Shooting film at Larch Mountain

I'm still getting familiar with my new Bronica, so I've been looking for all kind of light situations to get to know it as much as I can. I also have a few new lenses to try!

Last week I drove up to Larch Mountain in the Mt Hood National Forest, road that was recently opened to traffic again. It's only an hour away from Portland and it offers not only stunning views of the Cascades volcanoes on a clear day but also frequent fog. That's what I was looking for that day, and I got it!

The first three shots were taken with my new 250mm f/5.6 Zenzazon-PS. I knew the shots were underexposed, but didn't want to use a lower shutter speed than 1/250th and I didn't have my tripod handy. I think they look good though. Noisy and grainy, but they have some character :) The last one was using an also Zenzanon-PS lens, 150mm f/4.

Two more shots, these ones properly exposed and using the 80mm f/2.8 Zenzanon-PS lens.

And the last one of this trip, taken on my way back home from Portland Women's Forum (a nice, easily accesible viewpoint of the Gorge). Again using the 250mm lens, but this time using a tripod.

Film used was HP5 Plus 400, shot at 400 and developed at home (Kodak D76 and Kodak Fixer) at 400 as well.

My new camera: unpacking the Bronica SQ-Ai

After weeks of researching, and visiting used gear sites a few times a day, I was finally able to get what is now my new camera: a Bronica SQ-Ai.

Why did I get it, though? Well, there are many reasons but two stand out.

It shoots square photos

I happen to like this format and in fact, I've been cropping all my photos to a square aspect ratio for months now. It is really hard to find a modern camera with a square sensor (I only know cameras like Hasselblad or Phase One, completely out of my reach), so if you want to shoot 1:1 you have to crop.

That wouldn't be a big problem, but the cameras I own (Sony A7II and Sony a6000) don't even let you preview your shot at that aspect ratio. This makes composing your shot pretty hard, since you can't tell for sure what is going to be in the frame and what is not going to be in there. I know there are other cameras (like Fuji) that let you do that, but I didn't want to get into a whole new multi-thousand dollar system.

It's a film camera

I really wanted to give film a serious try. And by serious I mean this will be my main camera for my landscape work. Not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because I believe this will make me "engage" or "connect" more with my photos. Not only do I want to shoot film, but also develop it and scan it myself.

You see, we went on a road trip through Washington recently (I'll have the photos ready soon), and I came back with ~1,000 shots from that trip. I've had the A7II for a little bit over a year and I've already shot 25,000 photos with it. And it's not my only camera, I also have the a6000, plus my phone, plus my smaller camera (RX100). I do believe I took 40,000+ photos last year... at least. And that's insanity.

I'm trying to take fewer pictures, but hopefully be able to get a better keep / throw away ratio. This might not be a good approach for other genres (like street photography) but I think it's perfect for landscape photography. It will force me to take my time composing a picture (money, and there are only 12 shots per roll), and I'm hoping this will make them better. We will see.

I'm not ditching my digital cameras, though. I still love my A7II. I'm planning on using it for video, and also on trips where it's not practical to carry a heavier film camera: long hikes for example. The tiny RX100 or even my phone will suffice on strenuous hikes and backpacking trips.

I'm not closing any doors. If film doesn't end up working for me, then I'll sell this camera and go back to digital. Only time can tell. But the first feelings from this camera are... just awesome.

Published my first book, new website, and I'm back!

I've been away for a while now, not posting on my blog / Instagram / Unsplash / you name it as often as I used to. I did not stop taking pictures though, and I've also been working on a couple new projects I'm very excited about.

 

Published my first book: Went West

This has been a long time coming project, my first book! Went West is a project I worked on for 3 months, and it includes some of the best photos I've taken since I moved to the west 4 years ago, in different locations across Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, British Columbia and Alberta.

Thousands of miles on the road, countless hours hiking and backpacking, lots of very early breakfasts and very late dinners, trying to capture the beauty of the American Northwest.

This booklet has a saddle stitching binding but I think the quality is very good. 76 pages filled with 5.5" square black and white photos. Grab your own copy now!

 

New website!

I think it was about time I had my very own website with all I wanted it to have. After a few different experiments with different platforms to figure out which one would fit me the best, I've finally settled. This will help me to:

- Showcase what I'm doing. The plethora of social networks we can post our work to nowadays is overwhelming, but none of them are customizable as a regular website is. I can show what I want the way I want. Yay!

- Sell stuff. Not only Went West but soon, more things.

- Host a blog. I've been posting on Medium for a long time and that won't change, but it won't be my main blog anymore. I'll be blogging here first and then copying some articles over to Medium.

 

I'm back!

Now that the book is finished and the website more or less ready to go, it's time to starting posting content out there! Expect to see tons of photos from me on Instagram and Unsplash, and new posts on Medium. And of course, new photos and posts here on the website as well!

 

Early morning, Merced River

The Merced River is famous for its course through Yosemite Valley, but the road along its waters (one of the many that lead to the National Park) is almost as beautiful. The very own Ansel Adams took some of his less known photos while driving this road on his way in and out of Yosemite.

So I borrowed his image’s title for this post, and filled it with my own images taken on one very early morning a few months ago.