Go Retro...

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by sg_adams, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. I've been getting the scanning down better, and while I don't shoot much 4x5, or as much as a I probably should, I dug a couple films out to sample and thought I'd share this one as it is one of my favorite places.
    The camera is a 1964 Crown Graphic late model with a nice top RF and working RF light for focussing in the dark. It is the first Graphic I ever got, and this photo is from the first trip I made packing big camera gear.
    I've been to Lassen National Park numerous times. As a child traveling the country with my folks, as a 12 year old on my first ten night backpack adventure, and almost every year for the last twelve years, sometimes stopping thru for a night on my way round the state coming or going form the north coast or eastern Sierra.
    I try and take the evening sunset walk around this beautiful lake whenever I am there. My folks chanced upon this lake while out for a drive before I was born, as my Mom says she had a bad headache, so my Dad just drove on up into the hills to get out of the Redding valley heat (it was 115 degrees around July 4th when I was up that way this last summer), Mom was napping in the car, and my Dad says he woke her up so she could look out and see where they were. This is very close to the spot where you enter the Park and the lake comes into view. This is a short walk from the entrance station, which as far as I know has not changed in all these years (about fifty).
    Not I understand folks suggest when shooting large format that there isn't any scenery beyond 100 yards form the car, but I stretched it here and it's probably closer to an eight of a mile, and a walk around the lake may be two. It is a fairly large lake, and excellent fishing for sportsmen. It is also usually very peaceful and one can here folks talking across the lake. It gets quite beautiful in the Fall, and this image was shot in the first week of Oct I believe.
    The film is Provia 100, and the lens is a junky old 90mm 6.8 Angulon in a bad shutter. It was an inexpensive lens, so I tried it. I still use it as I haven't found it necessary to replace it. Not that junky after all.
    So, for me, to go back to this place always has some nostalgia, and brings me back to those days traveling in 1970's vehicles, frame backpacks, campfires, and just being there...
  2. And if just getting there is half the fun, and I'm thinking retro, I thought I'd show you all another photo of the classic camera image pursuit vehicle....and it's been to Lassen quite a few times including last July.
  3. And if that aint enough to get you thinking retro adventure...
  4. I now haul my classic landscape photography kit with an old style frame pack. Complete with my boyscout patches from the 70's.
    Only the top photo is 4x5. The middle is my Nikon 35mm with Velvia 100, but I really like this shot. Aren't the White Mtns cool !
    And the backpack shot is my Crown 23 with Reala 100 roll film.
  5. Great shots and fun too. Proof that life is better when we simplify. Love that VW Bus.
  6. I went up Mt. Lassen in one of those buses (71 pop top), but it was 32 years ago! I don't have the bus any more, but I still have the two cameras I took along, a Nikon F and a Leica IIIb.
    Nice shots, by the way.
  7. Mine is a '71. And, did you get out and do the hike up Lassen Peak?
  8. Lovely pictures; I had driven through Redding a few times in the 60s and 70s. Thanks for the post. The pacific Coast twilight is very different from that in the East or Southeast; unique! Regards, sp.
  9. I don't remember if VW has any different color for their 71 pop-top van
    The 1600 cc engine and the one barrel carburator were incredible. I rebuilt the carburator in 1 1/2 hrs including R&R with a $5.00 rebuilt kit, tune-up with points and condenser kit + 4 spark plugs 1hr for $10.00. The VW camper-van was on its way for a year of trouble-free...
  10. Minh, the pop top Westy also came in red. I have a tin top Westfalia similar to the one shown by SG Adams.
    The VW Bus does make a nice hauler for nature photography. With the old upright Beetle engine, it's slow going up through the passes, but lots of ground clearance for Forest Service roads. That engine only makes around 52 net horsepower at sea level.
    At 10,000 due to the lack oxygen that figure drops to around 37 horses even with a major retuning of the carb to include changing jets. At 12,000 feet hp drops to around 34, which means lots of 1st and 2nd gear driving, which is ok by me on the unpaved Forest Service roads.
  11. Hey S.G., nice PAV (photographic assault vehicle). I've driven a few of those over the years...if memory serves me right, you never really got heat from the heater since it was such a distance from the engine to the heater vents up front. Brings back some memories though. I used to fish Manzanita in the early 1980's, with a '82 Datsun King Cab hauling a Coleman tent trailer...
