For Christmas holidays 2014, we took a drive down the west coast. As usual we shot thousands of digital photos, the best of which you can see on Ania's blog. I also shot 6 rolls of film on a Contax G2 and Canon Élan 7n. The film stocks were a mix of Kodak Gold, Portra & Fuji 400H, and they were processed at Caribou Lab.
It was a whirlwind week in New York for us. I got to do some exploring with family, who just happened to be in town at the same time, while Ania had to take out 48 crazy hours our trip to fly back to Calgary for her style presentation for Hudson's Bay. I went to the Killer Heels event, put on by Nordstrom at the Brooklyn Museum. We celebrated our first anniversary (happy one year honey!). We went to the Tommy Hilfiger and J Crew shows, and of course did some serious power shopping.
Below are the snapshots from the week, taken on the Contax T2. The scans from these rolls are so badly done by our local drug store that I have a hard time judging how well the camera really performed. I had to use Lightroom to fix the terrible adjustments the photo lab did, so I don't feel like I got to enjoy the natural colours from the camera or films.
We had an amazing two weeks traveling around Asia, and captured it on eight rolls of 35mm film. This provided an opportunity to compare a few different film stocks side by side to see their unique colour and contrast traits.
The films used were Kodak Portra 400, Portra 160, Ektar 100, and Fuji Superia 400. All of the Kodak was processed by Caribou Lab in Toronto, and the Fuji at London Drugs in Calgary. Everything was shot using the Canon Elan 7e, mostly with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and the 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens. The nifty fifty was very disappointing on this trip, missing focus about half the time. We've had better experiences with it in the past, but for a similar price the 40mm way out performs it.
After our first week in Seoul, we left the SLR in Korea and shot a few rolls on Fuji disposable cameras in Japan, and I love the results!
Impressions: Both the Kodak Portra 400 and 160 performed beautifully, as expected. They are designed for professionals, carry a slightly higher price and deliver excellent tones for every occasion. I find the 400 a little more versatile because that it can stay into the camera until evening. When there is a roll of 160 in there, I know it needs to be finished before the sun goes down.
The Ektar 100 was a fun novelty, but I won't be buying it again. It has so much contrast and saturation that it's better to avoid having any people in your photos, unless intense red skin tones are something you're after. Better left for landscapes.
The one roll of Fuji isn't really a fair comparison, since it was scanned at a different lab with less discerning taste in colours, and is a cheaper consumer film. It took a lot more editing in Lightroom than film should ever need, so I'll reserve judgment for now.
More photos to come from our second week in Korea in Part 2, stay tuned!
After a searching high and low in Tokyo for this camera, I'm so excited to finally have an Olympus XA, and the first roll of Fuji Superia 400 is back from the lab. If you are confused why I would be so excited about a cheap looking 40 year old point & shoot camera, let me explain.
Unlike most compact film cameras the Olympus XA is a rangefinder, one of the smallest out there. It has quick f/2.8 lens with aperture priority control, a featherlight shutter button to reduce vibration, and a clamshell cover to keep it safe in my pocket or bag. Best of all, it's film! It's like having a full frame camera, with all the beautiful colors and dynamic range that come along with film. With digital, a point and shot means giving up on some image quality (especially latitude) so with this little film camera, you're getting so much more.
With any small amateur looking camera, it doesn't draw attention to itself. Up until now, we could only shoot film on our Elan 7, which is a full size SLR and can attract unwanted attention from subjects.
Summer has finally arrived in Calgary so we took full advantage of the sunshine and rode our bikes around town, shot some style photos for our friend Amber's upcoming blog (and to post on our Stocksy portfolio), and spent the night at Calgary's brand new Aloft hotel. Keep an eye on Ania's blog for the awesome underwater shots we took there.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, this was also the last roll I shot on the Olympus. While using it, I noticed the shutter would occasionally lock up and refuse to fire. I hoped it would be just a quirk of shooting with an old camera, but it was more than inconvenient. I couldn't trust that when I pulled the camera out if my bag, I would be able to capture anything at all.
When Olympus designed this camera back in 1979, they were more focused on creating a great consumer camera. For it's plastic construction to last beyond 2014 may be asking too much of it.
I will be sending it back to the eBay seller for a refund, and will start a search for my next film point and shoot. This time, something a little more rugged.
First impressions of the Olympus XA are pretty great. I love the feel of it and it small enough to fit in most pockets. Focusing takes a moment, but works well. I love the way the the lens gently vignettes at the edges, and the colour and contrast are fantastic. I do have two complaints so far, the shutter button occasionally locks up temporarily, and I wish I could override the slow shutter speed when using flash.
Overall, I love it. This is camera is going to come with us everywhere!
When we planned our trip to Seoul and Tokyo, one of things I was excited about was the chance to shop some amazing used camera stores. I had high hopes for finding the perfect film point and shoot but after a few days of searching, we came up empty handed. Instead we bought some disposable cameras.
I hadn't used one since the 90's so I was curious if anything beautiful could come out of these little plastic boxes. I think the results turned out pretty great. The internet told me that disposable cameras have a fixed settings of about f/11 at 1/100 sec, so we used that as our reference point. Occasionally comparing it to reference photos on the 5D at the same settings.
We spent a lot of our time in Tokyo shooting street style in Harajuku, went to Disneyland, and then went back to Seoul to shoot more street style in Gangnam.
One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog is to find a home for some of the thousands stray photos I have lying around. They are not worthy of a portfolio, or for any client, or for anything really. Just candid snapshots that were fun to take.
Here are a selection from backstage at two recent fashion shows, The Motionball Gala and Park Show. The Calgary fashion community has been growing so fast lately, I love being able to document it from up close.
These are all shot on Portra 400 film with the Elan 7n and the 40mm 2.8 pancake lens.