Review: Kodak Ektar 100

To see Kodak Ektar exposure tested along side 10 other film stocks, follow this link. To see my first (substantial) attempt at shooting Ektar while in Banff, follow this link.

In the fall of 2018 I headed to Arizona for the second time and intended to see the Grand Canyon for the first time (btw, it was as grand as the name implies. Lots and lots of grand.) and when deciding what film to take, Ektar never crossed my mind. I thought to myself – I’ve shot a couple rolls of Ektar before and hated it. A lot. Then I found the work of Pete and David and decided I didn’t give Ektar a fair shake in my previous attempts. Albeit, I believe now that what I didn’t like was in fact the scans from the lab I was using moreso than the film itself.


Ektar has bold colors that, coupled with the high sharpness, make it an incredible film for landscapes. Compared with Portra 400, I find this film to have a bit less blue in the shadows and bit more yellow in the highlights. Granted, I’m basing this exact assessment on the exposure testing experiment but so far my personal experience has not turned up any conflicting evidence.

So far, the colors that have really jumped out at me and made me fall in love with this film are light turquoise and deep blues. The turquoise values are truly unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. When I see good examples of this (heavily based in Banff) I wonder if the film actually rendered a significantly different color than reality. I mean… Was it ever actually that beautiful? As for the deep blues, I’m just a sucker for that color range and I think this film does a tremendous job at it.

The only colors I haven’t fully grown to like from this film are greens that don’t have a blue tint. I felt like the closer the green got to blue, the more I liked it. Conversely, the less blue it got, the less I liked it. The light greens were a bit too quick to have a yellow-ish tint and the darker greens didn’t have the same “pop” as everything else. Still though- this is all relative and I recognize my experience may just be limited. As such, I’ve kept a roll of Ektar in at least one camera at all times and I’m experimenting to see if this opinion persists or limited to only my first couple pro packs.


Given how pronounced the colors are, I fully expected this film to bomb at portraits. Who wants a photo or themselves with the saturation turned way up? That said, I don’t dislike this film for portraits so long as its an environmental portrait. I felt like the more the photo felt like a proper portrait, the more I couldn’t get over how strong the colors were. While the more of the scene I got in the photo, the more I appreciated the coloring – it’s always a trade-off.

Dynamic Range

I can honestly say that I am beyond surprised with the dynamic range of Ektar. In the exposure testing experiment, I genuinely felt this film performed better than every other color negative we included. In the experiment, I thought it handled underexposure really well. My personal experience has been a bit less successful. I’ve found all of the photos that I knew to be underexposed a bit muddy with very strong saturation in the darker values, leading to an experience a bit less than I hoped for.

As for overexposing, I don’t much care for what happens to the coloring but given that I can rectify that in post, I am beyond surprised with this film. It’s such that if I meter for the midtones to shadows, I’m hard pressed to overexpose the highlights to a point beyond return. I think it is this very quality that makes it such a solid choice for landscapes.


I can count on one hand how many times I’ve ever pulled film and with this film being 100ASA, I don’t see it ever happening here. That said, I did once put through a roll at 400ASA in one of my F2s and didn’t much care for the results. So much so that I’ll not be providing examples. I really felt like the saturation was over the top (even on my scans) and the loss of the dynamic range was beyond my taste. I did it purely as an experiment and I suspect I’ll try it again at 200ASA and update.


In conclusion, I’ve really grown to love this film and have kept a constant stock of it since I bought my first pro pack. So much so that I’ve kept a roll in at least one camera since. While I don’t know that I’ll be going through much of it once the weather in Ohio starts going back to grey all the time, I’ll be enjoying it as much as I can while the sun is out.

Banff (In Monochrome): New City, New Film – Acros & T-Max 100/400

This article shows off some of the black and white negative film I tried out on my vacation to Banff, CA in April2019. To see some of the color negative work, please follow this link. Several of this films in this article have exposure tested and compared to other B&W negative films – this article is located here.  

The Canadian Rockies were calling and we answered. In a moment of spontaneity and luck finding round-trip tickets for only 18k points, we got our tickets and booked a hotel within a couple hours and I immediately started thinking about what film I was going to take. For ease (and out of pure laziness) I needed to make sure everything was ASA 400 or slower so I didn’t have to have the film hand-checked.

