Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hot Town, Summer In the City Part One

Got a story for you, for those not familiar, I'm on the executive board of the Oakville Camera Club and I organized a Summer outing to what I call Toronto below the tracks, that includes the area around the Roundhouse by the Rogers Centre and Harbourfront. Turns out I was the only one to show up. Not the end of the universe, I did the walk myself, had a great lunch at the Amsterdam Brew House and met up with friends doing a photo shoot in Graffiti Alley (photos in the next blog post).

 First off, I love Kentmere 100, the dream developer combination is D76/ID-11 1+1 and Kodak Ektar in medium format is the perfect film for bright sunny days. The other thing both these films went through cameras when the Beatles were just crawling out of the Cavern Club and headed towards legend status.

As for OCC members, they missed a great day for photography.

Camera (black and white): Asahi Pentax SV, Super Takumar 50 f1.4 lens.
Film: Kentmere 100, D76 1+1

Camera (colour shots): Rolleicord Vb, 75 f3.5 Schneider Xenar lens.
Film: Kodak Ektar 100



Jurasic Park Off Season _

Reflected Condo Tower

Flatbed Car and Unrestored CP Rail Coach

CN Road Switcher Rear

Under Full Steam_

Getting out of Dodge_

Just Got off the Off Ramp at York

Harbourfront Gift Shop_

Idling Water Taxi_

Waiting for Tourists

Moored Kajama Take Two

Toronto Harbourfront Boat Mooring

Playing on the Wavy Deck

Just another Saturday in the Inner Harbour

CN Tower from the Music Garden on Saturday Afternoon


Monday, July 25, 2016

Day Trip to Muskoka Part Two: Dorset.

I always been through Dorset in the early fall, the weather is still warm but the crowds are different. Going up Canada Day weekend during peak cottage season I saw my favourite Muskoka village come to life with the Summer crowd.

If you're rolling through, the spot for lunch is the Trading Bay Dining Company, and go for the brisket sandwich, messy as all get out, but delicious. I was sad we only had a few hours in cottage country.

Just a quick note, my apologies for not posting last Thursday, it was an unusually busy week.

Camera: Canon F-1N, FDn  50 f1.4 lens.
Film: Ilford Delta 100, HC110 B.

Walking  on the One Lane Bridge_

The Bigwin Moored_

Pair of Canadian Flags_

The Bigwin Museum_

Water Parking_

VIP Mooring_

Mid Day Dog Walk

Dorset Foodland_

Cottage Docks_

Bridge over the Dorset Narrows




Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Open Letter to US&C Director of Business Development at Kodak Alaris

Megan Wright, US&C Director of Business Development at Kodak Alaris, 

RE: Country pricing for Canada in regards to Kodak darkroom chemicals and film 

Dear  Megan Wright, 

My name is Bill Smith and I have been a regular customer of your company’s products over the years from Kodak Tri-X, to the Portra line and Ektar C-41 films to related chemistry to make the magic happen. I know what I’m getting when I buy your product and love the results. 

Needless to say, I got sticker shock recently when I stopped by Downtown Camera in Toronto Ontario and checked out the darkroom section to fill some holes in my chemical inventory. I was shocked to see that the 3.78 Litre envelope of Dektol jumped to $20 (All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars) when it was like $7.99 not two years ago, same goes for D-76 it took the better part of an 80% price increase. That’s just the chemicals, as for film, I don’t even bother to purchase locally anymore, Downtown Camera can’t compete with B&H and other American retailers even when the Canadian dollar was trading at it’s lowest.  

Now back to the massive price increase, ok, the Canadian dollar has been on a bit of a roller coaster rider of late in currency exchange markets, but even then a 70-100% percent price increase on darkroom chemistry, was the product management team inhaling the film and darkroom chemistry raw materials while reviewing pricing strategy? 

As for film, the pricing for a 100’ Bulk Roll of 35mm Kodak Tri-X at $252 Cdn is the most obvious example of your company not being in the real world, your direct competitor Ilford with 100’ HP5 400 which is a comparable film is about $100 Cdn retail. Any sane person looking at that even from outside the business world would perceive this pricing as a death wish for your company. Here’s the thing, film and chemistry are legacy products, the research and development for your entire product line got paid for ages ago, so it’s an income generator as long as you don’t kill the goose the lays the golden egg, but in this case you got it in the broiler. 

I think you owe Canadian film photographers an explanation why Kodak is screwing them. I'm already researching alternatives for developing chemistry as I already switched film stock. I will continue buying your C-41 films because there is no substitute (and very little alternatives) but you lost me for traditional black and white film and darkroom materials, there are too many high quality alternatives out there. 

Kind Regards 
Bill Smith 


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Photographing Oakville

I have always found shooting close to home difficult, being a long time Oakville resident I get jaded with the local scenery. This Summer I decided to shoot close to home and hopefully see something a little different in my own backyard. The other thing I wanted to do is start a hashtag #lifeinthe905 just to see if I can get some traction with it in various networks and channels with other photographers outside the city in the GTA.

Now, the gear,  I used an Asahi Pentax SV, it is a mechanical 35 mm SLR made from about 1962 to about 1968.  It is a marvel of mechanical engineering and design. I own two them, the black one below and a chrome version.  They are pretty cheap online film shooters looking for a zen experience love them, either you use a hand held meter, the clip-on version if it works or roll with the "Sunny 16" rule. For film I used Kentmere 100 which is a budget black and white emulsion that when processed in D76 looks fabulous.

Camera: Asahi Pentax SV (the chrome one), Super Takumar 50 f1.4 lens, Super Takumar 135 f3.5 lens.
Film: Kentmere 100, D76 1+1.

Asahi PentaxSV in black with a Clip On Meter

Patriotic House_

Carpedia Headquarters_

Piazza Bistro Patio

Bronte Harbour Mouth

In the Outer Marina_

A Popular Spot to Sit_

Looking Towards the Inner Harbour

Restored Rements of Old Bronte_


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Elora On. the Pretty Village on the Grand River

I love visiting Elora, it's a great day trip from the GTA and a fun place to photograph. I met up a few weeks ago with some members of Toronto Photowalks who were day tripping, I drove through Guelph and did some photographing on the way up. I never get tired photographing this part of the world.

Elora is a great place to visit and they want visitors. The former cornerstone of the village is the Inn, which has been closed for my guess at least six years now if not longer for renovations. Unfortunately it has killed tourism in Elora and the locals now rely on day trippers from Toronto and points elsewhere. If you do go, check out the following the Village Olive Grove where artisanal vinegars, olive oils and organic ice cream from Mapleton Dairy is sold, get the dandelion flavour, trust me, it tastes delicious. As for lunch, take your pick, my picks are the Shepherd's Pub, Wreckless Eric's and the Elora Brewing Company. You really can't go wrong, the food is amazing regardless where you wind up for lunch or dinner.

As for other activities, you can hike or ride inner tubes in the Grand River Gorge or swim in the Quarry just outside of town.

I'm headed back soon with more friends in a few weeks.


Camera: Olympus OM-1n, Zuiko 50 f1.4 lens, Zuiko 24 f2.8 lens.
Film: ORWO UN54, D76 1+1.

Grand River Through Elora

Photographers Shooting the Weir

Downtown Mill St

Waiting for Rides

Elora Mill Inn Still Closed for Now_

Austin Healey 100

Walking Down to the Bottom of the Gorge

Bottom of the Gorge and Walking towards the Bridge

Cedar Roots Two

Metcalfe St. Bridge