Time To Print Christmas Cards 







November isn’t even over and stores and television commercials are filled with Christmas advertising. Oh well, it always sneaks up on me, and anyway, I like all the festive celebration and excitement of Christmas. The early start means I get to enjoy all the colourful decorations, and listen to the Christmas music for a longer time. Yes, I like Christmas music.

All year long those photographer social media sites I belong to have been filled with photos made by members, but images posted on the internet quickly fade into memories and are easily forgotten when an hour later someone else posts theirs.

I like photographic prints. Prints have a life, whether framed and hung on the wall, taped on the refrigerator, or thumbtacked in an open space in the workroom. To me a print of any size has more importance than a digital image on my computer or iPhone screen.

Christmas is a great time for photographers that now have and an excuse (and an opportunity) to give our friends and family our photographs.

I suppose that could mean a big framed photograph, but what I am writing about is Christmas cards. Cards easier and less expensive than framed prints. Nevertheless, any card of a photographer’s work is more of a statement as a gift than an email.

I don’t want to believe that any photographer would be satisfied with mass produced generic Christmas cards. Personally, I want people enjoy my photography. Even if it’s only as a 5×7 card, and that’s better than having my pictures left languishing in some hard-drive.

Right now my wife, Linda and I are going through our many image files from this year’s photographs selecting those we want for Christmas cards. I’ll print up lots of different images and place all sorts of greetings on them. It is rare that we give the same picture to more than one person. And not all the cards say Merry Christmas. Although I like “Merry Christmas” what goes on a card doesn’t really matter. Happy Holidays, Seasons greetings, Have fun, A good New Year, and anything else I think fits a particular picture.

I have written before that my wife and I always produce a new monthly calendar, doing alternating months. I always get December even if it’s Linda’s turn. Doing a calendar is a neat way to enjoy our photography, but cards are a lot more fun because they are for others to enjoy. I also make cards for all occasions, like birthday’s, Valentine’s, Mother’s day, etc.,

My family expects me to share my photography. Sometimes it’s only a picture of something we’ve done, but if it’s a special occasion they always get a card. For those photographers that don’t have their own printer, it’s as easy as having a 4×5 print made at a local lab. Then get some construction paper, glue a picture on it, fold the paper, write something like Merry Christmas inside and give it away. And don’t make all the cards the same.                                 What would be the fun in that?

Twin Lens Reflex Film Camera   



Linda chose a hay field


I liked this old Plymouth


Town view by Linda


I thought a photo of our black Honda would be great.


It started raining as I photographed the church


Linda leaned out the window for this shot


I held the camera out the window upside down for this photo


At the close of my last article about the Vancouver Camera Swap Meet I wrote that I had purchased a neat 1960s twin lens reflex Yashica camera for myself. To clarify, the camera is a 120mm format film camera, which gives 2¼x2¼ inch negatives, and does it with twin lenses (or two); a top lens for focusing, and a bottom lens for making the image.

Unlike modern DSLR cameras, photographers don’t hold the camera up to their eye to peer though a tiny hole, and instead view the subject by holding the camera at waist level while focusing on a 2¼” square ground glass.

My wife, Linda, got herself a TLR camera some time ago. Her intention was to force herself to slow down and pay more attention to proper composition, and being limited to only 12-exposure roll film certainly helps one to slow down. So when, a few weeks before the Vancouver Camera Swap meet, she mentioned that she hadn’t had a chance to put a roll of film through her TLR Yashica-Matt since early spring, I decided I might look for the same kind of camera so we could go out together.

I need to say that I am not one of those that thinks film is better than digital. Gosh, not for a minute! I like digital and I really like digital post-production software. For that matter I prefer modern digital technology. However, readers will remember from an earlier article that I wrote, “Happiness is a day with my camera.” To me, that means any camera that is fun to use. And a slow focusing, waist level viewing, twelve-exposure film camera is exactly that, “fun to use”.

Both Linda and I used twin lens cameras in the 1980s. Linda even had a big and heavy Mamiya that she packed on a glacier-climbing trip we once took. When I think of that hefty camera I can’t help but laugh at those modern photographers that complain about how heavy their DSLR cameras are.

We have spent two days since I got my camera going out on photo-excursions. One day driving the back roads near home and one photographing the small nearby town of Chase. However, the day in Chase was cut short because of rain. Then, instead of arriving home and being able to quickly edit image files on a big computer screen, the procedure is to take the film into a completely dark room, unroll the film from the paper backing, put it in a light-tight processing tank, and then spend the better part of the next hour pouring chemicals on, rinsing, and hanging the film up to dry overnight. The next day I scan film and edit in Photoshop.

I don’t know if I can say that the processing part of the journey is all that fun. But using the camera is, and I’ll just have to put up with film developing so Linda and I can play with our vintage film cameras.

So far we have been using some really dated film that expired back in 2002. That old film won’t yield the spectacular results one expects from medium format film. We have two more rolls of that fatigued old film to use as we get used to our cameras, then I’ll get some newer film and we will be able to produce photographs that match the resolution of some of the best modern DSLRs.

But sharp pictures aren’t really why so many photographers like Linda and I are returning to those old medium format cameras. The cameras from the past have now become unusual in this day of instant gratification. And there is something quite rewarding and even fulfilling, and as one photographer remarked “intimate” in the slow process of using a TLR.