For black and white negative film, I ended up taking a pro pack of T-Max 400 120 and 1 roll of 35mm. A few rolls of T-Max 100 120 and a couple rolls of Acros 120.


Of all the films I shot on this trip, I would say Acros was hands down the most interesting. I thought the clarity and the distinct transition from the darkest darks to the brightest brights combined to be such an interesting mix. I only ended up going through one of my two rolls I took and I honestly wish I shot more of it. I honestly wish they still made it…

T-Max 100

I liked this film but thought the shadows were not quite dark enough for my taste. I would have liked for a little more contrast. Nevertheless, I got this film in hopes of making some quality darkroom prints and I think they’ll do that splendidly.

T-Max 400

So this film – oddly enough – was only shot on my F100 (35mm format) even though I took an entire pro pack of it in 120. I just never got around to using it. The shots from it were fantastic and produced some of my favorites from the trip. Brittany was handling the F100 for half or so of the roll and despite typically disliking B&W film, I think she really enjoyed using the F100 and liked the results.

Interview: David Chan

“Once I got the hang of it, it was easy to see why so many photographers are (re)discovering film. The way that light renders on film is simply magic…”

David is an avid film photographer in California. I came across his work shortly after a trip he took to Banff and I was blown away by his work. His panoramic photos made me want an X-Pan (or Fujifilm TX-1), the colors in photos made me want to try Ektar again, and the energy of his work has inspired me to travel and take more photographs.

JM: Thanks so much for doing this.  Your shots in Banff have inspired me to try Ektar again after one failed roll.  I’ve really appreciated all the direction and advice about my trip to Banff and photography in general.

JM: Why do you shoot film?

DC: I took some film and darkroom classes in high school and college, but it wasn’t until about a few years ago that I started seriously pursuing photography as a hobby again after purchasing a Sony a6000 with a 16-50mm kit lens for a trip to Hawaii. I was amazed with the capabilities of that little camera and began to accumulate lenses and accessories for it before completely upgrading to a full-frame Sony system later on.

DC: It was exhausting keeping up with the rapidly evolving technologies after a while, and I was beginning to feel burnt out from spending most of my time in Lightroom, rather than shooting. I must have spent hundreds of hours culling through terabytes of RAW files, watching Youtube tutorials, installing presets, trying to give my images that ineffable “film look”. At the same time, I was seeing more and more photographers that I admired dabble in film, with gorgeous results.

DC: I started looking into film cameras and ended up buying a beautiful silver Olympus OM-2n and a pack of Superia on Amazon. The package arrived minutes before I was set to leave for the airport. I spent the entire flight trying to figure out how to load the film, and not realizing that it needed batteries to operate shutter speeds other than 1/60s. Needless to say that first roll was complete dog s**t!

DC: Once I got the hang of it, it was easy to see why so many photographers are (re)discovering film. The way that light renders on film is simply magic, the tones and colors have a natural richness that is hard to replicate in digital. I find myself being a lot more deliberate and thoughtful with each click, and not having the ability to “chimp” is actually very liberating. Finally, it could be days, weeks, or even months before you see your images. It’s a lot of fun for me to look at those memories again with fresh eyes.

“Sometimes, even those carefully planned shots can turn out like crap, but a random click of the person sitting across from you can blow you away. It’s all part of the fun!”

JM: What is your favorite film?  Camera?

DC: For my favorite film, I’m going to be cliché and say Kodak Portra 400. It’s such a versatile film that works for 90% of situations. Fast enough to use at most lighting, amazing exposure latitude, pleasant grain and tones. It’s the best.

DC: I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of great cameras to choose from, but if I have to pick a favorite it would probably be my Hasselblad Xpan. It’s a camera that I actually don’t use that often due to its special format and its “slow” lenses, but in the right situation it has produced some of my favorite images.

JM: What proportion of your shots turn out as you hoped (or better)?

DC: I would say about 25%. Being on film and having no way to verify your results, I usually play it safe and take 2-4 frames if it’s something important. Sometimes, even those carefully planned shots can turn out like crap, but a random click of the person sitting across from you can blow you away. It’s all part of the fun!

