Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kodachrome – Not!

Here’s another family outing photo from one of those lost rolls of film exposed a decade ago and developed just last week. Naturally I don’t remember the exposure settings or even which camera it was taken with (probably my Olympus OM-1) but I do know it was Fujicolor 200 film.

I always preferred Kodak film because I liked the color balance better but I have to admit that Fujicolor has incredible color saturation, especially after waiting ten years for processing. It’s not Kodachrome but if you like bright colors with total saturation you can’t beat Fujicolor.

Yeah, I know now days you can do all kind of spectacular things with post processing software but you always could and still can do the same thing with film just by selecting the right film. Now that digital technology has caught up with film and can produce photos just as good as film the biggest difference I find is with film you do more of the thinking and decision making up front. With digital you just take the photo now and worry about all that later. 

Of course, with film if you don’t like what you get you can always scan the negatives into digital format and do the same thing anyway, or is that cheating?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brownie Revisited

The picture above showing the view from my hotel room in Mobile was taken with my 40+ year old Brownie Bullet shooting Kodak (127 Roll Film) Portra 160. For those of you who have read this blog from the beginning or maybe just skipped around and read some of my earliest posts you will realize that the Brownie Bullet was my very first camera.

I was 9 years old when I first got it and tripped all around the Gulf Coast for several years taking pictures with my little Brownie. I’m not really sure what ever happened to it. I suppose I just stopped using it at some point, probably because it was “old” and not “cool” anymore once the Instamatics took over the “snapshot” market in the late 1960’s. The truth is the fabulously popular 126 and the 110 Instamatics of the last 30-40 years of the 20th century never did take pictures as good as the old 127 Brownies.

Now that I’m old enough to not care anymore what is or is not “cool” I bought another Brownie Bullet and a Brownie 127 off Ebay and I’m enjoying playing with them again. I am amazed you can actually still find film for them and even more amazed at the pictures they take.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another one (film) bites the dust!

Fujifilm recently announced that its stock of APS (Advanced Photo System) film has finally run out. Both Fuji & Kodak stopped production of the 24mm film last year. Developed back in the mid 1990’s for the amateur market it never really had a chance to catch on before the digital revolution took over in spite of the emerging assortment of excellent compact cameras for it.

Although 35mm and 120roll film remain significant markets and there has even been a revival of interest lately in 110 and 126 film I doubt we will see any more APS film. Oddly enough its legacy lay primarily in the vast majority of DSLR’s that use the 24mm APS format for their digital sensors. As technology improves these smaller digital cameras with the APS sensors are even being used by professionals leaving just a couple “full sized” sensor cameras on the market.

For a more thorough discussion of the various digital sensors available and their relative sizes see my earlier blog post (Feb 7th, 2012) entitled, “Why is Film Better than Digital."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Personal History: This Old House: Private Investigations" from

I ran across this really great article by Barry Tanenbaum on about how pictures taken in 1923 brought a family new insight into the history of the house that they had been living in. The article compares the 1923 photos with similar 2010 photos for a fascinating room by room glimpse into what only photography can do.

Check it out for youself at the link below.

Personal History: This Old House: Private Investigations | Shutterbug

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Newly Discovered Old Photos

Here’s another great photo from a roll exposed in 2002 and just processed this week - Smith & Sons performing live at the talent portion of my youngest son’s kindergarten graduation ceremony. He’s now 15 and as tall as I am of course. 

I still have a few more rolls to process and so far everything has come out fine except a couple frames with the colors slightly off. If waiting for the film to be developed is part of the excitement and mystique of film then we’re in rare form waiting a decade or more to develop ours!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pentax Rocks!

You guys know I am a Pentax fan, film or digital. Check out the link below to Stan Horaczek’s article I ran across on Popular Photography’s web site about the latest news from Pentax.

This is truly heart-warming for me because since the Ricoh acquisition I have been waiting to see if the “New Pentax Ricoh Company would aggressive pursue the market. Since then they have introduced the K-01, a radically different ILC and now the new K-30. If that’s not enough for you consider the 40mm “pancake” lens introduced with the K-01 and now a new 50mm prime with a f1.8 aperture. 

Personally I won’t be happy until they release a new 20+MP sensor but I have to say that so far the new Pentax Ricoh team’s efforts are impressive. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Old Film - Old Pictures

Okay, enough about pinhole photography for now at least!

Here is a shot from the past. This picture was taken around Easter of 2000 but the film was just processed a few weeks ago. My son (who is now 15) is kissing my granddaughter (now 12) on her head as she sits on my lap. I apparently still had a few dark hairs left in those days - not many, but certainly more than I have now.

Although I would not recommend that anyone delay processing exposed film for a more than a decade, or even a few  years I confess there is something exciting about running across exposed film that you didn’t even  remember shooting. 

Normally the waiting game associated with film processing adds an element of excitement to the whole picture taking process that is lacking with digital photography (although some would argue that this is a good thing). Imagine how much more intense this is when you send off a mystery roll to be processed not knowing what’s on it or even when it was exposed. 

My wife recently unearthed a zip lock bag full of exposed 35mm film while digging through her closet. Having no idea what was on the film or when they were exposed I started sending the film to be processed a couple rolls at a time. Imagine my delight when I discovered that not only did the pictures come out fine but that they were taken over a decade ago!

Now there are some old or obsolete films that you may have problems getting processed because the chemistry is obsolete too. For those instances check out my April 1st blog post about “Film Rescue International” or go to “”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pinhole Mania

Here’s another pinhole photo taken on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. I went into Picasa and cropped the sprocket holes on this one so it looks more “normal.” 

At first the idea of pinhole photography seemed really “trippy” and cool to me but most of the pinhole photos I saw were just “bad photography masquerading as art,” – in my opinion!

Now, having experimented with pinhole photography myself and having viewed literally thousands of pinhole photos I still think a lot of what I have seen is of dubious merit but there is a significant number of really great pinhole photos out there too.

I confess that I am also somewhat prejudiced. Pinhole photos produced with high quality, commercially available pinhole cameras or DSLR’s with the lens removed and a pinhole drilled in the body cap are “cheating,” again – just my opinion. The fact that both of these routinely produce excellent pictures, often free from the distortion and “pinhole effect” generally seen in the photos produced by more “humble & honest” pinhole cameras, would seem to validate that opinion however.

That said, I am intrigued by and contemplating an experiment involving one of my 35mm SLR bodies with the lens removed and a hole drilled in the body cap. More specifically, I intend to drill a large hole in the body cap and attach a very thin brass plate with a pinhole in it centered over the larger hole in the body cap. Is this “cheating?” Well, maybe. It depends. 

My biggest complaint about my home made cardboard pinhole camera is the film advance mechanism. It worked well enough but was difficult to use and when the black tape started coming off I cut my picture taking short for fear of light leaks ruining the film. If I can use one of my 35mm bodies instead and still get the same pinhole quality & effect I have just solved the problem.

As a side benefit, I may actually be able to use the built in light meter and perhaps even “see” through the viewfinder well enough to compose my shots better than the “point & shoot & hope for the best” approach used with my home made camera.

As always, I’ll be sure to let you know what happens.