October 2007


I finally had the last roll of film from the Baltimore Inner harbor shoot developed this week…. these were with the Minolta Dynax 800si and the Phoenix 28-105mm lens. This is one of my most used Minolta AF lenses, since it spans such a useful range of focal lengths – from wideangle to medium telephoto.

Although it is most useful as a portrait lens, the 105mm is just right for closing in on interesting architectural detail, and the 28, 35 and 50mm focal lengths are always available. I believe that this is the one lens to pack if one is traveling light. I usually carry a Tiffen 812 warming filter in case of overcast or open sky photography and a Tiffen circular polarizer when its bright and sunny out.


Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore
Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si AF camera and Phoenix 28-105mm f/2.8-3.6 lens on Fujis Superia 200 film. I used a Tiffen circular polarizer


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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Early Spring and late Fall are my favorite times of the year for woodland photography. It isn’t because it’s cool and pleasant to be in the woods, but because there are no leaves on the trees then, and it’s the only times of the year that the forest floor gets enough light photograph the little critters, mushrooms and other fascinating organisms that live and die in the rich ecosystem of the forest floor.

In spring, before the canopy greens out and cuts off the light, the typical eastern US woodland has lots of tiny flowering plants with exquisite blooms. These are so small that you’d need to use a macro lens to get a decent sized image and see the detail.

Once the dense overhead canopy fills out, the forest floor gets very little light, so there’s not much in the way of flowers, but there are bugs and beetles galore, strange fungi, lichens, molds, mushrooms everywhere. The problem is finding enough light to take the picture. I’ve used a regular flash in the past, but the effect was always weird and unnatural looking.

To use natural light, I needed fast film ISO 400 etc AND a longer exposure, which needs a tripod. That pretty much limits hand-held photography to taking pictures of rocks, rotting leaves and mushrooms. Little forest critters move pretty quickly, vanishing under leaves and twigs like magic.

A few months ago, I found a Yashica Dental Eye camera with a fixed 50mm f/4 macro lens and a built-in ring flash. It was in great condition except for some very minor traces of battery leak corrosion. I took a chance and made the purchase, with the intention of returning it if I could not get it to work.

I cleaned out the battery compartment with a cotton bud dipped in white vinegar, and that was all there was to it. The camera works fine now, and the 50mm f/4 macro lens is a 1:1. This was the original Dental eye camera based on a FX3 body, I think – the later Dental Eye cameras have the suffix Dental Eye II and Dental Eye III, and they have a 100mm Macro lens. Check out the Micro/Macro section for more information on the Dental Eye.

This is a GREAT camera for woodland photography, and the possibilities are endless. The built in ring flash is powered by a battery pack that is fixed on the bottom of the camera (looks like a motor drive, but it’s not). Most of the Yashica cameras from this era have crumbling leatherette covers.

Mine started off fine, but now it looks patchy in a few places. This is purely a cosmetic issue, and should not deter anyone from buying the camera, especially if you can get it in full working condition with case for less than $100. I guess I will be replacing the leatherette soon.

The ring flash provides an even natural looking light. I’d swear it was daylight if I didn’t know better. There is a small supplementary lamp within the flash to provide some light for focusing. I think I will be using this camera a lot. I ran off a roll in the nearby woods along side a small stream. I really didn’t go looking for subject matter, since I was just running a test roll. This camera is a keeper. Here are some of the pictures…


Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye

Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye
Yashica Dental Eye

Photographed with a Yashica Dental Eye camera (fixed 50mm f/4 1:1 macro lens and Fuji Superia 200 film


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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On the last day of my conference at Baltimore, I lugged along my autofocus Minolta Dynax 800si with the Phoenix 28-105mm lens. This road is leads to Harbor East, which is the former warehouse district. Most of the grungy old buildings have been torn down, and it’s being developed into a vibrant business and commercial area.

Two blocks further down, you can still see some of the remaining warehouses, they are really decrepit, and the neighborhood is generally rundown and boarded up. No trees, just concrete sidewalks, uncared for streets and no place you’d care to stop. I walked through that area one afternoon looking for a decent place to eat, and ended up walking 3 blocks back to the edge of Little Italy. I can recommend Petalos Restaurant for their fine salad.

To anyone who believes all development of older city areas is bad, I’d recommend that they walk along Pratt Street in Baltimore, and go past the ritzy hotels to the older, undeveloped areas, and tell me if they still feel the same. What I am against though is the tearing down of older housing to make for multiple residential complexes, and shopping places filled with the same old coffeeshops.

I wish cities would encourage more diversity in the commercial areas, and make it possible for the smaller artisan shops to afford a location in the newly developed areas. Would be like adding a bit of spice to otherwise bland fare.


Harbor East
Harbor East
Harbor East
Harbor East

Additional pictures of the Inner Harbor area

Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor

Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor

Photographed with an autofocus Minolta Dynax 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm f/2.8-3.6 zoom lens, Fuji Superia 200. I used a Tiffen 812 filter in the shade and a Tiffen Polarizer in the sun.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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I attended a conference in Baltimore in early October, and since I was there for almost a week, from early in the morning to late evening in the waterfront area, I took the opportunity to capture the inner harbor at different times in the day. The meetings were held the Waterfront Marriott which has an awesome view of the harbor from the 5th floor balcony.

The historic buildings all around the inner harbor area are well preserved, and the old shipping warehouses in the Harbor east area are being torn down one by one to make room for fancy new hotels and condominiums.. I suppose that in a few more years, the entire harbor area will be a vibrant commercial and tourist area. I always feel a twinge of regret when historic parts of a city are transformed so radically, but in this case, it will rejuvenate the city, and I am happy for Baltimore residents. Baltimore is a city of great charm, if you know where to look for it. It reminds me very much of Chicago, with all its neighborhoods.

Most of the neighborhoods are human scaled, as the buildings in residential areas are mostly one and two storys tall. Like Chicago, the large concrete, steel and glass towers are concentrated near the waterfront, with the rest of the city still zoned for normal sized buildings. I carried my trusty old Ricoh 500G manual rangefinder loaded with Fuji Superia 200 film.

I will be posting the Baltimore water front pictures in a series of posts in the next few days.


The Waterfront Marriott
Waterfront promenade seating
Waterfront Promenade
Waterfront Promenade

Scarlett Place
Pumphouse and Museum
Waterfront Hotels
Waterfront
Concert venue
Waterfront
Old Steam Roller

Photographed with a Ricoh 500G Rangefinder (fixed 40mm f/2.8 Rikenon) and Fuji Superia 200 film. I used the Sunny 16 rule – f/16 at 1/250.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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I was on the road early, driving to Baltimore trying to beat the morning rush hour. It was unusually foggy on the drive in and I was hoping that I’d get to the harbor before the Sun was high enough to burn the mist off. I was lucky – I managed to get in by 8 am, parked at the Pier V Garage, and rushed out with my Ricoh 500 rangefinder. I was using the Sunny f/16 rule, and it’s a little tricky with the changing misty conditions and fog. Here are the results.


Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G
Inner Harbor – Ricoh 500G

The Inner Harbor looks great by sunset too… these were taken from the 5th floor balcony of the Marriot Waterfront hotel

Inner Harbor – Sunset
Inner Harbor – Sunset
Inner Harbor – Sunset

Photographed with a Ricoh 500G rangefinder (fixed Rikenon 40mm f/2.8) and Fuji Superia 200 film f/5.6 at 1/250 second.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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