Tag Archives: Antiques

My new, old camera

Whoops – I did it again!  I bought another old camera.  I’d never noticed one like this before.  When I looked it over, it seemed to be in good shape – too good to pass up.

Auto Graflex Single Lens Reflex camera

It’s an Auto Graflex Single Lens Reflex made by the Folmer & Schwing Division of Eastman Kodak around 1920.  The company was in operation from 1898 to 1973 and was owned part of that time by Kodak.  They built a variety of models, but by the 1920s this basic design type was typical.  It came in several sizes and some models used roll fill while others used sheet film. This one has a non-revolving 3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ roll film back.

Auto Graflex Single Lens Reflex camera roll film back

The controls work surprisingly well for a wood and metal device that’s about 100 years old. The aperture functions and the exposure times are slow, but could maybe be adjusted back into spec.  Pretty amazing for a mechanical device this old!

Auto Graflex Single Lens Reflex camera - controls

You set exposure by changing the size of the vertical focal plane shutter opening (using the crank and window marked “F”), and how fast the shutter moves over the film (with a tension setting using knob “B” and window “G”).  There’s a handy cheat sheet riveted to the viewfinder hood that translates these settings to equivalent exposure times.  The range from 1/10 to 1/1000 second seems large for a camera of this era.

Auto Graflex Single Lens Reflex camera - settings plaque

The lens is a Kodak Anastigmat f/4.5, with a focal length of 5 1/5 inches (just about equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm full frame camera).  According to the web, it was highly rated at the time.

Auto Graflex Single Lens Reflex camera

The viewfinder is usable but dirty.  I think running film through this would be difficult, since that type of roll film isn’t made anymore.  But I took it out in the back yard so I could look through the viewfinder in bright light.

Here’s a close-up of an image through the camera’s lens on the focusing screen inside the viewfinder.

I enjoyed researching this and playing around with it.  It’s an interesting collectible and looks good in my camera cabinet next to a couple other old Kodaks. You can find out much more about Graflex cameras on-line.  Start with these links:

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Old Car City

Okay, I know the name of the blog is “Central Florida Photo Ops” and I usually write about landscape and wildlife photography.  But Old Car City (http://oldcarcityusa.com/) is a very cool place and I have a scouting report and some photos to show you!

Photographers ParadisePhotographers Paradise

Old Car City calls itself a “Photographer’s Paradise”, and the “worlds largest known classic car junkyard”.  It’s hard to disagree.  It began as a general store in 1931 in White, Georgia.  Over the years it evolved into a forested refuge for 4000+ cars, most more than 35 years old.  Located about an hour from downtown Atlanta, it covers 34 acres with 6 1/2 miles of trails to explore.

The cars stay where they were originally placed.  Some are piled high.  Others rest alone or lined up.  Many are overgrown with vines and some even have trees growing right through them.  Admission is $25 (only $15 if you don’t photograph).  We spent 3 – 4 hours there and I was exhausted before the photo ops were.

Impala convertible - and treeImpala convertible – and tree

Walking through can be surreal – especially in infra-red.

Old Car City IROld Car City IR Pano

Photography here can be challenging in several ways.  I carried my tripod all around the place and the local cat kept showing up and rubbing up against it – not helpful!

Junkyard cat and VWJunkyard cat and matching VW van. It followed us around and liked to rub up against tripods. Not good, cat!

This isn’t a traditional salvage yard – no parts are sold.  It’s more of a museum, although there’s no effort to preserve exhibits.  The cars were saved from the crushing machine, but not from nature.

You can find much more than just old cars and car parts. There are school buses, and tractors, antique toys, wagons, bicycles, and more.  I even read there’s a Cartersville Grand Theater marquis, but I didn’t see it on my visit.

Doll and chairDoll and chair – You can find more than old cars at Old Car City. This was right next to the path – yet it looks like no one’s disturbed it in years.

Safety:  You’ll have to sign in when you pay admission, but there’s no lengthy rights waiver  and a lawyer doesn’t follow you around.  The place could be dangerous though – there’s broken glass, rusty metal and some sharp edges.  Just be careful, not stupid.  Heed the warning signs, stay on cleared paths and off / out of the cars and you should be fine.  Oh, and some insect repellent might come in handy.

