Exploring Local Spots ~ Beach Estates Park, Nanaimo, BC

Recently my daughter asked me if I would like to go out for a short hike with her to a place called transfer beach here in Nanaimo. armed with my Fuji X-Pro2 sans tripod I did the 5 kilometer loop with her. When we started the trail which is largely unknown to most Nanaimo residents i was blown away at the lushness and beauty that was literally steps away from the residential neighborhoods of central Nanaimo. A couple of day’s later i decided to return with my tripod and Rokinon 12mm lens so that I could capture the scene you see below. It is truly amazing what can be found in the most unsuspecting places here on Vancouver Island.

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Rosewall Creek Trail and Kodak Portra 400

          First off Portra 400 has never really been my favourite film to shoot. Every time I load a roll I feel like I have set my expectations too high. Wether it’s 35mm or 120 my disappointment in the results tend to be the same. My first thought is why does this film cost so much? While my second thought is why does everyone love the muted soft colours this film produces? Those questions are probably best answered by Portra fans for sure. This last roll I shot however got me thinking. Thinking about why we put some much stock into the actual emulsion we are shooting instead of just pre-visualizing the look we would like and then just making it happen. Regardless of what type of film we are using. Some would say that it is blasphemy to bring a film negative into the digital darkroom instead of the traditional dark room but I ask the “Purists” these two questions. Isn’t all Photography just artistic expression? Shouldn’t we just focus on telling the story that we really want to tell? Now sure I have my favorite films I like to shoot and Portra may not be one of them but with a little drop of Contrast and a touch of Saturation I can get it where I feel like it needs to be. Here’s to telling “your” story. 

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5 Frames With the Nikon FT & Superia 400

          One might argue that a brilliant camera like the Nikon FT deserves a more deserving film but you couldn’t be more wrong. The partnership between these two seems to be spot on. Have a look at 5 of my favorite images shot from my first two rolls on the Nikon FT with the 50mm f1.8D. 

Nikon FT

Nikon FT

Downtown Nanaimo British Columbia 

Downtown Nanaimo British Columbia 

The incredibly abundant fern

The incredibly abundant fern

My absolutely stunning Daughter 

My absolutely stunning Daughter 

The woman of my dreams. #wife

The woman of my dreams. #wife

Kinsol Trestle Bridge. Shawnigan Lake BC

Kinsol Trestle Bridge. Shawnigan Lake BC

Shooting Vintage 50’s ~ Rikenon 50mm f2

X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

                        Given all the options available to us in the cheap 50mm category this is one that has been sitting in a drawer for almost 10 years. The Rikenon 50mm f2 is really nothing that spectacular when it comes to the build quality but paired with the Fuji X-Pro 2 it actually looks quite good and handles fairly well. Made mostly of plastic on the outside it still feels robust enough for most situations.  Purchasing this lens on eBay will only set you back $50 or $60 Canadian dollars but the resulting images make it feel like it’s worth every penny and more. 

            Often when I mount a vintage lens on my my XPro2 I feel as if it’s to large or look like it doesn’t belong. this is usually the fault of the adapter not the lens. In the case of the Rikenon 50mm it seems to balance quite well with the XPro2. One of the main reasons is that the K Mount adapter is quite shallow in comparison to others that I have tried, so in combination with a lens that is already only just under 1.5 inches in length. Combined the lens and the Adapter is only 2 3/4 inches in length which is still incredibly compact. 

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              Handling the Rokinon 50mm f2 is quite good. The Aperture control had nicely defined Clicks from f2 (of course) to f16, but are still relatively smooth. The focus dial has smooth yet fairly short focus throw which allows you to find focus in less than 180 degrees. 

                Image quality is such a subjective topic. Somewhere between MTF charts, brick walls and  endless shots of images at each f-stop lies what is actually important. Does the image tell the story you are trying to tell, does the lens capture the trueness of the moment or is the character of the lens visually appealing to the viewer. Those are the things I consider when looking at a lens review, HOW DO THE PICTURES LOOK!!! Do they look good? If so then it’s a good lens. 

