RIP Rosco

Another of our drivers has passed unexpectedly, a new guy that started last year who went by the handle Rosco.  He’s been in a couple of photos that I published already but I recently went through all the shots I’d taken to see if I could find more.

There were no real portraits, I’m sorry to say.  We never really got the chance to talk or do too many tours together though I did get to hear him talk to people once or twice and seemed to be very knowledgeable.  RIP Rosco.

Evolution of style: Self-centered 2

2021 was the year that I started dressing better thanks to working a construction job: I would wear the same clothes every day without washing for a week, and they would get so grimy with concrete dust, that I just felt disgusting all the time, plus it was all kind of samey.  In my initial search for a good pair of steel toe work boots I started watching a lot of videos online, and mostly they were oriented toward fashion boots rather than work boots, but that gave me plenty of ideas for nice clothes that I could enjoy when I wasn’t wearing my construction gear.  That carried over into going back to the job I actually enjoy.  I have to thank Carl Murawski, Stridewise, Rose Anvil, and maybe one or two other channels on the youtube, plus facebook groups like the Alden Shoes Enthusiasts and Selvedge & Quality Supply.  A lot of the pictures that follow were ones that I took to post on one of those two groups; a few were mimicking the standard shots that get posted there but I do try to give them my own personal flair, and I’m sure I’m the only one shooting on film.

Most of all I was concerned with buying new items that were not made in China, but also staying away from companies that don’t offshore their production, and prioritized American-made wherever possible.  By October I could put together an outfit that was 100% Made in USA and I wear that most days.  Brands featured in these photos include: Stetson hats, Brave Star Selvage, Alden Boots, Schaefer Outfitters, Ruddock Shirts/Flying R Ranchwear, Sugar Cane jeans, Nama Denim, Legacy 92.  And this year there is another new pair of jeans from Brave Star plus a pair of White’s cowboy boots.

And since I was adding a lot of color to my look (thanks to the shirts) I started shooting more color film, also handy considering it was Fall.  It seemed to be at the start of the film shortage and I was going around to Wal-Marts and Walgreens in the area and buying up whatever stock they had of Fuji Superia and Kodak Ultramax.  I’m glad I did because it might be the last time I get to use Superia 400 since Fuji shut down their factory in 2020 and we still don’t know right now if they are reopening it or having other companies manufacture film for them from now on.

Selected portraits from the 2022 pre-season meeting

About as current as it gets here at The Resurrected Camera, these date to the middle of May 2022, barely a month ago.  My job hired me to capture portraits of the new drivers at the annual pre-season meeting, to be used on the website; these photos amount to the first professional work I’ve seen out in the wild in quite some time, perhaps ever.  The meeting was held at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort and I used Cheyenne Mountain as a backdrop, shooting out on the patio in the shade of a building as the sun was setting.  I got a few of the not-so-new drivers as well: all in all I made portraits of 15 drivers and include my favorites below:

Besides the cowboys (and cowgirl) themselves, the star of the show was the AI’d Nikkor-PC 105mm f/2.5 portrait lens which was used for all but one of the exposures above.  There’s been so much written over the last 70+ years about the 105mm Nikkor so I don’t know what I can add except to say that I picked it up because it was cheap, I wanted to have at least one portrait lens, and it had a good reputation.  I’ve used it for a few portrait sessions so far and have been extremely happy with the results, as well as that from my AI Nikkor 85mm f/2 lens (which also makes an appearance here).  I would call either of these lenses a must-have for a Nikon manual-focus system, whichever you happen to run across first.  If you can, get both.

I suppose this means that I can call myself a professional photographer, right?  I’m hoping that this can be springboard me to bigger and better things but we’ll see.

2021 off-season cowboys

Not only did I probably shoot more color film last year than I ever had before, I shot more C-41 in general, in fact nearly exclusively.  These are all Ilford XP2.  I think that for the photo project itself black & white works better and I’ve experimented with turning my color film grayscale as well.

Most of these guys are coworkers of mine, one or two might be passengers and even more of an authentic cowboy than any of us.

Film scanning and digital workflow

Hello film shooters!  I was reading a friend’s blog post recently and he was complaining that he wasn’t wowed by the images he was getting straight out of the scanner.  Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be!  Actually with my scanner I go through extra steps to not be “wowed” by the images straight out of the scanner, and I probably should do more, at some point.  From what I remember the regular PSI software for the Pakon scanners outputs at 8Bit (even TIFFs) though my Pakon F335 is capable of 12Bit or 14Bit I believe; this takes special software which I have never bothered to set up.

I’m not sure how everyone else scans their film, but I decided to write this to show how I do it.  Of course a lot of the time the lab is doing it for me, and while I wouldn’t complain too much about how they do it, if you have the ability to scan yourself then there is greater control over your images and it costs less.  I had my Pakon  scanner out of storage for a few months while I was living in a place where there was room for it, so I had my local lab develop my film and return the negatives to me uncut, which was less work for them and easier for me to scan.

The standard way of scanning with PSI tends to render black & white film with far too much contrast, so I manually select everything and lower the contrast to at least -20, possibly -40 depending on the film (-40 is as flat as it gets).  In the past I exported raw negative images but found that my inversions were losing quite a bit of the image; it’s an extemporaneous step, plus you’re losing all the benefits of working with PSI and Kodak’s experience that was brought to the color science of getting proper scans.  If you own a Pakon F135 (non-plus) you’re using TLX Client Demo and the only way you can get the full 3000×2000 resolution is to output raw, I hear.  But I also hear plugins like Negative Lab Pro work amazingly well.

Now probably the most annoying thing about working with the Pakon is that it was designed to only be used with Windows XP machines (I have a couple) and while that was a damn good OS and I miss it, sadly I can’t just plug my scanner into any computer, I have to have a dedicated scanning machine and then export everything onto a flash drive (formatted for Fat32) and brought over to my laptop for finishing. I have everything saved by roll and drag all 38 or so files into Affinity Photo to start working on them:

This is how a scan will look before I start to work on it:

For some reason the Pakon’s black & white scans still have some color and have to be turned grayscale, so I do that and then adjust the curves to where I need them.  This image was exposed perfectly and required very little adjustment, not always the case.

Even shooting my modified Sunny-8 rule with a non-metered manual camera I’ve gotten pretty good at reading the light so I fluff very little…outdoors.  Indoors is another story, much more guesswork there.  PSI file names by default start with AA, AB, AC, etc, so I add my own prefix which tells me the year and season I shot them as well as where this roll fits in sequentially.  So I have everything saved by roll of film in the full res JPGs, but I do a little more work to get things ready for the internet, starting with making all the images smaller.

I still use a watermark though I’m getting away from that, for right now making it much less obtrusive.  Final export includes a bit more compression to keep the file size down.

And here is the final image:

Can’t resist taking photos with beautiful women!

Slipped through the cracks

These are culled from four rolls of Tri-X that I shot during the final week or two of taking Advanced Photography, from which this post was taken.  All that semester I had had my instructor Stacy to go through and edit the shots, help me pick out which were the best shots.  But she never got to look at these last four rolls, so even though I had them developed before the Summer break started I never looked too closely at them, I think I just wasn’t feeling too confident with my own editing skills back then.  I feel more confident now, but still I’m sure some day someone might go back through all my shots and say, “Well why didn’t you include these?”  So it goes…

I started my Instagram going in mostly chronological order and have gotten through all of my VA4110 images plus these.

I had just purchased my 2/35 Super-Takumar lens so was trying it out quite a lot back then, and found that I really liked that particular focal length so I didn’t take it off the body for weeks.  Even though I started shooting Nikon in early 2020 I didn’t buy my 35mm f/1.4 AI’d Nikkor until nearly a year and a half later.  Since I have though, that and the 50mm f/1.4 are nearly the only two lenses I use.