November 2016 Vancouver Camera Swap meet  










Last weekend my wife and I again ventured over British Columbia’s coastal mountains, this time to attend a camera swap meet. This was the last camera swap meet of the year. And I had a blast!

The event has been taken over by a new coordinator and moved closer to a more central location for photographers that live in Vancouver. There was more parking available for the swap meet, and we were able to find a reasonably priced hotel that was located nearby (only about five minutes drive away.) And for folks like us from out-of-town, the new location offered better access to a variety of restaurants.

The new venue was smaller, but the tables were less spread out and had an intimate atmosphere that I really enjoyed. Our day started at 9am with the long line-up of photography enthusiasts rushing in as fast as they could.

Vancouver is a large multicultural city and for those of us living in smaller communities in the BC interior, the sudden barrage of dialects and different languages being spoken takes a moment to get used to. However, everyone there spoke “Photography”, and that made for a fun and friendly day of showing, demonstrating, explaining, and, of course, bargaining with savvy photographers of all kinds.

I was pleased to find that I had a table next to my long time friend Brian Wilson. That was a treat, Brian is the guy that got me into this business 20 plus years ago and there is no doubt his knowledge on cameras and their history is second to none.

The place was packed and there were many bargains, and I doubt anyone that had rented a table had much time to themselves until things slowed down for a short time around lunch. After splitting a great big deli sandwich with Brian I decided to take advantage of the lull to have a quick walk around to see what was for sale and take a few pictures for this article.

I’ll sum up my walk-about in one word, Wow!   The variety of equipment was exciting. I felt like the little kids I sometime see safely tucked in a shopping cart going down the grocery store candy or cookie aisle, hands reaching out pleading with their mother for the goodies on the shelves. It was all I could do to keep myself from reaching in my pocket for the proceeds of the morning sales ready to buy. Nevertheless I touched everything I could before safely returning to my table to be out of temptation’s grip.

I talked to lots of people, renewed some long-time friendships, made new friends, sold a few cameras and lenses, and had a good time. Oh, and like icing on the cake, I was able to find a neat 1960s Twin Lens Yashica camera for myself.

As usual, the Vancouver Swap meet was exhilarating, and even though the day was tiring and after packing up what I had left from the show, Linda and I ignored the comfort of our quite hotel room and headed to downtown Vancouver to spend the evening in a pleasant Broadway bar for a meal of fish and chips with locally crafted beer, all in all, a perfect way to end the day.






Happiness Is A Day With My Camera                                           






linda Walch

Today as I drove to town some expert on the radio said that there are 12 states of happiness.

I can’t remember what they were or how “happiness” is determined, but after a bit of searching I found a short article that said to be happy we must “anticipate with pleasure, savor the moment, express happiness, and reflect on happy memories”.

I know there are times and things that make me happy. However, there are also moments that no matter what my surroundings are or the circumstances I am in, I am just not happy.

My wife makes me happy, and even when I know she is mad at me for something I have said or done, I am still happy when she’s with me. Maybe that’s one of those states.

I doubt there has ever been any studies done on the states of happiness for photographers. So while those reading this think about what makes them happy I’m going to delve into that mysterious state.

Happiness might be about things like camera equipment, or about creating a good photograph.

Most photographers are devastated when they receive a poor review on a picture, so there is lots of ego involved in their happiness.

I know sitting around with other photographers talking about anything photographic is just plain blissful.

I don’t have any science that I can call up and haven’t discussed happiness with any philosophers, but I have always felt that photographers have a culture of their own. There are those who might argue that concept, but I am absolutely convinced that it is so.

I constantly interact with other photographers in online forums, or talk to them personally, and those photographers are always ready and willing to tell me when they are happy or not with their photography.

Some seem to be more interested in the technology of photography then the process of making pictures and there are others that care little about the equipment as long as they can make a picture.

I once knew a photographer that was happiest when he found a problem with a piece of photography equipment. He delighted in making test after test and would sometimes spread twenty or more prints on my counter explaining how a particular camera or lens didn’t match what the manufacturer or other photographers claimed. Personally, I’m disappointed when something doesn’t work as described, but he would actually be cheery.

I remember a fellow that used to spend all his spare time hunting (with his camera). He’ll show up at my shop with a grin as wide as all outdoors and happily describe how he crawled thru the sagebrush, waded some creek, or slowly froze as he hung off some cliff. What made him happy was the process of making pictures.

I know photographers that are continually changing equipment. Not because of problems with what they own, but because they read something, or talked to someone, about a new addition from their manufacturer of choice, and can’t live without it.

Sometimes their choices don’t so much meet a practical need as an emotional one, but they make it easy for me, and anyone else they talk to, to observe how very happy they are with their new acquisitions.

This medium has so many genres and outlets to make one happy.  There are portrait photographers, wildlife photographers, scenic and landscape photographers, street and sports photographers, those that specialize in plant photography and, of course, many more, each with differing sets of skills, and, to my mind, their own states of happiness.

I don’t know if photographers have twelve states of happiness, or only the four I found in that short article, but I will say that I meet lots of people that are happy to be doing photography, and being involved with it in their own way.

Maybe its just as simple as the words I once saw written on a wall, “Happiness is a day with my camera.”