a collection of experiences, ideas and image samples related to street photography.
park bench... 1/210 sec , f/2.8 , ISO 250
camera: FujiFilm X-T10
lens: a vintage Minolta 28mm f/2.8
Over the past year, I've been neglecting my collection of vintage lenses so I decided to pair a Minolta 28mm f/2.8 with a FujiFilm X-T10 to do a street photography theme on reflections and shadows. Most of the images were shot wide open with the exemption of a few where I stopped at f/11. I like high contrast photographs so I enjoying shooting before noon to capture really dark shadows. Using vintage lenses on a mirrorless camera is my preference for digital photography. The process of having to set the aperture and focus manually gives me a greater sense of accomplishment. I was fortunate to create about 25 photographs from this zine project that I am quite happy with!
Here is a sample:
I'm not looking for perfection. I prefer a more timeless look to my photographs
camera: Canon F1
lens: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8
film type: An expired roll of Fuji Superia 200 ASA
I visited one of my local camera shops a few weeks ago and noticed a roll of expired film being sold for $2. I previously read a few blogs on shooting with old film but I hadn't had any personal experience. So I decided to not overthink the decision and made the purchase. After I left the store, I stored the expired roll in the same camera bag with several fresh rolls of undeveloped film. When it was time to reload my camera, I put in the expired film by mistake. I spent two weeks shooting 24 exposures on old film thinking I was using a regular roll. So when the developments came, it took me while to figure out how and why the images were so grainy and dark. Yet for me, there is beauty in the flaws. Yes, there are quite a few scratches, dust spots and such on the negatives. But that gives the photographs its character. I could easily clean them off in Lightroom; but these were not shot with a digital camera. So I'm not looking for perfection; I prefer a more timeless look to my photographs. I am looking forward to doing enlargements on at least three frames on this roll. I am also going to do a serious search online for more expired film for sale!
"The dust and the grainy look on film developments are like the crackling sound of vinyl records. The mood is warm and soothing to the soul. I embrace imperfections!" - #filmisnotdead
The Zen of Analog Photography
Art provides a path for me to be free, create and to find internal peace. Art is therapeutic. I believe anything worth having usually does not come easy. A process is necessary. For instance, becoming a musician takes time. Learning to play an instrument is a creative process. I want those same experiences with my photography. I don't want 'instant satisfaction'. With photography, I am capturing a moment in time. Time needs time, so I feel what I record visually shouldn't have immediate results from a digital camera. I personally prefer to approach the art of photography with a more traditional method with analog equipment. I feel a strong sentimental connection to my film developments. Therefore, I am now seriously considering shooting film photography 100% simply because I am dedicated to the process of manually creating visual art.
"I feel a strong sentimental connection to my film developments" - #ishootfilm
With a limited amount of frames on a roll of film, I've adjusted to the idea that every shot must count. This idea is also true in life. Film photography is about investing in the moment. I am learning to spend less time worrying about things I can't control. I replace negative thoughts with enjoying simple things that I used to take for granted. However, the results aren't always free from flaws. The lesson is each attempt is better then the last. I am finding comfort in being in the moment; to stop, observe, think and create.
"Film photography is about investing in the moment."
Throughout all of the digital cameras I've purchased, sold, traded and bid for over the years, none of them have any sentimental value to me. Even my most favorite of them all, a FujiFilm X Pro 1...I loved using that camera. Yet when I sold it, I felt nothing. I knew the day that I brought it that I wasn't going to keep it forever, not even more than 2 or 3 years.
On the other hand, my old film cameras have stood the test of time. My Canon F1 and Yashica D are both older than me! These vintage cameras are well crafted, beautiful works of art. Despite their age they are extremely reliable. I don't hesitate to travel with them nor worry about a malfunction or dead batteries.
Film cameras are my cure for GAS! I am less burdened with having an over abundance of tech features on a digital camera that I rarely or never use. I want to control my environment with simple manual settings. I don't want a computer chip to determine my personal vision. My analog cameras help me to be in the moment and enjoy shooting again. I no longer need to shop for any unnecessary digital accessories anymore; just more film for me to shoot. The only non-essential photography-related thing that I now lust for is to add a Leica M2 to my vintage camera collection!
