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!

Self-centered

One of the aspects my peers criticized in my photo project was that there were hardly any pictures with me in them.  I’ve kept that in mind ever more frequently this year and either taken more selfies or had someone else hold the camera for me.  Hopefully I was successful in my attempt to add a bit of my own personal je ne sais quoi to these.

Film, in order: Fuji Superia 400, Kodak Ultramax 400, Ilford XP2 Super, Kodak BW400CN (exp.2008).

2021 off-season jeep tours

It’s incredible to me that what started off as current up-to-date posts has kept going and I’m already behind again, with the 2022 season about to take of.  That’s a good problem I suppose, it means I’m not about to run out of material soon!

But shooting around 40 rolls of film for this project every year, I suppose it’s to be expected.

Trolley ride

Every once in a while I get to ride along instead of driving, it gets me shots I wouldn’t otherwise.

I remember the saying that “if you have a camera, you’re a photographer.”  Well nearly everyone’s a photographer here.  A lot can be said about people who spend their life experiencing it through a screen.

Family is important

Back in October/November 2021 I was going through my old posts looking at all the different photos I’d taken and deciding which ones I should keep and which I should prune to make sure I don’t run out of storage space.  There were entire posts that I deleted to make room for new photos; I think now that I will bring some of those pictures back.  A lot of those were family pictures and I have many more since the funeral so it might keep the blog going for a bit longer.  As a mini project, it hearkens back to an assignment I did in my Intermediate Photo class, and it will be good to revisit this subject.

So here are more family hangout pictures this time post-memorial with my cousin Chris and his family.

I went back to my Nikon F2A (and good thing, too).  This is the first time I used Ilford HP5 (except for large format) and my first impression is that it’s sharp but also that it has some of the same characteristics of XP2 in its look, namely to contrast.  I’d say that they look pretty similar to each other, and a noticeably different look from my old Kodak standbys.