the brandenblog

Branden Frederick is a San Jose-based nerd, technology manager, and photographer.

photography
forest green lightroom preset: color grading

forest green lightroom preset: color grading

869
21 Nov 2020
Lightroom (despite Adobe's attempts to sabotage it) remains the best photo workflow and editing software in existence. A recent update replaced one of the most powerful tools, Split Toning, with an even more powerful tool, Color Grading. I go through the steps of using this tool to create a new preset called "Forest Greens" (which you can freely download). Read more.

babylon 13 lomography kino film

babylon 13 lomography kino film

103
10 Nov 2020
It began in the Earth year 2020, with the founding of the last of the Babylon films, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats... and travelers from a hundred worlds. Could be a dangerous place – but we accepted the risk, because Babylon 13 was our last, best hope for peace. Read more.

zeiss sharpness

zeiss sharpness

381
1 Nov 2020
Carl Zeiss is a lensmaker with a historic reputation for creating the sharpest optics, with only Leica giving any consistent reputation. Of course, with modern lensmaking, pretty much everything new is sharp. But I shoot with a lot of older gear, so I got curious, and explored this reputation. Read more.

explore on Flickr is a trick

explore on Flickr is a trick

1332
20 Oct 2020
Flickr is the internet's biggest photographer-centric social media website. Hobbyist and professional photographers go there to share photos and talk about how they made them. "Explore" is the official Flickr daily magazine, where the 500 most "interesting" photos are sorted and featured. For the user, a photo being selected for Explore is the best way to get their work seen. And so, the Flickr community places huge value on being listing in Explore, as if being featured equates to being validated as a photographer. But Explore isn't about photography at all, it's a trick to keep people engaged. Read more.

off-camera lighting on a shoestring

off-camera lighting on a shoestring

1028
7 May 2020
Want to get started with off-camera lighting, but don't want to waste money buying junk gear? Want to know what parts of the setup you can safely cheap out on? Here's my researched and tried shopping list to get a powerful, portable, flexible three-light off-camera studio setup for under $500. This gear will work with any brand of camera. Read more.

a tale of two ektars

a tale of two ektars

565
7 May 2020
Kodak makes a great film called Ektar. Known for its bright, saturated colors, it's labeled at ISO 100 and is a great film to use for landscapes and vacations and pretty much anything. However, it is is not the only Kodak Ektar film out there. Search for expired film, and you may come across old Ektar at ISOs of 25, 125, and 1000. What's the deal with those? Read more.

five years with fujifilm X

five years with fujifilm X

1143
6 May 2020
In November 2014 I went whole hog into Fujifilm's X camera system, starting with the X-T1 and two lenses. Now, over five years later, I have 25,000 Fujifilm X photos from four different camera models and a dozen different lenses. Is Fujifilm X still the right system for me? Read more.

the dumb story of APS film

the dumb story of APS film

forever haunted by 1996

1253
17 Feb 2020
The Advanced Photo System ("APS"), aka Kodak Advantix, had a brief, dumb existence. Claiming to be an upgrade to 35mm film, APS was actually the opposite, making the entire format dead on delivery. Flawed as APS was, it was also launched in 1996, simultaneous to the first digital cameras. Even though digital photo sharing was nascent, digital photography grabbed people's attention in precisely the way that APS did not. APS is dead, but it has had one lingering stain that nobody has been able to wash away: the digital sensor size "APS-C". Let's look into the details. Read more.

LomoChrome Metropolis

LomoChrome Metropolis

519
26 Jan 2020
In summer 2019, Lomography introduced a completely new film stock. Into their existing lineup of traditional (i.e. Color Tiger) and non-traditional (i.e. LomoChrome Purple) films, they were adding a new beast: LomoChrome Metropolis XR 100-400. With muted tones and a cool color balance, they pushed it for urban street photos. Instead I used it to shoot my normal junk. Read more.

2019 in photos

2019 in photos

wiping it off our boots

946
25 Jan 2020
Every year about now I "check in" to track changes both in my self and in the world of hobbyist photography in which I swim. This is what I've learned, what I've seen, and what I've taken photos of in 2019. Read more.

let's talk about Flickr

let's talk about Flickr

yes, Flickr is still a thing

600
20 Dec 2019
Flickr's CEO told the world yesterday that the service, as it is, is unsustainable, and without help will die. I love Flickr, it's the one social media(ish) site I use, and I've been using it daily for a decade. What would the world lose if Flickr went away? Read more.

tear your backing paper

tear your backing paper

see what happens

285
18 Jun 2019
When I got the Hasselblad 500C/M, the previous owner showed me how to use the camera. One of the pieces of advice was to not be too aggressive spinning the film loading crank. Last week I decided to ignore that advice. Read more.

lomography diana baby

lomography diana baby

is it any good?

