b&w images • blog • project journal


Window Clicking Again

Oct 23, 2018

It's getting to that time of year where between a lot going on for all of us, the weather and not as much going on in town, the Havre de Grace Street images slow down a bit. If it weren't for Pam Wilde's marathon portrait series – which will run into next year, my posting would already be cut in half. It's nice having this mini-project, a fun iPhone series, to work on. And I'm getting a jump on my winter site changes and updates. There's a note on some of those along with a little bit of a trip back into the subject of B&W film photography, and a wishful thinking note about my looking for old (ancient to some of you) film camera lenses.

In the shot above, is that someone inside talking to Jason Robertson as he poses for his portrait, or is it a reflection in the window – or maybe the spirit world attempting to make contace? Hard to tell. The image below Shows Heather Braue looking a lot less at ease while she sits for hers – and people walking by and stopping to stare probably doesn't help (not mention me standing there pointing my iPhone camera at her). I don't blame her one bit – ain't gettin' me in that chair.

Again, all of these go onto the Havre de Grace Street page into the Wilde Window Portrait album, where they come in a little larger.


1– Partly for my own convenience records and partly to streamline the site I placed all pre 2017 postings in PDFs – as they were posted. They can be accessed from the top of the Blog Archives page – link at the bottom of the Home Page. Two files – one labeled Easter Island Journal includes Easter Island related postings from 2006 into 2017. The second is all blog postings from 2013 through 2016. 

2– Havre de Grace Street page has been simplified a bit. In order to be able to keep to one page into the new year, I've begun grouping events sort of as I go along. Oh, and I made the page background match that in the albums, just for fun.

A couple of notes on B&W FILM

A local guy I recently met is interested in shooting film – sort of like it would have been to want to do tintypes when I got started with "modern" film cameras. Instead of setting myself up to drag all of that expertise from where it is buried in the back of my brain, I found him a copy of the best book guideline ever written on the subject – for $1 hardbound. Hey, he can buy me a coffee. No better way to begin to look at photography, especially digital B&W, as an art from than to learn the craft of B&W film.

     The Craft of Photography by Dacid Vestal. It pretty much covers everything he will need to learn, up to but not including what to do about scanning the negatives. There I can fill in the gaps. As anxious as he is to cop out and send his negatives out to be developed, I'm trying to impress upon him that this is simply not an option – one needs to have as much control over this stage as over the camera end. The results always suck, ruining any potential the negatives may have initially posessed. He'll realize this when he reads the book.

     My advice would be to pick up a good used 120 film, medium format camera, along with maybe three lenses. Easy to find – five years ago one could grab these for practically nothing – now prices are on their way back up. Ouch. Pentax 6x7 is likely the best option – large negative, sturdily enough built to withstand how old it must be, and fun to use. The biggest drawback here is, while 35mm film loads into development reels very easy, 120 and 220 film requires and acquired amount of dexterity if one wants to avoid kinking the film (solved by taking an old roll and practicing over and over in the light until one feels comfortable enough to go there in the dark.

     I wouldn't bother with 35mm film – the results just can't compete with digital. The 6x7 120 negative is more than four times the size of the 35mm – make that more than four and a half times if the 35mm is cropped to the same proportions. Then again, 35mm film cameras can be so much fun – why not add that in. A complete Canon F-1 system (by far my personal favorite), with an array of lenses. can be gotten for less than the second lens you might be contemplating for your digital camera.

     A darkroom isn't really a need – a closet or bathroom with all light leaks plugged will do, unless one wants to use a changing bag (been there, hated them but when working with film necessary to have on hand (film can get jammed in a camera).

Film Camera Lenses

One of the beauties of mirrorless digital cameras is that, with a cheap adapter, they can use those decades old manually focusing 35mm film camera lenses. Now, most are still pretty useless, but there are gems out there, and uses for them. Sure, they won't auto-focus, but my Fuji for example has great focus-peaking – a combination of putting colored lines around whatever is in focus and zooming in to assist. Really speeds things up. So – I would be glad to hear from anyone having some of these laying around (the attached camera bodies continue to be useless). Note: they have a tendency to accumulate mold spots inside in the elements over the years, rendering them useless. I have found a great 30 year old Canon 500mm F-8 mirror lens in mint condition, and wouldn't mind trying out a 50mm 1.2 or 1.4, an 85mm 1.8, or heck, any of a number of combinations. Just saying.