From the Archive: Jacksonville vs. Tennessee in the AFC Championship game, 1999


Steve McNair looks for an open receiver


Watching the Jacksonville Jaguars roll over the New England Patriots at home today, made me think back to the days when I was regularly covering Jacksonville Jaguar games as a freelance photographer based out of Daytona Beach, Florida.



As an expansion team, playing their first season in 1995, the Jags can out of the box hot, making the playoffs in their second, third, forth, and fifth seasons, making it to the AFC Championship game in just the fifth season of their existence, meeting the Tennessee Titans at home on January 23, 2000, for a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.


As was often the case, Fred Taylor carried the load for the Jags


Things did not go well for the Jags, as the Jeff Fisher coached Titans, with Steve McNair at QB won the game impressively by a score of 33-14. Following the Jags' championship game appearance, the wheels came off a little with 3 straight losing season under their only head coach until that time, Tom Coughlin. Coughlin was fired, giving way to Jack Del Rio, who suffered another losing season in 2004, before returning Jacksonville to the NFL playoffs in 2005.

The January 2000 contest game was the first an only Conference Championship game that I photographed and, the game was generally a grinding affair, which makes for a tough photographic day.


Steve McNair and Eddie George combined for 175 yards on the ground for Tennessee


Quarterbacks Steve McNair (Tennessee) and Mark Brunell (Jacksonville) each threw one touchdown pass, with the bulk of the action coming n the ground. For the Titans, Eddie George and McNair combined for 175 yards rushing while Jaguar workhorse Fred Taylor rolled for 110 yards of his own.



McNair ran in two TD's and Derrick Mason provided the scoring and photographic highlight of the day with his 80 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.


Derrick Mason's 80 kickoff return for a TD provided excitement


One of the great things about photographing football is that you never know what you will get when you take up your position on the sideline at the start of each game, and one of the great challenges is trying to provide coverage of whatever happens in the course of the game as well as trying to produce interesting images when very little actually happens!

While the majority of my photographic career has been spent standing trackside at motorsport events, I'll never turn down a chance to snap a few football photos!

To view my entire Tennessee/Jacksonville 1999 AFC Championship Game gallery, please
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Gettysburg, a Black and White film visit, September 2018



This week's film shoot was a visit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for dual trip back in time: In one sense I was traveling back to more than 150 years to the iconic Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, and, in another sense it was a much shorter hop back in time to the early 1990's when Canon's EOS Elan 7NE was the camera of choice for many 35mm film shooters.

I acquired the camera recently in excellent condition and at a very reasonable price and have been carrying it on my assignments with a couple of rolls of expired
Kodak T-Max Film. Enroute by car from recently from New York to Florida, I passed signs telling me I would be passing near the famous Gettysburg Civil War Battleground.

Although I was on a tight schedule and still had many hours of driving ahead of me that day, it was early, the site was not very crowded, and I decided this would be a promising place to put the old Canon SLR to the test.



Pulling into a parking lot, I loaded an old roll of T-Max 400 into the camera and set off down the walkway. Although I had a case full of lenses with me, I mounted my
Tamron 150-600 G2 zoom on the body and decided to look for pictures that would work with that lens. This a a technique I often use , especially when I have limited time and do not want to carry and juggle multiple lenses to fit a subject. With his method I am forced to make the lens fit the situation I am faced with.



While on the surface, the old battlefield is not much more than acres of slightly rolling Pennsylvania farmland, the knowledge that thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers had spent their final moments on this Earth here, fighting for their respective beliefs, the dozens of markers and monuments dedicated to those who had fought and fallen here, the civil war weaponry and artifacts on display, and the knowledge that the land and area remains much the same as it had been on those 3 bloody days of the Civil War back in 1863 lent an emotional and heavy air to the atmosphere.

While walking through the site, I stopped to read many plaques along the way. I photographed the views and sights that caught my fancy, keeping in mind that the scenes would be recorded in black and white and that when the second roll of film was finished, so was my photography for the day! That was a fact of life for photographers before the beginning of the digital age.



I was struck by the similarities between the Film SLR, a camera introduced by Canon in 2004, and today's Canon Digital SLR's. I shares the Manual, TV, AV, and Program modes with its digital cousins and had both the shutter speed finger dial and the camera back aperture dial that today's digital shooters will find familiar.

The Eye-focus feature that professed to control the camera's focus point by movement of the photographer's eye, had always intrigued me back in the day, but for now I remain ignorant of exactly how this feature functions, and will have to wait for some future date to try it out.



After quickly burning through my roll of T-Max 400, I loaded an expired roll of T-Max 3200 into the camera. I still have a couple of brick of this film, which went out of date back int he '90's, and have had reasonably good luck rating it at ISO400 and pull-processing it.



On my return home, I was anxious to get to my lab and soup the film. I ran it though
Ilfosol one-shot liquid developer diluted at 1:14 and before long had a couple of rolls of good-looking black and white negatives ready for scanning.

