Tag Archives: Personal

{Birthday Week 2016} Revisited

These are some photos that I initially didn’t think would make a good blog post, maybe because they’re even more “personal” than my usual posts. I did post a few on Flickr, but after letting them sit since last year, I have now decided to share them.

My sister, my sister-in-law, and I have birthdays that fall within the same seven day period. I  have been trying to be intentional about shooting film during specific times such as our birthday week, so I loaded my Fujica ST605N and kept it with me throughout the week.

Before going to the tattoo shop for my mom, we stopped at Pei Wei and I had a tofu, veggies, and rice bowl at Pei Wei

Tattoo #3 for mom

Little notebook I bought to use in England the next month 

A mug my sister got me for my birthday

Union Jack sneakers my sister also got me for my birthday

On my sister-in-law’s birthday, my mom took my brother this hat and made me photograph him in it (like he was a mountain man 🙂 )

My mom and sister-in-law on her birthday (my sister-in-law’s, that is!)

Flower my sister-in-law gave me on her birthday


Using the vintage Pyrex bowl my sister gave me to store icing tips

Mom’s new tattoo, about a week into its healing process

Birthday pressies from New York

The many Instax photos I took during birthday week

The most of the Instax mini photos that week went onto my daily photo project blog, but I’ll share them here too:

The Fujica which shot the other photos in this post

First time at Bass Pro in the Pyramid in Memphis

Another photo from mom’s tattoo session

My actual birthday: lunch at Pyro’s Pizza

Birthday selfie, taken the evening of my birthday

A beautiful vintage Pyrex bowl my sister gave me that week <3

The mini vegan chocolate cake I made my sister-in-law for her birthday
(click here to see a better photo of it, as well as a photo of her eating it 🙂 )

We ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant for my sister’s birthday. There was still a Christmas wreath over the door, even though it was August!

Oh and fe bonus photos taken with a different camera, my Ricoh FF-1 😀 :

More from my first time at Bass Pro in the Pyramid

Huddle House with mom, in Batesville, Mississippi


Photos taken with a Fujica ST605N and Agfa Vista 200, Fuji Instax Mini 90 and Fuji Instax Mini film, and Ricoh FF-1 and expired Fuji Superia 400 

{Mini Autumn}

Little snapshots of my life, from autumn 2014…

Fuji Instax Mini 50s • Instax Mini film

Fuji GA645i {Two Rolls In}

Upon purchasing a Fuji GA645i recently, I published a retrospective of photos I’d taken with its older sibling, the GA645. Now that I have the 645i, I’m ready to embark upon a review for it!

I was so happy when the camera arrived. It has that “new camera feel.” It’s in beautiful condition!

About the Fuji GA645i:

  • The Fuji GA645i is an auto-focus medium format camera, with manual focus available by override and is achieved through zone focusing
  • 60mm f/4 lens Fujinon Super-EBC lens (equiv. to 37mm focal length in 35mm format)
  • Produces 6 cm. x 4.5 cm. negatives
  • Accepts either 120 or 220 film. 16 exposures on 120 or 32 exposures on 220 (earlier GA645 models, like the one I had, only gave you 15/30 photos per roll)
  • Vertical-oriented viewfinder (must turn camera sideways for horizontal photos)
  • Two shutter release buttons: one atop the camera for vertical photos and one on front of the camera for horizontal photos (the release on the front was not available on the GA645)
  • Auto film advance
  • Auto ISO setting with certain Fuji films. Otherwise, you can manually set film speeds between 25-1600
  • LCD display on top of the camera with exposure counter, film type (120 or 220), exposure mode, focus distance, and other pertinent information
  • Moving parallax correction frame marks in the viewfinder, to give you more accurate framing
  • Exposure modes: program auto exposure, aperture priority, and manual 
  • Built in pop-up flash
  • Aperture range of f/4-f/22
  • Exposure compensation of ±2
  • Shutter speed range of of 2s – 1/700s, plus Bulb (though apertures f/4-f/9.5 can only use up to 1/400s shutter speed)
  • Minimum focusing distance 2.3 ft. (.7 m)
  • Option to imprint data between the frames of film – you can select to record date, date and time, exposure mode/shutter speed/aperture/exposure compensation/focus mode, etc.