"I am not putting digital photography down or trying to disrespect those who thoroughly enjoy it...its just that the computerized process doesn't give me a sense of artistic pleasure. I personally prefer the simplicity of analog cameras. I want to control my creative vision and not depend on a computer chip to do the work for me."
During this past spring, I anticipated spending the summer months enjoying the sunshine, sporadic motorcycle rides and weekend getaways. I was especially looking forward to shooting more film photography, specifically with my medium format camera. However, the realities of life had other plans. Unexpected roadblocks and obstacles not only rerouted my summer excursions but totally derailed my level of creativity. Now that August is upon us, I missed out on some prime opportunities to expand my portfolio. Yet, I don't feel particular bad about it simply because I really had nothing to say artistically. The few times I did photography over the summer, I wasn't fully engaged in the process. I was shooting with film cameras 100% of the time yet I am not overly anxious to see the results right now either (I don't plan to do any film developing until the fall).
I feel that my creative drought is temporary and will eventually pass. I much prefer to be patient and allow inspiration to find me rather than force myself to shoot just to be shooting. I want my photography to have depth, purpose and meaning. Film photography has taught me to make every frame count. Capturing a micro-second of time should not be taken for granted. This is a simple belief in quality to quantity.
With that, I like to think that my creative process is in the brewing stages. Bold, flavorful coffee is a craft. It takes time, patience and passion. I can surely wait...
One of the many things that fascinates me about the art of photography is its connection to the past. Not just how we can freeze time; but more so the style and feel of using film cameras. I appreciate the craftsmanship and the noises... the quick snap of the shutter, the clink of the timer; I love it all! Film cameras are time machines.
Think about this fact; there are film photographs that are older than every human being alive on earth today. Most, we can assume, haven't even been preserved with the most precious care either. As for the equipment, analog cameras don't die. They may break, but they can be repaired. Film cameras don't depend on batteries (well, older manual cameras don't) or need to be upgraded for enormously, unnecessarily high megapixels and ISO. Film cameras don't even have to be expensive to produce superb images. As long as the lenses are clean and sharp, that is more than enough.
As for what I love most, its the ascetics of film developments…wow! They are beautiful. Even the flaws in film photographs have character and creates a mood that I don’t find in my digital images. I love the cracks, dust, odd colors and soft focus. I embrace what is on the negative. Even when I scan to digital, I find myself not editing out dust spots and such. Film photography for me is about honesty.
Here are a few 35mm photographs I recently rediscovered in my archives:
my romanticism with film photography
My passion for film photography is getting more intense. I feel that my overall skill level has drastically improved over the last couple of years by shooting film. Analog cameras prevent me from having to dig through menus and being unnecessarily anxious to post digital images online. Film photography requires patience. I now appreciate being in suspense. With analog photography, you don't know what you are going get. I love that!
I was fortunate to find a mint conditioned 1963 Yashica D camera a few months ago. This is probably my 5th film camera (I lost track), but my first medium format and twin lens reflex (TLR)! I shot a test roll and took it to a photography shop for processing. The normal return time is usually one week. However, I didn't receive my negatives for three weeks; the lab tech unexpectedly went out of town and he is the only person in the shop that develops 120 film. Was I disappointed after learning I had to wait longer to get my film back, yes of course I was. Yet the extended wait time was used wisely by me learning more about TLR cameras and my specific Yashica model. Once I was able to see the negative of my first roll of medium format film, it was well worth the wait.
My photographs weren't ground breaking and very far from my best...but that wasn't my goal. I wanted to make sure that the camera worked first and foremost. With that I was still happy with the results. I so enjoy shooting with the Yashica D. I often imagine where the camera might have traveled, who owned it, did it captured a significant event in history? I simply can't compare it to any digital camera I have ever owned, used or tested. Owning the Yashica is having a piece of history
Naturally painting shade & shadows...
cameras: FujiFilm X-E1, X-Pro 1 and X-T10
lenses: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 and Fujinon 18mm f/2/0
As the saying goes, 'the early bird catches the worm'. I believe this is especially true when it comes to street photography. Over the years I've become accustomed to not sleeping in (even on weekends) and to venture out to photograph at sunrise. The smells of fresh coffee from corner bakeries combined with the sight of smoke spewing from manhole covers stimulates my creativity. The city if full of excitement and I aim to capture as much as possible. I have a sense of accomplishment when I am one of the first street photographers out hunting for deep shadows.
