From Fuji to Film

Gear arrival - 28th December

OK - it’s here.  It’s so darn pretty (#geekoutmoment).  I’m in love.

The new Baby

The new Baby

Time to put some film in….

<30 minutes pass>

OK.  I screwed that up.  Took the male approach and ignored instructions and just had a go.  Loaded it in and it wasn’t taking on the grommets to turn the film.  So I did the sensible thing and rewound it.  However I managed to rewind it all the way back into the film cartridge, meaning I can’t reload it….doh!

2nd attempt, this time with youtube help.  Success!!

Now to actually start to learn how to use it.  Here’s some of the resources I’ve started with:

Ultimate exposure calculator -

Matt Day -

Erik Kim for Zone Focusing -

So a few learnings early on:

  • With B&W exposure doesn’t need to be spot on…close enough leaning to over exposed is fine
  • Zone focusing is key to speed
  • I will be shooting at f8 or f11 on the street a lot of the time - particularly where I live
  • Sunny 16 rule requires brain work.  
  • I’m in trouble… and feeling pretty intimidated....!

More to follow!

The Camera - 24th December


There is going to be some level of GAS “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” justification in this post.  I’m lucky to have a good job and no financial responsibilities apart from me and my 2 mutts.  Plus I didn’t pay tax for nearly 3 years - not because I’m dodgy but because I lived in the UAE where personal tax is 0%…  The only thing I really spend money on is photography, no fancy cars or real extravagance…   If this hacks you off…skip this post…


Borrowed a Minolta EX-35 from my Dad and took it back to South Africa.  One issue.  Auto shutter - no manual.  Disqualified...

So where next.  My general policy is to buy the right kit for the job then train myself up to justify it.  So after a few hours of google search the shining option is a second hand Leica, specifically the M6 non-TTL version.  Go further than that in the Leica range and you get auto-shutter, which I must resist to meet my mission statement.  If I have it I WILL use it.... 

After some more hardcore googling I find a place in Capetown with a mint black 1985 M6, and a lovely second hand 35mm Summicron f2 Lens.  20% discount negotiated by doing the financial transaction out of country (Jersey to US) and it’s on its way to me.  The bonus here is resale value, which gives me further justification mentally.  Film Leica’s don’t depreciate like digital ones or any digital camera.  This is a classic and if anything good examples are rising in price.

Some rolls of Ilford HP5 B&W ISO 400 film from Ormsdirect and I’m set.  Time to wait…


Mission Statement - 22nd Dec 2015

So here’s the thing.  I’m a digital photographer.  I was born (photography wise) 3 years ago into Fuji’s mirrorless world.  The closest I’ve got to film is those disposable camera’s you used to get in the 80’s.  And I wasn’t particularly awesome with those.  I remember going to a medieval fight recreation when I was about 12 , and shooting a full 24 shots of the multicolored rope directly in front of me…not on purpose.

I’ve always been lucky in the last 3 years to have all the tools I’ve needed, some amazing teachers (from David Hobby to Zak Arias to Drew Gurian) and learned and practiced hard.  I understand a lot of styles and have the basics of street to studio.  I’ve never shot a DSLR, I’m a business consultant not a weightlifter ;-)

But I feel like somethings holding me back from more rapid growth, and I think it is this:  My FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF LIGHT

Photography from it’s greek derivation means painting with light…so to really move on I better get to know my real tool, light, as deeply as possible.

Due to my “upbringing” in the digital world I do understand exposure, but do I really understand it deeply enough.  I shoot mostly aperture priority, with manual ISO.  So the camera ultimately defines the exposure using the shutter.  Exceptions are in the studio with lighting, and when I’m shooting motorsport which I like to do.  Oh and focus wise, never manually focused in my life…!

So 2016 will be dedicated to getting to know light so exposure becomes instinctive and helps me to interpret situations in different ways to that which my Fuji masters want me to.  Here’s the brief:

  • Get a fully manual film camera.  No auto.  Anywhere.
  • Shoot black and white film.  That way light takes priority - not worrying about colour.
  • Get good at it.  Feel this may be the hardest of the three..funny that. ;-)

So here we go…the journey starts here…  I'll try and bring the comedy when possible (moderately likely) and keep it interesting (dubiously likely).  This blog is as much for me as you, selfish I know.  Deal with it. ;-)