Dec 102013
 

USER REPORT: Light & Shadow in San Francisco w/ Zeiss 21mm & TMAX 3200 

By Ryan Melideo

First off, I’d like to give a big thanks to Steve for developing this site and providing so many examples and reviews of new gear in the industry. His insight is definitely appreciated and I think we all feel the same way. I also would like to thank him for allowing me to contribute to the content on the site. This is my first guest posting, but second attempt at one. I didn’t get a response to my first idea submission. What’s up with that Steve?? j/k

I have been doing photography for about 2.5 years. What got me started was when I purchased a Canon 7D to shoot video. Over time, I noticed myself using the camera for more photo than video. I have worked with models and actors in the Los Angeles area for the most part, however over the past year, I have been gravitating to photojournalism and documentary photography and also have been experimenting with composited scenes. I currently shoot with a Nikon D800e as my main camera. I also have a Nikon F100 and F5 that I have been able to pick up dirt cheap used, but in impeccable condition. In addition to 35mm,

I have used a Mamiya 7ii (which I am ever so close to purchasing). I really enjoy using film and like the feeling of actually creating something you can touch when shooting on the medium.

The examples I provided here were taken one morning on a recent trip to San Francisco and were shot in the Mission district. I had brought along my Nikon F100 and a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 with the intension of using some Fuji Velvia as I walked around the city. The first morning, when I went to load the Velvia, I noticed that I still had a mostly unused roll of TMAX 3200 loaded inside the camera! I had put it in the camera weeks before when I was going to be doing some indoor shots of a band’s performance. I ended up not going to the performance so the TMAX was left inside to wait. I decided to head out and burn through the roll so I could get my Velvia loaded for the day. I wasn’t used to seeing a high iso film used in the broad daylight. I thought to myself that it might turn out interesting or it might not, but what the hell I’ll try it anyway! I decided to expose mostly for the highlights and fire away. I was using an aperture of f13 or f16 and a shutter speed of 6400 for most of the shots. I quickly shot through the roll in about 45 minutes to an hour.

When I returned from San Francisco I immediately packed up the film rolls to be shipped off for development and scanning. I usually get my film scanned at www.thedarkroom.com. Their turn times are fast and they have a new scanning resolution they refer to as “super scans” which are scanned at a resolution of 4492×6774. While anticipating the scans, I had really not even thought about the roll of TMAX. I was only thinking about the Velvia shots I had taken. It turns out I was much more interested in the TMAX upon review. I thought that they had an interesting and gritty quality to them.

I processed all of the image files in Lightroom 5 and only made adjustments to further enhance exposure (overall exposure, highlight, shadow) and contrast. No sharpening or other effects were applied. By reducing the overall exposure and painting in exposure in certain areas with the adjustment brush I was able to enhance the eerie feel and make the shots that were taken during the bright morning to appear that they were taken at night or dusk.

Please feel free to take a look at my website for samples of my photo and video work if you would like www.ryanmelideo.com

Feel free to drop me a line anytime!

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Oct 022013
 

“Down The Drain” 

Down the drain

The Future Is In The Past – The Leica Monochrom and Photogravure

Max Marinucci Photography

Fine Art Photography

Silver Gelatin and Photogravure

South Salem, NY

www.maxmarinucci.com

As a photographer and printer, I’ve always seen the advent of digital photography as a mixed blessing. The gain in speed, convenience, immediacy, offered by digital photography, also meant the gradual loss of film and everything related to it (photographic paper, chemicals) and, more importantly, the loss of learned skills and knowledge that are needed to produce truly hand-made prints. I have, of course, continued to use film for most of my work and honed my skills producing quality silver gelatin prints, in a world when a photographer feels like he is constantly swimming against the digital current. Kodak is no longer a driving force and so many manufacturers have disappeared or stopped making photographic product, with Ilford being the only reliable and consistent source as of today. Over the past year, while still dedicated to film photography and silver gelatin, I’ve rediscovered what is the most venerable, and in my opinion most beautiful of photographic processes: photogravure. A venerable process, and a 19th century invention, it was indeed how photography came to life, on paper, at the dawn of it all. On the camera front, as a devoted Leica user, I’ve continued with my trusty M3 and later film incarnations as the M4, M6, M7 and MP, until finally breaking down and acquiring a Monochrom upon release. There was no denying that the allure of a no fuss, great Leica camera that captures images in black and white only was too much to bear but, as my personality dictates, everything has to have a clear purpose. I am not an inkjet printer and I see no purpose in spending a good chunk of hard-earned cash on a camera to simply post digital snapshots on social networks or photography related websites, in a vacuum, with a purely digital workflow. As a photographer, artist and a printer, how do I justify the investment and, better yet, how do I bring the amazingly detailed images that the Monochrom is able to record, to life, on paper? Marrying our historic photographic past to the latest in technology, in a seamless way, and one that offers the viewer, collector, buyer, a tangible product that is not mass-produced but it is a handmade work of art, seemed the one and only way for me.

The Leica Monochrom and Photogravure: the future is in the past.

“The Old Man By The Window”

Old Man By The Window

Because of technological advances within the printing industry, and pioneers such as Jon Cone of Piezography, Roy Harrington of QTR, and Mark Nelson of Precision Digital Negatives (and few others) today it is possible to print absolutely flawless digital positives to use for the photogravure process. Of course, that doesn’t make this amazing process any easier, as it still involves the same numerous (and full of pitfalls) steps as it did one hundred years ago, but one only needs to admire in person the incredible prints born from Leica Monochrom images and onto fine art papers, hand-made with beautiful inks, to realize how special this is. I firmly believe that for a fine art photographer and printer, who is willing to let go of the constant film versus digital battles and discussions, these can be exciting times, if only one is willing to learn and push the boundaries a bit. For my own work it has now come to a point when shooting film with the ultimate goal of making photogravure plates and prints is almost not worth it. Of course, medium and large format film still offer many possibilities but, at the end of the day, film still has to be scanned and that will always be the weakest link (and probably weaker as we go on, as film scanners are barely in production). While results can be more than acceptable with 35mm, and I will still continue on this path on occasion, the amount of detail and the possibilities available with the Leica Monochrom and photogravure are truly exciting and special.

