Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back Into Medium Format

Agfa VikingMany years ago I had a brief encounter (about three years long) with medium format film. Medium format had been the holy grail as I grew up. It was just a dream. Eventually, as I started earning a little more money, I was able to grab a Hasselblad 500C on the used market. That brought home what have been the ultimate studio camera system I drooled over for years. About three years later I sold the camera as it simply wasn't used enough (having already made the switch to a DSLR) and it needed service for the springs nearly every time I pulled it out. I've once again been thinking of the darkroom and medium format film thanks to the LOMO movement and the Instagram App for the iPhone. A visit to an antique shop a couple weeks ago ignited the flame again. They had many older cameras from box to twin lens. I've always had a fascination with the folding and twin lens cameras so spent some time looking those over. One of the folding cameras, an Agfa Viking (top right), was only $35 and seemed to be in working condition. Pentax 6x7So I walked out with that unit, cleaned it up, and started looking for more help with the camera online. It turns out to actually be a 620 camera. With a quick modification it can take 120 supply rolls, but still needs the 620 take up spool. Some more poking around and I found another dream camera from my college days. So I ended up grabbing a Pentax 6x7 (left) with several lenses, and a Mamiya C3 Pro. Now I'm hooked! I have a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II on order with a few lenses and will play with all of these whenever I feel like going out shooting without a specific mission. It gives me the chance to work with these great older cameras and get back into the darkroom. Processing ChemicalsI love medium format film but I don't plan to use it for anything really serious as the D700 still provides images as good as what I get from these great cameras but without the extra work of processing and scanning. Used film cameras are great additions to a collection and beat grabbing one of those cheap little plastic units for satisfying the lust for medium format. It seems that just about anything film-based is pretty cheap on the used market these days, perhaps you'll want to grab one and go old skool too.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Eastern Market

Grab Some Fingerling PotatoesDuring a photowalk this fall I discovered a great location to shoot – Detroit Eastern Market. The photowalk was actually through the nearby Dequindre Cut, but we moved toward Eastern Market pretty quickly. I visited Eastern Market many times as a youngster, and a few times since, always with cash in hand to purchase fresh edibles (especially cheeses from R. Hirt Jr.), but never with a camera. This time, under the cover provided by a small group of photographers, I took the chance to shoot in a location I'd seen hundreds of times but never considered a subject. Now I was seeing great images calling to be captured. Many of those I'd never attempted before the amazing high ISO performance provided by my D700. That body and some fast lenses gave me the chance to pound out my three frame bracket sweeps with a few great results.

Peas, Squash, and Carrots

Chilis for Sale

If you're in the area and have the chance, certainly take the time to visit on a Saturday morning. You're bound to come away with some interesting images, and very likely some good, fresh produce.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 1



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Almost a Year

Blacksmith Shop RibbonPacks of PeppersAlmost a year has passed since I last posted to this blog. Being that it had become simply a daily photo posting using material I had already made available on Flickr I frankly lost interest in keeping up with the postings. I have been shooting and generating new material (though probably not enough to continue posting images daily) so there's plenty of material in my Flickr Photostream for you to enjoy. I have been rethinking the format of this blog especially in light of my newly rekindled infatuation with medium format film. So from this post forward I'll be posting all sorts on things to this blog. Look for summaries of photography trips, my thoughts on things like gear, highlighted photos, interesting locations I found and would like to shoot (or have shoot), fielding of questions from readers, and just about anything else I decide to share. Of course I'd love to have discussion with you either through the comments or direct. The bottom line – look for postings to resume on all sorts of topics. As a matter of fact, look for one tomorrow on either the medium format film cameras or a great location I found to shoot. Actually, perhaps I should try a "Wordless Wednesday" post.