In November, we spent Thanksgiving week in Spain. We stayed in Barcelona where Ellie was studying for the semester. We had been to Spain before but this was my first trip to Barcelona and we also took the train for a day trip to Montserrat.
It is very hard not to fall in love with Spain. The culture, food, sights and people are amazing.
(All photographs made with a Leica M6 and Kodak Port 400 and 800 films. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California)
In June of this year I made a quick five day trip to Rome for a set of meetings. It’s been years since I’ve been to Italy and even longer since visiting Rome. And I just loved every moment. The people, the language, the food and the Italian spirt on every street and every interaction. I carried one camera and one lens everywhere and tried to capture little moments here and there.
We have been wanting to visit Iceland for a long long time. We made plans and had a trip on the books for April 2020 but that trip was canceled due to the pandemic. Two years later and a lot has changed and we felt like it was a safe time to make the trip. So last month we visited Iceland for the first time.
Iceland is truly magical. Many Icelanders believe in elves. And after my first trip I can imagine why. So much rich history and a breathtaking landscape combined with the heavenly northern lights makes for a place of wonder. This first trip was clearly too short. We only had time to visit Reykjavík and a portion of the southern coast. The weather this time of year was also extreme. Blistering winds and rain, followed by blue sky and then hail. All within the hour. And then the cycle seemingly repeats throughout the day. But it was an amazing experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Iceland, you are amazing. We will return.
(All color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra films. Black and white photographs made with a Leica MP and Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California.)
It’s impossible to get a feel for a place after just one visit.
And that was certainly true when it came to our experience with Anguilla. We made our first trip in 2016. It was a short visit and we were all much younger then. And we stayed in a big hotel and pretty much spent our days at the hotel pool and beach.
This time we rented a house for two weeks. It was away from the hotels. We rented a car and explored the island almost every day. Each beach and area of the island has something unique to offer. Each neighborhood has its own personality. A little bakery in an unlikely spot. Or a food truck with the best Johnny cakes imaginable. Or a set of swings that appeared out of nowhere. A favorite bbq place only open a few seemingly random days a week.
During our trip, we met a number of folks that return to Anguilla year after year, for decades. I totally get it.
(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw, Contax T3 | Film: Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 | Lab: FW Photo Lab in Texas)
The last time we traveled to St Barts was in March 2020 — just before the severity of Covid-19 was fully understood by most Americans. As a family we made a return trip last month during our Thanksgiving holiday vacation. To be certain, Covid-19 and associated variants are still creating health risks but we are fully vaccinated (two of us have received our boosters). So we felt comfortable making the trip.
It was so nice to travel together as a family. I am appreciating these times with Lauren and the kids more than ever.
All photographs taken with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra film.
A few months ago, I picked up the the Fuji GW690ii, affectionally called the “Texas Leica” by many. The nickname suits it quite well. Similar to a Leica, it is an all mechanical (no batteries!) true rangefinder camera — but way bigger because this camera makes massive 6×9 medium format exposures. This is the largest size you can get before you enter the land of large format photography.
Despite it’s potentially off-putting size, the Texas Leica is a joy to shoot. The fixed mount lens is a 90mm f/3.5 (which is roughly about a 50mm f/2 in full format). The lens creates a unique look to my eyes and it’s liberating not having to deal with additional lens options. Another meaningful constraint is only 8 shots per roll of 120mm film. This constraint really slows you down and I can feel myself relax when I’m out making photographs with this camera. Operating the camera (loading film, adjusting shutter, aperture and focusing) is super simple and straightforward. The rangefinder patch itself isn’t nearly as bright as the Mamiya 7ii or a Leica M but it’s totally functional.
The most significant drawback for me is the camera doesn’t have bulb mode. So long exposures (>1 second) requires the photographer to set the camera to T mode. Then after your desired exposure time, you have to turn the shutter dial to stop the film exposure. It works but it’s super odd.
I am still getting a feel for this camera and honestly not sure if it will replace my beloved Mamiya 7ii. But for now, I am having a lot of fun with it.
(All images made with the Fuji Gw690ii and Kodak Portra 400 film)
The off season on this little island is my favorite. Each Spring is quite magical as the daffodils appear seemingly out of nowhere, the birds return, the afternoon light hits different, and the island is still quiet just before summer.
(All photographs made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400. Developed and scanned by FW Photo Lab in Texas)