I realised that film simulation recipes are not much different from the software presets that I used several years ago before I put effort into really learning Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I want to make a change.
Though the exact names might vary between manufacturers, modern digital cameras include a few basic presets at a minimum, including black-and-white, natural, neutral, and vivid. On the other hand, Fujifilm takes its in-camera presets further, digging deep into its heritage as a photographic film manufacturer. To cement the experience of its retro 35mm, film SLR inspired camera design, Fuji loads its X series and GFX camera with about a dozen unique in-camera presets, many inspired by its analogue emulsions. The main ones are ACROS, Provia, and Velvia. These are comparable to black and white, neutral, and vivid. Additionally, Fuji offers Classic Chrome, inspired by the look Kodachrome look of the images from the pages of the 1970s National Geographic magazine and Astia, inspired by the look of fashion photography magazines.
Fuji takes this further by allowing the photographer to adjust dynamic range, white balance, white balance shift, shadow tone, highlight tone, grain, and sharpness and save these settings in a camera profile. Many Fuji photographers call these "recipes". These changes don’t affect the RAW file but affect the in-camera JPEGS created.
Long time readers will know that I favour the film simulation recipes created by tireless photographer Ritchie Roesch. Ritchie churns out new recipes almost as often as it snows in Utah. I had become so used to using recipes that I was starting to forget how to use Adobe Lightroom’s Develop module. I would import the SOOC JPEG and RAW images, and after a few quick crop adjustments, the images were uploaded to my blog. Ritchie’s app, which he released last year, helped push this workflow along.
However, I realised that film simulation recipes are not much different from the software presets that I used several years ago before I put effort into really learning Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. They are an easy dopamine hit, but eventually, I started to feel that this type of editing was too limiting. It is affecting my creativity and my ability to express myself.
The film simulation recipes are helpful and practical for quick photographs; the kind of photographs I might make while doing my best to look like a street photographer when walking around a large city like Philadelphia or New York City, or when drinking American craft ale at a local brewery, or attending a family event. But for intentional photography, the kind of project where I plan out the where, when, and the how ahead of time, I want to be more in control of the final result. I want to focus (no pun intended) on composition and lighting with the intent to change the image in a certain way.
I don’t want to give up on film simulation recipes. I want to be more intentional about how I use them. Ritchie’s website offers so many recipes I am frequently overwhelmed with choices. He has so many recipes he built a mobile app to help patrons filter and arrange them. With only seven slots available on my X-T3, I would stress which recipes to program into my XT-3. Then once I am on location, I would stress over whether the scene or subject would look better with Porta 160 or with Nostalgic Negative or the standard Provia. I would sometimes realise that a particular scene or subject could not be captured correctly in camera using a film simulation recipe; some focused editing in Adobe Lightroom or advanced editing technique in Photoshop would be needed. I did not want to limit my photography to what could be accomplished with film simulation recipes.
If I need to make snapshots for the spring and summer, I intend to use just two film simulation recipes; Portra 160 and Kodachrome 64. Ritchie provides a suggested ISO range for each recipe, but I intend to use the film simulation recipes at "box speed". If I’m going to pretend that I am shooting 35mm film, I may as well go all the way. The lowest ISO on my X-T3 is 80, so the Kodakchrome 64 recipe will be used at that ISO. The native ISO of the X-T3 is 160 and is a perfect match for Portra 160 recipe. If I need to use a higher ISO or attempt more intentional photography, I will probably switch to the Provia or Eterna film simulations. The SOOC JPEG from the film simulation recipes will still be cropped as needed but will otherwise remain untouched in Adobe Lightroom.
I have already set my camera to record RAW only.
Here’s a list of websites with excellent film simulation recipes.
Whilst the below settings are on my cameras right now, this is by no means my final and complete setup. I love changing and dialling in new recipes depending on my mood. However, I think I might have cracked the perfect seven settings to cover as wide a range as possible.
I’ve used well-crafted film simulation settings from Jamie and Ritchie in the past. What I like about Jamie’s settings is that he offers guidance on when to use them. Summer is almost here, and when I get the updated XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens, I think the Kodachrome II settings will serve me well.
Constant observation is a way of life for some, and the next generation looks set to be worse. We have become so used to look at other peoples lives so much that we expect our own to be under the same scrutiny. ~ Insides vs Outsides
I met a friend and former Squibb colleague for dinner tonight. We haven't seen each other since November 2019, and we both lost a loved one, my Dad in 2019 and her mom, to COVID early in the pandemic. We chatted for a few hours, talking about our concerns over ageing parents, work and kids going off to college. I needed this.
