This Story begins back in the year 2000. I had been an in-house industrial photographer working for an engineering and manufacturing firm for the previous 20 years. It had been about four years since the company I worked for relocated, shut down my darkroom, and outsourced all film processing.
Without access to a darkroom, I was anxious to get my first digital camera for personal work, a Canon Powershot G1. To facilitate this purchase I sold my Fujifilm GW670II Professional to a relative. In a short while, the G1 bricked itself. Staying with digital photography from that time on, I hated myself for selling that Fuji 6×7.
Fast forward to 2019, recently retired, and feeling retrospectful, I acquired a used Epson Perfection V750 to scan my old negatives. Scanning those negatives and chromes, I became even more haunted by the regret of selling that Fuji 6×7 and now it was time to kill that feeling.
I finally found a pristine Fujifilm GW690II Professional on eBay; no lens fungus, with 2600 shutter actuations. For me, this camera is the closest I can get without having to resort to a 4×5 view camera. It’s simply a good lens on a sturdy body, reliably transporting a big negative. No batteries or electronics.
Loaded with the old standby Tri-X 400, and using a Weston Master IV with an incident light dome, I went to Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, CT where once the rich and powerful of that city are interred, including P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb. It’s one of my favorite places to shoot. Previously, one of my images from Mountain Grove was published in the book, “199 Cemeteries To See Before You Die” by Loren Rhoads.
Developed in Kodak D-76 1:1, this is the first roll of film I processed in over 23 years. Between 1980 and 1996, I shot and processed black and white film from 35mm to 8×10 and everything in between.
Now I realized what I missed.
It’s that anxiousness that comes over you after the shutter clicks and before the darkroom lights come on, and you wonder if that image will be there as you wanted it. There is no reviewing the shot on a little screen. No reassurance until the negatives are washed and hung.
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I’m reading this article as I’m developing some tri-x from my Hasselblad in D-76 (stock, but still…). Nice work, and welcome back 🙂
Ed these are beautiful photos and that Fuji looks factory fresh, thanks for sharing! How do you enjoy using the Weston meter? I usually spot meter everything but mine just died and I like how compact your Weston is. Also, do you feel limited with the fixed lens of this rangefinder rather than the older alternate Fuji G690?
I’ve had that Weston meter for about 30 years after buying it at a flea market. Later I was able to find the incident light some and daylight filter that goes with it. It’s not the easiest meter to use but it’s accurate and requires no batteries.
I’m now using a Gossen Luna Pro F. It works with flash or continuous light and uses a common 9 volt battery.
The semi wide focal length is fine for most of my work so I don’t feel limited. However, I did just aquire a Fuji GSW 690 that has 65mm lens. Those two cameras should meet all of my needs.
The Weston Master IV has been my most favorite meter since I bought it at a flea market 30 years ago. I was also able to acquire the incident light dome made for that meter. Because it does not require a battery and is accurate in normal light conditions, it’s handy when shooting film.
I don’t feel limited when using one lens, the moderate wide lens really suits the style of my work. Just in case though, I recently acquired a Fuji GSW 690. Same camera but with a 65mm lens. Rather than changing lenses, I’ll just switch cameras.
Good job sir! It just keeps getting better from here.
Love the story behind this! The photos are strong and fantastic and the fact that you developed them yourself is absolutely the best! Looking forward to whats next for you!
Thanks for the compliment. My next set will be with my next acquisition. A Fuji GSW690. (65mm lens version)
That final paragraph of yours perfectly crystallizes my feelings about analog photography. It’s how I’ve always thought about the whole set of processes, but have never seen those thoughts expressed so succinctly.
Thank you !
Thanks. It’s that lack of instant feedback that forces the photographer to really consider exposure, composition, depth of field, etc. It also exercises previsualization skills.