I knew we’d take a few shots down by the lake so I also packed a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 for this shoot.  Ektar has a wonderful color – although you have to shoot it a bit more like slide film (or digital) in that it doesn’t handle extreme over exposure like Portra 400 can – it really needs pretty much a rock solid exposure.

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If the shoot is a person and I want color – you can bet on the fact I’m going to have Kodak Portra 160 and 400 ready and loaded.   While Portra 160 gives ever so better results in the right light – the shear versatility of Portra 400 is unmatched and it is my goto film if I’m not 100% sure of the light conditional I’ll be dealing with.

As for the gear, this was the last shoot with the Pentax 645N before I sold it.   Looking at the quality of these images it’s hard to find any fault with results from this wonderful camera.   It is without a doubt the finest 645 medium format camera out there for weddings and portraits in my opinion – yeah a lot of people rave about the Contax – until the fickle POS dies on you mid shoot because it’s too (insert one:  hot, cold, humid, dry, Saturday, month with an R, etc).   If I was focusing still on weddings and portraits – this would be my goto camera – but it just doesn’t feel right in my hands if I’m not shooting a wedding or portrait.

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I also decided to break out some “off camera lighting” for this shoot.   In this case I was using a trio of Cactus FR60 flash units being fired by a cactus V6 transceiver.  These are left over from the wedding days when I’d rock these things for wedding receptions – but the truth is film responds even better to digital to flash.

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Processed by The Find Lab

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For medium format color negative film I am an absolute Kodak fan.  Here is a few shots from the recent Forest Dance project that was captured on the Pentax 645N and using Kodaks Portra 160 film.   Processed and scanned by The Find Lab.

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So a few years back I saw a photo of a ballet dancer, the focus was just on the legs and feet while en pointe, and I always wanted to do something along those lines – but in a woodland setting. Earlier this year after my move to 100% film I got just that chance.

I reached out to Denver model and classic trained dancer Shelby Carr and discussed the shoot idea.  While she had no shortage of dance photos in her portfolio the combination of film and the forest sounded like something just a little different so we setup the shoot.

Most of this shoot was captured on the Pentax 645n – a truly wonderful portrait film camera, which I’ve since sold. Despite being such a beautiful portrait camera, and was truly my goto camera for weddings and portraits, I find the subject matter of my shoots to be pretty varied these days and I’ve moved to something that while still wonderful for portraits – also is excellent for macros and landscapes as well.

Here’s a few of my favorites – I’ll follow up this post with some detailed posts on the films and gear used.

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