Riccardo makes a point about modern digital camera user interfaces that resonate with me and perhaps many other photographers.
Buttons and dials should be used for all basic functions, everything a photographer needs to quickly adjust in an intuitive way. Setting ISO speeds, changing the white balance, adjusting exposure compensation, focus lock, shooting modes, etc. — all these are functions the user should be able to change without having to look for them in a sprawling menu hierarchy.
This is one of the many reasons I bought my Fuji X-T2 three years ago. The experience of using the controls on my Minolta XD-11 35mm film camera is similar to using the controls on my Fuji X-T2. Buttons and dials allow for “muscle memory” to guide my use of each camera.
I am looking outside at a dreary overcast morning and feel some dread that I haven't taken a photograph all this week.
I’ve followed Riccardo's writing for several years. His pieces are typically long and well written. He’s a fan but not a fanatic. It seems I will want to wait until the end of the year (or longer) to replace my 2013 iMac.
In this regard, if you’re a regular user who uses their Mac for everyday tasks, has a minimal backup strategy mainly consisting of Time Machine backups and the occasional manual backup of the most crucial stuff, doesn’t tinker with their machine, and so forth — then the transition from an Intel Mac to an Apple Silicon Mac should be relatively painless.
I’m what you would call a power user, but for what I do, I don’t need the latest and more performant machine, so I can play the waiting game without much hassle. Whenever I decide it’s time to upgrade, I always aim for a slightly more powerful Mac than I need because I plan to use such Mac as long as possible as opposed to upgrading frequently.
I think this is sound advice. My late 2013 iMac has served me well over the last 7 years. Unfortunately, it doesn't run the latest macOS, Big Sur, but when Apple releases more power M1X machines later this year, I can maybe ready to order the most powerful machine1 they have that will serve me for the next 7 years.
Apple-critical pieces in the mainstream press often follow one of two patterns: they either negatively evaluate Apple’s policies or products, supplemented with commentary from Apple’s competitors or critics; or they are thinly veiled advocacy pieces designed to get Apple to take a specific action, focussed almost exclusively on Apple irrespective of other industry involvement. This NYT piece seems to fall into the latter category. Either way, like many of both types of criticisms, it was long on complaint and short on solutions. To be clear, big tech, Apple included, have much upon which they can improve; but critical analysis requires context, which in turn defines both expectations and performance indicators.
Whenever anyone opines that companies can simply opt not to compete in a market, specifically China’s, they assert that a global company can ignore the world’s largest market whilst their competitors, many of them Chinese, engage.
Survival is the long game, requiring both adaptability and seizing of opportunity when it presents itself. Adaptation necessitates sacrifice, not just of the non-essential, but often-times things that are valued. That sacrifice is the price of survival, not simply for survival’s sake, but to help create opportunity and then seize it to change the power dynamics in favor of one’s core values and the freest expression of one’s policies across the board.
By consistent adherence to those core values and policies, that has become Apple’s stratagem and Apple’s gambit.
In his most recent post, Photography And The Joy Of Numbers, Dan James writes about the wonderments of his early days with 35mm film photography and understanding the numbers on his Praktica BMS Electronic and 50mm lens. He then poses the question.??
Do you remember your first days with an SLR or DSLR? How did you make sense of all those numbers?
The first camera I owned, a Pentax P3, was purchased in 1988 solely to take a film photography course at Drew University (C'91) for art credits. Students were expected to provide their own camera equipment and film, but the course fee included access to the on-campus darkroom. I think that on some level, I had an interest in photography. Still, the initial impulse was to meet the expected requirements to graduate with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics.
I naively bought the Pentax P3 because the man at the camera store in Flushing (Queens, New York) said it was the best camera for the price. I was further swayed by the fact that it was a Pentax, part of the Asahi Spotmatic II brand name that Dad owned. Had I known that the P3 was being discontinued that same year, I may have bought something else; a Pentax K1000 or better alternatives. I might have bought those instead. But the Pentax P3 was good enough for learning the photography basics covered in the course.