“Porte, Cassis” 

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For the novice who may be wondering why go through the trouble of using such a cumbersome and antiquated process to produce a print, I’d like to again outline a few important points: obviously, for as beautiful as the best inkjet prints may be, there are no particular skills required and no “hands on” aspect. If one enjoys actually “making” something, an inkjet print gives no satisfaction. Then there is the aspect of the print itself. With inkjet, we have ink (and a crappy one in most cases), sitting on top of the paper. With photogravure etchings, the image is IN the paper. What does that mean? Well, an etching on copper is basically peaks and valleys. The valleys are the deep crevices, which hold more ink and create the deep shadows and blacks, and the peaks will hold much less and create the highlights in print. Of course, we have everything in between, for a true full range of tones. What this does is actually creating a relief on paper. The images have a structure and depth that one cannot replicate with an inkjet printer, or with any other process.

“Strength and Grace”

Strength and Grace

The Prints:

All prints are in editions of 20, with image size 12×8 for standard 35mm format and 8×8 for square crops. Printed on Magnani Revere or Somerset papers, using Graphic Chemicals, Charbonnelle, and Izote etching inks. Of course archival qualities far exceed those of inkjet prints and even silver gelatin. Every print is hand made by me, and hand pulled using a manual etching press. Aside from the original digital file and the production of a “positive” on clear film, the process is fully analog.

A word about the Photogravure process:

Please do note that when I say photogravure, I mean, “copper-plate photogravure”. There is another printing process that uses pre-sensitized “polymer” plates and a few “artists” have gotten into the habit of calling it simply “photogravure”. It is NOT the same thing! Copper plate photogravure, is an etching process. A gelatin resist that is first sensitized in potassium dichromate is exposed (using first an aquatint screen or rosin dust), then applied to a sheet of mirror finish copper, developed and finally “etched” in a series of ferric chloride acid baths. The Photo-Polymer process is NOT an etching process and it does not require chemicals in any of its steps. It is much easier to master and prints can be absolutely beautiful but…IT IS NOT “PHOTOGRAVURE”.

Oct 012013
 

Japan 1979

by John Shingleton

In the last couple of years Steve has kindly published a number of my contributions on his blog the most recent two were on the XVario Leica and most recently an opinion piece on the curse of digital photography. Sadly that last story although it was intended to provoke serious thought and reflection generated many what I consider very unfair comments and a level of unnecessary personal abuse and although I pride myself on having a reasonably thick skin the overall experience left me proclaiming that it would be the last time that I ever put my head above the trench with an opinion piece or indeed any other story on Steve’s blog! And yet here I am again.Well this time hopefully noses will not be put out of joint. I originally posted these pics on my personal blog but a number of friends have urged me to give them wider exposure as they are a unique glimpse into another era so here’s the story and the photos.

Back in 1979 I went to Japan on a business trip. Japan was an exotic and mysterious destination then. In Tokyo only the main central metro stations had the station names in western script so navigating the metro unaided was a challenge. Westerners were still very much an oddity outside the main centres. Very few people even in Tokyo spoke any English at all. Taxi drivers spoke none. They could not read western script so unless you had your destination written down in Japanese you could not travel by taxi.

Since 1979 I have visited Japan many times most recently a couple of years ago and it has always been an extraordinary experience. In 1985 I even drove my family without a guide and of course without GPS in a big left hand drive car (Japan is a RHD country) extensively on the north island over the Christmas/New Year period when it was snowing. I must have been very brave or just crazy.

I had my Olympus OM2 SLR with me on that first trip all those years ago. The yen was very weak then against the Aussie dollar so camera gear was a real bargain in Tokyo and I bought a 28mm Zuiko lens for the Olympus. I took photographs in the Kawasaki small motor and motorcycle factories and Tohatsu outboard motor factory I visited. As the light was very poor I used a very fast film, Ilford HPS-which was harsh and grainy . I developed it at home in a very fine grain developer. The photographs were taken on the run as I was on business factory visits -not sightseeing.Focussing was very difficult in the low light and even with the fast film the shutter speeds were slow. Camera shake ruined quite a few of them.

The factories were very noisy, hot, dirty and very crowded. They smelt of hot oil and hot metal. As you can see the working conditions were harsh. OH&S was not a consideration -note the lack of ear and eye protection. It would be so different today.I am sure much of the small engine production is now highly automated or has moved offshore most likely to China and other asian countries.

Today they would be much less willing to allow you to take photographs on security grounds and just imagine trying to focus manually if I had been wearing plastic lenses safety glasses. I was fortunate to record quite literally another time.

Only a couple of these photos were printed at the time. I was too busy with work and a young family to spend hours in the darkroom and in any case they needed printing skills which were beyond me. I found them last weekend in a big box full of thousands of negatives in my garage. With a scanner and Lightroom I have been able to give them their first visibility.

I hope that you appreciate this record of an extraordinary place.

John
http://therollingroad.blogspot.com/be

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Sep 242013
 
Scotland with the Mamiya 7
by Brett Price
Hey Steve,
I thought I would share a few photos and my experience with another rangefinder I had the pleasure of borrowing from a friend for my trip. Thanks again for creating a place where people can do this. I’ve had 3 other posts on your site, all of which highlight my experience with different rangefinder cameras and systems. I thought it would be good to post another :)
I recently did a 10 day trip across the U.K. with my girlfriend. I brought my Leica M7 w/ 50lux ASPH, (I wrote about it also here )  Hasselblad Xpan (I wrote about it also here ) and the Mamiya 7 w/ 80mm f4 that I borrowed from a friend. My normal 6×7 camera is the Pentax 67ii, which I decided not to bring due to the sheer size and weight. It is a truly massive camera and I went this whole trip out of one bag so every pound I could save counts. I was at first resistant to this… I love bokeh and out of focus qualities to cameras and the Pentax has the fastest lens for 6×7 that exists, the SMC 105mm f2.4. It is a fabulous portrait lens that melts backgrounds like butter not unlike the Noctilux. But 2 days into the trip, I didn’t miss the extra weight…
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The great thing about the Mamiya 7 is the weight and usability. It’s not the smallest camera but its footprint against 2 other common 6×7 cameras, the Pentax 67 and the Mamiya RZ, makes it look like a olympus pen in comparison. The image quality and sharpness is superb, it could easily be the sharpest camera system I’ve ever shot with. The predecessor to this camera was the Mamiya 6, which allowed the camera to collapse into itself to make it even smaller to carry. This was such a great design its a real shame that Mamiya didn’t incorporate it into the mamiya 7. The other drawback is the lens speed. f4 is as fast as you’re going to get on any of the available lenses which can be frustrating at times when the light is going down. I can only speak to the 80mm but I’ve heard that almost all of the other lenses are just as good in terms of their performance.
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I had never been to Europe before and I have to say that I suffered a bit from carrying 3 cameras with me. Before I left I couldn’t make up my mind as to which one I could leave so I just took all 3. I honestly wish I would have left one of them behind. Probably the Xpan although I really love some of the photos I got with it. One lesson I constantly forget is that you really only need 1 camera most of the time. If I had just brought my Leica alone I would have made it work and been able to get great photos with it and I probably would have never missed using anything else but alas, that is not how my brain works all the time and sometimes I make things harder on myself. It’s a mistake I’m sure ill make and pay for again and again.
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Overall the trip was great. Scotland is just as beautiful as I always imagined it would be and the people we met while there were some of the kindest I’ve come across. I think my favorite place was St. Andrews, a small little coastal town north of Edinburgh which is probably only know due to the golf course that its famous for. It was the only place out of anywhere we went that had almost no tourism, it felt like we had it to ourselves and for a photographer that is heaven.
As far as the other locations, there are some shots from Loch Lomond, and Beachy Head, UK.
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All images were shot on Kodak Portra 400 or 800, Fuji Superia 400, or Kodak Tri-X and scanned using the Fuji Frontier or Noritsu Scanner at my local lab. Filmboxlab.com
I constantly post to my tumblr brettprice.tumblr.com or my website www.iambrettprice.com if you would like to see more. Thanks for letting me share with you guys again. Happy shooting.
Cheers,
Brett Price
Jul 302013
 