Don't open hoods doorsDon’t open hoods doors

My tripod was helpful mostly for Olympus hi-res images – but if you’re not making those I think you can get by without one.  I used focal lengths from fish eye up to about 200mm equivalent and I’d say your wider lenses would be the most useful.

The number of photo ops in this place is huge.  If you go, my best advice is to do a little research before hand and plan out a strategy or two.  Get some larger framed intro shots, but think about concentrating on one or a few categories:  hood ornaments, door handles, dashboards, interiors, decay, rust, textures, vegetation on vehicles, etc., etc.  The possibilities are huge.

Click on these photos to see them larger on Flickr,  and I have more images from Old Car City collected in his album.  You can also look through many more photos from there via the Flickr “Old Car City” search page results.  And you can find out more on the Old Car City web page.  Here are a couple more links with info:

If you get a chance, go by Old Car City.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Cracker Christmas 2016

Lynn and I went out to the Fort Christmas Historical Park this morning and met Nancy T. there for the 39th annual “Cracker Christmas“.  There are craft vendors and historical demonstrations and it’s a great way to revisit some of our Florida history and maybe find a few unique gifts for friends and relatives.

The Union SchoolThe Union School – Originally established in 1906, it was expanded in the 1920s and used until 1969.

I was glad to go since I was hoping to make some photos for a blog post.  I haven’t done any photography all week until today.  Which is why this post is a bit late.

Victrola and RCA Victor recordVictrola and RCA Victor record

One of the small buildings at Fort Christmas has a nice display of Victrolas and Edison phonograph machines.  They have recordings too and it was a treat to listen to one of their wax cylinders from the late 1800s or early 1900s.

There was live music too:

Skeeter Creek bandSkeeter Creek band

Other things I enjoyed seeing were the tractor displays:

Farmall TractorFarmall Tractor

And even the old furniture, some of which was very ornate.

Dragonfly and flowers chairDragonfly and flowers chair

There was plenty to eat, too – although we left before lunchtime.

This post is a first for me.  All of the photos are from my iPhone (in JPG mode no less!) with a bit of Lightroom magic added.  I also carried my micro 4/3 cameras, but for some reason ended up not using them.  Curious.

You can read other posts I’ve written about Fort Christmas at this link.  And I’ve collected my Fort Christmas photos in this album on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Rectaflex update

I first posted about this back in January of 2012.  Surprisingly, it’s become one of my most popular articles and “Rectaflex” is now a common search string leading to my website.  Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about the camera and so I thought I’d add this info to bring anyone interested up to date.

Early 1950s, Italian Rectaflex film SLR kitEarly 1950s, Italian Rectaflex film SLR kit.  This is a multi-frame focus bracket, stacked in Photoshop.

A lot of the new information first originated with Andrew Fildes, a photographer in Australia who also collects cameras.  He too has a Rectaflex and saw my post.  He emailed me, initially to make sure I knew how collectible these cameras are and we had an interesting email exchange.  Here’s how the conversation started:

“Just spotted your post about the Rectaflex. Good grief.  Has anyone told you yet what you’ve got there?  … The most common Rectaflex in working order is worth about $1000, Unusual models or rare ones (‘Specials’) can go up to $20K or more… (The lens cap is a $150 item if clean) … looks like you’ve got the Angenieux 35mm f2.5 there as well but the other one – 10cm f2.8 Meyer? That’s unusual!  Even the rings and cases are worth a lot to collectors.”

I think the collecting market has calmed down a bit since then, and the copy I have isn’t in working order so I don’t think it’s worth all that much.  Still – it was an exciting email!  I wish I could’ve asked Lynn’s Grandfather about it – I’d like to know his story behind the camera.  Andrew said that a lot of his information came from the book Rectaflex The Magic Reflex, by Marco Anonetto.  I bought a copy (included in the photo above) and it’s a wonderful resource if you want to find out more.  It seems to be out of print now, but if you search the web, you can find copies.

I got another email recently from Bosse, who lives in Olso, Norway.  He’s very knowledgable about reflex cameras including the Rectaflex and he’s posted a huge amount of info on his website at http://www.pentax-slr.com/108413508.  Boss confirmed that mine was manufactured for USA sale, probably around 1950.

