After four days in beautiful surroundings, I’ve taken maybe a dozen photos. I’m feeling like, “Ooh, a palm tree, how original.” Random selfies are more fun. WHO AM I?

I have got to get this contraption fully functional. It’ll do 35mm but not 120.

Focomat IIc. (Nikon F3. T-MAX P3200 @3200. HC-110)

Also gone: This rice cooker. Superseded by the Instant Pot. I think I may have started a project…Project Gone. 🙂

Rice Cooker. (Crown Graphic, Atomic-X, FF Monobath, f/22 for 3 seconds)

Simple Technology

My electric kettle stopped working recently, so I decided to make a large format photograph of it before throwing it away.

Electric Kettle. Crown Graphic, HP5+, FF Monobath

I’ve used this kettle for a couple of years, but we never got along well. I liked the very controlled pour it allows, but all those buttons just to make some water hot?

I had to pull my tea kettle out of storage, so I made a photo of that, too.

Tea Kettle. Crown Graphic, HP5+, FF Monobath

A tea kettle is beautifully simple. You put water in it and set it on a burner. It makes noise when it’s ready. That’s it. It can’t really malfunction or otherwise fail. It has my preferred number of features… one.

And speaking of simple, I processed these 4×5 negatives in the new FF Monobath. Pour it in, agitate every 30 seconds for 6 minutes, and pour it out. Wash and hang to dry. Very simple.

 

Portrait Lighting on the iPhone

Kelly portrait
Kelly. (iPhone X)

Portrait Lighting on the iPhone X can be a fun, dramatic effect, but I’ve yet to see it hold up on anything much larger than a phone screen. The above image of my niece Kelly is a pretty typical example. It looks impressive on the phone, but view it at any reasonable size and it kind of falls down. She loved it when I showed it to her on the phone, so maybe I’m just being too critical.

It’s possible I’m doing something wrong or using Portrait Lighting in situations where it doesn’t make sense, so I’ll keep trying.

Shelving 35mm film for a while

20171229 35mm film camera shelf

I’m taking a hiatus from shooting 35mm film, so I thought I’d share some notes about why.

My use of 35mm film has been driven more by my love of the cameras than by the results I’m getting.

I’m indoors most of the time and even though many film photographers seem to make wonderful photos with the slower speed of film, mine just end up badly-exposed or motion-blurred. I can pretend they’re “art” but if I’m honest they’re just crappy images.

I’ve been carrying the Fuji X-Pro2 or X–100T instead of the Leicas and the results are simply better. This doesn’t mean I won’t allow myself to put a roll through the Leica now and then, but I’m not going to be carrying one regularly.

Shooting, processing, and scanning 36 exposures on the off chance there’s a usable image or two in there has become less interesting. I enjoy the process, but the results have been meh. I tend to give film images the benefit of the doubt simply because they’re film images and that’s not the proper way to judge them.

With medium format, I still love the cameras and, more importantly, the results are better. I often like every image on a roll of 12 6×6 photos from the Hasselblad. This is probably because with medium format I’m deliberately trying to create an image rather than just snapping stuff at random and hoping for the best.

The larger negatives are easier to scan, easier to enlarge in the darkroom, easier to handle, and easier to view. I love that a contact sheet of 6×6 negatives works standalone as something that can be hung and appreciated as-is. I also like making contact prints from 4×5 negatives on 5×7 paper.

And of course the resolution is much greater, if you’re into that sort of thing.

So, this coming year I’ll shoot digital for every day snapshots and reserve medium and large format film for when I want to “make photographs”. I’d like to take lots of portraits using the larger formats. Maybe I’ll get ambitious and actually ask people to sit for me.

It’s an experiment.

Shot some old Impossible Film

Impossible Film for SX 70

I found a box of color film for the SX-70 from the early days of The Impossible Project so I thought I’d shoot a few and see what happened. Not much happened. The coating must have gotten wonky and the shots came out either blank or mostly blank. Oh well, unpredictable results are part of the fun of shooting old film in old cameras.

Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography

Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography | MasterClass 2017 12 23 09 34 15

A Masterclass featuring Annie Leibovitz looked like a great idea, so I paid the $90 and signed up.

I enjoyed listening to her perspective and insights on shooting portraits. She works hard on concepts, plans meticulously, and has a “vision” for what and who she’s shooting. The class, however, felt more like a 2-hour documentary than a class. I can’t recommend it at the $90 price. On the other hand, if you’ve already paid the $180 annual subscription fee for the “All Access Pass”, the class is included and is well worth your time.