Staying in the Moment By Michael Turek

The last time I was in a dark room was probably 2002, and the last time I shot film wasn’t too long after that. By the time I graduated from photo school I had switched to digital with a lot of conviction. I remember debating with some of my more reluctant classmates about it, and my argument was that I felt I could ultimately provide a better image with digital. It gave you more options, I said. Then around the middle of 2012 I started shooting film again, mostly out of boredom. After nearly a decade of digital, I found the experience of shooting on film to be a revelation.

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People ask me why I prefer to shoot film, expecting me to say something romantic about the way film looks, the texture of it. Instead, I completely stay out of that subjective and tired debate of whether it looks better than digital (off the record, I do prefer the way film looks). But what I discovered when I returned to film was that it had more to do with the absence of the LCD screen on the back of the camera than anything else.

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Putting any camera up to your face takes you out of the moment, but taking a picture and then looking at the screen on the back of the camera really takes you out of the moment. The disconnect is at its worst when making portraits of people. It’s uncomfortable enough to have your picture taken, but it’s even more uncomfortable to be snapped, and then seemingly judged by the photographer as he’s reviewing the image. The temptation to check the screen is way too strong.

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I’ve tried to turn it off. I’ve put gaffers tape over the screen. But these efforts are no better then a New Year’s resolution that I’ll never keep. Invariably, the subjects want to have a look for themselves and unless you’ve just shot a Pulitzer Prize winner, they’re probably going to feel less spectacular about themselves. Often subjects, assuming I’m shooting digital, will point to my camera and ask “can I see?” and I’ll respond, “No, but neither can I.” They then seem to be reinvigorated by the equality between us.

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I find that if I’m shooting with digital, I’ll be tempted to over-perfect any one shot. The instant feedback from the LCD allows me to make tiny adjustments, which many times are not imperative. Most of my best work is reactive, and when I start spending too much time on one shot I’ve only succeeded in making myself less open, less creative. Whereas with film, I may take two or three pictures of a scene, then say to myself, “OK, this is getting expensive, time to move on,” and then I change positions drastically, or take the subject to an entirely new location. As a result, by the end of the shoot, I’ve come away with true variations rather then just 75 versions of the same image. As it turned out, I was wrong about what I thought ten years ago; it’s actually the process unique to shooting film that seems to help me make a more creative image. Shooting film is a constricting parameter, and it’s well known that sometimes it’s easier to work when confined.

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Of course I still shoot digital for certain jobs, and for some applications, it’s the way to go. I can’t find an underwater housing for my Pentax 67 and I get seriously wet on a lot of my shoots. I can imagine digital is great for shooting tabletop still life with the client in the studio. For me, however, most of my best work comes on location assignments after I’ve had a day or two to get into “the zone.” Without trying to sound all metaphysical about it, shooting film seems to lessen the time it takes to get into the zone. I know I’m there when I’ve stopped thinking about the equipment, even stopped thinking about the composition. I only know I’ve been in the zone after the fact. You can’t be in the zone and recognize it at the same time; if you do, you pull yourself out of it. Digital, which makes so much possible, ironically causes me to be occupied by distracting technical options. Too many options are bad.

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It’s counter-intuitive but film makes me care less about getting the right exposure. (It must be said; the dynamic range of film is an amazing and forgiving thing.) Perhaps it’s because I’m preemptively measuring the light more often. Constantly taking meter readings, I have greater faith that my next shot will be properly exposed. In any case, I feel more present and more in tune with my surroundings, and I don’t have to spend much thought on operating the camera. I make do with what’s loaded in the camera, knowing that I can push process the next roll if I have to, and that’s that. Yes, it’s more challenging to shoot film but it’s less distracting then digital. Ironically I find shooting film to be more peaceful, almost meditative, and all I have to think about is where to put the viewfinder’s rectangle.

Carmel, CA, Coastal Living job

Michael Turek is a New York-and London-based photographer.

He first fell in love with photography on family trips to England and his high-school photo teacher urged him to pursue the medium. Four years later, he graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a photography degree and moved to Manhattan to assist prominent names. He soon began accepting his own commissions from publications on both sides of the Atlantic.

