February on Film – Roll #2 – 1983 Olympus OM-G

So it’s almost April and I am just getting around to posting my February roll of film. If you want to know more about my roll-a-month project you can check out the first post in this series January on Film. My delay isn’t laziness, it’s the difficulty I am having getting film processed. I have been shooting B&W and to get it developed I need to go to a camera store in a Fayetteville, Arkansas – about 45 miles away. They mail it out to Little Rock where they have a store that still processes B&W. Then they mail the roll back to the store and I have to make the drive to pick it up. It’s not expensive if you don’t count the 180 miles of driving it takes to get a roll in and back.

In February I shot my Olympus OM-G – or OM-20 as it is known outside of the US. It was one of the earlier consumer grade OM cameras. The sound of the mirror flopping was a bit disconcerting at first, I turn the sounds off on my modern camera. I came to like it – the mechanical feel of it. I have a motor drive for this camera – I haven’t used it yet but I can only imagine the sound and fury of that mirror flopping in hyper-drive. For this first roll on the OM-G I shot almost all of these shots with the kit lens – a 50mm 1.8 – a pretty fast piece of glass. On my digital camera I like to shoot with the aperture wide open so that the subject is isolated and the background is either blurred or filled with colored disks – bokeh to us shutterbugs. I love bokeh, creamy bokeh, sparkly bokeh – I never shoot a closed down aperture unless I am shooting the moon. On aperture priority on a modern camera this is pretty easy to pull off. On a 30 manual camera with just a simple light meter, it’s not as cut and dry. You have to set the shutter speed too. I did not know it when I shot this roll, but there is a remedial “preview” button that lets you see what the image through the lens looks like with the aperture held open to the setting you select – it does nothing to give you an idea of what will happen if you change the shutter speed.

I shot this roll on a sunny cold Saturday morning – there was frost everywhere. I specifically shot things that had a strong color to see what was left when you take the color away. I also shot some things that had surfaces that light rested on. I did take a couple of shot with my long zoom – 90-230mm. The film was Kodak T-Max 100 speed.

The fun of shooting film is that you don’t really know what you have until after you drive that 180 miles and fork over 6 bucks to see the finished product. I wouldn’t say these were the best shots I’ve taken. Overall everything is a bit softer than I usually like, but there were a couple of shots I really liked.

50mm f1.8

There was actually frost on this pumpkin. I do love the way the greys in black and white film print. So many shades of grey. It's tough to pull this off in photoshop.

There was actually frost on this pumpkin. I do love the way the greys in black and white film print. So many shades of grey. It’s tough to pull this off in Photoshop.

A close up of the frosty pumpkin - I love how it disappears into the darkness of the shadows.

A close up of the frosty pumpkin – I love how it disappears into the darkness of the shadows.

These dried leaves were still hanging on in mid February. Again shot at f1.8.

These dried leaves were still hanging on in mid February. Again shot at f1.8.

Shot with the 50mm wide open. I love the way that lens creates those circles outside of the area in focus, I hadn't imagined that the effect would be so interesting in B&W.

Shot with the 50mm wide open. I love the way that lens creates those circles outside of the area in focus, I hadn’t imagined that the effect would be so interesting in B&W.

Another shot of icicles on frozen branches. The sunlight almost illuminates the icicles. The smoother bokeh isolates them, making it easier to see what the image actually is.

Another shot of icicles on frozen branches. The sunlight almost illuminates the icicles. The smoother bokeh isolates them, making it easier to see what the image actually is.

Pine needles in the cold sunshine. Very shallow DOF

Pine needles in the cold sunshine. Very shallow DOF

Judy let me take this snap - her smile is so bright in B&W. The dappled light on her face is the result of the sunlight through the leaves above us.

Judy let me take this snap – her smile is so bright in B&W. The dappled light on her face is the result of the sunlight through the leaves above us.

Vivitar 90-230mm f4.5

I mostly shot this to see how much the contrast of the white platter and the dark old wood would play off each other. One thing I love about B&W is that in the absence of color, the sunlight seems so strong on surfaces.

I mostly shot this to see how much the contrast of the white platter and the dark old wood would play off each other. One thing I love about B&W is that in the absence of color, the sunlight seems so strong on surfaces.

Ceramic bird feeders in the sunshine - I had the aperture wide open and enjoyed playing with the DOF

Ceramic bird feeders in the sunshine – I had the aperture wide open and enjoyed playing with the DOF.

Of course – I had to try to get a bird shot in.

I had to try to get one bird shot - I used an old zoom. It was tough to focus a something that moved so fast in the old-school focussing screen. I like the soft look of it.

It was tough to focus a something that moved so fast in the old-school focussing screen. I think I like the soft look of it.

I’ve actually shot 2 rolls in March – I need to get them over to Fayetteville to see what I’ve got. I shot the first roll before I picked these up and shot mostly with the zoom. The second roll was shot with an OM-1 with some new glass I recently acquired so I’m anxious to see what I can do with it. Honestly, I think I am starting to regain the feel for using these old cameras, it’s like muscle memory. It’s been almost 30 years since I shot one so I was more than rusty. More importantly, focusing on the fundamentals makes me more aware of what I am doing on my modern camera – I am refining some of the settings I use, I am taking more care in focusing, I am shooting more like film.

26 thoughts on “February on Film – Roll #2 – 1983 Olympus OM-G

  1. Pingback: June on Film Roll #5 – 1974 Olympus Om-1n | the eff stop

  2. Pingback: March on Film Roll #4 – 1974 Olympus OM-1n | the eff stop

  3. Very nice, Lorri. I love the soft edges and the shot of Judy is just lovely.
    The second icicle shot is amazing.

    • Thanks Vicki. I found that consumer cameras of the era have a very basic focusing screen – so softness is a byproduct unless you take a great deal of time. Today I was shooting the OM-1 and really can appreciate the better optic – even so I like the softness. Judy is such a good sport – I shoot her often. The icicles were a nice surprise.

  4. I’ve been contemplating a visit with my old manual camera. In a world where we’ve come to expect instant gratification, it can be enjoyable to slow down. I have my day’s old Argus, I don’t know if it works even, but it might be fun to see what comes out. I also have a Pentax that I learned on, and lots of film in the freezer! You’ve motivated me, thanks!

    • I’ve found that most old cameras work just fine. My first roll was shot in a 1930’s Rolleiflex that I bought online. It has screws missing from the prism frame – but it works. There are lots of great Pentax lenses out there for next to nothing.

  5. Great shots, Lorrie. I like the shallow DOF. Have you ever experimented with putting a piece of nylon stocking or net over the lens? It changes the shape of the bokeh to whatever material you are using and it can lend itself to some star-burst points if positioned just right.

    Watching your progression through B&W film is a lot of fun and it brings back fond memories.

  6. Great as usual Lorri. I love these shots. I love b&w photos. They seem softer and more inviting. Does that make sense? My favorite is the icicles. I would love that blown up and mounted to hang on my wall!

    • Thanks – it does make sense. We have become obsessed with sharpness in the digital age, I wonder it it’s why we love instagram so much. I like the icicles a lot too – they were one of those ideas that came out better than I thought they would.

  7. Wow these are brilliant… I also like the circular blur of the items out of focus… and the portrait photo in B& W is just brilliant specially with the shadows…

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