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.

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!

Scorpion Cowboy: selected headshots

This is the guy (along with his wife, a good friend of my mom’s), that got me into driving jeep tours.  I’ve developed a reputation within the company as the resident photographer.  A few of our drivers are actors or would like to be, and I suppose headshots would be a good first step.

Some taken using the legendary Nikkor-PC 105mm f/2.5, and then I went a bit wider with the AI-Nikkor 85mm f/2.  They’re not all technically perfect as I did often refocus and sometimes didn’t quite hit it, but I’m still pretty proud of how they turned out.  Of course I used movie film to give these a certain cinematic look, and I have to say that Eastman Double-X is just stunning.  I took less formal portraits using Tri-X and it’s fun to compare the different characteristics; honestly I think Double-X will have to be my go-to black & white film for portraits.  Whether it’s the differing amount of silver in the emulsion, the fact that it’s remained virtually unchanged since Kodak introduced it in 1959, or just that it’s formulated for motion pictures instead of stills I’m not sure, but whatever it is this film just has that look and I love it.

Behind the scenes–portraits on Tri-X

Alternate author photos – Kathy

Back around 2015-16 my friend Kathy wanted me to take pictures of her for use as her official author photo…so far the book(s) she was writing have yet to materialize (I’d love to read them) but when they do hopefully the back photo will feature the photos I took of her using Cinestill 800T.  She liked the portrait I’d done of our mutual friend Duncan and wanted something similar but in color and I did my best I could back then; I think I could probably do better now.  But one thing that I did insist on trying more just for myself, was to put a couple shots through my Canon 7 rangefinder because I wanted to try that Summarit lens out with some Double-X.  And here are those results:

There’s just something about Double-X that just works for me: the tonality, the contrast, whatever it is, it’s one of my favorite films for portraits.  I don’t even think she saw these shots, the roll took a lot longer to use up and even though I posted some of the shots a long time ago I lost the digital files before I uploaded anything on here.  I recently had my scanner out of storage and took the opportunity to rescan a few rolls I seemed to have misplaced, this was among them.

Mother/Tri-X

Yesterday was the first Mother’s Day that my brother and I didn’t have our mother.  Looking back on it, even though we butted heads a lot, I was able to spend a lot of time with her in the last few years and I’m grateful for that now.  This would be the companion piece to my other tribute which was posted back in December.  Honestly I completely forgot about Mother’s Day but I’ve never been a big fan of holidays that promote obligatory consumerism and people punish you for forgetting; I suppose I’ll never have to feel bad for not remembering from now on.

While developing all the rolls I shot in 2020 I came across a few that I’d taken of my mom, usually holding her first grandson.  Thanks to my old photo instructor Stacy for letting me get all that done in the school darkroom, or I don’t know when I would have gotten around to seeing these.  The entire Summer I was shooting nothing but Kodak Tri-X.

Medium format Kodak Gold? Yes please!

It was in my Facebook feed about half an hour ago, and I’m happy it’s finally here!  I heard rumors of this either last year or in 2020, but it took longer than expected.   With all the crap regarding Fujifilm recently, I’m glad that Kodak just keeps bringing back wonderful film emulsions that if aren’t necessarily new, then at least are ones I never got to shoot before.

Kodak Gold 200 released in 120 medium format

Now I’ve been using the Gold 200 for landscape shots for years now in 35mm, and have been trying to get a medium format Mamiya off my coworker for a few years now…time to make it finally happen!

All the Kodak Gold

My mother’s camera: the Minolta XG-A

This is the camera that I grew up using, for as far back as I can remember…considering that it’s older than I am and my dad got it for my mom before they were even married, I suppose that makes sense.  Now, she didn’t use it much, really after 2004 when she got her digital camera; I got her to use it once about 5 years ago and that was it as far as I know.  Just like most people of the earlier generation, they were mystified by the high technology as well as the convenience of DSLRs and never went back to film.  Most of the cameras I use are much older and less complicated/electronic than this one.  Minolta had an entire series of X cameras of which this was the simplified model with aperture priority only; with a full range of manual speeds as well (as the X-700 has) I would find this camera more useful but did bring it out occasionally back when I was shooting the MD mount system back in my early college days.

