Another one bites the Durst

During 2013 I’ve taken, developed and scanned over 300 rolls of black and white film.
I’ve shared most of my experiments in this little blog. It’s pretty much all in here, the cameras, the lenses, the films and developers, and the recipes.

Starting on the 1st of January I’ve decided to put my film cameras on hold and the arrival of the Ricoh GRD3 enhanced the will to stop shooting film for a while.

The truth is… I’ve not been very inspired for a while now… and a digital camera allows me to take bad shots in a much cheaper way.

However, as always when it comes to photography, things are not that simple.
The little Ricoh GRD3 is…. a joy to use. The results it delivers, in black and white, are amazing. There’s something about that little sensor that makes it special. It’s just addictive.

The Ricoh GRD3 is a great camera and it’s making me explore another kind of photographic situations like candid street pictures. The Ricoh is so small, and totally silent, that I just want to get close to people to take their picture. I’m discovering people’s faces.

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I’ve been having a lot of fun and, at the time, that is enough. I will not turn into a “street photographer” and I don’t want to. I’m just going with the flow and trying to remember the most important thing, to have fun.

Take a look at these two newborn Facebook pages I’ve created to share some digital images.
(Click on the images)

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If the Ricoh brought something new into my daily photographic routine, the access to a fully equipped darkroom has become my hideout.

I’ve been using the darkroom on weekends and I’m still remembering the basics but it’s all coming back to me. It’s like a time travel back to my student years.

Back in 1989 I was a freshman at Lisbon University of Fine Arts.
Many of the classes, like photography, were attended by both design and art students.

Right from the start it was clear that photography was a major link connecting many students despite wanting to major in art or design.

Those classes made me love photography more because I was beginning to understand how things work. Basic things like aperture, speed, exposure time, focal distances, depth of field… or even developing and printing.

That precious knowledge is a tool that’s been serving me well.
It serves me when I take my camera, it serves me when I develop and it is serving me now, 20 years later, in the darkroom.

I was not given any fish but instead I was given a proverbial fishing lesson.

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16 comments
  1. alex k said:

    You (and a few google searches) might have just convinced me to look into obtaining a gr3d myself.

    Those street shots look promising!

    • Thank you Alex. I truly believe that the GRD3 is a huge stop above the GRD2. I fell in love with my GRD2 but the difference of the files is really an improvement.

      Let me just say that the GRD2 is noisy at 200 ISO in color mode and the GRD3 delivers good results at ISO 400, and very decent results at 800 ISO. In black and white you can go up to 1600, the “noise” is just beautiful.

      Go for it.

  2. David said:

    Gorgeous post. The visual love letter to the darkroom is perfect. Congratulations on 300 rolls in 2013! I ended up with a bit over 230. I can understand the need to take a rest. I just never clicked with my GRD3. Maybe someday… The pressure to develop so often is intense. This year I’m hoping to develop a darkroom habit and print more often, but honestly it’s a lot of work, so we’ll see.

    • Thank you so much David.
      Yes my friend, it is a lot of work. Making a good print is a time demanding task. It’s an act of passion and skills working together.

      Printing again compensates for not shooting film lately. Like we say in Portugal, one hand washes the other and together they wash the face. 🙂

  3. Rufus Girard said:

    Yep, the GRD 3 is a sweet tool. It does so much and yet is so little. The snap settings are a joy. And, the silence is golden.
    Mine is getting on for 3 years old now, must be over 3500 frames on it and it still goes strong. I tried a Canon S90 for a year prior to the GRD 3 and simply fell apart in my hands. I grabbed one of the last GRD 4’s before they were discontinued permanently, that’s how well the GRD 3 has worked for me. The macro setting is total reliable and delivers in tight spots. So much of what you see online these days is a feature of a plug-in filter, the raw gritty images of the GRD 3 and 4 get overlooked, but they have a unique visual language all of their very own. Even now, a used GRD 3 is hard to find, and they go for quite a bit of money on eBay. What gets overlooked by many is the file size, which is very conservative by today’s standards, but is extremely practical, efficient and effective. I consider the images from the GRD 3 to be the closest I can get to working in the wet darkroom, perhaps that is why I love it so?

    Keep us posted how Facebook works for you, it is something I have been mulling over for some time. Cheers, Rufus.

    • As usual my friend, amazing comment. Thank you.
      That’s one things I’ve been discovering about the GDR3, it must me taken seriously. I’ve taken pictures with it in color at 400ISO and they will be printed on a magazine full page.

      The GRD3 gives me a very special kind of joy to use.

  4. There is something magical about the darkroom. Understanding traditional photography makes it so much easier to understand digital.

    • Indeed my friend, indeed. If you know the darkroom “math” you will know the way to bend it on your behalf.
      Like… letting the band play while we improvise on top! 🙂

  5. serialphotographer said:

    I always loved printing and never tired of the magic that was a print developing fnt

  6. serialphotographer said:

    Hit key prematurely I do miss it I found it very therapeutic and used to chill in spite p of

  7. serialphotographer said:

    The failed attempts or the usual issues. That said the finesse you can bring to bear in the digital dark room is amazing. Sadly I cannot see me going back to the rocking trays but you can never say never.

    • I agree that it is a time consuming task but I could never separate photography from a certain kind of therapy. I don’t do it every day but I do like to rock the trays once a week. It relaxes me and I know that it is almost like a luxury, having the time to do something like this.

  8. Son of Sharecroppers said:

    Very fun! Great images from the GRD3.

  9. Nicole Small said:

    Hi, I am sorry i did not know how else to send you a message. I am a follower of your blog and I love the content, tips, advice your experiments …everything. I just recently created a wordpress site called “Around The World Photo Walk(s). I wanted to know if you would be open to being a contributor as one who presents all and everything you experiment or feel about film. I am in no way wanting to intrude but I would like to have not only photowalks on the site, but content that is inspiring to others. The site I created is purely for those who have a passion for photography, no contests and all that stuff.

    Would you be interested? It would be once a month… Please take a look at the blog so far(this was the first year of planning so things may seem a littl raw at the moment).

    http://aroundtheworldphotowalk.wordpress.com/

    Hope to hear from you,
    Nicole Small

    • Hello Nicole and thank you.
      You do have a nice blog and you really can bring together all kinds of inspirational themes and images.

      If you feel that I might add something of value, I will have to bow and to say yes.

      Sharing is the word.

      paulopires@me.com

      And thank you, I’m honored.

      • Nicole Small said:

        Fantastic! I just sent you a reply message to your email 🙂

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