Chris Goetchius Photography

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the whole roll - #14

Some more practicing with the Olympus.  I really want to love this camera.  Pocketable, very fun mechanism, but very hard for me to use...probably because I'm not very experienced with rangefinders.  I hope to miss focus less as this project goes on!

(Spoiler...because this roll is like five months old, I know that I miss focus less as this project goes on...)

Also, not really a big fan of this Afga Vista.  Nice cheap alternative, but the blues just don't have the punch of Portra.

Olympus XA - 35mm f2.8 - Afga Vista 400

the whole roll - #13

So I shot a lot of this roll inside and at night.  The learnings here are obviously that film is color balanced a particular way...Portra, for example, has a Daylight color balance.  So it looks weirdly green and cold under artificial lighting.  I knew this going in, but chose to ignore it for whatever reason.  

In some shots, I just left it alone despite the weirdness.  Others, like the warmer ones by the leather chair, actually look pretty nice.  Others still were so bad that I actually just converted them to black and white digitally.  I don't really like to do this with film (I'd rather just shoot in Black and White for starters), but they were really just too bad...

You may be able to tell from the foliage on the paper plates or the Lagunitas Brown Shugga that I shot this roll in the fall...oops.  We'll catch up soon, I swear!

Pentax ME Super - 50mm f2 - Kodak Portra 800

los angeles

Took a trip to LA.  Ate a lot, drank enough, consumed some art, didn't learn backgammon, walked 30 miles, took some pictures.  Here's what I have to show for it.

Sony a7 Series - 28mm f2 and 85mm f1.8

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the whole roll - #12

Quite a mix here.  Coworkers, nature walks, cooking, business parks, details, portraits, and more.  This is before I gave up on the f1.4, so I definitely missed a few.  17th from the top is my personal fav.

Pentax ME Super - 50mm f1.4 - Afga Vista 400

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the whole roll - #11

In an effort to get things back on track, here is a roll taken last Spring, just before roll #5.  So basically this is ACTUALLY roll #5, masquerading as roll #11.  This one is special for a lot of personal reasons not worth noting here.  One thing I aught to mention, though, is that every shot from this roll vanished on me for the span of a couple weeks.  I searched for this roll to post it in a timely fashion (of course) and could not find a single frame.  I knew I had posted one on Instagram, so I knew that I had transferred the scans to my computer at some point, but other than that I had no idea where they could have gone.

I searched through my Lightroom catalog, all of my folders, all that time knowing that this roll had a lot of very special photos on it.  Not having any luck, I flipped through my archived negatives, and, to my relief, found them right away.  Thankfully, I could at least re-scan if need be.  I ended up never finding the scans on my computer...but I did on my phone.  For some unimaginable reason I had the files on my computer, transferred them all to my phone, and then deleted them from my computer.  Why?  Who the heck knows, but it was a great lesson in good file management!  Anyway, the end to my story is most certainly a happy one, because I am still able to present you with the whole roll - #11:

Pentax ME Super - Various Lenses - Kodak Portra 400 (probably)

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the whole roll - #10

I am definitely majorly out of order at this point.  I've built up a couple of rolls of 120 and 35mm that are as yet unposted, but I couldn't help but share this one.  This is a roll of 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 shot by me, developed by me, scanned by me.  Had some major help on the latter two items from Matt Pav that I am eternally grateful for.  I know this is old news for some of you, but this is the first time I've ever taken the film process from end to end, and it is massively rewarding.  

They're not perfect.  There's definitely a bit of gunk on the negatives, and I've missed focus on one or two shots, but the photos capture some fun times with some good people.  Major shout to Jamie for climbing like a boss while 7-months pregnant.  Remember that next time you tell me you can't climb!

Without further delay...shot on Pentax ME Super 50mm f2 | Kodak Tri-X 400:

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All of the included shots were shot on a digital mirrorless camera.  This is every 'keeper' from the trip.  I've had these bogging down my hard drive for months now, all carefully scheduled to drop on Instagram, hashtag-filled and tagged with every community page I know. 

Problem is, I grew to not really enjoy it so much.  I realized at some point that I was building this brand on Instagram of 'Iceland Photographer,' meanwhile having a dwindling number of Iceland photos in the bank.  20-25% of my followers came on since I started my #igersiceland bonanza, after all.  What happens when I run out?

On top of this, the #iceland train was strong this year.  Swimming in Iceland photos from the Instagram community genuinely made it less interesting for me to share my own.  Don't get me wrong, mad congratulations to everyone who was able to make it out there.  It is a wild and super photogenic place.  It was just time for me to stop trying to get on community pages, hashtagging goofy and unrelated things, oversharing, and getting my personal brand all mixed up. 

