Street-Parked 1953 Ford F-100 Gets Yet More Old-Camera Love

Old cameras are much like old cars, but smaller and (usually) cheaper, and so I’ve amassed quite a collection of photographic hardware from the 1890s through the 1960s and taken those cameras to document races, junkyards, and whatever other automotive subjects catch my eye. When I acquire a new (to me) camera, most of the time I test it on a 1953 Ford F-100 that has lived in the same Denver parking spot for years. Last time we saw this truck, it had been documented with a pinhole camera made from a 2002 Camry side mirror, as one does, and now I’ve done some F-100-photography experimentation with edge-case films and old-school flashbulbs.

We’ll go in the chronological order of camera manufacture here, which means the 1911 Kodak Brownie No. 2A Model B is up first. This is a pretty decent affordable box camera for its time, made to shoot 116 film (I had to fabricate some spool adapters to run 120 film, as 116 hasn’t been made since the early 1980s), and I decided to mix things up by loading it with some Rollei Infrared 400 film and taping a 760nm filter over the lens hole in order to block most visible light. The results were interesting, as the world looks much different in infrared, and I plan to take this setup out to my favorite northeastern-Colorado old-school junkyard soon. Here’s the gallery, below:

Kodak kept the Brownie name going from 1901 through 1986, and one of the biggest-selling models was the Brownie Hawkeye of the 1950s. Mine is the flash version, first sold in 1950 and available through 1961, and this is one of the cameras most likely to have been owned by the original purchaser of a 1953 Ford F-100. Because this camera needs 620 film, I had to load 120 film onto 620 spools in darkness, which is just as fun as it sounds. I shot a friend’s wedding with this camera a few years ago, and I had a few dozen vintage flashbulbs left over. These bulbs came in many shapes and sizes and mostly used exploding magnesium wire to produce blinding, burning light; when you use a flashbulb, you get to burn your fingers swapping in a new one. The Hawkeye Flash takes the #5 GE bulb, which uses the same bayonet base as the common 1157 automotive light bulb… which means you shouldn’t swap them into your friend’s taillight sockets as a sick joke. Here’s a gallery of the nighttime shots of the F-100 I got with the Hawkeye Flash:

Another way to get nighttime film shots is to use very fast (i.e., light-sensitive) film. The very fastest black-and-white film you can get these days is 3200-speed Kodak T-Max or Ilford Delta Professional, so I loaded a roll of the latter into the 1954 Ricohflex VII I bought in a tiny Shinjuku camera shop a few years ago, set the camera on a tripod, and got these photographs of the F-100:

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