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A Man and a Light

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different”  

-Kurt Vonnegut

Now that I’ve got your attention let’s talk about this really cool light thing I was able to use. The Elinchrom D-lite RX 4 is a brilliant piece of equipment with great versatility. In my few days of shooting I was able to capture a wide range of images, touring through the world of the abstract, into portrait work and briefly into the narrative format. 


I was quite impressed at the lights ability to be used on its own, without the assistance of natural light or another piece to the kit. Due to its size and relative power it was able to illuminate the subject with ease and the consistency of light was such that it spread evenly across subject. This was especially useful when doing portrait work. As many of you know light consistency is vital in making your subject stand out and giving solid dynamic range to your image and often, harsh directional lighting set ups aren’t useful in this context. Unless of course you are using it as a rim light or kicker, but I digress. This light, due to the size of it, can be used as both,  unfortunately I didn’t think to use it in this way until after it had been returned, but if at any time you are able to rent out the light you will see what I am talking about.  Here are a few examples of the lights versatility. 




One of my favorite things to do with the Elinchrom D-lite RX 4 was to use it directly in my composition and I was impressed at how often and in how many ways this was possible. One of my favorite ways to shoot with this light was shown to me by Robert Hunter, a good friend and employee at Acme Camera Company, and that is to shoot directly into it. With the soft box thrown over the top, it creates a beautiful form with undefined edges and as far as the subject is concerned it gives you nice defined features and surprisingly harsh contrast. 


There is a feature on the light that allows you to extend this mode of shooting into multiple arenas. It’s simple, yet elegant, there is a knob on the rim of the light that allows you to spin the soft box in any direction you please. Provided, of course, physics allows you too. I mean, as cool as it would be to have a light that folds and rotates in multiple dimensions---- wait----- why hasn’t someone done this yet? Somebody needs to get on this immediately. Should be easy right? 

Anyway, the knob allows you to spin the light around its axis allowing the light to shine from multiple positions. As well, you have the ability to tilts the light up and down, giving you the option to point above your subject. 


One thing to be cautious of is the intensity of the light. It’s a soft light so the light needs to be fairly close to the subject for decent illumination as you can see in the pictures below and the picture directly above these words. 



I must provide a disclaimer before I head into this next section. I am terrible when it comes to using a flash. I have never learned how to use one and therefore am not to be consulted when it comes to the flash. However, to test out the breadth of features this light had to offer, I used one anyway. Given my limited experience with the flash, I cannot say how the Elinchrom D-lite Rx-4 differs from others on its flash function. The way in which I found it useful was, again, in creating a more abstract picture. What I did to create this effect was put the light in front of and to the right of my friend and exposed for his right side and then used the remote to time the flash. I’d be curious to see if the reason the light divided him in half was because of the shape of the soft box. Nonetheless, a pretty cool trick to do with the flash function. 





The Build

 This was one of the few areas that I found problems with the light, especially regarding the attachment of the soft box. It is necessary to say that when attaching it to the light you must make sure that the soft box head is tight, if not you will be unable to hook it on and the softbox will keep rotating. After that you need to make sure the soft box is lined up with the head. It has two rods directly across from each other that the softbox slides into and once connected you twist it and it’ll lock into place. Sounds easy enough, unfortunately it takes quite a bit of finessing and the rods are not easily visible. After awhile, as with anything it was easy enough to set up and take down, however, due to the flimsy material of the rods/softbox I could see wear and tear dwindling down the long term use of the light. That being said, it did travel well. 

I have one other complaint that I am not sure is the fault of the light or just the power that it generates. But when shooting from a battery pack, I was only able to shoot for 30-40 minutes at most. Which made it difficult to really get the feel of the areas I was shooting in. My reccomendation is to know exactly what you will be shooting and plan accordingly, unfortuneately the light is not well suited for a run and gun shoot. 


Overall, this light was fantastic to shoot with and I would recommend trying it out, very much worth the price of admission. 

Down below is a gallery of photos showcasing the broad range of photos that can be had by using this light.

I hope you all have as much fun with it as I did. Have a wonderful day and make some beautiful pictures alright? 








Hi. My name is Preston Zubal, author of this very article and I approve this message. 