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Downshifting with the Nikon F5

By Mark Hutchens

I was in the south of France recently on holiday and a close friend who lives there loaned me a small BMW with a very big engine in it. If you accept that nearly the entire world has speed limits hindering our enjoyment of such power, it could easily be judged as overkill. However, the sensation of driving that car was incredible. The handling, the torque, the fit and finish, all combined together to make driving an engaging experience. And then the rare bit of straight road allowed for that brief and exhilarating (law breaking) jaunt. Then at the end, a quick downshift, release of clutch and enter the curve at a sane and legal speed. There are qualitative differences in the driving experience, even if it is just getting from point A to B.

This sensation came to me again as I held for the first time an unused Nikon F5 won on eBay from a pawn shop at an embarrassingly low price. For less that $200 I had a mint example of what was the top professional SLR from Nikon for years. It felt like the BMW in my hands, and as I burned through my first rolls of Tri-X and Portra, I relished in a sort of guilty pleasure that I was taking snapshots with a weapon. The finder is the biggest and brightest I’ve ever owned from Nikon. Even my old man eyesight can manually focus with my old AIs lenses. In autofocus, the assuredness and speed of operation is unknown in my medium format rig, even if the negatives are tiny. This camera focuses my nifty fifty like a paper shredder does tissue. An AF-S lens? It’s as if it is tracking my eyeball to focus. The fit and finish is extraordinary, its lightning fast film advance felt like the BMW’s torque.

A friend with a D800 called me a Luddite and winced as if in pain when I handed it to him. It is heavy. I suggested we drop both from waist height and see which one still worked afterwards. He declined. Why on earth would I buy such a big, heavy antique? Isn’t it overkill just for a 35mm negative? I suppose it is, in the same way that BMW is, if all you want to do is move without having fun along the way and not appreciate the nuance in the technology that got you there. Am I using the F5 for its’ intended purpose as a professional sports camera? Nope. Do I need 8 frames per second with 35mm film? Do I really want to chew through a 36 exposure roll of film in 4.5 seconds? Not anymore than I want that speeding ticket, but you never know. There might be a straight road somewhere and my daughters’ real smile may come at any second.

I usually don’t participate in the on line realm because I see too many “purist” folk who think photography is only for art and not for process, as if there are that many artists out there to begin with. I value the process and I accept that my snaps aren’t always artistic. Part of that process is feeling the nuance and capability in the technology that gets me from point A to B, even if it is only a snapshot at the end. I suspect that I will expose rolls of film in my F5 I will never develop, but I will revel in the process itself.

A mint condition F5 costs half the price of the EVF on your most recent camera. Go get one, and don’t let the purist police write you a ticket for enjoying your equipment for its own sake.

Mark

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Jul 262013
 

“In Praise of Film”

(…Yes, even for kids!)

Hi Steve,

Given all the recent posts regarding emulation software, I though it might be worthwhile to send you a bona-fide film post for all the “senseless die-hards” out there. About a year ago, I became one of them… Growing up, I had an EOS Rebel film body, and only pressed the shutter when I absolutely had to. Most of the pictures turned out poorly, and I had no idea why. I thought film was incredibly scary. (And expensive!) Thankfully digital came along…

Thirteen months ago, I was inspired by you and Peter (Thanks Prosophos!) to finally shoot and develop my own roll of B&W film. Thanks to the detailed instructions on his site, the process went flawlessly, and I haven’t looked back since.

I have now exposed about 900 film frames (some good, some bad ;) ) and have since learned to develop my color film as well. The process is incredibly easy, especially if you have the knack for B&W. I have posted a detailed guide on my site at http://iftimestoodstill.net

Included below are five quick picks from my recent favorites. I hope others are inspired to “keep up the art”. Once equipment is purchased, and your workflow is sorted out, it is actually not all that expensive or time-consuming (And yes, I know it doesn’t make sense…that’s why it’s senseless!) …But it sure is satisfying when they turn out well! For me, it will never replace digital, but at least it is nice to have a hobby that most people find somewhat intriguing.

Zeiss Ikon was used for all below; “Dandelion” was taken with Nikkor 8.5 cm LTM and the  Zeiss Sonnar 50 mm f/1.5 was used for the other two color photos. The Voigtlander 35 mm f/1.2 VII was used for the B&W images.

Thanks and best regards,

Mark Ewanchuk

http://iftimestoodstill.net

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Jul 252013
 

Using The Hasselblad X-Pan by Brett Price

Hey Steve,

I recently purchased a Hasselblad Xpan with the 45mm f4 lens and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on it for your website. Thanks again for making a site where people can do this. In light of their recent (laughable) offerings as a company I’m still optimistic they can change course and still make excellent cameras like they used to. Hopefully this semi-review/experience can breathe a bit of hope back into people, even if now its only nostalgia. I’m still hoping for a digital Xpan!

This camera has a cool story, I bought it from a teacher of mine who happens to be the Cinematographer of some excellent films such as Anchorman, Beetlejuice, and Jumanji and it was actually originally purchased while filming Anchorman. I believe he shot around 6 rolls through it total and has pretty much sat inside the original packaging until I purchased it from him. It’s as mint as it gets :)

I started shooting the camera as soon as I received it and I must say, in terms of build quality and feel, it’s as solid as a Leica. I honestly didn’t expect this only seeing photos of it online. For some reason the exterior looks very plastic-y which seems to throw off the conception of weight and build quality. Its pretty heavy for a camera its size but handles extremely well. I personally love shooting with it and its been my go to camera lately. I love cinema and movies and for some reason nothing makes a shot more cinematic looking that being in a near 3:1 aspect ratio. I don’t feel like my photos are all that different from what I typical shoot but this camera gives them a look that is extremely interesting and cinematic.

