Saturday, February 18, 2023

Sticky shutters and Fairy houses

One of the enduring problems with many older cameras is the 'sticky shutter'. Many cameras with older leaf shutters, start seizing up at slower speeds. Sometimes they stop altogether.  I've had my share of those and they usually get consigned to the 'dead camera' box, as a repair usually exceeds its value. 

Agfa Isolette III, f3.5 Solinar lens.

One such camera was an Agfa Isolette, a 6x6 folder from the 1950s. I acquired it about two years ago in excellent cosmetic condition and with one of Agfa's higher-spec lenses, but ... sticky shutter. I dug it out of the dead box while cyclone Gabrielle was making it unpleasant outside and spent an hour or two dribbling lighter fluid into the shutter and exercising it. Surprisingly, it started to work, and eventually, the shutter was doing a nicely timed cerrrrrrrrclunk at the one-second setting. The following day, it was still cerrrrrrrrclunking nicely and so I loaded up some Ilford FP4 and went for a walk under dull but dry skies. 

Ashly Gorge, track through the forest - 1 second at f8; colourised black and white.

I might be getting old, but not too old to smile whenever I find one of the 'fairy houses' scattered throughout the forest. I came across this one in a rather dark place.

'Fairy house' fixed to a Redwood Tree. 8 seconds at f8

Inside each house, there is usually a pithy little saying. This one says "Be awesome ... be a book nut." Thank you, I am. 

'Fairy house' - 1/2 second at f8.

There's something very satisfying about using a seventy-year-old camera, to take black-and-white photos and ending up with coloured pictures. Not quick mind you, but satisfying; digital has just become far too easy. (There's a time and place for 'easy'.)

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