Still a Flickr Fan


I have read lots of doom and gloom about the recent major changes to Flickr.  However I have to say that I am personally a fan of the new tile view.

In fact I was inspired enough to clean up the mess that my collections and sets had become.

The new tile view encourages scrolling through large quantities of images.  Therefore I deleted almost 100 sets and replaced them with 17 public ones and a number of others just for family shots.

I never ever used the old set/page views, instead viewing my images via the excellent FlickStackr app.  But now I do any serious browsing via the native Flickr interface.

About the only other thing I had to change was my profile image which was terribly low resolution.  I went back to the original file, re-cropped it and uploaded it again as seen above.

I haven't shot my vintage Canon IV-S rangefiner in a long time, but it has a classic profile that serves to show off my bubble level!

Why did it have to be snakes?

Nikon F6, Nikkor AF 50mm/1.8, Kodak Portra 400

We caught an Indiana Jones exhibit at the Discovery Science Center in the spring.  It was a blast seeing many original props and costumes from the Indiana Jones series of movies which are some of our all-time favorites.

The lights were pretty dim but I was impressed what Portra 400 could pull off with my lens wide open.  I checked my metering now and then, but mostly just left the shutter at 1/60 of a second.

Most of my images came out quite nicely, including ones of the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, Holy Grail, Crusader Shield, and Grail Cross.

Backlit Bridge

Nikon D300, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

Here is another of my shots from my Europe trip back in 2010.  After my stay in Oslo I had business for one day in the outskirts of London.

I took a day off to walk around London a bit and I started out at the Tower of London.  This show was taken just outside on the bank of the River Thames.

I had to navigate my way around several busloads of tourists to time the shot just right with the smaller boat caught in the reflection of the sun.  They were all trying to capture a similar shot with themselves (and their many friends) inside the picture, whereas I was trying exactly the opposite…

More of my London shots are on Flickr here.  Cue my Dear Sweet Wife asking for a family trip there, especially to the capital (or is it epicenter?) of her fabric world Liberty of London.

Send Me In

Yashica Electro 35 CC, Ilford FP4 Plus

Our 4-year old has been on the sidelines watching his big brother play soccer last fall and most recently baseball this spring.  That won't last for very long as they are both signed up for soccer this next season.

Summer is here with warm weather, swimming, and hopefully a family trip or two. But we are already looking forward to Kindergarten starting up and having both our sons at the same school again.

Parenting has been an amazing trip so far and shows no signs of slowing up.  Not only has it provided me with plenty of photo ops, but we are also now trying to introduce our sons into the hobby.

Here's to a wonderful summer for you all, whether filled with family, photography or whatever else fills your time!

The Little Flash That Could

Nikon SB-30 Flash (Yes, you mount a flash upside-down on a Rollei 35)

From day to day I may go between handful of different film cameras, but there is almost always just one flash that I take with me.

The compact little Nikon SB-30 Speedlight is a true gem of a flash.  It is incredibly versatile, able to work with almost any camera with a hot shoe.

It supports a variety of operating modes including:

  • Balanced Fill-Flash with modern SLRs like Nikon N90, F100, F6
  • Standard Through The Lens (TTL) flash mode with cameras such as the Nikon FE2, FA, F3 or even other brands such as a Leica M6 TTL
  • Non-TTL automatic flash metering with any other camera such as my Rollei 35S, Sprocket Rocket, or a Holga
  • Fully manual operation a full, 1/8th, and 1/32nd power settings
  • Auto and manual wireless slave function (for firing off-camera driven by another flash)

The non-TTL automatic option is great, as you simply dial in the aperture and film speed combination you are currently using and the flash's own forward-facing sensor measures the light bouncing back from your subject and stops the flash output when it has reached the right level.

It has a handy compensation switch built in which allows you to bump the flash power up or down a half stop.  I often drop the power a half stop this way for fill-flash purposes.

Its lower power output matches is compact size, so for serious work you would be better off with a larger flash.  But it is so small you can take it practically anywhere with confidence that you can pop off a flash whenever needed.

Spinning Some Clay

2012-09-06-JMZ-Misa BDay-Yashica Electro 35 CC-HP5-ISO 400-22
Yashica Electro 35 CC, Ilford HP5 Plus

Here is another B&W shot from my Yashica.  This was taken when my DSW and I took our first clay spinning class at Higher Fire in San Jose, California this past Fall.

We had such a blast taking the class (the "2 people, 2 hours, 2 projects" couples event) that we immediately signed up for a multi-week class.  Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.

Don't get me wrong, we loved every minute of it. Well.. except for the bowl making.

I am down with spinning cups, have a great time pressing square plates, and even managed to spin a plate or two (about as thick and heavy as sewer covers…).

But we are definately not at the skill level to create large bowls which bend and warp on the wheel like nothing else.  I need to make a whole set of cups or trays before I try something like a salad bowl again!

My Favorite Camera Straps

Lance, Gordy, and OP/TECH

I am a bit of an accessory fiend.

I love to find accessories for my cameras as much as collecting the cameras themselves. One of the most important accessories is your camera strap and so here are a few of my favorites.

For practical use with serious (read: big) cameras I am big fan of OP/TECH's line of straps.  I use both their Pro Loop Strap and Super Classic Strap (with Pro Loop connectors) with my modern Nikon SLRs.

These straps have great grip and comfort, and with their interchangeable system I can swap straps from camera to camera with ease.  If I don't want to use a strap I remove its quick release and snap the two loop connectors together which can then be used as a short handle.

For vintage, leather style I own several of Gordy's Camera Straps.  I use the non-adjustable strap (without pad) with my light Yashica rangefinder, and the tripod-mount wrist strap with my even lighter, plastic-fantastic Lomography Sprocket Rocket.

The leather was a bit hard initially, but after a few months of use it softened up considerably.  I am happy without a pad using these with light cameras, but for heavier cameras a pad might be needed to better distribute the weight.

My most recent strap addition was a Lance Camera Strap and it has quickly become a fixture attached to my Nikon FA.  It is made out of a woven polyester cord which can fold up into a ball or square into any nook or cranny in a case.

With a 48" non-adjustable strap I can wear the camera across my neck/shoulder and shoot the camera without taking it off my body.  It is so flexible and smooth that I can bring it up to my eye and then slip it back down to my side.

These are my favorite straps for now…  I am always looking out for more accessories!

A Big Lens

2012-07-21-JMZ-Lighthouse-Yashica Electro 35 CC-HP5-ISO 400-18
Yashica Electro 35 CC, Ilford HP5 Plus

No, not that kind of big lens…

I am catching up on some B&W processing from this past year.  I held on to a number of rolls going back to the past summer thinking I was going to try to develop them on my own.

I never got around to trying that so I finally sent them off to Photoworks SF and then scanning & processing them myself.

This is from the Pigeon Point Light Station state park between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California.  I couldn't resist the symmetry of this lens (which is actually on display at ground level in a side-building) and shot it straight on.



I have been using a new camera lately, one which is the original sunny sixteen offering from a Nikon SLR perspective.

This is the original Nikon F… as in before they had to bother putting numbers after the "F".

It has the basic pentaprism without any metering.  It seems to operate very well despite some minor dings and scratches here and there.

Releasing its shutter produces the most satisfying "thunk" sound of any of my Nikons, this is one serious piece of metal.

Even though I shoot a great deal with my F6 (which is likely the last F ever, I guess I have bookends now…) this is a new opportunity for me.  All the F's before the F6 have interchangeable finders, and I am looking forward to finding a waist-level finder to play around with…