My initial film of choice was black and white, mostly Kodak Tri-X Pan (the update is now called 400TX) and (then new) T-Max 400, but I also used Kodachrome when I could afford it. The P3 can read the DX coding on the film. I quickly learned that ISO 400 film was often too sensitive for bright scenes requiring a shutter speed beyond the 1/1000 sec limit of the P3. I learned that ISO 200 films were best for sunny days and ISO 400 films were a good fit for those dreary winter days on campus. I didn't know about the sunny 16 technique back then, but I wish I had. It would have resulted in more keepers in the early days.
While I enjoyed the occasional one-person portrait, most of my early subjects were objects in my room, buildings around campus, and friends. Looking at my early work, it seems I was in love with f/5.6 and f/4. I rarely used anything wider, and even to this day, these are the most often used apertures on my Fuji X-T2.
It took me several weeks to understand the relationship between ISO, aperture, and film speed. Still, I eventually learned how to combine the "numbers" to achieve my goals and complete the course assignments.
Since about 2012, Bhavna and I have been fans of Flounder Brewing in Hillsborough. In the "old days", the only way to get Flounder beer was to sign up for the mailing list, wait for an email announcement, and then queue up outside the warehouse garage on the right day and time with a clean empty growler and hope that the beer didn't run out before we got to the front of the queue.
Co-founder Jeremy “Flounder” Lees used that opportunity and the growing popularity of craft beer brewing in New Jersey to slowly build out his business, crafting easily accessible ales for Somerset County residents. Flounder Brewing was the first extant nano craft brewery in Somerset County. For years, Flounder Brewing served porters, stouts, IPAs, hefeweizens, and farmhouse ales out of a garage in an industrial park at 1 Ilene Court in Hillsborough.
When they expanded production to more regularly releases and added a few bar height tables, we were excited. So while our kids took Tae Kwon Do classes at the nearby Kickside Martial Arts Academy, Bhavna and I would pop into Jersey Mikes for a sub sandwich and then drive over to Flounder Brewing for a pint of the flagship ale Hill Street Honey Blonder or treat ourselves to Double Dry Hopped Genevieve. Over the years, we have come to know the taproom staff (William (Billy) Jordan, Bill "Woody" Woodrugg, Caitlin, the brewmaster Doug Duschl) and founder Jeremy. Today we saw the manifestation of a vision Jeremy had nearly nine years when Flounder Brewing started selling beer to the public.
The soft opening of the new brewery was just for the Delta House Membership, a limited set of customers who have paid a membership fee for access to special events and promotions. On our first visit as a Delta House Member, we received a membership card, limited edition Delta House glassware and a limited edition 32oz Delta House growler. The glass was to take home (not to be used at the brewery), and the 32oz growler was for special fills at later dates. Flounder Brewing will not be fulfilling any to-go orders for the first month or so of operations as they manage their inventory while bringing the larger 15 barrel brewhouse online.
The new location is constructed from floor and beams from the original Dutch barn at Carriage Farm, a 250-year-old working farm on Clerico Lane. This helps anchors the brewery with character, historical and agriculture elements. In addition, flounder recycles the used hops and grains from brewing and gives them to Dutch Hollow Farms in Bridgewater for animal food. The brewery also collects and reuses rainwater. Large garage doors on either side of the barn lead outside the taproom to a beer garden with picnic tables.
Upstairs we found another large tasting room that I think is perfect for hosting a private party. My 55th birthday is in November.
The tasting room is friendly and open, with plenty of airflow and tables that are spaced out, along with two outdoor patios. This is the first time Flounder has had a dedicated tasting space, the first time they served beer glassware, and the first time they ran a long draw draft system.
Bhavna and I were allowed to each bring two guests. Given that this was the first weekend that Governor Murphy had removed pandemic mask-wearing and other restrictions, most of our invitees declined to decline. But my friend and fellow photographer Ed Velez joined us. We had fun exploring the new farmhouse building, and Ed enjoyed tasting the ales.
Argh! The Darkroom refunded a portion of my recent 35mm film developing order. I sent them a 35mm film roll each of ADOX Scala 160, Rollei 100, and Svema Foto 200. Darkroom says they can't process B&W white reversal film. The Scala 100 is a B&W film reversal film. I've just wasted 30 minutes trying to find somewhere in the USA to process this roll of the film once it is returned to me. The ADOX.de website recommended dr5 chrome, a Stuart, Iowa based film lab offering custom B&W slide film processing that was created by a photographer and photographic chemist David Wood.
I don't remember why I bought this film if I had no way to develop the film and get scans.