CCR Review 54 – Zenza Bronica ETRS

I have a love/hate relationship with Bronica cameras. If you listen to the Classic Camera Revival Podcast, I railed against the Bronica SQ-Am in episode 22, and I gave away my SQ-Ai because of ergonomic issues I had with the camera. But putting all that aside I went into shooting the ETRS with an open mind and discovered a rather fun camera. When it comes to 645 cameras, the ETRS is the real underdog while the Mamiya m645 and to a lesser extent the Pentax 645 get most of the glory. Which to people looking to crack into medium format the ETR line of cameras offers you the most bang for your buck if you’re just getting started. Big thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Dirt

  • Make: Zenza Bronica
  • Model: ETRS
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Multiple (Back Dependent), 6cm x 4.5cm
  • Lens: Interchangable, Bronica ETR Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1979

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Good
The strongest aspect of this camera is that it is a system camera, you can change, adapt, and modify the camera into whatever configuration is most comfortable for you and your shooting style. Another plus to it being a system camera if a part breaks, you just have to buy that one section and put all your parts back on it. The configuration I was shooting in was one that was most familiar to me, with an eye-level finder and grip. Of course, the camera operates just as well with no grip and a waist level finder if you’re used to shooting with the SQ-A or Hasselblad cameras. And for volume shooting the camera is great, you get 15 shots per roll, and interchangeable magazines allow you to load up a handful of magazines in the morning and go out shooting without needing to sit down and reload after each roll. And don’t sneeze at the optical quality either the ETR line of lenses are beautiful. Combine all these with being an often unnoticed camera line means you can build up a decent kit without having to break the bank.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Bad
The trouble with being an underdog system is getting the system repaired. When Roger (may he rest in peace) was operating his storefront in Hamilton, you couldn’t even darken his doorstep with a Bronica. These cameras are hard to get fixed and do rely on electronics to operate and battery power. At least in the case of the ETRS the battery door is better designed that the SQ line of cameras, but the battery is not a common one. Best bet is to carry some spares if you’re out on a big trip in an area where there aren’t any specialty stores.

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

CCR Review 55 - Zenza Bronica ETRS

The Lowdown
While Bronica does not remain my first choice overall, I can see the draw of the ETR line of cameras. These are inexpensive cameras and if all you want is to shoot in the 6×4.5 format go for it. Just make sure like any electronic based vintage camera that you know it works before you pay for it. Just know that with the ETR line you will be stuck with the 6×4.5 format, if you want more image versatility, pick up an SQ-A body. You get the same quality of optics, and with appropriate backs, you can shoot 6×6 and 6×4.5 with ease. If you do go with the ETR line of cameras, make sure that you get a kit that is setup the way you like it. System cameras are unique creatures, they are amazing with no grip and a waist level finder or eye-level finder and a grip, but start swapping stuff out and you’ll run into ergonomic problems.

All Photos taken in Downtown Milton, Ontario, Canada
Zenza Bronica ETRS – Zenanon-PE 1:2.8 f=75mm – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (stock) 9:30 @ 20C

E-6 Resurgance

Over the course of the first two weeks of January, we in the film photography community are celebrating. Some may have said that Kodak had left the film game, we all beg to differ. Kodak is still very much in the film business with a line of very successful motion picture films, professional still films, and consumer grade stuff. Sure you can only get Black & White and Colour Negative process films, but for many older folks, you will remember Kodak slide film offerings. Names like Ektachrome and more visible Kodachrome are synonymous with Kodak and film photography. A couple of years back I spent several weeks scanning in some of my Opa and Oma Luyckx’s photos that were all shot on slide film, mostly Kodachromes but some Ektachrome thrown in. What does this mean for us, well let me talk about these two pieces of good news!

Downtown Bristol VA/TN
Downtown Bristol TN/VA — April 2012
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Ektachrome E100VS @ ASA-100

The Dodge is not in the Garage
Oakville, Ontario — December 2010
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Kodak Kodachrome 25 @ ASA-25

Kodachrome
Kodachrome from the very start was not an ordinary film; it was unique, revolutionary even. Kodachrome at its base is a black & white film and when it went for processing colour would be introduced at that point each colour dye would link to a certain emulsion layer. This composition gave Kodachrome incredible stability. Back in 2015 I was exploring an abandoned college campus and happened across hundreds of slides scattered across the floor the room fully open to the elements. Sure enough, I found some Kodachromes lying about along with Ektachrome; the Kodachrome was still perfect while the Ektachrome had shifted.

king/parliment
Toronto, Ontario — December 2010
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 – Kodachrome 64 @ AS-64

Untitled
Toronto, Ontario — December 2010
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T* – Kodachrome 64 @ AS-64

When Kodak Alaris hinted that they may be bringing back Kodachrome the whole community exploded. And I got to thinking in general what would need to happen. Kodak would have to start from scratch; Kodachrome’s been gone for close to a decade at this point, the last processing machines are probably scrapped metal now, and any chemistry left over would be long expired. Kodak has a long road ahead of them before they have a viable product, just take a look at how long it took Impossible Project to bring back instant film. It’ll be an uphill battle, and while I’m not holding my breath on a new Kodachrome, I hold cautious optimism.