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RING LIGHT PORTRAITS By Angelina Giles

I was recently asked to take portraits of guests as they arrived at an event. I’m not going to lie, this is one of my least favorite job descriptions. Fortunately they let me choose the lighting set up, so I brought nothing but my Nikon D800, 24-70mm lens and a ring light. I found a  grey background and did not light. My ISO was around 640, shooting at 2.8 at 1/400 sec for most of the images shown. 

It worked great for single portraits, insuring the subjects were just a few feet away from my light source. I adjusted height slightly for each person, and achieved the dynamic images shown. 

If you haven’t already played around with this simple, yet professional light, rent one today for as little as $9 a day from Acme! 





Vintage Nikon Glass & Digital Cameras

Portraits...

 Madeline was kind enough to stop by and model for us this morning.  I took a series of photos with the available light from the north facing window in the shop.
Some images include a silver fill card with only a minor effect.  These images were all shot at f2.5 through f4 in order to take advantage of the brightness and shallow focus
available with this lens.  Our other Nikon bodies were out for rental so we used the D7100 giving this lens an equivalent focal length of 157mm.  Tricky to use for sure!  We are
eager to try it on a full frame camera so as to test the corner sharpness and light falloff of this lens.  Here are a few of the images taken today..

These images were shot with Madeline facing the window and with the use of a small silver reflector.  Note: these images have been edited for color and sharpness.





                


   I was very surprised at the beauty and capability of this lens!  It has a very smooth focusing mechanism and the focus aid on the camera made me feel secure about focusing accuracy. 
This lens has so much sharpness at open apertures!  Shooting with this lens/camera combination is slightly tricky as the aperture does not register on the camera display.  I had to shoot
strictly in the "M" or manual mode and just watch the meter to make sure my exposure was on.  This said I really enjoyed shooting with this lens and I don't feel like the manual focus/manual
exposure prevented me from getting the shots I wanted.


  We moved further away from the window for these shots which changed the light pretty dramatically.  These images are not edited in any way.









    This lens renders color in a very interesting way that I really like.  I Set the White Balance to the "Cloudy" setting and let the color fall where it
wanted.  I really love the warm, magenta tones produced here.  This lens only has six aperture blades which does produce an obvious hexagon shape to the background highlights.  
I can live with this seeing how there are so many other redeeming qualities in this lens.

Come give it a try!  Acme is now renting the Nikon 105mm f2.5 Ai starting at $15.00

find it here...
https://www.acmecamerarental.com/camshop/giftshop/products/used_gear/nikon_105mm_f2.5/@@index.html

Tourists

     We spent the weekend wandering around New York City and trying to soak up the entire concrete jungle in just a few days. I chose to bring along with me the Fuji X-E2 mirrorless camera, along with a 18mm F/2.0 Lens. I was so glad I chose this set up. When you're traveling with just a backpack, every pound counts. I had in my possession this tiny weightless camera that had the capability of full sized DSLR. I wouldn't be surprised if these mirrorless cameras took over the digital world soon. 






    

 This was my first time using this camera so there was a big learning curve. I tried to read the entire menu and figure out what all of the different settings on the camera were for. One of my favorite things about this camera was it's film simulations. I mainly used the Velvia film simulation and was amazed by the color it produced. My primary colors seemed to be the most vivid and secondary colors were also very present. The images below are essentially straight out of the camera with a little bit of exposure editing and sharpening. It was really cool feeling like I was shooting film but with the instant gratification that digital provides.




 

     The lens ended up being different than I had imagined. It was great having such a wide canvas to work with thanks to the lens. However, at times I didn't feel like I could get my wide shots as sharp as I wanted. If I had more time with the lens I'm sure I could have figured out my sharpness issues. Overall, I would definitely recommend trying out a camera from the Fuji X-Series on your next trip. The Fuji X-Series mirrorless cameras make the perfect travel companion. 



Cinestill in the City

A few months ago I went to NYC along with my husb Mason. I took two cameras along with me to capture our trip; the Fuji X-E2 (which I'll write about in a future blog post) and a 35mm Olympus OM-2 loaded with Cinestill 50 ISO film. I finally got my film developed thanks to The FIND Lab (side note, they'll develop your first roll free and they're incredible) opening the email to my film scans was like Christmas. 




