Well, we made it through another year. And my past year certainly started with a surprise, the arrival of my son in February. And while you don’t see him featured on my blog anytime soon, I hope to introduce him to photography when he’s old enough. He will certainly have a full pick of cameras to work with if he chooses to explore the hobby further. And the best part is that I love being a dad, but I still love my photography hobby, and this year has been an excellent one for photography. With a good winter, spring and delightful fall, it made for an excellent blend of film and digital work.
This year’s reviews have continued to be the main driver of this blog, and this year was no different. I managed to get into many interesting cameras, lenses, and developers. The most challenging reviews was using Adox Scala 50 and Scala Development Kit. And while the results were worth the effort, the processing presented a lot of anxiety. Oddly enough, I want to try and do a home version of the Dr.5 process, but it will require a lot of reading. I have already started working on the reviews for next year, including some interesting cameras, ECN-2 processing, new film stocks and finally, the Kodak Vision3 motion picture colour films. But also have Rodinal’s lesser-known cousin, Studional and the classic high-contrast developer, Kodak D-19, on my list. One thing you will notice with the film reviews is that there’s going to be a bit of a seasonal whiplash. Because I reviewed the ECN-2 processing kit, I shot a lot of vision3 film through the later part of 2022, which included plenty of snow in some cases. And while the review of the ECN-2 kit is due to be published in January, the films are due in the spring and summer. I also have a nice range of cameras to kick off the new year and some on my wish list that I hope to get to review finally. In some film stock reviews, you will also notice that I’ve added a line stating the original film stock that the rebadge is based on when I have that information.
I had a lot of fun with my channel this year and certainly grew my subscriber base. I’m not at 1,000 yet; the number of subscribers needed is shrinking, which is pretty awesome. I’m happy with how the channel has been going. I get a lot of positive and negative engagement, but I ignore and delete them. And I’m already well into making videos for next year. Although I will have to adjust the schedule a bit as I won’t have as much free time to get out and create these videos through the middle of the year. But I plan on experimenting with the ‘shorts’ format and using my phone to create and edit. I’ve been tossing around some ideas!
I’ll admit I had a lot of fun with my railroad project this year, which proved more popular among my readership than I had initially thought. So with that in mind, I set out to create two similar projects next year, each of which will run for half of next year. The first project, Houses of Holy, focuses on the historic churches of the Halton Region. Selecting twenty-five historical churches that remain active with the current congregation tracing themselves to the founding of the church or continuing the same denomination that founded the church building they currently occupy. I went with Adox CHS 100 II in 4×5 to photograph the project and developed the sheets in Adox Atmoal 49. Unfortunately, I made some mistakes, did not get the full twenty-five images, and had to drop two churches with a total of twenty-three churches featured. This project will run from January to June 2023. The second project focuses on Oakville’s modern city (town), tracing its history from Sixteen Mile Creek to the modern community as it stands today through twenty-five images. Here I went with Arista EDU. Ultra 400 in 4×5, a rebrand of Fomapan 400, a film I have always shot in roll format but never in sheet. I went with Ilford Ilfotec HC to develop the film, using the 1+47 dilution and exposing the film at ASA-200. This time, I ensured I paid close attention to everything and successfully got all twenty-five sheets. Sixteen will run from June to December 2023! And the best part about these projects is that they are already done and ready for publishing!
And while it’s all well and good to have a regular project for the Wednesday slot, it’s always fun to have a project running through the whole year but seamlessly integrated into regular day trips and the work week. Enter the Frugal Film Project. This is a project where you try and do your best to keep your costs low. Running similar to a fifty-two roll project, but only having to shoot one roll monthly. The rules are mostly around the camera cost, which is less than 75$ USD. While most of my gear is fairly expensive, I have managed to get on some inexpensive kit. This year’s FFP will feature the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 70, one of the last 35mm SLRs to be produced before the entire camera division was sold to Sony and film dropped. While I plan to run the whole year with the kit 28-100mm zoom lens, if that lens dies, I will probably put the 35-70 f/4 onto the camera in its place. The film I’ll be feeding the camera is Arista EDU.Ultra 100, a rebrand of Fomapan 100. Developing will be done however I please, and based on how I’ll expose the film, expect a wide range. These will post every first Friday of the month, so January’s roll will go up in February.
Classic Camera Revival
The CCR continues, we’re now entering our 9th Season, and we have no plans on stopping. And we had an excellent year with plenty of interviews, many guests, and a lot of fun as a team. And sure, we continue to record most of our work online. We did get in a couple of excellent in-person sessions through the year and certainly don’t plan on stopping this format anytime soon. We also have no plans to increase the number of episodes per month. Two per month is a nice happy medium that doesn’t overwhelm our team. And we do have some fun ideas kicking around for Season 9, and looking forward to Season 10 and having another in-person celebratory meet to hitting that milestone since we got screwed out of our fifth anniversary.
Toronto Film Shooters Meetup
I’m happy that the Toronto Film Shooters Meetup was strong this year with multiple events. These will continue to happen in the new year under the wonderful leadership of John and Bill. While I only managed to make it out to a single event, I enjoyed the event. As the one who plotted and planned these events for almost every pre-pandemic, getting in a break has been wonderful. But next year marks a very special anniversary for the Toronto Film Shooters Meetup, our 10th Anniversary. Yes, I started TFMS in July 2013 with an event at the Don Valley Brickworks. So I plan to host a special anniversary walk in July 2023, but the exact date and what we’ll be doing is still in the works, but this will happen!
And that wraps it up for 2022! There are still a few posts to go up this year, and I hope to use some time over the Christmas holidays to take the server down for a bit of much-needed maintenance and upgrades for a couple of days. So if things go down, they will be back up as soon as possible. Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday, and may the New Year bring joy.