talkin bout camerasa blog by Branden Frederick


Published 13 Dec 2017 – Updated 14 Dec 2017

Corporate Christmas

Here are 15 of downtown San Jose's best office tower lobby Christmas Trees. I shot these photos using the Kowa/SIX and Portra 160VC film (expired, but from the same stock as other rolls that worked well).

I have had little experience doing night photography on film, but it's something I want to learn. Ironing out my tripod technique has been a big step – I have a cable release for the camera, I now use a third party mounting plate which works better on the Kowa, and I'm spending that extra few seconds to make sure my shot really is leveled and squared – and having a solid tripod has been a big part of that. I also have been putting slight pressure on the camera to minimize any vibrations from the mirror.

And for exposing the film, I picked up an external analog exposure meter which fits in the tripod shoe of any camera. This is great at giving some idea to the light levels, but you've got to know how the meter works to really use it best – understanding its field of view and how it averages light levels across that view. I set the meter for ASA 80, and even then exposed generously, wanting to avoid any pure blacks on the film. I was leaning on the film's latitude to catch any overexposure, and just generally hoping that with shutter speeds between one and one half a second, reflections would be pulled out, and there wouldn't be too much reciprocity failure.

Like I said, I'm still new at this, but in my own personal opinion these are some of the better night film shots I've taken.

about Branden Frederick

I am a photographer: I have fun taking photos, and I always have.

I've had a camera in my hand my whole life, a 110 camera as a kid, and the high school's 35mm SLR later. In 2008 I spent six months doing nothing but taking photos and loved it. From that point on I've had my camera surgically attached to my hand (I lie). I went digital in the year 2000, and I came back to film in 2013. My parents tell me my photos are "nice".