If you are interested in one of these cameras there are a few things I learned upon receiving it that I didn’t know (good and bad). There is actually a way to make the camera shoot normal 35mm aspect ratio as well as panoramic. There is a switch on the back that opens and closes a set of “blinders” inside the camera. I don’t really understand why this was done or why anyone would want to use it but ok, it’s there. The camera loads the entire roll into the take up reel when you first put the film in, this means if you accidentally open the camera, you probably just flashed most of your roll. I see this as good and bad, the good news is the shots you’ve taken are protected, the bad news is that you might loose a whole roll of film if opened. I doubt this will happen I just found it interested due to the fact it works almost totally opposite of any other 35mm camera I’ve used. There is no shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder (only on the first model is this a problem). So if you shoot on auto you have readouts as to what is being properly exposed and what is over and under. Much like a Leica you have — O + near the bottom of the viewfinder but this is always the case rather than on an M7 it would tell you the exact shutter speed.

The images you get from the camera are sharp. very sharp in my opinion. I don’t really see the tell tale 3D rendering I’m used to with my 501cm but its got a nice unique look to it regardless. Its stiffer to use than you would think, which is a plus in my opinion and its pretty easy to focus with the rangefinder patch being brighter than my M7.

Anyway I bought the camera on a whim and its quickly become one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy the photos. I constantly update my tumblr account with new work if you want to check out more in the future as I update. Its: BrettPrice.tumblr.com

Happy Shooting,

Brett Price

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Jul 022013
 

A discontinued look of Sapa with APS film

by Minh Nghia – Blog is HERE

Today we will be looking at something that is going to be forgotten.

In 1996, Kodak introduced APS film (Advanced Photo System) with smaller size than the popular 35mm: 25.1 x 16.7 mm vs 24 × 36 mm. The crop factor is about 1.44x. It has some advance features like recording aspect ratio, the date and time that the photograph was taken, exposure data such as shutter speed and aperture setting, more or less like EXIF in digital files. Most interestingly, the film comes with 3 image formats: Classic 3:2, High-Definition 16:9 and Panorama 3:1.

Canon-APS

Nonetheless, APS has been discontinued completely in 2011, mainly because of economic reasons (film production/developing cost). Rarely you hear people talking about it, even in film community.

Below are some pictures that I got from a trip to Sapa (highland in Vietnam) on a roll of expired Kodak Advantix 400 APS film using the Canon ELPH LT. It is a very small size Point-n-Shoot (PnS) camera using APS film that I got from my Dad. Some specs of the forgotten camera: fix lens 23mm f4.8 (equivalent to 35mm field of view for full-frame), 1-point autofocus, Program meter, 1/650 – 1/2 sec and weight only 120 grams.

There are only 25 exposures in one roll and that’s all I have for the trip. My favorite setting is High Definition 16:9 ratio, not only the image is more “panorama” but the viewfinder changes as well. That makes a whole difference of how I compose the image – horizontally. The camera is extremely light and small so that I can bring it with me everywhere. Knowing its limitation (fix aperture), I don’t expect much of “creamy bokeh” or alike, but the image quality for landscape shots is quite impressive. Lastly, it feels much enjoyable and special for each shutter count since I was capturing a beautiful landscape of Vietnam – my homeland, on something old & expired with a “discontinued” look. The reddish look with a bit of vignette on foggy days in Sapa becomes a part of my memory.

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May 312013
 

Friday Film! The Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Aspherical: The secret little gem

by Mattia Giovanni

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your great work of divulgation about photography!

My adventure with range finders began unexpectedly in a beautiful autumn sunny day of the 2009. I was exploring an interesting flea market, when I saw an old Leica M3. It was love from the first moment, and my photographic style and philosophy was strongly influenced ever since.

I was already enough expert about photographic techniques and instruments, both analog and digital, but I never used a rangefinder camera before. Was a real revolution! What a great find: I discovered an easy and lightweight stealthy camera, with a precise focusing system for any kind of lighting, at long last!

This camera came with the much-discussed Leitz Summarit 50mm f1.5 in screw mount, adapted for the M system. It was a great combo in my opinion: I really enjoyed the character and the classic output of this old couple, but they wasn’t appropriate for my photo ethnographic and reportage work.

I needed to have a camera that made my work more comfortable with TTL metering, and a lens with a wider perspective. Something like a 28mm or a 35mm, and at the same time a suitable for lowlight situations. To find a new camera wasn’t very hard: I went for a Leica M6. I was excited also by the Zeiss Ikon ZM, but finally the matchless charm of Leica Red Dot kidnapped me completely.

For the lens wasn’t so simple. My dream was the Leitz Summilux 35mm pre-Asph. An absolutely perfect lens for its dimensions, weight and performances, but too expensive for a poor student with only a poorly paid job.

Another possibility could be the Zeiss Biogon 35 f2, but again: no way with its price. At this point, because I did not want to bet on rare specimens by Nikon and Canon in LTM, with a bit of fear I began to explore the unknown shores of the Voigtlander continent.

Initially I found the interesting Nokton 35mm f1.4. It seemed to be a perfect lens: cheap, but small and unobtrusive like the old Lux 35 moreover! My road seemed to be written, but what about the focus shift? Argh! Sadly many sources on the web diagnosed that problem to this lens…

Of course, I could never love a lens with this defect.

Solutions on the horizon?

…maybeeee YES! another Voigtlander: the Ultron 35mm f1.7 Aspherical in LTM!

The only problem was that there wasn’t review available on the web, so I decided to risk and I at the end purchased it.

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What I found?

The little Ultron it’s an hidden treasure. I’m not a pixel-counter and I don’t care laboratory tests, charts and strange artificial reviews, but I’m someone that loves take photos.

And in real life this lens shows formidable skills. With a maximum aperture of f1.7, this lens is suitable for almost every light situation: this is a fundamental characteristic for me because I really love shoot in natural dim light.

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Its 8 elements in 6 groups, with one aspherical surface, produce shots with a great sharpness and seem to show every detail. Even wide open it’s a razor, with only a negligible loss of quality in the extreme borders. The Aspherical surface also protects from the focus shift and avoids distortions: I often use this lens for shooting architecture without perceiving any alteration of the field lines.

