Anna Maria Island, Florida – B&W

“Approaching Storm” – Anna Maria Island, FL

This summer, as every summer for the past several years, I went to Anna Maria Island, Florida, for a week of vacation.  Extended family all descends upon the small island each summer for the final week in July to enjoy each other’s company, the beach, and the hot weather.  This summer was no different, except that due to my recent appendectomy, I was not allowed to be in the water in order to make sure my stitches did not get wet.

Here is a selection of images I took with my Hasselblad 501CM this summer, and a few words to accompany them.  Enjoy!

“Relaxing” – Anna Maria Island, FL

Each summer I take along a selection of cameras.  As readers of the blog will know, I take photographs of virtually everything, all the time; vacations and trips are of particular visual interest to me.  This summer, I took along my Hasselblad 501CM, my Nikon D700 (the workhorse!), and my iPhone.  I ended up using my iPhone quite a bit, and even put together a travel journal on flickr which was then published into a small book.

“Afternoon” – Anna Maria Island, FL

My big DSLR was used quite a bit as well; the versatility and durability of it always reminds me why I still have it.  While I don’t particularly enjoy using it (I much prefer the rangefinder experience), it always gives great results and never misses a shot.  Lastly, my Hasselblad.  For those of you who don’t know, the Hasselblad 501CM is a medium format film camera–meaning it produces negatives that are far larger than those of a 35mm film camera, giving richer details and dynamic range to the image, and allows it to be printed at a far larger size–that has a fantastic suite of lenses.  If you have never tried a Hasselblad, you really should.  It’s amazing.

“Swimming” – Anna Maria Island, FL

The Hasselblad does some things really well, and other things not so well.  It is not a street-shooter’s camera; while it can be used for street scenes, it is large, with a pretty hefty shutter, and is not designed to be quick, or capture that fleeting “decisive moment”.  It excels at portraiture, due to the lenses and details that it captures.  Landscapes are also one of its strengths.  Unfortunately for me, both of these are not my particular strength, so the Hasselblad does require some getting used to.  But the results are worth it.

“Spring Breakers” – Anna Maria Island, FL

For the series of shots in today’s post, I used Fuji Acros 100.  It was my first experience using this film, so I was unsure what to expect from it.  Luckily, print film is pretty forgiving with exposure latitude, and so I really had nothing to worry about, despite the harsh, bright afternoon sun in Florida.  I also took several rolls of Fuji’s Provia 100F, and that film is less forgiving; the few times I got the exposure wrong by a bit, it showed–more on that in the next post.

“Dark Clouds” – Anna Maria Island, FL

I have been to the same small island, staying at the same beach-front resort, so many times now that the familiarity can prove a hindrance in my photography.  The shots I have taken there that have worked, especially the stunning shots in the evening sunsets over the ocean, have been largely well received.  However, I challenged myself to do something different this year.  Because I was recovering from surgery, I was not able to venture out across the island as I had hoped.  Still, I resolved not to take any sunset shots, and instead focused on portraiture, and a few landscapes, with the medium format.  I am reasonably happy with the results, and I hope you are too.

“Self-Portrait” – Anna Maria Island, FL

I hope, at some point in the near future, to do a round-up/review/my impressions of the Hasselblad 501CM.  I’m not sure if there is any interest in that out there, but if there is please let me know.

If you have questions about lenses, cameras, or film–let me know!

If you wonder about Anna Maria Island at all–let me know!

If you have any feedback or comments on my words, or photos–let me know!

See you soon loyal followers…thanks for staying with me and continuing to make the blog a success.




  1. It seems the combo of the medium format plus a less than popular vacation spot makes for a great combo. Most of these shots (plus the others I’ve seen here and there) seem like they could have been taken 20 or 30 years ago. If the idea was to make Anna Marie Island appear like a place time forgot, job well done. As far as the shots themselves, and I’ve said this before, you definitely have a knack for making the sky more than just a backdrop. I’m a huge fan.


    1. I agree. I’m amazed at the skies and also at your ability to isolate individuals and to make a crowded place feel empty, not crowded, or even lonely. How do you do that?


    2. Wow, thanks man! I appreciate your lengthy comment and kind words. It does mean a lot to have you all comment…it can get a little depressing when I post and post and the comments seem to have dried up!


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