Although I still can’t find out much about the 10cm f/2.8 Meyer lens, there’s more info on the web now about Rectaflex than there was in early 2012.  If you search, you’ll get many hits  for your reading pleasure.

So that’s my post for this week.  By the way – have a wonderful holiday season!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

I'm not a car photographer, but…

With any endeavor, you have to sometimes push yourself and attempt things outside your comfort zone.  And the stated purpose of this blog is to let people know about photo ops in our area.  So, when my friend Vince W. told me he had extra tickets to the 42nd Annual Daytona Turkey Run Hot Rod Show and Swap Meet at the Speedway in Daytona Beach and invited me along, I was more than willing to go see what it was all about.

Intake manifoldIntake manifold

Well, it’s all about cars and car parts.  You can see all kinds of vehicles from fully restored antiques to low riders, dune buggies, and yes – “parts cars”.  And you can buy or trade autos and parts of all descriptions.  So many that I don’t know how they keep track of them all.

As far as photo ops are concerned, there are many of those too.  The place is crowded, with people as well as cars.  Like I said, I’m not usually a car photographer and I found it tough to isolate my subject in the composition.  I’d suggest a wide-angle lens that would let you get in close but still fit the cars in your frame.  Or bring a telephoto or macro lens so you can concentrate on details.

Surfin' CadillacSurfin’ Cadillac

I enjoyed the experience.  If you have any interest in car photography, antique autos, hot rods, or you just need some parts, you should go to the next show.  It’s held on Thanksgiving weekend & the 4th weekend in March each year.  You can click on the link in the first paragraph for more info on their site.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos out of your comfort zone!

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

One way to improve your photography

If you want to get better at photography, you can find a lot of free advice on the inter webs.  Buy a new camera or lens, use new software, travel to an exotic location, take a workshop or a course, read books, study the masters, etc.

My free advice isn’t any of the above and it won’t cost you as much money as some of those things will.  And I don’t see it come up very often on-line.  Take my advice and not only will you learn new things – you’ll be exposed to different genres of photography, and you’ll be able to practice what you’ve been exposed to.  What’s the secret?

Join your local camera club.

The weather’s been gloomy around Central Florida recently.  solid grey clouds, rain and drizzle, and not much light to make photographs with.  So I was happy that there was a Still Life Event at the Orlando Camera Club meeting last Monday.  They brought in interesting items to photograph and had tables, lighting, and backdrops to use for set up.  I brought a camera, tripod and flash (although with my tripod, I ended up not needing the flash).  It was a lot of fun to choose items and arrange compositions.  It’s something I don’t usually do – but that’s a good thing.  Here are three photos from that evening.

TelephoneTelephone

Keb Mo bluesKeb Mo blues – Playing around with compositing: I made the foreground shot of the guitar & Blues sign at the Still Life event.  I added the background photo of Keb Mo that I made at his concert in the Plaza Theater in Orlando on Feb. 1 2012. 

Wrench, bolt, and lockWrench, bolt, and lock

I belong to the Orlando Camera Club (http://orlandocameraclub.com).  I’ve also attended meetings at the Port Orange Camera Club (http://www.portorangecameraclub.com) and the Oviedo Photo Club (http://oviedophotoclub.com).  Membership in any of these will benefit your photography.  Some things most clubs offer:

  • Photo competitions in different genres with feedback
  • Events (like the still life one I went to)
  • Guest speakers on many related topics
  • Workshops (free or inexpensive) about many subjects
  • Field trips to local photo ops
  • Libraries of photo books that you can borrow for free
  • And other people with similar (and diverse) interests to share your passion with

I’m sure that wherever you are, there’s a camera club that you can join too.

Here’s one other post I’ve written on still life photography, and you can see some of my other still life photographs in this set on Flickr


Update on the blog hosting change:  It does look like the transition’s been successful.  The email subscriptions seemed to go out ok last week and I haven’t received any problem reports.  One issue I’m aware of is that the move appears to have broken RSS subscriptions.  So If you’ve come here directly to find out why your Central Florida Photo Ops RSS feed isn’t working – I’m sorry.  I don’t think I can do anything about it.  You’ll have to re-subscribe.


And finally, I’m sure you heard that Leonard Nimoy passed away on Friday and will be buried today.  Of course I didn’t know him, but I felt I knew his famous Mr. Spock character that saved the day (and even the universe) so many times over the years.  May he rest in peace.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos! And live long and prosper.

