Two weeks ago, Scott Smith and I flew from Utah to San Diego, California, and drove up to San Clemente for the Film Photography Project Walking Workshop at the headquarters of TheDarkroom.com. We arrived a day early because we knew we wanted to take our time getting to our hotel in Dana Point, and find some good photo ops along the way. We spent some time walking around San Clemente, stopping at various small shops including Arcade Camera. At six o’clock we went down to the pier for some photos at sunset. I took five film cameras with me, one of them was the Minolta SR-T202 that I had purchased earlier in the month. This was my first opportunity to use this camera, so I loaded it with some Kodak Ektar 100 film and casually walked along the beach. One of the shots I wanted to get was the lifeguard stand with the pier at sunset. This is the first time I’ve done any real landscape photography in several years.
The next morning at the workshop, we were greeted with a big smile and handshake from Michael Raso and Mat Marrash from the Film Photography Podcast. One of the first people in the group I recognized was Brian Moore, a knowledgeable photographer from Huntington Beach. Another was Mark Dalzell also from the Film Photography Podcast and Smoove Sailors. Mark gave me some advice last year on cleaning my Argus C3. We talked about what a great indestructible workhorse the C3 is.
The entire staff at The Dark Room deserve a big thank you. From myself and my fellow FPP friends, thank you! Keith, Phil, and Joe, the tour was fascinating. You opened your business doors to a bunch of strangers and customers (and some strange customers), answered countless questions and made sure everyone was having a good time. Again, thank you so much.
As the afternoon progressed, Michael and Mark spoke about unique, unusual, and hand-rolled films. One of the more entertaining presentations was Michael’s commentary about Svema film from Russia. They don’t respond to email, but will accept a purchase order, accept money, and ship film to the FPP in New Jersey. I believe the repeated remark from Michael was, “Hey! You don’t know what’s going on in Russia!” After completing the roll of Kodak Ektar in the Minolta SR-T202, I loaded it with Svema Color Negative 125. Photographers that have purchased it from the FPP Store have nothing but positive things to say, so I’m very optimistic. After the discussion on film, Michael gave away some unique film from the FPP Store, including some color infrared, 620 film and the new FPP 620 film spools.
Each FPP workshop attendee received a ticket to be part of a camera giveaway. Everyone had a chance to browse through several tables of cameras, select one, and enter the raffle to win that camera. I won a beautiful Minolta 7s rangefinder. Along with the camera came a printed instruction manual, a contact sheet displaying the test images from the camera, and a letter entitled, “To the new owner,” along with details and specific information about the camera. The Minolta 7s has a battery-powered exposure meter that originally required a mercury battery. The letter explains how the updated battery uses an adapter with a diode to step-down the power for the meter. Thank you FPP listener and contributor Johnny Brain in Iowa for this outstanding camera!
In the late afternoon, everyone boarded the FPP Big Yellow
School Bus and went to the San Clemente Pier for a photowalk. The weather was beautiful. I took my time walking along the pier, occasionally stopping to ask random people if I could take a photo of them. When I have a camera in my hands, I have no hesitation talking to people. This is something about me that makes my friends and family uncomfortable. I know it embarrasses my kids when I stop and photograph this way. Whether its candid street photography or street portraits, a smile and a positive comment can usually produce an interesting image. The day ended with a bus ride back to The Dark Room where we spent more time talking with other photographers while sharing our newly won cameras.
To be continued…