Cruising Grand with a Rolleiflex 2.8f

One of my ongoing projects is to shoot the classic cars at Cruising Grand, Escondido.  Escondido is city in northern San Diego County.

I normally shoot images here with my Leica MP or with my Fuji X100s.  This time around I decided to take my Rolleiflex 2.8f to capture black and white images using Tri-X.

Using the Rollei is a completely different experience.  It’s a given that using a twin lens reflex camera really causes one to slow down and it really does.  I love the slow pace.  I love using the waist level viewfinder through the prism glass with the amazing 3D effect as you look through the taking lens.  It’s a completely different photographic experience.  If you don’t own one, find someone who does and ask to hold and perhaps take a shot.

There are a lot of people wandering on Grand Avenue looking at and enjoying the cars.  I got more than a few inquisitive looks as I framed shots on the Rollei.

I overheard one couple as I was squatting to get a low angle shot on a car:

Her:  “O, look at that old camera…cool.”
Him:  “That’s just one of those new digital cameras that are designed to look old.”

I almost made a comment but never actually made eye contact at all.  I was immersed in composition of the shot.  But it’s one of those moments I won’t quickly forget and smile back on.

More than a few folks came up to me and wondered how I could still buy film for the camera.  The conversations all went about the same.  I told them it was really easy to find film at reasonable prices and that there were still many labs out there including places like Costco and CVS pharmacies who still develop film, at least color film.  Two people told me they had old Kodak Brownie cameras at home.  I encouraged them to pull them out and shoot some film.  One younger guy was so interested he invited me for a beer next time we crossed paths to discuss using film to shoot.  He had already had a few so we’ll see if we meet each other again.

I developed these images myself.  First time I’ve actually done 120 film developing.  I had to look at a few YouTube videos to see what might be different about developing 120.  There’s not much that’s changed from 35mm.  One nuance is rolling the backing paper off the negatives in the black bag.  I did it all by feel for the first time.  It wasn’t hard, the paper has a distinctive feel so it’s easy to pull off.  The Patterson reel had to be widened to take up the 120 film, again no big deal.  I developed using the same times as 35mm film.  The times for these shots (2 rolls) were 6:30 minutes for the roll exposed at 400iso and 10:30 minutes for the roll exposed at 800iso in HC-110.  I don’t have a scanner yet for 120 film.  I have started looking and am considering an Espson scanner.  At Photokina this week, Epson announced new high end scanners so I may take a look at those.

The detail is nothing short of amazing and considering the relatively narrow depth of field shooting wide open and the slower shutter speeds which varied from 1/30 second to 1/60.

The Rollei is a definite keeper now that I own it!

As always, thanks for reading!

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