  12. Andrew, I loved reading about your VWs. Our family first camped with a Puma tent trailer pulled by a 1968 Dodge Coronet 440 station wagon with the 383 V8. With a 2 barrel carburetor it was rated at 290 bhp. It wasn't tuned when we drove the Going To The Sun Road in the Rockies. My dad had the accelerator pinned to the floor near the top and we were going about 15 mph. The Dodge wagon was later replaced by a 1973 Plymouth Sport Suburban wagon with a 360 V8. The '68 Dodge was the first car I drove. It was faster than the Plymouth but not as large or comfortable. Today I drive an '08 Honda Odyssey minivan. What are the specs? It weighs about 4,350 as equipped. It's about 202 inches long. The engine is a 3.5 liter V6 with 4 valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. It's rated at 244 hp SAE Net and about 240 ft. lbs. of torque. The transmission is a 5 speed automatic. I can see that future models may get a 6 speed or 7 speed transmission or a CVT. The mileage? Nothing to write home about. In very cold weather and with local driving it's about 15. In good weather on the highway it can get 22 or a little more. To top things off it has stability control and as many stars as you can get with crash tests ffrom all angles. I would love a hybrid or a diesel to improve the mileage but I enjoy driving it. It's a great family car. 0-60? Less than 36 seconds.
  13. I like those VW vans. In Mexico in 1982 I tuned up an old rental van on the side of the road to Teotihuacan. I filed the badly pitted points and set the gap with a Swiss Army knife and a matchbook. It ran fine after that and got the eight of us with our climbing/hiking gear on our way.
  14. Jeff, if you have the family with you - stick with the Odyssey. Just don't take it off road.
    I believe at one time old Ansel himself had a station wagon with a platform built on top. As long as there was room for a chair or a stool, I'd be good to go.
  15. I was traveling with my (then, now ex-) wife on a long cross country excursion, and we did not take the time to hike very far. 'twas a long time ago, and I don't remember all the details anyway, but although we did wander around some, we usually were on a campsite-to-campsite schedule, as well as traveling off season and worrying about snow on the way home, and didn't linger too long. The old bus took us very far with almost no problem, undaunted by logging roads, detours, mountains and deserts. Slow but sure.
    I loved those 71's, and have had a variety of old VW buses, but alas, here in New England, the rust et them up. The 71 camper was retired in about 1982, when the sub frame holding the rear axle rotted right off. I put the engine into a 71 sunroof bus, and drove that until one day I yanked on the seat belt and the anchor came up along with a six inch piece of the floor. I gave it to a friend who thought he might fix it up, but while he thought about it, the engine fell out on the ground. I gave away my last one, a 73 with a non-Westfalia poptop, a few years ago after it had languished in the barn for nearly 20 years awaiting serious engine work (blue smoke through the heater gets tiresome). It's been a long time since I had a vehicle you could pull the engine out of, do a valve job, and put it back in, all in under two hours! Or that you could take the carburetor out of, rebuild it on a picnic table in Nova Scotia by lantern light, and know you'd be back on the road in the morning.
  16. Great shots, great fun. Thanks.
  17. WOW! Great shot of Manzanita Lake! I caught the largest rainbow trout I ever caught up on Lassen. Great camping area!
  18. The way you write about this area, I'd almost think you were conceived there.
  19. My first experience with a VW van was when I was four. My father bought a brand new red and white '66 camper. It too was not very strong, however it did bounce over every obstacle my father could drive over. It continued to do that until it too rusted apart. We had later camper vans where the suspension was softened up to accomodate the comfort factor. Seatbelts were an option. The one thing I will never forget was my mother's head bouncing off of the ceiling of that '66 in early 1971. My parents had just bought a 50 acre parcel of land and that was their first time driving in. A few potholes were filled in since then.
  20. Great landscape pics SG , and nice scans. Being a Kiwi, I live with my back against the mountains, and my kids grew up with packs on their backs. I think you might like it, down here...Thanks for sharing.
  21. When the Honda was brand new we drove it up Mount Mansfield. It was a gravel road and was pretty steep. There was more than enough power on the way up. I was more worried about the trip down. You don't want to know what the brakes smelled like when we finally got to the bottom. I had driven up and down Mount Washington years earlier with my 1983 Dodge Omni with the 5 speed stick. This was much worse than that. I must have put two years of wear on the brakes in one afternoon.
  22. People would ask if my how long it took my 69 VW van to warm up. The answer was always the same, 'till June'. Always wanted to put blackout curtains on the windows and make a portable darkroom out of it, sadly, never got that idea past the planning stage.