JM: When do you call a photo ‘finished’?  When it’s printed? posted on IG? scanned?

DC: Well, it’s “finished” as soon as the shutter curtain close, isn’t it? I just hope that I or the lab don’t screw it up after! In all seriousness, I think it really depends on what you are trying to achieve with a particular image. Whether the goal is to post it on social, hang a large framed print on your wall, or email it to your grandma, to me it’s finished once you are satisfied with the result.

JM: Though it’s really tough to choose a favorite photo of yours, I’d have to say it’s one you took at Consolation Lakes (15Sept2018).  What’s the story behind it? Where does it rank for you?

DC: Thank you, it’s one of my favorites from that trip! Such a memorable day. My wife Crystal and I started early in the morning to Moraine Lake with the plan to get some photos and canoe on the lake. As the morning went on, the area became more and more crowded with tourists, waving around their selfie sticks and whatnot. After a while, it was impossible to get any unobstructed shots and we were desperate to get away to somewhere more secluded. We discovered the Consolation Lakes trail and decided to explore despite the large ominous sign that warned of bears!

DC: It was a beautiful trail through the woods that ended with a scramble over some large boulders to get to the lake. My wife being a former gymnast, is much more nimble than I am. I got as far as I am comfortable with while she continued to work her way over the rocks. I had been saving the last frame of Velvia in my Xpan, and decided to use it as she was perched on the large rock in the center. It was one of those rare shots where it turned out even better than planned. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out!

JM: What is your favorite shot you’ve ever taken?  What’s the story behind it?

DC: Oh man, that’s a tough one. There are a lot of shots that I am proud of and a few that have received some recognition, but as far as my personal favorite, it would probably be the of Crystal doing her makeup in the mirror while we were in New York. Just a simple, intimate moment captured on black and white film that I hand developed. 

JM: If someone told you they were thinking of getting into film, what would your response/advice be?

DC: Get a full manual camera with a fast prime lens and just shoot, shoot, shoot. Stick with one type of film stock so you can learn the characteristics and have something consistent to measure your progress. Most of all, shoot what you love and have fun!

You can see more of David’s work below.

Interview: Craig McIntosh

“When I made the move from digital to shooting on film I immediately noticed how much it forced me to slow down and actually think about how I wanted to compose the scene or my subject.”

Craig is a film photographer in Scotland. His work is really creative and has helped me to focus on the importance of light and setting up the framing to emphasize light. He also has a website you should check out (he suggests looking at it on a desktop to fully appreciate it).

MH: Hey Craig! Thanks so much for doing this! I really love your style and hope learning more about you can help me start to see light the way you do.

MH: Why do you shoot film?

CM: Film photography as a medium just works for me. When I made the move from digital to shooting on film I immediately noticed how much it forced me to slow down and actually think about how I wanted to compose the scene or my subject. Every photo you take is effectively costing you money, so for me, it doesn’t allow the luxury of shooting hundreds of images and praying that you nailed 1 or 2.  For me, a fully manual film camera just simplified everything.

CM: I like that you can’t view the images immediately – the disconnect between me taking a photo, sending the rolls of film to the lab and then waiting for the scans to be sent back allows me to focus on what’s happening around me. Usually, I shoot a few rolls throughout the month then drop them off at the lab after payday. By that point, I’ve usually forgotten some of the images I’ve taken. Like a kid at Christmas, I get excited when I receive the scans from the lab and I can spend quality time to go through them and consider their effectiveness. This is a feeling I only get from shooting film

CM: Further, I was never particularly fond of the digital process of shooting my images in RAW and then spending time editing the images. I find it to be an added headache and I’m less productive as a result. I select the film stock depending on what I’m shooting that day or what light I’m working with, then I try to do as much work as I can inside the camera. I have faith in my lab to produce the results I want. I will sometimes edit my images however, it’s more quick little touch ups than anything else.

MH: What is your favorite film?  Camera?

CM: I shoot mostly colour C41 film and if I had to choose my favourite stock, it would be Portra 400. I love how versatile it is – for nearly every situation, it produces great results even if it’s over or underexposed. I also love the pastel and muted tones it produces and the skin colours look perfect. I’d say my favourite Black and White film is Kodak Tri-X.

