The “Texas Leica” (aka the Fuji GW690ii)

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)

Exploring Louisiana, 2021

I thought I would share some photographs from our trip to Lousiana last month. I’m healing quite nicely and just finished my fourth and final rabies shot from the dog encounter.

I also added a new subscribe feature to this blog. You can receive my posts via email now if you wish. I’m feeling motivated to post more frequently these days.

(Color photographs made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400 film. Black and white photos made with a Contax T3 and Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).

The Big Island

After a great deal of thought and planning (and testing) we made a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. Our last trip to the Big Island was over 20 years ago and this island (and the world) was quite a bit different. It was also a time before we had children. This time we spent about a month in a small rental house on the west side of the island and spent our days exploring, hiking, playing board games and reading. We all fell in love with the Big Island. It’s so peaceful, the people are incredibly kind and the food was delicious. I’m completely addicted to loco moco and Kona coffee.

It was a very special trip and I am happy we were able to spend it together as a family.

I brought along two cameras, a medium format Hasselblad (square images) and a 35mm Leica M6. And many rolls of Kodak film.

Our first RV trip

We have always wanted to rent a RV. Daydreams of getting an Airstream and exploring the southwest or perhaps the Pacific northwest. One of those things on the wanderlust to do list. But we never did it.

So a few weeks ago, we rented a RV. It wasn’t as cool as an Airstream. While new-ish, it looked like it was straight out of the 70s. But getting a RV rental isn’t easy as many of them are taken this time of year and that is especially true during this pandemic. Our original plan was to drive north into Vermont. But the campgrounds in Vermont discouraged visitors from Massachusetts given the Covid cases spiking in our county.

Instead we found a campground in the Berkshire Mountains. We loaded our clothes, supplies, food, coffee(!) and camera gear and headed west. Driving a RV is quite different than our electric sedan. The RV is massive, it’s loud and drives like a boat. But it’s super fun. A feeling of indepence. We had everyting we needed in our little house on wheels.

The fall colors in the Berkshires were fantastic and so was the crisp morning air that greeted us each day. And it was fun to get away and just enjoy time together hiking during the day and relaxing each evening in our camper. We missed having our daughters with us on this trip but they are in college now. I can totally picture my son getting a RV with his friends when he’s older.

I am grateful for our getaway. I’m now even more excited for a future trip to the southwest :)

(Color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra film. Black and white photographs made with a Leica M-A and Kodak Tri-X film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).

Mount Cardigan

A few weeks back, my wife and I made a day trip to New Hampshire and spent the day exploring Mount Cardigan. We heard about this place many times over the years but this was our first time. It was one of those magical fall days, the weather was crisp and the colors of the season was a real treat. The hike itself took about 4 hours round trip. The last 1/4 mile up the face was super challenging but felt great at the top.

(All of these photographs were made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400 film. Developed and processed at Richard Photo Lab in California.)