  23. Great comments...
    Yeah, you can't use the heater with the windows all up. Mine cranks, but even with new heater boxes in the rear there it's still pretty deadly. I use it sparingly. I added some carpet over the wheel wells in the front that the seats mount to, and carpeted the floor in form and back and that helps with all the metal around your feet and legs. Worked pretty good this fall, and right now as it's unusually cold in San Pedro these last few days.
    As for the engine, I have a few extra horespower with a speed feeder for the squirels. I'm currently trying a small stroker engine which has been working out rather well. We built a moderate performance engine using the 1641,, piston size, but with the longer stroke it came to 1866 or thereabouts. Mild cam,dual 40 carbs, complete head work-over, and combined with stock compression seems to have turned out a great traveling motor. It seems a big improvement going up or down steep windy mountain roads. It has good slow down and mid range power due to the longer stroke. Top end passing power fell off some compared to my big bore 1914cc engine, but that one is thin walled and gets pretty hot in the summer. The bus starts to get pretty floaty at high speeds anyways.
    I also run a suplimental oil filter, cooler and pan sump, which brings my oil up from a little over 3 qts to 6. That makes a huge difference making the long drives in the summer. When I added the extra sump the engine ran noticeably better when things heated up.
    Spare parts? You can't carry everything, but I travel with a set of new cables, belt, one complete rear drive axle with cv joints, fuel pump, and a few other odds and ends in the tool box. Last time up in N.Cal I put a gal's exhaust back together on her Vanagon and even had a set of gaskets. Which reminds me I should send a pretend invoice...just for fun. So yeah it's a fun vehicle once you get out of big city traffic. If you look up "love-hate" relationship in the dictionary there is a picture of my bus. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes, especially if it gets windy. Sometimes it's best to just go to ground.
  24. John, oh you know it ! this fall in the mountains I still had the summer 20wt50 oil Valvoline Race I run in it and you can actually hear the oil flutter my extra cooler if you try and rev it before it gets warm enough. It can take quite awhile. They recomended tranny fluid in extreme conditions, but have to drive slow.
  25. My old PAV was a 1964 VW beetle, which was still retro in the early 90's when I was driving it. It got me around Southern California, from the beaches to the mountains, and across the deserts. No air conditioning, but I was tough, so I didn't care.
    In 2005 I bought a new Jeep Rubicon, and that was the ultimate vehicle for photography. I took it out to the desert and went places than even the ATVs coudn't get to. The locking differentials in the front and back made all the difference. I had a safari rack mounted over the roof, which I could stand on (or even put a tent on). But gas mileage sucked (especially on those 5000 mile roadtrips) and as I lived in Miami most of the year, it wasn't super practical. I ended up trading in the Jeep for a new Pontiac GTO. The GTO was much more fun to drive than the Jeep, and with 400 horsepower and a 6 speed trans, it got me where I wanted to go much more quickly.
    Now I'm living in Japan, car-free for the moment. My PAV now is an old Schwinn Phantom bicycle, much more retro than my old Bug.
  26. SG, those first two shots are great. Do you have a roll film back on your camera or are these crops? I have a 90 Optar that I got for my Graphic View but it looks like it won't reach infinity unless I get a recessed lens board or move the center tripod clamp on the rail to behind the rear standard.
  27. Hi John,
    The first image is full 4x5 Provia 100 using double sided sheet film holder. I was using a Crown Graphic which makes infinity easy even with a 65mm. The Graphic View does need recessed for 90mm I believe, but I don't use mine with short lenses. The best mate I've found for my GVII is the neat little Kodak 203mm Ektar. Which I used these for the image below with a 120 roll film back. You can really get up on things with this set up.
    The Lassen image as I noted is the 90mm 6.8 Angulon, similar perhaps to the Optar, but not the same lens. I've compared them. The Optar is a pretty OK lens, Nice coating and reasonably sharp for contrasty images. The Angulon however is a pretty impressive lens for what it is. There's two people sitting across that lake to the left in the shade on a picnic bench that are pretty clear in a proof I had made from an 80MB drum scan. Not too bad on my flat bed at 2400dpi though a little fuzzy.
  28. The Ektar 203mm is a scarry lens. Supposed to have some sort of cult following. I haven't spotted anyone following me around yet, but I've only taken it out in the mountains a couple times. It is really sharp, great coverage, light weight, which is nice when you have extended bellows like in the image above. I need to use it more.
  29. sg, your photos make me want to go backpacking! great shots!

Share This Page