CM: For most of my portrait work, I use my Mamiya C330. I enjoy how close I can get to my subject while still being able to focus in sharp using the bellows, and I like that you get a different look to your portraits purely because you’re shooting up at your subject from the waist instead of at eye level. I’m in the process of upgrading my gear just now, I’ve just purchased a Nikon FM2 to replace my Pentax K1000 that I learned on. I’ve used 5 or 6 rolls through it so far but It’s fast becoming my favourite camera. It’s the small touches that I enjoy, for example, being able to see the camera settings in the viewfinder and having the option to shoot double exposures at the flick of a switch.

MH: What proportion of your shots turn out as you hoped (or better)?

CM: I’m usually pretty happy if I can walk away with at least 3 or 4 images per roll. Naturally over time, you start to figure out how certain film stocks excel and how they react in certain lighting which altogether lends itself to more consistent results. When I began shooting on film, I had the tendency to want to finish the roll in my camera before I would call it a day and head home. This led to me forcing images and subsequently getting poorer results.

CM: I remember in the early days apologizing to the lab for one of the rolls I had shot and had them develop and scan. The results were so poor I felt bad for them going to the trouble of processing them. Maybe it was the early excitement of shooting on film and wanting to see how the images turned out. I now don’t allow myself to do that but it’s all part of the learning process. Currently, I find that I’m quite selective with what I shoot and it’s usually the case that I can be out for a few hours and only take 2 or 3 photos.

MH: When do you call a photo ‘finished’?  When it’s printed? posted on IG? scanned?

CM: I should print my work more often, I usually do it if I’m making a print as a gift. For the better part of 2 years I’ve been shooting everything and anything. So, I generally had the mindset that once I had uploaded the image to my website/Instagram the image was effectively finished. However, at the turn of the year I decided to start thinking of some long-term projects that I have begun shooting over the last month. Periodically I may upload some of the images from the photo series to the fore mentioned platforms. However,  instead of seeing that as the finish line I’m looking more into making long term projects with a bit more substance and purpose.

“I select the film stock depending on what I’m shooting that day or what light I’m working with, then I try to do as much work as I can inside the camera.”

MH: What is your favorite shot you’ve ever taken?  What’s the story behind it?

CM: I’m quite fond of this photo I took during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. It’s probably one of the first rolls of film I shot on my Olympus Mju ii and it was Kodak Tri-X 400 i used. That camera is tremendous for candid street photography, as it’s so compact and the shutter is so quiet. Every day during the festival I would use my lunch break to go for a wander through the Royal Mile to see some of the free shows and take in the festival atmosphere. I was immediately drawn to the man handing out flyers to passing tourists.  The timing of the photo makes the man look quite mysterious, with clothing comparable to that of film noir. I’ve always thought that it looks like the top half of his body is etched onto the granite stone wall behind him. Meanwhile, you have a moment between the little girl and the lady with the bunny eared cap, which is a look of curiosity and terror. This is one of the first images that I felt creatively proud of.

MH: If someone told you they were thinking of getting into film, what would your response/advice be?

CM: This is based upon my experience with photography, but I would encourage anyone who is thinking of picking up their first camera to choose a fully manual SLR instead of a digital camera. I think that the amount of settings on a basic entry level digital camera can be slightly overwhelming. I learned on a Pentax K1000 which you can pick up for around £100 from Ebay. It’s really easy to use, fully manual and you can pick up additional lenses cheaply. Having 36 frames to use will force you to learn the fundamentals of photography in terms of composition and the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Youtube is also a great source for tutorials on anything film photography related, so use that to your advantage. There is also plenty of good budget film stocks out there to get you started on, some I would recommend trying are Fujifilm Superia 400, Fuji C200, Kodak Colourplus, Fomapan 400, Lomography 400, Ilford HP5 400.  Amazon has some good bulk buy options that I use quite regularly. 

More of Craig’s work can be seen below:

Experiment 1: Exposure Testing 11 Film Stocks

In this experiment, we exposure tested 11 film stocks and Kodak Portra 400 pushed one stop to 800. Among the color films, we tested: Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 400, Portra 400 Pushed One Stop, Kodak Portra 800, and Fuji Pro 400H. Among the Black and White films, we tested: Ilford PanF, Kodak TMax 100, Kodak TMax 400, Kodak Tri-X, Ilford HP5, Ilford XP2 Super, Ilford Delta 3200.