The color rendition is neutral, and respectful of the natural tones of subjects; also the saturation is well balanced and without any excess. Its yield, especially in black and white, allows to the films to express the best of their dynamic range also when contrast is very strong.

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Ultron 35 - Fuji Velvia 50 - 03

Furthermore the Ultron shows a nice smooth and buttery bokeh, without distracting elements, though it is not fully comparable to Leica results. Its dimensions are almost excellent, unfortunately is not small like the Nokton 35 or the Summilux pre-asph 35, but not much more, and then it intrudes only a bit in the viewfinder in the lower right corner. Nothing to worry about in short.

The only downside of this lens is the ergonomics. Why? It lacks the focusing tab, and though the focus ring is silky smooth, can be slippery sometimes. Be that as it may, I’ve taken great shots with this lens, and I found a perfect companion for my Leica M6.

Ultron 35 - Ilford HP5 400 - 01-4

If you have the opportunity, you have to try it!

Cheers!

Mattia

May 202013
 

“Leaving Your Comfort Zone”

by Brian T Adams

Hello everyone. My fiancée and I recently went on our first trip to New York City. What a fantastically chaotic place. From all the sounds and sights akin to those in the movies to the chaotic guy on the subway yelling to the cosmos some sort of declaration that scared the hell out of everybody, New York was nonstop. And we loved it.

I wanted to seize the opportunity to photograph a new and foreign place. Yet, this time I wanted to do something different. I almost exclusively find myself trying to photograph landscapes and the occasional structure; sometimes with success, many times not. The more I am consumed by photography in general, the more I realize that a great many of the most iconic photos ever made are of people. For me, the idea of shooting a photo of a complete stranger, up close and personal, couldn’t have been more uncomfortable and awkward. Despite experiencing mild to moderate nausea at the thought of sticking a camera in the face of a stranger, I was determined to come away with some photos of people.

Within the first five minutes of being off the subway in Manhattan, I realized it was not going to be as easy as I had somehow convinced myself it might be. Perhaps I was just initially overwhelmed with it all. Eventually I concluded the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. So, my first bite would be with street performers. I figured I’d give them a little dough and I’d take a couple of photos in exchange…I couldn’t have been the first person to have done this. Looking back, this was the perfect approach to help me get comfortable confronting somebody with a camera.

While I enjoyed this approach, I needed to get a little deeper. Eventually, I just started walking up to people and asking them if I could take their picture. The first couple times I did this, I could hardly keep the camera steady I was so nervous. Oddly enough, though, nobody ever said no. In fact, some people’s reactions were down right hilarious if not absurd. A couple of guys thought I was joking, one looked around in nervous fashion as if caught up in a prank and then fixed his hair when he realized I was serious. Another person, who was sitting on a bench at the time, quickly stood up and immediately got ready; clearly this wasn’t his first rodeo. Eventually, I was taking pictures of random people without saying a word. They weren’t necessarily portraits or even up close, but many times the subjects knew I was taking photos of them and they didn’t seem to object.

To be fair, I have to admit, my nerves got the best of me many times. A lot of the close up pictures I took – even after asking – didn’t come out. Most were because I miss focused (shallow DOF) or had a poor composition. For some reason, I tended to want to put people’s heads in the lower half of the frame instead of the upper half. At least I found out something I need to work on. Keep in mind that I would usually only take one or two of a subject and then move on without looking at the image and some others were shot with film. I didn’t want to waste people’s time so, either way, each shot was a commitment. If nothing else, though, it helped me get more comfortable wielding a camera in public.

Ultimately, I left New York with some photos I like, some epic memories, and a new outlook. I absolutely want to get better at people photography. I had serious doubts about trying a whole new approach to photography. If anybody has been thinking about trying something different with their approach to photography, from my limited experience, it’s worth. If nothing else, it helped me interact with many people I wouldn’t normally have had I not taken their photo. Go out and get uncomfortable.

The gear:

Fuji X-E1 with 35mm f1.4, Canon 5DMKII with 24-105 f4 (great all around lens, nice bokeh on the long end, and I wanted a wide lens for buildings and stuff), and Canon AE-1 Program with 50mm f1.8 FD mount (a $28 powerhouse of a lens). I shot a roll of Acros 100 and a roll of Ilford Delta 100. Most shots with the Fuji and AE-1 Program had a B+W 2 stop ND so I could open the lenses up. I know that’s a lot of gear, but I don’t have a wide lens for the Fuji and I’m not totally ready to commit an entire trip to film (I also wanted to see how airport Xrays would affect film). There was never a time where I was carrying all that at once. I usually only had one camera at a time with me.

Wishing everyone happy shooting,

Brian T. Adams

www.silverspectrumphotography.com

 

The first group is from the Fuji X-E1

fuji.boy.mom

fuji.fuzz

fuji.louis.mendes

fuji.subway.driver

This second group is from the Canon 5DMKII

5dmkii.fireman.smoking

5dmkii.ipad.girl

5dmkii.rockefeller.pointing

5dmkii.sax.player

The third group is from the Canon AE-1P

ae1p.guy.beer

ae1p.guy.brook.bridge

ae1p.painter

ae1p.trumpet.player

May 172013
 

Friday Film: The Leica M Monochrom vs Leica M6 on a wedding

By Joeri van der Kloet – see his website HERE

Let me start with explaining what I do for a living. I am a documentary wedding photographer, based in the Netherlands and a little more than two years ago I switched from a DSLR to the M-system. I work with one M9 and one M9-P and a couple of lenses. Being a documentary photographer, my approach to wedding photography is to capture real moments, without interfering in these moments. For me, and for my clients, this approach really works. The Leica M fits perfectly in this approach, after lots of practice though. During a wedding, things are happening fast, so focussing and exposure have to be adjusted continuously. Manually of course. I have trained myself to focus my lenses within an instant of a second.

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A few months ago I was asked by Transcontinenta, the company responsible for Leica in the Netherlands, whether I would be interested in testing the Leica M Monochrom on a wedding. Sure, I was interested! However, I didn’t feel like ‘testing’ a new camera on one of my clients, so I asked my friend Vivian, who is a wedding planner, if she had clients that would be interested in having a second shooter on their wedding. She came up with two couples and because I was available for those dates, I decided to shoot both weddings. The same day my contact at Leica called me and told me he had made a mistake. The Monochrom would only be available on the second date. Vivian however had already promised her clients that I would be there as a second shooter. I told her I’d come anyway, bringing another black and white camera: my trusty old Leica M6. The couple was excited and I was scared to death. Why on earth did I just say that?