Ektachrome E100
Now this is a film I’ll get behind; this film is certainly going to happen, this year! According to the press release they’re looking at late 2017. Now there are of course the usual rumors floating around that it’s just going to be a spool of some old stock they had laying around, or that the film is coming from a different source. Why do people always think this? The same words floated around with Streetpan! But I digress. With a late release date and that the film is simply called E100 I’m going to say that this is a film that will be a brand new formulation on the last round of Ektachrome that was released.

Photostock 2012
Frankenmuth, MI — June 2012
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak E100GX @ ASA-100

Cleveland Flats
Cleveland, OH — May 2012
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Ektachrome E100G @ ASA-100

I’m going to guess that the new film will take the best parts of the old E100 line, E100G, GX, and VS, the fine grain, sharpness, and colour saturation. Initially, Kodak is going only to be releasing it in 35mm to test the market. But I’m sure the community will be clamoring to have it in medium and large formats soon enough. I’m looking forward to a bright, chrome future.

CCR Review 54 – Minolta Maxxum 5000

Sometimes a camera sings, sometimes a camera just sucks, and then there’s the Maxxum 5000. It’s a meh camera, K-Car of cameras, the Maxxum 5000 isn’t the bell of the ball, and it is a little meh on the handling, but for basic, no-nonsense SLR photography, the 5000 is a cheap option with an A-Mount. Let me explain a little bit more. Some cameras are amazing that they grab your attention as soon as you pick it up, for me that would be the Nikon F2, F3, and F5. Also the Rolleiflex 2.8F and several other cameras. Others are so downright terrible that you want to light them on fire. The Maxxum 5000 is one that you know it’ll take pictures; it’ll take decent pictures with good lenses, but it doesn’t excite you. Just like a K-Car, it’ll get you from point a to point b without hassle, but it won’t be an exciting ride.

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

The Dirt
Make: Minolta
Model: Maxxum 5000
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135, 35x24mm
Lens: Interchangeable, Minolta A-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1986

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

The Good
I’ve been sitting and stewing over what to write about this camera for its good features, and it’s hard with a camera that is just ‘meh’ there’s nothing wrong about the camera. It’s a cheap option to get into film photography if you have some A-Mount full-frame lenses for a digital camera, a nice easy way to learn without going into a fully featured camera that could cost more. The camera’s meter is accurate; controls are easily accessible and straightforward to identify as there isn’t much in the way of using it. The camera is powered by four AAA batteries so you can easily power the camera even in the middle of nowhere.

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

The Bad
The Maxxum 5000 isn’t an impressive camera, it looks and feels like a VCR from the 1980s, the first stumbling steps if you catch my drift. Sure it’ll take good photos with a good lens attached, but you won’t have to do any thinking beside composition. There are no options besides Program and Manual, and the manual control is difficult to operate. The Autofocus is slow and not very accurate I would often have to wait for the camera to lock onto where I wanted it to focus.

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

CCR Review 53 - Minolta Maxxum 5000

The Lowdown
Nope, Nope, Nope. I would not recommend this camera really to anyone, while a cheap way to get into film photography there are much better options out there. Yes, the 5000 will get you there, it’s not a camera I would choose. Look at the Maxxum 7000 or even the odd duck 9000 to get rolling into Minolta Autofocus cameras. The 5000 is a cheap camera, but I would recommend an inexpensive one.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Minolta Maxxum 5000 – Maxxum AF 35-70mm 1:4 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-64 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 9:00 @ 20C

#photochat – 12 January 2017 – Websites

Established in 2013 by MainStreetHost and taken on by Alex Luyckx Photography in 2015, #photochat is a community of photography professionals and enthusiasts who congregate to talk shop and discuss anything and everything photography. To participate in our weekly chat (every Thursday at 1:00pm ET) search the #photochat hashtag to see the conversation, or find me at @AlexLuyckxPhoto on Twitter for more info. Be sure to include the hashtag in your tweets to answer the questions and talk with the other participants.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in #photochat, hop onto Facebook, Twitter, or good old fashioned Email and let me know!

The Topic for Thursday 12 January 2017 is about Websites!