891
19 May 2019
110 film was designed for consumer simplicity. It came in cartridges which handled a lot of the machinery, giving 24 shots of 13x17mm negatives, most often at ISO 200. This allowed for very simple camera designs and film loading, at the expense of image quality. It's the film type I used for my first 15 years of life, but it died out when digital rose up. Until Lomography brought it back in 2017. Read more.

ektachrome is back!

ektachrome is back!

443
2 May 2019
Like a zombie, Kodak's Ektachrome film has risen from the grave. Its re-animated version is called E100, and it is a daylight-balanced neutral-toned slide film only available in 135 (35mm) format. Yes, this is the most boring version of Ektachrome, but hey there's new film stock! Read more.

frame sizes revisited, 645 digital edition

frame sizes revisited, 645 digital edition

492
18 Mar 2019
With the inclusion of a Pentax 645D in my arsenal, a (somewhat) medium format digital camera, I once again am curious to know how lens focal lengths translate into fields of view for this sensor size. Read more.

2018 in photos

2018 in photos

another horrible year

1910
8 Jan 2019
The year of our lord two thousand and eighteen is finally over (a week ago, whoops). Did my photography grow in technique and skill? If nothing else, my pile of cameras and lenses definitely grew in size. Let's dig in! Read more.

black & white showdown results

black & white showdown results

878
10 Dec 2018
Back in May I purchased eight rolls of different black and white 120 roll film for a comparison (six Ilford stocks, two Kodak). The rolls included some I was familiar with, and some I had never shot before, with the intention that through shooting all films of similar subjects and in the same style, I'd be able to determine which B&W film best matches my style, or if I could even tell them apart at all. Read more.

kodak lumiere slide film

kodak lumiere slide film

203
8 Dec 2018
I picked up off eBay some unusual film stock: Kodak Lumiere. Wildly out of date, and with only two rolls, see how the images came out. Read more.

fujfilm GA645Zi: medium format point-and-shoot

fujfilm GA645Zi: medium format point-and-shoot

1079
21 Nov 2018
Nine months ago I learned of the existence of this line of cameras that both use medium format film and are flat and compact. Unfortunately, they are also glorified point-and-shoots. Read more.

pentax K-50 saga

pentax K-50 saga

wherein I learn about aperture block failure

325
28 Jul 2018
I love bright and crazy colors, so a few years ago when Pentax made the unusual decision to produce their K-50 camera in a huge array of toy-like colors, they had my attention. I was not in any way looking to buy a new SLR system at the time, so I didn't, but I never forgot about it. Read more.

polarizing the ocean

polarizing the ocean

how a polarizing filter can affect photos of the ocean

219
23 Jul 2018
A few weeks ago I was able to see some dramatic differences between polarized and non-polarized light with regards to photographing the ocean. Read more.

tips for aerial photography

tips for aerial photography

586
30 Jun 2018
Some of my favorite photos have been ones I've shot out of an airplane window. From 1000 to 3000 feet up in the air, you can get some amazing views, and smaller aircraft travel slow enough that you have time to prepare and compose your shots. Read more.

pentax K-01 a.k.a. the brick

pentax K-01 a.k.a. the brick

505
24 Jun 2018
I bought, used, then sold a Pentax K-01 all within two months. More than just not being the camera for me, it's not even clear why this camera was created in the first place. This is its story. Read more.

cell phone cameras

cell phone cameras

a review

1057
24 Jun 2018
I read yet another article yesterday about how technology in cell phone cameras has surpassed that of dedicated cameras and "wow! look at these photos where you can barely tell which camera made the image!" *barf* Read more.

the great black and white showdown

the great black and white showdown

431
12 May 2018
One of those things that's been tickling my noggin for a good measure of time now is, exactly how noticeable is the difference between all those black and white films? Read more.

photographing a performance

photographing a performance

1227
20 Apr 2018
I was asked recently to photograph "Play on Words", an event where performers do dramatic readings of short stories. Here's how I did it. Read more.

