Medium Format Update (Look Ma, I Developed it Myself!)

So I joined CEPA Gallery in downtown Buffalo and now have access to a fully-stocked darkroom.  I rolled on down there with my one roll of 35mm and 2 rolls of 120 and tried my hand at developing them on my own.  How'd it work?  Great (with one caveat)! First, the negative:  My 35mm was shot.  It was a mix between me removing them from the dryer prematurely and my old Minolta shortcircuiting and scratching up the negatives.  Suffice to say, I need a new 35mm.   Here are some of the shots.  I think they sort of look cool in a ruined vintage sort of way.

The 120, on the other hand, looks pretty flawless.  Any issues are exposure-based, not anything to do with the developer.

Ko Chun by Niagara Falls

KC's aunt was visiting Niagara Falls last month, so we drove up and spent an afternoon there.

The rapids near the falls.

I also shot off a roll down in South Buffalo so I'd have it ready to develop.  Kinda neat looking.

This old chestnut.

So yeah.  Overall, a success.  I'll be back for more.  Maybe I'll even try my hand at developing my own 4x5 next time.

Weddings, Forever and Always

Not much to say.  Shot another wedding today.  This one was different in its free-flowing, laid-back vibe. Most weddings I've shot have been heavily regimented and planned to oblivion, but this one just sort of floated along.  It was a Buddhist ceremony(!), so I suppose the lack of rigid structure was appropriate.  Actually, I don't really know if that's true.  Still, it was a lovely ceremony with kind people.  The reception was at the park where my high school cross country team practiced, but I'd never been to the lake/pond where we ended up.  It was pretty neat.

Tifft With my Dad

My dad, fresh from a trip to the Adirondacks, agreed to trek out to Tifft with me for a day of photography.  I lugged the RB67 through the swamp with a few rolls of Ektar and Velvia 50.  The Velvia will take about a week, but the Ektar should be ready to scan tomorrow or the day after.  In the meantime, here's what the 5d with that lovely new 24-70L lens got.  It's alright.

A Brief Update on Weddings

Weddings.  I'm photographing them.  I've got a bunch this summer, but here's a few shots from the first two of the season. First up was the Niezgoda/Detinger ceremony.  This one was different from any I've done before since I've known the groom, Steve, for over a decade now.  The day was fantastic, and culminated in me drinking for hours with old friends after the reception had slowed down.

Then, a week later, I photographed the wedding of Kaitlyn and Nick.  It was about a million degrees in the mid-day, but we soldiered on and got some beautiful shots.  I haven't nearly finished working my way through these, so here's some early samples.

Medium Format Mini-Update

Just got my roll of Portra 400 6x7 back from the camera store.  Last weekend, my dad and I drove out to the Tifft Nature Reserve in Lackawanna.  Tifft is a one-time garbage dump turned really-quite-lovely park in the middle of industrial South Buffalo. The light wasn't where I wanted when I took these, but I was anxious to shoot them all off and get to the Velvia 50 I brought, so here's what I got.

Allentown Art Fest 35mm

Man the Allentown Art Festival is the worst.  Once a year, all the suburbanite Western New Yorkers drive their Toyota Highlanders into the big city to block my driveway and overpay for cheap tchotchkes.  My buddy Dave and I went.  He bought a coffee mug and we went to Aroma for drinks.  I took some 35mm photos on Portra 160.

Then I shot the rest of the roll at City of Night at South Buffalo's old Silo City.  That was, at least, fun.

O Hai, Internet

The nonexistent rumors of my death being greatly exaggerated, I've returned to this dark corner of the internet to post my film failures.  Turns out the Crown Graphic didn't have a light leak.  The bright blotches popping up in my photos was a result of loading film holders and then not immediately packing them away in the darkness of a photo bag.  So yeah... I learned my lesson, and they'll all look lovely from here on out. If I don't underexpose them.  I shot off the rest of my Velvia and the results were disastrous.  I've decided to finally bite the bullet and buy a spot meter, because Jesus Christ.  Look at this garbage.

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Whoops!  My 40 year old  light meter finally met its maker, so these were completely destroyed.  3 bucks a shot, down the drain.

These turned out a little bit better:

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It's all relative though.  I sort of hate them all.  I'll get better.  I promise!

Oh, and I bought this thing:

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Mamiya RB67 6x7 medium format camera.  I took this bad boy to Pittsburgh for a Premier League friendly and took some pictures.  They aren't fine art, but they at least proved the camera works.

