New Year, New Challenge: The Black and White Year

Shadow – Minneapolis, MN

A while back I blogged about the challenge I set for myself in 2012. To recap, it had been simply to shoot a roll of film each week with the goal of shooting more film again, since I had slowly but surely gotten away from analog photography over the past few years. In that, it was a success. For the full recap, click the link and read the post.

Moving ahead, I want a fresh challenge. After considering some ideas (thanks to all of those who emailed or commented me with suggestions!) I have decided to undertake a challenge (with a few key differences, but building off the same essential idea that less is more) that I read about from a blogger in Switzerland. I have never met him, nor do I know him any more than superficially, but I enjoyed his blog and his journey. Since he got his idea from another blogger, and since the idea is nothing new, I don’t feel bad about copying his idea and moving ahead with it in my own way. ¬†He is simply the last straw that convinced me to simplify in order to move ahead (NOTE: he has since finished his challenge and removed his blog). There is a dedicated flickr group for this concept, and many have drawn inspiration from this post for this idea.

This is 2014, with my trusty rangefinder. This is my black and white year.

Since 2012’s challenge suffered due to a lack of rules and guidelines to keep it going and focused, I intend to ensure that this year’s effort does not suffer from a similar loss of inertia by installing firm rules. You might have guessed the rules based on the title of the challenge, but I think it is valuable to spell them out all the same and hold myself accountable. I have outlined a set of rules, and a set of goals, for this challenge. ¬†Read on for the details.

Snow – Minneapolis, MN

Here are the rules:
  1. The entire challenge will be shot: A) with a single camera; B) with the lenses I currently own (28/1.9, 40/1.4, 50/1.5); C) on black and white film (Kodak 400TX/Arista Premium 400, Fuji Acros 100 and Neopan 400, and other films; I want to experiment with some different emulsions that I have not had the chance to try yet); and D) will last one calendar year (2014).
  2. For this year, the focus is improving my photography, which is another thing I want to improve.  My street shots range wildly in quality, and I want to address this. In part, this is due to editing; it is also because I need to learn to compose images better, and learn patience in shooting the out in the streets.
  3. I will shoot no less than¬†2 rolls of film per week. I may shoot more, but this is the minimum each week. I will continue to use my phone as a digital camera for snapshots of things, during those times that I can’t have a film camera with me, and will post some to the blog from time to time.
  4. I will send the film out each month¬†(more regularly than I usually do, which is every 2-4 months) to get quicker results. At this point, I would like to do so every 2 weeks. I have decided not to process the film on my own, due in part to the fact that I will not have a dedicated space available and I simply can’t take on that task when I am gone from home. So, for consistency’s sake, and for the sake of not overwhelming myself with¬†constraints and more work, I will send it out to be processed for me.
  5. I will create sets on flickr to upload each roll in its entirety (this will serve as my contact sheet), and choose 3 images from each roll as the best. This will help keep the project transparent and
  6. From the edited images, I will, at the end of the year, choose 20-30 images which I will put into a book (via Blurb). This will also allow others to see the final set of images in book form. The final selections will also be published into a set on my personal website.
  7. I will not be buying any new photographic equipment for the duration of 2014. I want to renew my focus on my photography and get away from the incessant temptation to acquire new/better/different gear.

Wind – NYC

Here are the goals:
  1. To stop focusing on the acquisition of new photographic gear, which can be fun and interesting, but also presents pitfalls. Firstly, the constant financial output of constantly adding more gear, which while not out of control, can easily get to be so. Second, I’d like to familiarize myself with a single piece of equipment so that it becomes an extension of my hand, and of my artistic vision.
  2. I want my photography to improve, and I want to have a solid portfolio of images at the end. To date I have too much of varying quality, and I hope that this project will help me to find the motivation to get out and shoot the streets more often, as well as help me to focus on a particular genre of shooting and improve the overall quality of my images. Perhaps I will even begin to develop a personal style of shooting, which I have not yet found.
  3. By forcing myself to shoot regularly and often, I will make sure the project has a chance to show improvement in my work. There is a minimum of 2 rolls a week, but I may shoot more certain weeks (while traveling, if the weather is nice, etc), while understanding that certain weeks (bad weather, work/school/family commitments, etc) may not leave me as much time. By ensuring that I have to shoot at least 2 rolls, I always get out to shoot. This will hopefully help me to stay in the rhythm of it, and force me to think creatively.
  4. Timely results help to reinforce how things are going and keep me on track.
  5. Having to choose 3 shots from each roll means I will really have to edit carefully–I’d say that I generally get 6-10 “keepers” on a roll now, so that means that only the very best shots get picked as finalists.
  6. Creating a book and publishing the images will allow me to have a printed, bound, edited collection of images I can keep to remember this year of growth.
  7. I want my work to improve, and so this is an attempt to harness creativity by stifling options. When forced to do more with less, I’m hoping that I will respond with a new way of seeing things and a fresh drive to get me where I want to go.

