Contact Prints

FullSizeRenderThis weekend I finally got all the things I needed together to make my first contact prints.  I’ve been thinking about this idea for several years now, quietly.  Ever since I first thought of getting a pinhole camera in 2011 I’ve thought about making contact prints.  an image featuring the first 4 prints are attached to this entry.  I figure I’d share how I did it in case others might want to do this as well.

The things I used:
Safe light – 25watt red party bulb
White light – 7.5 watt night light bulb
2 clip on reflector lamps (red light was placed about an inch from the wall about 10 feet away from print and development area)
12″x12″x2″ foam
8.5″x11″ glass from a document frame (edges taped to prevent cuts and scrapes)
Film Changing bag
3 5″x7″ developing trays
Ilford Multigrade Paper Developer
Tap water used as stop bath
Ilford Rapid Fixer
Ilford Multigrade IV RC Paper (pearl finish)
4×5 negatives

Here’s the setup:
My bathroom has no windows and can be made dark even in the middle of the day.  So it was an excellent choice to be turned into a temporary darkroom.  I clipped the red light on to the top of a shelf high enough that the reflector could be about an inch away from the wall and the red light would be diffused and somewhat darker in the areas where I would do the printing and developing. Under the bathroom door I wedged a dark towel to block any light coming in from under the door.  On the counter top I placed the foam block with a piece of glass and the negative I planned on printing.  Next to that was my white light ready to be picked up and used but not turned on.  In the tub I had the 3 developing trays with appropriate amounts of developer, stop bath, and fixer. On the floor was my film changing bag with box of paper inside.

I first used the film changing bag as a paper safe because I wasn’t sure if the red light would fog the paper.  and I didn’t want to ruin a whole box of paper to figure that out.  An extra precaution but not a bad idea when you’ve got a box of 100 sheets of paper.

Once I extracted a single sheet of paper from the box, the next step was to close the box of paper and open the bag to remove the paper and place it on the foam block, then lay down my negative, emulsion side down. Taking care to line it up and center the negative on the paper.  Lowering the glass slowly to make sure not to disturb the careful alignment of the negative and paper.

I picked up my 7.5 watt white light and held it at about a distance of 18-20 inches above the paper and negative. and turned it on and off for half a second.  Next I lifted the glass and pulled the paper out and placed the paper in developer following the instructions for my developer and paper combination.  For me that was 1 minute of developer followed by 10 seconds of stop bath and 30 seconds in rapid fixer.  Once that was done I ran tap water from the tub on the paper to rinse off any chemicals and then a second rinse in the bathroom sink before hanging to dry.  The total time spent was about 3 minutes per print.

I was fairly shocked at how quickly I became accustomed to the process and how simple it was to see the problems and correct them on a print by print basis.  I ended up using 10 sheets of paper and got 6 good prints out of the session.

How I arrived at my half second exposure time for the paper was that I first started with 5 seconds on, which yielded a completely black print.   Next try was 3 seconds, followed by 1 second and then a half second.  All of this was at a distance of about 18-20 inches above the paper.  I’m going to try another run at a larger distance to see if I can increase the on time which would make it easier to control contrast and exposure value for the prints.    If you’re trying this for the first time expect to spend a little time and paper to get the timing right.  If you’re having trouble what I found was that the closer the light the less the light needs to be on.  Farther away, the light needs to be on for longer.  If anything measure things and once you start getting prints that you like, stay consistent in your distance and times.

All in all it was a very successful first run and I look forward to making many more prints.

Photo shoot write-up: Lily

If the name lily sounds familiar to readers it’s because I first worked with Lily in September of 2012.  On that last shoot we did a wooded area that I just fell in love with the moment I saw it.  And knew I had to shoot it with someone as good as lily.  So when she came into town it was a no brainer as to where we’d shoot.

Lily standing in tall grass nude. Shot on Tmax 100

Shot on Tmax 100

For this shoot, which is my second of 2016, I decided we’d shoot someplace with a different look than our last and I also decided that I’d shoot entirely on film. No digital camera whatsoever.  And I wanted to also capture more images for my pinhole nudes project.  More on that later.

What I ended up bringing was my Bronica Zenza ETRSi medium format SLR as my main camera and the Lubitel 166+ medium format TLR as a backup camera.  I also brought my Harman Titan 4×5 with 4 sheets of Delta 100 and 4 sheets of HP5 loaded.

I started out shooting on the Bronica with 4 rolls of Tmax 100 and then once I finished those rolls I switched to Ilford HP5.

