Over the past couple months I have been wanting to try medium format film photography. The main difference between medium format and 35mm film is the size. Medium format is about twice as big so the image has quite a bit more detail. I was at Moler’s Camera and saw a Mamiyaflex TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera. A nice simple camera as an introduction to medium format photography. I must say I do like shooting with the Mamiyaflex. I find myself taking more time. Really thinking about the shot before I take it. Also it is totally manual. So I want to make sure the exposure is on point before I click the shutter. Below are some scans from the first couple rolls I took with the camera shot on Ilford FP4 120 film!
Earlier this week I was in New York City. Had a blast taking photos while I was there. While walking through Central Park I came across a group of people, young and old, who were enjoying making huge bubbles. I could have stayed here all afternoon but decided to shoot a roll of film and kept it moving. Here are some of my favorite photographs.
So I have been brainstorming about some fun content ideas to blog about. I always get asked about camera settings and which ones I like to use. So tomorrow I will blog about my favorite camera settings in different environments. Would you like to have more interviews, tutorials or reviews on the site? Feel free to drop a comment below and let me know!
After I shot 3 rolls and sent them off to be processed I quickly figured out that it would be faster and cheaper to process them myself. It took anywhere from one and a half to three weeks to get a roll of film back from development. It also cost around $10 a roll! So I bought everything I needed and decided to start doing it myself. I will post more about the darkroom equipment and chemicals I use in another blog post. Here are photos off the very first roll I ever processed and scan myself. This would have been 4 years ago. Best decision I ever made! It is interesting to see what was on the first roll. Some shots from around the city the renaissance fair and even some at the radio station I work at.
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Colton Van Ness is a photographer based out of the Wichita, Kansas area. I came across his work on Instagram. Like myself he shots and processes 35mm film. He has helped keep me inspired and has became a good friend. He is someone who keeps me motivated. We go shoot, bounce ideas off each other and talk street photography. Happy to introduce everyone to Colton Van Ness a.k.a. @coltonvanness!
What got you interested in photography?
The thing that got me interested in photography was definitely the fact that my parents always had so many cameras, prints, and processed negatives lying around. As a toddler they were more of a toy to me, but over time I understood the camera better as a way of documenting your life, so I ended up attached to looking at old photos as a child.
Who or what inspires you and keeps you inspired?
I’m inspired by just knowing that whatever I document and preserve on film, I can pass down as a physical artifact of my generation and my individual experience.
What camera and film do you use?
I’ve been shooting a Nikon F3 with a 35mm focal length for around 2 years now. Always on Ilford FP4 or HP5
How would you describe your photography? What is your style?
Determining my own “style” seems to be the biggest challenge. I tend to just shoot anything that catches my eye in the moment. Which is why it’s so important to always have a camera, even if it’s just your iphone.
What are you favorite places to photograph? (Around Wichita?)
My favorite place to photograph in the city is literally anywhere north of Kellogg between Ridge and Greenwich. That’s the area I’ve stuck to for years now photography-wise, and I still haven’t seen everything.
How much are you able to get out to shoot?
I’m not able to plan days out to hit the streets much these days, but the camera stays with me for when I feel like I need it.
Do you prefer color or black and white?
Black and white.
Black and white can come off to some as less exciting than color, but to me, reducing images to black and white changes the reality of the image. Black and white has a special ability to amaze and confuse me. I’m drawn to them quicker than I am photos in color, because I live seeing in color.
You are currently working on your first zine? What is the process like and when do you think it will be available?
The process of narrowing 3,000 images to 40 for the zine was harder than the 6 months of shooting. Every photo is chosen and ready for print. I’ll get a sample or two, decide on a paper and bind, then i’ll make the drop and announce it on my instagram. Expect it before halloween.
Everyone always asks “Who are your top 5” when talking about any subject. So... who are your top 5 photographers that keep you inspired?
These lists are always filled with Magnum photographers, so this list is just friends and instagram accounts i’m inspired by.
* Royce Stevenson -@double_r_the_superstar
* Geoff Haggray - @geoffhaggray
* Sam Youkilis - @samyoukilis
* Jonathan Walker - @kingofkodak
* Lauren Lepore - @35mm.mistress
For people interested in Colton’s work you can find him on instagram… @coltonvanness!
You ever eat a strange feeling that someone is watching you? I had that feeling today. As I was using a public restroom, (which I rarely do), I felt a pair of eyes looking at me in my back. I turned around and I was right! Someone was looking at me!
Let’s kickoff the weekend! Hope everybody has a safe and fun weekend! Any big plans?