Question 1 – Do you have a website dedicated to your photography?
Question 1b – If you don’t have a site, what do you use to promote/show off your work?
Question 2 – What do you use your website for?
Question 3 – Simple Design or Flashy? What’s your preference?
Question 4 – What is the more dynamic (most-updated) part of your site?
Question 5 – Share the link to your site!

Past topics have included: Self-Improvement (2017), Personal Branding, Photographic Gifts, Brand Loyalties (2016), Location Scouting, Food Photography, The Good, The Bad, Photographic Slumps, Wedding Photography, Post-Processing, Digital Photography, Film Photography, Keeping It Simple, Photographic Fads, Regular Maintenance, Personal Vision, Travel, Snapshots, Extreme Weather, Sports Photography, Pet Peeves, Out of the Box, Portrait Photography, Infrared Photography, Good Practices, Landscape Photography, Photography as a Skill, Photography as an Art, Getting Noticed, Post-Processing, Film Processing, Instant Photography, Tripods, Pet Photography, Budget Photography, Nude Photography, Workflow, Vintage Gear, The 5 W’s, Going Pro, Importance of Photography, Filters, Photography & the Law, Editing Your Work, Travelling with Gear, Street Photography, Get Up and Go (Motivation), Photographic Goals (2016), Low-Light Photography, Photographic Dreams, Cold Weather, Naturally Artificial, LoFi Love, Product Photography, Chasing Light, Automotive Photography, Finding Inspiration, All About You, Landscapes, Shooting for Colour, Digital Video, Back to School Parts I and II, Self-Publishing, Keeping Calm, Photography & Zen, Camera Bags, Dealing with People, Printing Your Work, Adventure Photography, Camera Clubs, Fireworks Photography, Aircraft Photography, Architectural Photography, Photo meetups, Getting Rid of GAS, Keeping it Organized, Favourite Things, Photo Competitions, Biggest Challenges, Compact System Cameras, film vs. digital, landscape photography, seasonal photography, the basics of composition, what’s in your camera bag?, night photography, portrait photography, forced perspective photography, black and white photography, golden hour photography, macro photography, how photography has changed your life, to photoshop or not, motion photography, photojournalism, the best gifts for photographers in 2014, extreme weather photography, photographic aspirations, street photography, “why are you a photographer?”, improvisational lighting tactics, post-processing rituals, photographic blunders, getting paid, photographic triumphs, shooting hardship, photographic anxieties, quick thinking, making a difference, favorites, appropriation, brand loyalties, small photography, BIG photography, focus, photography in advertising, battle scars, sharing your photography, creative evolution, the inanimate subject, photo vs. video, emerging tech, teaching the craft, getting the shot, traveling with your camera, sweet gear deals, mobile lighting solutions, quelling frustrations, finding work, sensitive subjects, DIY projects, defamation, making and maintaining a website, in defense of photography, capturing action, post-processing, photo lingo, cold weather shooting, food photography, death in photography, film photography, famous photos, critiques, videography, user generated content, composition, iPhoneography, standing up for yourself, blogging, workflow, the first time, candid portraiture, copyright and licensing, ethics, gear investments, inspiration, long shots, making it in the photo business, networking, night photography, perks of being a photographer, photographer stressors, photography philosophy, photography trends, picking your priorities, pricing, promoting yourself and your work, protecting your assets, self-improvement, odd photography, and travel.

Project:1812 – Last Post

Here we are, a long time coming but, this is the end, and it has been a long and fascinating journey to reach this point. It’s always a bittersweet feeling when such a long and involved project comes to an end. But all things must end, and so must my journey into the War of 1812. At least I can say that I’ve done more than just scratching the surface of the conflict that would go on to define the relations between Canada, England, and the United States still today. When I first started the project way back in March 2012, I had no idea how big it was going to be. And sure as it moved along it suffered from scope creep, but I was able to reign it in.

Project:1812 - End of Part One
The Canadian National War of 1812 Monument outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Krueznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 12:30 @ 20C

This project has taken me far and wide, I’ve learned a lot more than I was expecting and found a conflict far more complicated than the one I was presented with when I first learned about the War of 1812 in Grade 8. I went from knowing only about Isaac Brock, Laura Secord, the battle of Queenston Heights, and the burning of Washington DC. Now I know of battles out in Wisconsin, to a British Major-General to died fighting in the war. I learned how the events of Europe’s Napoleonic Wars directly influenced the fighting in North America. I heard of legends dispelled myth and patriotism and learned how this small footnote conflict has directly affected how Canada, the US, and Great Britan interact today. And if anything had been only slightly different, how it could directly affect our history today.

