Another wide-ish M42 lens: Yashinon 35/2.8

Yashinon 35/2.8

Mandi decided to drive an hour to get her hair done at Sprout in Baltimore a couple of weeks ago. She talked me into getting my hair cut too, but since man hair is tamed 3 times faster than lady hair I was left to wander around Hampden for an hour or so.

I’m not much of a shopper, but Hampden has a lot of antique shops and a couple are more like junk shops, which I think are awesome. Antique shops are boring, but a junk shop? You could find anything in one of those! Hampden Junque is easily the junkiest of the lot, a pretty small shop with shelves crammed with curiosities. In a dark corner I found a jumble of photographic equipment, including this Yashinon 35/2.8, bargain-priced at $10.

It looks pretty good overall: the aperture blades move well, the focus is smooth (a little tight though), there’s no sign of fungus inside, and both a rear cap and funky cross screen filter were included. There’s a little dent in the focus ring, but that doesn’t seem to be the cause of the stiffness – I think the grease inside is just a bit old. The big difference between it and my 35/3.5 Super-Takumar is the 2.8 minimum aperture, which provides more light for easier focusing. The Yashinon seems just as sharp, and I think I like the colors a little better. It’s not a must-have, but if you’re looking for a decent 35mm screw-mount lens this is a fine choice…especially if you can find one for $10!

Fells Point

LA to San Diego and back

We went to LA and San Diego to meet up with Mandi’s parents and nephew, go to a wedding, do some work, and whatever else we could fit in. In LA we stayed in Santa Monica so I wandered around there a bit. There’s a nice path along the beach that I walked south to Venice Beach and back. We had beer and other things I don’t remember for dinner at a place on the Third Street Promenade and then more beer and sausage at the Fifth Amendment Alehouse.

We expected traffic on the way down to San Diego, but it wasn’t bad. Somewhere along the way we got thirsty and stopped at a place called Cafe del Sol that’s right off of I-5. I just got iced tea, but the bubbling vats of mystery meat caught my eye.

Beach walk Santa Monica sign P
Continue reading “LA to San Diego and back”

New fave photo app: TiltShift Generator

The iPhone camera isn’t all that great by itself. Fortunately, there are a bunch of great photo apps that can make your photos look better. My new favorite is TiltShift Generator, from the same person who made QuadCamera, another fun photo app. TiltShift Generator doesn’t really turn the iPhone into a tilt-shift camera – what it does is closer to digital “miniature faking” – making regular photos look like staged miniature models. Here are a couple of examples:

One end of the Takoma Park festival. Guy at the Washington Monument.

…and a couple more from San Diego:

Bette on the Midway. View from the Midway.

The app makes it very easy to position and configure the sharp spot. There are also color and vignette controls that I like to use to give photos a sort of “toy camera” appearance.

Playing with c2g in Gimp

I learned about the very cryptically named c2g GEGL operation in Gimp from this post at the Linux Photography blog. I like to convert soft wide-open photos to black and white, but I’m not always happy with the results – when I increase the contrast to get the black parts like I want the transitions between black and white often get weird and eroded. c2g doesn’t always work well, but I especially like it when I blend a c2g’d layer back into the original image – the results remind me of colorized Civil War era photos. Here’s a before-after, the first with just a levels adjust and the latter c2g’d and blended back in.

Monument & ChannelChannel & Monument

I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this to every photo, but I’ll probably at least give it a try now and then.