Tag Archives: toronto film shooters meetup

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

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

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

So you want to run a Photowalk?

So you want to run a photowalk? Excellent! Running and even just attending such events are actually really good for you as a photographer. Because often we spend so much time sitting in front of a computer or locked in a darkroom so some social interaction is a good thing! Plus you never know you might learn somehting. I’ve attended plenty of photowalks and have been for the past year and a bit running my own Toronto Film Shooters Meetup (TFSM) with some level of success. I love interacting with other photographers both in shooting and just socializing.

TFSM - Summer '14 - Toronto Islands
Abandoned Bike – TFSM Summer ’14

Honestly, to get started you need three simple things:
A Date: Pick one that works for you, sure you can ask around but you’ll never settle it in a group…find one and run with it.
A Location: Pick a spot you’re familiar with.
Food: Yes, make sure that the event begins or ends with some kind of meal.

Once you have those three things nailed, you’re ready to promote your event. Social media is a great way to promote it, but you got to target the right groups. Facebook: Yep, we love it and we hate it, but good chance you have a lot of photography related friends on your facebook profile, send out a group message! Also groups on facebook for your local area might yield some additional attendies as well. Twitter: Always worth a shot, be sure to tag your post with the city name, and photography even photowalk. Flickr! Yes, the forgotten photosharing social media platform, always a good choice because again local cities might have dedicated groups or groups dedicated to the types of photography that you’re using. Other choices that you may want to use are tumblr, reddit, and old school web forums! Always show up early to the spot and try and be visible and keep your phone on, loud, and charged in case people try and reach you. Having a camera sitting out usually helps identify you. And be friendly! Go up and introduce yourself if you see someone looking around lost, they might be looking for your group.

TFSM - Summer '14 - Toronto Islands
Mike in Action – TFSM Summer ’14

When bringing gear to these walks, don’t lug everything and the kitchen sink. Believe me, I know, I’ve done it…and regretted it. I remember the very first Film Photography Project Mid-West Walking Workshop, I had like six cameras with me, and got two more at the event! Way too many and I mean I did use all the cameras I had, but many times I had to carry a majority of them with me. The only saving grace was that the event was over the course of several days and the hotel I was in was right in the middle of the event space so I could easily swap out…but honestly, never again. Today I usually will decided to bring one…maybe two cameras. Usually I’ll go with 35mm or 120, I’d bring my 4×5 since it’s a press camera but only if the event was a dedicated Large format event…and then I’d just bring that camera, nothing more. Bring film…always bring lots of film with you, or better yet, if the event has a camera store that sells film, make a point to go out and buy a couple rolls fresh to shoot. Often I find I’ll shoot more because I can focus on a single camera/lens combo. Plus it’s a lot lighter to bring one camera! And be prepared to shoot less than you expect to, you will honestly spend more time socializing than shooting and you know what, that’s okay to! Because you’re there to network with fellow photographers.

Don Valley Brick Works - July 2013
Cosmic Salad @ the Don Valley Brick Works – TFSM Summer ’13

And last but not least, don’t panic, and don’t fret. Often you’ll do all this planning and have no one show up! I mean that even happened to me at the TFSM Winter ’14 event, I promoted it, I planned it…and it was just me. Oh well, I had a couple drinks at the bar and moved out and did a bit of shooting, the weather was garbage anyways. Did that stop me? Nope, had a great turn out at the Spring event. And yes, you will be faced with possibilities of bad weather, detractors, and people who just are pains…but again don’t panic, and stay super positive, because these are planned for FUN. Keep it loose, and if you want to do this more listen to the attendees, the TFSM Fall ’13 location was given to me by Mike and John, loyal attendees of these events, and sure it rained but it was still a blast! And speaking of rain, go anyways! Weather will be weather, dress appropriately and bring an appropriate camera. Or instead of going out shooting, look around before hand see if there’s an exhibit or gallery show of a local artist and go and look at other work see if you can’t find some inspiration.

Toronto - Spadina Road - April 2014
A dying view – TFSM Spring ’14

And probably the best part about Photowalks, at least what I’ve found is that they’re a great way to lift yourself out of a photographic funk! So get out there, meetup and keep shooting!