Here is my winter vacation project. Not just making photos with the F6 and Kodak’s new Ektachrome film, but learning how to expose slide film well. At the moment I find myself second-guessing the light meter all the time. “Will that white patch come out overexposed?” “Will his face look dark on the film?” “Should I use a spot meter here? +1? or +1.3 compensation?” I am going to keep careful records of every frame I make in the camera so I can study them alongside the developed film. No more haphazard photography. I’m going to master the medium of slide film. To this end, I’m going to use nothing but this camera and this film for at least the next two months. And it’s a good time to experiment with Ektachrome, because the lab I use in Seoul is offering half-price development and scanning for Ektachrome until April to celebrate the return of Kodak slide film.

So, it’s all E100 from now on. Except for a digression to try out this Fomapan black and white slide film. I think they are the only company to make it now, and I want to try black and white slide film before it disappears from history. I bet it looks great. The lab I mentioned above will develop it. Oh ho ho. It’s going in the F80, which has a dependable meter.

Not only do I want to practise getting perfect exposures, but I also want to practise slowing down. I don’t know why, but I have a tendency to rush. Especially when photographing in populated areas. Maybe I’m worried about having someone tell me off or call the police on me. Because I’m quickly pressing the shutter and scurrying off, I tend to waste a lot of film by not being careful about framing and exposure. Also, I always feel like I need to use up the 36 frames on a roll of film, like they’ll go bad if I don’t speed through them. I need to get out of that state of mind so I don’t waste even more film. It’s not cheap.

If I succeed in getting a better technique and not rushing film through the camera, I’ll have far fewer photos at the end of each month. But, I’ll have more keepers, and that’s a better outcome for my pocketbook and my art.

Trees in Rock Island Valley

The space between the hills behind my apartment complex seems too small to be called a valley, but I don’t know what else to name it. Anyway, It’s a lovely place to take a walk and, when the light is cooperating, to make some photographs.

This panorama was made from my living room window. I had to cut out quite a bit from the bottom because there’s a parking lot and an unattractive field. This would be nicer with some figures in it, but I wasn’t lucky enough to catch anyone taking a walk on this lovely morning.

My camera does 16:9 photos natively, but I cropped to about 2:1 in computer to get the framing I wanted when I was making the photograph.

I photographed this tree with the Velvia film simulation, but it was over-saturated for my taste. I prefer this version using the Classic Chrome simulation.

Off the main road is a walking trail that very few people use. I’ve never seen anyone on it besides myself, but it must get the odd hiker. Off that small trail is a little clearing with a few trees. This is my favourite tree in the whole valley. This would be a fine place to build a little shed with a stove and a cot in it.

I made a black and white version of the photo while the camera was still on the tripod. This is Fuji’s Across simulation. I can’t decide which version of the photo I like more. I’m leaning slightly towards the black and white version, but it seems to depend on my mood.

Three Star Photos: Chicken Farm

When I first saw this vinyl and cloth building and truck, I thought I had come across an abandoned farm. But I heard chickens clucking inside. I didn’t go in or near the entrance because it’s private property, but from the edge of the road I could see lines of chickens inside. If this farmer can’t be bothered to take care of his truck and hen house, I wonder if he cares much about the animals inside.


Last Friday it was -10 in the morning, -16 with the wind chill. But the sun was shining and I wanted to do something with the roll of TriX film lolling in my Nikon F80. I attached a 50mm lens and left the apartment.
   I was wearing thick socks, lined jeans, a sweatshirt, hat, gloves, and a canvas jacket, so I didn’t feel the freezing temperature. The wind pricked at my face at first, but the cold feeling went away after I walked for a while. Because of increased blood flow or numbness, I’m not sure. The F80 was hanging exposed around my neck, but I thought, “-10 should be okay for a modern-ish camera . . . ” I wasn’t sure if wind chill affects electronics or just an animal’s perception of the cold.
   I only made a very few photos before the batteries in the camera went dead. I turned the camera off and on again, and was happy to see that the battery meter read full. I made another photo and the camera went dead. Off, On, one photo, dead. Off, On, one photo, dead. This was how I used up the roll of film on the way to the village of Seongsan. I’m not sure I’ll have any properly exposed photos on the roll. The film wound through the camera very sluggishly, and I wonder if the shutter was also slowed down by the cold. I’ll find out in a week or so, I guess.
   The F80 is not a professional Nikon model and sits below the single-digit F models and hardier amateur models such as the F100. It’s probably not made to withstand the cold and the weather. I wonder how my F6 would fare on a similar morning. I might try a bit later.
   I once used my Nikon FM3a (why did I sell it!!!!!) in Canada at -46. It worked fine for quite a while until the lubricants and materials froze and it seized up completely. It worked fine once I brought it inside and let it warm up. I presently have an FM2n, and the light meter goes dead if you walk near an open fridge. I don’t much like the light meter in it, anyway. But I’m digressing now.
   Keep warm, and a happy new year to you and yours!