The Nikon D850 is all over every photography blog and for good reason. One feature isn't getting too much spotlight though, the ability of the D850 to act as a super high-res 35mm film scanner, converting said image in-camera. Like many Nikon enthusiasts, I stayed awake for the highly anticipated official D850 press release from Nikon this past Thursday. Much akin to my reactions during most of the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, I let out a giddy squeal when I read this short line in the Nikon press release:
While the world grows increasingly digital, there’s something that draws humans to the physical gratification of analog media. Whether it’s the surge in vinyl record or cassette sales or the cult VHS collectors, it’s clear that there’s a deep-seated nostalgia that draws many of us to physical mediums. That nostalgia inspired Fujifilm to make the Instax Square Film that’s now being utilized in the quintessentially retro, “Lomo'Instant Square” from Lomography.
Humidity, sunlight, water, and most of all, time, are just some of the culprits in the damage most printed photographs will endure. However these memories of loved ones do not need to be thrown away or thought to be unrepairable. A few layers in the digital world can bring it back for your clients.
Photographer Monica Jane Frisell has spent the last four months living out of a renovated 1988 Toyota Seabreeze, traveling across the United States with her scrappy terrier Lou and a Zone VI 4x5 camera for her project “Looking Forward/Portraits from an RV.” I caught up with her to talk about the project, life on the road, and the process of shooting large format film.
You know that someone somewhere did a great job of marketing when it's late at night and something pops into your head, from who knows where, and you find yourself jumping online to make a small new purchase. No, I'm not talking about an expensive new lens or shiny new piece of gear; I'm talking about what amounts to an inexpensive accessory that tags along on your photo sessions. It adds something fun and tangible all while being almost impossible not to have a good time with. I'm talking about those Poloroid-esque mini cameras that seem to be making a big time comeback these days.
Back in April, I ventured on a trip to Havana, Cuba with the lofty goal of capturing the culture and people there within with my favorite little 35mm film camera. With the recent news that President Trump plans on buckling down on all travel and trade to Cuba, I'm all the more grateful than ever to have made the trip when I did. The Cuban experience is easily the most surreal of any international travel that I have ever experienced.
Whenever my girlfriend and I see antique stores or vintage markets, our eyes light up. Her eyes are lit up with dreams of bone china tea sets and antiquated woodworking, whereas mine are bright with visions of a dusty Hasselblad in a forgotten corner, or spools of unprocessed and antiquated film. On a Sunday morning in sunny Englandshire recently, my lady-friend and I went for breakfast and on returning to our car, saw a small sign for a vintage pop-up market.
Ah, scanning. If you're not printing in the darkroom, it's a necessary evil when dealing with film. You could argue that outside of the moment of exposure, scanning carries the most weight in determining the quality of the final image. For those that choose to develop their film at home, scanning is the next step in our workflow. Most of us want to get in, get the best scan we can, and get out to the greener pastures of Photoshop to make our final edits. Your choice of software has a lot to do with how efficient and how tolerable it will be to get your negatives into the computer. It's through that lens that we take a look at VueScan.
Matthew Modine played the lead role of Pvt. Joker in Stanley Kubrick's iconic film about the Vietnam War. Modine used his personal Rolleiflex camera to capture behind-the-scenes images of the almost two years the film was in production. Now, he is auctioning 12 of those images off with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Purple Heart Foundation. The auction is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the release of "Full Metal Jacket."
CineStill is best known for its 35mm motion picture films that it processes and repackages for use in still cameras, but it's only recently that they dove into medium format with a high-speed, 800T (tungsten-balanced) film. Right now, 50D, a fine-grain daylight film stock already available in 35mm is now also available for pre-order in 120. The official announcement will be up on their site tomorrow, but you can see image samples and already pre-order if you read on.
If you're used to APS-C or 35mm cameras, moving to medium format is essentially the same user experience, save for a bulkier camera. Large format, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast that takes a lot of practice to master. Follow a landscape photographer as he continues to learn the process and enjoys the unique challenges brought about by large format work.
Back in the good old days of film photography, contact sheets or proof sheets were one of the best ways to view results from black and white or color negative film shoots. Printed on photographic paper, these sheets were exposed in a darkroom by laying a roll of negative film typically cut up and placed in transparent sleeves. They are a great way to see an entire roll of film in one glance. Web galleries and slide shows have all but replaced them in this digital age, but for those few who are still shooting the odd roll of film and don't have access to a darkroom, here's a film and digital solution for making contact sheets at home using a light table and a digital camera.
It's been a month or so since I started printing in the darkroom, and what a ride it has been! After going through tons of paper and chemicals, making a mountain of bad prints, and generally messing up in every way possible, I've managed to be able to make some decent prints. Here are a few of most important lessons I've learned so far in my darkroom adventure.