Island X Film…. My new YouTube channel dedicated to Film Photography. Episode 1


Much before I moved to Vancouver Island I had a goal to set up a YouTube channel dedicated to film and a year later I have finally found the time to start. Below is my first video highlighting the Olympus mju1 and all the pictures I took on Kodak Gold 200 (shot at box speed). One of the goals of this channel is to not only shoot more film but it’s to create printed content as well. With each episode Iwill be making a hand made zine to share the images I have taken. I will also be giving a copy away to one individual each and every time I drop an episode. Stay tuned each week for the next episode.

First Roll… Canon 7 Range Finder.

Like always it’s exciting to get out and shoot a new film camera regardless of what format it is. The Canon 7 was my first attempt at shooting film on a true rangefinder. The Canon 7 is an LTM camera that is built with some decent heft and a level of quality that one could expect from a Japanese Camera of this era. Originally I wanted to buy a Canon 50mm 1.4 LTM to go along with this body but my budget decided otherwise. Instead I ended up with the Industar 61 which is a 53mm f2.8 made in Russia. My choice of film was Kodak Gold 200 and all the images were scanned by the Epson V600 and tweaked in Lightroom for the iPad. Below are a Few of the images I shot.

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 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.  

Embracing “CRAP” Photography

               Let’s face it nobody cares about your photography except for you, so why do we bother? The things we incessantly ask ourselves are questions like, is the composition right, is my exposure accurate, is it sharp enough, will it move people, does it tell a story and countless other things that paralyze us from simply just being creative. This is precisely why the cult following of Lomography is so popular.  Avid Lomographers could care less about the questions above and would rather enjoy the spontaneity of just simply shooting. They enjoy things like blur and light leaks or scratches and grain, in fact they are really the band of misfits that push back against what the main stream says in aesthetically pleasing. This is all well and good but I don’t think I would consider myself one of these misfits however I did thouroughly enjoy creating these images. The point of the LOMO process is to just simply shoot and enjoy. This is what precisely happened. I could see myself doing this again and again. It’s just simply fun.  All of the images below were shot Lomography Color 400 120 film with the Diana F+ camera and home processed with the unicolour c-41 kit. Let me know what it is that you love about this process. 

Fuji Superia 400 ~ The Canadian Drug Store Film

             When it comes to shooting film I would more often be drawn to professional films like Portra or  Ektar but they are not always the best when you just want to shoot for the sake of shooting.  Sunny days during the winter on Vancouver Island are far and few between so my wife and I took some time to wander though Rathtrevor Park just outside of Parksville. Below are just a few of the images I shot.  What is your favourite drug store variety film, or does your drug store even carry film any longer?