For Turek, photography is a way of experiencing life; it’s suggestive of a memory, but the immediacy forces him to move past the pictures he has taken to the images he hasn’t yet made. He is the recipient of accolades from American Photography, Communications Arts, and PDN; and he maintains The Turek Atlas, an online travel guide featuring his images.

Michael shoots with a variety of cameras but he is particularly fond of his Pentax 6×7 and KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 and 160 films.

Gear up for a great season

With summer winding down, it’s time to get on the ball for Fall sports action. Whether you have a cheerleader, a linebacker, a goalie or another kind of athlete to take pictures of, we have plenty of projects and idea starters so you can remember every play.

We make it quick and easy with a variety of convenient options. Walk into a store and use the KODAK Picture Kiosk or try the KODAK MOMENTS Apps on your smartphone or tablet wherever you are, to order prints or make a photo book which you can pick up on your way home from work or have delivered right to your house.

Here are some ideas to kick off the season:

Keep track of the season’s highlights with a simple photo book you make right from your mobile phone. This also makes a great gift for the coach at the end of the season.

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Feeling nostalgic as the season comes to an end? How about creating a look back photo book that tracks your athlete’s progress over the years? Collect pictures from past seasons and combine with this year’s winning moments for a great photo book.

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Planning an end-of-the-season party? Check out these winning sporty party food ideas.

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A great way to thank the coach and team volunteers is with a personalized thank you card from the team.

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With all those first place ribbons, it’s hard to keep track of what they are for! Try attaching a photo from the winning game to keep the memory fresh.

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This is just a start—check out these and other great sporty projects and ideas on our Tips & Projects Center.

Guest blogger: Tiana Stephens – Making connections from Korean War photos

A single photograph of a person—just one moment in someone’s lifetime—has a way of revealing things that are sometimes too complex for words. It conveys emotion, perspective, context, and evokes vivid memories, especially for the ones left behind when that person passes away.

He didn’t talk too much but he always greeted me with a drawn out “hell-o grand-daughter” through his mustache and long white beard. His voice was full and wise and came from the bottom of his pot belly with a slight southern twang. The most I knew of my grandfather, Crawford Flynn, was that he was good with his hands–thumb included–when it came to gardening, and that I had the special honor of sitting proudly beside him at the head of the table when I was too small to climb up there myself. I liked watching him make things in his workshop–wooden toys, instruments and eventually an entire miniature city, “Tiny Town,” for my grandma’s daycare. My brother and I would find scrap pieces of wood and swirl the layers of sawdust on the floor into designs while he worked. For many winters Tiny Town transformed into the North Pole and he was Santa to us grandkids and Smile Day Care kids at Christmas. We were all in awe of his talents. In the warmer season I was always amazed at his canopies of string beans, giant twisted cucumbers, dahlias and fluffy peonies bigger than my face. It was decades ago but the memories come back as colorful as his garden.

Two years ago on Independence Day I was watching a story on 13 WHAM news about a local woman who had inherited a very special collection of photos released by the Department of Defense that were taken during the Korean War. The reporter, Adam Chodak explained that Betty Perkins-Carpenter, a vet herself (among many other impressive accomplishments in her 83 years including an Olympic diving coach) was trying to connect veterans or families with the faces in the photos she calls her “gems.” The story flashed through some of the photos up close, and the camera moved over more and more stacks spread across a table.

These were not the type of wartime pictures that you see in history books, in the news on Veterans Day or when certain anniversaries come around. They were pictures of soldiers doing very ordinary things under not-so-ordinary circumstances, like posing with a dog or drinking pop. The story showed Betty on the phone calling small-town newspapers and people she found in the phone book whose names matched the names in the detailed captions printed on the back of the photos. She didn’t have any luck making connections during that story.

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In the two-minute news story I thought I saw something familiar. Maybe it was wishful thinking but in one of the photos there was a group of about a dozen soldiers and one man in the center of the of the group looked like my grandfather. I checked the list of names that was posted online with the story. No Crawford Flynn. I watched again a few days later on my computer, trying to pause the video just right on what I thought I saw. I told myself there was no way that out of the hundreds of faces that it could be so. No way. I’m from Colorado and my grandfather was originally from North Carolina, so how could a picture of him surface in New York? I dismissed the idea partly because of the low probability that it was him and partly out of fear of disappointment that it was not.

