A happy accident- shooting with Kodak Portra


My dearest aunt knew I wanted Kodak Portra film for Christmas.

However, when I opened up the box, out came two beautiful boxes of Portra, but in medium format!

I rarely shoot 120mm film, mostly because the camera I have that uses 120mm film is old and not the most high quality machine in the world. It’s a 70+ year old Argus Argoflex TLR, with a Bakelite body and a not-super-bright viewfinder. Nonetheless, if I am patient, it can give me lovely images that make me quite happy. I knew that I needed to just use the film and take advantage of the fact that this lovely camera I got at a garage sale would never again have such high-quality film inside of it ever again.

If you don’t know, Kodak Portra is considered one of the gold-standard films out there. It’s grain, skin tones, and color are generally accepted to be the best. As such, it’s not cheap. I’ve never myself splurged on Portra, except for a roll here or there, and I’ve always been so happy with how rich the blues are, how perfect the creams and yellows show, and how alive my film feels once I scan it in.

So, here are a few shots from my wee little old camera, armed with some of the nicest film I have ever been lucky enough to shoot. Some moments by the icy Clark Fork, a quiet sunny moment in my favorite bakery, a still-life on our large kitchen table, and waiting for the car to warm up. Unexciting but still real, felt points in time and space.


Chinon Auto 3001 camera


I found a boxy little camera at a thrift store, went to 6 different shops and found the obscure battery, and took it out for a test drive.

The Chinon Auto 3001 is a sturdy little camera with a clamshell lens cover. It’s got a f/2.8 lens, a fill flash, an auto flash (that you can turn off) and no manual I could find on the internet.

So, on one of my meandering walks and over the course of a few evenings, I tried to shoot some test film on 2 rolls of Fujifilm. The results: Not too shabby. Obviously I need to test the auto-focus features more (it is supposed to be pretty good with the AF features) but it seems like a handy little beast to have around!

My greatest regret is that you cannot see the marvelous extra toes on Coco the cat’s little feet! She has polydactylism, which means that her feet have more toes than they should, and her adorable little paws look like little muffins!


Working on it.


Do you know how difficult it is to photograph people with a  50mm lens without feeling like a creep? Well, I still can’t do it very well. I feel invasive and rude. Nonetheless, practice makes perfect, and I fully intend this year to do better at photographing humans and not just landscapes or still lifes. People are wonderful and interesting and I would like to attempt to bring that out in my photographs this year more.

Here’s the first roll of 35mm film since I got my camera repaired- and not a spot of light leak on the film! I am truly giddy to be able to tote my Olympus out and about with me again.

Quiet moments & tiny portraits.


I participated in Canadian Black Friday with the purchase of a single, soft light grey sweater that makes me feel like I can handle any type of weather. It’s unflattering and I want to give people hugs while wearing it.

I broke it in on a night walk last night down to a little village, past warm pubs and Thai restaurants. I skirted the edge of the park then walked into the loveliest dense grove of trees, feeling my boots sink into the decaying leaves and natural debris, then running smack into an enormous group of very well dressed people at a conference for something leaving a fancy hotel, who gave me odd looks as I emerged from the trees in the dark, red-cheeked and wild-eyed, walking at my usual fast pace.

This morning’s walk was crisp and frost-covered. I walked something like 7 miles along the ocean, feeling the cold Arctic breeze that has been blowing in for the last few days. I let the cold envelope me utterly, loving it far more than the seeping, creeping dampness that is so much more insidious and omnipresent here.

The tidal pools were crystal clear, full of anemones and seaweed waving with the currents. Sea glass was collected, rubber boots came in handy when I stepped into the actual ocean to retrieve a piece or two, and the sun seemed obnoxiously bright. Little sea birds cheeped and made noises like video games (I need to Google what kind they were, note to self). I saw some sort of dark hawk perched (also Google) on a branch and dozens of crows (technically, they were not together or I would have called them a murder with delight). There were pauses to take pictures of myself, as part of a years-long negotiation with my corporeal form, which has not photographed well for as long as I can remember.


]The sun rises fast, shines bright, and sets quickly, but does not imbue us with the warmth it did. It’s not even an argument of quality over quantity- we don’t get either. I feel like a fleeting shadow of a girl, living in various shades of darkness with the lack of present sunlight. My skin is growing paler and my freckles, which were so bright this summer, have begun their annual fade. I have constant hat hair due to rotating between 4-5 trusty caps, and the mittens my mother sent me have not yet been lost. 7 days until I pack up all these layers and move them back to Montana for a month.

