If you’ve been in film photography for a while, you’ve seen big companies come and go. And a pile of companies were rarely seen here in North America. The iron curtain, for many years, divided the world in two, between the west and the east following the Second World War. The Cold War kept western films out of the east and eastern films out of the west. One such brand is Forte. I’ve only seen one roll of Fortepan before; I remember using it, but it’s not on my film log, so maybe I ended up giving it away. Kodak opened a photochemical plant inRead More →

Pyro developers hold a special place in my development tool kit. Despite being one of the oldest developers, being viewed as highly-specialised and highly toxic. I’ve found them to be one of the best developers I’ve used. My journey into Pyro started with PMK Pyro, followed up by Pyrocat-HD. But starting last year, I heard about a new Pyro developer, 510-Pyro. For being an old developer, Pyro developers continued to see advancement and innovation, with Sandy King bringing in Pyrocat-HD in 1999, but 510 is far newer. First released in 2006 and formulated by Jay DeFehr, 510-Pyro took a different approach to Pyro with onlyRead More →

There are few legal options to see some of Ontario’s electrical generation infrastructure, especially historically significant ones. At the same time, you may still be able to take a public tour of the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station or get a glimpse at the RL Hearn station if you’re there for an event. But even in those, you are limited in what you can see unless you’re suitable for some casual trespassing. But when I learned that one of the iconic Niagara Falls generating stations was opening up as a tourist destination, I knew I had to check it out. So back in July, IRead More →

If there’s something I’ve learned over the past six months is that the quote “The best camera you have is the one you have with you” is true, and the camera that almost everyone has is their mobile phone. The challenge for July from my friends over at Embrace the Grain podcast was 127 film, but I don’t shoot 127 film. Well, I have, but these days I don’t have any 127 cameras, and the film can be prohibitively expensive. They did cook up a plan B, using your mobile phone. But not just your phone’s stock camera, but one of the many film simulatorRead More →

I remember the first time I visited the Bridge Street Station in Niagara Falls, not far from the glitz and crowds of the tourist-packed falls area. On a quiet side street off the old downtown of Queen Street, surrounded by run-down buildings, sits one of the last remaining train stations in Ontario that is credited to the Great Western Railway. The importance of the train station in Niagara Falls is thanks to the Niagara Suspension Bridge. The Great Western Railway completed its mainline in 1854 with great fanfare in Hamilton, Ontario, where its main headquarters and rail yard were located. But to cross the NiagaraRead More →

What makes this week a bit more interesting is that almost this time last year, Heather and I were on vacation and driving along the Niagara Parkway, a favourite drive for us that is perfectly safe to do even during a global pandemic (but unlike last year, the end is now very much insight). Like last year, I was shooting my Nikon FM loaded with Fomapan 100. But I learned from last year and brought a slightly longer lens and picked a different developer! Long before the arrival of the Europeans, the earliest human settlers in the Niagara Region, those of the Neutral Nation thatRead More →

While the idea of cutting a channel to safely carry cargo and people across the Niagara Penisula was not a new one by the time William Hamilton Merritt came along and pushed the idea forward to completion, Merritt is the one credited with the concept. William’s father, Thomas Merritt served under Sir John Graves Simcoe in the Queen’s Rangers during the American Revolution. After the war ended Thomas and his wife Catharine Hamilton settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick for some time. But the call of home beckoned and the two returned to Bedford, New York. In Bedford, on the 3rd of July 1795 thatRead More →

When it comes past projects related to history which I have written, the foundations of the events which I planned to explore are relatively modern happening some three to two hundred years in the past. A small drop in the bucket of the history of our planet. But when it comes to the Welland Canal, the foundations of that canal take place in the dark distances of prehistory. The need for a canal across the Niagara Peninsula is related to a massive limestone cliff that cuts across the modern province of Ontario known today as the Niagara Escarpment. Today the cliff runs from the NiagaraRead More →

One of the biggest mistakes I made was giving away my Nikon FM2n as a gift, thinking that I would be OK with the Nikon FA. And while these days to replace an FM2n is a costly endeavour, they have shot up in price since I bought mine. I have since come to terms that the only way to get an FM2n again is to have one returned as a gift. But what about an earlier model, the camera that you could say started it all? Released as a result of the OM-System, the Nikon FM ushered in a new age of Nikon built aroundRead More →

If there is one developer that is the closest thing to a magic bullet in my chemistry set, that developer is Pyrocat-HD. While Rodinal is the oldest commercial developer, Pyro based developers pre-date Rodinal into the early days of photography, being used back in the days when plate-based photographic media were the norm. And while the developers changed overtime, Pyrocat-HD is among the newest in the category being developed by Sandy King as an improvement over PMK Pyro. Sandy promotes the developer as giving 1/3rd of a stop in film speed with about 10-15% less developing time. Along with consistent staining action and lower toxicity.Read More →