This is the challenge that I have laid out for myself. I imagine there will be some challenges, but that is part of the fun. ¬†Overcoming and adapting to them is part of the fun, and what will–I envision–help me develop photographically and artistically.

Morrill Hall – East Lansing, MI

Though this is surely going to be littered with challenges, I think I’m ready. I want to get better with my photography and really devote serious time and attention to doing what I love; perhaps with the right push I can even get to the point that I begin to show things in public. Maybe I’ll take the leap and attempt this professionally. On the other hand, maybe I’ll hate it so much that this will drive me toward a new hobby! ¬†Seriously though, I think this will be fun and the blog will help me to remain consistent and hold me accountable for the project that I have laid out. That means I’m counting on you all to keep me honest!

The thought of doing this for a whole year is exciting, but also intimidating. What if I can’t keep up with my own rules? What if I quit? On a more pragmatic level, what happens if my camera breaks, or is stolen? The hurdles seem innumerable, but like I said, that’s part of the fun in the challenge. What good is a challenge if it doesn’t actually challenge you? Although my own sense of self-doubt is already greater than it should be, particularly when it comes to my photography, this is something that I can conquer. And, in doing so, perhaps I can get over some of my own doubts about my work.

I’ll need a lot of help from my readers to keep me going. I foresee dark days ahead, so keep me honest and help me to carry on when the going gets tough and life weighs me down. I’m not going to quit this.

A black and white year. I’m ready.

It’s on.

Angles – London


The Great American Road Trip

At the foot of the Grand Tetons – Wyoming

In early June, after my son was finished with school for the summer, we all piled into the car with all of our gear and drove West. This is a story about that trip, accompanied by photos taken with my iPhone and the Hipstamatic camera app. For those of you that don’t know, this is by far my favorite camera app and I use it almost exclusively when I shoot with my phone.

I’m hoping to provide a fairly brief narrative of the trip and be able to share some of the photos I took on my phone. I’ll eventually post more of the pictures I shot on film once I get that processed and scanned (not sure when that will be).

Open Road – North Dakota

We left Saint Paul, MN on Friday morning and ended up that night in Dickinson, ND. For those of you that have been to this part of the country, it’s not exactly picturesque. In fact, it’s downright boring. It’s nothing but the northern plains as far as the eye can see. Dickinson isn’t much to speak of either, as a matter of fact.

In Between – Montana

The next morning we piled in the car and set off for Billings, MT. We stopped at Little Bighorn National Monument on the way. Once we entered Montana the scenery improved, or at least–it was something different. Lots of grassland with grazing cattle.

We took advantage of rest stops when we could, cognizant of the time it takes to drive across the country, but also wanting to enjoy what we had driven so far to experience. Max loved it.

Grass – Montana

Little Bighorn was interesting. It was a bit of a detour to get there from our road to Yellowstone, but worth a trip. The art they have there, and they way they’ve commemorated the battlefield is pretty nicely done. The visitor center was informative as well, and the tour guides did a nice job of telling the story of the events there.

There were a lot of graves. But I suppose that’s really all it is now–a graveyard.

Little Bighorn – Montana

Our final day of driving was the approach of Yellowstone, by way of the Beartooth Pass.

The Beartooth Pass was one of the coolest parts of the drive out to Yellowstone. Driving up the side of a steep mountain up to almost 11,000 feet was spectacular, and a little frightening. At the points where the road narrows and there is no shoulder, and no guard rail, and you can’t see anything past the steep edge…it was nerve-wracking to say the least. But we made it up without any issues and we stopped multiple times to survey the beauty below.

Beartooth Mountain Summit – Wyoming

It took us a long time, but we wanted to enjoy the road, which several guides had said is one of the most beautiful drives in America. It sure didn’t disappoint.

Max enjoyed getting out and tromping through the snow at the summit of Beartooth Mountain. Snow on summer break? He was giddy about it.

Yellowstone – Wyoming

Once we arrived at the gates of Yellowstone National Park, we were given a map and told that to reach our campground–in virtually the center of the park, overlooking Yellowstone Lake, we’d have to drive another 2-2.5 hours! We hadn’t realized that the park was so large, but it’s absolutely enormous.