I promise to be more vigilant in the future.  Recently finished two weddings, with two more to go this month.  Also, I just shot a roll of 6x7 Velvia 50 and Portra 400.  Sneak preview:

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Na zdrowie.

Wedding Season Part 1 - It Begins

Knocked out my first wedding of the summer on Saturday.  The rest should be interesting (brutal) since I'm starting a full-time job with a software company in a week.  I ran into some relatively taxing difficulty with my gear, but managed to soldier through and create some pretty nice images. You can see a bigger selection on my Facebook page.

On Large Format and Light Leaks

So my camera has a light leak.  It's most likely the bellows (though I suppose it could be the film holders, but I suspect not) and I'm going to have to jam a flashlight in there and fix it.   Getting my Velvia back, it was fun to see that white splotch in the corner of (almost) every image.  The photos look pretty good though, outside some iffy exposure. Below, I've skillfully demonstrated the light leaks with Photoshop.

I cropped that noise on out, so they're (sort of) usable images now.

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The second fun part of my film adventure was sending the wrong negatives in, so I accidentally got two unused negatives back.  Cool beans.

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Also, I fried this one.  It's pretty disappointing, because that ice is long gone now (it was in the low 80s today) and that was a gorgeous sunset.   That being said, the composition is pretty bad, and I don't miss the cold even a little bit.  I'm not sure how I got this so wrong, but the proof is in the pudding.  Oh well.

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SAVING GRACE: this photo.  The light and everything isn't perfect, but it has that look you can't get with digital.  It's maybe a little underexposed - I could certainly brighten it up in Facebook - but I think I like the velvety look it has here.  The zoomed-in detail is pretty stunning too.

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For what it's worth, the original resolution was 14970 x 11829. That's just nuts.  And yes, that's definitely an eyelash or something in the middle.  I'll have to scan it again.

Up On Da Statler

So a friend of mine was in a position to hook me up with a trip to the top of Statler City.  If you aren't from Buffalo, that's this place right der.  I invited Old Father Wahlstrom, and we trekked up to the roof to photograph the Rust Belt Utopia I call home as the sun set. _MG_9260

The tall walls were a real issue, especially since the 5d Mark ii (unmodified with Magic Lantern) can't do long exposures in live view mode.  I did the best I could with the circumstances. _MG_9356

The view was pretty incredible.  It was a clear day, and Niagara Falls was clearly visible.  Joe, the kindly man who took us up to the roof, told us that we should be able to see Toronto too, but I have no idea if that was true. _MG_9323

If nothing else, it showed me how fucking hideous the Buffalo Convention Center is.  A fairly new build, that horrible cube of gray concrete stood out like a sore thumb in the field of beautiful art deco and neoclassical buildings.

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It's on the bottom-left below.  Look at that fucking thing.

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So now I just need to figure out how to get on some more buildings.   If you have any suggestions, I'll buy you a six pack of Southern Tier. _MG_9500

Winter is Leaving? Mini Update

So the polar vortex decided it liked upstate New York and has rolled back in for another week or two.  In the event that winter never ends, that I die in this frozen hellhole, or that I lose interest and never post again, I felt I should offer an update on film photo land, for the 3 people who might be interested. In short, I've been holed up in my apartment, trying not to die of hypothermia, lens shopping.

In case you're interested, the Crown Graphic is currently listed on Ebay for a slightly exorbitant price:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/231169783025?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

I'm willing to move on that price.  You know what they say:  Aim for the moon.  If you fall short, you'll end up suffocating in the frozen void of outer space.

In other news, I'm considering purchasing any and all of the following:  the 16-35 L lens for the 5dmii, a Bronica or Mamiya 6x7 medium format film camera, a wooden folding 4x5 field camera from Zone VI or Wista.  Any suggestions?  Any gear to sell?  Let me know!

The 35mm Project Mark iii / Toronto Snow Bonanza

Last weekend saw me trekking up the Godforsaken QEW (because in Canada, they name everything after another nation's monarch) to Toronto to pick the lady up post Taiwan visit.  We actually had a great time.  I brought the Minolta along, because the thought of losing the 5d to theft or drunken absentmindedness was too much to bear, and I actually got some nice shots.  For what it's worth, Portra is now my favorite film.  I'm actually not sure what Ektar brings to the table that Portra doesn't.  If you know, please educate me. So we braved a mini-blizzard to eat noodles on Queen street and drink coffee at a Starbucks.  Have you ever been to one of those?  It was really good.

Mad photos of snow and KC's back.  Enjoy.