Now, time to write papers and prepare a presentation for Monday. Have a great weekend y’all.

First tries

First frames from my new camera.

I’m really excited to be able to get used to all the settings. I really enjoy how the 60D fits in my hand, and the controls are fairly intuitive. Definitely having to work a lot harder with it than with my SLRs, simply because with those you set the f/stop and the light meter inside the screen tells you how much light you’re letting in and then…boom! That’s it. I don’t know what’s going to come out of the camera until it’s all developed.

The f/1.4 50mm lens is really awesome! I’m learning about its quirks but so far have been really happy. The photos above aren’t edited in any way whatsoever, and I’m very happy with them.

I also got quite a bit of film scanned in, so I’ll be able to really put up some good content! Kristin and I made some amazing food, I traveled with Chelsea, and I found some old frames from Austin, Texas that never got developed, so it’ll be neat to show you all what I’ve been up to!

Have a great weekend everybody! I’m holed up with coffee and a decent internet connection and frankly couldn’t be happier. 🙂

Year in photos: 2014

Even though I didn’t shoot as much as I would have liked to, I think I still had some decent shots.

Some are in Los Angeles, others home in Montana. A few are from our annual trip to the Cape haus, and some are from Austin, Texas. Overall these highlight the better parts of the year. The bad parts, luckily, weren’t photographed so they’ll fade fast.

All the ice for the ice queen + some camera talk.

Cooper the black Labrador wandered away and my voice is almost gone due to being very sick, so in the midst of photographing our lake ice I had to go and literally run to get him. He’s almost deaf and I can’t yell and we are a mess in general.

I’m in a coffee shop because there is no internet at our rural home. Maybe it’s not appropriate to be sitting in a public place while I’ve got the plague but I need internet more than I have morals so…that’s a lost battle.

I sent 5 rolls of film for my sister to get developed so very very soon I will be sitting in front of my trusty scanner and scanning film again!

One of the worst parts of 2014 was not shooting as much film. I know that sounds odd but it really made the year seem less memorable. Some people have amazing memories and can pull the most minute aspects of an event out of their minds; I have no such ability. I think the reason I photograph so much is so that I can highlight events and illustrate them in my own slanted way and never forget them. I can remember the random creepy carny wearing devil horns in July at the county fair or remember that my freckles were very vivid that one summer. I can recall details about my loved ones that I couldn’t otherwise, like how their faces have changed in little ways or how they hold their hands, or how we made duct tape dresses for a fashion show and picked raspberries and drove around aimlessly.


As I mentioned to one blogger, I’m making the big transition really soon to a DSLR! GAH! For the first time in my life I will have good digital gear. I’m not throwing down $3,000 for a Canon 5D iii, and I’m not splurging on any f/1.2 lenses, but I’m getting good, decent gear that will do what I need. I’m nervous to take the plunge- it’s a serious investment, because even if I am not purchasing professional grade photography gear I’m still paying good money that I worked really hard for! (And at a job that I’m really unhappy with…every dollar means that much more!)


I’m finally throwing down the cash because of geography. I live in Montana, where getting film developed is getting harder and harder, and also more expensive. Now only specialty photo shops develop film, and for them to scan your images onto a disc or harddrive is over $10/roll. My parents gave me a beautiful Epson V700 scanner, which is truly a beautiful machine, so that I wouldn’t ever have to bother with that again. However, that comes with its own learning curve! (Professional software, patience, etc…) For me to get a single roll of film developed, I either have to drive 90 minutes or mail it there, wait for it to get mailed back, and then scan it after cutting the negatives on my own. It takes a very very long time.

After reading thousands of reviews (I’ve been researching for months now) and thinking about what I really want vs. what I really need, I think I’ve settled on a Canon 60D. I’d rather put a bit more cash into some good lenses than a good body. I’ll then purchase a 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens and probably the Canon or Sigma 50mm f/1.4 (after having an f/1.4 lens on my film cameras I can’t look back). Maybe a zoom lens? We’ll see how much money I can actually put forward (my laptop is also on its last legs and I need a good bright screen for editing and scanning my film, so when I enter grad school I’ll have to drop some cash for a decent Mac).

