35mm: Takumar Trek Pt1

I’m determined to get out and about with my cameras more this year. The idea of a “Takumar Trek” caught my eye over on the “Random Camera Blog” (link on the blogs I read page), so I’ve stolen the title, and am going to take my own Spotmatic SPII out for walkies.

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII

Just in case there is anyone out there, who doesn’t know what I’m talking about camera wise, here’s a quick re-cap. Japanese camera manufacturer Pentax, (a name derived from Pentaprism and Contax) introduced the Spotmatic range of cameras at Photokina (Germany) in 1960, it was four years later that they became available to the public in 1964. The SPII, that I have, was the 5th in the line, after the original SP, then the SL, SP500, SP1000 and finally the SPII, launched in 1971. This same year the range of “Takumar” SMC (Super Multi Coated) lenses were released with their seven coatings. Kumao Kajiwara founder of Pentax (Asahi) had a younger brother, Takuma Kajiwara, so the lenses are named after him. Apparently the R was added to make it sound more poetic! Takuma Kajiwara in fact went on to become a well known painter, an American citizen and has been described as “one of the seven greatest photographers in the United States”! On another continent, and completely un-related….

In Dorset (UK), and at one point a stones throw away from where I live, runs the “Castleman Trailway”. In 1844 the “Southampton and Dorchester Railway company was formed, to build a railway to extend and connect the two towns. Charles Castleman was a solicitor working in Wimborne was a key figure. The line opened to the public on 1st June 1847 and due to it’s twists and turns soon became known as the “Castleman Corkscrew!”. In 1888 however a new line (clumsily drawn in by me in green) opened, which took in a new route through Poole and Bournemouth. Traffic grew on the new line, road traffic replaced more of the passengers and their numbers dropped. The final passenger service ran on 2nd May 1964. A large section of the route is now a 16 mile long, shared use (Cycle/Walk/Bridleway) that follows much of the track bed! This route will be my “Takumar Trek!” (in stages I hasten to add).

The train heads towards Lymington Pier

The town of Brockenhurst in the New Forest is rather uninviting to cars. I could find no car park whatever, other than one very small, very expensive one near the railway station. That only took payment through an app from a mobile phone – neither do I have, so I moved on into the New Forest, to more welcoming surroundings. Heading out south from Brockenhurst Railway Station the track did divide three ways. One branch line still takes passengers down to Lymington Harbour right to the pier to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight. The other track continues the mainline onto Bournemouth, the third is our (now train free) route.

The path stretches out into the New Forest, the railway used to run amongst the trees on the far right hand side. I assume to a crossing where “Caters Cottage”, an obvious, once railway building, stands. (Below)

Caters Cottage

The path continues now along the actual track bed. Although on this part of the trek, it’s not actually part of the Castleman Trailway proper.

I took with me both my 35mm f3.5 and my 55mm f2, most of the photo’s were made with the latter. They really are great lenses! The film used was from my long roll of old Ilford FP4 movie film, and processed in Ilford DDX. It was one of those occasions where one opens the tank and peer at the wet film “ohh they look OK!” – “nice and sharp” even as a wet negative.

Sometimes analogue photography is a marvel. To think the above image is made on film 25 years past it’s suggested expiry date, in a camera that has to be over 50 years old, using lenses of the same age, is quite something! This is the point where I actually joined the trail, walked back towards Brockenhurst, then back to the same point. Then out and back the other way – but that I’ll make part 2!

Thanks for reading – if indeed you still are!!

4 thoughts on “35mm: Takumar Trek Pt1

  1. My first film SLR was a Spotmatic II. I bought it in the 90s from London Camera Exchange in Chesterfield. My intent was to use it for astrophotography as I was interested in astronomy at the time and looked longingly at the beautiful photographs featured in Amateur Astronomer and Sky & Telescope magazines, with a hope to take similar photos myself. Most of my efforts were pretty poor, blighted by the orange fog of sodium light pollution of the sort they don’t seem to get in the middle of New Mexico or wherever those abovementioned photos were taken.

    I did take other photos with the camera but, to my regret now, I wasn’t that interested in photography for its own sake at the time, so they are pretty limited in number and mostly family snaps (although nothing wrong with that).

    I kept the camera until 2015, unsused, when I sold it to fund a lens for my DSLR. Then, less than a year later, my love of film photography was reignited and I regretted selling it. Cest la vie, I guess.

    Lovely sharp images you’ve captured with yours!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello!

      A Spotmatic as a first SLR isn’t bad! I had the poor mans version the Zenith 11! That said, they served us well, taught us loading, handling film, shutter speeds, apertures and so on. I’ve got my regrets too about cameras sold off during my film lull years. I had a boxed mint Pentax LX, a Fuji 645Zi, I’ve written about my first Hasselblad, and then there was the Leica Minilux with the 40mm Summicron! Doh!

      I got into astronomy too at one point and cut a hole in the roof of the shed and all that! I used a Meade for a while, and even got as far as having a Canon 300D “astronomised”, in other words having the Bader Filter removed. I don’t ever recall making a decent astronomy photo for all that! Working full time, astronomy never fitted in with the rest of my life, and so after time the interest faded, and I sold it all off.

      The Takumar’s are lovely lenses – I’ve even picked up a M42 – K mount adaptor so I can use them on my ME!

      Cheers and all best wishes – Andy

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shawn! Olympus Odyssey! and the Zukio Zig-Zag I could do with my XA2! I’d need to buy a Minolta for the other two! πŸ™‚ If I ever get around to any of them I’ll credit you for the title! “Voightlander Voyage” “Agfa Amble” “Polaroid Potter” I should go now!! Cheers and all best wishes -Andy


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