Another great year has gone by and as I look forward to a new year, I thought I’d go over some of the fun things that happened over the past year in my photography adventure. From new cameras to photo walks to photo shoots, it’s been a fun journey and I’m ready for more!
FrankenHolga Takes Front and Center
The star of the show this year, believe it or not, was not the Leica! Weird, eh ? I’ve said it before that I have a huge soft spot for toy cameras and that hasn’t changed. So I took my love for toy cameras and my love-hate relationship with the Fujifilm X Pro 1 and built my own quite versatile digital Holga. It’s been in my bag more this year than any other camera, and it will be in there even more in 2018 as I’m working on a photo book based on the FrankenHolga. I’ve sourced a good publishing house and I’ll be building up the library of images I’ll choose from, so stay tuned for more on the book in 2018.
For more articles on the FrankenHolga, see:
I Taught a Photography Class
I actually taught two, one at my church and one at the middle school for their photojournalism club. I couldn’t believe the turnout at both! I think there were around 25 people at the church class, and probably 15 kids in the journalism club. I’ve always been a fan of knowledge-sharing. It’s one of the things that drew me to the open-source community. Hoarding your knowledge is fine for some, but I get joy out of sharing. I’ve been blessed that people have considered me a resource for learning and improving their photography. I’ve had a couple people from work ask me to go on photo walks and give them pointers. It’s an ego boost, for sure! If you’re interested in what I taught, the presentation material is available below (scroll to the bottom of that article for the link).
I Reviewed (and bought) a Bunch of Cameras
I haven’t quit collecting cameras. I did take a short break to collect some guitars, but that phase of my life is complete and I’m back to collecting cameras*. I’ve got around 60 in my collection so I have a ton of work to do. With the news that Holga came back to life, I celebrated by buying one of my favorite cameras in a multi-colored format, the above Holga GCFN120. A cool camera with colored flash filters, a multi-colored body, and a glass lens! I went on a short kick of buying more Soviet cameras. I picked up a Fed50, a Smena 8M and a Smena Symbol. I’ve run film through them, but the results were so bad that I’ll be trying again this year and writing about each one separately. My dad ordered a Graflex Mini Speed Graphic for me as a gift, and I just this week snatched up a Zenza Bronica ETRS.
*see new years resolution towards the end of this for my camera collecting surprise
If you’d like to catch up on some of the cameras I’ve reviewed this year:
I Tried Open Source Photo Editing Software … and abandoned it.
This year I tried an experiment with Open Source software and came away feeling a bit empty. I don’t think it was as much the software as it was and is my dependency on Lightroom. I just have my workflow built around it, I’ve got my own custom presets to emulate different films, and I’ve got my catalogs for the last 3 years built around it. To shift to something new, even for an experiment, was really asking a lot of myself. However, 2018 might be the time to try again since I hear Darktable released a Windows version.
I Went on Some Photo Walks
This year I tried to do more photo walks on my lunch breaks. I have a camera of one type or another with me all the time, so I managed to get out and shoot a few times and write about it. Some of the lunch-time shooting was thwarted by the deli across the street as they’re way too convenient. Once I have food in my face, I’m not motivated to go anywhere else. The other thing is that Downtown Memphis is boring after a while. I’ve worked down here since 1999, and I’ve seen the area more than once. It’s a struggle sometimes to go find interesting things to photograph. The gentrification is torture. It’s just millennial-styled, overpriced hipster fare and architecture that doesn’t suit Memphis at all. Our downtown buildings aren’t being renovated, they’re being torn down. What isn’t getting any attention basically falls in on itself until boards and fences go up. So, yeah, some days it’s a struggle. Luckily, I had camping trips and holidays to recharge my batteries!
I Did a Photo Shoot for a Boutique Clothing Store
I was honored to be asked to do some photo work for The Classic Boutique. It was the first time I’d ever done a real photo shoot. Boy was I nervous! I learned a lot about interacting with models, shooting in less than ideal conditions, working with existing architecture, backgrounds, and scenery. I was really glad I had the opportunity. If I get another opportunity to do something like it, I’ll be able to apply this new knowledge. And if not, I’ll still get to use a lot of it in my everyday photography.
…And, I Made a New Year’s Resolution
Yes, the obligatory resolution. I really hadn’t intended on making one since I figure I can barely keep legit during Lent, how am I going to go a whole year committing to anything, but I read a great article on F-Stoppers and it gave me a great idea. I’m not going to buy any cameras or gear this year. I’m simply going to use what I have, sell what is collecting dust, and only purchase supplies I need (read: film, chemicals). No lenses, filters, straps, bags, or anything else. I’m also going to start printing more of my work. I leave so much of my photography on disk or stuffed in a box full or negatives that I don’t have a lot of printed work. So it’s going to change. Don’t worry, this is going to be good, not bad. I have enough cameras to still do one a week and still not have to buy another camera until 2019.
What To Look Forward To in 2018
I’m currently taking inventory on my collection and what I haven’t written about. I’m taking inventory on my film and chemical supplies. I’m brainstorming some regular topics to keep the site rolling such as the “5 Reasons” , “Lunch Breaks” and “Photo Walks” articles. I’ll sprinkle in camera reviews and even the occasional detour. 2018 is full of opportunity, so keep this page bookmarked and I’ll see you soon!