February is here, and halfway gone. I had several great photo sessions with the Kodak Retinette this month. I got some golden hour photos of the local coffee shop, the ice-covered trees, and even an abandoned used-car building. Sounds great, right ? Yeah, I was excited about the photos although I’d mostly forgotten what I’d recorded. Then I decided, against my better judgement, to use a steel reel for development despite the fact that I’ve destroyed more rolls than developed with them. Well, my brain screamed at me multiple times while I was rolling the film into the reel and I conveniently ignored it. Alas, I should have listened. The film didn’t spool properly so it was touching other parts of the film (basically getting stuck together) and I lost nearly all the photos from that set, save two.
So I lamented my situation to the group at large and was given the green light to shoot a bonus roll. I sorta felt bad about it, but I also like to shoot this little camera and needed little persuasion to go run another roll through it. I stuffed another roll in the Retinette, jumped in the car, and rode off into the sunset — well, a little before sunset — to Oakland, Tennessee. I wasn’t really pointing the car to Oakland, I simply pointed the car east on Highway 64 and hoped for some abandoned farm buildings or something interesting. I was not disappointed.
For starters, there was this really pretty Presbyterian church that was getting some good late-afternoon vibes, so I took advantage of the scene and the empty parking lot to make a few photos.
I was really more interested in the windows than the church itself. I had initially wanted a good photo of the front door since it’s flanked on either side by these nicely-manicured trees, but then the windows caught my eye.
Wouldn’t you know it there’s a hot dog stand next door to the church. Initially I was going to park there for the church shots, but found I got better light on the other side. After making a few exposures of the church windows, I shuffled over to the hotdog stand to capture some images. I only got a single good one, but that was plenty.
I say it was plenty because it left the rest of the roll for what I stumbled on a few miles up the road, a graveyard of heavy construction equipment. The little boy in me got excited. I love giant machines! I really love giant abandoned machines and I was not disappointed.
It wasn’t just big trucks, there were also some really cool diesel-powered pumping machines that were conveniently painted in primary colors so my color-shifting film skills would render them weird.
While it was a shame I couldn’t salvage my first February roll, the adventure that resulted was worth it. I got to use the Retinette a bit more which was helpful. It’s a distance-focused system so judging distance-to-subject is an important skill to hone. I also learned that while I have these cool steel reels, I’m not good at them and it’s not something I plan to practice. I can’t afford to lose film shots because I can’t properly load a reel. The Paterson reels work fine for me. I’m also learning that I need to expose better. Most of my shots were about 2 stops over-exposed and I had to recover the highlights in Lightroom. I should have been shooting at f/16 instead of f/8 for these shots.
February was a great month for the Retinette, all things considered. I think I might try doing some portrait work in March with the Retinette.
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