To force that, here's every shot.  Can't share if I've already shared ;).

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the whole roll - #9

Pentax ME Super - 50mm 1.4 - Fuji 200

The final roll from Iceland, capturing the last couple days of my recent trip.  This roll contains some photos that I am quite fond of, and several that I totally missed.  Using 1.4 lenses with a split prism isn't easy!

This definitely taught me to avoid an f1.4 aperture when shooting at mid range, at all costs.

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the whole roll - #8

Mamiya 645 - 85mm 2.8 - Portra 400

You read that right!  I finally got my first ever roll of 120, or 'medium format', developed.  For those non-photo-nerds, 'medium format' is an even larger film/sensor size than the common SLRs and DSLRs you may be familiar with.  120 film covers all sorts of different image sizes/ratios, including 6x4.5 (like this Mamiya), 6x6 (Instagram goodness), and the big boy 6x7.  A couple buddies of mine (@mattpav and @aaronnevin), have shot a 6x6 old school Rolleicord, a 6x7 Hasselblad, and recently a 6x4.5 Bronica ETRS, and they finally got me on the 'medium format' train.  

I was hooked right away.  I've always been intrigued by 'waist-level' viewfinders, and this camera has a beautiful one.  Even on my digital camera, I really enjoy composing form this perspective.  I'll tell you what though, with the Mamiya, it's difficult!  Waist-level finders show a reversed image.  Because of this, all of the adjustments you make are...backwards.  Not only directionally, but rotationally as well!  Tip the camera left, the image tips right.  This was quite the learning experience, but that's what all this is about.  Here's the first roll.  As per usual, this includes ever frame with very minimal editing.  Let me know what you think!

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the whole roll - #7

Pentax ME Super - 50mm f1.4 - Kodak Portra 400

Shot in Iceland.

Right before leaving on this trip, my travel buddy Aaron Nevin suggested I bring an extra roll of film.  I planned on shooting just one.  One roll, one trip.  Well...I ended up shooting three.  One roll of Kodak Portra 160, this one of Portra 400 gifted by Aaron, and the soon-to-come roll of Fuji 200 purchased in a small town in northern Iceland.

Almost bought a fourth...maybe next time.  Enjoy!

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the whole roll - #6

Pentax ME Super - 50mm f1.4 - Kodak Portra 160

Shot in Iceland.

This was my second roll of Portra 160, and my second roll with the 50mm f1.4 Pentax.  At this stage I clearly still have a lot to learn about this lens.  In some dimmer conditions, I found myself shooting scenes at around 20-30' at f1.4.  In this range, at this aperture, I struggled to keep the lens in focus.  Part of my difficulty came from the focus ring jumping from 15' to infinity focus within about a tenth of a turn.  This made it very difficult to be accurate anywhere in between, and with the shallow DOF of f1.4 I sometimes wasn't precise enough.

So...I missed a few.  But hey, you live and you learn.  That's what this is all about.  Keep following for two more rolls from Iceland coming soon, including something other than Kodak Portra...wild, I know.

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why gear can't matter - even when it super does

I used around $4000 worth of gear to make these photos.  Later in the same day that these photos were taken, it took around 4 seconds of bad practice to drop $4000 worth of gear off of my tripod and onto the waterfall-washed rocks of Skógafoss, catastrophically breaking my workhorse landscape photography lens.  I was less than twelve hours into a meticulously planned landscape photography trip to Iceland.  Oops.

As a Mechanical Engineering MS by discipline, I don't want you to underestimate how 'meticulously' I planned out the gear I'd bring along on this photography trip.  I had spreadsheets, note pages, pros/cons lists, Amazon carts, B&H carts, purchases, returns, tests, tabs on tabs of reviews, hours at local camera stores, genuinely more time invested in preparing for this trip than I can hope to convey in writing here.

That all said, this time I was okay with it.  I definitely spend too much time thinking about gear when it doesn't matter.  But this time it did matter.  I was on my way to Iceland!  To take photos!  Photography was my only goal, my only focus, and my only concern.  When planning this trip, I couldn't help but feel that it only seemed appropriate to think carefully about my gear.  If ever, then now. 

Although I am sure there are some purists out there who would comfortably step into the unknown land of Iceland with nothing but a 35mm prime on one body (my travel partner being one of them), I am most certainly not that. 