** Warning highly technical discussion of ISO and light sensitivity**


Lily posed nude, seated. Shot on Tmax 100

Shot on Tmax 100

One of the things I tested on this shoot was to see if I could shoot an iso 400 film in a situation where I’d normally use iso 100 film. It sounds a little risky provided it was a paid shoot but considering this is the year I’m going to be shooting entirely on film… it was information I needed to learn.

The problem I had was that I had 10 rolls of iso 400 film and only 4 rolls of iso 100 film in my bag.   Not wanting to buy more film, I set out to see if I could shoot at ƒ16 with a shutter speed that would work with iso 400 films and with shutter speeds that my cameras had.  The Bronica tops out at 1/500 sec.  and the Lubitel’s top shutter speed is 1/250 sec. Under bright lighting conditions with the sun as my main light source, I can get a shot at ƒ16 using 1/125 sec if my film is and iso 100 film.   If I use iso 400 film I’ll want an exposure setting of  ƒ16 and 1/400 of a second. (sunny 16 rule)  The Bronica shutter speeds go in 1 stop increments 1/125, 1/250/ 1/500. and 1/500 might be too fast and therefore I’d need to shoot at ƒ11 and 1/500th to make that work… but it was all theoretical.  I also know I can get the same exposures if my meter reads ƒ16 at 1/125 and ƒ8 at 1/250, and ƒ4 at 1/500.  The depth of field will be different between each of these shots but the light values will remain the same.

** End tech discussion **

Lily posed nude in tall grass. Shot on Ilford HP5 Iso 400

Shot on Ilford HP5 Iso 400

So back to the shoot.   I felt pretty good about using the Bronica as a main camera.  It’s waist level viewfinder is quite large and allows composition and focusing very well even with out the magnifier.  However you are kinda stuck to landscape orientations for every shot since it’s difficult to hold it sideways and still look into the viewfinder.  But the film is so large that if you find you want to shoot in a portrait orientation compose it like a portrait with the subject in the center third of the picture and you can crop it later with out sacrificing too much.  That’s why I love medium format!

Lily posed nude with tree. Shot with a Harman Titan 4x5 pinhole camera on Ilford HP5

Shot with a Harman Titan 4×5 pinhole camera on Ilford HP5

I also did the shoot with my Harman Titan 4×5 pinhole camera.  While that’s a totally different kind of camera to shoot with the principles are the same.  except the only things you can control are shutter speed and iso.  the aperture is fixed at ƒ206.  At that aperture, a sunny 16 shot ends up being a 1 second exposure.  a shot at ƒ8, 1/125th ends up being 3 seconds.  I use an app on my phone called Pinhole Assist. I make nothing by recommending this app and have no affiliation to the company that makes it.  It is a good app for the pinhole photographer though.   I do find though that it overexposes my shots by a half stop.  so I compensate for that and end up with exposures that I like.  But it is still an education in progress.  This camera is so different than any other I use that I find the process challenges me.  which I enjoy.

I made 4 exposures with Lily using the pinhole camera. Two shots on Delta 100 4×5 and two shots on HP5 4×5.  I feel that the shots on HP5 feel better to me but in all honesty I like them all.  it’s not a sharp camera by any means.  but it produces great images and I’m hoping that in the next 18 months I’ll be able to collect enough nudes by pinhole to make a book.  we’ll see on that.

Overall we had a blast creating and making wonderful images together.  I’m hoping she’ll come back again so we can create more soon.


Jilli Artistry

Click for larger picture

Last month I worked with a wonderful and extremely beautiful model name Jilli who was visiting Hawaii and simply wanted to shoot some nudes.  The shoot overall was fantastic.  we started out the morning at sunrise shooting medium format film and digital on one of my favorite beaches to shoot on followed by a shoot on a motorcycle.  The motorcycle shoot was mostly digital but I managed to take a few shots on film.  Then we moved to an abandoned building that was great fun to shoot in.  Not my usual style but fun due to al the lines and detritus around the place.

Pinhole Nude – Click for larger picture

In the last location we shot at, I decided to pull out the pinhole camera and try to get some shots of nudes with it.  I ended up using Ilford HP5 which is an iso 400 film and knowing that I could up-rate it to 1600 easily I planned on that iso setting for my meter.  When metering the scenes we were looking at exposure times of 14-17 seconds.   And sure enough, in developing the negatives at 1600, it totally worked!  I’ve never tried to push film like that before and I’m stoked that it worked and it wasn’t too terribly difficult either.  I’ll look at writing a post in the future that details how to push film beyond it’s rated iso is anyone is interested.  there’s lots of resources on the internet as well.

