Gabriel portrait session

I don’t do it too often but when my friends want pictures I’m there for them.  I can’t say that I’m too used to portrait sessions in general and with infants in particular; Anne Geddes I’m not.  But it turned out alright and I think my friend is happy with the results.  Perhaps if I get enough practice I’d consider opening up a photography business.  We narrowed it down to 20 pictures to print, these are the ones I personally like best.

Black & White is T-Max 400, and I pulled out a lens I don’t use too often, the Chinon 55mm f/1.7 Macro, to make sure I could get in as close as needed: the Chinon, while not a true 1:1 Macro lens, does focus to less than a foot, better than the 1.5 feet with my normal Takumars, and shooting indoors I wanted something faster than the f/4 S-M-C Macro Takumar.  I knew there was a reason I bought it!  Also it was a pretty screaming deal at my local shop, evidently they’re quite rare and go for several hundred dollars when they turn up on ebay, so it was too hard to pass up.

I pulled out the old Pentax ES as my secondary camera, and it went back to its old tricks (actually it did a long time ago and I just hadn’t remembered).  So my original fix didn’t work, but then I haven’t gotten around to opening it back up again recently.  The ESII I own was sent off to Eric Hendrickson for a CLA but he couldn’t get the speeds right so he sent it back…evidently it’s a common problem and I guess he doesn’t like working on the AE Spotmatics.  But what that means now is that I have an ESII with accurate fast speeds and slow speeds that are much too fast.  So much for having an M42 system: I have 5 bodies and only 1 that works 100%.  I’ve been on the fence anyway about switching to Nikon and getting an F2 and F3, which it seems are much more serviceable…it’s gonna cost me though…

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NAC customer example gallery

Back in the Spring 2013 I had my album manufactured by the National Audio Company out of Missouri.  They were supposed to be working on a customer example gallery, so I sent in a few promo shots…three years later the gallery is finally up and can be viewed here.  I’m happy to see Lacrimosa among them.

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I seem to be one of the only ones not using the standard white background.  I can’t decide if that’s good because it will help pull people’s eyes toward it, or bad because it now seems less professional.  Hmmm…

I posted this picture before, way back when.  But this one is new:

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(my friend John held the camera for me)

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Why I love Fuji Superia

This is my favorite product coming out of Japan, over even Nintendo or Studio Ghibli.  It may just be a cheap consumer film to a lot of people, but the colors it gives me are just fantastic.  That affordability really is an asset to me, especially when I was just starting to shoot film.  I had no job, no money, and I really took my time with my shots.  It was a great way to learn, but I’m glad I was paying $2-3 a roll instead of $10.  One of the bargain marts down in Colorado Springs used to get expired Superia in from time to time so that really helped me out, and it’s readily available at Wal-Mart as well, in 4-packs that might have gone up in price a bit, but still don’t break the bank.

Using this film almost exclusively for my first 3 years as a photographer, in a lot of ways I grew up with it.  I certainly cut my teeth on it, I learned more about film using Superia than I did in my photography class with Tri-X.  I’ve used it indoors, outdoors, in all different kinds of weather, overexposed, underexposed.  The results I’ve got just make me so pleased.  In saying why I love Superia so much it could almost be why I love the Takumar lens so much as well.  I counted: there are exactly 3 shots down below that are taken on a non-Pentax camera and lens.  I’ve read on other sites about alchemy as pertaining to film, and I can say without a doubt that I believe every word, because I found it here with the combination of Pentax’s SMC lenses and this film.  It’s how I create gold.

A few months back I came across this post from Cinestill regarding a comparison test between 800T, Fuji Pro400H, Portra 800, and Fuji Superia 800.  I was a bit surprised to see Superia on that list, it didn’t strike me as a film that pros would fall back on (maybe they used it after Fuji discontinued Pro800Z).  Looking at the results, it’s obvious that Cinestill 800T comes in first, but what came in second?  That’s right, according to their test, Superia 800 comes out looking better than either Pro400H or Portra 800.  i was so proud to see my beloved Superia perform so well compared to films that cost 2-3 times as much.

Superia 400 (as well as Reala) was originally available in 120 size as well, a fact I only found out after Fujifilm discontinued it, sadly.  I’ll bet it looked wonderful in medium format, but there doesn’t seem to be many examples posted on the net.  Other products in the Superia line that have recently been axed are a 1600 speed film and Reala 100.  Back in the day there was also a line called Fujicolor Press that was really just Superia that had been cold-stored since its manufacture, and they say it gave some really vivid colors.  It’s really sad to see the line dwindling, and sometimes I wonder just how long Fuji’s going to keep making film at all.  The only new film Fuji’s come out with lately has been Natura 1600 which I have yet to try.  Hopefully Fuji’s stabilized enough that they’ll start adding new films now, not taking away the classics.

I’ve used all four variants of Fuji’s consumer film line, Fujicolor 200, and Superia 200, 400, and 800.  Below are examples of all of them in no particular order.  They’re all great, so enjoy this collection of my favorite shots taken with this wonderful line of films:

Well done, Fujfilm.  Long may this film be made.

More like odds and ends than anything else

Fuji Superia does it for me again.  I started this roll right after finishing another one, and sort of used this as the backup body just to have around, so there are a few outtakes thrown in.  I started this roll on Oct 17 and finished on Nov 30, so I kind of shot this roll the way I used to do it back in the day, taking my time and not using a whole lot of film.  I don’t feel like there’s anything all too wonderful here but I just love the color.  Fuji Superia really is like an old friend that I can always count on.

Looking up

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an update:
It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for almost a year now.  I’m running out of pictures from my back catalog (that I’m OK with people seeing, that is) and it seems a bit like I’m running out of steam, but there’s still more to come, it will just be a bit of a transition from what I’ve been doing the last few months.

I’m planning on investing in another film scanner early next year and will be able to show a bit more of my work from the Intro to Photography class, primarily done with a Minolta SRT-MCII.  I’ve also signed up for another photo class, Alternative Processes which I think will cover things like pinhole photography and things like caffenol.  There’ll be a lot of black & white coming next year.

Besides that I have one more roll of film to get back from processing, and I also received a commission to make some family portraits.  It’s not going to get quiet any time soon.

Countryside

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Was this taken with my Sigma zoom lens?  I can’t remember exactly, it was 3 1/2 years ago now, but back in those days I think the only things I carried with me were the SMC Pentax-A 70-210mm and the Sigma 35-135mm zooms (they were also practically the only ones I owned).  It’s hard to favor the look of this lens over a real Pentax-made one and I doubt I’d use it these days but I didn’t let my equipment (or lack of it?) prevent me from taking a chance in the early days; I hope I can keep that spirit alive.  The objective is to make good images, and the important thing I try to remember is that one doesn’t need the fanciest equipment, or even hardly any equipment at all.  It’s something I really need to try to learn myself, to be happy with what I already have.