Hiking – Wyoming

Leaping – Wyoming

With that in mind, it took us a long time each day to drive to the various parts of the park we wanted to spend each day in. We managed to see all of the major parts of the park, and by the time we left we all felt as though we had seen basically everything we would want to. As awesome as it was, a return trip my not be necessary.

Geyser Country – Wyoming

We also spent a day in Grand Teton before heading back home.

Romance – Wyoming

Along the way, we spent some time in South Dakota, checking out Mount Rushmore. I found it far more impressive than I had imagined I would before we arrived. Unfortunately, it was also completely packed with people.

Mount Rushmore – South Dakota

Swimming – South Dakota

By the time we got home, we were all tired of driving and ready to sleep in a real bed again…but the mystique of the American Road Trip lives on. It’s a great experience for anyone growing up here and damn near a cultural tradition (despite ever-higher gas prices).

If you’re thinking of heading out west, I’d highly recommend it. Even the relatively small portion that we saw was really impressive. Load up the car, pack up the tent, fill up the tank, and head for the open road. I’m sure you won’t regret it.


Sightseeing – Montana

Happy Anniversary

“Beach Love” – Florida, 2009

I wanted to take the time today to wish a happy anniversary to my lovely wife, Megan. Two years ago we were married in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in a small ceremony. Honestly, I don’t think I could have made a better decision.

Thanks for making me the happiest guy around ūüôā

“FC Porto” – Portugal, 2012

She has been there with me as we moved to three different states, and have traveled from Duluth to Lisbon. There is no better travel companion.

You and I have been through a lot in the 6 years we have been together now, and married for the last two…

“Injury” – Michigan, 2010

No matter what, you’ve always been there for me, and Max too. We appreciate everything you do for us!

As is usually the case, I’m better at expressing things with photographs than with words…

“Underwater” – Florida, 2009

I look forward to the next years together. Thanks for being my wife and supporting me through everything. Thanks for taking care of me and being there when no one else is. Thanks for loving me unconditionally. Thanks for putting up with my incessant picture-taking, too ūüôā

I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

“Mirror” – Minnesota, 2011

There is no better muse for me. Thanks for posing for me for the last 6 years, and I hope you’ll continue to be such an awesome model.

There is no prettier model for my lens.

“Flight” – Paris, 2012

As always, I hope you all like what you see here, and thank you for continuing to return, post after post, to read what I have to say and see the photographs that I post here. It means a lot to have some many folks reading, and it’s awesome to read comments from those of you that take the time to do so. I know that it takes a few extra minutes to log in and comment, but it does go a long way on my end to get the support from the readers everyday.

Thanks to everyone. If you like my work, check out my website, too!


Hasselblad 501CM Review: “Florida Portraits”

“Hannah” – Anna Maria Island, FL

As loyal readers know, I took my Hasselblad 501CM with me on my annual trip to Anna Maria Island, Florida in July of this year. ¬†I had recently had my appendix out, and as a result I was unable to swim, giving me lots of time to make photographs. I decided that I wanted a challenge and brought along the ‘Blad in order to make some different kinds of shots for the book that I planned to make (you can see it here) once I returned home.

Over the past year, I have become mostly interested in what is generally known as “street photography”, or “documentary photography”. This mostly involves approaching a scene and photographing it as it unfolds organically–not altering the scene at all. It is candid, unposed, and can yield great results, if done well. It’s also not easy. As the style has become more popular, the genre has been watered down with a lot of silly snapshots that have very little, if anything, to offer artistically. ¬†“Photography is nothing,” a founding father of both street photography and photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson, once said, “it is life that interests me.”

“Kelsey & Kristin” – Anna Maria Island, FL

The Hasselblad is not really known for excelling in this type of photography, but is renowned as an excellent system for portraits and landscapes. Landscapes are particularly strange to me, and the results that I got while in Florida proved as much; portraits were a different story. Having shot some portraits in the past with my SLRs, I have a bit of experience with the medium, but I would not really classify myself as a portrait photographer. Armed with 50/4, 80/2.8, and 150/4 lenses (medium format focal lengths are not equal to those of the more widely-known 35mm format; as a rough rule, if you divide the medium format focal length in half, you get an approximate 35mm focal length value) I set off to make some portraits.

