Antiquing... in a way

May 01, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

One of the perks of my day job is meeting a lot of interesting people. Many of the more interesting, unique people are also very nice people to be around. Such is the case of my new customer base, especially my new customer Joe. He was a photographer in WWII for the navy and was just a fun, fun energy that walked in the door one day!

One of the reasons he stopped by was to show me a camera a friend gave him. It was old - enough that it took film - though it was Nishika "new" in the box. As I got to looking at it more, it had four lenses on it, and advertised itself as a 3-D camera. Joe wanted to know more about it, so off to Google I went. Turns out, it was in the lineage for one of the first designs of 3-D cameras, which used lenticular prints to show in 3-D. A bit more research, and there was even still a place in Canada that made the lenticular prints! (At least as of a few years ago.) To top it all off, Joe's buddy found the thing at Odd Lots for $4!

Fast forward a couple weeks, and Joe stops back in, this time with two cameras. The first was an ancient Kodak Brownie that his grandmother owned first, and the Nishika. After we got done talking through the Brownie, he handed me the Nishika and told me I could have it, only on the condition that I showed him some prints. I agreed - in my head a bit reluctant that I'd ever be able to get a real 3-d print - and Joe took off.

Now, I've been thinking for a few weeks about what to do, what kind of photo to take. One of the other projects that has been going through my head lately is a photo shoot for my new car. I'm a fairly avid reader of the Strobist blog, and so I've wanted to find a cool way to light my car one night. One of the things that struck me as I was toying with the Nishika one night is that it has a hot shoe mount. My mind didn't want to believe it at first; a real hot shoe on this old, basic, cheap 3-D camera. Now the wheels were spinning.

There are lots of things that are going to make this tough and expensive: There is almost zero control over the camera itself except the 3-position switch for the aperture, but even then, I don't have an exact number for the aperture itself. This is going to require lots of film, and lots of bracketing with the flash. Also, the camera's shutter speed is a mystery as well, so I don't know how much ambient fill I'm going to get, meaning I may have to light every individual thing I want lit up in the scene. Plus, my lighting skills are still growing, so I'm going to have to spend a few nights just trying to get that right (along with taking lots of notes!).

So, I suppose the first thing to do is make sure I can still get some lenticular prints made. Followed by making sure the camera still works as advertised. Lots of work, just when "Summer" is starting to keep me busy! All in all, though, I think this is going to be an awesome adventure!


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