NEWSLETTER 21.09.2020

Hello to all of you, and welcome to this weeks newsletter!

This week the focus has been post processing and sorting through the latest landscape and snapshots done on the Olympus. There has also been a lot of time spent editing on mobile and learning a couple of new mobile editing apps that I have found to really enjoy. I will have a review of at lest one of those apps next week. I have also been very eager to get to do some landscape shots with the Flexaret, but the autumn winds have now started up north. They are not your typical breezes, and right now there are gusts of up to 25-30 meters per second outside my window with the rain being basically whipped around. I have had to bring everything laying outside in the garage, and the trampoline of my daughter is strapped down with 4 ratchet straps to our terrace! I guess we can say that it is no weather for an old analog TLR camera even though it is well built:) When the tripod wants to fly I am drawing a line:) So, sadly, the Flexaret is still waiting for action, but hopefully there will be some openings in the wind in 2 - 3 days.

Even though I have not gotten to use the Flexaret yet I am, as you will see, ready as a hungry dog to start shooting, and here I will go through how I will meter and set up and shoot with it. Just to inform all newcomers here(big hello and welcome by the way!), this blog is a learning as we are going dive into our trials and errors. We are not new to taking photographs digitally, but the analog side has been recently picked up again from decades ago. I will bring up the Flexaret or any of the PentaxΒ΄s when I find significant things learned and helpful tricks that I find useful. I might repeat some things by accident, but mostly because I think they are important or helpful in the use of the camera. You can sign up to the blog in the top right. You will then get informed every time the newsletter gets released:)

So here is a run through of how I plan to shoot long exposures with the Flexaret:

On this first picture below is my tripod, Pentax ME Super, a cable release and the Flexaret II.


My tripod is a Sirui T-2004XL. It has been nothing short of fantastic in every way. I have used it in rain, snow, ice, storms, sunshine, sand & wind. This is a sturdy as hell quality built tripod, and it has been worth every norwegian crown I spent on it. Luckily I took the advice of not saving money on that. It will haunt you, trust me. I have had my share of dodgy tripods, and there is nothing worse than a blurred image when you thought you nailed it. Good photography equipment isn't cheap. If you put in a little extra on the tripod, it will save you lots of time and frustration. You will have a piece of equipment you can trust and know inside out how to use.

Next up, the Pentax. Why bring this you may wonder? Well, since the Flexaret does not have a metering system I will use the Pentax to meter for me. The reason I am using the Pentax is that its the camera that metered the first film I took. It did a decent job as far as I can tell. I still don't have anything to compare with, so what I use for metering might change down the road. I could of course bring the Olympus to meter, but I feel analog helping analog is kind of right:) The Pentax has a dedicated battery just for this purpose, so there is no risk of the "meter" dying on you. If it would, then there is always the sunny 16 rule. I have taken a picture on my phone with those basic settings just in case it does. It is also an easy rule to remember, and If you are stuck you can google it up:) I actually do have an old Sixtus light meter I could bring, but the instructions are in german, and I haven't gotten around to learn it yet. This little beauty will surely be a thing for a future post:)

Under the Pentax is the cable release. This is a pretty short one, but I also have another longer one. The reason I am bringing this one is because it fits perfectly inside the front casing of the Flexaret. These "remote" release cables are completely mechanical. On one side there is the button, and on the other a metal sleeve with threads that you screw on the camera in the designated hole. On the Flexaret this is just under the taking lens, and on the Pentax cameras it is in the middle of the shutter release button. They work by pushing the pin with the button on top by holding it like a syringe. A metal rod will then come out through the tube and push the shutter release mechanism. The good thing about these cables is that they are fairly cheap(bought mine on e-bay)and fit both the Flexaret and the Pentax cameras:) Don't really see any risk of this mechanism failing, but at least now I have two in case I step on one or loose it:)

Last in the picture, is of course the Flexaret camera. It is now loaded with an

Ilford PANF Plus 50 film. That means that it has low ISO which will be good for filters and long exposure in dim or overcast light. You can see how I loaded the film here.

On the next picture you see that I have 4 filters.


Red, orange, yellow and one with a sun cap that is also yellow. I will bring the one with the sun cap and have the other for extra. The filters give different effects on different coloured objects and contrast and light differently. You can check out one video here. I will most likely be using the red filter the most since it is the darkest and will give the longest exposure. I am going to try to take a note on which filter I use for the different pictures to see their differences. Read further down for their individual differences and how many stops to compensate for each filter.

So basically how I plan to get long exposures with this camera is the low ISO and the filters. I won't be getting any crazy long exposures such as with the Olympus. This is because the filters for the Olympus can take me down up to 16 stops plus gradients which can give me an hour in the right light! But I am hoping up to a minute in the right setting. We will see how it goes:)


In order to use the Flexaret on the tripod, I had to get an adapter screw. This is because there was a different standard on these old cameras. Luckily they make them today, and it wasn't very expensive. On the Flexaret you can see it is a bit too long, so I might cut it with my jewelry saw and file it to a nice fit. It still works nicely and fits well with the base plate of the Sirui tripod. Nice thing about this adapter screw is that they have made a big slot so you can unscrew it with a big flat head or coin. Here is how the camera looks on the tripod:


(this is actually a 2 second handheld exposure on iPhone!)

Now to determine how long to shoot with the different filters deploys many opinions online. Like everything else, it depends on what equipment you are using. It depends on how you meter the light, what company made the filters, what film you are using and if you are going for over/under exposure or balanced lighting. I found lots of resources for this

(one here which also gets in to the colours etc. check the charts!),

and what I could average from it is this:

yellow filter: -up to 1 stop down

orange filter: -1 and 1/3 and up to 2 stops down

red filter: -3 to 4 stops down

This will of course be a trial and error testing ground until I find the right resource for the filters I have bought:)

Now all I need is the wind to slow down outside! Come on, come on wind!

I need to get out and shoot:)

I will of course be waiting patiently and excited.

Thank you so much for tuning in to read and I will see you all next week with an update on the analog story and at least one mobile app review:)

Until next time; Keep safe and sound and use caution around town.

Use a mask and antibacterial alcohol when needed to prevent others from getting sick.

May we get through this everywhere soon, Sjur



Where, when & how

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Every Monday we will release the previous weeks artwork in the shop of our website.

The previous weeks artwork will be the pictures used in the newsletter.

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We hope you will enjoy it, and please let us know if there is anything you are wondering or want to share by writing us: back@blacksnailprints.com

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Stay safe, bsp

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