A little more than a year later I was going through a large brown accordion file that I keep old family photos in. The oldest photos are tucked safely in envelopes inside of folders and separated by family (Wong for my mother, Flynn for my father). I came across some pictures that my dad had given me when my grandfather passed away in 2005. Two small and tattered pictures were of him when he served in the Air Force during the Korean War. I immediately thought again of Betty’s story and her picture collection. I could still see the image in my head and decided to make arrangements to see the photo in person. I was nervous that I would be let down if it was not him in the photo but I knew I would regret it if I never saw it for myself.

I came to her house alone on a mild night in October, ringing the bell from outside the porch then reluctantly stepping inside the porch to knock on the door of the house. She answered with the same enthusiasm I saw on the TV story, greeting me with a hug and then leading me through the quiet house, explaining some of the various artifacts from around the world and how she came into possession of them before we reached her office. She had so many wonderful stories to tell that I soon worried I would disappoint her if I was not related to the man in the picture.

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We walked over to a bureau in her office and Betty picked up a manila envelope with the words “Our Gems” written with a marker on the front. She laid the photograph down carefully in front of me and I put my hands up to my mouth and gasped. I immediately knew that it was him! His posture, profile, hair—everything about him was so recognizable. We jumped up and down and cried with joy “it’s him, it’s him, oh my gosh, look at that!” I put my small photos next to the 8×10 for comparison. The images almost mirrored each other. It was an incredible discovery—Betty always says “she was all goose bumps” when we talk about it today and we still can’t believe our own story when we tell it.

On my next visit back to Denver, I brought this gem to my grandmother, father, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins. The image brought out so many incredible stories that I had never heard before. Wonderful stories about how my grandmother met my grandfather when he was stationed in Japan following the war. Nobuko Ikeda was a stunning, petite young lady working in a coffee shop on the Air Force base. She naturally attracted many admirers who would learn after waiting in a long line for coffee that she didn’t want anything to do with courters—let alone American ones. She was hard-working and humble, from a well respected Japanese family and she said she never wanted people to think of her as “a girl who goes with GI’s.” Yet, somehow my grandfather was able to convince her to marry him and then she did eventually “go with him”…all the way back to the United States.

I keep these family stories in my heart. But it’s the photographs—the illustrations from the years so far before my own—that I can hold and see, that will be my most treasured possessions until it’s time to pass them down to my own grandchildren.

When my grandfather died, I regretted not being brave enough to ask him about his experiences both in Korea and Vietnam. Was he scared? Did war change him and somehow was it worth it if it led him to meet my grandma? Now, having this extraordinary photo of him—obtained through extraordinary means—I found something that I didn’t know was lost.

The night I took the photo home, I knew the next thing I needed to do was to help Betty find more families that might be able to make the same incredible connection that I did. I knew that the picture collection needed to be available where the world could see it, that they should be scanned and posted online.

Betty and I talked about what we could do to make this happen, and I was able to eventually connect with Chuck Rudd at Kodak Alaris and a wonderful team of experts who were just as excited as Betty and I about the project. Kodak Alaris found a way to safely scan the pristine collection of glossy black and white 8×10 photos—nearly 200 of them—front and back!

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In Rochester New York–where everyone knows everyone–word travels fast and good stories travel faster. I’m happy to report that the Democrat and Chronicle heard about the project and is hosting an online gallery of Betty’s entire collection of photos, complete with the captions on the back complete with dates and locations and even names and hometowns on some.

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Words can’t describe how thankful I am to have connected with Betty and this photo, Kodak Alaris and the Democrat and Chronicle. I hope that through this project many more families, widows or veterans themselves of the “Forgotten War” will be able to make a connection with a photo and perhaps remember stories that will be passed along to future generations. After all, our story begins with the stories of those who came before us. And a picture is worth so much more than 1,000 words.

