Roll 6919

As reported a few days ago, I sent the first roll of film from the Bronica off to be developed. I just received word that my pictures were ready for download. While none of the shots are spectacular photographs -- I really just wanted to make sure everything was working correctly -- I actually got some half-decent images. 10 of 12 are presentable "straight out of camera". Of the other two, one had a bad exposure reading, and the other, too slow a shutter speed for me to hand hold.

So here they are, straight from the processor:

The first three images were made in Frederick, using the 50mm lens, and the rest were made in Gettysburg. Images three through six with the 80mm lens, and seven through nine with the 150mm lens. I used the 50mm for the last three shots.

As I said, a couple are far less than perfect, but most of them are at least pleasing, and show that everything works pretty much as it should. And, with a little post work, I'd consider at least a couple of them actual "keepers"!


After lunch with friends this afternoon, we drove up to Gettysburg to take some pictures.

While there, I finished running the first roll of film through the Bronica today, testing the 80mm f/2.8 and 150mm f/4 in the process (I'd already shot the 50mm f/3.5 that was on the camera when I bought it). I also relied on the meter in the prism finder for both automatic and manual exposures.

Everything seems to have worked perfectly, although the meter in the Bronica didn't jibe exactly with the meter in the Fujifilm X10 or the iPhone meter app I've downloaded, so we'll see how things work out when I get the film processed.

I'll send the film off to be processed and scanned in the next couple of days, and will share some results as soon as I have them.

Donna used the opportunity to start familiarizing herself with her new camera. No, she didn't make a switch to a Fujifilm mirrorless body. She upgraded her several-year-old Canon EOS T1i to a new T6i.

Goin' With The [Work]flow - Pt 4

This will not be a terribly exciting post, at least to most of you. And, there aren't going to be any pictures. Sorry.

Last February, I started down the path of improving my photo editing workflow by looking at alternatives to Adobe's Lightroom. In late March, I compared Lightroom with Capture One Pro, and finally, mid-year, I discussed On1 Browse, which is a part of On1 Photo. You can read those commentaries by visiting this link.

It's now the beginning of a new year, and time to implement a new plan for image organization and processing. I've chosen the new On1 Photo RAW product. As important is choosing new software tools, I also need to establish a storage scheme that is as consistent as possible, considering the diverse tools I'll be using for image acquisition -- Fujifilm digital cameras, the new [to me] Bronica film system, and my iPhone.

My thought is that current projects will live on my laptop (with backup copies residing on the drobo). In the past, I've organized by camera, and then by date, with a possible notation in the directory name of the subject. I was also very lazy about any kind of meta-tagging, which made finding images difficult. I kind of had to remember when I took a picture, so I'd know which camera I used, and then, assuming my memory was working, I might find the picture. JPEGs and raw files sat side-by-side in the same directory.

With the Fujis, I've found that I use the raw files less and less, instead relying mostly on the excellent JPEG files out of the camera. So, going forward, I'll be saving the raws in a sub-folder of the JPEGs. If I need to process the raws, they'll be handy, but not intermixed with the JPEGs.

Images from the Bronica will come in as high-resolution scans from the lab, unless I decide to get a film scanner. iPhone shots will be stored in iCloud and referenced in Browse.

Once an image is completed, an export will be stored in folders based on subject, and posted to the web via this website. Finally, there will be hard output -- either individual prints or photo books, or both.

At least, that's the plan.

It's Big. It's Square. It's Bronica!

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I wanted to add medium format film to my "bag", so this morning, we headed over to the local antiques mall, where I knew there might be a couple of good options of cameras to look at. A couple years ago maybe, we met a fellow there named Kenny who had a stall with a number of great deals on old film cameras. His stall is still there, pretty much as I remembered it, along with the same two medium format cameras -- a Mamiya RB67, and a Bronica SQ-A.

Zenza Bronica SQ-A, Zenzanon-PS 50mm f/3.5, AE Prism Finder S, Speed Grip S.
Image made with iPhone 6s and Moment 60 telephoto lens attachment, in completely inadequate light, processed with Photos on the iPhone.

The Bronica is no longer in his stall. As you can see, it got parked in the spot I use to take pictures of fancy kit (our living room couch). Apparently, I was meant to own this camera (or the behemoth RB67), because it's been waiting patiently in the display case for me since I first saw it. So, for a whopping two hundred and forty American dollars (plus tax), I picked up the Bronica SQ-A body, a Zenzanon-PS 50mm f/3.5 wide-angle lens (one of the three that was on my shopping list), the AE Prism finder, and the Speed Grip. Around back is the film back with a 220 insert.

Our next stop was to Service Photo to pick up a fresh PX28 camera battery, a lens cap, and a few rolls of film -- and also to drop of Donna's Canon body for a cleaning. While looking around the store, I did notice that they had an original Canon 5D body at a very nice price. I'll admit I was tempted. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I think that's the nicest full-frame DSLR Canon's ever made.

