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Visual exploration

May 14, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Today I received a lens from Keh Camera, a $41 Olympus Zuiko OM 50mm f/3.5 macro in "Ugly" condition. The only thing ugly about the lens is that it came without caps and without the original case. Other than that, the lens is in great condition! Since I no longer have macro lenses I wanted one that I could use with my OM-1 film camera and also with the Fuji XT-3. This evening I tested the lens doing a visual exploration of a nautilus shell. Here is my work. The lens is fine and I just wanted to have it for very occasional use, as I am not much into macro photography. Happy with it! I created 15 images and then I created their negatives and put them all together.  I learned early in my photographic journey the importance of devoting time to visually exploring a subject, from different angles, possibly with different lighting, from different camera positions, etc.  This sample of 15 images of the same subject is an example of how visual exploration can yield significant visual richness from a subject.

Why I enjoy film and meaningful photography

May 03, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Today I photographed simple images at home with the new (to me) Voitglander Bessa.  I get a special delight out of using this old piece of mechanical machinery that someone, probably no longer living, used 70+ years ago.  It is all manual, clunky, unforgiving, with none of the sophistication and amazing image quality of modern digital camera.  It requires the photographer to pay attention as it only captures 8 images per roll of film, the film needs to be positioned from one frame to the next manually and precisely, the focus is through a tiny viewfinder by making two overlapping images overlap completely in a tiny window.  I will not go on.  It's old and difficult and beautiful.  And what I like the most about it is that it makes each photograph into a discovery - the camera doesn't gratify you with the instant feedback of the image on an LCD - it keeps it dark and unknown until the magic of developing the film brings the latent images to life.  It's all a bit alchemy and a bit mysterious.  It forces me to work slowly, with full attention and devotion, and it creates this feeling of expectation that doesn't let go until the film is finally out of the developing tank.  It's a truly enjoyable process with very imperfect results.   See a few of the images from today here below.


Voitglander Bessa RF camera for home images during the coronavirus crisis Voitglander Bessa RF camera for home images during the coronavirus crisis Voitglander Bessa RF camera for home images during the coronavirus crisis Voitglander Bessa RF camera for home images during the coronavirus crisis

And there is another observation I'd like to make.  I enjoy making pictures that are meaningful to me - of people, places and situations I enjoy and can relate to.  I have never been much into macro photography, birds,  infrared and other branches of photography that do not directly connect with my soul and my interests.  And the older I get the more I photograph for my own pleasure. 

Accidental art

April 27, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Accidental Art - today I exposed and developed an old roll of Fuji Acros 100 film that I found in a drawer. It turns out that the film had already been exposed about 10 years ago and never developed. So I now have random double exposures across frames, coming from film expired over 10 years ago. I am happy with the results, or let's say I know how to make lemonade with my lemons. Complete set here:

The Olympus OM-1 as my escape from isolation

April 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

These are difficult times.  Staying home all day protecting ourselves and others from an invisible threat that kills brings about doubts, fears, depression.  It also takes away the desire and motivation to create new images.  While I am staying connected to photography by reading photography books, watching videos and documentaries and writing ideas, the act of making new images is really hard now.  The other day I ventured out of the home on my motorcycle with my father's 1973 Olympus OM-1 and a single roll of T-max 100 film.  I rode to historic downtown McKinney, a small town north of here, and then continued on East to the tiny town of Blue Ridge and its biker-friendly Cattleman's Cafe.  It was a wonderful feeling to be riding on a beautiful Spring day, pretending for a couple of hours that life was normal, even though everything was deserted and I didn't have any human contact.  Still, just being out helped me feel good - and that continued as I spent some time developing the film and scanning the negatives.  I plan to do it again so that I can keep my sanity.


In praise of the small camera

February 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Cameras range in price, capabilities, technology, manufacturer and several other factors.  The one I want to praise today is small size and portability.   For years now I have traveled with a small Fuji camera.  The model has changed over the years; I started with the original Fuji x100 camera, followed by the x100t, skipping one generation, and not I have the x100f.  I gave my x100t to my son Pablo when he went to school, after he took it to Japan on a trip.  Carrying a small camera when I travel is what works best for me.

I remember once when I took my big backpack with a big DSLR camera and several lenses on a trip - not only was it so heavy that carrying it around was impossible, but it constantly required me to choose the lens to be mounted on the camera body.  The experience was miserable.  Carrying a small but high quality compact APS-C camera completely changes my approach to travel photography.  I don't worry about images that I cannot capture because I don't have a 200mm focal length.  I simply accept the limitations of a fixed 35 mm equivalent focal length and make the best out of it.  I take good photos and never have to worry about changing lenses, dropping them or getting dust on the sensor.  The bag I use to carry the camera is tiny, with a pocket for a couple of extra batteries and SD cards and nothing more.

Furthermore, this small camera is beautiful with mechanical controls, sort of at the other end of the spectrum when compared to a cellphone camera. It has a tactile feel and a mechanical character that makes me want to pause and make photographs.  It comes with film simulations I love, like the legendary Fuji Acros black and white film.  Or Velvia, or Chrome.  It creates beautiful images!

A new model, the x100v, with a few good new features was announced recently and many Fuji x100 users are selling perfectly good x100t or x100f cameras to fund the purchase of the latest and greatest.  I took advantage of this opportunity to purchase by pre-owned x100f, with very little use and in great condition.  I am very happy with it, especially given that I paid less than half the price of a brand new x100v.   I will be posting images as I start using it regularly. 
Fujifilm x100f compact cameraFujifilm x100f compact camera