Next month kicks off a project cooked up on the Against the Grain podcast this month. The project stemmed from a discussion, which was inspired by Lauren Keim, about letting film sit before you look at it. During our discussion, we challenged each other to go a year without peaking/developing roll(s) and see what happens. We all have our own spin on how we want to do this, and here's mine.
This is a strictly a first impressions look at the lens as I've just had it a week and wanted to get my thoughts out on 'paper' for you. I actually haven't left the house yet with it, but have played a bunch with it so far.
Were I forced to put words to driving force behind my photography’s narrative, I might be inclined to go with “conscientious impudence.” I write “conscientious” because I want there to be purpose behind every choice I make—whether behind the camera or in the darkroom. And, I use “impudence” because it seems that I’m constantly making choices based on things which people have expressly told me I shouldn’t do. (Please read no arrogance in this—they are often correct; and, as it turns out, I have a masochistic tendency for learning things the hard way.)
I shoot a lot of cameras. A lot. I have been through a bunch of (primary) systems over the years, from the full Nikon system (2006) to the Leica system (2013) and onto the Sony system (2017) to name a few. While shooting these complete systems I also shoot a lot of others on the side (non-primary: think Hasselblad 500c, Plaubel-Makina 670, Chamonix 45n2, etc.). I love to buy/borrow various cameras, give em a spin, then decide if they stay or go. I'd guess I have tried an average of six "side" cameras a year for the past 10+ years. I purchase a couple of these each year, and only a few ever stick around more than a couple years.
I'd say over the years that there are three primary formats that I tend to gravitate to: 35mm film, medium format film, and 35mm digital. So, I began thinking, what are the best (most enjoyable all around) cameras I have used in each format? This is my analysis.
Last week I took the Sony A7R II with the Zeiss Batis 85 and Loxia 21 out, along with the Sony RX1R II to Cape Porpoise in southern Maine. The purpose, along with just getting out to shoot, was to give my current Sony / Zeiss kit a thorough workout.
Over the weekend, I ran a somewhat unscientific experiment to compare various uses of hashtags on Instagram and see what they did in terms of traffic, likes, comments and so forth. I feel the results are somewhat predictable, but nonetheless interesting to discuss.
Today I want to give you a down-n-dirty idea of my film workflow. This isn't about shooting technique or even developing, as I now farm all of that out (Richard Photo Lab), but about how I get from the shot to the printed, uploaded, or socially shared final product. This will be a bit boring, as my process to to get to my final post hardly involves me, ha ha, just the lab. But would love to see in the comments what you do for post work on your film side.
Having enjoyed the Sony RX1R II for 6 months now, I decided to add to my digital side by picking up the Sony A7R II and a Zeiss Batis 1.8/85. I had considered the new Sony A9 when it was announced a few weeks back, but think I will wait on the announcement of A9R to see what direction that goes. For now, the tried and true Sony A7R II is my path to go on.
Today I am taking a look at the Nikonos V in a sort of mini-review. The reason this isn't my comprehensive review (yet) is due to the fact that only roll I've pout through so far I pretty well botched (see note below on putting camera into rewind mode). I took it out on May 6th for the 5th annual New England Walk (NEWLK) on Nantucket Island. It was the obvious choice for me because the weekend was expected to be downpours - and what better camera for this than a camera designed for underwater photography. Equipped with the Nikonos 2.8/35 and a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, I put the camera to work.
I spent the last week out on the west coast visiting an old friend in San Diego. Wanting to pack light, I decided on only the Sony RX1RII for the trip. I packed 2 spare batteries and 2 spare cards and was very impressed with how this worked out. Honestly, I was worried more about missing the great west coast sun without film than I was about the performance on the camera. Looking at the images today, no regrets. I didn't shoot a lot, so the battery and 64 GB card lasted just fine. Only swapped to a spare battery one day - and it was towards the end of walking with the camera about 13 hours. That's not bad at all for the way I shoot. If I had been shooting a lot, I am sure it would have drained much more quick.
I recently posted a poll on Twitter asking "What would you need to do to improve your photography" and a good number of discussions and private messages came out about engaging, sharing and opening dialogs with photographic peers - and I would add those we look up to as potential mentors.
Nestled on the western edge of the Green Mountain National Forest is the serene town of Goshen, Vermont. Situated high up on Cape Lookoff Mountain is home of Republic of Vermont, a certified organic farm specializing in maple syrup and honey. Raised in New England, I had always been curious about these sugar shacks as they sent a pillar of steam into the sky from their vented roofs, but surprisingly, never got to experience one. (Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States.) This winter, I was invited by Ethan to spend a day at the farm with him and Annina to document and learn more about the maple syrup process. No way I was passing this one up - especially so close to the "sugar moon" - the Native American name for the first full moon of spring.