Sunday, December 5, 2010

Film . . . what's that

Ever since I got my scanner working I dug out some cameras and unloaded the film that was inside to get developed. I was using film sparingly as digital is more or less free. One camera had a roll of 120 E6 which I couldn't finish as the camera needed to be serviced so I went to my local pro-lab to drop it off. I knew that they only opened till noon on Saturdays so when I drove by it looked closed so I went to another lab. This Saturday I thought I would drop by and see Mike, the owner. It still looked closed but then I noticed some notices on the window


It's not good news. I had been dealing with G King Photo for nearly 40 years, but not since I had been using digital for my snapshots. In the digital generation most photos reside on hard drives or DVD archives and few get printed. For my enlargements I preferred to use my medium format film cameras and have optical enlargements printed by G King. George King was the original owner and got his start at Mortifee Munshaw Photo Service on Richards Street. He worked in the professional department upstairs while I as a student at high school used to come in 3 days a week to hand develop 16mm Minolta-16 film in my own darkroom . During the summer holidays I worked full hours hanging film to feed the black & white dunk machines. This would be around 1961 when I was in grade 9 . The exclusive distributor of Minolta 16 film was Mortifee Munshaw but under the name Minolta 16 Processing labs. This is how I got started collecting sub-minature cameras. I still have a drawer full of various Minolta 16 cameras and Minoxes.

George ran his business until he decided to retire a few years ago and sold the business to Mike who obviously got caught in the economic downturn and also the demise of film being replaced by digital. Mike was the head printer at G King and he worked on many of my negatives. I am saddened that he had to close down his business. It would appear that not many knew that George had sold his business as it was still operating as G King Photo which I am sure is causing problems with bill collectors knocking on George's door looking for payment.

Today I was on a quest to purchase some 4x5 film. I looked at my meagre supply and noticed that it had long expired


The box of Ektachrome E100s had expired back in 1998 and was still factory sealed.


The Tri-X expired back in 1999 which is over 11 years ago.


The B&W is still useable but perhaps a little loss in film speed. This box still contains 25 sheets of film. Back then, I loaded some film holders and a Grafmatic and unloaded them yesterday to be refilled with fresh film

Kodak has just released a new film which everyone is talking about, Ektar 100 Professional. It is reported to be the finest grain C41 colour film ever produced. I was lucky to have managed to snag a box


With taxes (ie: HST) this works out to around $37. for 10 shots. Developing a sheet would probably be around $3. or slightly more so every click of the shutter would cost you around $7.00 and this is without even making a proof. My intention is to start shooting with my 4x5 camera again and reduce costs by using a 6x12 roll film back which I have already ordered from China. I like the panoramic ratio


It was always my intention to take my V-strom for a ride but it was too frosty in the morning to even consider it so I ran my errands in my commuter (car). I came hone in the early afternoon to check my tires


I had to check the label to see what tire pressures I needed. It had been a while since I had pulled out my tire gauge and the last time I rode it didn't feel quite right . Lucky thing I did


The rear tire is supposed to be 41 psi but was only 34 psi. The front was also down around 4 lbs. It didn't take very long and soon all was well


For some reason my right arm still isn't back to normal. It hurts when I hold it at certain angles. I decide it isn't worth the chance if I need to do an emergency maneuver and besides the road is still very slippery in my area. Today we have had the best weather in weeks but I will live to ride another day. I put my bike on its centre stand, and put wood blocks under the front wheel to get it off the cement and replug in the battery tender and head downtown

Down in False Creek our "dome" Rogers Place is getting a new retractible roof installed


Sunday brunch finds us at a waterfront restaurant


watching the BC Ferries come and go


I get to order the Eggs Benedict (one ham, one smoked salmon & one shrimp)


when we make these at home, I make the hollandaise sauce from scratch and scoop globs on rather than a few drops from their anemic teaspoon There will be ample time to make them at home when the weather turns bad and you don't want to venture out.


This time of year it seems that sunset arrives too soon. We are heading home after a relaxing day cruising around and taking photos .

(Nearly sunset: Eagle Harbour, West Vancouver, BC)


  1. Bob:
    Now those rolls of film take me back! I used to use Tri-X and Ektachrome , but the 164 ASA slide variety for motorsport photography.

    A question my old friend.... You're not wearing pink Crocs in the photos which provide some degree of warmth and protection to your pinkies whereas the sandals don't. How on earth are we going to recognise you, or have you got a doppleganger who has missed one critical identifier? Shall we notify the authorities?

  2. Yeah, my film usage suffered with the affordability of digital. I, too, don't print much per se. But I do try to update the digital frame on a regular basis. Stare at it like we would the TV and relive the memories. But I also have books and calendars printed from MyPublisher. Great paper stock, great color, good pricing. So we have themed, or temporal, books to thumb through. The hardest part is picking the images. :)

    As Geoff points out, the crocs are missing. But I do see evidence of one in your film phots. The other little piggy is nekked!!

    Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the cold with the missus, taking photos and enjoying sustenance. :)


  3. Wow! Film. I still shoot with my Hasselblad on occasion, and I have a 6x6 standard and a 6X12 Holga Pinhole camera. I like the 6X12 format also. I never warmed up to a view camera and sheet film.

    I hope that V-Strom doesn't stay on the center stand too long. It would be misuse of a motorcycle.

    Have a great day, Bob. --Brent

  4. Geoff:

    I am a long user of TMX or Neopan 1600 for available light photography in my Leicas. I have a few rolls of B&W to develop. If I clean out my basement I still have enlargers down there and perhaps do a few prints the "old way" . . . & I did bring my Pink Crocs (tm) out


    My friend has used My Publisher and it is nice to have a book on the coffee table. I am thinking of trying them out.

    If I lived somewhere warm, like NZ or Hawai'i I wouldn't own a pair of shoes.


    I also have a 500CM and a Superwide SWC, a collection of Leicas and a few 4x5's. I like 4x5 but not the hassle of loading film holders, thus I have ordered a 6x12 back. It's nice to have a few loaded film holders just in case I want Full Frame.

    I love shooting with a view camera. There's something about viewing your image upside down and backwards on the ground glass

  5. Lori:
    Thanks for seeing what I missed - a pink Croc. As you correctly point out though, there is but one. Is there a crisis looming? Is Bob about to go feral and move a long way south perhaps?

  6. This post reminds me of some old film I found awhile back from Seattle Film Works. I used to actually have them develop 35mm film for me until I realized it was sort of a ripoff.

    Your toes are awesome!


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  8. I haven't messed with sheet film since the early 80's. And I must admit that I don't miss it at all. We used 8x10 sheets and initially used film but later simply used printing paper since we eventually wanted prints anyway and didn't care whether it was a negative image or not. We eventually generated tens of thousands of prints from this experiment. Fortunately, I just defined the process then was able to hand it off.

    Too bad about a good business closing down.

    When is everyone coming over for your home-mad hollandaise?


  9. They make a pretty weak glass of white wine in Canada. It looks transparent.

  10. Bobskoot,

    Your posting evoked memories of dark rooms filled with the smell of photo developing chemicals whose names escape me in my dotage.

    It also brought back memories of watching black and white images develop on photo paper lying just underneath the surface of said chemicals, as if by magic....

    It reminded me of my now vintage Pentax ME 35mm SLR camera and assorted lenses with which I briefly flirted in college with notions of a career as a photojournalist; accompanied me throughout Italy and Germany as a young Army officer; and then travels through the US until it developed a light leak which I never got fixed. By then you see, digital cameras had come along with their promise of immediate gratification and high gadget factor. I still have the Pentax though.

    Going further back, it reminded me of my father's camera with the two lenses in front and one looked into a screen from above to compose the picture.

    Finally, my first camera, which used 120mm film, which had a lens which folded out from the body with a paper mechanism linking it to the camera itself. Wow, I've not thought about those for a long time.

    Good times, thanks...


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  11. Every once and a while I stumble across some 35mm film that either didn't get used, or was exposed, but not developed. I still have my 35mm, guess I should pop a roll in and see what happens. I'm sure all are well past expiration as well.

    Very sad to see that happen to a business, especially one that has been around for so long. I hate to see that happen.

    Lovely pictures of the waterfront. Very colorful, and some of them remind me of summer until I spot the frost on the dock. :)

    Nice banner too, btw

  12. Dear Bobskoot:

    I took a photography course in college. This enabled to take pictures of my naked girlfriend in the shower, making me coffee, and laying on a sleeping bag in a tent next to a motorcycle. See, in those days you had to send film out, and I was afraid this was a jail offence. The pictures were in black and white, requiring developer, fixer, red lights, and a dryer. One day, I managed to leave a pint in the dark room. I got an "A" in the course.

    I have admired your drill/pump for the garage, as it is handy, small, and undoubtedly quiet. What do you carry for emergencies on the bike?

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • rep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  13. Bobskoot, I got your message on my blog. I am no longer writing my blog or doing Facebook. Something terrible has happened. You can write me at Thanks for thinking of me. It is a bad time of year.