I started in photography with manual film cameras: the Minolta XD-7 and XD-5. However, I had never covered a wedding with these things. When I started doing weddings, I had already switched to (D)SLRs. I don’t use my M6 that often. For professional work, it is not very usable. For fun photography, I also take the M9.

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So I decided to keep it very simple. I packed ten rolls of Kodak T-Max 400, my M6, a 35 and 50, a three-stop ND-filter, my Gossen external meter and drove all the way to the venue. During the day I shot seven rolls of film and only used the external meter occasionally. I trusted my internal exposure computer – my brains – and even left out the battery of the M6. I had to shoot at long shutterspeeds – 1/8th – and at very fast shutterspeeds, but it didn’t bother me at all that I was stuck to 400 ISO. Since I’m not exactly a machine gun shooter with the M9, the need to take ten pictures of the same moment is non-existent. Compared to a normal M9-wedding, I had to wait and anticipate more with the limited amount of frames that I had. On the other hand, it was quite fun and I enjoyed being able to work with the M6. Also, I loved the inconspicuousness of the M6, which I prefer to the M9 because of the shutter that is way more silent. Because the depression of the M6-shutter is quite big, I used a soft-release, to prevent camera shake.

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After the wedding, I mailed the films to a specialized company of which I was quite sure they’d do a good job. A little nervous, I opened the package a week later. Within one minute I knew that my internal exposure computer was still working great! All frames were perfectly exposed! Not a single one was ruined. A week later, when I had some time on my hands, I started camera scanning the frames. I needed a fast and cheap method, since the job was completely unpaid. Using my 5D2, a speedlite and a 90mm macro, I worked my way through the frames. It still took me more than a day to scan them all and I hadn’t even started selecting and editing yet. From the first frame on I decided to go hardcore: I would scan the edges of the frames and not crop the final image. It meant I had to throw away quite a few pictures that otherwise would have been good. Framing can be a little hard in the heat of the moment. Also, tilted shots, that otherwise would have been cropped, became unusable. Was I being too hard on myself?

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The more time I worked on the frames and files, the happier I became. Although the files are far from clean – TMax is pretty far from clean either – they have a unique feel and character. Maybe I fell in love with these pics, because I put so much effort and time in them, but to me they are pure and authentic. It is just one camera, two lenses, a few rolls of film and loads of work. Of course, I would have preferred to make some very nice fine-art prints in the darkroom, but I don’t have one and my dark-room skills are rusty.

The Monochrom

A few weeks later I picked up the M Monochrom and I couldn’t wait to see the results of this much praised camera. Having countless hours of experience with the M9, the Monochrom wasn’t hard to get used to at all. Even the post-processing wasn’t that hard. I only used Lightroom and was satisfied with the results. Compared to the scanned files from the M6, the Monochrom files are easier to work with, since they are so much more flexible. The toning is amazing, as is the crisp sharpness and the ability to use high ISO. After getting used to the camera I shot a wedding as a second shooter. While driving to the venue I thought it might be a good idea to make a comparison between the two cameras. Lots of things have been said about the Monochrom and one of the things is people saying: “I already have a Monochrome. It’s called Tri-X and my M2/3/4/5/6/7”.

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During the wedding, I found it hard to resist picking my M9 from my bag just to take some shots in colour, but I figured that would blur the experience. The wedding was one big party with many, many kids, lots of colours everywhere and there I was with a black and white camera.

I can’t say it felt different from shooting with the M9. The shutter is the same, as is the sound. The only noticeable difference is the high ISO capacity and that was useful. I even left my 35/1.2 at home for that reason. The biggest difference is during post-processing. There you’ll notice that sometimes black and white just doesn’t work, or sometimes just rocks! Also the files are more flexible than the M9 files and that is a good thing.

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Would I take the Monochrom or the M6 to one of my own weddings? No, unless I was asked to do so. In my work I use roughly 60% color and 40% black and white and that works. However, I like to be able to decide afterwards which picture will be converted to black and white and which picture will be in color. This is obviously not possible with the MM. With the M6 I would only use it with a couple of extra film bodies. One for high ISO film, one for color, etc. I would also have to invest in a high quality scanner and even then I would have to spend more time on each wedding, meaning my price would increase. Even though I would like that idea to work, I don’t think I can sell it. So if I, as a professional, had to choose between the two cameras, I’d go for the Monochrom. However, besides being a professional, I still have a passion for pure, raw documentary photography. And for me, the M6 just adds to the sensation of documenting reality. Despite the technical limitations of these pictures, I think I prefer them to the far better M Monochrom output. Maybe I even prefer them BECAUSE of the technical inferiority. I don’t know.

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I would have loved to keep the MM for a couple of weeks, but I had to return it. The M6 however will stay with me. Although I only shoot a few rolls each year, the amount of sheer happiness it delivers makes it impossible to part with it.

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May 102013
 

The Friday Film: How a 51 Year old Leica made me leave the digital world by Rikard Landberg

See his Flickr HERE

Hi! Steve, great and inspiring blog you run!

I just wanted to tell a story about how a 51 year old camera made me leave the digital world. I have been shooting both digital and analog for some time but my film Leica was the only camera that made any sense to me.

Like so many others I started with a SLR film camera in the late 90´s. It was a Canon AE-1 with a 50/1.8 lens. I loved being out on the street trying to catch that golden moment that would turn out to a great picture. Mostly in black and white.

I jumped on the digital SLR camera train and sold all my analog gear in a second without even thinking it through. I went from a Canon 350d (rebel xt) to a Canon 40d to a 5d in a short time.

I never really liked the digital cameras so I bought a cheap film rangefinder and I loved it! I told my self that I was going to save up to buy me a Leica M film and here I am! Proud owner of a Leica M2 and a Summicron 35. For a long time I had a Fuji x100 as a backup since I felt I had to have a digital camera. Going all analog was for crazy people! :P. But in early 2013 I sold my last digital gear and bought a dedicated film scanner and have not looked back!

It was a hard decision but it really felt right! I use my Leica M2 as i would with any digital camera. I shoot what i want to shoot but i think more before hitting the shutter. To make good pictures you need to be one with your camera no matter what camera you use. Buy the one you like and never let it go. Go out and shoot and just love it!

shoeman Empire state rock Valentine Central girls WTC crossroads Central Man Brooklyn Bridge MAn BB 8517196663_1e2170108c_b

May 062013
 

The grail

Holding the holy grail. A Nikon S2. By Daniel Schaefer

Hello Steve

Growing up in LA, there was a camera shop two blocks from my house, I would pass it and it’s blinking flashbulb sign day after day, for years I would duck in every now and then with my father or uncle, both avid photographers to pick up a chip, or a filter or some small accessory, but for years I just tapped my fingers on the counter and waited patiently to be lead to the toy store two doors down.

