Archive for the ‘nikon’ Category

I realize I shoot film a lot, but I have multiple bodies with film loaded, and I tend to shoot conservatively, just a frame or two on a person or a subject.

I want to change that.  I just added motor drives to two of my Nikons, an F3, and an FM2, the cameras I used as a photojournalist throughout the 80’s and 90s.

I want to shoot more content.  And not hold back.  I think I do that–hold back.   I want to fire up the cameras and move film through them more quickly.

The motor drive will let me do that.  It’s license to burn!

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I have a buying guide for Film SLRs (and TLRs and Point and Shoots, sometimes, too.)

Check it out if you’re looking for a good Film Camera!   Happy Shooting!

I keep running into people who see my old Leica IIIf over my shoulder and marvel that they still make film.  And that it is readily available.  I assure them it is.

I have a standard response to their “I have a great old camera that I never use.”  I tell them to just put one roll of Tri-x in it, shoot a frame once a week or so.  And that after several months, the roll will be done and there will be 36 memories to relive captured on film.

You will have forgotten what you shot.  You will know there’s something good waiting for you after the roll’s developed, and the camera will not be wasting away.  You can always shoot more, but certainly, shooting just one roll a year is still a treat.

You’ll probably need a new battery for the camera.  Many of those with electronic shutters won’t work without them.  Run out, get some new cells, power it up, and load the film.  It’ll all come back.  The feel of those old metal-bodied durable beasts will remind you why you loved them so much.  The heft in your hand will say quality, unlike what you see in many of today’s cameras.  The viewfinder will be big and bright.

It’s a treat.  And the folks I’ve mentioned it to say, “I think I’ll do that.”  I hope they do.  Bring some new life to those wonderful cameras of days of old, er, not that long ago.

How about you?  Have a sweet old camera that isn’t getting used?  How about getting it out and loading it up, just one roll of film.  You’ll be creating a time capsule.

lcpac1If you know you’re never going to shoot it again, donate the camera to a local photography school or art center.  I have one called the Lyons Photography Art Center in Colorado where you can send them.  Address is PO BOX 69, Lyons, CO 80540.  I use them to teach kids to shoot black and white film, to slow down and carefully compose images.  I give them the camera loaded and ready to shoot.  No excuses for lack of equipment.

If you do end up shooting some film, post the links here and let’s have a look!

Somehow, whenever I see a Canon QL17 for $10 or a Minolta A-5 for $20 or a Minox 35SE for $25, even a Leica IIIf for $100, I have to pick them up. (Those are real prices I’ve paid.)   I have Leica M bodies, and great lenses–I don’t need these.  But I feel like I’m rescuing some old friends when I do.  They are so well made and have lasted this long, I want them to have a future.  A reason to be.  I only buy them if their speeds all sound close to accurate and their glass and viewfinder are clean, and the rangefinder working.  These are beautiful works of art, even their leather cases are nicer than what’s being made today.

Leica IIIfSo, I have a little collection and I try to take them out at times and run a roll of Tri-x or HP5 through them.  I imagine how excited they are to be back in someone’s hands, documenting someone’s life.  Again.  There was a time when they were used constantly, probably.  But now shooting film is less than fashionable.   Folks think these gems are too expensive to shoot.

I think it’s rather inexpensive compared to shooting digital and buying new cameras every two years, computers, software and hard drives, but don’t get me started.   Film is my love and I am glad to be one of the photographers specializing in it, even if we are a minority.

Because when that image appears after developing the film, there’s nothing like that memory captured there forever.  That piece of film was present at our Grandpa’s last birthday or our son’s first steps.  That piece of film is a time capsule that will last generations if carefully treated.   When the hard drives are either corrupted or long misplaced and forgotten, this piece of film will hold the image of that day, that moment.

And that’s a bit of magic.  In a $10-$100 film camera with $5 film, hand-developed.

Do you rescue old beauties?

Street plookerhotography.  Those two words have a lot of connotations, and often, it seems to be photos of people standing on the street, maybe checking their phones.  Those photographs don’t do a lot for me.  They are more like record shots, than documentaries of anything going on.  While taking place on the street, they tell a boring story.

And for me, for a street photo to have merit, it has to have a good story.  Even if it’s one that may not be easily deciphered, it has to have one.  Because content is king.  That is what makes a photograph move from the discard pile into the keep pile, for me.

Besides photography, I am a writer and filmmaker, and my film sense is very much small, art-house fare, not Hollywood explosive action flicks.  I like a good story about people, a story that I can relate to.  The simpler the better.  Just don’t be predictable or boring–two of the cardinal sins of storytelling.

Here’s my idea of a storytelling street photo.    Shot with a Rolleiflex.  A little girl sizing up the offerings around the next corner.

I shoot a lot of street photography on a digital Fuji X100, as well as film.  You can see more here: http://kennethwajda.com/kennethwajdastreetphotography.htm

Would love to know your thoughts on street photography.

The one thing that I really love about shooting film, that is really missing with digital photography for me, is the waiting.  The time between shooting and processing is a welcome delay.  Because I have a mind that easily forgets what I shot, and when the roll is finally processed, I have a surprise waiting for me.  Or 12 or 36 of them.

jump2 (2)I was just talking to a neighbor and he saw me with an old Olympus Pen half-frame camera I found in my car when I was cleaning it out.  It didn’t work, and I was trying to get it to–no luck.  He saw the camera and said he had an old Nikon F2 with some great lenses.  He said he hadn’t used it for years.  I said load a roll of film, and even if it takes a year to shoot, when it’s done and back from the lab (or hand-processed), there will be memories to see that he had completely forgotten about.  With digital, if I shoot your photograph, then show you on the screen, all the wonder and enjoyment is done.  Now I just have that tedious task of exporting it to a file and getting it to you.  But there’s no more wonder.  That’s why with digital I never show anyone what I just shot–it kills the ability to share it with them when it’s finished, and they’ve forgotten a little about it.

kids2 (2)The photos from a long-ago shot roll of film look familiar, but there’s the puzzle in your head, where you try to remember what they were, who they were with, etc.  There’s the delight in finding a really special image that you didn’t even realize was on there, and it’s one of your favorites.  Maybe of all time.  Just waiting there for you to discover.

These three photos I shot while walking to the post office a year ago.  I was carrying a Nikon F100 with a 50mm f2 lens.  Completely forgot about them, and probably thought they wouldn’t look like anything when I shot them.  Then the film was finished and I feel like I captured a little piece of a Norman Rockwell childhood.  Three of my favorite shots.  Kids playing a jumping game with a branch.  Who would’ve thought?  A delightful surprise, as delightful as their smiles.

It’s Christmas morning!

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