Project:1812 - The Treaty of Gent
A sign marking the spot where the American delegation to the treaty negotiations in Ghent, Belgium.
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Plus-X 125 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

And now you probably want to know who won the war, because in war there always has to be a winner and a loser. And in that sense, you would be right. But the truth is far more complicated than that. As the old phrase says, history is written by the victors. And in this war, three groups claimed victory. The British, the Americans, and now the Canadians. So of course, it depends on who you ask. So let’s break it down. This was a war that the British did not care too much about, the American threat at the time was so minor that London kept on advising Prevost to fight a defensive war, and only after Napoleon was on the run did they start to pour on the pressure. However, the British can claim victory as they repulsed the American invasion and kept them confined to small corners of the colony. The Americans can claim victory for the same reason, but we can also say they lost the war as they failed to achieve their objective, that was the removal of British influence in North America. The Canadians can claim victory for the same reasons as the British can, but in reality, only one battle was won solely by Canadian troops, the Battle of the Chateauguay. So in all this mess, did anyone win? Well not really, both sides barely avoided not losing. Neither side many any significant gains to have anything to hold over the other during treaty negotiations. So when the treaty was finally signed, it was peace with honour and a big giant reset button was pressed. There is one group that completely lost the war, the first nations of both countries; that is still very clear.

Project:1812 - The King's Navy Yards (Amherstburg)
The Forged Peace Memorial in Amherstburg, Ontario dedicated to the peace between the USA, England, and Canada
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX) @ ASA-200 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:30 @ 20C

Of course, if you’ve been following along with this project from the very beginning you know I’ve pumped out a lot of material over the process of these four years. And while being able to access a lot of the material online is great, even online material dies over time. So since 2013 I’ve been working hard to compile everything into book form and I’m happy to announce that the book is now done! I’ve taken four years of work, a little over 600 images captured, many blog posts all boiled down into 152 pages. And you can pick up a copy over at my bookstore on Blurb.com!

52:500c - Week 36 - Castle
The monument to the Rush Baggot Agreement at Fort Niagara, a key piece to the border shared between the Canada and the USA
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

So my dear readers, thank you for coming along on this journey, and I hope I’ve inspired even one of you to explore some aspect of history that you may not know much about.

Film Review – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400

So I’ve managed to shoot through my brick of JCH Streetpan 400 film and feel I’m good to begin writing an in-depth review of the film. I’m going to start off with saying that this is a fantastic film! Well worth the time and effort that Bellamy has put into researching, marketing, and tweaking to suit his amazing photography and now has taken the bold step in bringing it to the rest of us. You will have probably heard a lot of negative press related to this film, even recently someone put a comment on one of my Streetpan images to a video review of the film that stated that it was an old Agfa stock that Bellamy found a core roll of and just spooled and repacked. Well, I just can’t believe that, because the film edges are branded, and there’s a current expiry date on them, and from all my interactions with Bellamy, he’s not to type to pull the wool over the eyes of thousands. I’m glad I went ahead and invested in this film early. These days we hear too much about film stocks cut, but 2016 has been a great year for film, Rollei, Kodak, and Ilford all holding steady with their commitments to maintain traditional stocks, and the continued promise of Ferrania pulling out a new E-6 film. Streetpan, it was a bonus, an excellent bonus!

Product Highlights

  • Type: B&W Panchromatic up to 750nm
  • Base: Polyester (0.10 mm)
  • Film Speed: ASA-400
  • Formats Available: 35mm

So now that we’ve gotten the dirt taken care of let’s dig in. I decided to approach this review a little differently that my other reviews have been because it’s a film, not a camera it changes depending on how you develop it. Using my trusty Nikon F5 to make sure the film was being exposed with the same meter with every roll I set about using the developers I had access to and the times listed on the box.

Kodak HC-110
My first experience with Streetpan 400 was under cloudy conditions and developed in HC-110 Dil. B. I was hooked right off the bat with this combo. The contrast is dead on, the extended red sensitivity shows up by cutting through the haze that was 5000% humidity. For a 400 speed film paired with HC-110, the grain looks like something from a 100 or 200-speed film even when scanned. What makes this combo shine is the contrast, not too harsh, not too soft. You have blacks and white complete with mid tones across the spectrum.

TFSM - Summer '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Summer '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Summer '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Kodak Xtol
Now I’m a big fan of Xtol as a developer, but in this case, it wasn’t that good of a chemical to use with Streetpan. It made the images look soft, and not in a good way. The shots I took were on a dull day that was humid, but my lens was often working in the f/5.6 to f/8 range, and since it’s the same 105mm f/2D it should be sharp. But the edges appear soft. I actually had a bit of a scare when I first pulled the film out of the tank, I thought that I had over developed it, but once I got it in the scanner I realized I hadn’t. Development was again spot on with little adjustment needed in Photoshop with the levels/curves. The tone was excellent, with great blacks and whites with stable mid-tones. There was also no real difference in grain, it wasn’t any finer, compared to HC-110. Xtol would not be my first choice however for this film.