Everything changed when I was twelve years old. Sitting there one day twiddling my thumbs waiting for my father as he compared one UV filter after another, my eyes wandered around the shop, and finally came to rest on a leather case sitting quietly at the used counter, next to an elderly gentleman who had just sold his equipment and with a satisfied but solemn look, folded his money and waked away, leaving his well worn gear glistening on the counter.

I wandered over and started staring at the glisten of the old silver gear, I had only ever seen my fathers black plastic behemoths with heavy lenses and six point harness straps. I had never before seen the shined chrome of an old camera, used hard, but loved well. My eyes flitted across a few old F bodies, and a well brassed black rangefinder of some unknown origin, but something made me freeze, my eyes widening. Sitting behind the rest of the pile, it’s leather case peeling, it’s rangefinder sporting a sharp scratch, and a deep gouge in it’s steel face, right across the word Nikon, sat an S2. I reached out and picked it up, it was heavy, it felt solid in my hands, I could see where the hands of the old man had worn the leather and steel over time, patina marks where his fingers had gripped the black lens, and rolled the razor toothed focus wheel.

I was in love. I had never held something in my hands that felt like it, it felt solid, it felt like it was meant to be used. At that point my father walked over, I showed him the camera, I begged him for an early birthday gift, I honestly didn’t care if this was every gift for the next three christmahanukwanzika’s combined, I wanted that camera, but when the salesman told my father it was all mine for just barely over a thousand dollars, he took the camera out of my hand, said thank you to the salesman, and walked me over to the toy store and bought me whatever the latest lego was.

I remembered the number, I remembered the name, the Nikon S2 was the first object I ever fell in love with, and i wouldn’t forget it. I did somehow forget about photography for a while though. I would pick up my fathers camera on vacation, task some snapshots of friends, or some selfless in photo booth, but it wasn’t until eleventh grade I picked up a camera with any seriousness again.

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Fast forward to two weeks ago, I’m a part-time student in my sophomore year at parsons in the photography program, working for three different commercial photographers in NYC as an assistant and second camera, repairing and restoring vintage equipment in my free time for a little extra cash. I take a break from color correcting some shots for one of my finals and slide on to Facebook for a while, I check on my friends, make sure my fifteen year old brother hasn’t triggered the apocalypse yet, and make sure my farmville crops aren’t running dry. I suddenly notice a post by my aunt Julie, I recognize the telltale leather case of an old camera, and curiously click the link that declares, Pop Pop’s camera!

The image loads, and my jaw drops, an S2, sitting on my aunt’s kitchen table after being dug out of her closet after who know’s how long. I comment “you have NO idea how beautiful that is” and she replies, “well our resident photographer would be the one to know!”

I suddenly see a message in my inbox, and a few minutes of chatting with aunt Julie, she says “the camera deserves a good home! what’s your address?” my heart is practically beating out of my chest at this point, memories click back to the now abandoned camera shop and the feeling of that steel wheel rolling under my forefinger, watching the twin images line up, back then I had no idea what was in my hands, but now that steel and leather sculpture had gone from a pleasant memory to a Holy grail that I hunted for in every thrift shop and camera store I had ever walked past, and now, it was on its way to my doorstep in a priority mail box straight from Minneapolis.

When the camera arrived, opening the box felt as if i was opening the suitcase from pulp fiction, gold rays of light emanating from the silver machine surrounded by packing peanuts with its 50mm 1.4 eye staring back at me.

I wasted no time, I went to load the camera, only to find the rewind rolled when I took a shot, it was still loaded! I developed the roll the next day, only to find a picture of a pudgy little baby, later identified by my aunt, as my uncle! With the camera now empty, I locked a roll of Tri-X in, and stepped out into the big apple with my holy grail hanging around my neck.

pub_nikon_S2

I spent the next three days shooting anything I could, I always have a camera around my neck, it’s been a long time since I left the house without a lens around my neck, and the S2 with the 50mm 1.4 in all its hefty glory felt like the right kind of weight.

I’m a night owl, so I rode the 2 train down to canal street, and spent the night walking from the south street seaport, all the way home to ninety seventh street, zig zagging 14.5 miles across new york, shooting slowly and carefully, feeling the solid click of the release, the hollow thunk of the shutter,and feeling the smooth roll of the advance as I spent the roll carefully as I could.

I shot the roll both as a technical test, and as a photographer, I wanted to push the cameras limits but also take pictures that meant something to me. The camera was smooth, the rangefinder bright, the settings were accurate across the range, and aside from some slight blooming in the highlights at 1.4 the lens was so sharp it spit razors. It’s a rare privilege to hold something in your hand that you are truly in love with, to have a camera that truly feels like it’s simply a spare set of eyes, to be able to raise it to your eye and not have to think about anything aside from what to place in your frame.

For me, the Nikon S2 is my perfect camera, it is that extension that we all hunt for, it falls into my palm and I see everything i walk past during the day in frame lines. If you’re ever lucky enough to find your holy grail, I hoe you’re lucky enough to be able to sling it at your side and take it for a long, productive walk.

Cheers

-Daniel Sawyer Schaefer.

Outlierimagery.com

1- Mug

2- Plot

3- Rub

4- Sizzle

5- heavy

6- hush

7- woof

My uncle!

Self portrait

Apr 242013
 

All Black & White to me……..

By Jason Howe

Hey Steve

Hope your well, I’m sure many will agree with me when I say your site continues to be an amazing source of inspiration and information and is the first website I browse each day.

Some of your readers may be familiar with my photography but for those who aren’t, every now and then I throw something Steve’s way from down here in Middle Earth!!! New Zealand is such a beautiful country and landscapes make up a large part of my photography, however……….

At the start of the year I made a decision to try my hand at a few things I had not previously attempted, one of them was to arrange shoots with models. It’s very early days in this process but I thought I would share some of my initial images with you. I’m always looking to put posts together for my blog so I had several combinations of camera and lens in mind to shoot on this occasion, specifically these were –

Leica M9 and Canon 50/1.4 – I’m of the opinion that this lens is one of the best you can buy in the “inexpensive” ltm lens bracket and particularly suited to images of this nature. Leica MM and Konica Hexanon 60/1.2 – I was fortunate enough to acquire this lens just before Christmas, I’ve messed around with it but this was essentially the first time I’d used it at length. Contax 645 and Zeiss T Planar 90/2 – A recent addition, I’m still getting to know this camera but I wanted to at least shoot a roll or two through it, film of choice Fuji Pro 400H.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of B&W, it accounts for most of what I shoot, I am pushing myself to shoot more color this year though, honestly!! I had a specific look in mind for these images before I shot them, you can see those versions HERE. The truth is though, no matter what I do or how I attempt to view my subject matter it almost invariable looks better to me in B&W.

