Archive for June, 2012
The Beaches development in Bang Saray was announced with considerable fanfare in 2008. The brochure describing the development was a little flexible with the truth regarding the location, and the project cannot have been helped when one of the directors was alleged to have absconded with deposits.
Since then, the development site has remained quiet; apart from a half-hearted attempt to start construction of a waterpark.
But now the site is teeming with workers and machinery! Hooray for The Beaches! Happy days for investors in the project! Well, not exactly. Yes, there is finally going to be a waterpark; but the original developer seems to have disappeared and the site has been taken over by Turner Broadcasting for the construction of a Cartoon Network themed park.
I think the sign around the site could usefully be used at many construction sites in the area.
I am looking forward to the interactive water fortress; and throwing she who must be obeyed down a vertical drop.
Note to Spanky: The powder-puff girls will be there; you better avoid.
Many of the recreational activities in Pattaya are conveniently ambiguous.
You can pop into a girlie bar and you may indeed just be going for a beer. On the other hand you might be lining up a foursome with a lady, a ladyboy and another mammal; but that will not be clear to anyone observing you entering the bar.
How about a massage? There are establishments which quite clearly offer only massage; places which quite clearly say massage but offer everything but, and a host of businesses which will provide you with a normal massage, topped off with what is euphemistically known as a “happy ending”.
However, if you walk in here it is very clear what you are in for:
A lady will (preferably, hopefully) don a rubber glove, stick a finger up your bum, and fiddle with your prostate until you have an abrupt and spectacular happy ending. This according to their website, which is refreshingly frank about the service.
Well, whatever tickles you fancy (or your prostate). From a personal perspective I would take issue with the claim that this would be good for my health; she who must be obeyed would kill me if I paid a visit.
When you look through the viewfinder of a Kiev (right of photo), you see two images; one from the viewfinder and one from the other window on the left. You move the lens focus until the two are aligned and then you are ready to take your shot.
Problem is, the viewfinder window shows the field of view of a 50mm lens. What if you are using a lens of a different focal length? The rangefinder focus will still work; but you won’t know what will be included in your image.
Enter the turret. It has a rotating dial with different lenses to reflect the focal lengths of lens available for the camera. You rotate the turret to reflect the lens you are using; move another dial to reflect subject distance (compensates for parallax effects); and then stare into the window at the back to see what you will be photographing.
Yes Spike, very clever, but may I point out that the lenses you have for this camera are all 50mm or thereabouts? Yes, gentle reader, you may. But having the viewfinder gives me management justification for the acquisition of lenses of alternative focal lengths, so I may take advantage of this device. But most of all, it just looks very cool.
Up at 0530 in order to send some visitors to catch the early ferry to Koh Larn. Actually, the sending bit was done by she who must be obeyed; my role was to make the coffee and then crawl back into bed and mutter in a complaining manner.
No chance to go back to sleep, so off to Nong Nuch with the big rig with the intention of trying out some of the techniques in the flower art book. But I was tired, it was hot, and the Canon does not handle easily to perform the manipulations described in the book. So I just stuck it on a tripod and pointed it at things.
One advantage of having a 420mm effective focal length was that the insects in the flowers were not disturbed by the camera; allowing me to capture some fun flower/insect interactions from a distance.
Home. Shower. Tired.
My analogue photo experience continues. After running a few rolls of film to discover I have two working cameras and one that needs a washer; I decided to spend yesterday afternoon being a little more scientific in my evaluation.
I borrowed a couple of she who must be obeyed’s posing dolls as subject matter, and placed them next to a card on which was written the name of the camera, the lens, and the exposure settings. I then spent a couple of hours taking multiple shots with each of the three available lenses on each camera with varying exposure settings; whilst all the time squinting down the rangefinder to focus on an eye of one of my models.
The objective of all this is to make sure both cameras are focusing correctly, have similar shutter values, and to identify the best lens. None of this would have been necessary had the Germans had the foresight to develop digital camera technology and LCD screens before the second world war. Still, if they had I would probably be writing this in German.
A local bookshop ran an “ultimate book sale” last month with 40% off all titles and I picked up a couple of books. Annoying, because this month they are running a “super-ultimate books sale” with 60% off all books; so I had to buy another. It is called “Fine Art Flower Photography” and it has a load of good ideas (and stunning photos) for a super-ultimate price of 384 baht.