On/off/exposure mode/ISO dial, data selector button, self-timer button, flash button

LCD info display, auto focus/manual focus selector button, exposure compensation button, and selector wheel

Primary shutter release on top, secondary shutter release on front

By no means a small camera, but smaller than so many other medium format cameras

Some thoughts

I had read online that the GA645i was quieter than its predecessor. While I don’t have a fresh memory of the noises made by the GA645, I do feel like the GA645i’s focus is a bit less “grindy” sounding (and is in fact quite quiet when held for horizontal photos – I’m not sure why it is louder when held that way as opposed to normally.) I think the film advance is a bit more quiet on the GA645i as well. Still, a co-worker made a a little fun of me for the noises the camera makes while focusing.

A maximum aperture of only f/4 is somewhat off-putting, because I like big apertures (and I cannot lie.) You know,  for selective focusing and because the slower the aperture, the less light you can gather. That also means you’ll need longer shutter speeds in low light. On the bright side, the GA645i has a leaf shutter, making it easier to hand-hold slower shutter speeds than you would be able to on a camera that had a focal plane shutter/mirror.

Size is an interesting issue with this camera. It’s almost unbelievable to see it in person. In a world full of people accustomed to seeing digital SLRs everywhere you turn, the GA645i will get you some attention when you’re out and about with it! Yes, it’s more compact and lighter than a medium format SLR, but it’s still a sizable camera. With the batteries installed, it weighs 1.89lb. (856g.) Lighter than its medium format SLR counterparts but not exactly a featherweight!

For comparison, the GA645i pictured with two of the smaller cameras I’ve traveled with: The Ricoh FF-1 above and Nikon EM below.

Roll #1 was Ilford FP4 Plus (ISO 125.)  I cannot believe how beautifully these turned out. Totally made me happy that I’d decided to buy this camera.

Started my first GA645i roll in the local cemetery. Always a good place to start with a new camera. I’ve done it loads of times. The statue of the young woman is a particular favorite of mine. 

Section A in the cemetery. Or “A’ is for Amanda?

Like a photo I took with my Kiev 4AM 

I have no idea how perfectly the camera focused on this winter goldenrod. The depth of field is extremely shallow, yet the thing that’s supposed to be in focus is in very sharp focus.

An afternoon where I managed to take a few photos of my niece without her staging a revolt

Alyza and Annie

Annie, the prettiest dog in the world

Roll #2 was an expired roll of Fuji Provia 400, which was cross-processed.

My camera tests this autumn prominently featured foliage

The beautiful portrait of Annie on Roll #1 was an anomaly. Normally, she turns her head just as I’m taking the photo or is otherwise derpy, as above.

I love this hand-painted sign at a beauty shop in our town. I photograph it fairly often.

My “acts of Christmas” one day were putting up my mom’s tree and the little silver tinsel tree in my bedroom.

1964 Pontiac Catalina that was at the auto auction where I work (in catering) one day a week.
(Also shown in my Bronica S blog)

Sushi restaurant in our town

Jessica and Dustin’s engagement session Polaroids, before I sent them to the couple

I loved how the branches were formed on this tree


Love it! It was a bit of an investment for me, since I am a very frugal camera shopper. But the Fuji GA645i is wonderful. I don’t know if it’s actually a huge improvement over the GA645 I had, or if I just am more appreciative of a camera like this now than I was then. I’d love to take the Fuji traveling with me. It’s well-regarded for as a great travel companion. You get medium format quality in a package that, while not small, quite easily slips into a smallish camera bag or a biggish coat pocket. Not to mention the fact that it has auto focus and built-in metering. The GA645i doesn’t have the quietest autofocus, but when I look at the results, it’s hard to fault that when the lens itself is so incredibly wonderful. And the lens is really what matters, after all.


{Something Borrowed} Zenza Bronica S

I should have thought to title a series “Something Borrowed” a long time ago. I’ve borrowed some very fine medium format cameras over the past handful of years. A Hasselblad, a Contax 645, another Hasselbladand now a Zenza Bronica S.