For a while I was really really tempted to go for the new Olympus Micro Four Thirds system. I’m mostly getting gear for travel photography and portraits. My sister and I are spending 3 weeks in Iceland, the Netherlands, and Belgium and I really want a camera that I can carry around all day alongside my Olympus OM-G. I’ll admit it: I love my Olympus SLR from the 80’s and the Zuiko lenses I have are simply fantastic pieces of glass. Zuiko and Olympus had some good shit going on back in the day and I would love to see what they’ve done with technology. Plus, the cameras are lighter and those little Zuiko lenses on the Four Thirds system are absolutely adorable. The OM-D E-M10 (phew Olympus, couldn’t you make that more of a mouthful!) is also weather sealed and seems pretty hardy, and if it’s anything like my OM-G, it’ll be a beast.

A lot of camera enthusiasts will ask me why I haven’t considered Nikon and I’ll be honest: figuring out which damn lenses go with which bodies confused me so much. I couldn’t do it! I’m sure if I was more focused and paid more attention I would get it, and I know Nikon puts out some awesome cameras and lenses, but Canon and Olympus both had very user friendly systems that didn’t require me to distinguish and really study which lenses go with which bodies. Sorry, Nikon, you got a bit too complex for me.

If anybody has any recommendations or experience with DSLRs and lenses, feel free to give me feedback or ideas! I haven’t made any purchases yet…

And I will always, always shoot film. My OM-G is too sturdy and awesome and those Zuiko lenses are too nice to gather dust.

Sturdy old things make beautiful new things.

Shooting with a 70 year old Argus Argoflex is not an easy task. The top glass viewfinder is rather dark, and focusing never feels steady. There’s also no light meter, so proper guessing skills are a must!

However, for finding this beauty in a Goodwill in near perfect condition for $20, I don’t mind. Getting a good frame with this lovely camera takes work, so you have to earn each frame.

Not that I’m not looking at investing in a decent DSLR…with a decent lens…but first, I am planning a trip to Europe with my lovely sister and saving for graduate school. Those two things come first financially!

These images are from Cape Cod, on walks with my mother, meandering around the Portuguese-founded whaling town of Provincetown, and feeling salt in my hair and on my skin. It’s like nothing else! I also had a good quantity of decent gin on that trip. 🙂


The “bad” frames

My Argus Argoflex E is about 70-75 years old. It’s sturdy and pretty light, but I wasn’t used to working without a light meter, and didn’t carry one with me.

This meant that many of my frames weren’t properly exposed, or I didn’t time them right. Or I was moving too quickly to focus accurately (bugger). Nonetheless, I don’t see these as wasted frames. They’re learning frames. There’s no way every frame in a roll will be a worthwhile one, or that it will be impeccably framed, focused, and composed. Sometimes they’ll be downright awful.

To me, these are still awesome. They have memories attached. I was fumbling around, dashing, trying to keep up, or having trouble figuring out the intricacies that every camera presents when getting to know it. Especially this one!

My first foray into medium format!!

Using a 70 year old camera, I brought a few rolls of 120 film and ventured with the red girls around Los Angeles with Ektar 100. It was my first time actually shooting with this camera and trying to correctly load 120 film (which was surprisingly easy)!

I loved imagining how they’d turn out! The square format is really lovely, a great change from the rectangular format of 35mm, and the negatives were awesome to look at!

I don’t have a photo scanner and the labs are only for photography students but Chris did a patient, lovely job of scanning my film in with me. (A lot of my frames were actually heinous. Like, really bad. I might make a bad photo post).

Now they’re here! I’m in love! I’m so excited to keep shooting with my old ancient camera and experiment more with 120mm film!

Heading West soon!

00550021 In three weeks or so I’ll be on an airplane again.

Thank goodness!

Without travel I feel as though my soul shrinks. Or is warped, at least a bit.

This time I’m going somewhere I’ve never been: Los Angeles!

My thesis piece is there- a beautiful enconchado that I will do a post on soon!

I’m staying with good friends Chelsea and Comrade Kate and the last time we all were together in a city was a roadtrip through Montana, Idaho, and Washington to Seattle and Olympia. Harlan tagged along and upon getting to Seattle declared, “I hate cities!” at which point we all wondered why he had come along to a trip to a city. Nonetheless, we had a blast, eating our way through seafood and staying with Chelsea’s wonderful grandparents.

I’m excited to see these two soon in an entirely foreign environment to me!


I haven’t died!

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I’m here. STILL! I built a website, but am having a horrid time buying the domain name I want and NEED so…I’ve been doing that.

