That Wanaka Tree

Looking at the date of my last post it’s been far too long since I’ve been on here! So much for a busy life… I’ve not long come back from a quick trip to the South Island of New Zealand, a place I could easily disappear to for a few weeks every year. It is also the first bit of film photography that I’ve done in a while and some of my images show it. The last time I was in New Zealand (2005 and 2012) was before Instagram started making places famous so I’d never actually seen that Wanaka tree. I was keen to change that but also expected it to be packed. In fact most of the tourist spots were busier and far more developed than I had remembered them to be. It didn’t disappoint, even if some of the tourists did. It’s a beautiful tree and an incredibly peaceful setting by the lake. If you’re keen to get up before the sun, you’ll have the place mostly to yourself. The same goes for getting off the beaten track (or the paved roads), there are many spots to avoid the crowds and most are worth the effort. Weather hampered some of my photographic endeavours so I have no doubt I’ll be back. Fortunately I still love Ferg!

The Paper Gallery

After a long time thinking about it, I’ve finally added a new gallery to the website, ‘The Paper Gallery’. Helped along by my recent dabbling’s with making Cyanotypes, this is where I can put everything analogue that doesn’t quite fit into the standard film group. Everything from prints and Polaroids to Cyanotypes, Solargraphs and maybe even Tin Types if I get the chance!

Heron Island

I have never been drawn to the oceans in the same manner as I have to the high mountains and the remote wildernesses of this planet. However, exploring the Great Barrier Reef, before the full impacts of climate change are realised, has been high on my bucket list for some time. Not more than 800m long and 300m wide, Heron Island is a small coral cay in the southernmost section of the Great Barrier Reef. It forms part of the Capricorn Bunker group of Islands and is a biodiversity jewel for both bird and marine life.

In a single snorkel I was able to witness more marine life than I have ever done so before. Just some of it included pink whip rays, cow tail stingrays, giant shovel-nose rays, spotted eagle rays, black tip reef sharks, sea turtles and an abundance of fish. It was also pleasing to see plenty of healthy coral, in fact canyons of coral as far as I could see. To be a guest in their blue world was an incredibly humbling experience and hit home just how important it is to protect this resource and how what we do on land is linked to the ocean. No phone reception and no computer were definitely welcome changes. A few days unplugged on a beach really does do wonders for one’s soul, I can’t recommend it enough. I could have stayed for at least a month! It was also a good opportunity to use my Nikonos V and 15mm which all too often sit on the shelf. I actually shot more film than I have ever done on a holiday. Overall I’m happy with the results but still have much to learn, underwater photography is very different!

With a new set of fins I can’t wait to explore more of Australia’s marine parks and underwater life. I suspect it’s not the last time I’ll visit Heron Island but for now I have the dearest of memories.

Back to Kodak

It has been far too long since I put a post up so here goes. Unfortunately I really haven’t had much chance to shoot a great deal of film in the last 12 months or produce anything worth while since my trip to the Arctic. Hopefully that is about to change with an imminent trip to the red centre! Now, back to what I really want to walk about – Kodak. I’ve been using a lot of Fujifilm Acros 100 lately, a beautiful film with a unique look. However, if you want fine detail it doesn’t compare to Kodak Tmax 100 or if you’re after grain then Kodak Tri-X 400 is unmatched. In fact the versatility of Tri-X 400 is unmatched in my opinion. I’ve ruined more than a few shots trying to use Acros 100 when I really needed a faster film. Add in the news that Kodak are beta testing their new Ektachrome 100 with photographers in the US with a release date of later this year and you have a recipe for change! Sorry Fujifilm, I love the reds and blues of Veliva but the quality control and reliability of Kodak film is more than enough for me to switch for good. C-41 film isn’t really my thing so I can foresee a well stocked fridge of Ektachrome and Tri-X. Besides Kodak made Aerochrome and that stuff is down right incredible.

Nikon F3 Plate (CP-F3)

After a few 3D printed prototypes and some refining, I finally have 2 CNC machined aluminium camera plates for my F3 cameras. They are anodised to match use the arca-swiss dove tail. They also have space for spare batteries, a motor drive cap and a 10c piece. I’m very happy to finally have a finished result that matches seamlessly with the lines of the camera. Less is always more when it comes to good design. I’ll be investigating how I can economically get a small batch of these made up should interest be sufficient. In the mean time, this is my answer to the Leicavit, the Nikovit!

Update

After 15 flights, nearly 60,000km and a 30th birthday all in this last month, I’m ready to sit down a relax for a little while. It’s also why I’ve been fairly quiet on here. I have about 200 digital images to go through from my trip to Svalbard and Norway as well as 4 rolls of film that are in for developing.

Large Format Workshop

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to spend my Sunday hanging out with some genuinely amazing people learning how to use large format (4×5) cameras and talking all things film. The Analogue Laboratory is an artist run community darkroom facility within the heart of the Adelaide CBD. Created and managed by Alex and Aurelia, their passion (and knowledge) for all things analogue is contagious. They run a number of different courses throughout the year depending on what your needs are (large format, darkroom basics, cyanotypes etc). So, why go and play with a large format camera? Well, why not! I’d played with the idea of getting one some time ago but settled for my GW690III for film economy and use in aerials. However being a bit mad on film I really wanted to experiment with one as it’s a significant departure from using roll film (135 or 120). So, doing a course was a no brainer as I don’t study photography or have a friend with a 4×5 camera. The large format course runs all day but has a gentlemanly start time of 10am. Covering a bunch of history and theory behind large format, Alex and Aurelia do a great job of imparting their wisdom before you get to practice loading film. Then a couple street and a couple of studio shots later I had 4 images ready to develop. Queue some tasty lunch! Following a stint in the darkroom developing and eagerly awaiting the results we also tried some New 55 instant 4×5 film (colour and monochrome) with mixed opinions. All in all, I ended up with six pleasing images but more importantly the memory of a very happy day! If you’re interested I can highly recommend the experience.

JCH – In Your Bag

What’s in my bag you ask? Well thanks to Bellamy Hunt (aka Japan Camera Hunter) you can find out what I like to roll around the streets with right here!

Interview with Emulsive

If, after trawling through the ramblings and images I have on this website you still want to know why I shoot film in 2017, head over to Emulsive to find out! It’s a great resource of all things film photography.

Ektachrome

Kodak has seen a resurgence in it’s analogue print film (and to an extent it’s motion picture stock) in recent years. However, I didn’t think they would ever re-start Ektachrome (or any E6 stock). Thus, it was wonderful to hear the news from the first day of CES 2017 that Kodak have decided to bring back Ektachrome. Ektachrome E100VS was a favourite of mine until it was discontinued in 2012. I was always disappointed for not shooting more of it. It’s early days and Kodak quote Q4 of 2017 for initial availability. I can’t wait!