polaroid 55 magic

pure artisan craftmanship, maybe ! heheImage

Magic of Polaroid 55 positive / negative.  Magical ! 

Today’s photograph was made with the Graflex Speedgraphic KE-12a and the amazing bokeh-monster Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f/2.5. Super speedy for a 4×5 lens while most lenses float around the 5.6 f-stop range.

Keypoint in making photographs with a 4×5 is a lot of previsualization, planning on what your composition and checking out your lighting.  A handy incident light meter is mandatory with a slight prayer to the polaroid-gods. keeping your fingers crossed as you pop in a packet of 55PN film.  Next you pull the dark slide/paper back, make your exposure and while simultaneously uttering positive energy, pull the film in one steady pull. counting to past 20 seconds you eagerly pull the packet of film apart seeing both a gummy bluish negative and a slightly over exposed print.  in this case, since you want a decent negative, you want an over exposed print. 

and voila. the above image.

one of my favorite films. comes in a box of 20 sheets. WHOA !  


photog portrait

aloha world ! its always nice to return to the islands. wow ! the fresh breeze, morning showers, rainbows !!

few days ago honored to make photographs of a fellow photographer. decided to dust off some polaroid 55PN 4×5 instant film and make some portraits with the aero ektar combo at the downtown post office. what a beautiful building ! always inspired by the architecture, the arched walkways ! what a treasure to hawai’i !

this was the only frame i got, the rest of the roid films got jammed in my holder for some reason or another. such is life ! fun ! all we needed was one shot ! LOL !

also did some cool freelensed portraits too ! i still am amazed w/ the olympus zuiko glass ! more on that later !

medium teles

aloha all !
from my last post, talking about standard focal length or 50mm we jump up to medium telephoto lenses. my favorite two are the Carl Zeiss Jena biotar 75mm f/1.5 and the venerable Nikkor AIS 105mm f/1.8

both feature compression and shallow depth of field. the former, Carl Zeiss Jena biotar (scalloped focus ring) features a very eclectic and ‘vintage’ view. the old coatings, glass and lens formulation gives me a very unique tool. i remember when this lens was fairly common and great value. quite recently, the prices have soared to over US$1000 ! yikes. this is a very unique lens, although very difficult to focus and prone to flare, this optic gem renders common scenes with a poetic stroke of the brush, rendering light in dreamy and surreal manner. enough said, its best seen in photographic examples.

i use all my lenses wide open. which means even during bright sunny days, i slap on a ND filter or use a slow ISO of 50 or ISO 100 to retain the aperture at f/1.5 or f/1.8.

below is an example of the Carl Zeiss Biotar freelensed. that is, lens removed and held manually in front of lens mount. a ‘handheld’ extension tube if you will !

humble thanks for swinging thru. for more visual updates featuring two current photo projects please follow me on twitter @lightmeister.


Starting the weekend right.

perspectives or point of view/s.

what is it ? how do you use it in photography ? first, for the photographer it can be crawling on the ground or offering a bird’s eye view by climbing to the top of the highest building. two different vantage points with different psychological and visual differences. besides getting down and dirty, changing the view, via camera perspective show’s you the photographer are ‘working it’. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. the important part is the effort or efforts.

in the above photograph, a fisheye lens is used to ‘force’ the foreshortened perspective, holding the camera above on a monopod gives a slight aerial view and a clear view of the rest of the subjects. so in this case, various lenses can create a super wide feeling or an isolated feeling via a macro (closeup lens).

macro view. below, freelensed macro view of pink flowers. (lens handheld in front of camera). the isolated view point, condenses the viewers and concentrates her/him into a perspective that oftentimes would be overlooked. detail images is what many photographers sometimes forget to ‘see’, they see the big picture and miss the little ones.

as you know, you can’t go back to the situation after the job is finished.

also when editing a final product of a bunch of images, having different views of an assignment sometimes lends itself to tell the story in a different and creative way.