To ensure consistency throughout the experiment, the film stock was the only experimental condition. The control conditions are as follows:

  • Camera: Hasselblad 501CM
  • Lens: 60mm f/3.5 CB
  • Lighting: 2 Profoto B1X with diffusers
  • Light meter: Sekonic Lightmaster
  • Focusing Aid: Schneider Kreuznach 4x loupe

The loupe was used to set the focus at the start of the exposure test for each film stock. To ensure the exposure value (EV) was correct, the light meter (using an incident setting) was used to identify the neutral exposure as well as each EV in the center of the frame.

All B&W film was developed by the Darkroom Lab and all C-41 film was developed at home using a Jobo CPP2. All scans were done at home using an Epson V600. Each frame was scanned flat and adjusted in PS identically for all frames (‘true black’ was set by the darkest part of the record).


The results did not turn out as I expected. Although, for most of films tested, I had no idea what to expect. While there are some sources out there doing some exposure testing, I have not found a source completely satisfactory. I approached Matt Seal about this idea and told him I wanted to do it. His interest, skillset, and appreciation for the scientific method made the compliment to my own intellectual pursuits and scientific rigor. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to learn about how exposure changes an image and how that change differs by film stock.

For those getting into film, with the exception of the famously linear response curve of Acros 100 (R.I.P.), most all film stocks have a logarithmic-type response curve. While every film stock is different, most all of them adhere to this pattern. As such, when you get to a certain point, it becomes more and more difficult to increase exposure by a full stop. In the film world, this is known as reciprocity failure. It generally only affects long exposures and depending on the film stock, can result in some color shifting after a certain point.

Getting back on track – it is because of this behavior in the response curve that allows you to continue to pour in the light without blowing out the highlights. It should be noted that the response curve is what makes film so unique and separates it from digital. Between film stocks, it is not just that colors are rendered different ways but it also interprets light differently. Comparing film with digital, digital has a perfectly linear response curve. This means that it blows out the highlights much faster but conversely, it does not lose details in the shadows near as quickly.

Results – Color Film

Comparing the neutral exposures, the Ektar is good bit more punchy while having a more delicate transition in tones. Portra 800 is noticeably warmer than even the Portra 400 – something I expected as it’s more contrasty but I didn’t expect it to quite the extent that it was.

I think I was most impressed with the Ektar of all the film stocks. I’ve only used it twice and neither time did I like the outcome. Although admittedly, both times I only had the scans from the local film lab in Charleston – and they had a really bad habit of over saturating any and all scans to the Nth degree. After those, I’ve stayed away from it from it until this testing. As soon as I saw these results, I picked up 2 pro packs to take on a trip to Banff.

Between the 2 400 speed films, I think that the Portra 400 held up a bit better than the Pro 400H when it comes to overexposing by more than 2 stops. But if you prefer cooler tones, you would probably conclude the opposite.

Results – Black and White Film

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the stocks behaved in a similar way except for the Delta 3200 – which didn’t get crushed blacks near as quickly or dramatically. This isn’t particularly unexpected given the difference in emulsion and the fact that it’s actually just a really flexible 1000 asa film.

Probably the most surprising performance was TMax 100. I think that it stood up to underexposure better than any of the other stocks and while I don’t see myself ever accidentally (or purposefully) overexposing by 5 stops, I think it handled the contrasty parts quite well. All in all, I’m going to have to pick some of this up an shoot it immediately.

As for second place in the biggest surprise, Ilford HP5 did a great job in my opinion. Since I tend to find myself in positions of not having enough light more than too much light, I care a lot about the ability to be underexposed. In this area, I think HP5 did really well.

Last specific thing I’ll touch on – I was genuinely surprised to see how similar T-Max 400 and Tri-X were. The Tri-X had a bit more grit but overall they were pretty similar.

Special Thanks

Of course, a huge thanks to Matt for the encouragement and supplying the all the equipment and his technical know-how to make sure the scientific rigor was above reproach. Could not have done it without him.

