Thanksgiving Day Wishes

Autumn Harvest

As the year slowly approaches the last chapter, we first celebrate Thanksgiving Day, one which I not only consider my year-end favorite holiday and a day of reflection, but one I have combined with my German roots of Erntedankfest.

It is giving thanks not only to the years bounty our table has shared, but also for our families well being and the friendships, old and new, that are part of our lives.

So I wish to extend to you my dear reader, my heartfelt warm wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. May your home be filled with the warmth and laughter from family members and friends.


All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Looking Back - Ken Merfeld

I have noticed that in the passed few years, there has been a surge in alternative photographic process and one of the more popular ones are wet plates. It is as if wet plate collodion is the LoFi of yesterday reborn.

This sensitive and very temperamental photographic process was invented in 1851, invented by Frederic Scott Archer, replacing daguerreotype and remained favored for about three decades, until it was replaced with dry plate process.’ Collodion process’ is usually taken to be synonymous with the ‘collodion wet plate process,’ a very inconvenient form which required the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about fifteen minutes.

Ken Merfeld a commercial photographer, with a studio in Culver City, California, specialises in fashion, advertising, portrait, and celebrity assignments, his work has appeared in a variety of magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and more. Caught between two worlds, Ken delved into one of the most ‘hands-on’ technique to keep his traditional darkroom alive, as the world was changing around him into the realm of digital. Over the many years, Ken has amassed a huge body of work Collodion process photographs, ranging from still-life, fashion, botanical and portraiture. 

There is a certain beauty about the wet plate process, it is the unexpected, the unknown outcome and especially the fact that one cannot duplicate the results, that is part of the attraction.

From Ken’s “Fine Art Portfolio” 

Ken Merfeld’s fine art website
Ken Merfeld’s commercial website
Alternative Photography website
FStoppers explaining the process link


Hipstamatic New SnapPak - Photojournalism

After waiting more than a year since Hipstamatic announced Benjamin Lowy’s work on a Photojournalism lens and film pack, it now has finally been released for the ‘First Friday of the Month.’ 

Front view of Full Metal Jacket camera case - screen shot

When I wrote about Benjamin Lowy’s Photojournalism combo in July of 2012, it was meant to be a ‘GoodPak,’ which would raise monies “to give back to the photojournalism community and so created the Hipstamatic Foundation for Photojournalism to be launched with the release of a new GoodPak.” Funds raised from the release of Photojournalism GoodPak will be applied to Hipstamatic Foundation for Photojournalism in order to educate and support the next generation of photo storytellers. 

GoodPak’s’ were developed with the idea that the proceeds would go to charitable organisations. Previous released ‘GoodPaks’ were Dali Museum GoodPak, to aid the Dali Museum in St Petersburg and We Heart Boobies GoodPak to raise funds for National Breast Cancer Awareness month. However when Synthetic released Hipstamatic’s Journalism set, it was as a SnapPak.

Rear view of Full Metal Jacket camera case - screen shot

While I have not had a real chance to explore the Photojournalism SnapPak, I concur with Hipstamatic states that the Lowy lens “records every moment with fine detail . . .” when using the “professional lens.” The Blanko BL4 Film is one of five different versions of Blanko films. Hipstamatic states the Blanko BL4 film is “Designed for use in the field, this simple film will help you document any moment with precision.”

The accompanying camera case Full Metal Jacket is, in my opinion, one of the best designed Hipstamatic camera cases, besides the Long island FreePak, which comes with the Old Sport camera case with aged leather and bronze inlays, or the stainless steel case with art deco and leather grip Gangster Deco camera case.

I feel that apart from the Jane lens paired with the DC film, which I had been using for achieving photographs without any LoFi effects or other anomaly algorithms, the new additional should please many who want to use Hipstamatic for documentary work. 

While the Photojournalism SnapPak did not come with a B/W film, there are a few already available when color is not desired. There is BlacKeys Extra Fine; BlacKeys SuperGrain and especially Rock BW-11 for nice blacks and whites and having a greater range of greys. 

Screen shot of Hisptamatic’s ‘Featured CameraGear” section

I am sure there will be a number of LoFi enthusiast who will be disappointed with Benjamin Lowy’s Photojournalism SnapPak, because it makes the Hipstamatic camera no different then the iPhone’s native camera. Yet it was very important to Benjamin Lowy that the combo SnapPak was done right. He wanted to make sure that Hipstamatic would be seen by the purists in the photojournalism world as a viable application for documenting the news and that the Photojournalism SnapPak would remove any negativities associated with Hipstamatic by omitted Hipstamatic’s vignetting, spotting or other ‘weird’ appearance.

Only time will tell how successful the Photojournalism SnapPak will be with the Hipstamatic community. Personally, I am delighted that we now have a neutral lens and film combination for pure documentary photography. Over the next week we certainly will see how others mobile photographers will use the Lowy lens or the Blanko BL4 Film with other lens/films in their camera’s arsenal.

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