally punctuated with the jagged grey peaks of mountains in the distance. Along the way, we stop at wayside pullouts to stretch, to have a picnic lunch or to take a close look at some stream with clear cool water noisily rushing over a bed of river-smoothed rocks. (more…)