A review under my loupe told me that both the auto-focus and exposure functions on my old SLR were functioning properly. Once again, my years-old fascination with film photography provided me with a couple of pages of negatives for my files and the satisfaction of producing a selection of images which seem to reflect the spirit of the subject in a way that, while similar to post-processed digital files, have their very own finite properties that only film can provide.



To view my full EOS Elan 7NE 35mm film gallery, please click here


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Shooting With Canon's First Autofocus SLR: The EOS 650


Oak Tree, Koreshan Unity Settlement, Estero, FL, T-Max 3200


I recently won can online auction of a collection of various old photographic equipment for next to nothing. Included in my winnings was an old Canon 650 35mm film SLR camera. This acquisition brought back a lot of memories for me!

Way back in the early 1990's, when my motorsports photography career was still pretty young, I returned home to my apartment one day to find that a window had been jimmied open and all my photographic gear had been stolen! At the time I was shooting with Canon FD manual focus gear, having had very little experience with the new autofocus bodies, I was not really sold on the new technology and did not really trust the autofocus equipment. ( In fact it was several years before I started using and trusting autofocus, and even after I'd acquired autofocus gear, I continued to manually focus on all my assignments!)


Arlo the Dog, T-Max 400


With Daytona's Speedwells rapidly approaching and with very little hope of getting my camera gear back, at least before the races arrived (I never did get any of the gear back), I decided to order a couple of the new autofocus bodies and a few lenses. The bodies I ordered were a Canon EOS 650, which had been Canon's first autofocus body in 1987 and a Canon EOS 620. Along with the bodies, I ordered a wide zoom and a Canon EF 75-300 zoom. I remember missing my Canon T-90's, A-1's and F-1, but with no choice, I soldiered on with the EOS gear and it was not long before I had graduated on to the EOS-1's and started to actually use the autofocus technology with good results and life went on from there.


Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY, T-Max 3200

So my recent auction acquisition brough back a lot of memories and, with my recent re-involvement in 35mm film shooting and processing, I was anxious to attach some of my current lenses to the EOS 650 body and run a roll or two through it.



I'm a back-button autofocus shooter, and I'm not even sure if that was an option on the 650, but I could not figure out how to do it, so I accepted the fact that I would be shooting shutter-button auto-focus, which I really do not like. With no camera manual, it took me awhile to figure out how to work the aperture in the manual shooting mode. The camera also has Time Value, Aperture Value, Program and Depth of Field shooting modes.


Alligator Warning Sign, Estero River, Estero, FL, T-MAx 3200


It was not long before I was happily snapping away, starting at the back of the camera blankly after each shot, waiting for an image to pop up on the non-existent LCD screen, as is the habit of most digital shooters who pick up an old film camera out of curiosity.

35mm Film

I've always been a fan of the feel and sound of a film shutter and film motor drive, so these sounds and sensation all came back to me. The feel of the camera in my hands was quite familiar and the ergonomics of Canon cameras have changed surprisingly little over the past 30 years, although this was before the days of the rear control wheel which is so familiar to Canon camera shooters.

Every 36 pictures, of course, you are jarred back to reality as the whirring of the film rewind motor tells you it's time to load another roll of film, quite a change from the virtually unlimited shooting capacity of today's digital cameras.


Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY, T-Max 3200

Because am not yet familiar with today's active photo labs and because of the poor result sI've had dealing with local photo labs, I am so far shooting only black and white film since I still have my old film processing gear and, with chemicals ordered from Amazon, I am developing my own film for now,

I as I gradually reimburse myself in film photography, many of the old ritual sand feeling come flooding back. Just like riding a bicycle, I guess you never really forget how to load film on processing reels once you know how. For me, the inability to let the film fully dry before I am searching for a loupe and holding the dripping film up to a light source so I can see my photos is still a fact of my photographic life.

Having never been a big fan of darkroom printmaking, and only having endured it for years out of necessity, I really have no desire to load my negatives into an enlarger and splash paper in chemicals to produce prints. I am more than happy to scan my negs and do my editing on a computer! Still, film photography is a very different experience than digital photography, and one that I am happily rediscovering in the later stages of my photographic career.

I've always liked the idea of salvaging something off the scrap heap and putting it productive use, and find it exciting to purchase the cameras that I either used or longed after earlier in my career for virtually pennies and loading them with film to go out and make pictures.

To view my full EOS 650 35mm film gallery, please click here


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Thrift Store Camera: Argus 100 35mm film camera


Front Straightaway pit structures, Sebring Raceway, Sebring , Florida
I've recently been drawn back to my photographic roots, which involves film photography. Not just loading a roll of film into a camera and going out and shooting pictures, but also bringing the film home, loading it into a tank, pouring in chemicals and processing the film myself.

Kodak D-76 Black & White Film Developer Powder to Make 1 Liter.