Reflection
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

The Brush Past
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

An Entertaining Conversation
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

Ilford Perceptol
Now these are the results from Streetpan that I have come to expect from the film. Clean, fine grain, sharp and the contrast point is dead on. The only trouble was that the negatives were a bit dark and needed some heavy adjustments in Photoshop to pull up the images. So I would say that either an additional 30 seconds in the developer or a slight pull to say ASA-320 would be enough to produce a cleaner negative. But overall Perceptol is another winner for developing this film to give the best results.

TFSM - Fall '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Fall '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Fall '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

Ilford Ilfosol 3
Ilfosol 3 was one of the first developers outside of D-76 that I worked with so it remains a bit of a soft spot for me. And for Streetpan it does a fine job, despite me shooting the film in less-than-ideal conditions. The grain is acceptable but noticeable more than other developers, and the film shows off the tonality that it can produce. While Ilfosol 3 wouldn’t be my first choice for developing the film if it’s all you got, you’ll create some fantastic images! As for the time, I might opt to bump it up 30 seconds, but I’d have to test it out under better conditions.

Bending Light
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+3) 5:00 @ 20C

Halfsmoke?
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+3) 5:00 @ 20C

Ending the Day
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+3) 5:00 @ 20C

Rodinal
If you had to pick two developers to use with this film, HC-110 would be the first. And in a very close second would be Rodinal. Usually, you would avoid using a sharp developer with a 400-speed film in 35mm. But in this case, the film itself is designed to produce a fine grain even with a sharp developer and the negatives look good! Right out of the tank I could see to fantastic tonality and stunning contrast that I saw with HC-110. And yes the grain is a little more noticeable but nothing that would take away from the quality of the images.

Deco
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Yellow-15) – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Heather
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Yellow-15) – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Everywhere
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Yellow-15) – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

The Final Word
Streetpan is certainly a film I’ll be working with again. There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, I will have already ordered another brick of 10 rolls of the film from the JCH site. For use on my honeymoon in April in New York City and at a wedding I’m photographing in April. Despite all the praise I have heaped on Street Pan, there is one thing I have noticed with it. It likes light; it doesn’t need direct light, I would avoid shooting in it harsh light, but it wants gray days, soft even light or open shadow. But it does suffer in low light; I had a tough time pulling out good images when I was shooting it just after dusk or in darkened interiors. As for the developers, I do highly recommend using either Rodinal or HC-110 to develop this film as I got the best results from those with good tone, not overly contrasty and it shows off the sharp fine-grained nature of the film stock. It’s a good stock, and a welcome addition to my choice of shooting media.

Big thanks to Bellamy, the Japan Camera Hunter himself, for taking the plunge and bringing Street Pan to us hungry film photographers, he took a leap of faith, and the results are stunning. You can pickup the film directly from his shop and now you can buy single rolls, three and five packs, or a full brick of ten. I recommend the ten. If you’re in Toronto you can pick up the film from Downtown Camera, currently the only Canadian Supplier of the film!

52:500c – 52 Weeks, 52 Photos

Over the course of last year, I ran through another fifty-two roll project. While I didn’t post the images here to this blog, I did post them over on 52rolls.net. This year I made a point to stick to certain rules and methods that I have used in past projects of this type and settled on the following.

  1. I could only use a Hasselblad 500 series camera
  2. I could only use the Rollei RPX line of film (RPX 25, 100, and 400)
  3. I could use any lens in the Hasselblad V system

I also made a point each week I would pick my favourite photo from that week, in mind to but them together in a book (which is happening). But without further delay, here’s my picks for 52 photos from 52 weeks!

Week 01 – Welcome to the Hangover
52:500c - Week 01 - Welcome to the Hangover

Week 02 – Winter’s Fort
52:500c - Week 02 - Winter's Fort

Week 03 – In the Darkness Bind Them
52:500c - Week 03 - In the Darkness Bind Them

Week 04 – A Fort for a City
52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City

Week 05 – Ghosts
52:500c - Week 05 - Ghosts

Week 06 – Organized Chaos
52:500c - Week 06 - Organized Chaos

Week 07 – A View to a Lake
52:500c - Week 07 - A View to a Lake

Week 08 – Fort Town
52:500c - Week 08 - Fort Town

Week 09 – Throwing Rocks
52:500c - Week 09 - Throwing Rocks

Week 10 – Capital National
52:500c - Week 10 - Capital National

Of course, this project I was euphoric with, I mean by the half-way point I had worked through some failures, accepted the losses and posted the photos anyways. Now I had toyed around with the idea of making a book with my first 52-Roll Project, not so much in the second, the third would have also made a good book. But this fourth one grabbed onto me, so I started collecting up my favourites from each week.

