Tag: Toronto Film Shooters

Toronto Film Shooters Meetup – Spring 2018

Toronto Film Shooters Meetup – Spring 2018

It’s been just under a year since the gang visited the Riverdale/Leslieville areas of Toronto. And again I found myself as a participant in the walk rather than the organiser. For that, I left it up to Bill Smith who knows the area like the back of his hand, though this time around we took a much different route. There’s something about getting started early as we gathered at the Rooster Coffee House for our start, after an Atomic Rooster Brew and some discussion. And of course, snapping photos with our cups of coffee and our cameras we started off.

Bill and the FLeicamanUp in SmokeJohn

The day had promised to be a scorcher, thankfully the humidity was not as bad as predicted, which made life easier especially lugging around camera gear. We didn’t even blink at the Old Don Jail that had a massive lineup outside it already for a Doors Open Tour, we were more interested in moving rather than jockeying for shots inside the old jail. Across the Don Valley and into a rather odd feature of the city, Riverdale Farm. A strange little pocket of history that Toronto makes Toronto rather unique, from there it was into the beautiful areas of Cabbage Town with grand old homes that still carried some of their historic charms.

Riverdale TunnelGoats?The Grand HouseCatholic

The group remained fairly elastic often trailing across maybe half a kilometre each person seeing something different in the area to capture or just sticking to the social aspects of the meetup. I went a bit bigger on gear than I usually do, bringing the Nikon F5 along with the standard lens trio, 35, 50, and 105. Giving me a bit more range to capture wide to close. The day was bright, and I really should have just stuck to the slower films I had packed and left the FP4+ for another day.

Row Upon RowHam!Didn't See AnythingYing & Yang

Despite the late departure, we made a good time, being able to poke our head into an area of the city that I haven’t always visited before ended at the Stout Irish Pub (great food, great beer). And while some decided to head back to the Rooster I needed to get to Saulter Street in a far quicker manner before heading into the Downtown for chemistry at Downtown Camera and be home in time to make up dinner! If you want to join the Toronto Film Shooters, our next photo walk takes place on the 21st of July at 3 pm, meeting at the Exchange Brewery (7 Queen Street, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario) more details can be found on the Facebook Event.

Toronto Film Shooters – Winter 2018

Toronto Film Shooters – Winter 2018

When it comes to the Winter meetups, the weather is always a crapshoot. But unlike last year, we were blessed with beautiful blue skies, bright sun, and temperatures above zero. I think that helped bring out a dozen shooters to invade the historic downtown of Unionville, Ontario.

The Train Don't Stop HereBeauty in SimplicityThe Planing MillThe General Store

I had first discovered Unionville thanks to one of my co-workers who mentioned that he and this girlfriend enjoyed the historic downtown. So last summer I hit it up on what turned into a hot summer’s day and I saw why. And the group that showed up completely agreed. The small size of the downtown, about a five-minute walk from end to end, allowed the group to spread out and me, as host, bounce from group to group. Of course, the best part is the gathering afterwards, the Unionville Arms proved to be an awesome spot for lunch. We even attracted the notice of the pub’s owner who thought we were a hockey team instead of a group of photographers.

A late morning StrollCatching the FiddlerRobCatching Water

If you’re interested in joining us on a future walk, the Toronto Film Shooters hosts four main walks a year, with a smattering of specialized walks. You can join us on our facebook group, or search for our events, they’re always public! And you don’t even have to be someone who shoots traditional film, just shoot me a line on FB or post on the event page and I’ll be more than happy to bring a spare camera for you and a roll of film.

