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The Bookshelf

Doug's bookshelf: read

AntwerpWarsaw BikiniIcelandHow the Soldier Repairs the GramophoneThe Original of LauraBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

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Time Since Reboot

  • 1252 days, 3 hours, 31 minutes, 57 seconds ago

Introducing the C330f

Ttumblr_o2gnd18zOn1qbraa3o1_500his is my new toy – the Mamiya C330f TLR medium-format camera. It’s time to learn to do real photography.

Not that I do not enjoy my muscular DSLR… I think it’s obvious that I do. But there is something inelegant about being able to heave the beast to my face, snap a few quick shots, and fix the alignment, exposure, crop, etc. in post. While I have an understanding of the elements of photography – the f-stops, the depth of field, the focal length, the shutter speed and so on – mastery of them has never been imperative.  Reliance on photoshop, lightroom, gimp and darktable (and, of course, smartphones) has made learning the art secondary to learning the software. And as I’ve become somewhat adept at utilizing post-processing programs, I have stagnated.

This is a pattern: eschewing proficiency for easy results. When I was a teenager learning to play guitar, I pursued knowledge of how to play popular songs rather than delving deep into music theory or attaining dexterity with the instrument. When I was writing during my collegiate years, I gravitated toward wry, shallow verses scribbled in notebooks and left inert rather than honing a craft, revising, being precise or deliberate. And when I chose a career path – at length, but I eventually chose one – I opted for the path that would assure comfortable earnings rather than pursuing a passion, and struggling.

So it is with photography too. I took the easy (and enjoyable, though… it has been enjoyable) path. I wanted results now. And now… I feel my enthusiasm for it grinding toward stillness. I have a nightmare vision of a camera collection in a corner growing cobwebs with the guitars and the notebooks.

Well, not this time. This time I’m going to try to go deeper.

This camera was produced sometime between 1972 and 1982, and – I can tell you after a day of lugging it around Alabama’s Black Belt region – it’s built like a tank and is not for the weak-of-neck.  There are zero electronics – this is all mechanical and requires manually calculating every value. It also is going to be an exercise in patience… as I won’t see any results until I get the negatives, prints or scans back from the lab. Gone is the luxury of deleting shots I don’t like. I get 12 frames to a roll of 120 film, and the results are what they are.

Or screw it, we’ll see if I still have enough hipster in me to shoot film.

I have 9 rolls left (I shot one over the weekend). I’m thinking they should accompany me to New Jersey and NYC next week.

the city of light will never fall into darkness

Portfolio Additions


the city of light will never fall into darkness

Treeline | ISO 100, 1/2000, f/1.6, 24mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED| 9/11 Memorial, New York, NY USA | Dec 19, 2015 13:13 | © DRS 2016, (cc) by-nc-nd

the city of light will never fall into darkness | ISO 1250, 1/160, f/1.6, 50mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | Washington Square, New York, NY USA | Dec 19, 2015 00:48 | © DRS 2016, (cc) by-nc-nd


2016 - Week 1

Portfolio Addition

On Broadway

On Broadway | ISO 400, 1/50, f/1.6, 50mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | Midtown Manhattan, New York, NY USA | Dec 18, 2015 22:34 | © DRS 2016, (cc) by-nc-nd


.     .     .

On we go. A photo from our first of several nightly walks in New York City – Times Square from a few blocks north. Expect a series of photographs from this and a couple of minor trips from 2015 over the next few weeks. My enthusiasm has waned over the state of the “portfolio” site. May need to make some changes. This particular shot looks hideous there because my template doesn’t adhere to the image size constraints.

.     .     .

What is there to say about week 1? It’s over. Bama plays for a championship tomorrow night. Roll Tide.

Week(s) In Review: May 5 – 18, 2014

Portfolio Additions


May Eleven 1 | ISO 100, 1/2000, f/2.2, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Cypress Point, Lake Martin, AL USA | May 10, 2014 10:57 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

May Eleven 2 | ISO 100, 1/2500, f/2.2, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Cypress Point, Lake Martin, AL USA | May 10, 2014 10:57 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

In The Woods | ISO 1600, 1/160, f/4.0, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Ruffner Mountain, Birmingham, AL USA | May 4, 2014 15:03 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Leslie, Illuminated | ISO 280, 1/160, f/4.0, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Ruffner Mountain, Birmingham, AL USA | May 4, 2014 15:12 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

.     .     .

Still testing out the Petzval – highlights being shots taken at Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain Park and featuring my favorite subject: my lovely and patient wife.  The two “May Eleven” photographs (which, you’ll notice, were actually taken on May 10… my bad) are not anything special.  I chose to upload them because I was kind of proud of my technique.  That’s no post-processing faded-out filter effect.  Taken on a misty Saturday morning, I enhanced the two images of Lake Martin with the fancy, complicated method of fogging up the lens by breathing on it before snapping the picture.  Wizardry!

Lots of contemplation and self-reflection over the past two weeks, which deserves a post of its own soon.  Otherwise there’s been a lot of office work during the week and a lot of sitting, unshaved and unbathed, lakeside in a bathrobe on the weekends.  I am okay with that trend continuing for a while.  

A Sense of Place; A Sense of Self

You want to get a good look at yourself. You stand before a mirror, you take off your jacket, unbutton your shirt, open your belt, unzip your fly. The outer clothing falls from you. You take off your shoes and socks, baring your feet. You remove your underwear. At a loss, you examine the mirror. There you are. You are not there.

~ Mark Strand

As always, mouse over the picture for the artist’s name and click to check out their portfolios or other source/presence on the web.  Enjoy.



Week In Review: Apr 14-20, 2014

Portfolio Additions

Fontane Danzanti | ISO 2500, 1/160, f/4.0, 70mm | Nikon D800, Sigma APO 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro | Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas, NV USA | Apr 4, 2014 18:33 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

.     .     .

So this week I wrapped up posting the only other interesting photograph from my Las Vegas getaway – the view of the dancing fountains from my hotel room balcony.  Some light Darktable processing was able to enhance the shot just enough to lift if above mere snapshot material.  That Sigma lens is a piece of equipment that I probably do not utilize often enough, although I hope to replace it soon with Tamron’s new 150-​600mm f/5-​6.3 which, aside from doubling my focal range, is supposed to have fairly exceptional image quality for a third-party lens.

Other posts this week included a short remembrance of Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez and collections of some favorite photographs and projects that have been hanging out in my “saved” list.

Work is sending me to what I can only assume is flat, boring, redneck Plano, Texas this week.  Here’s hoping it surprises me.  Thanks for reading, readers!