The natural light before noon makes architecture and urban landscapes just that much more dramatic. I've tested a variety of camera settings; I found that my personal sweet spot fall between 200-400 ISO, a f/8 or smaller aperture and shutter speeds between 1/60 to 1/80. I've used a Fujinon 18mm f/1.8 lens on a number of occasions. However the Fujinon 18mm continued to suffer from soft focusing. This seems to be a common flaw mentioned by other owners of these lens. This has pushed me in the direction of using old prime lenses from the film photography era. The FujiFilm X series cameras work like a gem when paired with vintage lenses! I like them so much I now prefer analog lenses over digital any day of the week. I don't mind working a bit harder with manual lenses to get the results I want. Photography excursions during the early morning hours is an excellent opportunity to test the limits of lenses and to sharpen photography techniques.
Using an analog wide angle lens at a Japanese market.
camera: FujiFilm X-E1
lenses: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8
One of the many reasons why I love using the FujiFilm X line of cameras are how well they pair with analog lenses. To clarify, I have nothing against digital Fujinon glass. They are high quality lenses and I so appreciate the manual aperture ring! However I just find old lenses from yesteryear a bit more appealing. Vintage lenses are bullet proof; they last forever and aren't as fragile as most modern glasses. Not to mention that having an assortment of analog prime lenses are much more economical then spending hundreds of dollars more for a single lens that requires firmware updates and such.
After a recent purchase (on eBay) of a Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 vintage lens, I decided to give it a test run at a Japanese market. I experimented with shooting primarily from a low angle perspective when capturing people. I am very pleased with the results. The focus ring is very responsive and the aperture blades open/close with precision. I especially like that these old lenses aren't that heavy either. Vintage lenses, even some primes, can be bulky with a lot of weight but the Minolta 28mms are quite compact. Most of the people in the market didn't even notice that I had a camera at all. I love being the invisible man!
not happy hour...
whats on sale...
camera: FujiFilm X-T10
lenses: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8
The cityscapes of Chicago is a major contributor to my progression as a street photographer. I am fascinated with the rich history, architecture and music scene (especially the blues and house music). Although Chicago is not my hometown, it is my personal cultural mecca. Chicago is my muse when I need to challenge myself artistically. The city taught me how to be an observer.
This is an ode to this great city...
camera: FujiFilm X-T10
lens: Canon FD 50mm f/1.8
lens adapter: Fotasy FD-FX
filter: Vivitar CPL 52mm
_ _ _
I decided to dedicate two weeks to keep an analog Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 film lens mounted on my FujiFilm X-T10. I'm not a brand loyalist, but I truly love FujiFilm's X Series line. The X-T10 is my fourth Fuji camera. As a street photographer, I don't like digging through menus like on most digital cameras. X Series cameras are built much like film cameras with the manual controls accessible on the body and the aperture ring on the lens. The camera bodies are light weight, relatively small and inconspicuous. Not to mention FujiFilm cameras work extremely well with old manual lenses from the film photography era!
I usually like to shoot street photography wide angle with a digital Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens. However, the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 is one of those old lenses with tons character. The glass creates a mood that I really can't describe. I love how it works with the FujiFilm X-T10!
I used the 'nifty fifty' lens on a personal photojournalism project during a protest rally against the closing of multiple public schools in Detroit. I captured the majority of the shots with the aperture wide open with an ISO setting of 250. Using analog lenses makes me be more conscious of how to focus and compose the subject. Instead of taking hundreds of shots on the SD card, I pretend like I only have two rolls of film with 36 exposures each. That way I am not shooting just to be shooting. I try to make every opportunity count. This decreases my editing time on the computer (which I despise!) and increases the chance of creating a powerful photograph.
I am a street photographer using film and digital formats. I enjoy listening to good music, traveling, quiet time & peace.