Technical Details:
Group 1: Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – JCH Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. F 12:30 @ 20C

Group 2: Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-76 (1+1) 11:00 @ 20C

Elora in Colour

Elora in Colour

This previous year I took two chances to visit the lovely historical village of Elora, Ontario in Wellington County. The first trip with my lovely wife in the summer, and a second time on a very dreary Fall day with the Toronto Film Shooters Group. Both trips in addition to shooting plenty of black & white film I shot a roll of colour film each. And in my own typical fashion, that film sat on a self. Now, in my own defense I thought I was going to shoot a lot more slide film this summer than I actually did, so when I realized I was not going to hit my quota of colour slide film to warrant the purchase of an E-6 kit I packed everything up and mailed it off to The Darkroom in California for processing. And then I waited and waited some more. Finally, after nearly a month my package finally returned. Complete with yellow tape that indicated that CBSA had opened and examined my film. The first time that ever happened. But anyways, by this point, you’ll want to see some of these beautiful images!

The Summer
If you’re a reader of this blog, there’s a chance you’ve already seen the beautiful black & white images from the summer trip to Elora I took with my lovely wife. The day was perfect for slide film, so having a few remaining rolls of the good stuff (original Fuji Velvia, RVP, not RVP50), I make sure to push the film slightly (ASA-64) and popped on a circular polarizer to make the images POP.

The Old RuinsOut Along the RiverThe Renovating MillAngled TowerIdyllic Spot

The Fall
I maintain it was a smart choice to bring Portra 400 along to Elora for the Fall Toronto Film Shooters Meetup. The day had not really dawned by the time I hit the road and the rain continued even after I arrived. I had already planned on arriving early, meeting up with the rest of the CCR host team to do some early shooting before the main group arrived. After shooting James’ beautiful Pentax 67II I switched over to my F5 and Portra 400 giving it a single stop push to ASA-800. A trick I’ve used a few times in the past and because of the film’s nature I knew it could just be processed normally. The results, pretty epic as I see ’em, the colours have just that extra punch to cut through the foggy dull day.

Mike and the What?James and DonnaDeer, Meet HeadlightsWeatheredBridge over troubled waterKinda European

Technical Details
Summer: Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D (CPOL) – Fuji Velvia (RVP) @ ASA-64
Fall: Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Portra 400 @ ASA-800
Processing By The Darkroom Lab in San Celmente California

Large Format in the Park

Large Format in the Park

The trouble with photo walks is that you’re walking, this pretty much takes the idea of bringing large format cameras and tripods along. I mean, I love LF and have a press camera which allows me to shoot the Crown Graphic Handheld as I did back at the Summer Toronto Film Shooters Meetup. But again, when making a meet up especially for large format, you can’t call it a photo walk because it’s hard to walk with an LF camera and I know that many members don’t shoot press, technical, or field cameras they use monorails. You don’t walk around with a monorail, while you can, just not quickly. Thus was born, the Large Format Lugabout.

Remains of a Face

A Lovely Day

The Toronto Film Shooters have been to High Park many times before, so it made sense to use this urban park in Toronto as the base of operations for the walk, moving from the Southern Entrance at Colbourne Lodge to the northern terminus at Bloor Street. At about two kilometres it’s an easy enough walk even when you have an 8×10 on a monorail to lug with you.

The Howard Tomb

The Chimney

As I loaned out my Crown Graphic out to a good friend, I made a point to shoot the eight sheets of 4×5 while I wanted down through the park towards the meeting point before the main event. Even my lovely wife put up with the constant stopping. It proved to be a perfect day to shoot large format and there turned out to be a decent attendance. The highlight for me is finally seeing Colbourne Lodge. The lodge is another one of those hidden museums in Toronto, and one I certainly will be checking out again. But with the meeting starting, I turned over my Crown Graphic to Wu and switched to my Nikon F5 to take photos of the various people in attendance.


It's, it's...taller than me!

Another Big One

Trio of Tripods

A Common Sight

The trouble with such a meet is that everything spreads out in a long thin line, Heather and I along with Wu and Joe formed the front of the line while the long trail of photographers lugging every type of camera came up behind, even some folks carried medium format beasts. But since it was tripod friendly, it gave folks a chance to slow down.

The event turned out much better than I expected and I certainly plan on running with the idea again as people took to the idea of a limited area shoot and allowing us to bring out the big guns.

