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!
Very exciting news. Some of my photos are now published on www.WichitaStory.com! It is titled Hip-Hop Wichita. Over the last couple years I have been going around and documenting hip-hop culture around the town. Click the link below to check out the story!
Been focusing more and collecting photography books. They give me more inspiration than anything. While in New York City I grabbed “Street Trip” by Matt Weber and “How I Take Photographs” by Daido Moriyama. Two must haves for any collection!
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.
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
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.
Don’t forget to sign up to the e-mail list. Will be doing some fun giveaways soon!
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!
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!
Whatever you are working on. Whatever your goals. Keep your focus. Through the good times and bad, keep your focus!
There is no shortage of American patriotism around Kansas. No matter where you look, you will always see the American flag and the colors of the red, white and blue waving proudly.
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!
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.
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.
Been slacking the last couple of days. Been traveling and working. Got back form Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week. It was an amazing trip. The food and drinks were cheap. The scenery was beautiful. The people were friendly and warming. I am ready to go back! I was able to get some photo taking in while I was there. Shot ten rolls of film. Still processing them, but here are some of my favorites so far. You can also check out more photos from Puerto Vallarta by click the link right below this. IT is good to be back back blogging!
I had the day off from work. Not for anything special, but for President’s Day. Up until 10 years ago President’s Day was just another day. This is the first job I have had that gives me the day off. Which quite frankly, I could do without. Every year it is too cold to get out and do anything. Plus, President’s Day is one of those weird holidays that only government workers and bank employees have off. Unfortunately I don’t have friends who work at either so I am usually stuck alone trying to fill the day with something that will keep my attention. Most museums are closed on Mondays and lets face it, there isn’t a long list of things to go do and see in this town. I spend the day pacing around the house, looking for something to do. I have never been able to sit in a house all day. The only time I do that is when I am sick, which is even rare. Even on the coldest, snowiest and iciest of days I will get out to go to the store or visit family. So having a Monday in February off is more of a curse than a gift. But I made the most of the day, and yes… I got out of the house. Spent some time writing and a hot mocha and Fairmount Coffee. The drinks are good, the people are nice and even the droopy flowers still had some smell to them. All in all, it was a pretty good day off. But, I am ready to get back t work!