Apr 6, 2013
Recently, Jaime and I had the opportunity to get away to the Texas hill country for the weekend for some much needed relaxation. If you ever want to visit the area, I highly reccommend Alexandra's House. The food and hospitality are top notch.
Here are a couple frames from the trip.
Contax 645 & Portra 160NC
Dec 22, 2012
If you do a google search on "why film," you will likely encounter words like nostalgic, warm, soft, and imperfect. While these adjectives do a decent job at describing the "look" of film; for me, there is something more. I'll get to that shortly, but first a recap.
In the first entry, I described my experience with switching to film and how using film makes me a better photographer. In short, shooting film encourages me to see more and to click the shutter less. It makes me think more about the picture I'm going to end up with. This increased seeing and thinking have led to more interesting and complete pictures. Not only have I found my pictures to be more complete, but they also have all of those wonderful visual qualities associated with film.
Even when I was shooting all digital, I knew I really liked the look of film images. I wondered why I couldn't get that look out of my very expensive digital camera. Like many photographers, I tried to find that one photoshop action that magically transforms a digital image into something that looks like film. Finally, after trying several action packs and spending several hundreds of dollars to do so, I figured out there is no such silver bullet. The best way to get the film look is - you guessed it, to shoot film. So what is it about the film look that I love? Sure, I love the soft, warm pallete of color film and the rich tonality and grain of true black and white film, but there is something else. I alluded to it in the opening, and I can't seem to quite put my finger on it. After thinking on it for some time, the word that I keep coming back to is- depth. To me, pictures shot on film, especially medium format film, seem to have a certain depth quality to them, almost as if the image is layered or textured somehow. I think this quality is the thing that keeps me coming back.
When you get right down to it, I just like the way film looks. It's natural; it's genuine; it's timeless. I like that the end result won't be dated in 5 years. I like that I don't have to update my camera or a piece of software to stay current. My goal is to produce timeless images that future generations can look upon and appreciate, and shooting film helps me do that.
That's it for Part 2. Next time, in my final entry on this subject, I'll talk about one other aspect of shooting film that I love so much. Until then, I thought I would leave you with an image that I think illustrates the "depth" quality I like so much.
Artwork in Santa Fe, NM: Leica M6 | Hp5
Dec 15, 2012
Switching to film has been a bit of a process for me, and not necessarily a quick one, taking the better part of a year. It has been a big change for me, but a good one. Without question, It has made me a better photographer and has helped me create a better product. Over the next couple of posts, I thought I would share a little bit of my story with making the switch and how it has changed my work for the better. Here's part one of my story.
I'm now a film photographer. Thinking back, it all started when I decided to purchase my first 35mm camera, a Leica M6, mainly as a novelty item. During the latter part of 2011, mainly just for fun, I started running a roll through the M6 on each engagement session that I shot. What eventually struck me was how much I enjoyed shooting that camera. It just felt right in my hands, and I found that I really wanted to shoot it more and more. I was getting great results from the M6 so sometime during the early part of this year, I decided to really give film a chance. I made it a point to shoot the M6 right alongside my canon digital gear for pretty much everything I shot. Then, the big breakthrough happened. I discovered medium format film. Wow, did it change my thinking about film, digital, and photography in general. More on that in a bit.
Before I go any further, I want to point out that I do believe digital cameras truly showcase incredible technology and have a rightful place. They do some things better than film, and that is a simple fact. So in no way am I trying to say that I don't or that I won't shoot digital cameras. I still shoot my canon digital gear when the situation is right for it. I see no reason not to.
When I first started shooting medium format film, I very quickly became aware of how many redundant images I shot. With the particular setup I was shooting, I was limited to 16 shots per roll or 32 shots before having to reload. I was reloading way too often. Not only that, but at around $1 per frame, I became very aware of my bad habit. Sure, it was expensive, but the real problem with this approach is that I was shooting around what I wanted to get, instead of really focusing on making the picture that I had in mind. The typical routine would go something like this... I would set up a shot that I thought would be successful then shoot a lot of frames knowing that one or two, or more if I was lucky, would turn out. I think this a natural thing for most people with limited experience. The problem was I never really grew out of that. Because I could play it safe by taking so many pictures, I hadn't developed my skills as an artist to 'see' exactly what I wanted to shoot before clicking the shutter. In this way, shooting digital hindered my development as an artist because it facilitated, even encouraged my laziness. With film, it’s different. Because I know I have limited film capacity and that each click of the shutter is money out of my pocket, it encourages me to focus. Even more importantly, it encourages me to see. It's in this way that I know switching to film has made me a better photographer.
I think it's fitting to include one of my favorite quotes about photography, from one of the all-time greats,
"I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term -- meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching -- there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster." - Ansel Adams
Ansel was right, and if he were with us today, I believe he would tell us something similar about the digital methods. It's not that they are bad; it's that they make it too easy. And with that I think I'll conclude the first post in this series. Next time, I'll talk some about the specific qualities of film that I like so much.
Since it doesn't quite seem right to post without an image and this is a mostly personal post; here's one from the personal archives - shot on film.
Maddox Sitting Up: Mamiya RZ 67ii | Tri-X
Nov 10, 2012
Jul 7, 2012
Jaime and I are so blessed to have welcomed this little boy into the world on June 25th at 5:00AM. We love him so very much and are incredibly excited to be parents. Here is just a little sampling of some of his newborn photos.
May 7, 2012
Here is one of my favorite shots from a spontaneous maternity session with my beautiful wife. In this photo, she is 29 weeks along. Can't wait to meet the little guy!
Hasselblad 500 C/M | Zeiss 80mm | Kodak Portra 160
Mar 17, 2012
Today, I got to shoot my favorite subject - my beautiful wife Jaime. We have been taking photos every couple of weeks to document her pregnancy wth our first little one. We are super excited to welcome him in July!
Mar 12, 2012
This year I'm going to make it a practice to shoot more personal work. This post is the first example of that. These photos are from a recent vacation to Sedona and Scottsdale in Arizona. Both of these towns are amazing places, and Jaime and I had a ton of fun visiting. I highly recommend visiting if you've never been.
For the techies - All shot on film. Mamiya RZ67, Leica M6, Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Tri-X 400
Feb 25, 2012
On a recent trip to Sedona and Scottsdale, I was determined to photograph one of those fabled Arizona sunsets that you see in magazines and in brochures. Ultimately, the cloud cover made it a bit difficult, but I still came away with what I feel is a successful shot. More to come from this trip very soon.