Format Reflections

I was scrolling through my library last night, looking at images I have captured with various film stocks, cameras, mediums and so on. I decided to pull an image from each format I have used as ones representing my "highlight" shots from them. Maybe not the most technically sound images, or the perfect everything - but if I could show one image from that format and how I feel it should be represented, these are my results and why.

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Color PAC with Richard Photo Lab

For the past year or so I had been thinking about creating my own Richard Photo Lab Color PAC file. I've been using the one created by Johnny for about 2 years and just love it, but am finding I want to have something with my own "signature" on it.  I contacted Elan at the lab to begin discussions on what I am looking for. I had a fuzzy idea in my head that I wanted Johnny's scan preferences, with just a touch of Jose Villa's color/bright preferences - but just a slight amount.

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Nantucket Island Squid

When you get an opportunity to fish squid, you take it. I once again got a chance to head out on the F/V Rimrack with Captain Mike Anderson, his wonderful daughter Kelsea, and hammer-beard deckhand Brian Flood. As you may know, I also went out with them in April to shoot and write an article on scallop fishing for Hearth Magazine which will be published in print this fall - but will be on this blog July 1 (stay tuned - as that article mostly features Mike - while this one is more about Kelsea and Brian). This time, the trip was purely for pleasure.

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The Nice Guy from Rye

It's 4:15am on a bone-chilling spring morning where winter is still holding its icy grip on the partially frozen waters of a small New Hampshire harbor when I arrive at the docks to meet up with Mike Anderson, owner of the 51 foot Novi fishing vessel called the F/V Rimrack. Arriving hours before the typical 9-5 worker hits the snooze button for the first time, Mike is busy firing up the engine and loading supplies with deckhand Brian Flood to set off for the scallop fishing grounds and begin their day. There is no time for chit chat as Mike grabs my hand saying, "We'll talk once we're out of the harbor. Watch your head and don't fall over the side." The next 30 minutes are spent plotting the coordinates for the grounds and navigating the shallow waters of the harbor while filling out the federally mandated log books - both digitally and in quadruplicate on paper.

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The Belted Galloway

En route to New York City this fall, I swung by my folks house in Ellington, Connecticut for my fill of cretons, pork pie and booze. Ellington is the town I grew up in filled with rolling hills, cornfields, cows and a sparse handful of residents. I didn't really appreciate the rural landscape when I called Ellington home, but when I go back these days, with camera in hand, it's a photographer's delight. The road my parents live on crosses a couple towns in a very short span - and about a mile from their house sits the town line for Somers, Ct. This is also a town where livestock seems to outnumber resident humans - and the farm (Scantic Valley Farm) nestled in the valley below my parents house is a pure delight. Cornfield mazes, barns, strawberry fields, pumpkin patches, chickens, pigs, cats, dogs and - my favorite eye candy - the majestic Belted Galloway.

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Manhattan on Film

Last month I headed off to New York City to attend the PhotoPlus Expo and play with the new Zeiss 35mm as well as the new Leica M-A film and Edition 60 digital cameras. While I wasn't at the conference, I was out walking the city trying to capture the vibes on film with one of my best friends, Dori. We ended up doing just one afternoon at the Expo, visiting with Ben, Richard and Nicole from Carl Zeiss Lenses as well as Christopher from Leica.  We spent some time walking to all the booths on the vendor floor, watching some demonstrations and playing with what gear we could play with. Favorites for me were the Zeiss 1.4/35 Distagon and the Leica M-A - though that Leica Edition 60 was awfully nice to shoot.

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NH Highland Games on Film

Last weekend was the 40th Annual New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH. I went up north with Linda and her amazing father Jim (both of Scottish descent) to explore this wonderful festival. For gear, I packed my Leica M3 paired with the Carl Zeiss C Sonnar T* 1.5/50, my Leica M2 paired with the Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2.8/35, my Weston Master V light meter and my Ona bag loaded with Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X. In typical Scottish fashion, the weather was a balmy 49º F for most of the day with the on and off spitting of misty rain. It was perfect.  We got to the mountain mid-morning to the sounds of pipes belting out traditional tunes. Though cold, your nose was immediately filled with the scents of great Scottish food - especially my favorite - the meat pie.  I mean really, what's better than a pie filled up with meat? Jim was brave enough to dig into a plate of Haggis - my stomach isn't quite iron enough for Haggis though.

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Leica M2 + M3 Review

This review of the Leica M2 & M3 won't be overly technical. Back in January I picked up a 1958 Leica M2 from the fine folks at Green Mountain Camera in Vermont - let's just say the deal was too good to pass up. During that time I had been shooting almost exclusively with this camera and a 1957 Summicron 2/50. Then in June, I picked up a 1961 Leica M3 from Youxin Ye of YYe Camera.  Until June, the Leica M2 was loaded with either Kodak Tri-X or Portra 160/400 film.  Now, the Leica M2 is usually loaded with just the Tri-X and my Carl Zeiss 2.8/35 while the Leica M3 is loaded with Portra 400 and the Leica Summicron 2/50 or Carl Zeiss C Sonnar T* 1.5/50.  This has spoiled me rotten and has returned me to a simplicity in look and style that I adore - so much so that the Leica ME sits rarely used on a shelf.

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It's Witchcraft: Expired Film

Recently, I took a handful of rolls of Kodak Portra NC (expired) to Salem, MA to see how it would do. I never (purposely) tried expired film before, but sadly this is the only way you can get Portra NC (arguably the best color film ever put out for colors and low contrast that I love) these days. I got my half dozen rolls of 400 and 160 out on the 'bay, so with no guess on how these were stored I didn't get my hopes too high. Salem is a gorgeous coastal town in Massachusetts - just north of Boston. It's full of history - most notably the Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, its beautiful maritime history and home to Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's bursting at the seams with classic New England buildings and homes (like the gorgeous grounds of the 1668 House of Seven Gables - do the tour at least once) that just beg to be photographed. I knew this would be the ideal location to test drive a couple rolls of my newly acquired NC film.

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Scanners: Noritsu and Frontier Side-by-Side

I was curious what the difference was between the Noritsu Film and Fuji Frontier scanners (see the Richard Photo Lab article here and Johnny's article here).  So, I'd like to thank the fine folks at Richard Photo Lab for allowing me to do this compare on two images from my Leica M2 shot on Kodak Portra 400 - exposed to 200. They were kind enough to scan a color negative of mine on the two scanners so I could judge for myself what's going on. Neither of the color negatives were scanned with PAC files on either scanner - both are RPL's "default" settings.

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