Eat Pomegranate Photography
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Boutique Film Lab

February 19, 2018
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New Friendships

In parallel to my writeup about BFL, these photos will tell a story of a quick weekend getaway with one roll of Kodak Ektar, one roll of Kodak Portra, and a Leica M6. This is a view of Lake Michigan off M-22.

Working with a Lab

When we shoot digital images, we spend much more time editing our photographs than we do shooting them. When we take pictures on film, that task of developing is left in the hands of another person. The relationship between a film photographer and their lab is a true creative bond. The lab tech brings a photographer’s images to life.

For an upcoming project, I thought to work with a new lab. This new project has forced me to start the whole creative process absolutely afresh. I have come up with a few things to consider as I start this new working relationship with Botique Film Lab (BFL).

To get the ball rolling on this blog post, I grabbed two of my favorite rolls (more on this later), hopped in a car, and went on a road trip to Northern Michigan. These pictures are all from this shoot and everything is developed by BFL.


  1. Understanding the Process: Building any new relationship is about learning how the other person works. It is really important to learn about the logistics of shipping your film and getting your scans (and film) back. These are the things that often get overlooked when you are working with a lab. In the crunch of a photo deadline these logistical things are life savers.
    On BFL’s website, you put items in your shopping cart with any details about push or pull processing. In the comments section, you can include any details with special instructions or processing inspiration. I already know how I like my film developed, so I was able to send BFL some other scans in a link. Upon paying for these shopping cart items a shipping document is generated and you send your film off to BFL. When your film is done being processed, you get digital scans emailed to you and your film mailed back. I really loved that the filenames for each image indicate which film stock they are from. I didn’t have to go back to the negatives to figure things out.
  2. Communication: It is so important to start early with establishing a working relationship with your lab and especially the person who will be developing your film. Upon mailing in my film, I gave BFL a call just to give them a general sense of what I was working on. Like I said earlier, it takes a lot for me to surrender my negatives to another creative and just talking to someone can make you (me) feel better.
  3. Test rolls: I am primarily a medium format photographer but for this shoot I was working with 35mm film. The grain in medium format is totally different than on 35mm rolls and I like to process the film differently depending on the format. Both, when working with a new lab and working with new film stock,
    test rolls are a major key! Side note: I said that in a heavy DJ Khaled voice.
  4. Tweak: The main difference between a good lab and a lab at a pharmacy is how you get to make personalized tweaks during the developing process. Take advantage of the fact that a good photo lab will work with you to make sure the film developing is specialized to your specific shoot. Notes like that are helpful to your lab.


Wineyards

My camera introduces me to such dynamic personalities. This guy was harvesting grapes for wine and was kind enough to pause his busy day to take a picture with me.

Yak

There is a Yak farm in Traverse city. I had to stand on top of my car to get this shot. Hopefully I can make it back there next time to get a closer look.

Chef

Every road trip should have pitstops for good food and sometimes you are lucky enough to hang out with the chef.



Thanks

Thanks for coming along for the ride.


36 images

A good camera really minimizes the distance between the idea of a photo and the execution of taking a photo. When someone is taking a picture they are considering hundreds of visual elements and when a good composition locks in, the act of taking that photo should be simple. Leicas have a cult status amongst photographers because these cameras get out of the way as much as possible.
I wanted to put mine through it’s toughest test: shooting a high-energy Grouplove show. This was a concert at the United Center in Chicago and along with my digital camera, I brought a roll of black and white film. I had 36 opportunities to capture Grouplove’s energy. The black and white film stripped away all the color from the lighting and just left me with the band.

Sidenote: Check out their latest album.

Hannah

This is Hannah taking in the packed United Center crowd right after their first song.


Shooting to a beat

Leica’s rangefinders are manual focus cameras. A lot of concert photographers shoot to the beat and predict what is about to happen. This camera forces you to get better at making those predictions. I couldn’t rely on instantaneous autofocus; Gah! that aspect added such a thrill to the shooting experience.
Unlike SLRs, where the viewfinder shows you exactly what you are going to get as a final result, rangefinders show you frame lines within your viewfinder. This let’s you see what is happening inside and outside your frame. This let’s you see what is coming in and out of your composed photo.

Band

A wider shot of the whole band (almost).

End

This is closer to the end of their set and I loved how the light was shining perfectly on Hannah.

Contact Sheet

Here is my contact sheet from this roll. I still get giddy when I get rolls back from the lab and immediately review them like this.

Coast to Coast

February 12, 2016
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Water

This woman traveled to the West Coast to collect a bottle of water from the ocean. She walked along the beach as that bottle clinked against her shoe. When she was ankle deep in the water, she dipped in her bottle, and then walked all the way back. This whole ritual was so simple and beautiful.

On a separate note, I couldn’t get over how perfectly these clouds registered on this film stock. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, film.

Travel

Some of my oldest memories are of laying on top of the speakers behind the back seat of my parent’s light blue 1975 Datsun 120Y. My parents would take me and my brother on long cross-country road trips using difficult/technical trucking routes. At a relatively young age we had seen every province of Pakistan. We had been to the forts of Multan, the peaks of the Himalayas, the desert of Sindh, had seen the flow of the Indus, and the beaches of Karachi. This wanderlust has been passed down to all of my siblings. Last year alone, me and my siblings visited four continents including extended stays in Africa and the Middle-East.
I really wanted to end 2015 on a strong note. I was originally going to go to Pakistan but the overlap with my sister and my mom was only two days. For the first time in years, I was left with a block of unscheduled days. I decided to go on a coast to coast adventure; from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast.

Pacific Ocean

The crashing waves of the Pacific Northwest minutes after arriving in Seaview, WA.