hip to be square

hip to be square

1071
23 Feb 2018
I love using my Fujifilm X cameras to make square photos. I learned to love squares through Instagram and medium format, and I was happy to discover that square photography is built right into my Fujifilm digital cameras. To help this, here are the Fuji X equivalent focal lengths for 6x6 medium format. Read more.

lomochrome purple

lomochrome purple

357
17 Feb 2018
Lomography sometimes sells batches of their own, unique "LomoChrome Purple XR 100-400" film. How this film works and where it is made are mysteries – we can only know through guesswork, since Lomography themselves say very little about the film. So I guess I might as well just try it out, see what happens. Read more.

xpan: a prestige camera

xpan: a prestige camera

1110
2 Feb 2018
For years, the Xpan was a dream camera for me. Then that dream became reality. Did it live up to its expectations? Read more.

2017 in photos

2017 in photos

2033
26 Dec 2017
By far, the most important thing that happened to me this year was the birth of my daughter. Yes, this is a photography blog and childbirth has nothing to do with cameras, but her birth transcended all parts of my life, including photography. Read more.

kowa/six compared

kowa/six compared

1421
2 Dec 2017
The Kowa/SIX was produced from 1968 to 1974, and was the first of three Kowa medium-format 6x6cm cameras. It competed against (and was cheaper than) the Hasselblad V system – and someone familiar with the Hasselblad will recognize many of the same selling points in the Kowa. I've been shooting with a Kowa/SIX for about two year now, and have become familiar with the camera. Read more.

testing slide duplicating film

testing slide duplicating film

336
19 Jun 2017
One of the weirder films you can find on eBay is Kodak's Ektachrome "Slide Duplicating Film 5071". There's not 5,070 other Ektachrome slide duplicating films, so "5071" is probably one of those cool index codes from back before computers made the codes 64 digits long. But most importantly, this "ESD" film isn't labeled with a film speed. So let's find out what it is! Read more.

2016 in photos

2016 in photos

187
26 Dec 2016
Here we are – nearly at New Years Day, our annual reminder that we're all slowly approaching our deaths. As the heavy drinking drowns our sorrows, so does it turn our reflection inward, and cause us to self-evaluate. We realize how little we've accomplished, and to what degree we've let ourselves down. Read more.

accidental double-exposure

accidental double-exposure

186
13 Aug 2016
A few years ago, a friend's father gave me a box of assorted camera junk that had been gathering dust in his garage for who knows how long. Included were some rolls of trash film. I threw them into my freezer and said "one day I'll shoot those". Little did I know, for one of the rolls, someone already had. Read more.

leica m3 versus fujifilm x-t1, a comparison

leica m3 versus fujifilm x-t1, a comparison

2342
18 Jul 2015
In which I compare the 1955 35mm legendary film rangefinder Leica M3 to the 2014 modern digital mirrorless Fujiflim X-T1. Read more.

metering without machines

metering without machines

a manual how-to

427
3 Dec 2014
So you've got one of these old cameras from the days of yore, and you've figured out how to get the film in it and where to point the dang thing, but uh-oh, how do you know what numbers to set for the aperture and shutter speed? Read more.

the photo process

the photo process

687
24 Nov 2014
This is my process; this is how I make a photo. Read more.

is film really cheaper than digital?

is film really cheaper than digital?

412
19 Nov 2014
These prices are as of 11/19/2014. They are all taken from actual receipts. This point of this exercise is to challenge the statement (that certain internet pundits make) that shooting film is cheaper than buying a digital camera every few years. Having done a lot of both of those things, I don't believe it to be the case, but I want some evidence to back this belief up. Read more.

Thomas and Trey photo walk

Thomas and Trey photo walk

116
14 May 2013
I showed up for a photo walk hosted by prolific photographers Thomas Hawk and Trey Ratcliff. The event was sponsored by Google, which was having its annual I/O conference near the walk, and who gave everyone a copy of the Nik software suite, and one lucky person got a Google Glass. Read more.

one landscape, different days

one landscape, different days

355
28 Aug 2012
This is the view off my father-in-law's balcony. I've been going up to his house for years, and at all times of year at all times of day, in all types of weather and with all types of cameras, I've been taking photos of this view. So I've accidentally set up an example of how different light, weather, seasons, cameras, etc. can affect the same landscape. Read more.
I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice