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.
As I delve deeper into teaching myself how to print in the darkroom, I find myself constantly scouring YouTube for videos on the subject. In trying to relay the things I've learned to you, I realized that there's a lot about printing in the darkroom that I had no clue about. In this video, Andrea Calabresi, an educator based in Italy, does a wonderful job of giving an overview of what it takes to get a good print.
Unlike SD cards, film has an expiration date. Once it reaches the end of its shelf life, all sorts of unpredictable things can happen: loss of sensitivity, decreased contrast, color shifts, fog, etc. Some people see that as unacceptable, some see it as artistic charm. Here's how one roll held up after over three decades of languishing in a bag.
Most of the time, when photographers are buying equipment, they choose the piece of gear that will accomplish their goal using some set of typical parameters: price, weight, build quality, warranty, size, speed, etc. These days, for shooting Formula One car races, you’d probably choose a fast-focusing, high frame-rate camera such as the Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX — if you had the budget for it — because F1 cars are fast and crazy. But that’s not what this photographer did; he decided to step back 100 years and break out a camera that was definitely not designed for shooting a modern-day race track. And the images are awesome.
The Intrepid Camera Co. is on a roll. With the lofty goal of bringing low-cost large format film photography to the masses, they launched their initial 4x5 model's Kickstarter in the fall of 2014. Although plagued with fulfillment issues and mixed reviews (You can see our review of the original model here), enough attention was garnered to warrant a follow up of a much more refined model in 2016. Now, Intrepid is stepping up and hoping to swing for the fences with a big boy: an 8x10 camera.