Techinal Details:
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135, Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125
Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200
Blazinal (1+25) 7:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto is not one that I have explored much. Sure I’ve done a wedding there, the 2015 spring Toronto Film Shooters Meetup happened here, had a week of my latest 52-Roll project there, and even recorded an episode of Classic Camera Revival out there. Okay, so maybe I have spent more time in the Beaches than I thought I had. But, it’s always fun to go and check out a part of the city I don’t often have a chance to visit. Bill Smith, while an Oakville resident often finds himself in the area, and offered to host a little photo walk in the area.

Wrong Stop

Bank Turned Retail

The Beach

The trouble was that I ended up taking the subway one stop further than I should have, also not realising that Main Street does not run all the way down to Queen Street. With a bit of jogging about I finally was on the right path to get to my first destination, the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant.

RC Harris

If you have a keen eye and a love of 1990/2000s Sci-Fi television you’ll probably recognise this place as the shadowy think-tank “The Centre” from The Pretender or the headquarters of the hacker Augur from Earth: Final Conflict. From there it was a short nine-minute walk to the meetup point, The Remarkable Bean, a lovely coffee shop nearly at the furthest stop on Queen Street.

Jumping Off Point

Wondering The Source

It turned out I hadn’t needed to visit RC Harris earlier in the day, as we headed back out to the iconic treatment plant, after sticking around there, it was off along the shores of Lake Ontario where the neighbourhood gets it the name, The Beach. While the chance of rain stayed small, we had to dodge the weather several times as we moved west along the beach, taking shelter mostly under the trees along the boardwalk.

Resovior Dogs

Cold Day for a Dip

Alone on the Rock

This ain't no Baywatch

At the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, we drove north through Kew Gardens back to Queen Street returning to the urban environment. Our final destination on Eastern Avenue is a new craft-brewery in the city, Rorschach Brewing Co. You’ll need a keen eye, it’s easy to walk or drive right past this small historic home, and while it may look small from the outside, like a TARDIS, it is much bigger than it appears. Try their Black IPA; it’s my favourite.


In Memorial

No. 15

End of Line

If you’re in Toronto and have a love of film photography, we run these meets at minimum four times a year with a handful of specialised events scattered in between. You can find the Toronto Film Shooters on Facebook! It’s a closed group, but if your profile looks like you’re a fellow film nut, we’ll let you in!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Toronto Film Shooters – Summer 2017

Ah the dog days of summer, and yet there’s still the draw to get out, no matter the weather, and just enjoy shooting. This summer meeting saw me visit two areas of the city for some shooting. The first part of the meet was in a part of the city that I don’t often explore, the Riverside neighbourhood on the eastern side of the Don Valley. Fellow film shooter, Bill Smith, did the heavy lifting in planning out the meet. The day started with coffee at the lovely Rooster Coffee Shop. The whole area is a hidden gem in the city with lots to see and photograph. I decided that I would shoot with something a little different than I normally do at these meets, an 85mm lens, look for detail rather than the big picture.

Who the ... Uses a Payphone

Lost Shoe

The Riverdale Cannon

The Jupiter-9 lens is one that I had meant to shoot a little more often, but just never mounted it because it’s somewhat tricky with the double bayonet mount, unlike the standard 50mm lenses (Jupiter-8 and CZ Sonnar). But man it certainly is fun to get away from my usual fare of shooting wide, allowing me a little extra reach and being able to exploit creamy out of focus elements that the lens is known to produce and focus in on details rather than the big picture. Sadly the trouble with the Jupiter-9 is that it suffers from a bit of a focus issue and some shots that I was looking forward to were out. But such is life.

Meet at the Sign of the Rooster



We made a point to stop by the Old Don Jail, now part of Bridgepoint Health and then it was east along Gerard Street. A visit, of course, was in order as we walked south on Carlaw to another shop that is close to a few folks in the group, WonderPens! WonderPens is a lovely mum & pop shop that specialises in fine writing. Ink, Pens, and Paper. With a trip to Disney and a historical photography project in the works for next year, it gave me a chance to pick up a couple of new notebooks. Because as you know, every new project needs a new notebook, right?