Week 11 – Jewel in the Crown
52:500c - Week 11 - Jewel in the Crown

Week 12 – A House Divided
52:500c - Week 12 - A House Divided

Week 13 – A Lovely Downtown
52:500c - Week 13 - Lovely Downtown

Week 14 – Just Won’t Quit
52:500c - Week 14 - Just Won't Quit

Week 15 – A Fort Named George
52:500c - Week 15 - A Fort Named George

The design of the book will be pure, middle gray for the background with white text in a sans-serif font and simply titled “52: A Year on Film” each image presented with a small write up on it. The write-ups will be new, not taken from any blog post or Flickr description, as the book is a reflection on the image, what it means now, not then.

Week 16 – In the Neighborhood
52:500c - Week 16 - In The Neighborhood

Week 17 – No Place I’d Rather Be
52:500c - Week 17 - No Place I'd Rather Be

Week 18 – Longwoods
52:500c - Week 18 - Longwoods

Week 19 – The Gully
52:500c - Week 19 - The Gully

Week 20 – Welcome to the Jungle
52:500c - Week 20 - Welcome to the Jungle

What goes into picking your favourite photos, thankfully some weeks I had only seven picks from the roll, others I had the full twelve. I usually trust my gut when it comes to this; I wait for a single photo just to jump out and grab me. Ones that I’m on point with exposure and composition, an image that speaks to my soul and shows the theme or subject I had photographed for the week.

Week 21 – Welcome to the Roc
52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc

Week 22 – A Farmer’s Life
52:500c - Week 22 - A Farmer's Life

Week 23 – Battlefield House
52:500c - Week 23 - Battlefield House

Week 24 – The City that Works
52:500c - Week 24 - The City that Works

Week 25 – The Old Kirk
52:500c - Week 25 - The Old Kirk

Week 26 – Close to Home
52:500c - Week 26 - Close to Home

Week 27 – Ships of Summer
52:500c - Week 27 - The Ships of Summer

Week 28 – Cruisin’
52:500c - Week 28 - Cruisin'

Week 29 – Lovely Saturday Drive
52:500c - Week 29 - Lovely Saturday Drive

Week 30 – Contest of Fortification
52:500c - Week 30 - Contest of Fortification

The big task will be to go back through my negatives and to rescan each one, then going through and editing each image again in Photoshop but using the same technique and style for each. You might have noted the jarring sepia tone on “A House Divided” Yeah, that wouldn’t look good in a book that I’m aiming to keep a consistent look. It also will allow for some of the old negatives that had a nasty curl to be scanned better.

Week 31 – Vieux-Québec
52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec

Week 32 – Lakeshore Evenings
52:500c - Week 32 - Lakeshore Evenings

Week 33 – Transit
52:500c - Week 33 - Transit

Week 34 – Wednesday Night Blues
52:500c - Week 34 - Wednesday Night Blues

Week 35 – Muskoka
52:500c - Week 35 - Muskoka

Week 36 – Castle
52:500c - Week 36 - Castle

Week 37 – Shaken, Not Stirred
52:500c - Week 37 - Shaken, Not Stirred

Week 38 – Saturday Morning Coffee
52:500c - Week 38 - Saturday Morning Coffee

Week 39 – Black Creek
52:500c - Week 39 - Black Creek

Week 40 – Grand Old House
52:500c - Week 40 - Grand Old House

The project also gave me a deep appreciation for the Rollei RPX line of films, a fantastic stock that’s new in the film community. And I do plan on continuing to shoot the RPX 25 as my new choice for slow films, RPX 100 and RPX 400 are decent films, but I’ll stick with FP4+ and Tri-X.

Week 41 – Battle Ground
52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground

Week 42 – Royal City
52:500c - Week 42 - Royal City

Week 43 – Make No Little Plans
52:500c - Week 43 - Make No Little Plans

Week 44 – Disillusionment
52:500c - Week 44 - Disillusionment

Week 45 – High Flight
52:500c - Week 45 - High Flight

Week 46 – Distant Voices
52:500c - Week 46 - Distant Voices

Week 47 – Finding Nemo
52:500c - Week 47 - Finding Nemo

Week 48 – Steel City Blues
52:500c - Week 48 - Steel City Blues

Week 49 – Upon Avon
52:500c - Week 49 - Upon Avon

Week 50 – Burlington Races
52:500c - Week 50 - Burlington Races

Week 51 – Once More with Feeling
52:500c - Week 51 - Once More With Feeling

Week 52 – All’s Quiet
52:500c - Week 52 - All's Quiet

Reenactors – Behind the Scenes

A little sidebar, I wrote this blog post a while back as a post if I had nothing to post here for the week sort of a filler. However recent news made me post this sooner! That great news is that Ektachrome is back! Kodak will be releasing a new version of Kodak Ektachrome E100G in the fall of 2017.