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Settlement at Barberville

The Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts in Barberville, Florida was founded in 1976. Lynn and I first went there when our kids were little – sometime in the 1980s. It’s grown a lot since then and the non-profit organization that runs it has kept it up and added many more buildings and displays than I remember.

Three of us from the retired chapter of the Photography Interest Group went over on November 19th.  The centerpiece of the campus is the original Barberville High School.

The Schoolroom
The Schoolroom – This is in the Barberville Central High School, built in 1909.  It was added to the National Register for Historic Places in 2002.  The window light and the wooden floors and desks were lovely the morning we were there.

The photos in this post are from just four of the buildings / displays that you can tour.  There are 22 in all.  I have photos of several more that I haven’t processed yet.  As I finish them, I’ll add them to this Barberville set on Flickr.

The store below was originally at the turpentine operation in Bakersburg, Florida.  It was moved to Barberville in 1984.

The H. L. Wynn Country Store
The H. L. Wynn Country Store – Get your insurance and your livestock feed, all in one place!

The only building at Barberville that isn’t from Florida is the log cabin.  It was built by Mr. Jim Lewis in 1875 in southern Georgia, and moved to Barberville in 1992.

Log Cabin Porch
Log Cabin Porch – complete with laundry!

The blacksmith’s shop was built in 1987.  The Florida Artist Blacksmith Association uses it for their monthly meetings and to work on their projects.

Tools of the trade
Tools of the trade – I love the huge bellows and the overwhelming number of tools available.

Check out the Pioneer Village web site for much more information.  They have many special events scheduled including their upcoming annual “Florida Christmas remembered”.  I think it’s worth another visit back to see the decorations.

Barberville is only about an hour from Orlando – right where SR 40 crosses US 17.  It’s well worth the trip.  If you have kids, they’ll like the exhibits, demonstrations, and animals.  Adults will enjoy seeing how Floridians used to live.  And as a photographer, it’s another “target rich environment”.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Wild Orchids and more at Fort Christmas

I follow Florida Hikes and they tweeted about wild orchids blooming at Fort Christmas,

Fort Christmas Historical Park is east of Orlando close to Orlando Wetlands Park.  I’ve written about it before:

I hadn’t ever seen Orchids in the wild and I hadn’t been out there since 2012, so this was a big enough motivation to make me want to visit again.  I ended up exploring with Tom M. on a morning last week.

Once we knew what to look for, the orchids weren’t hard to find.  There were a lot of them higher up in the large live oak trees.  The strong back light, wind, and distance made them hard to photograph well, but with a longer lens, a flash, and some careful camera positioning I managed to isolate these blooms against a dark background.  I like the colors and background, which remind me of an oriental flower painting.

Wild Orchids
Wild Orchids – Up in the live oak trees. Two frames, with flash, different focus points, hand merged in Photoshop.  I believe these are Florida Butterfly Orchids (Encyclia tampensis).

Sunflowers were also blooming in one of the small gardens on the site.

Sunflower bloom
Sunflower bloom – In the garden. Single frame, ambient light.

We also spent some time looking around inside the buildings.  You’re free to enter most of them as long as you’re careful.  And since we were there on a mid-week morning, there weren’t many other folks around.  Until two busses of summer camp kids showed up around 10:30.

In the bedroom
In the bedroom – Single 1/2 second exposure at f/8 for depth of field. I didn’t have a tripod, so I rested the camera on the window sill

Antique fixtures and appliances fill the rooms.  These and the wood and fabric textures make for some very photogenic settings – perfect material for a bit of nostalgic, B&W processing.

In the kitchen 1
In the kitchen – I was able to hand hold this one when I opened the aperture to f/2.8. The depth of field is acceptable since there’s nothing too close to the viewpoint.

Here are some photo hints for you:

  • For the orchids, you’ll probably want a longer zoom lens, a flash, a tripod and remote release.
  • Some of the flowers and other items would make good macro subjects.
  • For photos of the building and room interiors, I found a wide-angle lens very useful.  A tripod might be handy for this too, but I was able to brace my camera and / or use the pop up flash to eliminate camera shake / blur.

