Sunday, February 19, 2012

Utilitaire 12.2: Breakfast/lunch/coffeeneuring (and camera supplies)

Signage at the Black Cat Coffee House

To fulfill my Utilitaire 12.2 item, I rode a few miles over to Black Cat Coffee House to try it out, and to pick up some camera supplies nearby. My first time at a new coffee house, I usually try a basic cup of coffee, to see how they do. For example, when I tried that at the relatively new Cartel Coffee Lab in Scottsdale, I was rewarded with what seemed like an overly labor-intensive, yet delicious, cup which was created with hot water delivered at a precise temperature for a measured period of time from a skinny spouted pot through a Hario V60 ceramic cone. I almost felt like the barista should sign it when she was done. Anyway, nothing that fancy at Black Cat when you order a cup, just a fresh, hot, and tasty brew. I also observed a cyclist park out front in "just a minute" mode, go in, fill up his water bottle, and leave. Not sure if the water is triple filtered or not, Steve, but it was free.

Just a minute, S-works, he'll be right back with some cold water

Having sampled the coffee and carefully documented all the information required for my utilitaire control card, I went on to buy some film and batteries for a camera. Plan A was to resurrect my Olympus XA2 and put a roll of film through it to see if it still worked.

Plan A. Previously used to take hundreds of photographs.

Plan A fell apart after I loaded the film up and found that the XA2 doesn't sprocket correctly any more. All the film I put through it must have worn it out a little bit. It's been from Paris to Chiapas, taking great photos all along the way, so I won't hold a little sprocket wear against it. Time for Plan B.

Plan B, I've taken even more photos with this. Auto aperture priority, plus manual mode.

Plan B, my Olympus OM-10, was the nicest camera I could afford when I bought it, which wasn't very much, but it still seems to work, although I sort of recall that some of the last rolls of bulk-loaded Tri-X I put through it had some frame registration issues, like they overlapped because the clutch or ratchet on the advance lever was a little iffy. We'll see, I'm going to go ahead and shoot a roll to see how it turns out. 

Plan C, Sanei Sangyo Samoca 35 III (Japan, 1955), no meter, no electronics, no battery, all manual

Plan C is of course older than Plan B, and will probably still be working long after I cease to be. It has any shutter speed you want as long as it's 1/100th of second or slower. It was the first 35mm camera I used, I got it from my dad, it's totally manual, and I never used an exposure meter. Since developing film seemed pretty expensive to me back then, I was very motivated to become a good exposure estimator. I probably can't do that anymore, at least not without practice, and if Plan B falls apart, we just might find out. Plan D is an Olympus IS-2, but I know that works, and it's all automatic including the autowinder, so other than the really nice zoom lens, it would seem a lot like taking pictures with a digital camera, except having to pay for every photo including the blurry / dark mistakes.

We have a nice hike planned for Sunday. There should be some excellent scenery available for the Plan B camera. If I remember how to work it.


  1. I just realized that I don't know what I did with my old film camera.
    Probably tossed it off a cliff.
    Or something.
    There's only like two places I know of here that still do film.
    For the artsy fartsy folks.

    1. I developed a few rolls of C41 process many years ago, I probably could do it again, if all else fails. Hey if I did it in the summer in the garage sink, getting everything up to temperature would be super-easy.

  2. I know what you mean about Cartel! Went there during a trip to see family last year. Coffee was tasty, though! So you would recommend Black Cat?

    1. MG, certainly recommended. I need to do some more detailed comparative coffeneuring rides: between Black Cat, Mama Javas, Urban Beans, and Cartel, I have my work cut out for me: tough, but someone's got to do it. I see a Cartel V60 in my near future...

  3. You carried all those to go get coffee? I use my lousy Trek lock for "just a moment" mode. I imagine Black Cat would fess up about any filtering if asked nicely.


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