Engagement Photos

While I normally don’t do a whole lot of wedding/engagement photography, my ex-roomie, former co-cat-parent, current business partner, and one of my all time best friends, Steve, is getting married in June and he asked me to do a quick shoot for them to use on their engagement cards. This was back in February, so it was still pretty chilly in New York. On this particular day we had dipped under the 20º mark.

With some transit delays we arrived about an hour later than we had hoped at our location by the Williamsburg Bridge overlooking the city. Magic hour had begun, and with everyone shivering, we had to make it quick and dirty. I brought along a pelican case filled with seven cameras and loads of different film, but lo and behold, I ended up using my M3 for most of the shots and got in maybe half a roll of Portra on the Hasselblad.

I had somewhat expected the M3 to be my go-to, so I combined it with the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.1 and a new film I was eager to try, Rollei’s RPX 25. I wanted creamy, low grain B&W images and the ability to shoot the Nokton wide open in magic hour, so it seemed like the right chance to try it. I did not, however, have the guts to develop it myself as it was not a roll I could afford to use as my guinea pig. I usually require a few rolls to get my souping process the way I like it for any particular emulsion. I had it developed by Luster on the LES and scanned on my Pakon 135 Plus.

Note to Pakon users: The Pakon does not like the clear film base used in the RPX line. I’ve had it “jam” on me a few times (i.e. Pakon had trouble tracking it).

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Coney Island Polaroids

In my half-decade of living in New York I’d never been to Coney Island. It was frankly too far for what I expected it to offer, so I never really had the urge.

Upon reconnecting last month with Lena, a photography friend from my first year at NYU, I saw the opportunity to well, proselytize. As a hardcore film lover, I have every incentive to share the medium with as many photographers as I can. More film shooters = sustained or increased demand = film doesn’t die or become ridiculously overpriced. Calculating economical motivations aside, there’s nothing quite like the experience of rediscovering photography via a jump to celluloid from digital, and I like to vicariously relive my first film experience through friends. 

I helped source Lena’s first camera, a Canonet QL17 GIII (an amazing value and great camera–I’ve shot with them fairly extensively), and to get her feet wet (proverbially and literally), we headed out for a Coney photo walk. I had my normal Leica setup on me but also brought my Polaroid 360 Land Camera with some Fuji FP-3000C B&W peel-apart film. It’s a dying breed so I try to conserve my stash. 

Here’s a sampling from the day. The one of me is by Lena, all others shot myself and scanned on an Epson Perfection V600. Be sure to check out Lena’s site: http://lena-xiao.squarespace.com