Wheeled Transport

Film & Fountain Pens

Finally Lunch

Back west we headed along Queen Street almost to where we started at Broadview, sadly the initial stop; Eastbound Brewery opens at 4 pm, so we were a little early to stop in for a taste of some of their beers. But Prohibition Gastro Pub provides a fantastic selection of beers from around Ontario and the world, even some of my favourite from Europe. After lunch, it was a change of pace.

Hot Dog Vendor

Resistance is Futile

But I had swapped out my Contax IIIa that I had been shooting with earlier in the day with the Crown Graphic. However, I was shooting it a little differently than I normally do. I decided to use the Crown as it historically been shot, handheld. Armed with eight sheets of Rollei RPX 400 film, I headed back out into the downtown core with the aim to make it out to the Distillery District.

The First Post Office

Always Watching

I never made it that far as I had shot all eight sheets when I hit the end of King Street where it merges onto Queen. My legs tired I hit up Eastbound Brewing to pick up their two offerings that are for sale before going back to the 3 Brewers for Dinner at Yonge/Dundas Square. A long day? Absolutely, worth it? Totally.


Technical Details:
Contax IIIa – ЮПИТЕР-9 85mm f/2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C
Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kruzenak Xenar 135mm f/4,7 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

It’s a TMAX Party – Part II

It’s a TMAX Party – Part II

The April TMax party happened to fall right into the perfect schedule with the Spring 2017 Toronto Film Shooters Meetup falling right into the shoot week! After careful consideration and having moved many of my cameras over the condo where I’ll be living before the month is up (actually next week once Heather and I get back from the honeymoon). I settled on my trusty Hasselblad 500c; it has been seeing a little less use this year after getting a lot of love with the 52:500c project.

TFSM - Spring '17
Downtown Camera where the meet started and the best spot in downtown Toronto to pickup anything film releated!

TFSM - Spring '17
A slightly sad wall, needs something more than just grey and white paint.

All through downtown Toronto, we went, taking in the various sites and sounds of the city’s core with a solid group of photographers from the little group I gathered together. This meet was the brainchild of James McFarlane. A long-time friend and the man who is going to be the photographer at the wedding in a couple of days!

TFSM - Spring '17
The man himself!

TFSM - Spring '17
St. Lawrence Hall from the park. Back in 2016 I tried to get a night shot from this angle, but failed.

Despite being a day of mixed lighting conditions with the bright cloud cover, it was great to get out with a 400-speed film so that no matter what happened I could shoot handheld which is important on a photo walk. Tracing along Queen Street and into St. James Park there were plenty of things to shoot, and because I wasn’t leading the walk, I could settle back and enjoy just shooting. And for a TFS meetup, it’s an oddity.

TFSM - Spring '17
One of the side doors of the St. James Cathedral. I would have gone inside but I wasn’t equipped for indoor shooting on the day

TFSM - Spring '17
But there’s still lots of shoot on the outside of St. James

As always big thank you to Emulsive for organizing this little party (and I look forward to the next film party, maybe a Tri-X Shindig?) and to Downtown Camera for being a big supporter of the TFS group!

Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak TMax 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

Toronto Film Shooters Meetup – Winter ’17

Toronto Film Shooters Meetup – Winter ’17

I never thought that this little idea of mine would catch on. I never believe that my little social ideas would go over. And yet they usually do in some form or another. For example, the Toronto Film Shooters Meetup, now starting on its the fourth year. TFSM, a quarterly gathering of photographers in the Southern Ontario region who loves to shoot traditional film based cameras is an idea I floated back in 2013. I was still an active member of the Analog Photography User Group (APUG), and in the Toronto Sub-Forum, someone was complaining that there was not enough photo walks in the Greater Toronto Region specifically for film photographers.