I did not venture into making portraits of strangers, or what are known as “street portraits”. Striking up conversations with strangers is really not a great strength of mine–which is one reason I think photography, and street photography in particular–appeals to me. Be that as it may, the Hasselblad was not the only camera system I brought along (since I had so much time to shoot this year), and I enjoyed exploring a new type of photography, and getting more familiar with the Hasselblad 501CM. It is still relatively new to me, and its intricacies still amaze me. So does the output.

“Mom” – Anna Maria Island, FL

The camera is relatively large and bulky, although not incredibly heavy. My Nikon D700, as measure of comparison, is heavier, and about as bulky. The newer lenses for the Hasselblad V-system, like my 80mm f/2.8 CFE T*, are more plastic and far lighter than the older CT* lenses like the 50mm f/4 and 150mm f/4 I also brought along (borrowed from my father). The 501CM is solidly-built and robust; when using it I do not feel as if I need to baby the camera (but then I remember what it cost, and I do baby it a little). My 501CM was made in 2001, my father’s was made in 1998; the 500CM has been made for decades, and is essentially the same camera; the 501CM introduces a few minor changes that you likely wouldn’t miss unless you were a hard-core Hasselblad shooter.

Holding the camera at such an angle where you look down into it, as opposed to the more traditional in front of your face, when you make a photograph of someone is strange at first. Actually, I’m still not really used to it. By looking down at the mirror through the focusing screen, you also learn that the image is reversed, which can take some time to get used to. Due to the position that you have to hold the camera at, and its size and weight, a tripod is highly recommended. I haven’t gotten one yet, and there are some times I wish I had one. Then again, lugging around a tripod makes the whole rig even bulkier and heavier, so there is a balance to strike. The slow focusing, film advance, and general operation also ensure that each photograph is carefully selected before the frame is exposed. As someone I’m quite fond of would say, it’s a very “deliberate” pace.

The larger negative of medium format film can yield detail that a 35mm negative would not show you. The resolving power and sharpness of the Zeiss lenses for the Hasselblad V-system have a reputation that precedes them, and for good reason. They are truly excellent from shots I have seen, both of my own and from others.

“Kids” – Anna Maria Island, FL

For anyone looking at the Hasselblad system, would I recommend it? Well, that’s a tough call. This is only the second medium format camera that I have used (not counting the cheap, increasingly hipster-ish Holga). My first was the Mamiya C220 TLR, which is a twin lens reflex (TLR). A twin lens reflex camera is similar, yet different, in operation from the Hasselblad SLR (single lens reflex) camera. One key difference is that the TLR has two lenses, which allows the photographer to see through the lens even after the exposure and before the shutter is re-cocked. This is not the case with the Hasselblad, where the viewfinder goes black until the film is advanced and the mirror has been flipped back down. This may not be a big deal to some, but it can be to others.

Back to the question I just posed. So you know your way around a camera, and are interested in a medium format film camera? Perhaps you’ve shot film before, or even a different medium format-system, like the Mamiya TLR line, the Mamiya rangefinder system, or others. Perhaps this is your first inroad into the medium. Well, the Hasselblad does come with a few drawbacks. First, it does not have a meter built-in; you’ll have to bring your own external meter to this party. If you don’t know what a meter is, or what that matters, please stop reading now, head to your nearest Best Buy, and ask the salesperson to recommend a good camera for taking pictures of your dogs.

Still reading? Great, then let’s continue…

“Papa” – Anna Maria Island, FL

The Hasselblad also has other cons beside the lack of a built-in meter (which isn’t that big of a deal, since you can get a free light meter app for your smartphone which will do the job). There is no autofocus. The lack of AF may get some, but chances are if you’re willing to go without a meter in your camera and are already thinking of the Hasselblad, then you’re probably focusing a camera on your own without the assistance of a computer. The manual focus isn’t particularly fast on this line of cameras–unlike, say, my trusty Leica M rangefinder. Rangefinder focusing is really apples-and-oranges, however. I’m just using that as a way to compare.

