The Brownie goes out to play in the snow

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by heqm, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. As I noted in a post some months ago, my Brownie Hawkeye Flash is the camera I take out in the snow. It's sturdy plastic, mostly, so it doesn't hurt if it gets a bit wet; there are no batteries to wimp out in the cold; and no light meter to make white snow into a medium gray. So the Brownie went out to play in the snow we had here (Washington DC area) in January.
  2. It doesn't show when the pictures are on social media or most web pages, but blown up to do dust-spotting I can see some camera shake on a lot of them. The camera is lightweight and the shutter is slow, so even being careful you get some movement.
  3. The next picture is a brutal thing to do to a Brownie: uncoated lens, one shutter speed and one aperture, shooting into the sun.
  4. The above pictures were on FP4+. I shifted to Pan-F for the following ones, not for finer grain (which wouldn't be useful, given the limits of the lens) but for slower speed on a bright day.
  5. The next one may be the most successful one of the day, taking advantage of the best focus of the Hawkeye.
  6. The Jones Point lighthouse used to guide ships coming up the river, when Alexandria was a seaport (not all that long ago). It's part of a park now, often used by wedding and family photographers for a backdrop.
  7. Snow shoes or skis would have been useful.
  8. Sorry for the duplicate picture--here's the one I wanted.
  9. Here's the path to get to the lighthouse.
  10. That's the legendary Washington Beltway in the distance. Jones Point is outside the Beltway, so the normal laws of physics apply there. And last, the required picture of the camera itself.
  11. Enjoy. I trust those of you in the Northern Hemisphere are now ready for Spring!
  12. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Alan - Very nice workout for a memorable old camera. Had one, age 7 or 8. Still have a few negatives and drugstore prints. I seem to recall that the body on mine was dark brown. Thanks for sharing!
  13. The Brownie Hawkeye was the first camera I bought when I got into classic cameras. It's sitting on a shelf next to me, with its detachable flash. I've had a lot of fun with it.
    Kent in SD
  14. Nice work and great snow coverage. I have one of these somewhere but the lens is very cloudy. Thanks for sharing.
  15. Well, who would have expected such fine results from an old Hawkeye? Great work with an iconic old camera, Alan; considering the challenges of photography in the snow, I think your images are remarkable. Thanks for an eye-opener of a post!
  16. When I was younger, a friend had one. I had a 620 spool and backing paper, so used to use it as a play camera, pretending to take pictures.
    A few years ago, I bought two (for $10) from a goodwill auction, and sent one to the friend. She had almost forgotten about it. I believe it will take a 120 roll, as long as the take-up is 620. Saves the work of respooling, though I now have some VP620.
    I sent her a roll of TMY, which probably isn't the best choice for sunny days, but maybe not bad for cloudy days.
  17. Proof that it's the photographer not the
    camera that makes a picture. Great work!
  18. While users of the Brownie back in the day could count on the latitude of thick emulsion Verichrome film, today you could use an ISO 100 or even 400 and keep several strengths of neutral density filter handy for best daylight exposures. When I get around to exercising my Kodak Duoflex that's the approach I will take.
  19. Not a single selfie...?
  20. What wonderful pics, and of something that I can only imagine in the 30 degree Celsius heat over here! I'm really loving the tones that you have from a simple camera, and also impressed by your resilience!
    Fine post, and just shows that you don't need sophisticated gear to turn in fine pics...the Brownie does look cool though.
  21. Alan, nice camerawork. I would not have expected such good results with the sun glaring off snow in several of the shots. There is some glare lightening the shadows that are near the snow, but that's expected. I too have noticed camera shake with the Brownie - it's hard to hold steady when the tension on the shutter button is released. I've had to press the camera down onto a tripod in order to keep it still.

    Glen and Mike, I shot TMX with my Brownie on a sunny day and thought that the negs were a bit thin. I'm going to try TMY next. Even overexposed a couple of stops, it should work.
  22. As Mike noted, it's a shame you can't load it with Verichrome Pan. But, TMY pulled a little might be good in terms of dynamic range.
    Wonderful pictures. I grew up in that neck of the woods, that's a lot of snow for down there!
  23. Remember their Christmas ads and packaging "open me first"/
  24. My Mom took pictures of me growing up as a small child in the 50s and 60s. She would send the roll off to Scruttland (sp) photo, which I believe was either in Illinois or Wisconsin. A few weeks later she would get her pictures and negatives along with a fresh roll of film. She would keep that roll and load it when she got done with the other one that was now loaded in the camera. She did not have a lot of money, and the Brownie allowed her to make a album of me. Had it not been for her and her Kodak Hawkeye Brownie, there would probably never be any pictures of me at a young age.

    You did a FANTASTIC job with the camera, subject matter and composure. Truthfully, I don't think it would have had the impact in color as it did in these B&W photos. Never thought about the Brownie not being fooled by the snow. I know many camera wants to average the light to make a "perfect" exposure, which with that much snow will generally turn out "gray" snow. Besides any camera shake (I have not delved into looking into that, I know that the Hawkeye had a fixed focus lens. It is the "eye" not the camera that make the "picture". Ansel Adams could have used the same thing and gotten similar results.

    Great Job!!
  25. Thanks, everyone, for the complements! Though I'm not at all sure I'd like to go head-to-head with Ansel Adams, even with a Brownie.
  26. I think I have a roll of VP620 to use with mine. Maybe also FX620.
  27. Alan.. thanks for posting . Very impressed. I have this model too. You did a lot better than I did. Also BTW
    Nice seeing DC. Lived and worked there many years agol Loved the path to Jones Point with the bridge in
    the distance. @ Mike lens was a bit foggy and my roll of Ecktachrome showed this, but it cleaned
    up well and my consequential B&W was ok.. not as nice as Alan did here of course . I seem to recall too
    that a 120 roll will fit but needs a 620 take up. Oh, and Glenn I will happily take the VP620.HaHA. Iich liebe
  28. Chuck, thanks! I'm sure that any competent photographer could turn out good results with this camera, being mindful of the limitations. And of course each one would see something different.
    I have a number of 620 spools, left over from a camera I should have held on to (my father's Duo-Six-Twenty), and I roll 120 film on to them. I either develop them myself or request the spools be returned, and the place I use for processing has been careful so far. My own tests, using other cameras, showed that T-Max emulsions just have a wider range of capture than others, so I would go with TMX, except it seems a shame to waste the fine grain. I haven't explored using the highest-speed emulsions for low-light situations, though that's interesting to think about.
    I have an older Brownie, a cardboard box, otherwise identical in function to this one. Unfortunately there's fogging on the lens, behind the window where I can't get at it. But whenever I want a foggy day and the weather isn't cooperating, I know what to do.

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