Apr 162011
 

Some of you may have noticed that I have an interest in most all things military, I also have an interest in the 1940’s, more specifically the second world war. This has led me to invest in a “new” camera, well new to me. Its actually a 38 year old Kiev range finder, a postwar Russian copy of the famed German Contax range finders which were introduced around 1933 and were once the main competitor for Leica.

I intended to buy one of these Russian Contax or Leica clones as a display piece but attempts to find a good looking non working display camera for under a fiver soon evolved into a little bit of a quest to find a reasonable working camera and preferably a Keiv. I wasn’t actually worried about the age of the camera but I did want it to work on 1940’s technology. Then thanks to eBay a Kiev 4, a Contax IIIa copy, arrived along with a very odd desire to put a roll of film through it.

I think I actually imagined I was going to stick a roll of film in this 1940s vintage piece of technology and instantly be able to use it just like my Nikon equipment. However to give you an idea of the differences between this camera and any modern digital SLR or compact I thought about writing a short list of what you don’t get with a Kiev but forget the list. If your camera has the word “auto, automatic, program, mode or electronic before one of its features take it as read the Kiev doesn’t have it. It does have a built in light meter but its not very reliable and you have to read it, work out the exposure settings then manually enter those settings on the camera. Its design requires the camera to be held in a specific way, known as the Contax hold, so the fingers of your right hand don’t block the range finder window and make focusing impossible.

To swap from my Nikon D700 to the all mechanical and manual Keiv for a couple of days was to say the least a culture shock. I am used to knowing my Nikons so well that I pick them up and work them, almost without thought, leaving me free to concentrate on creating images. With the Keiv I was forced into a much slower pre planned, less instant, pace of photography. Not just less instant in the sense you don’t get to see the result straight away but you suddenly realise you have to move the camera away from your eye to set the shutter speed and aperture then again to wind the film on. You are forced to think much more about the image you are about to shoot or want to shoot and makes the grab shot so much more valuable. It has also left me wondering how famed war photographer and Magnum founder member Robert Capa managed the images he did from a pair of Contax II cameras. Despite the totally different way of working forced on me when using the Kiev I think I may just be looking for a Zorki or Fed Leica copy now to sit alongside my Keiv or maybe Ill look for a Kiev clone of Capa’s Contax II.

Feb 242011
 

15 degrees C and sunny… Its beginning to look a bit like springtime in Ecclesfield

Nikon

D700

50mm f1.8 lens

400 ISO 1/800 at F8

Dec 232010
 

Its Christmas Eve Tomorrow so I would like to wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you all exactly what you asked for!

Merry Christmas and very best wishes for this festive season

Paul…..


Back stage and Eliot Kennedy gets a Christmas kiss under the mistletoe from Geraldine McQueen, winner of Britain’s Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice. AKA the British Comedy Genius Peter Kay

Nov 072010
 

www.pauldaviddrabble.co.uk

Saint Mary’s Church Ecclesfield also Known as “The Minster of The Moors” is the final resting place of Rev. Alexander John Scott, Chaplain and close personal friend of Admiral Lord Nelson. It was to Rev. Alexander John Scott that Nelson spoke his last words  “God and my country.”  below decks of the Flagship HMS victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson died at 16:35 on the 21 October 1805. His friend Scott lived to the age of 72 and died in 1840.

Its odd that Scott should have  been buried in Ecclesfield. He was not born in the area and didn’t live in the area. He was in Ecclesfield visiting his daughter Margaret, a well known writer of the time  who was married to the then Vicar of Ecclesfield Alfred Gatty, when he was taken ill and subsequently died. What is stranger is travel five miles  by road and under what is now a Tesco car park is where the Walker Iron Works of Masbrough was. They cast about 80 of the 105 guns carried by HMS Victory into Battle at Trafalgar. Closer still is the village of Grenoside, only two and a half miles away, where Samuel and Aaron Walker began to manufacture Iron in the early 1740s before relocating and starting in 1746 as Walker Iron Works of Masbrough.

Photographers Technical info

  • Camera Nikon D700
  • Lens Nikon 50mm f1.8
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture F8
  • Shutter 1/200
Oct 252010
 

Everyone misses a picture, even the pros don’t get every shot every time but sometimes, just sometimes there is something you can do to salvage an image you really wanted but just didn’t quite get.

The photograph below is my cousin with his niece at a family party. I spotted the opportunity grabbed the camera and the shot unfortunately having consumed the odd  (double)  Bacardi and Coke or two I missed one small but very important detail, the on button for the flash. Three frames later, the moment has passed and the best of the three images is the one below, rather orangey red, dark and slightly too soft.

Carl & Pauline 30th anniversary.23 October 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

For the technically minded it was shot on a Nikon D700 and 50mm f1.8 lens. The settings were manually set to:  1000 ISO,  f4.5,  1/60th sec.

On the night I wrote off the shot  as a duff one but I didn’t delete it, I never do, I think its because, back in the days of film, I was taught never throw away a negative.  The next morning , well OK  lunchtime, it was a great party and we did have one or two more of those Bacardi and Cokes, I spotted the shot again and considered it worthy of five minutes  TLC.  My first instinct was to lighten it and try and take some of the redness out. While I was pleasantly pleased with the results of lightening the photograph it quickly became apparent that recovery wasn’t going to be totally successful thanks to masses of colour noise while trying to get the colour balance right, at which point I decided to get all retro and just turn the thing Black and White. A little more fiddling this time with contrast  and unsharp mask to loose some of the softness in the photograph and finally a little cropping to tighten the picture up and hey presto the result……..

Carl & Pauline 30th anniversary.23 October 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

You cant make a silk purse out of sows ear, as they say, and the same goes when trying to  recover a photograph  like this one. Sometimes a mistake will leave you with an image that really is not salvageable, no matter how skilled you are or how much time and effort you put into it, so be realistic.  This photograph will never be a technically perfect image it will always be a little soft and a little noisy  but  it does leave me with a  satisfied smile, especially after reading mums comments about her daughters photo in my Facebook  photo album.

Oct 202010
 

The  leaves of a Sycamore tree turn autumnal red and gold in Ecclesfield Park  20th October 2010

Leaves of a Sycamore tree turn autumnal red and gold against the background of the trees trunk, branches and clear blue sky .20th October 2010 .Images © Paul David Drabble

Photographers Technical info

  • Camera Nikon D700
  • Lens Nikon F2.8/80-200mm (set at 85mm)
  • ISO 400
  • Apperture F5.6
  • Shutter 1/1000
Sep 122010
 

For those of you interested by my previous posting about Lytham St Annes 1940s weekend here is a link for the ladies who may fancy in dressing in classic retro style. This lady makes some wonderfully stylish and excellent quality hats which she sells via Ebay. 1940s berets, halo hats, 1920’s style cloche hats which would be great for murder mystery weekends, vintage car rallies or amateur dramatics and even Victorian style mop caps and aprons. You might wonder why a news and public relations photographer would pick up on site like this, so here is where I have to come clean and tell you its because Aileen is actually my partner. That said her hats really are very good and to prove it here she is modelling one of her 1940’s numbers and a link to her current selection of hats for sale.

May 012010
 

Welcome to my blog. It may seem strangely named but `tog is actually an abbreviation of photographer which occasionally gets bandied about in newsrooms up and down the country, while “owd” is the Yorkshire pronunciation of “old”. Not that I feel old but I was stuck for a title and “An owd ‘togs blog” just seemed to have a nice ring to it. So there you go….