It is Difficult to Be Simple in Modern Times - But it is Possible

November 29, 2016  •  1 Comment

In our technology-driven busy world, it seems increasingly difficult to be still, quiet, and peaceful.  When I visit a mall or shopping center, I watch people.  

I am amazed at how many kids and adults, that are mesmerized by their technology gadgets.  Almost like walking dead people... I went to a shopping mall over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I watched people walk across busy traffic areas with their face buried in their phones and totally unaware of their surroundings.  People were driving in high-traffic areas with their noses in the phones and only occasionally looking up!  I must be getting old to notice these things!  

Today, I hope to help you slow down and think about something simple and fun...

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Nothing is more simple in the photography world than an entirely mechanical roll film camera.  My very first camera was a Mamiya C220 TLR.  I still own and use this camera to this very day, and it produces incredible photos.  Many years ago I picked up a Nikon F 35mm camera along with some Nippon glass and it is one of my absolute cameras to use when I am out exploring.  

I purchased a Pentax 645N and Mamiya RZ67 II new back in the late 1990's, and I still use both of them on a regular basis.  While these cameras are not quite as simple as the C220 or Nikon F, by today's standards they are very basic.  But for simplicity and freedom, the Nikon F is my go to camera loaded with either Tri-X or HP5+.  Using the Sunny 16 rule for the exposure simplifies the experience to the purest form making it something that I cherish and appreciate in a very busy world that is replete with technology gadgets.  

Lately, I have been hiking with my Nikon F100 or F5 and photographing wildlife with HP5+ rated up to ISO 1600, and for color, I am using Portra 400 rated up to ISO 1600 as well.  I am testing the upper limits of these two films right now, so stay tuned for new articles on this in the near future.  I have thoughts about putting a telephoto lens on my Pentax 67II or my 645N next.  

Coming home and developing the film and making a contact proof sheet is a great way to finish up the day.  I typically look at the contact sheet for a few days or a week before I make any decision on which print or prints I want to make.  

What is your favorite "simple camera"?  Tell me why you like it and what you like to create with it.  

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Tim Layton
Darkroom & Large Format Photography
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Comments

Chris Rusbridge(non-registered)
I have two Pentax MXs, one for colour and one for black and white, and a reasonable set of lenses. Recently been exploring the very wides, Vivitar 19mm and Tamron 17mm, but I'm finding both hard to get on with. Even my Pentax-A 24mm does some very odd swirly things off centre. Longer I'm really enjoying the Pentax-M 100mm f/4 "macro".

Don't find the same pleasure taking digital, though the Fuji X10 is useful for grandchild pics!

What do I want to do with them? Hard to describe; much outside but rarely ''landscape" as I understand it. (Is Golden Hour a cliche? Yes perhaps though getting into one those "great light" situations is SUCH a buzz!) It's more like an exploration of how to make all those amazing patterns and shapes and curves and tones I see in the world around into satisfying pictures. Which very rarely happens. And sounds pretentious!

But can't use any camera at the mo as I broke my arm... :(
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