It’s okay to fail

There’s a special moment after the time you first pick up a camera and learn the basics. That moment you get “serious”, where you feel the urge, that drive to do “more” with your photography. That “more” can mean a lot of different things:

  • Putting on a show of your photos
  • Having your photos hang in an art gallery
  • Starting you own business in whatever genre of photography you feel drawn towards
  • Publishing a book
  • Starting a photo collective

Whatever that goal is, just know one thing, it is okay to fail. What matters is that we keep going, keep trying new ideas, new concepts. Also it helps to be honest with yourself about what hasn’t worked.

For example: I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I am NOT a 365 photographer. I’ve always admired photographers who have that dedication in them to shoot a photo each day, and I’ve wanted that type of dedication in my own photography. I’ve tried on three separate occasions to do the photo a day exercise, and I just don’t have it in me, I get bored and quit. Hell, I’ve even tried a 52 rolls project, where you shoot at least one roll per week. I honestly thought that I could make it at least a year, I mean it’s not that difficult to shoot a roll of film a week right?? I made it to week 24 before I quit.

Quitting has also made me abandoned what I thought were going to be long term projects. There was a time a few years ago when I thought that I was going to make a statement about the country in the vein of The Americans using a Holga. I put in roughly two and a half years of work, and even took this series to a portfolio review before I decided to hang it up. After staring at the work on my website for a year or so, I decided to make a zine with the photos, just for me.

[Front and Back cover] had planned to publish this as a series, every couple of years I would publish a book of photos. I still like the idea of serializing a body of work and I hope to do it sometime in the future
Continue reading “It’s okay to fail”

Return to Film, with Flash – Part One

I may be jumping the gun, but I think this an important tip of you’re trying to use modern flash triggers on not so modern film gear.


Non-TTL Hotshoes and Flashes/Wireless Triggers with TTL pins

Regular vs TTL hotshoes
Single point hotshoe without TTL on Minolta XE-7 [Left], TTL hotshoe with Nikon communication pinouts on Nikon F6 [Right]
Before the wizbang TTL flash technology we have now, camera to flash technology was super simple. There were just two contacts where the flash would touch the camera (in terms of communication). When the camera’s shutter would fire, the flash would fire at whatever setting the flash was set to by the photographer. There was no communication of ISO or f/stop setting to the flash, nothing. Continue reading “Return to Film, with Flash – Part One”

Question: I am looking for a good 35mm camera.

I received a message on Reddit from a user asking me what 35mm camera they should get. Of course this one question opened up many more questions because, as we know, there isn’t one camera that’s one size fits all.



“Hi, I saw you know stuff about film cameras and I was wondering if you can point me in the right direction for a 35mm camera that would take high quality photos? Any help would be awesome! Thanks.”



Hi, sorry for the delay in my reply.

This is a tough question because there are many factors that contribute to high quality photos, but since you asked about the camera specifically, I’ll ignore the other factors that contribute to high quality photos including but not limited to: good lighting (natural or artificial), proper focusing technique, composition, framing, etc.

With film photography, you have a few components that will contribute to the end result. Lenses (including filters or no filters), camera body (probably the least important), and the film used.Nikon 50mm f2 AI'd

Of these three, the lenses are the most important. Give me an awesome lens over an awesome body. This is even more important in shooting film because in film photography, you can swap out film and in essence you have a new “sensor”. Something you can’t do with digital, you’d have to buy a whole new body for that.

Next, I would say the film is the next important. For me, I love Kodak Portra 400 film. In a very sharp, versatile film that allows shooting in, essentially, different ISOs (over and under exposing the film) due to it’s huge latitude. If you’re looking for more stronger colors, Kodak’s Ektar 100 is great and has a little more punch in color. If you’re looking for black and white, well, there are so many options still that if you ask 10 people you’ll probably get 10 different answers with 20 different ways on how they process their films. I’m a fan of the Tri-X and TMAX films from Kodak, but Ilford makes great films that I haven’t explored much.

Nikon FOn to the camera body. Well, it’s a little (or huge) box that holds your film. Some will have no electronics so you have to do all the thinking and setting. For example: Older Leicas, other older rangefinders like the early Konicas, Nikon F and F2 with standard prisms, Canon F1 with standard prism, etc. There are some with some electronics to control the shutter and/or metering like the Nikon FE/FE2/FM/FM2(n)/etc, Canon AE-1, Pentax K1000, etc. Then you have the bodies that probably had more technology then the first space rocket like the Nikon F100/F5/F6, Canon EOS 1n, Minolta Maxxum 9, etc. What you gain from the bodies with more technology is more intelligent faster auto focus, a (potentially faster) frames per second (FPS), more advanced metering system. Of course all of that will mean nearly nothing if the user, you, does not know to override the camera’s settings when you know the camera is wrong with its settings. You are the photographer, you have to control the situation. That’s one thing I find with a lot of the digital users now a days, they rely so heavily on their cameras technology that they don’t know a better way to take a shot. I’m not dogging on digital photographers because I also am one.

So, to answer your question. It depends. It depends on your budget, what you like to shoot, what kind of controls you like, and other things…

I’m sorry if this doesn’t fully answer your questions, but I hope it does bring up more questions for me. If you don’t know what you want, I hope that I can help you figure what’s best for you.