Thanks to Pete for his input, insight, and participation in the peer review(-ish) process. His input has been extraordinarily helpful in ensuring everything was reported in a clear and reproducible way.

Review: Mamiya 645 Pro TL

The 645 system was my second foray into the medium format game and it’s currently my most used camera. For those familiar with 120 cameras, a 645 negative is more than 2.5 times the size of a 35mm negative. It may not seem like much but it makes a huge difference when you print any of your work. The relative grain is much smaller and the perceived sharpness improves.

When I was in the market for a new medium format camera, it was to replace the RB67 for my short-term traveling and hiking. I was torn between a Pentax 645 and the Mamiya 645 Pro. Ultimately, I decided to go with the Mamiya 645 Pro TL. The lenses are (relatively) inexpensive and are quite incredible. As of March 2019, my lens collection included a 55 f/2.8, 80 f/2.8 N, and a 150 f/3.5 N. In prepping for a trip to Banff, I’m looking into getting a longer focal length. For whatever reason, the longer focal lengths seem to be less expensive up to a point and getting up close and personal on some scenes would be nice as most of the shots you see are all with a wide-angle.

My version of the of the 645 came with the AE prism – a prism that has aperture priority mode. I wasn’t sure about it at first but have really grown to love it. A lot of my photography is born out of spontaneity and without spending time to set up every shot, missing the exposure happens and can ruin a shot – not to mention, dialing in the focus and then shutter speed itself can miss a moment itself. With the shutter speed calculation taken out of the equation, I have found the process of taking photos to be more enjoyable.

Another of my favorite characteristics is the ability to change the backs mid roll. At any given time, you can switch between 3200 asa black and white film to a 400 speed color film and back again. On any trip, I’m usually bring black and white film, color film, and transparency film at various speeds. Being able to switch out at any time provides a lot of flexibility.

Interview: Peter Gotz

“I realized how important portraiture is in the grand scheme of things and how important it is to photograph the people you love

When I first came across Peter’s IG account, I felt really compelled by his photos – they all feel so genuine. I hope that as I grow as a photographer, I can capture as many moments in such spectacular beauty as Peter has been doing.

JM: Hey Pete! Thanks for agreeing to do this.  As far as film photographers that I only know through social media go, I’d say I feel most akin to your style.  I really look forward to getting to know more about you. 

JM: Why do you shoot film?

PG: There’s a comfort and confidence that comes along with shooting film. You have a certain set of skills and you have to trust in yourself when you pit yourself against a scene. You gotta trust your instincts and get into a flow where you are sure of your composition and exposure choices. Once you commit and capture your image then there is a moment of pride and relief where you can take a breath knowing (or hoping) that you nailed it. Then you move on. When I’m shooting film I am not tempted like in digital to take many pictures of the same subject at slightly different angles with slightly different settings. My digital shooting experience is filled with chaos and double-guessing instead of peace and serenity. Shooting film is definitely a more enjoyable process for me. 

JM: What is your favorite film? Camera?

PG: My favourite B&W film is Tri-X. My favourite Slide Film is Velvia 50. My favourite C41 film is a toss-up between Ektar 100 and Portra 160. Those choices are highly influenced by what my favourite photographs have been shot on.

PG: My favourite film camera is the Nikon F3. I actually thought it was a pretty ugly camera initially but it has definitely grown on me. My collection of Nikkor primes are an absolute joy to use with that machine. Qualms I have about it though: – you can’t see the shutter speed LEDs in the dark through the viewfinder. It also is annoying to operate both the exposure compensation dial and also the mirror-lockup mechanism. There is no single perfect camera out there, only what works for you!

JM: What proportion of your shots turn out as you hoped (or better)?