If you follow my blog regularly you might know that my mother died recently.  For her memorial service and as a tribute to her, I wanted to take pictures and of course take them with her camera.  Also included are some valuable time spent with friends/family before/after the service.

Three rolls of film, in order: Cinestill 800T, Kodak T-Max P3200 (both expired), and Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600.  There are a lot of photos here that have some technical problems and I don’t know exactly what the problem is because there are too many variables.  I used a 3v lithium battery when I think before it was always alkaline.  Two of the three rolls I shot were expired high speed film that had been in my mom’s freezer for years.  I dropped off the film and expected it to be ready in a week but I guess they ran into staffing problems or something, and had to rush process the film for me, a mistake could have been made there.  And of course it could be that the shutter speeds are off, though usually they tend to get slower with age; of course it could be that the electronics are failing.

What it comes to is that the film all looks underexposed and shadow detail is often lacking, even with overexposing the expired film by one stop.  The better-exposed shots were ones that I took outside or near an open door, which brings up another possibility: that it just doesn’t read dim light correctly.  And of course I’m not sure how much having light sources in the frame might have affected exposure as well. When there is too much light the shutter won’t fire, so there were times I missed shots because of this, going from one part of the church to the other where the light changed too drastically.  After having used shutter priority with the Canon AE-1 I find it much more freeing setting at 1/60 and having the lens stop down as much as needed, it made it easy to set and forget whereas with the aperture priority I was forever worrying about whether the aperture I had it on would make the shutter speed too slow.  It was more an unfounded fear as nearly everything doesn’t show motion blur but I also wanted to give myself as much depth of field as possible because the lens would be focusing in the opposite direction from what I’m used to.  What it boils down to is that I was using a camera that is now unfamiliar to me after having shot Pentax and Nikon for most of the last decade and more.  I don’t know that I will use it much or ever again for that matter but being a family heirloom like my grandfather’s cameras I of course can’t let it go.

A photographic time capsule

This was the single-use camera that someone found and gave to me.  I used up the last few exposures and then I just never got around to developing the film.  It turned out to be from 2017, I know because in the first image on the left is a cowboy named Twister who has since gone on to bigger and better things.  It was also nice to see a pic of myself in action, this is a shot I’ve gotten of a couple drivers in the past.

I’d say that this roll of film aged a bit better than the last one I found, but it is quite a lot newer.  I wouldn’t call these stunning images at all but it was a nice surprise to see what was on this roll of film because at this point I didn’t even remember taking these.

The end of FujiFILM?

I used to love Fujifilm, and during my early years as a photographer I was shooting Fujicolor 200, Superia 400, and Velvia 100 if I shot color at all.  But if the rumor mill is correct, Fuji might not be making any more film, ever.  We’ve all known that Acros II was being manufactured by Ilford and I’ve read recent news that Fujicolor 200’s new data sheet is eerily similar to Kodak Gold 200’s, inviting speculation that it is now just rebranded Kodak film.  Fuji shut down their film production plant in 2020 during the start of COVID-19 and it’s anybody’s guess whether it will ever reopen.  Knowing how Fuji has continuously axed one film after another over the last decade I think that it’s entirely possible that Fuji’s brilliant colors have finally faded.

Why I loved Fuji Superia
Why I loved Fuji Velvia & Provia

Reading Jim Grey’s tribute to his favorite film made me want to do the same but the fact is that I haven’t shot it much since those two posts above.  And I don’t think I’m going to continue to support a company that stopped supporting me a long time ago.  Unless something radically changes at Fuji with regards to their attitude toward their photographic film business it will be Kodak for me, thank you.