This was my first time shooting Cinestill 50 and it definitely won't be my last. I am still an amateur film shooter but I think Cinestill might be my new favorite film. The detail in the highlights and shadows in this film got me hooked. Shooting 50 ISO film was a bit intimidating at first; however, if you make sure to shoot in daylight using a light meter it becomes a lot less daunting. It also helps if you have a capable 35mm SLR. I rented my Olympus OM-2 from Acme Camera for the semester. Acme rents 35mm SLR's for $35-$45 a semester, so yeah, totally worth it. 





These images are all straight out of the camera. The only editing I did was a bit of cropping to a few different photos. People try to achieve the colors and details this film provides by using Instagram filters or filters you'll find in different editing apps. These filters will try and mimic the effects that this film naturally gives you. This film is so organically beautiful, no filters are needed. I'm so glad I had The FINDlab develop and scan my photos. They use the highest quality methods and equipment to assure you a flawless scan. I would 100% recommend sending your film to them.  Next time you go on a trip, grab a few rolls of Cinestill and a 35mm SLR from Acme.  I'm so glad I have these photos so I can always remember Mason's first trip to the big apple. 



Unforgivable

Hi, I am Emily Senkosky and I am an evolving film photographer.  I took my first photography class at Westminster College and fell in love with film, specifically infrared film photography.
Here is why:


So many things today involve instant gratification. Record it, look it up on the Internet, download the app, pay for it with a card, get the upgrade.


Life in the 21st century rotates around an axis of convenience- satisfaction and accessibility go hand in hand.

Film photography, unlike so many other things in my life, teaches me to understand.

Instead of relying on the help of 21st century machinery or applications, I have to trust in the process.

Confidence in both my hand as well as the device, there is no way to tell what I have created until things have come to full development- both literally and figuratively. 

Infrared film is the only film that uses a heat spectrum as well as a light spectrum to record life. 

Being felt as well as seen, each film negative makes an impression that is rather honest. The pictures that are produced from this film tell an unforgivable story, sensing and recording the world around us.

As photographers we attempt to record life’s progression as it evolves, but to what point do we succumb to that progression?

Infrared film reminds me of my abilities, as well as my limits as a photographer.

When an image does finally turn out, there is nothing instantly gratifying about it.


@infraredfilm





Summer Evening Lighting Demo



Last week we had a lighting demo outside of our shop. It was the perfect windless night to try out our 12x12 Silk as well as a 12x12 Ultra Bounce. We paired the two with the almighty Coltrain Mini Brute 9. The 6,000 watts of light spilled beautifully through the silk. It was a golden light set up to say the least. 

So this is how it all began. One giant 12x12 Ultra Bounce set-up with two Combo Stands. We wanted to create a lighting set up that was unique. We wanted to create a set up that many local photographers may not have seen before; that was the whole purpose of this little demo we threw together. 



After the Ultra Bounce was set up, next came the 12x12 Silk. Combining these two products would able us to create a large light source. Our plan was to bounce our Colrtan Mini Brute 9 (which again has 6,000 watts of light) off of the Ultra Bounce. After the Mini Brute bounced off of the Ultra Bounce, it would pour itself through the 12x12 Silk. After the setting-up was done, we just had to wait until the sun went down to see if we'd get the light we were hoping for. 



The sun slowly set and we watched our light source grow brighter. It took some more moving those giants around the light in order to achieve what we wanted. After you move your diffusors and bounces around enough, you eventually find the right light. It always takes some patience when you're creating a light source. As photographers we are painters of light, so that patience is important. Just like painters have to try mixing different colors of paint together to find the right color, we had to mix our light with different bounces and diffusers to find the right light. 



Eventually the sun went down and our light came to life. The light was soft and almost cinematic. We also ended up setting up a V-Flat to help keep the light from spilling into places we didn't 
want it to. We set up an LED panel behind the V-Flat as you can see in the photo above. This LED light gave us a nice contrast against the tungsten light that fell through the silk. It was helpful having the tools we needed to assure we were in control. 

 Here are a few images that were the results of our efforts...



















It ended up being a great night in the alley. We had some cool folks come out to try the light. It was fun seeing how photographers would position their 
subjects in order to find the light they wanted. A big thank you to those who attended! Stay posted and we'll continue to host demos in the future! 

Mike Kijewski

"There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.”