There’s more than battles, drill, and lazing about to a reenactment. Once the public leaves, the camps become the social centres for the evening. And being a reenactor one thing I have been a little lax on is capturing these behind-the-scenes moments once the public’s eye is turned. When I started attending reenactments I was always carrying a camera and capturing the battles, drill, and such events. Now that I spend most of the day in the field carrying a musket. I really needed to remember to bring a camera as well to capture the social side of things.

Lieutenant!

Connie's a Corporal

Almighty Stein

While these aren’t as exciting as some of the battles and actions. It reminds everyone that we love this hobby and have built some amazing friendships around it. One of my favourite events is the Mississenawa 1812 which takes place over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Marion, Indiana. While the event is designed to commemorate the battle of Mississenawa, we don’t actually portray that skirmish. Since it was mostly American troops fighting the Delaware and Miami tribes that once occupied the region.

Pours the Beer in the Stein

Mike's Happy

Living the High Life

The unit that I fall in with, the 60th (Royal Americans) makes a point to go to this event because for a reenactor it’s fun. Often we’re fighting with a smaller British army so as light infantry we can move a little more around the field and really show off to the public that the soldiers of the 19th-century weren’t just drones standing in a line and firing volleys. Skirmishing was a valid tactic against enemy troops and often lent itself better to the environment of North American during the war.

The Bruce Man

Andi!

No.

Hopefully, I’ll remember to bring the camera more often at the events I attend next year. The Contax G2 seems to stand up well during these events. I mean it came to Waterloo’s 200th last summer!

Technical Details:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Ektachrome E100G
Processing: Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit
Scanner: Epson V700
Editor: Adobe Photoshop CC (2015.5)

#photochat – 5 January 2017 – Self Improvement

Established in 2013 by MainStreetHost and taken on by Alex Luyckx Photography in 2015, #photochat is a community of photography professionals and enthusiasts who congregate to talk shop and discuss anything and everything photography. To participate in our weekly chat (every Thursday at 1:00pm ET) search the #photochat hashtag to see the conversation, or find me at @AlexLuyckxPhoto on Twitter for more info. Be sure to include the hashtag in your tweets to answer the questions and talk with the other participants.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in #photochat, hop onto Facebook, Twitter, or good old fashioned Email and let me know!

The Topic for Thursday 5 January 2017 is about Self-Improvement!

Question 1 – How do you work on improving your photography?
Question 2 – What are you going to do in 2017 to improve your work?
Question 3 – Have you considered taking classes in photography?
Question 4 – Are you going to try something new in 2017 with your work?
Question 5 – What are your photographic goals for the new year?

Past topics have included: Personal Branding, Photographic Gifts, Brand Loyalties (2016), Location Scouting, Food Photography, The Good, The Bad, Photographic Slumps, Wedding Photography, Post-Processing, Digital Photography, Film Photography, Keeping It Simple, Photographic Fads, Regular Maintenance, Personal Vision, Travel, Snapshots, Extreme Weather, Sports Photography, Pet Peeves, Out of the Box, Portrait Photography, Infrared Photography, Good Practices, Landscape Photography, Photography as a Skill, Photography as an Art, Getting Noticed, Post-Processing, Film Processing, Instant Photography, Tripods, Pet Photography, Budget Photography, Nude Photography, Workflow, Vintage Gear, The 5 W’s, Going Pro, Importance of Photography, Filters, Photography & the Law, Editing Your Work, Travelling with Gear, Street Photography, Get Up and Go (Motivation), Photographic Goals (2016), Low-Light Photography, Photographic Dreams, Cold Weather, Naturally Artificial, LoFi Love, Product Photography, Chasing Light, Automotive Photography, Finding Inspiration, All About You, Landscapes, Shooting for Colour, Digital Video, Back to School Parts I and II, Self-Publishing, Keeping Calm, Photography & Zen, Camera Bags, Dealing with People, Printing Your Work, Adventure Photography, Camera Clubs, Fireworks Photography, Aircraft Photography, Architectural Photography, Photo meetups, Getting Rid of GAS, Keeping it Organized, Favourite Things, Photo Competitions, Biggest Challenges, Compact System Cameras, film vs. digital, landscape photography, seasonal photography, the basics of composition, what’s in your camera bag?, night photography, portrait photography, forced perspective photography, black and white photography, golden hour photography, macro photography, how photography has changed your life, to photoshop or not, motion photography, photojournalism, the best gifts for photographers in 2014, extreme weather photography, photographic aspirations, street photography, “why are you a photographer?”, improvisational lighting tactics, post-processing rituals, photographic blunders, getting paid, photographic triumphs, shooting hardship, photographic anxieties, quick thinking, making a difference, favorites, appropriation, brand loyalties, small photography, BIG photography, focus, photography in advertising, battle scars, sharing your photography, creative evolution, the inanimate subject, photo vs. video, emerging tech, teaching the craft, getting the shot, traveling with your camera, sweet gear deals, mobile lighting solutions, quelling frustrations, finding work, sensitive subjects, DIY projects, defamation, making and maintaining a website, in defense of photography, capturing action, post-processing, photo lingo, cold weather shooting, food photography, death in photography, film photography, famous photos, critiques, videography, user generated content, composition, iPhoneography, standing up for yourself, blogging, workflow, the first time, candid portraiture, copyright and licensing, ethics, gear investments, inspiration, long shots, making it in the photo business, networking, night photography, perks of being a photographer, photographer stressors, photography philosophy, photography trends, picking your priorities, pricing, promoting yourself and your work, protecting your assets, self-improvement, odd photography, and travel.