                     Thanks for reading my very informal lens review of the Rokinon 50mm f2, Please consider leaving a comment, I would love to hear what you think of this lens. Here are just a few more of the images I shot. 

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

 X-Pro2 Classic Chrome Film Simulation Shot @ f2

The Pacific Rim ~ iPhone 8+

          Making a choice to visit the beautiful west coast of Vancouver Island without a real camera is out of the ordinary for me. Packing just a cell phone to shoot with feels like I am bound to miss some amazing images. Just last week I upgraded my Cell phone to the iPhone 8+ so I thought I would limit myself and below are some of the images I captured. 

Long Beach  

Long Beach  

Long Beach Panorama

Long Beach Panorama

Driftwood Creation

Driftwood Creation

End of Day Surf

End of Day Surf

My Two Favorite Kids

My Two Favorite Kids

Someones Dream

Someones Dream

Ucluelet  

Ucluelet  

Changing Always

Changing Always

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

No Longer Manned

No Longer Manned

Shooting Street with Kodak Gold 200 ~ Carsland

        I keep coming back to Kodak Gold 200 for a number of reasons. Reason 1 is the price. In Canada I can purchase a 24 exposure 3 pack from Walmart for only $12.99, that’s only $4.33 a roll or 18 cents a frame. Now that’s cheap. Reason number 2 is it’s unique look that tends to favour warm tones even in mid-day light. These shot’s were taken on a Pentax PC35-AFM point and shoot camera, a true thrift store gem.  

Scene from Radiator Springs in Carsland.  

Scene from Radiator Springs in Carsland.  

The Cozy Cone

The Cozy Cone

A Weary Dad

A Weary Dad

No Xpan? No Problem

                  If there was ever a white whale camera that I would love to have in my film photography arsenal it would be the Hasselblad XPAN. The XPAN is a very unique camera that gives the photographer the ability to shoot wide cinematic scenes on 35mm film. The problem with wanting a one trick pony camera like the XPAN is that it is extreamly expensive and can sell for up to $5000 dollars on the used market. 5K is far beyond my thrift store budget so instead I am using an 80+ year old Zeiss Icon icarette 6x9 camera. The 6x9 format lends itself well to shooting 35mm panoramas but the only challenge is how do you load 35mm film in a 120 medium format camera. This problem is quite easily solved with a 35mm to 120 adapter and take up spool. These can pretty readily found on eBay or if your fortunate enough to have a 3D printer at home you can quickly print one up and start shooting. Fortunately a second side hobby of mine is 3D printing so I did just that.  

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Loading 35mm with the 3D printed adapters

Loading 35mm with the 3D printed adapters

                   Loading and shooting 35mm film on an old folding camera like this is really pretty simple. The first thing I did was start with a dummy roll of film to help determine how far to wind each frame. Without frame counters you need to be a bit creative so I decided to place a piece of tape at the beginning of my frame and count how many full turns it took to advance to the next frame. In my case it took 3 and a bit turns, OK it’s not an exact science. Once I was able to determine the right distance to advance each frame I loaded a roll of TriX 400 and drove down to the Harbor where I often go to find inspiration. Below are 5 of the 10 frames I shot. I was actually blown away at the sharpness the lens on this old folder was able to produce. The one tip I would give is to make sure that your frames are level and a tripod is very helpful tool for this. I hope you enjoy the images below and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below. 

Carl Zeiss Jenna Lens

Carl Zeiss Jenna Lens

Extended Bellows

Extended Bellows

Nanaimo Harbor, full in winter.  

Nanaimo Harbor, full in winter.  

Harbor strolling is definitely a Nanaimo past time.  

Harbor strolling is definitely a Nanaimo past time.  

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Accidental double exposure, but I kinda like it.  

Rare snowfall lining the docks edge.  

Rare snowfall lining the docks edge.  

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Weathered sailboat bow.  

       All images scanned on the Epson V600.