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.
Something happened last night that I had dreamed of for years and thought would never happen. I can’t tell you how times I was sitting in class or walking to work playing the Wu-Tang Clan on cassette. I was obsessed. I had the clothes I had their music. At one point around 1997 I even had the Wu-Tang Clan symbol shaved on the back of my head. So as I was standing watching the Wu-Tang Clan perform AND doing it in Wichita… I had to keep pinching myself. Got to see some old friends and amazing people. Here are some of the photos I took while I was there. Definitely a night to remember.
Luck is defined as success or failure brought on by chance rather than through ones actions. Not sure I believe in luck all that much anymore. Maybe we put ourselves in positions to win or be more successful. Not too much happens just by chance. I think about that a lot while taking photos. Maybe one or two shots are luck. But consistency is what I try to work toward. And there is no luck in that. It is putting in the work, day in day out. Always trying to get better.
A quick warning to anyone who uses color 35mm film. To save money I will buy old film that may have expired. I can usually get the rolls for pretty cheap. They usually sell them for around $2 a roll at a local photography shop that I go to. I usually luck out, but this time, I got some super old film. The photo below is one of the images from an expired roll of film.
Now I love how the images came out, but the colors are not as sharp as they usually are. I should have bought new color film and not decided to be cheap. So the warning is this… spend a couple bucks more and buy film that isn’t expired. You will thank me for it later. Luckily, I did have a couple of rolls that weren’t expired and I got some good photos that came from them.
The other day a friend of mine asked me how to shoot film with a camera that didn’t have a light meter. He had bought a Pentax K1000 but didn’t have a battery for the built in light meter the camera had. I told him, just use the Sunny 16 rule. He had never heard of it. So I figured it would be a great topic to blog about. It is a great way to get the right exposure without having a light meter.
The basic rule of thumb states that if you have a clear, sunny day and your aperture is at f/16, whatever ISO you are using, your shutter speed will be the reciprocal value of that ISO value (ISO X = 1/X seconds shutter speed). So for example, if your ISO is 400 at f/16, then your shutter speed will be 1/400 seconds. If your ISO is 100, then your shutter speed will be 1/100 seconds.
But lets say you want to change the aperture from f/16 to f/11. Then you would lower the shutter speed 1 stop. So on a sunny day if your ISO is 400 at f/16 your shutter speed would be 1/400. If your ISO is 400 at f/11 your shutter speed would be 1/800.
For other weather conditions besides clean and sunny, you can also compensate with the aperture in order to keep ISO and shutter speed at the same value. Here are some of the settings I use below.
Weather Condition - Shadow/Detail - Aperture
Snowy/Sandy - Dark with sharp edges - f/22
Clear & Sunny -Distinct -f/16
Slightly overcast - Soft around edges - f/11
Overcast - Barely - f/8
Heavy overcast - No shadows - f/5.6
Open shade/Sunset - No shadows - f/4
One film I want to shoot but will never have a chance to is Kodachrome. It is no longer made, and the chemicals too process the film aren’t even around anymore. But, there are still some great slide films out that you can take photos with. In the last five years of shooting film again, I have only processed one roll of slide film. That was a roll of Fuji Velvia 50. I currently have four rolls of slide film ready to send off to be processed. In the next couple of weeks I plan on sending them off. It has been so long ago that I don’t have any idea what photos are on the rolls of film. So whatever I get back will be a fun surprise. Here are some photos from the one roll of slide film I shot a couple years ago. If you ever have a chance to pick up a roll, I would definitely do so!
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!
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
Trying to think of some ways to expand and add more content to the website. Got some exciting things on the way. Interviews with other street photographers and people who influence me and keep me motivated. I also get quite a bit of questions about my process of shooting film and how I process the film. So want to make some videos to help anyone who wants to get into film photography. You also might notice I have been pushing for people to sign up for email club. Want to do more giveaways and keep people updated on what I am working on. It is really about building a community of like wise individuals. So looking forward to working and building that! So… make sure and sign up!
Whatever you are working on. Whatever your goals. Keep your focus. Through the good times and bad, keep your focus!
I often wonder why there are not more monuments around Wichita. I would think that there would be more, but there isn’t. Come to think of it there really isn’t that many statues. A handful in the downtown area. Outside of that, nothing. Maybe that is what it is. Most of the monuments and statues are in a 1 1/2 miles radius. Maybe to get people out and about and in different parts of the city there should be some put up in places that people don’t normally go to. It might give them a reason to go or at least be a sort of monument treasure hunt for people who come in town. Maybe one day.
When I was younger I remember going to parades on St. Patrick’s Day. They would go down Main Street through the middle of downtown Wichita. It would be one of those events that we would have a field trip for in elementary school. But as I got older the less I heard of it. That is until a couple years ago. Some friends were telling me about a St. Patrick’s Day parade that went through the neighborhood of Delano.
I figured what the hell, I will check it out. When I arrived I noticed quite a few people walking toward the Delano district with green on. I figured it would be a good crowd. But when I got there the numbers for the parade were so much higher than I expected. Easily 5,000 people. Which is a damn good turn out!
Today will mark the fourth year that I will be attending the St. Patrick’s Parade in Delano. It has became a bit of an annual tradition for me now. It is so nice to see people turn out for the St. Patrick’s Day parade again. Just don’t forget to wear your green!
That is right. My new place of zen is the laundry mat. Let me start off by saying I hate doing laundry. I don’t just hate it, I despise it. I never take the time to separate whites and colors and I cant fold a t-shirt to save my life. I thin if I were to ever be sentenced to an eternity of hell after my life comes to an end it would be doing laundry with country music playing in the background. So why might you ask is the laundry mat my new zen place? Well for a couple reasons. First, as I stated before I hate doing laundry. It takes me about 4 days to do 3 loads. So by going to the laundry mat it forces me to get it done. I have a perfectly good working washer and dryer in my basement but in 1 quick hour at the laundry mat using multiple washers and dryers I can get done with all my clothes. Second, it gets me out of the house. Today was a nasty cold winter day, but I had to get the laundry done. I hate sitting in the house all day. So if I can kill two birds with one stone, get out the house AND get my laundry done then I consider that a win-win situation. Most importantly it is a little get away. I chill, put in my headphones relax for an hour and people watch. There are always so many interesting people there. Young, old, well to do and poor. Some people are doing an entire months worth bringing in bag after bag of clothes. Others washing there pricey curtains or comforters in the big industrial washers set on delicate. If you haven’t been to the laundry mat in awhile, time some time out of your busy schedule and go. IF you have never been to a laundry mat to wash your clothes… then you just don’t know what you are missing.