So, we have a list of pros and cons. Let’s refresh our memories:


  • Image quality is stunning!
  • System is well-developed, meaning there are lots of accessories, lenses, etc readily available
  • Excellent for the portrait and landscape photographers out there
  • Shoots film–and the larger negatives are great for prints (but digital backs are available)


  • Body and lenses are comparatively large and bulky, and can be heavy
  • Lack of built-in meter, autofocus, flash
  • Slow to operate
  • Shooting at slower speeds necessitates a tripod; actually, a tripod is probably a good idea most of the time
  • Maximum shutter speed of 1/500 can be limiting (and may necessitate the use of ND filters)
  • Bodies, lenses, and accessories cost a premium
  • Qualified repair-people can be hard to come by, and are expensive when you do
  • Shoots film

“Salute” – Anna Maria Island, FL

You’ll notice that I listed the fact that it shoots film as both a positive and a negative. That’s because it is…sort of. I happen to love film, and the look it gives. I also love shooting with film cameras more that I do with digital cameras (if you have to ask, I can’t explain it). But film is getting expensive, and with medium format you only get 12 frames per roll, as opposed to the more traditional 24 or 26 exposures that you get with 35mm film. Additionally, processing and scanning add to the time–and cost–of shooting film. With a roll of medium format film costing around $5 these days, and processing anywhere from $5-12 per roll (depending on the vendor used and if you get your negatives scanned, to say nothing of prints), there can be a considerable cost involved. And that is after you already shelled out your hard-earned money for the equipment.

So…that is quite a list, with arguments for and against. The biggest barrier you’ll probably find is the cost of getting into such a system. There are no two ways around it: Hasselblad is expensive. Is it worth it to you? I can’t make that call. All I know is that I love mine, even though it is a bit of a “specialty” camera for me. I don’t take it everywhere with me, and it isn’t an all-purpose camera by any means. If you are looking for one camera, look elsewhere. If you want a camera for really anything but portraiture or landscapes, you should also look elsewhere, as the Hasselblad system isn’t suited to much else. But that isn’t to say that you can’t use it for anything else, just that there are better options for you.

“Elliot” – Anna Maria Island, FL

I have illustrated this post with portraits, but I have done other things with it as well. I used my old Mamiya TLR for years before finally investing in my Hasselblad 501CM when I stumbled on a great deal earlier this year. For me, the Hasselblad is a camera that I use for certain things. I love the results I get from the camera, but for most things it’s too large to carry around with me. When I am traveling light, or even just heading out for a day with my family, I much prefer the size and weight of my Leica MP and a lens or two.

All in all, I’m quite happy with the Haasselblad 501CM. I look forward to years of shooting with it, and I am already planning a vacation with it in the near future so that I can work on my landscape photography ūüôā

“Self-Portrait” – Anna Maria Island, FL

If this review was helpful to you, leave a comment and let me know. It’s not scientific by any means, but it’s as thorough as I can likely be. I’m not a qualified camera-reviewer, just a guy who actually uses the equipment and enjoys it, and figured some others might benefit from some thoughts I had on it.

If you enjoy my work, I’d love it if you took the time to comment, or told others about my blog. You can find my website here if you want to see more of my work.



Vices and Devices, Part 1

In shooting around the cities this summer, it has become painfully aware that people spend far too much time on their mobile devices. ¬†Mostly, this is our smartphones, which have increasingly penetrated our lives to the very core. ¬†The vast majority of us are now addicted to them, slavishly devoting every spare moment to them. ¬†Studies have recently shown that this constant exposure is, in fact, re-wiring our brains permanently. ¬†Before we even know what we are doing to ourselves, the changes may have already created lasting effects. ¬†Some studies point to radiation levels emitted by cell phones, others argue that the addiction is messing with our brains…the point is that all this use of electronic devices is not necessarily good for us, and it’s happening so fast that we don’t have time to assess what is happening.

Let me ask you this: has your device become simply a vice?

Waiting for the bus? ¬†Send someone a text to let them know you’re waiting for the bus.

People are less aware of their surroundings. ¬†How often have you seen someone walking down the street, while the text or tweet on their phone? ¬†They aren’t paying any attention to where they are going, so engrossed are they in their electronic universe. ¬†Even worse, how many drivers do you see every time you go out who are texting or reading something on their phone as they drive? ¬†I see quite a few, and I live in a state where that is illegal.

Lot of good the law seems to be as a deterrent.

Waiting for the light to change so you can cross the street?  Check your Facebook!

Every spare moment we have, we reach into our pockets and pull out our phones. ¬†It’s an addiction. ¬†I admit, I’m as guilty as the next guy (or girl)…I have been drawn into the cell phone thing and regardless of if I am in public or at home, if I have a few minutes, I whip mine out and play with it on the spot.

Sorry if that sounded gross…but that’s how it is!

Got a minute waiting on someone going to the bathroom?  Send a tweet!

We can debate the merits of virtual living through various social media. ¬†Checking up on your twitter, facebook, flickr, google+, or…yes, even your WordPress blog is one thing when you are at your computer. ¬†I’m not saying that it’s not an issue there as well, as the Internet is always there to distract you at work, school, or home. ¬†Internet distraction is an epidemic. ¬†Oh, and multi-tasking? ¬†Don’t make me laugh. ¬†That doesn’t exist, and recent studies have shown it to be a farce.

