It’s been a few weeks since we got back from Birmingham, Alabama, and I finally got around to developing and scanning some of the film from the trip. Tried something new this trip, and, instead of carrying the usual arsenal of cameras, lenses and assorted photo gear, I settled on a single camera; the Agfa Isola 1. This is a neat little rig. It is a lightweight, fixed lens rangefinder which dates back to the 1950s when it was introduced as a travel camera. Its feature set is limited, offering just three focus settings using a distance scale system. It lacks auto anything. This little camera takes 120 roll film and churns out 6×6 negatives (12 to a roll) which have a dreamlike quality about them.
Pixel peepers and resolution fanatics will be disappointed, but those with a more carefree aesthetic will appreciate the creamy tonal rendering (especially with a slow black and white film like Ilford Pan F Plus), selective center focus, silky smooth bokeh and slight vignetting the uncoated lens produces.
Took a walk one afternoon as the sun was beginning its slow westerly descent and decided to bring it along for the ride. Took a number of winding residential streets uphill from our friend’s house where we were staying and parked in the small day use lot for The Vulcan Trail. This level, paved and tree-lined 1-mile trail hugs the ridge of Red Mountain (aptly named for the rich, ruddy colored iron ore deposits which were found within its rocky interior, and which helped give birth to a vibrant steel industry) as it follows the path of the former L&N Mineral Railroad, and offers up spectacular views of downtown Birmingham.
Can’t wait to go back there and do the entire trail. Rumor has it local trail advocacy groups are trying to connect The Vulcan Trail to a neighboring series of larger trails which, if successful, would offer trail users a spectacular way to walk/hike/bike from Birmingham, Alabama all the way to Atlanta, Georgia! Wow!