In the end we ended up with a totally fun shoot, we got beautiful images, and I’m stoked to begin the adventure of capturing nudes with pinhole cameras.   I;m thinking about making a book featuring just nudes shot by pinhole.

p.s. if you’d like to help suppor more art like this…. consider becoming a patron of mine at   You’re support will help to make more and more art.  thanks

More Pinholes

Shortly before christmas I bought a dreamy new camera… the Ilford Harman Titan 4×5 pinhole camera.  I wrote about it a few years ago and have been dreaming about owning ever since I first saw it.  The day after christmas I took it out for a drive to Waianae, a part of Oahu I don’t go to enough.  I drove out to the end of the road at Kaena Point (Makua Section).  I ended up taking a few shots that day, two of which really came out well.  I’m happy with the camera and can’t wait till the next time I can get out there and make more exposures with this great camera.

4x5 Pinhole - Kaena to Waianae

4×5 Pinhole – Kaena to Waianae


4x5 Pinhole - Waianae to Kaena

4×5 Pinhole – Waianae to Kaena

Site back up

Not sure how long it was down but it should be back up and running now. it looks like my web host changed the name of my database and wordpress which my site is based on could not connect to it.. I’m busy looking at things but it should be working just fine now. More updates coming soon



For the past few months I’ve been acquiring cameras and playing a lot with film.  I’m rediscovering something that I’ve always loved which is simply taking pictures.  Nude or not, I just love being behind a camera and making images.  What I’ve learned in the last few years is that I’m in love with photography in general.  I do love shooting nudes and making nude art, but… I also just love taking pictures.

Some may know about this, and I may have written about this before but, the past few years have been a little rough.  Life changes, death of a close family member, more changes, depression, anxiety, a lot has been going on.  And one of the things that I’ve started thinking about recently was to get back on the horse and just play with cameras again.  It’s something I loved doing so why not.  Even if I can’t exactly afford to hire as many models as I used to.  I felt that being without an artistic outlet would not be a god thing for me.

So as you may have seen, there’s been a lot more happening here regarding photography.  What I’ve decided to start doing is simply shoot more.  But I’m a little tired of digital cameras.  Tired of the perfection of the binary, data based imaging systems.  Instead I want to make images that are different.  I’m not saying that digital is bad.  In fact I will still shoot using digital cameras.  However, I’d like to be making art, using film instead.  That’s basically what I’m saying.  I want to make art that it different than what everyone else is making.  I want something magical.  To experience magic again.  I want to be surprised when I pull a roll out of a tank and start seeing that the chemistry worked.  It’s that part of the process that has made me fall in love with photography all over again.

So here we go again.  More adventures in photography await!


p.s. And if you like the work you see, nude or not, consider supporting my work.  Go to




A couple of months ago one of my favorite artists was talking about a site called Patreon.  She talked about the idea that she was going to keep making things and if you wanted you could support her on a per “thing” basis on Patreon.  Of course I went and checked it out and it seemed like a great way to support her work so I pledged a couple of dollars. Although the more I looked at the site, the more it seemed like an interesting idea.  And so I setup my own site there and started working on it.

What is Patreon?  good question. Basically Patreon is a way for people to pay their favorite creators, makers, and artists for they work they make.  Instead of buying a painting or a framed print of the work, you can pledge a few dollars a month and show your support for the work.  Of course there are rewards for being a bonafide patron of the arts.  More info can be found at their site.  And if you want to become a patron and support the creation of more of my art, you can check out my Patreon page.

After much thinking and playing around with Patreon, I’ve finally got my site setup and ready for the world.  I’ll be posting new work there first for my patrons.  But not to worry, I’ll still be writing posts here related to photography and the things I’m playing with, learning, or working on.  But Patreon is where I’ll be posting my artistic photography and nude art first.  I’ll also be making images available for download along with stories about the shoots, and articles related to my photography.  And I’m sure I”ll figure out what else we can do with the site as we progress.

I hope that you’ll become a patron and help me make more art.

Pinhole nudes

On a recent shoot I brought the pinhole camera with me.  I wondered what i might get from the camera with a model as the subject.  Up until this day most of my exposures that I’ve made with the camera had been somewhere around 3-5 seconds. I figured that my model would be able to hold a pose for at least that long.   But even if she moved a little it might create an interesting effect.  Maybe even a little ghostly?  I was interested in seeing what I might get so  I loaded the two film holders I have and brought it along for the day.