I definitely didn't want to be overloaded, but wanted to be confidently prepared.  For the gear-nuts, this is what was in my bag:

  • Sony a7ii - I shoot mirrorless.  The batteries suck, but the small size is nice.  Let's not fight.
  • Sony a6500 - Mostly a back-up.  Also handy when I have a need for speed.
  • Sony 85mm 1.8 - Post the people.
  • Sony 70-200mm 4 - Had some extra room in my bag...brought in case of fuzzy Icelandic wildlife
  • Pentax ME Super w/ 50mm 1.4- Film is most certainly not dead
  • Sony 16-35mm 2.8 GMaster - Astrophotography, landscape, etc., big pre-trip upgrade from my f4 version.

Guess which one I broke.  Just guess.

It turns out that the Sony 16-35mm 2.8 GMaster is not an all-star in its impact resistance.  I dropped the lens from hip height in the zoomed-out position, 16mm.  In this position, the inner barrel actually sticks out the front of the lens.  After hitting the ground, I picked up my body and lens to find the inner barrel actually bent to the side, jammed at an angle.

Needless to say, I panicked.  I quickly removed the lens from the body, grabbed the inner and outer barrel, and forced the lens back into alignment.  Admittedly, this was an aggressive move.  That said, once things were aligned properly, it worked great!  Engineering degree hard at work.  It worked great at 16mm anyway.  The lens focused well, was sharp across the frame, but was stuck at 16mm.  The lens was covered under a drops & spills warranty, so all-good there, but more or less, I could have brought my Rokinon 14mm 2.8 prime that I already owned, saved $1900 and hours and hours of my time.

Once the panic subsided, a wave of realization swept over me that I literally could do nothing to resolve this.  I was in the middle of an island, living out of a car and a tent.  There were no camera stores for hundreds of miles, no opportunities for repair or replacement.  I could do nothing to resolve this, except to start thinking ultra-wide, and take some ridiculous photos.

Every single one of those photos was taken with the broken $2200 GMaster lens.  Every single one of those photos also could have easily been taken with a $300 14mm 2.8 prime lens.  All of my expectations were that gear would matter this time.  If ever gear would matter, it was this trip.  Genuinely though, and as a gear-head I absolutely hate to say this, after a couple hours post lens-break I had more or less forgotten about it.  I marched on with my 16mm 2.8 prime to photograph windswept coastline sunrises and the enveloping, milky-way and aurora painted night sky.  I used this lens and my 85mm to create perspectives maybe more diverse than I would have with a zoom. 

I'll be the first to tell you that gear does matter.  Give the same photographer better gear and they will make better photos, period.  At the same time, though, your specific gear can't be all that allows you to make pictures.  Surely, you may work differently with different equipment, but when everything goes wrong and you break a critical piece of kit, you can't allow your gear to matter. 

I've included only a few of my very favorite shots from the trip to help show you that no matter how important gear seems, and no matter how much time you want to spend building your kit, it could all be ruined in an instant.  My recommendation, for what it's worth, is to not sweat it so much.  Use the gear you have, or the best gear you can afford, or whatever gear you want...just go make some cool art. 




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the whole roll - #5

Pentax ME Super - 50mm 1.4 - Portra 160

This was my first roll with a new 50mm 1.4 lens, and some of the shots show it!  The lens jumps from 15 ft. to infinity in like 1/10 of a rotation of the focus ring, and I definitely missed a few shots by shooting them wide open.  There are definitely some nice moments captured here anyway; it's all a learning process.

My personal favorite shot is the one of the spider nestled in a bush nearby.  Almost walked right past him, but am very glad I stopped and took a photo.  Extra glad that this one turned out.

These are all in reverse order, with very, very slight edits.  I really wanted to get these uploaded before I get further down the Iceland editing rabbit-hole.  Enjoy!

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the whole ... sleeve? - #4

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 - Instax Film

This is the result of one single package of film shot through the Instax camera.  Unedited, untouched, straight out of this beautiful little piece of equipment.  Sometimes it's fun to take a break from all the technical shots and shoot a few with a goofy-looking little polaroid.

Boston - 02481 - Chris Goetchius 2017.jpg
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NYC in a day

Digital - Various Lenses

A brief visit to NYC, chock-full of fun.  Threw in a few pictures here and there...where appropriate.

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acadia national park

Sony a7ii - Various Lenses

I took too many photos on this trip.  Sometimes to step back and capture images like this you miss living the moments happening around you.  It's cool to look at them later, but cooler to be right there.  Next time I'll dial it back...maybe.

Also Acadia National Park is unbelievable.  Like seriously unbelievable.  

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okemo summer edition

Sony a7ii - Various Lenses

Turns out ski slopes can be fun in the sun too.

Had a blast, guys.  Thanks for having us up.