The Bronica S came to me via Susan, whom you’ve seen featured on this blog before because I photographed her wedding in 2013. She is a fellow film photography enthusiast who has amassed her own little collection of film cameras. Susan knew that I was trying to stave off the desire to buy a medium format SLR and offered to loan me this beauty!

A little about the Bronica S

  • The Bronica S is a medium format 6×6 SLR
  • You can use interchangeable film backs
  • Focusing helical built into the camera body, which is some technical info that I don’t quite understand. But it makes the part of the lens which is outside the camera quite short
  • Its focus and film advance are combined in one knob (with a film advance crank that folds into the knob when not in use)
  • Mirror lock up available, by using a switch on the bottom of the camera
  • A shutter speed range of  1s-1/1000ths
  • Dark slide which cannot remain inserted while film back is attached to the camera. This is the first time I’ve encountered such a dark slide. It slides itself out as a way of reminding you to remove it. Pushing it all the way in is how you remove the film back.
  • Instant return mirror (unlike other medium format cameras such as the Hasselblad or Bronica ETRS cameras)
  • The brightest waist level finder I’ve ever seen!

Focus knob/film advance crank

Bright, bright, BRIGHT waist level finder

It’s like a chromed out car from the 1950s! And it is soooooo heavy. With the standard 75mm lens, it weighs about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms.) By the way, I love the 75mm Nikkor lens! Partly because it focuses so much more closely than the standard lens on a Hasselblad. You’ll see that I leaned on that close focusing range quite a lot for my test rolls.

That lovely Nikkor-P lens

As I said, the Bronica S’s body’s built-in focusing mechanism means the lens doesn’t protrude far outside the camera. This is at the closest focusing distance, which is the “longest” this lens gets. You can see in an above photo that the lens sits almost flush with the body at its shortest length (focused at infinity.) 

There’s that mirror lock-up switch I told you about

How the camera looks with the waist level finder folded down

 Now. On the the real reason we’re here. The photos this camera can take!

Roll #1 with the Bronica S was my expired Kodak Pro 400MC. I don’t think I did a great job metering for this badly expired film/erred on the side of underexposure when it came to hand-holdable shutter speeds. My bad!

There were so many spiders outside this fall – there were leaves suspended by single threads of web and looked as if they were floating

Totally missed the mark with the exposure here, but I still love this photo of camellia flowers

Blue Corvette at work

Church bus at my dad’s shop

My #basic purchases from Target: Moleskin notebooks, cute stationery, and cute plate

My brother-in-law loves candy corn. At a Halloween party my niece attended, the children played a game where they guessed the number of candies in various jars. My niece won a jar of candy corn by guessing the number closest to the actual pieces in the jar. Coincidence? I think not!

Flameless candle lantern on the mantle

Roll #2 was Ilford HP5+. I hadn’t shot that film in years, and I am kicking myself in hindsight. It is a BEAUTIFUL film and, coupled with the wonderful Bronica S’s lens, I am definitely thrilled with the results of this roll.

Silver tinsel mini Christmas tree and Tower of London snowglobe in my bedroom

 1964 Pontiac Catalina that I photographed at work one day

A wall in my mom’s house. I love her clock!

Pushing depth of field to its limits with close focusing and wide aperture

A bunch of flour fell on my kitchen floor. I dumped it off the porch but some of it landed on the steps. There were leaves on the steps that acted as stencils.


While I wish I had done a better job nailing the exposure on Roll #1 with the Bronica S, I felt I made up for it with Roll #2. It’s a substantial camera, so it’s not for the faint of heart (or you can build muscle mass by toting it around!) The most important thing on any camera, ultimately, is the quality of the lens. I think the 75mm/2.8 Nikkor-P is GORGEOUS. Now, a word of warning:  I described the sound made by a Hasselblad or Contax 645 as being a “THWACK!” or an authoritative thud. The Bronica S, however, makes a noise that sounds almost as if something catastrophic has just occurred when you press the shutter release. I think that initial “Did I just break this?!” shock at the noise wears off and you don’t notice is so much after you’ve got some experience with the Bronica under your belt. All that to say, you’re not going to be doing any stealthy photography in quiet museums or churches with this camera!

I hope I can put some fresher color film through the camera, and maybe try the 135mm lens that Susan also loaned me for it, before I have to surrender the Bronica back to her 🙂

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