PG: I don’t think I have ever developed a roll where there wasn’t at least 1 image that I was really happy with.. (That is except for the “Zeiss Crisis of 2017” when my roll came out completely blank from a Zeiss Contaflex that I picked up for $20 from a trunk of an antique shop in Toronto’s distillery district). The reason I stuck with shooting film is that the first roll of film that I ever shot (Ilford XP2 at the Calgary Stampede) was the best SERIES of 36 images that I had ever captured in a row. I flip through those 36 prints and am so proud of the variety, the story, and the quality, whereas if I scroll through 36 digital images in my Lightroom photostream then I just can’t wait to blast past them to get to the film stuff. There’s a certain magic that’s involved in the process of shooting film. I think there’s always going to be a proportion of images that turn out better than imagined, worse than imagined, and exactly how you envisioned. I try not to get too bogged down in it and try to stay humble. As long as I end up with one photograph that I am very proud of as a result of hours of shooting, developing, scanning, and editing, then I think it’s all worth it. The anticipation and delayed gratification is an amazing feeling. It forces you to sit with the images in your mind where they can live with you and the memories of the moment solidify before you ever even see the final developed photograph. Pretty awesome to slow things down a beat and practice some patience and contemplative photography in this Internet age where everybody else needs results yesterday.

JM: It’s really difficult for me to choose a favorite photo of yours.  If I had to pick one, I’d say it’s the one of your wife before you proposed (IG – 06Jan2019).  The mood of it reminds me so much of dozens of shots I’ve taken of Brittany.  Where does that shot rank for you?  

“Essentially the same light that touched your subject touched your film… I think that is so powerful and special.”

PG: Haha thanks! I actually brought my digital kit on that trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada, but made a last minute decision to swing for the fences and to try to shoot my engagement with the Hassy! It was a beautiful moment for us and I’m really glad I made the decision to capture it on a tangible medium which I value so much. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy before but I really think it’s an important point to mention – when you shoot a portrait of a person on film then that emulsion is actually capturing photons of light that bounced off that person and which are then harnessed through chemical reactions on film.. Essentially the same light that touched your subject touched your film. I think that is so powerful and special. Years can pass by and you can lose loved ones but having a negative of that person to cherish is pretty awesome and special.

JM: What is your favorite shot you’ve ever taken?  What’s the story behind it?

PG: My favourite shot I’ve ever taken is a portrait of my dad. My then girlfriend at the time (now wife) and I were visiting my parents in Vancouver and it was a beautiful sunny day on Granville Island when Sirena, my dad, and I popped into the Granville Island Brewing Company to cool down with some refreshments. It is such a happy memory for me just chatting and sharing stories. I had just picked up a Yashica D TLR (60 year old camera) and had it loaded with some Tri-X that I had decided to push to 1600. I rested it on the table and placed a little booklet under the front legs to angle it upwards a bit. I set my aperture to f4 and my shutter speed around 1/125th and as we were talking and having fun I lightly pressed the shutter release and heard the quiet little leaf shutter click. It was just a genuine experience with my dad rather than a formal portrait shoot. The guy is my hero and I’m really proud of that image. Shooting portraits can be really hard and daunting but it doesn’t always have to be. I think it was that moment that I realized how important portraiture is in the grand scheme of things and how important it is to photograph the people you love. 

More of Peter’s photos can be seen below:

Interview: Meagan Mastriani

“When I have a limited number of shots, I choose them more carefully, and I’m relieved of the pressure to capture everything.”

You can find more of Meagan’s work on her Instagram

When I was in college I met a guy named James who would become one of my closest friends. Years later he started dating Meagan subsequently we became good friends as well. Eventually, Meagan got James into film and then the two of them got me into film. There’s been no looking back.

JM – Thanks again for doing this.  Without having you in my life, I doubt very seriously I would have have gotten back into film photography.  I’ve always looked up to James and I think you’ve been a huge influence to his creative side and between the two of you, a huge influence on mine.  I think it’s only fitting that you be the first person I ask to interview.  Hopefully, your love for film can influence others as it did me.

MM – I’m happy and flattered you’d want me to be part of your website. It’s an honor. And I feel the same way about you and James, and how we’ve all inspired each other creatively. James always says he wouldn’t have learned to play guitar without you, and now that he’s taught me and we are able to write music together, I feel like we owe that to you! I’m really happy that all of our paths crossed in the way that they did and that we’ve been able to motivate each other to make art.

JM – Why do you shoot film?

MM –  Shooting film feels really freeing. When I have a limited number of shots, I choose them more carefully, and I’m relieved of the pressure to capture everything. I find that when I shoot digital, I often re-do the same photo again and again, trying to get the perfect version. It’s good practice, but it can take me out of the moment. And since I mostly take pictures of my friends and family in everyday settings, it’s nice just to document that one moment, then put down the camera.

“Every day, I feel a little sad and anxious when it gets dark, but those last soft moments of sunlight make me giddy and tingly.”

JM – What proportion of your shots turn out as you hoped (or better)?

MM –  Great question. It’s pretty satisfying if about a third of my shots turn out well. On a roll of 36, if I get about 12 photos I’m really happy with, that’s solid for me.

JM – My favorite shot of yours is probably a shot you took of James and me in a parking garage in ATL back in ’16.  Where does that shot rank to you?

MM – Thanks! Do you mean this one? I have a soft spot for that photo, too. That was a fun day, running around to all those parking garages to see which one had the best view of the city. We kept trying to get up on the rooftops, but I really liked how being inside the garage framed the scene.

JM – What is your favorite shot you’ve ever taken?  What’s the story behind it?

MM – Maybe it’s a tie between a shot of a sunset in Seoul and a portrait of James at a cafe in Vienna? The link between them is they’re both very pink! That gorgeous rosy, dusky light touches something in me. Every day, I feel a little sad and anxious when it gets dark, but those last soft moments of sunlight make me giddy and tingly. I wish that light could last for hours instead of minutes. I guess I should go to Norway or Alaska.

Some of Meagan’s favorite work is below.

Flagstaff: New city, new film – Ektachrome and Provia

Similar to the story when I went to NYC, I went to Arizona in mid-late 2018 for Brittany’s birthday and we planned to go the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff for two days of hiking – two places I’ve never visited and was very excited to see. To make it even better, the quaking aspens outside of Flagstaff happened to be changing color.  It happens only for about a week a year and there was no way for us to have planned for that when we booked the trip.  As you can imagine, we felt quite lucky and wanted to take full advantage.

I decided to do the best, most well-thought out thing I could do.  I was going to shoot through two stocks I’ve never used before and have little to no idea how they would behave.  I may well never go back to these places again and it is extraordinarily unlikely I’ll be there again at the time of year to experience those same or even similar experiences.  Obviously, if you want to make sure you leave with shots to remember the trip by, you would want to shoot with something reliable.

Instead, I loaded in a roll of Fujichrome Provia 100F into the Mamiya 645.  I let the camera’s auto exposure mode do its thing as I’ve come to learn it’s pretty spot on.  In fact, I would argue it’s more reliable than the meter in my F2.  So there we had it. I put my faith in a new film and went for it.


On the same trip, at the same time in fact, I had a roll of Ektachrome E100 loaded in my Nikon F2.  Given that the 645 only goes through 15-16 frames on a roll, I knew I could finish that and load in some Portra and get something from the day.  But for the F2, the camera I shoot with primarily, it was a bit more of a vote of confidence in both myself, the camera, and the film.  As with all slide film, the exposure latitude is narrow but the payoff is great.  I 100% suggest it.  It is without a doubt the most additive thing about film photography.


NYC: New city, new film – Kodak Tri-X

As you may have read in the review I did on Kodak Tri-X, my first introduction to it was on a trip to NYC.  As it happens, I have been to NYC a couple times before this visit but I had never taken a film camera; all but one trip I had taken my Sony a7 with me.  Generally, when I’m trying something new – like a new film – I try to keep the experimental conditions to a minimum.  At best, I would have my same camera, in the same or similar enviroment, taking photos similar subjects.  How else am I supposed to know if I really like the new film?

If you’re me or like me, you don’t tend to shoot as much normally as you would if you were out and about – particularly if you’re on a trip.  As such, I don’t always get those chances to get out and go through a roll or two as an experiement before I go on a trip.  Instead, in some instances, I pick up some film and I find that the best time to give it a go is when I’m on a trip, potentially in a place I’ve never been and potentially in a place I’ll never go to again.  If you’re like me, you like to have photos from these trips so taking the risk of using a film you have no experience with leaves a lot to chance.

And sometimes that chance rewards you with photographs you never expect and will now treasure for the rest of your life.

That’s what happened to me on a recent trip to NYC.  Granted – I was taking a chance with Tri-X, a film that’s highly acclaimed and well documented.  Nevertheless, I didn’t know what to expect from it and I couldn’t have been happier.