Allen's Blog

Posts tagged ‘classic’:

Classic Cars at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance

Note: If you enjoy these images, I’ve uploaded many more to our social media channels. Please enjoy them no matter which platform you prefer: Facebook, Flickr, Google+.

Taillight from a classic ChevyFor almost 20 years, a big event on the local calendar has been the annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, a great competition and display of beautiful U.S. and foreign automobiles, with a separate auction of another group of classics. Back in the ’70s, I started photographing (on Kodachrome, of course) details of vintage cars. Never the whole vehicle, just intersections of color, chrome, and beautifully formed sheet metal. Over the years, these images were published widely, including as a group of posters for a Japanese tire company.

As digital photography took over from film, I held back on resuming the project, since I wasn’t sure the technology would be up to Kodachrome standards. But my Nikon D800 (with the 105mm macro lens) has leveled that playing field. I got lucky this past weekend with fine weather and a superb array of automobiles. Unless you know a whole lot about great old cars, or you’re beyond a certain age, some of the names may meet with a total lack of recognition. In any case, here’s a sampling. I deliberately stayed away from the Ferraris, Porsches, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce/Bentley examples… they’re a dime a dozen around here.

Even Buick, for a couple of decades now seemingly the choice of no one under the age of 70, was well represented by some 1950s beauties… does the name Roadmaster provoke a shiver of recognition?

Tail fin from a classic Cadillac Delahaye emblem and grill

A car-loving photographer's dream afternoon!

Things Used to Be Simpler (Until It Came Time to Use Your Weston 650)

We recently had dinner with friends here in Connecticut whose home is a casualty of Sandy. They didn’t live on the water but near enough so that the storm surge made their home for the past 40 years, unlivable. They are lucky in that they have insurance and have found a new home.

They’re taking the time now to look at all they have accumulated and make some decisions about what goes and what gets tossed. When they arrived at our home, Peter brought a box filled with truly obsolete cameras and miscellaneous photo gear of no great value. No vintage Leicas, Nikons, or Rolleis,though; the only camera that had sentimental appeal was a Kodak Retina IIIC, which I coveted in the mid-1950’s.

But also in the box was a Weston Model 650 light meter (now gifted to me). Made in Newark, N.J. in about 1936, this is one of the earliest light meters, and if you’re a fan of Art Deco designs made of Bakelite, it is just beautiful. The photos (front and back) show that this is no fast and easy way to calculate exposure, particularly now that most photographers have been lulled into setting even the most sophisticated cameras to “auto” and leaving it there for as long as they own the camera (don’t get me started on this subject).

Weston 650 light meter

No instructions included, but once again a quick trip to leads straight to the original manual, courtesy of Mike Butkus in New Jersey. Mr Butkus relies on the good nature of his site’s visitors to send a small payment for the downloadable files on just about all cameras, etc.

Using the Weston meter was a complicated process — in-camera metering wasn’t an option when I started 45 years ago. The Gossen Lunasix I began with was the best product on the market.

My first photo editor at the AP (“We don’t take pictures, we make them”), gave me the magic formula that I used for years and have never forgotten:

For any camera or film, the correct exposure in maximum sunlight is f/16 with a shutter speed equal to the ASA [now ISO] of the film.

So for Tri-X, it was be 1/500th at f/16 (or f/8 at 1/125th and so on. For less than maximum light, just use your eyes and try to figure out how much less light there is… didn’t take long.

So Peter, thanks for the meter — it has a special place on display.

Weston 650 light meter (back)