I'm not sure what satisfaction this brings me, but I do find it satisfying for sure. Reliving the early days of my career in photography involves the careful planning of each and every shot, know that you have a very limited number of shots available. There is no 64GB memory cards or delete buttons, only a finite number of exposures on a roll of film before you have to stop and reload, assuming you have more film with you.

Before you load each roll, you make several conscious decisions: color or black and white? 100 asa or 800 asa? Once the film is in the camera, there's no turning back, so to speak. These are the things that many photographer today don't really think about as they go about creating their photography.



Beyond this, in the last few weeks, I've decided to start shooting photos on old, cheap film cameras that I've discovered and purchased in thrift shops.

With that in mind, a few thoughts and photos on this week's Bargain Store acquisition: An old Argus 100 35mm film camera.


Argus 100 35mm film camera

This camera is basically a reloadable version of the throwaway, one-time use, cameras that were popular in the 1990's. Fixed focus, a high-low sliding aperture switch of bright light and low light, manual film cranking knurled knob, etc. I like the fact that this camera has a 38mm lens, which is slightly wider that a "normal" lens for 35mm film. While this was most likely intended to expand the focal depth go field, it also gives the photos a slightly wider look, drawing the viewer more into the photos. There is a hot shoe to attach a flash if you want to and, of course, a film rewind button and crank for when the roll is finished.


White Chapel, Granada River, Ormond Beach, Florida

Because there are no exposure controls, other than the sliding high light, low light switch, there is very little the photographer has to think about beyond composing the picture. One thing to keep in mind when shooting with these types of cameras, is that there are designed to give general exposure that will work with about ASA 100 to ASA 400 film, with the ASA 100 negatives being a little thin, of underexposed, and the 400 negatives being a little dense, or over-exposed.



The shutter speeds in these cameras are generally on the low side, so when using a camera like this you should make every effort to hold the camera very still while depressing the shutter button to avoid camera shake and motion blur.


Ormond Beach Yacht Club building, built in 1910

So I think what it comes down to is the satisfaction that can be derived from trying to use a tool pulled basically off of the junk pile, using old techniques and technology to create somewhat interesting images from today's world. Photographing things you see in the world today using a an old camera and film is a way of in and of itself to document those items in a way they've never been documented before.


Rural roadside mailboxes, Sebring , Florida

If you enjoy making digital photographs today, and have a desire to experience and appreciate the history of your craft, I'd definitely recommend dropping into your local Goodwill Store and picking up an old film camera, funning a few rolls of film through it, process the film yourself or send it to the lab and enjoy the results!

To view my full Argus 100 35mm film gallery, please click here


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Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic Site on film


The Panetrary Court, built in 1896

A recent camping trip on an off-weekend between motorsport photo shoots at the Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic Site at Koreshan State Park in Estero , Florida seemed like the perfect opportunity to pull out one of my old 35mm film cameras and a roll of expired T-Max 400 and indulge my new/old obsession: film photography.

The Historic Site, which is all that remains of a religious community established in the late 1800's near Ft. Myers, Florida, is a photographically target-rich environment, just begging to be photographed on black and white film!



More than 100 years ago, the original settlers of the community moved here with visions of establishing a city which they hoped would grow to as many a s 10 million people and be a worldwide center for their religion. This vision did not quite pan out, and by the 1980's all the residents of the community were gone, leaving behind their story and the few physical structures that remain.



With the limited time I had, I made a couple of trips through the set, photographing it both digitally as well as on 35mm film. I used a Canon EOS 650, which was Canon's original EOS autofocus body back in the 80's, which I had picked up at an online auction for next to nothing. The beauty of these old canon bodies is that you can use all your current canon mount lenses with them, and their functions are fairly intuitive for a Canon shooter.


Interior view, Damkohler House, built in 1882

For someone like myself, who spent 20 years in film photography before the dawn of the digital age right about the turn of the century, it is hard to grasp the attraction I now feel for film photography, more than 15 years down the road from casting off all my old chemical-stained clothing. I think it has something to do with the deliberateness of the process, from determining the composition, focus and exposure to the finality of pressing the shutter button and advancing the film one more step toward the end of the roll, knowing that when the film is gone, the photography is over.



And, as someone recently told me, I am a glutton for punishment apparently, as I have even pulled all my old processing tanks out of storage, ordered chemical from
Amazon, and gone to work processing my own film. The excitement as I anticipate the images on the film is just like it was for me in the old days, when there was no other way to produce photographic images, I find that I am still unable to wait for the full duration of the fixing chemical time before I have pulled the wet film out of the fixer and am holding it up to the light with a magnifier to see what I've actually captured.


The Founder's House, built in 1896

Anyway, I was happy with the results of my hour spent at the Koreshan Unity Settlement with my old Canon EOS 650 and an expired roll of Kodak
T-Max 400, and would encourage any photography with a curiosity for the origins of his or her craft to pick up an old film camera and some film and give it a go. My belief is that it will only deepen your love for photography



To view my full 35mm film gallery from the Koreshan Unity Settlement, please
click here

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