Looks like we're back to color! This is another roll that I shot while on a walk; I was visiting my in-laws in Charlottesville and decided to take advantage of the lovely light. You'll notice these are square format photos—I took these on my vintage folding camera, which I love. My favorite shot of the bunch is of the old Lucky 7 sign. The convenient store is still there, although with the recent burst of development in C'ville, I'm sure for how long.
Depending on the exact negative size (6x4.5, 6x6, etc.) you'll get between 8 and 15 exposures for a roll of medium format film, which makes it pretty expensive relative to 35mm! That tends to be why I tend to shoot medium format on weekends, at events, where I can treat each roll as a record of a particular day, shot with a particular purpose. (I'm still figuring out where my recent foray into large format fits into this, but more on that later.)
I shot these rolls during D.C's Pride Weekend, part of my attempt to capture all the activity in the city those days. This batch has just a few keepers—I wasn't feeling as bold as I usually am when photographing big crowds, and it shows. But I had good time shooting, and that's ultimately what counts.
I was bored one Sunday morning (I think it was Sunday) and decided to take my bike and my camera for a little ride. I went down to U Street and took photos of anything that seemed interesting. I say this a lot, but it's definitely true in this instance: I'm not sure this is particularly *strong* work. But I had a good time shooting these photos and I cam back to my apartment with my mind a little more active, and ready for the day.
I believe this is Kodak Tri-X, and it was shot on a Fuji 6x7 rangefinder. I made a print from one of these negatives, and it looks *great*.
I shot a lot of color in June! More than usual. This fifth roll is of Kodak Ektar in medium format, shot on a Fuji 6x7 rangefinder. A quick word about the film: It's a negative film, meaning it has to be reversed to get an image. Color negative was developed for darkroom printing, and it is much easier to use compared to transparency (or slide) film. But I'm just not that *in* to it. Slide film is hard to meter, yes, but it captures a kind of vibrancy that I don't think you can replicate with negative film or even digital for that matter. I'm happy with how these shots turned out, but I think I'm going to start phasing color negative film out of my inventory.
A little while ago I bought an Olympus XA camera to keep in my pocket. After a few months, I sold it. But I put a few rolls through—mostly old transparency film that was then cross-processed. This is the final roll I shot before I got rid of the camera. There are some decent shots in here, but nothing I would write home about. I think the film is expired Kodak Ektachrome, a gift from an old friend.
Most of the film I shoot in a given month is medium format. When looking at quality for cost, it provides the most bang for you buck, and I happen to really enjoy the medium format cameras that I have on hand. But I still shoot plenty of 35mm, and lately I've been asking myself "why"? Quality-wise, digital has surpassed small format film. If the advantage of 35mm over other film formats is speed and versatility, digital has that beat many times over. And in any case, I use my 35mm camera as something of a daily diary—a way to record the things I see and observe on the day to day. There's no reason you can't do that with digital.
After thinking about this a lot, the answer I have is just that I like the physicality of film, in all of its forms. I like inserting a cartridge, unwrapping a roll, or loading a sheet; I like the anticipation that builds when you advance the next exposure and the decisive sound of a shutter closing; and I like knowing that regardless of what I ultimately do with them, my photos are physical objects in the world.
That's all to say that this was my third roll of 35mm for the month o fJune. These 7 photos are the shots I thought worked best. I especially like the one of the young man in the stylish outfit. It was kind of him to let me take his photo. The film itself is Cinestill 50D, a cinematic film adapted for still photography. I think it looks pretty cool, like Kodak Ektar with softer colors.
This is my second set of photos from the Tri-X I developed myself. You'll notice that the perspective is somewhat different than the previous set, which is a function of the lens. For these, I used a 50mm prime instead of a 35mm. In the last few months, I've come to realize that I do better with the 50mm perspective; I'm much more adept at removing elements from a frame than including them, which makes wider lenses a little more difficult for me, composition wise. I think I'll still work with wide angles on occasion, but for the foreseeable future (read: beginning with August), I think I will stick with the 40mm to 50mm range.
There was a time in my life when it was easy to punch out a few hundred words on virtually anything. These days, I have a hard time putting together a hundred words to describe some photos, as demonstrated by the fact that I shot this roll a month ago and am only now—at the end of July—writing about it.
The film here is Kodak Tri-X that I developed and scanned myself. I shot it as normal, exposing for moderate shadow detail when I metered the scene. As is usual with my 35mm stuff, this is a collection of snapshots from my various travel/exploration/daily movement. I think there a few photos from Austin, Texas in the bunch, but they are mostly from around D.C. Not much else to add, other than I tweaked my development routine a little bit and liked the results a lot.
Not long ago, I sold my Fuji X100T. It wasn't a bad camera, but as someone who doesn't shoot much digital, it was too much camera. I wanted something smaller, and lighter—something I could slip into my pocket and keep at all times. After doing a little bit of research, I settled on the Ricoh GR, the latest digital version of the classic 35mm point and shoot.
I've been using it regularly for the last month or so, but this past Saturday was the first time I used it to shoot something dynamic, where speed was critical. The Klan descended on Charlottesville, Virginia for an afternoon, and I—along with many other people—went to document their presence and the protests that met them. I did most of my work on film, but I had the Ricoh as a backup camera for quick and candid shots. It performed wonderfully. Quick to turn on, I could take the camera out of my pocket and shoot a photo within 10 seconds. Faster, if I had the camera set to "SNAP," where it pre-focuses to a specified distant. At 2 meters, with the lens stopped down to f/8 or f/11, you could capture just about anything in front of you with crisp focus. And the actual photos, as you can see, are sharp and detailed. This is a "half frame" digital camera, but you would almost think it was full frame. Highly recommended, if you are in the market.
In addition to illustrating the kind of hate we still live with, the Klan demonstration and attendant protests were a useful opportunity for me to practice with a wider focal length, as you can see from these photos with the Ricoh, which uses a 28mm-equivalent fixed lens.
Of the photos here, I think the first one is the best. Technically it is pretty good, but the combination of all elements makes it evocative. I'm also a fan of the final photo, which captures motion in a way I haven't really ever done well before.
Anyway, I recommend the camera! And I'll have some of the film photos soon, so stay tuned.
Another roll from the folding camera, and this one was definitely the last roll I shot in May. These are actually slides—if I had a medium format slide projector, I could mount and project them on a wall. Indeed, the best way to view these is on a light table (which I do not own, yet). I think, when you nail the exposure, that slides have a kind of richness and tonality that you cannot get anywhere else. Unfortunately, I'm not all that great at getting exposure right for slides. But I'm trying!
All of these were taken in Charlottesville, over Memorial Day weekend.