I finished finals, I’ve been with friends and family. I got 2 rolls of film developed from MONTHS ago, it was very neat to see some of the frames I’d shot that I’d forgotten about!

There’s a few from Chico when I went with Chris and we took a backwoods drive, a few from car camping and eating chili on cold mornings around a fire he built, a few from my sister and I on Thanksgiving, and pie, and dogs. I haven’t been photographing as much but this is changing! I swear!

I hope your holidays were magnificent! I got asked quite a bit yesterday at the bank and at the photo center if I got a good amount of stuff- which felt so odd. I’m not going to pretend I’m the most selfless person ever, but it would be nice to talk about family and the moments, not the stuff! What was your favorite moment over the holiday season? Do you have any glorious plans for New Years?

ALSO: Even though I haven’t been able to get my domain name, here is the link to my current website: http://krop.com/somethingdutch

Please visit- all feedback is welcome! Thank you, lovely readers! I’ve reached over 500 followers with this blog, which means SO MUCH. That number may not seem very large but to me it’s awesome to think that 500 people out there thought enough to follow.



New format and lovely memories

Hello lovely readers! I’ve been ignoring this blog. I’ve been really into cleaner designs and I realized that instead of looking to make a new site when I had loved this one for so long I could literally just find a new theme. 10 minutes later, BOOM! It was done. Without an actual boom sound, of course.

What did I do today? I ate lots of candy. I chopped wood with a hatchet in a cashmere sweater. I took pictures and had a milkshake. I sat in front of a fireplace. I ate pie. It was glorious. I also spent time with a warm sleepy Labrador and my lovely famiglia.

However, since I’m a slave to film (i.e. haven’t invested in a good DSLR/have no money/when I have money it goes to rent and food not cameras), any pictures of pie or candy or whatever else I took pictures of will have to wait. For at least a week. CVS swears they can get it to me in a week. Hmmm….

So, here are pictures of what winter in Montana look like on bitterly cold mornings in backyards and front yards and around town. Things are covered in frost, a frozen sort of fog blankets the valleys, and your world becomes a little more beautiful and brittle. These are from 2010 when I was home from Switzerland for a month. My mother had recently given me her Olympus OM-20 with an f/1.8 lens and I think I made some lovely images.

My camera collection


Afga Memo, c. 1939 argus-argoflex-model-e

Argus Argoflex Model E


Argus Argoflex Seventy-Fivebrownie_bullseye

Brownie Bulls-Eyekodak_instamatic_150

Kodak Instamatic 150

Thus far I own these cameras- I have only shot out of two of them, as the Instamatic causes serious problems with obtaining film unless I hand roll 35mm onto a special reel. Same with the gorgeous Afga from 1939, my oldest camera!

I have been lucky in collecting in that they’ve all been surprises. I have never gone out with the intent to collect cameras, which leaves me at an economic advantage- I got the Argus Seventy-Five, the Brownie Hawkeye and the Instamatic all in one case at a garage sale for $15!

The Agfa from 1939 was $10 in a thrift store- the bellows weren’t out and the front wasn’t opened, so it looked like an odd box, I don’t think anybody thought it was cool.

My most recent camera was my Argus Argoflex Model E from 1940-1947 that I found in a Goodwill here while shopping with Chris for a lamp (we’re cool). It was in a mint condition leather case, which piqued my interest! I quickly had it whisked from behind the glass case, and it was mine for $20. Chris got it out of the case with pliers (danke!) and in my hands I held a mint condition 120 film twin lens reflex camera!

I love collecting cameras and imagining their previous owners and what they shot with their lovely little light boxes.


All the green things

003_22A 005_20A 008_17A 014_11ABack from Cape Cod, I’ll be splitting up the photographs into several posts.

It rained a lot while we were there, the sound of it through the windows was lovely. One day I couldn’t stand being inside a moment longer and put on a coat and grabbed my camera with my f/1.4 lens. I know, I KNOW it is so ridiculous to get stoked about taking macro shots all the time, so I don’t, but the details that the rain and the contrast it brings out was gorgeous.

I was able to witness a determined bumblebee pollinate two rose bushes, despite sometimes being pummeled by a fat raindrop. Bees are some of the most gorgeous creatures to me- also, they’re rather genius! The shape of honeycomb is mathematically the most efficient and the strongest shape to support filling it with weight (like honey).

Off to work back in dry, hot Montana.