Goodbye, Seneca…

Seneca Competitor 5x7

Last week I did something I swore I would never do – I shipped off the 5×7 Seneca Competitor, the very camera that started me on my large format journey, the first camera I did a full restoration to, to a new owner. And it was surprisingly easy.

You see, I bought the camera six years ago next month. It was a basket case, and I learned a lot restoring it. I was a stay-at-home dad at the time, and used the camera constantly. I built a 4×5 reducing back for it. I had new bellows made. And I burned film. Lots of film. I grew very attached to the camera, and became very sentimental about it.

But I started working about 18 months ago. I bought into 10×12. I rebuilt the Asanuma 4×5 and started shooting it extensively. In about 2 years, I shot one sheet of 5×7. All my lenses have been been remounted on 4×5 lensboards, making shooting the 5×7 even less convenient. And I just kind of lost my feel for the format. I still like it, but the expense (5×7 film has gone up in price incredibly in the last few years) and effort required to shoot it didn’t seem justified anymore.

A few weeks ago, someone on largeformatphotography.info posted that they would cut down 20×30″ Portra 160VC to whatever format you wanted. I started thinking how neat shooting 10×12″ color would be. The 5×7 had to go. I mentioned this to the seller, who (turns out) was looking for a 5×7 camera. A deal was made; the camera arrived at it’s new home in Alaska yesterday. The buyer is happy, and I have to admit, I feel a large amount of satisfaction knowing that an old friend is going to be used again by someone who appreciates the thing.

It’s been a good run. Goodbye, Seneca.

Lacrosse action…

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Lacrosse action...

Okay, I usually only post about large format, and almost always film. But I recently bought a used Sigma 70-200/2.8 and 2X APO teleconverter specifically for shooting at my son’s 7/8 lacrosse games. It’s a five-day-a-week sport right now, with games Saturday and Sunday. Weather’s been great so far, and I’m learning how to use this rig. To wit: This shot is from today’s game cropped slightly from full frame on the Canon 5D. Sports shooting is totally alien to me, but it’s a lot of fun to try.

Throttling the Grubb…

In a fit of experimentation, I decided today to see what stopping down the Grubb a bit would do. I made a single stop, about f/7, from some 1/8″ ply and mounted it to the back of the lens:

Throttling the Grubb...

Yeah, I know. Ugly, but it works. Stood the boy in front of the 10×12″ camera and gave it a try:

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Not sure how I feel about this one. I want to tame the rendering a bit, but at what point do you stop? Too much, and it’s just another lens.

More experimentation is definitely required.

Serious…

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Serious...

The boy this afternoon. One of those rare times when he looked into the lens. Didn’t have the focus exactly where I wanted it, but I think it’s okay, nonetheless.

Standard stuff – B&J Ajax Portrait Petzval #2, 10×12″ Ilford FP4+ in HC-110 dil H. I’m hoping for more shooting time this weekend. Foolishness, though.

Asanuma project camera – new strap, finally…

A package arrived from Washington State today, courtesy of Snakebite Leather – a new strap for the Asanuma!

New strap for the Asanuma...

It’s oil-tanned leather, double stitched, and even has some nice, subtle tooling on it.

New strap for the Asanuma...

Total time for the new strap to get to me: One week, door to door, including transit time. Not bad. I’d looked foer someone local who could fabricate the strap, which has the lugs sewn into the strap, and there’s no one local. I posted a “Help Wanted” ad on leatherworker.net and got several offers. Joe Giaccio was very helpful and attentive; he got the job. I’m very happy with the strap.

This completes the overhaul of the Asanuma. All that’s left is maintenance, and of course, use. Thanks for following along.