I'm excited to be building this system; my shopping list, scribbled on a tiny Post-It note, is shown. I wrote the list last night, so it shows the SQ-Ai, but the differences between that and the SQ-A are minor. The SQ-Ai adds a 16-second and "B" shutter speeds, and the ability to do some sort of off-the-film TTL exposure metering when using some sort of flash that I'm sure I'll never be able to find. None of these are features I can't do without, and "dry" tests with my Yongnuo flash system show it works perfectly well.

My initial shopping list includes a couple more lenses to fill out "the trifecta" of a wide angle, a normal, and a short tele (although I think I'll substitute the PS 150mm f/4 for the 200mm lens). I'm going to try to hold out for all of them being the Zenzanon-PS lenses, as I've read that they have better coatings and builds. I also would like to get the waist-level finder in place of the prism finder -- I think I'll prefer that for portrait work, as it will get me out from behind the camera a bit and let me make eye-contact with my victim ... er, subject. I'll also need some 120 film backs/inserts. While the 220 should work okay with 120 film, it's not as convenient, as the wind mechanism doesn't release until the counter reads the correct number of frames -- I'll have to "shoot" a few frames past the end of the roll to get the film completely wound onto the take-up spool, instead of just winding it out.

The SQ system had some other neat accessories available -- the SQi 120J 6x4.5 film back/insert, and a back that allowed shooting panoramas on 35mm film in particular, and a wide range of excellent lenses. It looks like I'm soon to become "one" with KEH, Robert's Camera, and eBay...

Looking forward: 2017


Low (read No) Resolution...

Everyone who knows me knows that I don't make resolutions at new years. I do try to think about new things I'd like to accomplish, and things that just didn't pan out in the prior year -- and whether or not they're worth carrying over. For instance, I've been wanting for a couple of years now to create a podcast. Have you heard a podcast from me? No, neither have I. And guess what: it's probably never going to happen, at least not in 2017.

Another thing that I had been wanting to do that has been abandoned is presenting photo workshops. Having done the legwork to launch a major workshop before, I know that I simply don't have enough time to properly develop, market, and stage the workshops to the level that I would find acceptable.

As it turns out, there's a reason I haven't done the podcast or the workshops, which will probably be the subject of a future blog post.

So, now that we know what I'm not going to do, let's look at what I'd like to do in 2017.

Take more pictures...

2016 was a dismal year for me, photographically. I've produced less than any year in the past 10 years -- maybe longer. It's really not for lack of good gear -- I have some of the best equipment money can buy right now, and almost anything I'd need to make excellent digital images. But, to be honest, I've been kind of bored with the usual subjects. There are a couple of levels to that boredom, I might add. For instance, I'm not tired of travel/landscape/nature, per se. But I want to shoot in places where I've either not worked before, or not visited in a long time -- Central Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula just isn't cutting it right now.

I also want to branch out into some other genres that I've only really touched the surface of in the past, like street, portrait, music/performance, and some boudoir/glamour; expand my horizons, so-to-speak.

Bronica S2A with Nikkor 75mm f/2.8 lens, waste-level finder, and back.

I'd also like to do some hybrid analog/digital medium format work -- shoot medium format film, most likely 6x6 or maybe 6x.4.5, and convert the negatives to digital for processing. When I was young, my dad had a couple of Bronica S-series bodies and lenses he used for commercial work. I loved those cameras. They were big, purposeful machines that made exposures with a resounding thwack, and produced big, beautiful 6cm square negatives and transparencies.

The "smart" medium-format film camera to get would be a Pentax 645n II, as there's is a clear path to upgrade to a relatively affordable digital solution down the line, but frankly, I think I'd rather get something that would stick me firmly in the analog world for acquisition, though I'd probably opt for something a little more modern than the early Bronica. The newer Bronica SQ Ai comes to mind, as it's relatively affordable, relatively available, and offers some more "modern" (for 1990) conveniences.

And, I'll also want to dive more into using my iPhone and the excellent Moment lenses, especially now that the case supports more apps, which I posted about a few days ago.

3M (Make More Music)...


The musical side of my life has been really pretty frustrating of late. I don't think I've played more than a few notes since the end of October. I've certainly not played anything in front of an audience. And, while I've done a couple of sound gigs, that's nothing like the same thing. Getting up on stage with a good bunch of musicians is a real high for me. Fortunately, I know at least a couple of like-minded guys, and now that we've had our holiday breaks, I think (hope) we're going to get our act together and do something. I have an idea or two of what I'd like something to look and sound like, and I know they do as well, and I think we're at least in the same chapter of the same book. It shouldn't take too much to get us on the same page.

I Still Play With Trains...

While not on topic for this site, I'll also still be "playing trains". I'll be putting more emphasis on creative aspects of that hobby, rather than the "business" I've been pursuing, and I'll be posting about that on

That's All, Folks...

So, those are the plans. A lot is the same as last year, but maybe I'll make some headway on things this time around.