Get Ready for Father’s Day with Photo Projects

That time is almost upon us…the day we reserve for Dad and celebrate him and all his mustache, bow tie, and barbeque glory. Here are some ideas for personalized cards and gifts to make the day extra special. With the KODAK Picture Kiosk and the KODAK MOMENTS Apps it’s easy even if you wait until the last minute—same day service is not a problem for our products. Or, use your smartphone or iPad to create a card, order prints or make a photo book which you can pick up on your way home from work or have delivered right to your house.

Every great gift starts with a cute card. Here are some ideas for personalized cards that will really get Dad’s attention.

Dad’s Favorite Activity: Surprise Dad with a custom photo card featuring the kids taking part in one of Dad’s favorite sports or activities.

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Spell It Out: For a unique way to send Father’s Day greetings, have the kids write the message on their feet. (Bonus: Picture the look on the kids’ faces when you ask them to take off their socks and write on their feet!)

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Card from the Pet: If your children are of the furry variety, they can still send a card to Dad on Father’s Day.

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Custom photo books, bordered prints and collages make the perfect gift for Dad. Here are some ideas for unique versions that will become treasured keepsakes.

Why I Love Daddy: Select a bordered print and add text that states an example of why your child loves his or her Dad so much.

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Just Like Dad: No one can fill Dad’s shoes, but you can have fun trying with this personalized collage showing baby wearing Daddy’s shoes!

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Just Me and Daddy: Create a personalized photo booking showing pictures of Dad, illustrating how he has been there for you over the years…coaching your Little League team, cheering you on from the sidelines, building you a tree house, teaching you how to drive, etc.

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How about getting the kids involved in making a gift for Dad? Here are some ideas and thought starters.

Hardware Frame: Show off your favorite picture of the kids with Dad with this unique frame. This is a great project for the kids to create for Dad.

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Coupon Jar: Give Dad a well-deserved break with personalized coupons good for free chores. For a new twist indicate what the coupon is for with a photo. For example, a print a picture of the dog and write “Walk the dog free coupon” on the back.

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Family Handprints: Using a family photo in the background and repeating it in the smallest hand print makes for a cool 3D effect that Dad will love! All the kids handprints are represented with this project which serves as a great memory for Dad as the kids get older and bigger!

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This is just a start. Check out these and other great Father’s Day projects on our Tips & Projects Center.

Kodak Alaris 2013 Photo Contest Winners

Every year in the frozen chills of winter, Kodak Alaris holds a company wide contest, which shares and displays the photographic talents of its employees. Let’s have a look at the 1st place winners of the 2013 Kodak Alaris Photo Contest.

James Casha: President’s Award
Photo: Spectacular House of Worship

“The image shows the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, and was taken during a weekend trip to Turkey last October. Every year I meet up with a group of old school friends. We live all over the place so we pick a different location every time. Last year we chose Istanbul and spent a couple of days soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of this amazing city. We visited the old markets and mosques and cruised the Bosphorus (stopping for lunch on the Asian side). We had a couple of very late nights putting the world to rights in the bars near our hotel in the Beyoglu district.” – James

James Casha - Spectacular House of Worship

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Bob Janiszewski: 1st Place – Novice Action
Photo: Irish Dancers

“Every year, during the week of St Patty’s Day, the Young School of Irish Dancers performs throughout the Rochester area. This includes providing a community service in reaching out to our seniors residing across several facilities. The picture was taken at the Highlands Senior Living Center in Pittsford, NY. In the words of one of the proud Moms – “This is a fabulous picture!  It brings emotions of joy, pride and determination to the viewer.” A black & white theme was used in order to convey unity and bring focus to the determination exhibited by these wonderful dancers as they were “keeping it together”.

The picture was taken without flash. Shot with a Canon EOS REBEL T3. Exposure Time – 1/200 seconds, F-Number – 4, ISOSpeedRatings – 3200, Aperture Value – F 4.00 and converted to black & white.” – Bob

Bob Janiszewski - Irish Dancers

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Scott Koelle: 1st Place – Novice Animals
Photo: Surprised Dog With a Mohawk

“The photo is of my daughter’s dog, Navii. We adopted her from the Rochester Animal Services shelter 2 years ago and she has been a wonderful addition to our family. I had held out for quite a few years but finally gave in to my daughter, Lydia’s persistent requests for a pet dog. As a mixed breed, Navii has some strange fur; both short and long hair with the latter being very “moldable”.

One sunny afternoon, Navii was sitting on my daughter’s lap and looking out the window. Lydia spiked up Navii’s hair and I grabbed my Kodak digital camera and snapped a photo. The image looked pretty good but the background was a bit too busy so I took another photo with a couch pillow as a backdrop for a more “studio look”.

Later, I played around with the color, brightness and contrast and decided the photo looked best as a black and white. When the photo contest was announced, I decided to enter. I had never entered a photo contest and certainly never expected to win an award but thought it would be fun anyways; which it was! Many thanks to the organizers!” – Scott

Scott Koelle - Surprised Dog With a Mohawk

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Mike Paternoster: 1st Place – Novice Landscape
Photo: No LifeGuard On Duty

“The picture was taken in July 2013 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was around 9:00 am and rain clouds moved in quickly that morning covering the sky as the lifeguard was preparing for the day. The sun was sporadically shining through the clouds and I took a few pictures as the light was in and out of the clouds. There was little wind — calm before the storm — that morning and I think the picture captured that feeling as the flag remained still.” – Mike

No Life Guard On Duty

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Mark Rolan: 1st Place – Novice Nature
Photo: Tree Blocking The Sun

“In October of 2013 I decided to get up early on a Saturday morning and photograph the full moon set over the Pacific. It was something that I’ve never seen before and would love to photograph. The set was between 6-7AM and I was on Double Peak Park in San Marcos, California watching it drop toward the ocean. I was set up with a tripod and Canon DSLR, just waiting. As the moon approached the horizon, clouds began to ruin the moment. I stood back and turned around to see the sun coming up behind this baron tree. I repositioned the tripod and camera for the attached picture. Still waiting for the next full moon.

Because of the criteria of the contest (not showing any man made features in the picture), I took a second picture showing a wooden fence. This is my favorite of the two.” – Mark

Mark Rolan

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Pam Zimmermann: 1st Place – Novice People
Summary of Picture: Girl Blowing on a Dandelion

“This photo was taken near the Chenango River in Earlville, NY. The subject is my beautiful niece, Morgan, from Haverhill, MA. Every year at Thanksgiving, we have an annual photo session with all of my nieces and nephews. We work hard every year to fill the pages of a much-anticipated family calendar. The kids do handstands, cartwheels, silly pictures and serious poses. The girls were playing with the dandelions – and I just happened to snap this one of Morgan blowing on the dandelion.” – Pam

Pam Zimmermann - Girl Blowing on a Dandelion

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Pam Zimmermann: 1st Place – Novice Pictorial
Photo: Black And White Flower Collage

“This series of photos were taken in my backyard in Rochester, NY. I used my iPad mini to capture various images of some chives growing in my garden. I then used an App and made them into a collage.” – Pam

Pam Zimmermann - Black And White Flower Collage

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James Casha: 1st Place – Advanced Animals
Photo: A Tail of Two Kitties

“There cats are semi-wild and live in a cemetery in Zejtun, Malta. Their caretaker and a few local residents feed them. I took a lot of photos of them whilst waiting at a bus stop. They were not terribly cooperative but I managed to get a few nice shots.” – James

James Casha - A Tale of Two Kitties

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James Casha: 1st Place – Advanced People
Photo: Kids Playing in a Water Park

“This fountain is located in St George’s Square in Valletta – the capital city of the Mediterranean island of Malta. Every hour, water is turned on and the fountains ‘dance’ to classical music from hidden loudspeakers. On hot summer days, the fountains are popular cooling off place for children – locals and tourists alike. As well as piped music and fountains, St George Square also offers free Wi-Fi access to it’s visitors. It was whilst sitting on a bench accessing my Facebook that I snapped this picture.” – James

James Casha - Kids Playing in a Water Park

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Richard Scotto: 1st Place – Advanced People
Photo: Field of Hats

“Last year we went to one of the smaller islands in the Canary Isles called La Palma. On the Monday before Shrove Tuesday we visited the capital Santa Crus and found everyone dressed in white and wearing hats. We had stumbled across an amazing Fiesta called Los Indianos. After the Spanish established an empire in Central and South America, many people left La Palma to seek a new life in the New World. Some made their fortune and returned to La Palma where there was some resentment to these “noveau riche” from the locals. Everyone dressing in white, some in elegant suits, some in plain “peasant garb”, commemorates it each year. Everyone wears a hat and they pelt one another with talcum powder!

I was walking along the heavily thronged Main Street and saw these huge gatherings of people in the main square. I managed to climb a low wall and hang onto its railings to take this shot of the multitude of people all wearing their hats.” – Richard

Richard Scotto - Field of Hats

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Dan Olean: 1st Place – Landscape
Photo: Sun Still Setting on A Glacier

DanOlean-GullfossWaterfall-Iceland

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Dan Olean: 1st Place & Best in Show – Nature
Photo: Lighted Ice in The Land of Fire and Ice

DanOlean-IcelandsDiamonds-JokulsarlonGlacierLagoon-Iceland

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Dan Olean – 1st Place – Action
Photo: Still Shooting The Curl

“Every summer, I vacation with my extended family at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It is a wonderful beach to enjoy the sun, sand, and water for both the young and old. I go in the water, not only to cool off, but to take photos from a unique perspective of my son, niece, and nephew! Everyone takes photos of their kids on the beach, how could we resist? There are always parents taking photos of their kids in the water or playing in the surf from the safety of the sand, as I have too. But once I ventured out into the water with my camera, the view became more interesting and the photos more spectacular! I felt I was now able to capture not only the feelings of the subject, but the feeling of the ocean as well. And weather I am sitting in wet sand, lying in ankle deep water, or waiting in waist high; I could get close and capture that special photo! This image from last year was on a day when the ocean was unusually active, with 5-8 foot waves rolling in one right after another. Boy, does that draw people into the water! The waves were big enough so that they curled over and formed a small pipe, which, many kids were body surfing and boogie boarding on. I just had to capture that “Hawaiian Tube” on the Atlantic! To do so, I had to stand where the waves were breaking and follow them in as they rolled and crashed over me. I had the camera set in burst mode and just held it in front of me, pointing down the wave, keeping as low as possible to avoid being washing in with crash. Yes, I got tossed around a bit too, with a few waves taking me for a tumble, yeah that hurt!   I took hundreds of photos, with many waves, not knowing what I may have shot. After reviewing them later and tossing out the green and yellow totally underwater ones, I managed to get a few good shots! Worth it? I would do it again!” – Dan

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One Roll a Week by Charlene Hardy

This week’s Film Friday post comes from  Guest Blogger Charlene Hardy.

Photo by Jonathan Canlas

Photo by Jonathan Canlas

As a mother of four, I marvel at the everyday changes that happen so quickly in childhood. I get to observe the wonder of children experiencing things for the first time. I cheer them on as they learn and achieve. I get to laugh with them as they find joy in the simple things.

Like most parents, I take photographs of important childhood events. But I wanted to do something different. I wanted to look back and remember my children the way they were not only during those happy childhood milestones but also during the day-to-day happenings of life. At the start of 2014, I began a personal project to document my kids throughout the year.

As I contemplated this project, I thought of ways to slow down and really take time to know what was happening in my children’s lives. I thought of my own mother with her camera, carefully composing and changing settings as my brothers and sisters squirmed with the excitement of knowing our photo was being taken. I wanted to re-create that feeling for my children who have grown up in the digital age, where photos are taken at lightning speed, never printed and often deleted as fast as they are taken. I wanted them to feel the importance of knowing that the photos I would take were permanent. I had the tools to make this happen, I just needed to carve out time from our busy days and make this a priority.

I chose film for this project because shooting film causes me to slow down. It forces me to take my time and choose every exposure carefully. I chose KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX 400 film because I have always loved its versatility and beautiful grain. My children seem to notice a difference in the way I shoot with film and the photos I create have more depth and soulfulness.

My project is called “One Roll a Week.” Each week I limit myself to one roll of film and strive to document my children’s lives through timeless portraits that simply focus on their day-to-day growth. Every week, one at a time, I invite my kids into my small studio and take 4 frames of each one. In between frames we talk about their day, friends, or school; no topic is off limits.

WEEK 1

Shot on Kodak Professional T–MAX 400 by CharleneHardy

Shot on Kodak Professional T–MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

January 1st came and everything was set: film, camera and chemicals to develop the film myself. After setting up a stool and studying the light in my small studio, I called my 13-year-old daughter into the room. She eyed my equipment cautiously and asked what was going on. I told her about my project as she plopped down on the stool letting me know that she was not quite convinced this was how she wanted to spend her last moments of winter break. I put the camera up to my eye and studied the scene before me. I was taken aback by how grown up she has become. She sighed impatiently and I snapped the first frame. Lowering the camera, she looked at me in disbelief. I tried my best to explain how I was slowing down; I wanted to spend time with her, documenting her growing up in a meaningful way. Our first conversation of the year started in between those four frames.

WEEK 4

Shot on Kodak Professional T–MAX 400 by CharleneHardy

Shot on Kodak Professional T–MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

After school with my 8-year-old daughter, we talked about the week, her best friend moving away and recess. “The kids at school tell me my hair sticks up. I know it does but I like to think it just looks like I have wings and they help me run faster than all of the boys.”

WEEK 7

Shot on Kodak Professional T–MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

Shot on Kodak Professional T–MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

My 5-year-old son has just completed 100 days of Kindergarten.  I am amazed at how fast time has gone by. It really seems like yesterday I was dropping him off for his first day of school. I asked him how he felt and he excitedly replied, “I am 100 days smarter and I only have 80 more days until summer! Then I can go to college.”

WEEK 11

Shot on Kodak Professional T-MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

Shot on Kodak Professional T-MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

I spent two hours with my 11-year-old daughter at a retina specialist, where they numbed her eyes and tried to dilate them. It was an exhausting process- we got bad news about her progressing vision loss. That afternoon, her eyes were causing her pain and she kept closing them to try to ease the burning sensation. I took her home and we ended up in the studio talking. At one point I sighed, my heart heavy and I asked her, “What are we going to do?” Tugging her hair as she thought she replied quietly, “I just want to be able to keep dancing.” This is one of those weeks I will not likely be forgetting soon. Documenting the year is sometimes harder than I ever imagined.

WEEK 15

Shot on Kodak Professional T-MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

Shot on Kodak Professional T-MAX 400 by Charlene Hardy

My five year old has an amazing imagination. One day he is a wilderness explorer, the next a gladiator. “Hey Mom, I’m a gladiator, gladiators are NOT glad. They make mad fighting faces like this.”

As of this week I have completed 17 weeks and it’s been such an adventure. I adore sharing my love of film photography with my children in a way that allows us to spend time with each other. It has really helped me to know them better. Some weeks are easy to document, filled with simple childhood pleasures: being chosen as part of the yearbook staff, dancing in a production or finally getting a 100% on a spelling test. But some weeks are tough. Childhood has its share of disappointments and it can be heart wrenching to experience. I try my best to capture a little of what is going on in their lives, the good and the not so good, knowing that together we are learning and growing together from these events.

Charlene Hardy is a portrait photographer specializing in Children and Family portraiture. She lives in Kennewick, Washington with her husband and four children. Charlene enjoys making timeless portraits of children using film and the hands on approach of developing and scanning the film herself. For more information on her work and her “One Roll a Week” project, please visit http://charlenehardyphotography.com

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day – Herschel Pollard

Today’s blog post for World Pinhole Photography Day comes from guest blogger Herschel Pollard.

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I began shooting pinhole about 10 years ago when a friend convinced me to build a camera out of foam core and an old Polaroid back. My first image was a 15-minute exposure in my living room on Type 55 film…and it wasn’t very good. The camera needed adjustment. I needed adjustment. But I got hooked. By the time I finished that box of film I’d managed to adjust the camera, and my thinking, well enough to produce amazingly sharp images. I felt chills every time a photo worked, like witnessing magic.

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Yellow Dress, Expired Portra 100T

I love pinhole because it requires long exposures, even on bright days, which means movement disappears. I love pinhole because there is infinite depth of field so everything is in focus. I love pinhole because when the focal length is short enough you get vignette and stretchy goodness at the edges. I love pinhole because it challenges me.[/caption]

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Apollo Lands, Portra 160

Most professional photographers shoot pinhole at least once, usually in some high school or college class, a lesson in the most basic form of photography using the most basic form of camera. Honestly, cameras don’t get any simpler than pinhole. No battery, no viewfinder, no glass, no focus, no auto anything, just a box with a tiny hole and some film.

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Dawn Through a Dirty Window On a Red Eye Train, Expired Portra 160

Behind this simplicity, though, is a learning curve that can be frustrating … maddening, really, when you consider variables different films throw into the mix, like reciprocity failure and long exposure color shift (Portra has a beautiful blue shift). That learning curve is why pinholers are some of the most serious and knowledgeable photographers I’ve met. Pinhole certainly improved my photographic skills.

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Pinholing Yosemite, Portra 400VC

My go-to camera is a 6×9 medium format Zero Image, made by Zernike Au in Hong Kong. It’s a teak (sustainably farmed) and brass beauty with an aperture of f/235 and considered by many the Leica of pinhole cameras. He also makes 4×5 and 35mm versions.  Other cameras I shoot: Nikkormat FTN 35mm with a pinhole body cap I made; a Holga 120 WPC, which shoots 6×12 on medium format film; a homemade camera that shoots Impossible Project instant film; Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518 converted to pinhole; several others I’ve built.

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Traffic Circle, Portra 400

A common theme among my cameras is that they all shoot film…mostly 120.  I find that film works better for pinhole, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s just personal preference (although I’ve found most of my peers agree). I created a body cap pinhole for my Nikon DSLR and found the images were…well…weak is the best description.

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David, Portra 160 

I find 120 format Portra 160 gives the most reliable results, has a good contrast, and as I mentioned before, there’s a nice blue shift in long exposures. Also, reciprocity failure (the need to add more time to an exposure the longer you exposure the film) isn’t as steep with Portra as it is with most films. And it scans really well.

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Pitted Confusion, Portra 160

Every year, on the last Sunday of April, there is an international event to celebrate pinhole: Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. The idea is that photographers from around the world shoot pinholes on a single day and submit them to the group website (http://www.pinholeday.org/). This year’s event is April 27. To help new pinhole photographers get started, Pinhole Day-related workshops are offered in numerous cities across the globe. Most cover the process of building a pinhole camera and creating your first images. It’s a great place to start.

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7-Hour Lunargraph, Portra 160

There are numerous pinhole resources. The definitive pinhole book is Eric Renner’s Pinhole Photography. Renner, considered a pioneer of modern pinhole photography, knows how to break the subject into easy-to-digest chunks, although it can get a bit technical for folks who don’t know photography well.

Two less technical books I’ve read that cover the subject well are Pinhole Cameras: A DIY Guide, by Chris Keeney and The Pinhole Camera: A Practical How-To Book for Making Pinhole Cameras and Images, by Brian Krummel.

Check out F295.org, a forum and blog site dedicated to “Historic, Alternative and Digital Techniques.” It has tens of thousands of posts related to lensless photography, with a dedicated core group of users who welcome and assist people just starting out in pinhole. It’s where my pinhole network began.

If you want to build pinhole cameras then Pinhole.cz and MrPinhole.com provide online calculators for proper camera and pinhole sizes. And don’t forget Kodak’s own, “How to Make and Use a Pinhole Camera.” There are plenty of other resources out there – just search for “pinhole photography” and see what you find.

If that isn’t enough, I’m lucky enough to be part of the recently started “Pinhole Podcast,” on the pdexposures network — along with Jana Obscura, Shelly Sometimes, Alex Yates, and Jeff Soderquist — where we discuss all things pinhole. Recent episodes covered the differences between paper, film, and digital (humorous and engaging, I swear), and interviews with world-renowned pinholers visiting Berlin for the OBSCURA pinhole exhibit.

Finally, you can find me at SquarePegPinhole.com. It’s where I post most of my work, write about pinhole photography and share my experiences. I’m always happy to answer questions about pinhole.