Project:1812 – Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead

George Armistead, one of the great defenders of the United States of America, stalwart commander of Fort McHenry, an action that would lead him to an early grave. George was born in New Market, Virginia on 10 April 1780. He along with his five brothers would all serve their country in the armed service. But for George, his service began at the age of 19 as an Ensign in the 7th US Infantry. He proved himself an excellent officer and promoted to First Lieutenant by the turn of the century. However, with the end of the Quasi-War with France, the army was reduced in size, George found himself back in civilian life. Such life did not sit well, and he was quick to rejoin the US Artillery as a Lieutenant, earning a quick promotion to Captain then by 1813 Major and assignment to Fort Niagara on the frontier.

52:500c - Week 36 - Castle
The French Castle at Fort Niagara as it stands today, still the original building, Armistead would have lived in this building during his time at the fort.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Major Armistead would command Fort Niagara batteries during the invasion of Upper Canada and capture of Fort George in May 1813. His guns playing a key role in the suppression of the British artillery. Henry Dearborn assigned Armistead with the honour of carrying the captured British flags back to Washington DC. Upon their presentation to President Madison, Armistead was directed to take command of Fort McHenry. With the threat of British attack looming, Armistead joined in Baltimore’s defense. He ordered the expansion of the fortifications and as a personal touch ordered a new garrison flag made. Inspired by the huge garrison flag at Fort Niagara, he commissioned a local woman, Mary Pickersgill, to produce a 30×42 foot fifteen-star, fifteen-stripe flag. When the British bombardment began in September 1814, he had the foresight to move the fort’s powder supply from the magazine to the far wall, to prevent the bombs hurled at the fort from smashing through the magazine. The fort withstood the bombardment with only four deaths, and Armistead would earn a promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel.

CCR Review 49 - Minolta Maxxum 700si
A statue of George Armistead stands today at the Fort McHenry, honouring the hero of the defense.
Minolta Maxxum 700si – Maxxum Zoom AF 35-70mm 1:4 – Eastman Double-X (5222) @ ASA-200 – FA-1027 (1+19) 10:00 @ 20C

Armistead remained in command of Fort McHenry following the war; he would also be the last casualty of the bombardment. The stress from the bombardment ate away at his mental wellbeing. He suffered according to accounts from the period a strained heart and nervous system. George Armistead passed away 25 April 1818, and his body was laid to final rest at St. Paul’s Cemetary in Baltimore, with full military honours

Project:1812 - The Battle of Baltimore
The Cemetary in which Lt. Col. Armistead is burried, sadly it was closed when I visited.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:30 @ 20C

It would be one hundred years before terms like shell-shock and two hundred years before the full extent of Post-Traumatic stress disorder would be realized. But Armistead did suffer from it, based on my understanding. He remains today a hero with Fort McHenry standing firm, and the flag he ordered on display in Washington DC at the Smithsonian museum, a gift from his family in 1912.

Written with Files from:
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812 Volume 2. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Whitehorne, Joseph W. A. The Battle for Baltimore, 1814. Baltimore, MD: Nautical & Aviation Pub. of America, 1997. Print.
Web: www.geni.com/people/Lt-Col-George-Armistead/6000000012222749217
Web: www.campaign1776.org/war-of-1812/biographies/george-armistead.html