Here are a few of those images taken on the Leica M9 with Canon 50/1.4 this time converted in Silver Efex Pro 2 and LR4. I have always been happy with the B&W conversions I was able to achieve with the M9 files and they definitely are not inferior to the MM files when shot in these conditions, the MM for me is really about shooting at higher ISO’s, that is when it comes in to its own.

Model – Alicia Sim

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Image 1

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In the next couple of weeks I’m going to be posting a full set of images taken on the Leica M Monochrom with the Konica Hexanon 60/1.2, here are a small selection of those. Again these images are converted in Silver Efex Pro 2 and LR4. The Hex is incredibly sharp at f/1.4 and equally superb in these conditions at f/1.2 with the edge just taken off the sharpness. I’m delighted with it for sure although I would never defend the purchase price I took the decision to buy this lens over the Noctilux because quite simply I will always be able to get hold of one of those.

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Image 6

I did get the chance to use my Contax but despite liking the images shot on the Fuji Pro 400H I still could not help myself converting them to B&W, this may be sacrilege……..

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Things really are “All Black & White to me” when it comes to processing, well mostly……..

Cheers

Jason

 

You can keep up with my photographic journey down under here –www.aperturepriority.co.nz

 

Mar 182013
 

Visiting with My Father – Do You Print Your Photos?

by Amy Medina

Saint Patricks Day makes me think of my dad. Though auto parts and cars were his trade, he was into photography, and enjoyed taking photos. He unfortunately passed away in 2001, prior to my passion for photography taking full bloom, and I often wonder how he would view my love for it, especially in the digital realm.

Of course, like many kids who grew up in the 70’s, I have faux leather-bound photo albums of the family photos, showing their age and faded, filled with the silly shots and the out-of-focus posed family shots, where my dad handed his camera to someone and our heads are partially cut off. There are photos taken by him, by my mom I’m sure, and by other people with cameras who gave us their doubles. Many of us have these albums laying around or tucked into a cabinet… and I’ve only really come to appreciate their existence as I’ve gotten older.

And then, a couple of years ago, my brother discovered a box of my father’s slides in the bottom of a closet. I knew of them, but years ago; I remember curiously looking through them as child and teenager, squinting through the plastic magnifying loop and holding them up to a window. But I had forgotten about them over the years, in the back of my mind assuming they got lost when my father sold the house I grew up in, or even thrown away just to save space. When my brother found them again after decades of not seeing them, and years after my father had passed, it was like digging up buried treasure.

We sat on my living room floor looking through the mysterious photos that focus in mostly on my father’s time in the service, stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam War. There are also early family photos, from before I was born and into my toddler years. What pops up are faces of family members long gone, and faces of dear family friends we’ve since rekindled relationships with, and photos of beaches and towns all the way around the world, during a very different era. There are only a few, but there are even photos of my dad himself, where his fellow soldiers and friends seemingly grabbed his camera a stole a shot, like the one of of him sleeping.

It was a renewed glimpse into my dad’s life, and something my brother and I could experience together, being reintroduced to the man he was — the one we knew and the side of him we knew less about. We talked about our memories and the shots that reminded us of his unique character. We made jokes about some of the things he focused in on. This experience itself created our own new memories, some of which will now always be jokes between us, and something quite special.
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And we shared the photos. I went on EBay and for $15 bought a working slide projector. We were blessed last Memorial Day with spending time with old family friends — friends of my mother and father from “back in the day” who I called Aunt and Uncle and cousins… and we had an evening slide show, projecting the old images and memories across the room onto a screen that brought us thoughtful moments, melancholy feelings and laughter. It was a weekend of unique bonding and closeness, filled with new experiences, and refreshed memories brought to us through stories and my father’s photos.
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All of this gets me thinking: what happens to all of our photos that are sitting on hard drives decades from now? How will our memories be relived by our children and grandchildren? Are we to leave instructions behind on how to access our achives, and is that experience the same as finding an old box of photos in the attic? If a hard drive is disconnected and stored away, reducing our stories to zeros and ones, will our children and grandchildren be able to just plug them in and enjoy them if discovered years later?

There is a tangibility to printing out photos, or leaving behind slides and negatives. It’s something we are losing as a society. I don’t pretend to not enjoy technology… quite the contrary, I’m about as geeky as they come, appreciating all that computers and electronics have to offer, and I take full advantage of the advances. I also think several generations from now, a lot of this will have been worked out somehow by our great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; the dilemma of common formats and how to access our deceased relatives’ digital footprint. Or at least I have great hopes it will be all worked out. But what happens in the meantime?

twoboys

At the end of every year now I print all my photos. I know that may seem excessive and I suppose many of you take a whole lot more photos than I do. There may be a different process you have to take in self-editing first, though be careful not to edit out that blurry photo of grandma because years later you will appreciate it as one of the shots that exist of her. The point is, I want to leave behind boxes of actual photos for my loved-ones to discover and savor… instantly. And I want you to do the same. We should leave behind something tangible that takes no effort to enjoy.

Of course, I’m not talking here about the artistic prints or the gallery canvas, or even the occasional photo book. I do all those myself, but it’s not the same thing. My coffee table books are always there to be browsed through, with the best chosen photos inside them. The prints I hang can always be seen. The people who buys prints, they enjoy them as they do in the room of their choice. What I am talking about is the undiscovered treasure that the rest of your photos will be to your family members and the people who love you: The ones you didn’t share. The ones you shared online that got a zillion “likes” but were forgotten about 3 days later. The shots you thought were mistakes and the ones you took of other family members that they don’t even remember you taking. The photos of places you loved and sights you enjoyed and that picture you took of your feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

At 12¢ per print (more or less) it’s a no-brainer to just take stock at the end of each year and have some 4×6’s made to throw in a box and put in the back of closet or drawer, the same way our parents and grandparents did back in the day after having rolls of film developed. Think of it as your analogue backup. And one that your children and grandchildren may one day appreciate.

rocky
dogonroad
thecooks
carpawn
cityshore
pier
And my dad (white shirt) with his army buddies in Okinawa in 1966
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