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In an effort to find an area to write about that has to do with a passion of mine, I’ve finally realized that photography is it. I have a site for Big Bend National Park and there is a lot of overlap with photography, but sometimes there are topics that I’d like to cover that aren’t Big Bend in their content but that do involve making images.

Here I hope to share my experiences and learn from those of others. I’ve run a wide gamut of camera and darkroom experiences over the decades, using APS up to 8 x 10 film and of course I’ve enjoyed the many unique advantages of digital cameras in more recent years. I currently do actually have film facilities again with many “vintage” Nikon cameras, some of which just a few years ago I couldn’t have dreamt of owning  but now can, of course, be picked up for a fraction of their original costs on a popular site for dumping our items no longer wanted.

This aggregation of camera bodies and lenses is partly for the enjoyment of putting together a display of the beautiful machines. They are on shelves for looking at. I finally have my own camera store after all. There is now a Hasselblad system with 5 lenses and 3 bodies. There is a Sinar 4×5 with 4 lenses and an old, heavy Cambo 8×10 camera with a Caltar Universal Synchro 375mm lens permanently attached that you don’t even have to reset the shutter to fire.

I’ll post pictures of the equipment as time goes by, but for now what matters most is the darkroom side and that is up and running as well. In addition. there is the material and hardware now at hand to do platinum/palladium alternative processing.

Digital will of course not go away, but it’s nice once again to have a physical presence to an image, not just an electronic representation that may just go away at the drop of an external drive.

I’m about to go develop a roll of HP5 Plus 135 then some sheets of Fomapan 100 4×5. Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it turned out!


So here are the 35mm negatives. The film was shot in a Canon EOS 3, a remarkable camera whose AF system seemingly reads your mind. I thought I was shooting Ilford HP5 Plus, but it turned out to be Kodak TMax 400. Right ISO, wrong brand. I think they’re OK except for the 3 or 4 places where the film touched together on the stainless steel reels. I knew I would have some of that, but most of the pictures are quite usable it seems. From now on I use 24 exposure rolls as it gets loaded onto the reel faster and there’s less chance of misloads. C’est la vie.