I shot most of the shoot going back and forth between my Canon DSLR and the Canon 35mm.  we got to a point in the shoot where I thought it might be an interesting shot with the Pinhole and I took two shots.  The light meter gave me an exposure time of about 3 minutes which I was afraid of actually doing so I metered at 400 ISO knowing that I can push the film to 400 in developing.  Exposure time ended up being about 25 seconds for both shots.  Not too bad for my model, who pulled off holding still for that long quite nicely.  It’s odd that 25 seconds doesn’t really sound like a long time until you’re there counting it.  But she held it and did it well.

The first of the two is tough to see but she’s there sitting on the wall.  In the second, which is much clearer, she is holding a fabric against her body.   I keep forgetting just how wide the angle of view is on this camera. I like the wide angle nature of the shots but perhaps in the future I’ll try for more closer shots.

The results of the two shots are below.


Kit Pinhole 001

Nude pinhole image of a woman sitting

Kit Pinhole 002

Pinhole image of nude woman with cloth

Testing an Olympus OM1

I might have written previously that a good friend had moved and left me a box of cameras.  In the box were two Olympus OM 1’s and an Olympus OM2s.   And so I tested both OM1’s and one of them had a problem right away when you advance the film for the next shot, the shutter also fires.  So I’ve written off that camera.  However the remaining OM1, seemed to work just fine. So I put a roll of Ilford Delta 100 in it and set out to take some pics and see if makes exposures and works as it should.

Well I’m proud to say that it does in fact pass light and make exposures.  In fact it does really well.  The meter doesn’t work but that’s ok I have learned to shoot without a meter and rely on my brain for that.

So here are two shots that came from the camera.  Now I have to test the OM-2s which does have a working light meter!

Ford - Olympus OM1

Tree Trunk - Olympus OM1

Lubitel 166+

Lubitel 166+ from

Lubitel 166+ from

Over the weekend I went to my local film photography store… It’s nice to have one!  They also sell a lot of stuff from Lomography which I’m a big fan of.  Anyway, one of the cameras I’d had my eye on for a quite a while now is the Lubitel 166+ from Lomography.  Ever since I took my first shots with the Diana, I was in love with medium format and realyl wanted a glass lens to get a little more sharpness out of it.  With the Lubitel, I have that in spades.

I went for a photo walk on Saturday afternoon.  I picked two places, The first was Iolani Palace and the second part of the walk was Chinatown in Honolulu.  I love the simplicity of the camera and the fact that there is no light meter, might throw some people off, but for me I love it.  I did use the Fotometer Pro app for iOs. and felt that it got me quite close to a good exposure.  The camera has an exposure diagram which will also get you very close if you don’t have a light meter.

I found the camera easy to use.  And my typical flow of set the exposure settings, compose, set focus, re-compose, shoot, worked well for the camera.  So I didn’t notice the camera slowing me down too much from any other of my fully manual film cameras.  The one thing I noticed was that the film advance would get stuck from time to time and really needed some elbow grease to get the film to move. but only sometimes.  It happened on both rolls I shot that day,  the second one, didn’t get stuck as much or as severely as the first.  I’m not sure why that is or what I did differently.  Maybe I’ll sacrifice a roll of film to figure out what’s going on and see if it can be resolved.

One of the quirks of the waist level viewfinder camera is that the view is flipped horizontally.  What’s on the left side of your eye’s view ends up being on the right side of the viewfinder. This is the reality with many of the look down/waist level finder cameras out there.  And is simply of matter of learning how to work with it rather than being a problem.  I have a 1953 german camera which is an SLR that uses a look down finder and it’s the same thing.  It can be weird when using it for the first time but not impossible to figure out how to compose with it.  Other than that, the camera was great operationally.  Very easy to set the aperture and shutter speeds.  And focusing is pretty simple as well.

Of course shooting with a camera for the first time, you don’t know what you’re really getting until you pull the film out of the developing tank.  And sure enough, All but one or two were exposed perfectly.  And those two weren’t off by much.  Great contrast, great detail and sharpness.  I have no complaints except the film getting stuck once or twice. Now that I have seen what it can do, I’m excited to shoot more with it.  I’ve said this to many friends already, but I think this became my “go to” film camera!

Iolani Palace Iolani Palace Bandstand
Hotel Street, June 20, 2015 Harbor Court Stairs
Ave Maria Smith and Hotel Bus stop