Tag Archives: Informational

Further Adventures in Redscale

Redscaling film is a technique I originally started fiddling around with back in 2012. I wrote a blog about it and explained how redscale film works. In short, you load the film into the camera upside down, with the light-sensitive side facing toward the back of the camera instead of toward the shutter.  The results I’ve gotten with my DIY redscale film have generally produced VERY STRONG red, orange, or yellow results. I decided that it wasn’t a look I wanted in my photos very often.

Redscale roll #1

Fuji Superia 400, shot at 200 ASA

Redscale Roll #2

Fuji Superia 400, shot at 200 ASA

Redscale Roll #3

Fuji Superia 400, shot at 100 ASA

Redscale Roll #4

Fuji Superia 400, in a camera with no exposure/ASA control

I’d seen examples around the web that featured redscale photos with much more subtle colors than the ones I’d been getting. It seems that you need to purposely REALLY overexpose the film if you don’t want strong, warm tones in your photos. Since my favorite redscale roll had been shot in my Ricoh FF-1 (Roll #3, as shown above – in London 😉 ) I thought I’d try shooting more redscale film in that camera. I put some 200 ASA film in my FF-1, setting the film speed as 25 (that’s THREE STOPS difference between the film’s box speed and the speed at which it was shot.) This meant I needed to shoot on sunny days in order to get good exposures. 25 ASA is reeeeeally “slow” (not very sensitive to light, requiring more light to make a correct exposure.) Thankfully, we had a sunny autumn, and I couldn’t be happier with the results! I am keen to try this again with different film brands/speeds/lighting conditions.

Ricoh FF-1 • Kodak Gold 200, shot at 25 ASA

Note: Usually, photos on redscale film are presented backwards/as a mirror image, due to the film being shot backwards (i.e. If you shoot something with a word on it, the word will be reversed the same way it would be if you held it up to a mirror.) The lab I used to develop this latest roll either scanned it differently or reversed the images after they were scanned, because none of the photos are reversed. I love it! I just might have to make sure my redscale photos aren’t “backwards” from now on! 

My Favorite Faves: Yashica Electro 35 GSN/GT

I’m going to group these two cameras together, since they’re essentially the same – the GT just doesn’t have a hot shoe for a flash. They’re the same operationally, and I believe they have the same lens.

A picture of my niece with my GSN,  from 2005

A photo of my Yashica GT, taken last year

The Yashica Electro 35 GSN and GT are 35mm film rangefinder cameras. Have I ever told you about rangefinders before? They are cameras that are focused thusly: you look through the viewfinder and turn the focusing ring until the double image you see there is aligned. Just a little portion of the viewfinder is dedicated to this double image. These Yashica rangefinders each have a little sideways diamond shape that you align in order focus correctly. I actually think this way of focusing can be easier than what you have in a manual focus SLR, especially in lower light. That’s  because, with a rangefinder, as long as you can even see the outline of your subject, you can line up the double viewfinder image and have an in-focus picture.

My best attempt at photographing the viewfinder of my Yashica GT. See the little diamond in the middle? That’s how you get your image in focus. The double image is not aligned here, so that’s why the yellow area doesn’t quite look like a diamond.

The Yashicas are aperture priority cameras. That means the user chooses the aperture (f/1.7-16) and the camera chooses the shutter speed. It doesn’t tell you what the shutter speed will be. The only indication you have comes in the form of red and orange arrows on top of the camera and in the viewfinder that light up when you press the shutter release button halfway:  if you need to make the aperture smaller to avoid overexposure, you get the red arrow;  the orange arrow indicates a shutter speed of less than 1/30 second (hand holding shutter speeds slower than that will likely result in a blurry photo.) At this point,  you can a) steady the camera on a tripod or stable surface and go ahead with the photo  or b) try to set a larger aperture to see if the orange arrow disappears.  Either way, when the orange arrow lights up, the exposure will be correct, you just shouldn’t hand-hold the camera during the exposure. No lighted arrow means your chosen aperture will result in the proper exposure and hand-holdable shutter speed.