-Edward Abbey


Travel Journal Entry - June 26th, 2015

“She said yes. To save you all the emotion that went in today, let’s just say I’m happy. Really happy. Relieved. Just a little nervous now as opposed to really nervous before. I hope she likes the ring. I think she does. Damn, I really hope I got that shot. Regardless, I’m glad the fog broke. She looked so pretty. That thai food tonight was the bomb.” 

I just got engaged. 

Okay, let me rewind a bit. I rented a camera that has always eluded me; the Contax 645 medium-format film camera. One 120 back, a fixed Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 140mm f2.8 and an incredible Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm wide-angle f3.5. 

So you think you’re 5D is bulky? This camera is no joke. However, there’s a reason that 645’s are staples within the fashion and editorial industries. They work. Real well. Really really well. 

This film camera is probably the closest thing to a DSLR out there. It has all the bells and whistles. Here are a list of some (some) of them:

- Autofocus (seriously)

- Aperture and shutter priority

- Exposure compensation

- Full range ISO

- Pre-flash TTL (through-the-lens) metering

- Autowind film back (optional polaroid back available)

Honestly, just to have autofocus on a medium-format film body is insane. It feels like cheating. This camera is really easy-to-use. The optics are great as well. The viewfinder is huge and bright and the digital TTL metering works perfectly. You could easily replace all of your camera bodies with this thing. A luxury within a workflow. 

The Contax really allowed me to focus on composition this trip and enabled me to catch certain moments my other camera bodies might have had me miss. I really trusted this camera, even in super unpredictable conditions. 

Back to the story. 

On her birthday, we found ourselves alone on the beach. As the fog started to peel back into the coast line, I started setting up my tripod. I asked her to stand looking out into the water as I framed up the shot. As she turned, I composed, let the autofocus do its thing and metered. I reached into the bag, took the ring and placed it into my back pocket. I made sure that the shutter timer was set to ten seconds and peered through the viewfinder one last time. I hit the release and stepped quickly into frame.

I knew I had ten seconds. She stood thirty feet from the camera. I quickly walked toward her. At that point, time just seemed to slow down. I know that sounds cliche but I remember it clearly. I turned, fumbled getting the ring out of my back pocket, opened the box and took a knee in the sand. I remember asking her to marry me and hearing her say yes but the rest is a blur. We laughed and joked about staying engaged forever. We kissed and I kept my fingers crossed. 

Well, I missed the perfect shot by about 1-2 seconds. 

As I’m writing this review I have yet to decide if it’ll be in the gallery above. It’s bittersweet. It’s personal. It’s heart-wrenching yet means the world to me. I think it represents more to me than just a moment. Maybe love in general. Maybe our love. Tough but strong. The good and the bad. When I first saw this image it really bummed me out and now every time I look at it, I admire it more and love her stronger because of it. She looks happy. Really happy.


Thanks Acme Camera. Hope you’ll make it to the wedding.  

all photos shot on Kodak Portra 400
processed and scanned by the Alpine Film Lab


Jake and the Hasselblad 501 CM Kit



Hi, I’m Jake Knaphus. I’m 17 years old, and I’m an amateur photographer. I bought my first DSLR in October of 2014 and have been shooting like mad ever since.

Recently, I rented the Hasselblad 501CM Kit from Acme, which includes the camera body, an 80mm standard prime, and the waist-level viewfinder that I’ve fallen in love with. In addition to the camera, I also rented a Minolta Autometer IV F, and a sturdy Manfrotto tripod to hold it all up.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Hasselblad, it is an entirely manual camera, meaning that there are absolutely no electronics involved, just a lens, body and film. This being my very first time with a manual camera, let alone a medium format manual camera, it's needless to say that there was a learning curve.

The process for shooting was a bit more complicated than the DSLR that I’d grown used to. Manual Focusing, manual metering of the light with the Minolta Autometer. and setting the correct shutter speed and aperture came to be more of a challenge than I expected.

The results though? In my opinion, well worth the difficulty. I found myself taking more time to compose my shots and pick what I really wanted to expose, which I think had a tremendously positive effect in my work.

I should mention that my idea of a great time shooting might differ from others, especially with me being 17, and paid sessions rarely more than a senior here and there. I took the camera, 2 rolls of film and 2 great friends and spent the day exploring around SLC.

I had a great time playing with the Hassy, and I will be back for sure.