I have an uncle who always says, “The worst thing you can do is lie to yourself.” How many people do you know of that lie to themselves? They don’t know who they are. The worst thing you could do is lie to yourself. That does not mean you can’t change your ways if you want to. But, one thing is for sure. If you don’t know who you are, you can never change your ways.
It is said that there are 26 universal constants. But I think they might have missed one. Change. If there is one thing constant in this universe it is that change is inevitable. I have been going through some of the photos that I have taken over the past couple years and I came across this photo inside the Wichita library. Or should I say, the old Wichita library. It got me thinking about change. Things, people, buildings come and go. Overtime everything changes. Somethings are remembered, others are forgotten. There are some who can’t handle change. Hiding from the truth and living in the past. But change is good. Who would want everything to stay the same for ever. Not me.
Life can be a funny thing. It has it’s ups and down, but also more than anything life will humble you when you aren’t expecting it. I can speak from experience on this. It has been that constant that helps me balance my ego when it gets out of wack. For some they don’t quite get the message. They might get humbled and brush it off or let ego get in the way. Ego is such a funny thing. It is that thing in your brain that tells you lie after lie. Telling what what you deserve or how things should be. It is more of a defense mechanism more than anything. The lies our ego tells to ourselves are ten times worse than any lie someone else could say about us. So try to stay humble. It is a constant struggle. Trust me, I know! Remember that someone else has it ten times worse than you.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. “ - C.S. Lewis
Whatever you are working on. Whatever your goals. Keep your focus. Through the good times and bad, keep your focus!
So far this year I would have to say out of all the money I have spent that my zoo membership has been the best bang for my buck. For starters if my wife and I go 3 times in one year we have made our money back. I always like going to the zoo but at the price of general admission I didn’t make it but once a year tops. But now with a membership we can go, walk around and enjoy the zoo. If we only want to see the elephants, then we just see the elephants. There isn’t as much of a rush to get everything in at one time to get our moneys worth.
But what I like most is it gives me something to do when there is nothing going on. On a boring Sunday afternoon with nothing going on the zoo will always be there to keep me entertained. Plus the people watching is as interesting as the animal watching. That is the on place in Wichita that I can say that. I do always feel a bit of nostalgia whenever I go. My first job as a teenager was at the zoo. I think about my time working there and all the fun behind the scenes things that most people never see while walking around. So you might see me walking around the zoo a lot more often. Plus they have the best popcorn ever!
Whenever I am in Kansas City I try to make it to the Nelson-Atkins museum. The first time I went was around 20 years ago. I knew it was a good museum because it had a Van Gogh. Outside of that, I really didn’t know a lot of the artists. But I always appreciated the fine art that was inside. But….
fast forward a couple of years. I began to realize that this museum has so many masterpieces and has some of the best artists works. Plus the best thing is on the weekends… it is free! Where else can you walk in and see works of arts from Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Monet, Andy Warhol, Dorthea Lange, Jackson Pollack and Cezanne… all for free! If you haven’t ever been go! If you have… then do yourself a favor and go again.
About 6 months ago I put together a photography zine. Many photography zines such as Hamburger Eyes keep me inspired and wanting to get out and take photos. More people are making zines but I noticed not very many people in Wichita had. I love having a printed photo or photobook in my hands. They look so much better than online or on social media. I always wanted to create a zine of my own so I did. You can still grab one here….
I have been thinking of what my next zine will be. The theme, the photos, how I want to lay it out. I would like to have something done and off to the printer by the end of March. Let the fun of finding photos and working on the layout begin! Of course I will give updates on how it is going and when the next issue will be available.
Flying…. It used to be one of my biggest fears. I hated it. Studies have sown that 1 in 3 Americans are either anxious about flying or have a fear of flying. I hated everything about it. Walking in the airport. Waiting in line and going through TSA. Sitting and waiting at the gate. The lines that form and all the craziness while boarding the plane. Taking off, and most of all the turbulence. It got so bad that I used to get panic attacks on the plane! It always started with a shortness of breath. Then sweating and a feeling of being cramp in. Within 5 or 10 minutes I would pass out.
But recently, something has changed. I started to let go. Not worry about the plane crashing or being so high. Not thinking about being cramped in a small space for so long. But the more I started thinking about flying the more I felt better about it. Last year in 2018 the FAA handled over 15,000,000 flights! The FAA oversaw 43,000 flights every day! That is just in the United States! I damn near have better odds and winning a million dollar lottery than getting in a place crash.
I have came to enjoy flying. Or at least enjoy it more than I used to. Whenever I get a window seat I find myself taking photos out the window and enjoying being detached from everything for a couple hours. I still hate TSA though.