TFSM - Winter '17
Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

TFSM - Winter '17
Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

So I, a young, mid-twenty some-odd kid, piped up. I’ll organize a quarterly photo walk one for each season. So on a bright summer day in 2013, I launched the Toronto Film Shooters Meetup or TFSM. It’s had varied success over the four years; there was even an event where I was the only one in attendance. The winter ones are usually the least attended walks mostly because the weather can be rather terrible, or just plain cold. But the walk a couple of weeks back it was a bit gray, but the weather was okay.

TFSM - Winter '17
Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

TFSM - Winter '17
Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

The six brave souls who attended took in an icy view along Toronto’s lakeshore, which during the summer is fairly active, but not so much in the winter. And yet there was still lots to photograph along the way. Earlier in the day, I had taken my Contax IIIa through the downtown core to give the beauty of a camera a bit of a workout. A stop at Downtown Camera to stock up one some film, and even got my hands on a box of RPX400 in 4×5.

TFSM - Winter '17
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Bergger BRF400+ @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Winter '17
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Bergger BRF400+ @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

I’m surprised as for how well all my photos came out. Usually, I don’t post much in the way of volume from these meets. But making a choice to bring only two cameras and only actively shooting one at any given time probably helped. And I was using several new-to-me items this time around. The Nikon F2 was loaded up with Bergger BRF 400+ and an AI-S 35mm lens, while the Contax IIIa had an old favourite FP4+ but this time around I developed with SPUR HRX, a new developer that I got introduced to by Mike.

TFSM - Winter '17
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Bergger BRF400+ @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Winter '17
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Bergger BRF400+ @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

If you’re in the Toronto area or even beyond, we have regular attendees from Peterborough, feel free to join us on Facebook to hear about all the madness that is the Toronto Film Shooters group!

SPUR of the Moment

SPUR of the Moment

There are plenty of developers out there that I have yet to try, some because they just aren’t made anymore and others because I just cannot get them in Canada. Plus I can be a creature of habit and stick to what I know and can get the results I want. So when a fellow photographer and CCR co-host Mike Bitaxi, started talking about this new developer he was working with my interest oddly enough grabbed especially after seeing the results.

TFSM - Winter '17

TFSM - Winter '17

The developer in question is SPUR HRX. SPUR, or Speed Photography, Ultra Resolution, is a company out of Germany that I had never heard of before. HRX, despite the name, is the latest developer in the HRX line, the predecessor being HRX-3, and is designed to deliver fine grain and sharpness. To me, that sounds a lot like Pyro based developers like my favorite Pyrocat-HD.

TFSM - Winter '17

TFSM - Winter '17

There is one catch to this developer, it comes in two parts, but you don’t mix it like you would Pyrocat HD because unlike Pyro developers there is just a single dilution ratio for developing. That’s right; you have to do a lot more math with it. But let’s break it down using a natural dilution. For Ilford FP4+ at ASA/ISO-100, you use a 1:20 dilution, so when using 500mL of developer you need 24mL of developer and 476mL of water. Taking that 24mL of developer and divide in half so 12mL of Part A and 12mL of Part B. It’s when you start getting into prime numbers like 1:17 that you’re going to run into trouble. But a plastic syringe with .5mL markings will make your life easier.

TFSM - Winter '17

TFSM - Winter '17

What you get from the developer is a classic black and white image, good blacks and whites and beautiful wide mid-tones. While the pictures are sharp, the grain is nicely reduced making the film easily scannable. Now I used a film that already has a pleasing grain structure and is relatively fine-grained by its nature. Does the developer behave like Pyro? I’m not sure of that yet; I have several boxes of 4×5 film to pit head-to-head using HRX and Pyrocat-HD for a later post. But for now, I’m enjoying HRX. If you want to give the developer a try, you can pick it up from either Argentix.ca (not at the moment) or Freestyle Photographic!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario Canada
Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Spur HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C