Are you actually going out to an event in public (also known as real life) tonight? ¬†Better take a minute and “check in” with your phone so your virtual friends know where you are!

I’m not on some kind of crusade, and I’m not saying that we should all go cold turkey and quit using our phones, and detach ourselves from our virtual communities. ¬†In many ways the Internet, and mobile technology, has made it easier for us to do a great many things. ¬†When I travel abroad, I can keep in touch with friends; when people move away from the local area, staying in contact is much easier with them; if I’m out and about and I forgot something, I can text or call home while I’m on the go. ¬†There are lots of reasons to be thankful for technology.

There are also lots of reasons to dislike it, and to be wary of the consequences of using it to the degree that we do. ¬†Ever seen the movie Wall-E? ¬†Yeah, ’nuff said.

At the ballpark with your kid? ¬†Better make sure all your “Facebook Friends” know what you’re up to!

Tomorrow will be the second part of the series…including more photographs, and what I plan to do to counteract all this virtual living and its impacts on my real life.

Do you have any stories to share about virtual living? ¬†Are you fed up with your own addiction to your device? ¬†Please share your stories below for others to read. ¬†I know I’m not the only one who has had enough and who is fed up with people all around who don’t seem to care about anything but their phones…


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!

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Anna Maria Island, 2012: Travel Journal

As you know, I spent the last week in Florida, on Anna Maria Island. The island is a bout an hour south of Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. This trip is sort of an annual tradition, and my extended family gathers there the same week in July each year, at the same resort, for a week of relaxation and catching up with the rest of the extended family. This is a tradition that pre-dates me, and even my parents; my great-grandparents started the tradition decades ago. They used to own property on the island, but sold that years ago as it became increasingly built-up as a tourist destination. Much has changed, and much has stayed the same.

Here is the account of my trip.

I got to the airport in Minneapolis, and was not greeted by the best of weather.

I settled into my seat and waited for takeoff, knowing I had a layover in Atlanta before traveling on to Sarasota, FL. My layover passed without any incident.

Once I landed in Sarasota, it was a short car ride to the beach, and my home away from home for a week every July.

The next morning, I was up early. It gets so hot during the day that early morning and late evening are the only times of day that are remotely pleasant to be outside. So, I took my coffee at the beach.

There was lots of swimming and fun in the water all week long. My son in particular never really wants to get out.

We had some inclement weather, as we do every year. This year did seem to have more, however.

When it is raining and thundering, you can’t be in the pool. Instead, we all huddle under the overhang in front of the units and wait out the storm. When it rains in Florida, it rains. Hard.

Of course most of the time, it is sunny and hot. The beach is literally at our doorstep, and so people like to walk down and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico all day long.

And it’s not just the water that is an attraction. The sand has a certain allure, as well.

We got off the beach, and away from the resort at times too. The local ice cream shop is always a favorite.

The bay and the local pier are also fun to visit. The bay is on the opposite side of the island, away from the Gulf of Mexico, and is full of people and wildlife.

There are always great sunsets over the bay.

Mornings are great for walks on the beach!

There are always great things to see, if you take the time to look.

Of course, as hot as it is, I wasn’t allowed to swim. Having just had my appendectomy two weeks previous, I wasn’t allowed to submerge my stitches for risk of them bursting. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t.

Venturing out for some shopping can be nice, but always be aware that people here are on a different schedule–“island time” as it is known.

Heading into town isn’t frightfully exciting. Despite the palms, a parking lot is still a parking lot. And a strip mall is still a strip mall.

Of course, most of the time everyone just relaxed in the pool, and enjoyed being on vacation and being with family.

No swimming, but I had to get a tan somehow…so out I went in my suit to stand in the heat.

Everyone else wanted to get some sunshine on their skin too. We don’t get as much as we’d like up north!

There are always good sunsets at night. Everyone gathers on the beach to watch the sun fade, capping another day of vacation. The last sunset of the week is always tinged with the disappointment of another vacation come and gone, and another year to wait for the next sunset.

Eventually, we all packed up and headed for home. Some drove.

And I flew.

See you next year, Florida.

If you liked the post, check out the full set of the travel journal over on my flickr page. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the post, the full set, or anything else you want to say! If you enjoyed it, please consider following the blog. If you already follow, please consider telling someone else about the blog who might also enjoy my work.