Many of the example shots required totally blurred out backgrounds; and I can do no better for that than my Canon 300mm lens. But the lens does not focus very close, so I rummaged around in my store of bits and discovered an extension tube which allows much closer focusing.
She who must be obeyed’s dolls were still posing on the table and so they were used again; this time to see how close I could focus.
The answer was “almost a doll’s head in frame” distance which is not quite as close as I would like; but I’ll give fine art flowers a go; just as soon as I have taken a little trip in order to finish off my two test films.
Note: I realise that my regular readership is already heartily sick of my foray into old cameras. If you are so afflicted; please leave now. Thank you.
She who must be obeyed went into raised eyebrow mode when my second Kiev camera arrived a few days ago. So imagine her reaction when yet another box arrived from the Ukraine yesterday.
No, not really, it’s another camera.
Yes, but it’s the last one. For now (muttered inaudibly, I am not a complete fool). And this one is the best.
And it is, but to explain why I need to reiterate a little of the story previously told; and expand it because I have learned more about these (to me) intriguing cameras.
When the Russians took over the Contax camera factory in Dresden after the second world war, the production line had been substantially destroyed. As a precursor to moving everything to Russia, everything was moved to a factory near Jena in East Germany. Three production lines were set up. One of these was intended to continue the production of the Contax in Germany; and other two were for the production of the same camera for Russia, initially to be called the Volga and then finally the Kiev. In the event; all the production lines were moved to Kiev and the Germans had to start up Contax production at a later time elsewhere.
In the post ware period of 1947-1949, small batches of cameras were produced in Jena. Some were called Contax, some were called Kiev. Some had Contax front plates which were overwritten with “Kiev”. Parts left over from Dresden were mixed with parts produced in Jena (collectors can identify which bit is which) and the differences can be as subtle as the design as the arrow on the rewind knob. But the cameras were essentially the same machine; high-end expensive precision cameras that cost more than a Rolex watch at the time.
If you can find a 47-49 Contax or Kiev then you will be paying big money for a collector’s piece as only a few hundred were made.
Production of the Kiev (camera) in Kiev (place) finally started in 1950; and if you can find a model from this year you are getting something very close to the original Contax, produced at a time when German engineers were on site overseeing production. Quality stayed high till the mid-fifties and then started to decline as tooling was simplified and production targets became more important than quality control. So I was very happy to acquire a 1950 Kiev II.
Meanwhile, back in Jena, Zeiss had been making some of the best lenses in the world. Such was their obsession with quality that “the entire glass works was built on a barge in the middle of a lake to reduce vibration during glass pouring to reduce glass bubbles. Every day workers would hurry to work, before the drawbridge went up in the morning. Once up, the drawbridge did not come down again until the end of the work day”.
One of the best lenses was the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm F2 and the Russians decided that they would like to continue the line. So all that barge-made glass and finished lenses were put on a train and sent to the KMZ works near Moscow. The glass was then inserted into a Soviet made housing and called the Zorki-ZK, and it appeared in a limited number of early Kievs. Once the glass ran out the design became known as the Jupiter 8 which is the most commonly found lens on a Kiev. But my 1950 Kiev II comes with the Zorki-ZK, completing a very collectable package.
It’s not only collectable, it’s also very useable. It’s noticeably smoother in operation than the other two, younger, Kievs. The film advance is much easier, the shutter is quieter, changing speeds is easier; it’s a lovely smooth device to operate; quite extraordinary for something that is sixty two years old. It’s certainly the one I will choose to shoot with on a regular basis, while keeping it as pristine as possible to hand over to The Son when my time with it is over.
With the camera came the original case; and in a pocket in the case was a small card which was provided for the owner to make notes. My card had some paper stuck on it; in German.
Given that this was a camera made in Kiev, and sold to me out of Ukraine, it would be fair to assume it had never been near Germany. The vendor told me that Russians kept exposure settings charts from a German film box to help them convert to Russian film settings. But that doesn’t explain the German handwriting on the front and the back of the card. A little mystery that will probably never be explained.
Right, that’s it for this antique stuff for a while.