I’ve posted other photos from Fort Christmas in this set on Flickr.  It’s a wonderful year round photo-op.  And the blooming orchids in the summertime are a nice bonus.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Crystal River, Weeki Wachee, Micanopy, and Cross Creek

We’ve kayaked at Crystal River before but wanted to explore the area a little more.  So Lynn and I decided to take advantage of our long weekend and went back last Saturday.  It was a very beautiful trip – relaxing, great scenery, and good weather too.  We reserved two kayaks for 8:30am from the Crystal River Kayak Company and were on the water before most of the crowd got there.

Lynn gets pretty far ahead
The canals in the area can be pretty. Sometimes it takes a while to position my kayak for a photo and Lynn gets pretty far ahead.

In the winter months, manatees are all over this area although we didn’t see any on this trip.  It’s warmed up so much they’ve moved on.  If you’re planning to kayak here, it’s best to go early in the day.  We drove by later and the water was very crowded – not at all like what we experienced the first thing in the morning.

The hotel where we stayed was right on the water, so I was hoping for a good sunrise or sunset view, but was disappointed.  There weren’t any good sight lines east or west and even though we drove around a bit looking, we couldn’t find a spot close by.  I’ll have to do more research before our next trip.

So … on to Plan B.  The deck next to hotel pool was right on the river, next to dive shop and restaurant / bar.  For some reason, the evenings were crowded and noisy, but before dawn there was no one around!  So I got up early on both mornings and wandered down to the water.  It was extremely calm both days with a full moon.  Perfect conditions for some pre-dawn, long exposures.  I made several images and I like this one best:

Calm harbor

One view from the water by our hotel.  I wanted to show the sailboats and reflections against the sky.  It was about 30 minutes before dawn, and so dark that it took me a few tries to frame the image the way I wanted.  The sky colors were a bonus – I couldn’t see them at the time.  I was lucky the water was calm and the boats didn’t move during the 6 second exposure.

In addition to the kayaking and relaxing, we also had several good meals and especially liked Charlie’s Fish House.  There’s lots to do in the area too.  We enjoyed stops at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park on the way over, and Micanopy and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park on the way back.

the Weeki Wachee live Mermaid show

Weeki Wachee mermaid.  

Weeki Wachee State Park has a live mermaid show, a glass bottom boat ride, a water park and canoe / kayak rentals.  It was crowded when we stopped.  We saw the mermaid show, but the line for the boat ride was over an hour long.

At the corner of Cholakka Blvd. and Seminary Avenue
At the corner of Cholakka Blvd. and Seminary Avenue, Micanopy, Florida.

Micanopy is a good place to look for antiques and photograph historic buildings in an “old Florida” setting.

The farmhouse at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in
The farmhouse at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek, Florida. She wrote her books on the screened porch.

We had a great trip, but it was too short.  There’s way more to see and do in this area and it won’t all fit into a single weekend.  We might have to schedule another visit soon.  You can see a few more photos from Crystal River in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Blog Maintenance (and another camera)

Just a short entry to let you know that I’m working behind the scenes to re-organize Categories and Tags used on the blog.  Since I started writing “Central Florida Photo Ops” in May of 2007 they’ve grown a bit too haphazardly, and now it’s time for me to get organized and efficient.

So I’m restructuring the Categories to serve as a Table of Contents.  The main ones are location-based so that a visitor can quickly see all the entries about a given place.  You can reach the Categories from the pull down widget on the right.

The tags will function like the index in a book.  For instance, when I’m done, you’ll be able to click on “Bird” in the tag cloud on the right and see a listing of all posts that mention various kinds of birds.

I’ve already started working on this, although it’ll take me a while to go through all 236 published posts and update / correct each one.  But as I work on it, it’ll gradually improve and when I’m finished it’ll be better than it was.  As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

And just so we don’t have a blog entry without a photo, here’s a couple of images of another camera acquisition.  It’s a somewhat well used, Leica IIIc 35mm camera made in the late 1940s.  I need to clean it up a bit, but I’ve already run some film through it and it works pretty well.

Leica IIIc 35mm rangefinder camera
Leica IIIc 35mm rangefinder camera: front view

Leica IIIc 35mm rangefinder camera
Leica IIIc 35mm rangefinder camera: top view

You can see other photos of collectible cameras in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.