Sunday, February 3, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet - January Results Post #1 - Pentax K1000

I managed to get out a few different times with the my SFTC camera for January - the Pentax K1000. This is the first of a few posts to share the results with you.
 
My first outing was to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. I'll start with a couple of shots made there.
Studying the Rockets, by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, SMC Pentax 50mm f1.7 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
The fast f1.7 lens did a nice job here in the Udvar-Hazy museum, where I find photography to be quite challenging. First, there is an incredible number of historic aircraft and spacecraft jammed into a single giant hangar. I mean everything from the Enola Gay (yes, the actual B-29 that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan) to a space shuttle. That makes it very difficult to shoot any particular aircraft without showing parts of neighboring ones, likely from different eras or locations. Second, the lighting is rough there. So, I decided to focus on people interacting with the museum. People are always a safe bet.
 
Gazing Up at the Space Shuttle's Thrusters, by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, SMC Pentax 50mm f1.7 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
For my next outing, I took the K1000 to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. I've posted a picture or two from there recently, as part of my Whole Lotta Leica series.
 
This is a stairway in the gallery:
 
National Portrait Gallery, by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, SMC Pentax 50mm f1.7 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
A main attraction for me at the gallery is the indoor courtyard. Naturally lit, it is also warm in winter. Warm enough that kids can play in the water, as long as their parents are willing to stay long enough for them to dry off before again braving the winter weather.
Playing in the Courtyard, by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, SMC Pentax 50mm f1.7 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
Playing in the Courtyard, by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, Pentax 135mm f2.5 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
I switched lenses, using the Pentax 135mm f2.5 lens for a little more reach. I'm pretty impressed with this lens, which I picked up for a song. I got the 135, a Ricoh 50mm f2 (untested so far, but reportedly a great lens), and a Pentax 50mm f2 for $30. The 135 does not get any love on the forums. But, I'm quite pleased with the results I've gotten so far.
Playing in the Courtyard, by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, Pentax 135mm f2.5 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
Of course, manually focusing it fast enough to keep up with playing children is a challenge, as it is will all manual focus lenses.
 
Here is my favorite image from this series:
 
Be Careful, Sister! by Reed A. George
Asahi Pentax K1000, Pentax 135mm f2.5 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
 
I love how the little girl looks so worried about her sister, judging from her hand gesture. Not sharply focused, but I don't think that takes away from this image.
 
So, how was the experience of shooting the K1000 for a month? Well, you must remember that I grew up with this camera in my hands. So, it felt like going home. I was so comfortable using it, I think that affected how I used it. In the case of the kids at the Gallery, my K1000 got a conversation going with the parents. I sent them some of the pictures, which they assure me are going into their family album. That is rewarding to me.
 
The 50mm f1.7 was always my normal lens. Again, I felt very comfortable using it. The 135mm f2.5 is relatively new to me. It is a challenge to focus well, but when you do, you get nice sharp images.
 
Just carrying around a film SLR draws a lot of looks, and some comments. All positive, like "Hey, a K1000! I had one of those! Maybe I still have it, even."
 
The battery (required for metering but not for shooting in this manual camera) lasted the whole month with no issues. It will still be fine the next time I pick the camera up, too.
 
So, I had a great time with the K1000. In fact, I hesitate to put it down and move on to another camera. But, that's the plan - a different camera from my collection each month of this year. Tomorrow, you'll see the camera I've selected for February - quite a departure from the K1000...
 
I have a couple more posts of results from January to write up, so more to come!
 
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