EASY TO HANDLE

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I have never used a light meter in my decade long photographic journey. Over the years I sort of figured out how to eyeball the atmosphere and dial in the settings or I simply used my go-to flash snapshot aesthetic to get the shot. Lately I’ve really been trying to elevate my style, especially when it comes to film, so I figured it was time to invest in a light meter. I’ve always wanted the Sekonic™ L-358 because I thought it looked cool and it has a radio transmitter add-on option that allows you to fire your strobes to get a reading. Now, I’m not a tech guy in the slightest and was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to turn it on, let alone make it magically give me the missing number to my exposure triangle. Upon receiving it in the mail yesterday, I couldn’t believe how easy this thing was to use. I honestly had it spitting out numbers in the first ten minutes like I was a trained interrogation specialist. Instructions you say? For peasants. I never even opened up the booklet. As you can see from the photos above, it allows you to dial in the correct exposure then you can take your own creative liberties from there. It’s a lot better than guessing a starting point or even worse, trying to get the right exposure from your DSLR screen, which is almost never accurate.


Would I recommend getting a meter? From where I am now and for what I’m trying to achieve, I would say yes. Especially if you’re investing a lot of your time and money in film. I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute necessity when it comes to digital, especially if you dig the snapshot vibe and are rarely using strobes. Also, from what I gather, I would only buy a Sekonic™ meter but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the top of the line unit. I got mine brand new with the radio transmitter for $250 shipped. I’ve seen some other cool ones like the Sekinic™ L-308x for less and is pretty much the standard for many notable film photographers. Then there’s some fully digital units that look like an iPhone 40 that range well into the over $600 area, which to me, has major “tiny weener” vibes written all over it. Just get one that’s in your budget because ultimately they all do the same thing.


-Danny 


CAMERA HOARDING

I’ve been in a battle within myself lately questioning if I have a problem because it seems like every day a new camera is being delivered. Some were purchased as back-ups due to the thirty plus years of old technology and I’m afraid I won’t be able to find a dependable version later on if one was to finally enter the golden gates of shutter-bug heaven. I rationalize my inner voice by telling myself this and that it’s just part of the sickness that most of us photo-makers get infected with. We buy tons of old film cameras to see which one will remedy our need to achieve our personal aesthetic. Which camera feels best in our hands, which is fun to shoot with, which one will convey our message and also which one simply looks cool and entices us to shoot more. All I know is that I’ve been having a lot of fun hoarding over the last few weeks and adding cool little chunks of industrial design history to my arsenal. I can’t wait to show you guys what’s on the way from Japan and Germany. Update coming soon. 


-Danny


RUNNING ISN’T AN OPTION

I’m going to vent to you candidly for a moment like we’re a couple of old friends, because we are. I’ve battled with weight my entire life and as most of you know, in November 2020 I finally hit my goal weight of 145lbs. It was by far the hardest and longest thing I’ve ever done as I went through a two year long mental and physical transformation in order to achieve my goal. I gave up a lot to get what I wanted and when I finally got it, well, let’s just say I figured I could hit cruise control from there on out. Also, getting into a very serious relationship didn’t help, and by very serious, I’m talking about our late night snacking and eating whatever vegan sweats we desired. I felt my need for running begin to fade. My favorite physical outlet began to play in the background as the volume on life was turning up. Work, romance, day-to-day small fires and tackling a full plate (pun intended) got the best of me. Change was once again formulating and the optics were resembling a familiar reflection that I really dislike. In the midst of the happiest I have ever been, I felt my body returning to its prior state as the dial on the scale was gaining momentum. After a long internal talk with myself and an open dialogue with the girlfriend, we made the decision to fully take back control and to put our own wellbeing at the forefront. We drastically changed our diet two weeks ago and I began to once again beat up the pavement. Running, sweating… experiencing freedom. It’s no longer an option but an absolute vital part of the fabric that makes my world a happy one, a stable one, a creative one. I’m feeling strong again, optimistic, happy, vibrant. If any of you are experiencing complacency, creative block, depression or simply just not firing on all cylinders, I highly encourage you to move your body. Unplug and go on walks. Be in nature and take a moment to reflect. It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as there’s some sweat trickling out of your pores. We weren’t built to be stagnant. 


-Danny  


A DAY IN VENICE

Please don’t mind the first frame, I was in the middle of the cross walk when the light turned green. You can’t win them all but I’m quite impressed with how many times I nailed focus without wearing my eye-glasses. Perhaps my Benjamin Button is kicking in. 


Camera: Contax 167MT

Lens: Yashica 50mm 1.9

Film: Kodak Portra 400


All photos are untouched and was processed and scanned by @DarkRoomFilmLab


-Danny


BRAIN FOOD

It’s no secret that one of my favorite things is to randomly stumble upon a thrift store that I’ve never been to. At this point I feel like I’ve dialed in what’s on my list of acquisitions when it comes to thrifting. I have about five key things that I look for but books were never one of them until I found this amazing Goodwill® location while I was running the other day. I was just sort of exploring the neighborhood while pounding the pavement and listening to a podcast when I suddenly spotted the smiling “G” in the sky and figured I would stop in. Drenched in sweat as my face mask was expanding and contracting like a puffer fish, I browsed the shelves and found a spectacular array of books to add to our evening reading sessions or to be used to light my creative inspiration. I paid a whopping $12 for six books and toted my new treasures home where I would decide on which literary adventure I’d begin with. A sucker for a good cover and a cool typeface, I was instantly drawn to Be More Than You Are by Don Polston. Penned in 1977, the book explores how we (humans) need to be more confident, more in tune and tapped into our spirituality. How we need to be the person we were created to be and not be confined in the cages of our own insecurities. It goes on to talk about breaking bad habits and a lot of other dialogs that I’ve read or listened to before and try my best to practice daily, but it’s always good to have a refresher course staring at you in your face. When it comes to a spiritual journey and fixing (or even addressing) our self-projected shortcomings or traumas that we’ve encountered, we’re life long students of the subject matter. It’s a daily practice, a daily study. Finding a random thrift store on a random day where I found a random book that was written in 1977 and is still applicable today is proof of that. 


-Danny


SHE GUARDS THE GOODS

It’s quite comedic how when,C and I first started dating, her cat and I didn’t get along. Sorry, but I’ve never been a cat guy and to be completely honest, I never understood the companionship that one builds with a creature that chooses to scratch, meow and stare at you and brush up against your ankles whilst you’re trying to toilet text and take care of business in the morning. So how is this aspect of our relationship funny? Well now her cat and I are totes BFF’s. She sits under my desk all day as I work and she even guards my new camera cases that I purchased earlier this week. Enough about the ups and downs in regards to my adopted child, let’s talk about the cases. I went into Harbor Freight looking for stuff for my workspace and noticed they were having a sale on hard cases (for guns and other types of shooters as shown). For $29 a case I was instantly sold. The only problem, they were completely sold out. Me being the tenacious shopper that I am, I asked when the sale would end and they told me it was good for a couple more days. After a few phone calls regarding stock-checks and multiple locations I finally had my cases in hand. One is being used to house my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and the other will be used for a Contax that I’ve always considered my dream camera. One that I’ve had in the past but this is the upgraded “baller” version. Stay tuned.


The cases are no longer on sale but for $43 it’s still an amazing buy and I highly recommend them. You can purchase them here.


-Danny


YOU MIGHT MISS THE MOMENT

I’m the guy that refuses to bring an SLR (especially a DSLR) camera with him when he leaves the house. I’ve always had this weird depiction of people who like to tote a big camera around with them as a tourist or someone who is trying really hard, but last Sunday on our evening walk I decided to join the herd. I’ve been really trying to nail the mechanics of my Contax™ 167MT when it comes to in-camera metering because there has definitely been times when I miss the shot in natural lighting due to my lack of knowledge of when to under or over expose or when to ‘push the film’. I’m on a mission to get my photos to look exactly how I remember seeing the moment when I experienced it with little to no editing. That requires using good film and getting your metering tight. For this roll I experimented with the in-camera metering for the outside shots and the Light Meter app on my phone for the inside frames. I can honestly say that old technology is definitely superior than that of current development. With this being said, I just ordered a Sekonic™ meter and will be taking that for a spin next.


Camera: Contax 167MT

Lens: Yashica 50mm 1.9

Film: Kodak Portra 400


All photos are untouched and was processed and scanned by @DarkRoomFilmLab


-Danny


ROLLEIE110

Okay, I don’t know if any of you are like me but when I find something that I really like, I become obsessed with said thing and have to do as much research as possible or buy as many as I can find. That’s what happened during a 2am eBay scrolling session where stumbled upon the miniature Rollei™ E110 film camera. I bought it and upon it’s arrival I was instantly taken aback by the size of the camera but mostly by the build and design that was way ahead of its time. I can’t wait to shoot with it because the photo samples that I found online look awesome but honestly just having it on my desk and holding it in my hand serves as inspiration and in a way is a bit soothing for me. Could this be… the new fidget spinner? 


At the time of this blog entry, I have one for sale, one on my desk and currently have three more on the way. I know, I have a problem and should probably date a therapist for the free sessions.


-Danny


BACK IN FULL SWING

A fever for photography has come over me lately and all I want to do is make photos. It reminds me of when I first fell in love with the medium and it was no longer an option, but a necessity to create. It feels good to be getting back into the swing of things, getting my rhythm back and trying out new stuff. 


-Danny


MOON JUICE® WITH MY MOON GODDESS

We went to Venice and Abbot Kinney this weekend to look for props and vintage clothes for a shoot I have coming up. While we were out there the lady wanted to check out Moon Juice®. She’s been really into supplements lately and researching what we can add to contribute to our healthy lifestyle. I must say, I struck out on the stuff I was looking for but my girl hit a home run with this place. By far one of the best juice/shakes/drinks and supplements stores that we’ve ever visited. Boho with just enough hippy magic that makes you feel comfortable and right at home upon your arrival. Be sure to check them out if you’re in the area. 


-Danny