Warning arrows

Enough shop talk! Time to look at some pictures!

Yashica GSN

I believe I’ve had two of these cameras over the past 12 years or so. Perhaps three. I’ve lost count!

Yashica GT

After the demise of my second (or third) chrome GSN, I wanted to get a black version of that camera. That would be a Yashica GTN. I ended up with a GT instead. As I said earlier in this post, the difference between the GSN/GTN and the GT is that the accessory shoe on top of the GT is “cold” – meaning you have to use a flash with a sync cord instead of just being able to attach the flash to a GSN’s hot shoe. Otherwise it’s the same!


I’ve obviously loved these Yashica rangefinders for people photography and just about everything else, too! Also obvious is that I LOVE the way black and white photos look from these cameras. If I could change something about the GSN/GT, it would their minimum focusing distance: they don’t focus any closer than 2 feet 6 inches. Otherwise, I enjoy the sharp lenses, quite leaf shutters, and the simplicity of using Yashica Electro 35 rangefinders.

{6×4.5} Long-Term Relationship…An Epic Blog About Medium Format

(This is a long, verbose post about me and my medium format “backstory.”  Feel free to jump on down to the bottom for the camera/photos that are the main focus of this blog, if ya please. I won’t be mad atcha!)

Over the past handful of years, I’ve had my share of flings with medium format SLR cameras. First, there was my affair with the Hassy. It was a brief relationship , but it was a robust one. Our time together was beautiful.

Once I was ready to love again, someone set me up with a Contax 645. I thought this was “the one.” Turns out the Contax was too posh for me – I’m just a humble freelance photographer; I couldn’t afford to keep up with the Contax lifestyle. It was like luxury cars and champagne; I’m more like mini vans and Coke Zero. We did splendid work together though. There was no denying that.

Last year, another Hasselblad came into my life. I knew it wouldn’t be a forever relationship, but I also knew this Hassy and I would have more time together than I’d had with my previous Hasselblad fling. It accompanied me on a few photo shoots. It was even my date to a big wedding I shot! But our days were numbered. And I ended up coming out of my time with Hassy #2 feeling as if, for now at least, Hasselblads are not really my “type.”* It served its purpose in my life, so I felt at peace when we parted ways.

I can’t go long without feeling as if I need to be involved with a medium format SLR though. A few months ago, I decided I really needed such a camera in my life again. I wanted it to be the real deal this time though. I didn’t want it just to be one more short-term love affair.

Several things came into consideration when I was deciding which type of medium format camera I wanted to have in my life. Cost was a major factor. If I were a rich girl, I’d still be with that posh Contax I toyed with a couple of years back.  Another was which medium format format I’d mesh with. That’s because medium format film can be shot in any number of image dimensions:

  • 6x6cm (my most beloved of all shooting formats) – The Hasselblad is a 6×6 camera, as are TLRs, Holga, and Diana. Square format is my absolute fave!
  • 6×4.5cm –  The Contax 645 is one such camera. I love square so much that I had never given the possibility of a 645 camera a second thought. I but I kinda dug it once I tried the Contax. Plus, you get more photos from a roll of film shot in 6×4.5 than you do a 6×6!
  • 6×7, 6×8, 6x9cm – The thing with medium format SLRs is: the bigger the negative size, the more giant the camera (though some rangefinder and “folder cameras” aren’t quite so cumbersome.)  I mean, these SLRs are monstrous things to carry around. Probably best suited for work in the studio (aka – you can set it up on a tripod.) Also, as mentioned above, the larger the negative a camera produces, the fewer frames you get from a roll of medium format film.
  • 6x12cm – Whoa whoa whoa. This is pretty major. It takes medium format panoramics. So that’s darn awesome. HUGE negative. Thankfully, there are some toy-ish 6×12 cameras out there, so I might actually have the ability to afford to play with such a camera one day.