Film

A friend recently asked me if I am always looking at the world in terms of how I would photograph it and my answer was a resounding “no.” It is so much more important to look around and let pictures reveal themselves. If I was to look at everything through the cross hatches of a view finder, I would probably miss the all the beauty. The act of shooting without a digital viewfinder helps me slow down. For this whole trip, I only took my film camera and a few rolls of film. I hope you enjoy all of this medium format goodness.

Camera: Mamiya 645
Film:      Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Ektar 100
Lab:      Indie Film Lab


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I am always looking to capture fleeting interactions between people—the little things we all notice, but forget almost just as quickly. Those passing moments make up most of our lives. This is why photographs are so exciting; they keep us connected to our surroundings, past and present.

This photo captures one of those moments. I was walking around Chicago and saw three friends enjoying cigars. I reached into my bag and got my film camera ready for a shot. As I was focusing the lens, the guy in the middle threw me a peace sign. I took the shot, put my camera in my bag, waved back, and continued on. I didn’t realize the guy was Steve Harvey until the scans came back from the film lab. In fact, if I had known it was him, I probably would have left him alone and given him a break from being in the public eye.

Steve Harvey, if this post somehow makes it across your screen, thanks for being so cool about letting me take your photo, and sorry for interrupting your cigar break. It looks like you had great company.


A USVI Wedding

Amber and Josh have been visiting St. John for many years. People on the street knew their names and it was obvious that this this Island is a second home to both Josh and Amber. I am always humbled when people invite me to photograph their most special moments and this whole weeks was full of moments like that.
I put together a series of photos to share one day from their week long wedding celebration.
Also, if you are planning an island wedding, I highly recommend you go forward with it.

enjoy!


Map

Most of the wedding guests rented villas around the Island. I am always drawn to maps and this one put this wedding venue in perspective.

Gowns

The bride and the bridesmaids had these gowns. I loved how much attention Amber and Josh paid to little details. The bridesmaids gowns had these bougainvillea flowers in their pockets waiting for their arrival.

Rings

Amber and Josh’s wedding rings on sea fan coral.
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run


People often ask Brian why he runs. In response, he talks about how as kids most of us ran to and fro from everywhere. Brian never stopped running.

There is something incredibly zen about running long distances. After your first few steps, your brain stops telling your legs to move, the message is originated from your spinal column (Dietz, 2003). This “mini-brain” in your spinal column is incredible at sending rhythmic signals to your legs and is smart enough to help you navigate around changes in terrain (Frossberg, 1975). When people have been running for a long distance, it starts to feel like you are gliding along a path and that feeling is probably better than anything. Sorry – I digress.

Here is a photo-story of what it is like to run a 100 mile race. Brian ran the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Race over the weekend. He is an incredible ultra-marathoner and his shoulders met with runners from Hawaii and even as far as Japan.
I hope you enjoy these photos and make sure to tap (mobile version) or hover over (desktop version) for stories behind each of these images.


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I love this

This photo was taken a little before sunset; the warm light, the red tomatoes, and this guy’s expression make it one of my all time favorite photos. I love environmental portraiture like this and how one image can tell so much of a story.

Portraiture

This is probably the best photo I have ever taken. That may sounds like a dramatic statement but I have such a strong connection with this image. I was a little protective about sharing this portrait because it is likely that I don’t have the right words to explain why I love it so much. I shot this at a market in Blantyre, Malawi this January and initially this guy was pretty shy but he warmed up to us quickly.
Once in a while, the camera is able to capture real expressions and that is what keeps me shooting. I was just talking to a friend about how this photo has raw beauty and sometimes you have to get a little off the grid to get images like this. I am so happy my camera was with me this evening.

Skyline

This is a glimpse of Cape Town’s Skyline.

I woke up around sunrise and went for the longest walk around Cape Town. These are photos from an epic day-long walk around the city. I hope I was able to capture a glimpse into the beautiful of such a heavenly city. Cape Town is the perfect mixture of natural beauty and an urban landscape. Oh and there is always a sea breeze off the Atlantic. As I look back at this trip, I have spent long periods staring at the photo above. Every time I see that panorama, it takes me back to this walk.
enjoy!

A Path

As I was walking down the street, I saw some people out by the water. One of the guys out there was swimming in the water and his blue trunks juxtaposed against the water drew me in.


Swim

Isn’t this the most perfect way to start your day: “I will be right back, I am going to go for a quick swim in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Lines

You know how I like lines.

More Lines

… and a few more.


Red

I have a bunch of pictures of these little German cars. I couldn’t get enough of them.

More Red

After I got done taking this photo I realized that there were a bunch of people waiting on the sidewalk for me to take my picture.

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A street of color

This is one of the first photos I took when I got to Bo Kaap. I was seriously overwhelmed by the color. Wouldn’t you love to wake up and walk out to a street like this?

Cape Town has so much to offer but the idea of visiting a the Muslim quarter with every house painted in a different pastel color was the most intriguing. Bo Kaap was the first place I visited when I got to the city.

Edges

This might be my favorite photo from the set. I need to come up with a hashtag for photos that are worthy of hanging on my wall.

Walk

People leaving their homes to head to work early in the morning.
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Lion's Head


I was just getting home after summiting Lion’s Head and made plans for watching the sunset.

It is not very often that I get to see the sun dip behind the Atlantic Ocean. I was getting home after a long day of hiking and a taxi driver highly recommended this view. I rushed home, showered and headed out to Signal Hill for a view of the sunset. I made it just in time for this view and I wasn’t alone. I hope these photos give you a glimpse of one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in a very long time.

Sun

The sun dips below the horizon leaving the city of Cape Town in the dark.

The view

I joined a few other people to catch this sunset.

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