another variation on the theme with perspective is the illusion of 3-dimensionality on a 2-dimensional surface. a genius of this was escher. huh ? 3d on 2d ? once you learn a bit about lighting, playing in the studio and learning more of the phenomena of light, you can start playing. breaking the rules too.

what rules ?

now the fun begins.

please follow me for tips about photograhy via

quality of light

learning about facebook and twitter… the million dollar questions, how do i connect a potential client to the vendor, in my case, how do i connect with new clients or companies needing images for their corporation or brand ? if u know please let me know. i’m learning about how social media can spawn new clientele. many humble thanks to our readership.

not just any kind of photographic images that any tom, dick or harry can make w/ a $2000 multi megapixel camera, but instead images that move beyond a snapshot by a ‘picture taker’ as opposed to an ‘image maker’.

one important key is LIGHTING. what is LIGHT ? simple photons you might say ?

there is one key component of light in the photographic world called ‘quality of light’. the sun is a light we commonly know and see every day, morning to evening. the most beautiful ‘quality of light’ of the sun happens at the moments before the sun actually rises and another time before the sun plops below the horizon and a magical time after the sunsets. i see many ‘picture takers’ leave after the sunset, they don’t realize or ‘see’ the magical ‘quality of light’. these ‘picture takers’ have the gear but lack the sensibility of how to see light.

i often wondered why i was sitting in art history class up at manoa listening to countless lectures and millions of slides being projected on huge auditorium screens. engrained in my subconscious was the renaissance works of rembrandt and his iconographic sense of light. what made him a painting meister was his sense of creating a mood with highlights and shadows.

PHOTOGRAPHY is ‘drawing with ight’ or in my case ‘painting with light’. when i set out, i brainstorm a few ideas, sketch them. most importantly, i think about the background (BACKGROUND, BACKGROUND, BACKGROUND) and of course foreground light and how and what tools i might schlepp along. less is more… sometimes.

if you have any questions, please chime in, this is a two way dialogue. sharing, growing and learning together.

radioactive quest

Aloha all !
sorry for the delay!

been working on building some businesses and finding some interesting and eclectic gear to make my job easier and vision more unique.

just arrived the other day, an amazing tool used in the 1950s, the Folmer & Schwing Speedgraphic U.S. Army Signal Corps 4×5, Still Picture KE-12(1) camera with a built in focal plane shutter that goes up to 1/1000 second ! the camera can be used with front lens shutter and an option of using the huge cloth focal plane shutter from 1/1000th of a second to 1/30th of a second ! pictured above with Jolo Lensboard and Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f/2.5 lens.

this unusual variant is a KE-12 signal corps 4×5 camera features all external non metal parts in olive drab leatherette and all the normal chrome/silver finishes are all anodized in black. the ‘stealth mode’ speed graphic. very unusual indeed. the mechanisms seem a lot smoother than the standard speed graphics i’ve owned.

the detail below shows the front 127mm /f4.5 Graflex ‘Yellow Dot’ Optar lens with graphex leaf shutter from 1/400th second, T thru B. this lens feels particularly heavy and dense with black anodized lensboard. when removed, the jolo lensboard by Jo Lommen and giant kodak aero ektar fits into the body/front standard without any ‘stretching’ of the front standard.

the camera even features handy dandy rangefinder focusing.

above image, Fuji FP100c . 4×5 instant film. notice the wild bokeh. its sort of the character of this wonderful speedy lens !

i’ll try to scan and post more 4×5 color instant images. at almost ¥400 per pop… it gets pricey fast !

Arca Swiss 4×5 & musings

today’s post is with amazing assistance from Dr. John Emmett, a linchpin, meister ! he first converted my broken Hasselblad 2000FC series krap titanium shutter to his amazing proprietary carbon fiber shutter ! his contact info will be at the bottom of this post. feel free to contact him about any hasselblad 2000 FC series mods, carbon shutter replacements at je@bpr.org.uk


next, i need to adapt the rear toyo 45A back to the front removable plate on the arca to mate the toyo field camera to the body as a focus unit with full tilt and shift abilities.