Now. I really REALLY wanted a 6×6 SLR. I started looking around at those, and  Hasselblad seemed to be financially out of the question. But there is a less “popular” (I think “less trendy” would be more accurate) brand called Bronica that seemed to be a little more reasonably priced. And I’m no camera snob: Sure, the Zeiss glass on Hasselblad…c’est magnifique! But if Bronica lenses and bodies are good but underrated (therefore cheap as chips) then I’ll laugh all the way to the bank. I found a Bronica 645 for an appallingly good deal. It’s obscene how cheap these cameras are now, if you ask me.

My Bronica ETRSi came with a non-metered eye-level prism finder, 75mm/2.8 lens, a 150mm/3.5 lens, a “speed grip,” two 120 film backs, and one 220 film back. The good thing about these “modular” camera systems is that you can change film types any time you please if you have more than one film back. So I really got to shoot more than one test roll simultaneously. I had one back loaded with Ilford XP-2 (C-41) black and white film and another loaded with Kodak Portra 160 color film. I swapped between the two film backs/film types at my own discretion. I love modular cameras!

Meet my Bronica – we’re in a committed relationship

I HIGHLY recommend getting a speed grip if you ever find yourself in possession of a Bronica MF SLR. It greatly improves the handling of the camera, gives you a second shutter release button that is better-placed than the one on the front of the camera body itself, makes film advance quicker (a two-stroke advance lever rather than the winding advance arm that comes standard with the camera,) and a hot shoe for your flash. I got especially ecstatic when I realized that the flash shoe on the grip is “hot,” since it means that I can use a flash with my ETRSi without needing a sync cord. I’m so pumped about that!

Speed grip!!!

My ETRSi came with an “all matte” focusing screen. I was worried about my ability to accurately focus, because I’m used to split-image focusing screens. However, all the photos below were taken with the standard, all matte screen, and basically all the photos from my three test rolls were focused beautifully. Before I got my film back from the lab, I was still worried about my ability to accurately focus my photos. So I picked up a split-image screen for a pittance from KEH. Just in case!

It took me several weeks to get my Bronica test rolls up to the photo lab for development. It was soooooo worth the wait though!

Bronica ETRSi • Zenzanon 75mm/2.8 EII • Ilford XP2/Kodak Portra 160/Ilford XP2 shot @ 1600 ASA

I hope to have a very fruitful relationship with my Bronica – it will be my steady date on both professional and personal occasions. Don’t be surprised if I ask my Bronica to run away to England me one of these days ♥♥♥

*I would not kick a Hasselblad out of bed though, if I’m honest.


Freckled Face {Underexposed}


I didn’t scan or upload this shot when I did my little blog about my first experience with the Impossible Project’s PX100 Silver Shade UV+ film because it was so badly underexposed. I picked it up a week later, and I decided there was something striking about the image, despite its exposure issues. I’d taken the photo with the intent of highlighting my niece’s perfectly freckled face, but came out with something completely different, completely by accident. I’m now quite satisfied with what it turned out to be. And I’ll try again another day to show the freckles in the way I meant to. That is, unless, my SX-70 has other plans…

As to how the photo came out this way, perhaps my fellow SX-70 users will learn from my mistake:

As I mentioned in my original PX100 blog post, I “fudged up” some of the photos in that pack of film.  I’ll try not to get too bogged down in camera mumbo jumbo, but something I didn’t know about my Polaroid SX-70 was as follows: if the frame counter is at “0” (normally indicating that the camera’s film cartridge is empty) and you press the shutter button, the SX-70 doesn’t try to give proper exposure to a photo – because it doesn’t think there is any photo actually being taken since the cartridge is supposed to be empty! The shutter DOES open very briefly, but you’d have to be very lucky indeed for that shot to turn out, given the brief shutter speed. That is what happened to the last couple of photos in my PX100 cartridge. I’d gotten a photo jammed in the camera and fired it a few times to try to get the camera to shoot the next photo out. I eventually solved the problem I’d created for myself, but didn’t know it’d create a problem with the rest of the photos down the line. Since I’d “dry fired” the camera, its frame counter reached “0” earlier than it should have. Leading to my gaining the knowledge that a “0” on an SX-70 frame counter = “Picture? What picture? I thought I was empty!” [that’s the SX-70 talking, naturally…]

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