Category: Analog Film


I love reflections, especially reflections that create distortion: geometry and optics become a plaything, and all I do is capture photons at play.

This image is of reflections on a building in downtown Toronto, not far from the Ontario Art Gallery. I am reminded a bit of Escher; if I stare at this image long enough the shapes and angles almost seem to ripple.


One technical point about the photo; I used my just acquired Nikon N90s to create this picture. Little more than 10 years ago, the street price of a N90s body was around $1,000. I got my somewhat beat-up but perfectly functional specimen for about $50 on eBay.

Obsolescence rocks!!! 🙂

Kodachrome Now: The Aging Rose

My last post featured an older Kodachrome image, and today I’m posting an image I made on my trip to England and the Netherlands this past August. I finally got my slides back this week, and was thrilled with the results; there is a distinct quality to Kodachrome which I don’t think can be quite duplicated with any other process.

What struck me about the image below was the intensity of the reds. There is no fakery here, I did not play with the saturation settings in Photoshop. All I did was add some sharpening back (to compensate for my cheap scanner) and clean up some dust.

Aging Rose

I thought the subject matter of the image was appropriate as well; not only does it help show off the strengths of Kodachrome, but the fact that the flower is starting to wilt reminds me that we are at the twilight of the Kodachrome era, at least in terms of new images. Unlike the flower though (which by now I’m sure is wilted completely), these Existing Kodachrome images will be with us a long, long time.

Timewarp Tuesday: Kodachrome Then

It was 1981; I was in first year university and in a serious relationship with the woman in the image below. The image was captured using Kodachrome 64 and my old Yashica TL-Electro. I remember going through almost the entire roll of film (an extravagance back then for me) taking pictures of my girlfriend in the leaves.

Among the Leaves

The slides have been in storage now for almost three decades, but being Kodachrome, the colours have held up quite well, and if I continue to store them properly, they will last for quite some time to come.  So much has changed in my life since then (relationships, where I live etc.) but Kodachrome did capture the moment,  and made the moment immortal in a way that I don’t think digital can.

There Is No Substitute

For reasons that will be obvious, there is no picture embedded in this post.

I was at a party about a week ago, at a house where a fair amount on art was posted on the wall, and a piece of art that caught my eye was a black and white photograph of a person on an old deserted city street. I was immediately struck by the quality of the print; the tones were liquid and luminous, inviting me into the print; the tonal range was amazing. In addition the matting, framing and overall presentation of the image was top-notch; putting everything together set a tone and mood that said “Stop. Look at this image. And take your time.”

The sad thing is that so little photography is encountered this way today; even drugstore-quality prints are rarely made these days; we are dominated by vast virtual photo albums on Facebook and yes, Flickr. We see photographs on monitors, the backs of digital cameras or maybe a digital photo frame; in every case the experience is lessened, and so many images deserve more.

On Inside Analog Film Radio, I hear the host say every week “You don’t have a photograph unless you have a print in your hand.” A little overstated perhaps, but there is a lot of truth in that statement; if a photograph never makes it past the virtual, how is it ever different from being a mere single frame from the endless digital movie, barely registering as we drink from the fire hose of inline content?

Here’s an idea: select one of your favourite images that you have never printed, and get it printed as a true photographic print (not a run-of-the-mill inkjet) at a decent size, say 11 x 14 inches.

You’ll be shocked at what you’ve been missing.

Concrete and Asphalt

Scarborough, Ontario, has been given (often unfairly) a reputation of being rather bleak. There are many areas of hidden beauty within Scarborough, but there is still plenty of concrete and asphalt, and in this image of the Kennedy Subway station passenger drop-off, it felt to me like a decayed echo of a space age vision; a future which did not gracefully become the present.

Subway Kiss and Ride, Scarborough, Ontario Canada

Nikkormat FT2, 24mm f2.8 lens, Ilford XP2+ film

Timewarp Tuesday: One In a Million?

Today’s image “from the vault” is one I had forgotten about, and it is in so many ways from a different era: first, it is from a Toronto Blue Jays game in the early 1980’s, back when they played at the horrible Exhibition stadium. On the positive side, back then you could get a really good ticket (like I had for this game) for a reasonable price. You could also get a really horrible ticket for $1.50 in the outfield seats.

I was shooting Ektachrome for this game, push processed to either E.I. 400 or 800, and the shot below, snapped just as the bat was about to hit the ball, was one in a million. One advantage of my old Yashica SLR (compared to so many digital cameras) was no shutter lag; shutter lag would have made this picture impossible.

Jays at Exhibition Stadium, 1980's

A Civil Religious Debate

I was around Yonge and Dundas in Toronto last weekend with my old Nikkormat film camera, when I saw the religious debate pictured below. It was certainly a spirited discussion, but it did not come to blows, or result in any acts of terrorism or wars of aggression.

Given how many places in the world where this kind of discourse would be sadly unthinkable, it’s just one more reason why I am happy to live in Toronto

A Civil Religious Debate