Recomposing my “Mail Pouch Tobacco” photo

God, how long ago did I take this picture?  I think I was still writing for my old blog.

Mail Pouch Tobacco barn, Dutchess County, NY
Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn. Nikon D700 camera, 50mm f/1.4 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Well, in any case…

I’m always fascinated by vintage advertisements on the sides of buildings.  “Ghost signs,” faded brickart, that kind of thing.  It’s kinda cool to see an advertisement that has outlived its product.

I’ve shot photos of this barn in the past, and I’ve entered these same photos in competition, but nothing ever came of it.

But now I have a new ultra-wide panoramic camera, my Krasnogorsk FT-2 “Raskolnikov” shooter.  It’s a snow-capped Saturday morning… And I’m still trying to fine-tune the things Raskolnikov can and can’t do.  Every shot brings me one step closer to mastering this Russian gizmo.  So let’s see what happens.

Experiment with Krasnogorsk ФT-2 “Raskolnikov” camera

PARAMETERS: To shoot the Mail Pouch Tobacco barn and capture the barn, the street, and the atmosphere.  Atmosphere sunny.


One roll of Svema 100 film, expiry 2009.

One roll of Kodak Ektar 100 film, nice and fresh.

Kodak Ektar 35mm


On Saturday, January 10, I packed two rolls of 35mm film into the special Krasnogorsk holders.  Roll 1 – my last fresh pack of Svema 100 film.  Roll 2 – a pack of Kodak Ektar 100 film.

The test – to see how well this camera works with sunny conditions.   The fastest speed I can get on this camera is 1/400.  And I’m shooting with 100-speed film, with the camera’s only available aperture as f/5.  So again… this is a test.

I arrived at the shooting location at about noon.  There was still snow on the ground, and absolutely no traffic on the road.  And there it is.  The Mail Pouch Tobacco barn in Staffordville.  Deep in the heart of Dutchess County.

Okay.  Let’s set up the camera gear and –

Uh-oh.  Red signs on trees.

Now if you’re a hunter, a trapper, a fisher or a photographer, red signs on trees are bad news.  Red signs often mean that the area is considered private property, and that no hunting or trapping or fishing or anything else is permitted.

Ah, but there’s one loophole.  The streets are not “private property.”  So as long as my tripod and I remain on the streets and don’t step onto the grass or the forest or any other area… it’s all good.

Just to be safe, though, I kept looking around after every shot.  Just in case the property owner might come by and enforce the red sign’s rights by serving me with a document from the law firm of Smith and Wesson.

First up – a few shots with the Svema.  The Svema did well for me in the past; so let’s see if my last fresh roll still has some kick to it.

“Excuse me,” said a voice from behind me.

I turned around.

“If I run to the other side of the road, I won’t ruin your photo, will I?”

Jogger.  Considerate jogger, in fact.  I let her go by, and waited until she was completely out of frame before I continued shooting.

And I got these pictures.  Oh man.

Mail Pouch Barn 1
Mail Pouch Barn a la Svema 1. Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera, Svema 100 film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Oh my.  My my my my my.  Take another picture.  Don’t waste the moment.

Mail Pouch Barn 5
Mail Pouch Barn a la Svema 5. Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera, Svema 100 film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Damn those look good.  Those look Lynda Carter with the tiara and bracelets and golden lasso good.

Now it’s time to get a few shots out of the Kodak Ektar.

Car pulls up behind me.  Oh crap.  I know what’s going to happen; it’s the property owners and they probably just called the police and I’ll have to find someone to bail me out –

Driver rolls down his window.  “Are you okay?  Do you have car trouble?”

“I’m fine,” I replied.  “Just taking pictures.”

“Okay,” he said.  “Cell phone service is bad around here, and I saw your car parked over there.  But I see that you’re taking pictures of the old barn.”

“I hope that’s okay,” I said.  Please let it be okay.  Please let it be okay.  Please let it –

“That’s fine,” he said.  “Doesn’t bother me at all.  Just wanted to make sure you weren’t stranded.  Have a great day.”  And he drove off.

Okay, heart, back in the chest cavity you go.

Snap some pictures now, Chuck.  You got lucky twice.  Don’t push your luck a third time.

Mail Pouch Barn C3
Mail Pouch Barn a la Kodak Ektar 3. Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera, Kodak Ektar 100 film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I moved the tripod to the other side of the street… and…

Mail Pouch Barn C5
Mail Pouch Barn a la Kodak Ektar 5. Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera, Kodak Ektar 100 film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Wowie.  Okay the colors need some adjusting… the brown-gray trees are not working for me, and that red barn next to the Mail Pouch barn is too distracting… but…

Holy crap this camera is working out better than I thought!!

And yes I’m going to take one of those Svema shots and find a competition for it.  There must be (Durham) at least one competition (Durham) that takes panoramic photos (Durham)… better keep that photo in my back pocket.

At least until I come up with a better picture.  But if nothing else, this camera is giving me a lot of hope for the future.

And that’s a very very very good thing.