Not long ago, I created a self portrait using a camera my grandfather gave me as a prop. Next up, inspired by this post, and the fact that my grandfather had actually given me two cameras, I created the above self portrait.
The camera is a Yashica Electro 35 GSN. Its a classic range finder that my grandfather used for years. He gave it to me without restriction (it was going in a trash can if I didn’t take it), so I’ve been contemplating putting some film in it to play with, or trying to sell it on eBay. The biggest problem with both ideas is that there is a fair amount of dust in the inner lens elements that cannot be cleaned. Also the light sealing material around the camera back has degraded and is sticky and worthless.
When I saw the inspirational post above, I decided to make a go of it with the Yashica. It is mounted on my tripod in portrait orientation so that the camera back could hang open at the bottom. I then put my D5000 on top of a light stand’s 1/4-20 stud and adjusted the height so that the center focus point was right in the middle of the Yashica’s lens. I then set the D5000 to manual exposure and focus, and added an off-camera flash behind an umbrella next to the subject, which threw a little bit of light on the front of the camera. Next came the part I was worried would be impossible–trying to focus both cameras at once. On the D5000, I hedged my bets and set the aperture to f/9 for decent depth-of-field, while the aperture on the Yashica was set wide open to allow my mug to shine through. I then focused the D5000 on the front of the lens of the Yashica. The Yashica’s shutter was set to bulb so that I could hold it open as long as needed. With remote release for the D5000 in hand, I sat behind the Yashica and opened its shutter. I then moved myself around so that a) the lens of the D5000 was centered in the Yashica’s lens and b) was as in focus to my eye as best as I could determine. A handful of shots later, and I had a couple that I liked.
The pictures above and below have been rotated 180 degrees from their original orientation since my face in the lens of the Yashica was really upside down from how I was sitting. Here’s another version, a little more pulled back.
Incidentally, I really wanted to try to accomplish the same thing with the Kodak Autographic Junior, but my arms weren’t long enough. Only my eye is visible through the lens.