Reflective Photographer: Mindfulness, Light, Image (Rinse and repeat)
Photography is not "yet" my full time profession so I am limited in just how much time I have to pursue this passion, if I had my druthers, I'd love to see a small RV materialize that the wife, dog and I could roam around in, working remotely and making pictures; realistic? Well it's definitely worth working toward. Of course I wouldn't sneeze at the new Nikon Z9. I have a decent collection of Nikon F mount glass that can be be adapted to it and that's huge for me. While I love my Agfa/Anscos a newer 8x10 view camera, say a Gandolfi, Tachihara, Chamonix maybe a Deardorff would be nice. I will have to pass on the Intrepid 8x10 however.
The Shorter Story
In early September of 2014 at the frail age of 46, I got my first DSLR a Nikon D7100 with two lens kit, a AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and an AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED; away I went.
The first few years saw a lot of our Baron, a working german shepherd vs an "American" shepherd, meaning he doesn't have those low slung hips; of course there were your average snapshots, documentary, just snapping the shutter as often as I could, no rhyme, no rhythm, no reason. I was, and still am, experimenting, evaulating, learning and trying to understanding this new fangled device. Mundane beginner stuff really, nothing of any consequence but there was something there and I enjoyed it immensely; which is really what matters.
Being the person I am however, I soon found wildlife, landscapes, abstracts, you know ... things with out humans, became my main subject matters. With the wildlife around the back yard, it wasn't long before I upgraded to the second major item: A AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens. The AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED kit lens just wasn't cutting it.
At first I thought "Art for the sake of Art" yeah, that's what I'm looking to do. Naive? Probably. The more I struggle with something to say, a theme, a voice, a style, a ... ok whatever "Art for the sake of Art" it is; take pictures of things that I like and how I like to see them. If a theme falls out of the work I do then so be it. There is a philosophic discussion within this but we'll definately save that for later, however, the one thing I will say is that: Life is change. Over time, a voice, a theme, a style, a stance, a position, a perspective, even ones own spirit changes and that ought well be reflected in the work one does.
And speaking of change, the first "change" I went through was digitizing and archiving some glass plates from the late 1800s to early 1900s and I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the image and more so the 5x8 aspect ratio. Most were 4x5 and 5x7 but the ones of 5x8 immediately grabbed me. Along with this came getting my great great aunt's (2nd great) Voigtländer Bessa 120 film camera circa 1930s which my mom found at home. I picked up a few rolls of Ilford 120 film and gave it a shot, that was all it took.
The path to Large Format
After digitizing the glass plates and fiddling with the Voigtländer I started reading, youtube'ing (is that even a verb?!) and decided to pick up a Busch Pressman model C. A 4x5 "press camera" as they're known. I didn't realize just how limited the press cameras are by comparison to the view cameras I had been reading about.
Given the pick up a Busch Pressman had some minor issues, its front standard isn't very sturdy let alone any kind of movements, I opted to plunge into the Intrepid platform. I currently own one of their 4x5's and after a couple back and forths it's quite a nice little camera. I also now own a three Agfa/Ansco Universal 5x7 view cameras which I've refurbished. While they're not a 5x8, 5x7 is significantly closer than the 4x5. The main one is a later model with front tilt and swing while the other two are earlier models without those features.
Most recent update is a, now refurbished, Agfa/Ansco Universal 8x10! Woot! However, the age of these Agfa/Ansco view cameras, made between 1925 and 1935, and the style being a "flatbed" which gets a little awkward to work around but does provide a nice little shelf to drape the dark cloth over and set a film holder on; I'm looking to upgrade to something newer that folds up a bit smaller, the Agfa/Ansco won't fit in any pack I've come across yet, and the gearing is a little loose and fiddlely; it works but you have to work with it.
As it keeps evolving, I have traded my Agfa's for a number of large format lenses and have upgraded to a Keith Canham traditional 8x10.
And that's right about where I am, right now.