Road to nowhere

Testing out the F4’s matrix metering in what would normally be relatively challenging conditions.  This is a road I drive tours on, though the tour got cancelled that day and I decided to drive in my own truck.

As you can see the F4 passed with flying colors.  So to speak.

What pose do I make before the self-timer runs out?

Hot off the press, this is a sneak-peek shot from my newly-developed first rolls of the brand-new Cinestill 400D.

Could also double as a fall fashion photo I suppose, but it’s hard when you have to do all the shot setup and be the model, don’t know if I’d do too many of these!  Maybe if I get a pretty girl to take the pictures for me…

COVID diaries 3

Still alive.  The 2nd time getting COVID it wasn’t nearly as bad, in fact I originally thought (or just hoped) that I had a cold, there was much runny nose and a bit of a sore throat/loss of voice.  But once that fever starts it’s best to isolate.  I was off of work for a week but that week had me rethink my plans to travel to my semiannual Ohio State get-together.

COVID Diaries 1
COVID Diaries 2


Expired Kodak BW400CN, Pt.II

These were from early 2022, I was just trying to unload the rest of my stock.

Even shooting at ASA100 I was definitely seeing the grain, maybe I should have given the film an extra stop but I didn’t.  When it’s good it’s really good and it’s really a shame Kodak discontinued this stock; I hope they bring it back but I don’t think I’ll be shooting any more of the expired stuff.

Part One.

Entering the modern age

Or about as modern as I’m ever likely to get.  Behold, the Nikon F4:

Ain’t she purty?

Of course perhaps you prefer the F4S?

I don’t but I do have both setups and it’s good to have the option if I ever need it.  What I did want are the features on the spec sheet:
-full matrix metering with all AI/AI-s lenses (unlike newer professional bodies)
-easily-manipulable knobs and dials, no stupid menus to wheel through
possibly weather-sealed (at least according to this) though I have my doubts reading further into it
-1/8000 second top shutter speed
-motor drive
-easy-to-find AA batteries instead of something esoteric and expensive
-a reasonable price

So far I’ve put 5 rolls of Tri-X through this camera using primarily the aperture-priority function and so far I’ve fooled it maybe a couple times. It just works and I don’t have to worry about it or overthink it.  I picked up an AI-s Nikkor 35mm f/2 lens at the same time to make sure I had the most up-to-date manual focus lens I could use for the maximum feature set.  Here are the results below:


A friend of mine just got a Contax G2 system and I’m sure it cost quite a lot.  I spent much less but this is the G2 of the Nikon F manual focus world, and the F4 has one thing the G2 doesn’t have: a hefty weight.  Though if I had to make a guess on which will still be working in 10-20 years…I think it will be mine.  But back to that weight: everything is contained and compact so compared to an F2 or F3 with motordrive and batteries this is much smaller and lighter I’m sure.  For everything you’re getting I don’t see the point of even owning an F3.  Another thing that frustrates me with electronic cameras is the lag time when you turn it on, getting it to wake up, whatever.  I’ve found with the F4 that I can leave it on all day and it’s always ready to go whenever I press the shutter button.  For what it is and the purpose it serves I can’t think of anything being better.

What the new Leica M6 re-release means for film photography

I’m sure you’ve heard the news.  If not, here it is: Leica is making the M6 again.

Now I’ve never owned a Leica.  I’ve barely even held a Leica.  I don’t even necessarily want a Leica (I only dabbled a bit with rangefinders and Leitz glass).  Leica now makes three film cameras simultaneously, the M-A, the M-P, and the M6. I think it’s great, and of course I want one, but also I don’t, for all the reasons listed above.  Maybe I could get into shooting rangefinders and Leica in general but there are some German quirks that they never got over, which has always scared me away.  But at least Leica is still doing it, and they’re having a hard time meeting demand.  And for that Leica needs to be commended!  Compare to Nikon these days…

The problem of course being that I’m so invested in the Nikon F ecosystem now that it would be hard to abandon just to buy a new film camera.  It’s just a shame that Nikon wanted to keep going more and more high-tech when the prevailing winds are going toward less electronics and all-mechanical.  I’ve articulated all this before; I would love to buy a brand-new FM3a (or anniversary F2) from Nikon if they didn’t decide to stop all film camera production two years ago, sadly.  And maybe Nikon stopped making the F6 because no one bought it…but the fact is that we’ve had 40+ years of seeing how electronic battery-dependent cameras just stop working and become expensive paperweights, with no hope of repair.  I will probably never fully trust them for that reason, even my F4.

Less than 20 years ago Nikon was making cameras like the FM3a and the SP 2005, and sadly those cameras weren’t in demand as much at that time, but it seems times have changed.  I could really wish that Nikon would come around but with them offshoring all their production to Malaysia they’re unlikely to make an all-mechanical film camera again, and that really the only kind I’d be willing to buy.  How much would I spend on one?  For the right camera I’m sure I would save even if it was $3000 or more.  I just spent $900 on a fully-restored F2, so why not?  Sadly Nikon was hell-bent on making cameras no one wanted to buy like the F6 instead of bringing back mechanical masterpieces of their past like Leica has done.  People are willing to pay for a brand-new Leica mechanical film camera but they’re the last man standing, sadly, and unlikely to have competition again.

Hangouts, Summer 2022

And a little bit of Spring and Fall too.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to not take the people you love for granted–every time could be the last you ever see them.  I’m going to try to make more time in the future.

These are just some of my friends and I’m happy to have them in my life.

Get out of my trash!

The easiest way to see a bear: just leave your trash out overnight and wait up for them.  Of course this time it was my trash which is in a bear-proof dumpster, but whoever took out the trash last didn’t actually secure the thing properly.

I should have set for f/4 instead of f/5.6 I suppose as the AE didn’t give me a fast enough shutter speed most of the time, but live and learn.  These shots were a little shaky for my preference but I was probably 6-8ft away from a mama bear and her cubs, so I wasn’t exactly taking my time to compose and focus.  I’ve always heard that if you run into a black bear, you should puff yourself up, look as big as possible, make a lot of noise, yell/throw things at them, and they should take off; I’m still here so I’m happy to say it’s true.

Go work for Kodak, good people of Rochester!

I’ve been telling people for a while that the rising cost of film and the inability to find color emulsions are good problems to have, and here’s my proof:

Kodak is hiring people…a lot of people!

And I think that their hiring 300 employees over the last year and a half is very telling.  Compare to a decade ago when it seemed like it was going to be the end!  I’ll take a $10 roll of Tri-X to have that.

Edit: And NBC is now shooting news stories on film!

Behind the scenes: Scorpion Cowboy headshots

He got the part!  I’d like to think it was all my doingHorizon starts shooting today in New Mexico and my friend Duane is there at least as an extra.  No matter what I might tell him when I’m joking around, I think he has a wonderful face.

The Double-X was perfect for the look I wanted in the headshots, but there are some pretty good portraits in here as well I think, with Tri-X; it gives a good comparison seeing both films shot in the same place with the same lighting.  He put me up for a few days after I’d sold my mom’s house and it was just a great experience all-around, we hung out and tried a few things, I had my camera with me the entire time so I definitely got a few more candid things here and there.  The first pic is taken with the Minolta and a few more were included here.  Duane was also kind enough to hold a camera for me so I could see just what I look like when I’m taking pictures.  Originally published here and here but I’ll include it again: