Film Photography Road Trip

August 3rd 2018 I took a trip to Findlay Ohio for the Film Photography Podcast’s Walking Workshop. 

2000 mile road trip
2000 mile road trip

Last Thursday I packed my gear, hopped in the Veloster, and headed to Findlay, Ohio for the Film Photography Project 2018 Walking Workshop. I’d never been to Findlay, but it was similar trip distance as when I would go to Columbus, so I figured since I was driving alone I would stop in Nashville and grab a hotel. Well, upon arriving in Nashville, I wasn’t tired at all. In fact, I wasn’t tired until right before Cincinatti and by that time I was only a couple hours from Findlay, so I just drove through. Well, when I got to Findlay, I had to book a temp hotel for a few ours (at a full day rate…ouch) and sleep for a few hours. Upon checkout , I decided to run up to Marblehead/Port Clinton on Lake Erie and tour the Marblehead lighthouse.

The Gear

FPP Workshop Gear
FPP Workshop Gear

For the trip, I’d brought the Bronica, the Klasse, the F1 , and my Google Pixel 2 phone. I also packed Velvia, Provia, Acros, and enough Superia 400 Xtra to sink a ship. Yeah, I’m a Fujifilm guy. I’m bummed that they are dropping film production, but I will keep snatching up stock until there’s no stock left.

Port Clinton & The Lighthouse

Port Clinton is a neat little lakeshore town in on the Southwest point of Lake Erie. It’s beautiful. Sandy beaches, quaint shops, amazing lake view pretty much everywhere. I mozied on up to MarbleHead Lighthouse and took some video of the lake for the kiddos, then took the 77 step climb up the lighthouse for another quick video. I toured the Keeper’s house, too, which is now a museum.

Findlay & The Walking Workshop

The original purpose of my trip was this workshop. I tuned in to the Film Photography Podcast earlier this year and I’ve been addicted. Michael Raso and the gang are a fantastic bunch of film gurus, and they have an informative and entertaining show twice a month. They also have one of the coolest film stores on the Internet. They sell all types of film from low-iso to movie films in practically every size and format you could desire.

Leslie Lazenby / Mark O’Brian on Film Developing

Leslie Lazenby demonstrates rem-jet removal
Leslie Lazenby demonstrates rem-jet removal

Mark and Leslie did a fantastic workshop on alternative developing. Leslie demonstrated how to remove the rem-jet backing from 35mm movie film. It turns now the only chemical necessary is H20 and a microfiber cloth! Next up, Mark O’Brian showed the awesomeness of Monobath. It’s a one-step develop-stop-fixer for black and white photography. I’ve done two rolls in it and they look fantastic. More to come with a separate review.

Rob Hamm and some neat cameras.

Rob Hamm discusses 3D printing and product manufacturing
Rob Hamm discusses 3D printing and product manufacturing

Rob Hamm of Hamm Camera Company had a workshop on the “makers” environment and the possibilities with modern tech such as 3-D printers and programmable cutters that are available to those that want to start something new. The Hamm Cameras I got to see were top-notch quality, and the new Pin Box is exciting! He also brought along the new Mint Rangefinder and the TL70. Both awesome instant cameras that shoot Fujifilm Instax.

Joseph Brunjes and Wet Plate Photography

Joseph Brunjes had a fascinating workshop on wet plate photography. Using Collodion and other crazy chemicals, he walked us through his process for photographing subjects and creating beautiful tin prints in just minutes. I really do mean beautiful. Be sure to check out his website.

The Photo Walks

A group of us, including Rob Hamm and Sam Warner, took off on Saturday afternoon and walked through a car show on Main St. in Findlay, then got the wild idea to march way farther than we thought to a local county fair / antique tractor show. It was interesting, but not enough to stay long. My dogs were barking by the time we were done! During the car show, my Canon F1 decided to eat a roll of film so bad that I had to cut it out with a razor blade when I got back to Memphis. That was the first camera to crap out on the trip.

Findlay to Erie PA

There was a cow. That's it.
There was a cow. That was it between Findlay, OH and Erie PA.

Next up was a 4 hour trip to Erie PA. It’s a small rust-belt town on Erie. I didn’t stay long. The hotel smelled like cigarettes and sweaty feet and I was across the hall from an industrial washing machine. I was really surprised hookers weren’t knocking on doors. The one thing I did learn is this: I’ve had 5 Guys Burgers in 3 different states now, and I can honestly say they consistently disappoint.

Erie PA to Niagra Falls, NY

Niagra Falls from the Fujifilm Klasse
Niagra Falls from the Fujifilm Klasse

This was the other high point to my trip. A 3 hour jaunt from Erie PA to Niagra and I was at the falls. They’re indescribable,really. So beautiful and loud! But the crowds weren’t too bad. That could have been due to the 90+ degree heat wave and the stifling humidity. Add $30 to park, $15 for a hot dog and a coke and it’s almost cheaper to go to Disney. Hah!

Niagra to Columbus to Memphis

I spent about an hour and a half in Niagra Falls, and I was ready to go. It’s beautiful, but I missed my family at this stage in my road trip. So, off to Columbus I headed. I managed to get a really nice Hampton hotel in Grove City and spent about an hour or so hanging with my Uncle David. From there it was back to Memphis. There was a lot of time listening to podcasts and 80s rock.

The Second Camera Fails

Failed
Failed

When I got home, I unloaded my bags and spooled up two rolls of film I shot from the Bronica ETRS. I soon found out there was a mechanical failure of some sort that I hadn’t noticed while I was using the camera. It made no indication there was any problem. None of the shots — 8 rolls mixed of Velvia , Provia, Acros, and Lomography 100 — were spared. All were over-exposed to the point of leaving nothing but white squares. I couldn’t believe my luck. I managed to get some good shots from my Fujifilm Klasse and my phone. All of the shots in this article are from those two cameras. The worst part, after I realized the Bronica wasn’t working I remembered my dad asked me before I left “Taking any Holgas with you?” I replied that I wanted to take “Good” cameras with me for this trip. Hindsight is 100%. All of my Holgas work. :'(

I had a great time in Ohio and New York. I got to meet some film photog heroes, learn about some great old and new film technology, and hang out with some fantastic people that have the same addiction to film photography as I do! I definitely recommend checking out the Film Photography Podcast on iTunes and Google Play, Rob Hamm’s Hamm Camera Company, Joseph Brunjes work, and the Unrecovering Photography Addict’s website. All great photographers, artists, enthusiasts. I hope to see all of them again for another meetup!

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2 Comments

  1. Great post! I’m sorry your cameras crapped out on you. At least you weren’t walking around snapping photos with an empty camera like I was (note to self, always make sure the rewind knob turns when advancing film). LOL. It was great meeting you! I hope to shoot with you again sometime!
    Sam

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