A, new to me, Rolleiflex got taken out for a trial run last week.  I’m used to the waist height viewer and the fact the image is backwards when viewed through the camera, but I am not used to using a TLR. The Rollei is a beautiful camera that has gained popularity since the discovery of Vivian Maier’s negatives in a storage unit. The rest, as they say, is history. This has driven up the prices of the camera, but there are still deals to be found.

I bought my camera at Blue Moon Camera and Machine in Portland, Oregon. There are a few on their shelves and you can check out the inventory on their web site.


I loaded a roll of Kodak Portra 400 film into her and took her for a little walk around my neighborhood. These are some results from that first roll.


Oregon’s Fall color is beautiful this year





more new houses being built and they get sold as fast as they go up. I recently read that 100 people per day move to the Portland area


construction site


Halloween is over, bring on the next holiday

My Hasselblad is much heavier so the Rollei will be my street camera and the Hasselblad will go with me on road trips. I am loving this camera already.

Keep using film


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Halloweentown, Part I

Since today is Halloween I thought I’d repost this post about Halloweentown in St Helens, Oregon. Images were all made with my pinhole camera. Happy Halloween

Fireside Five

In the town of St Helens, Oregon, just a few miles west of Portland, the people go all out for Halloween. The movie “Halloweentown” was filmed there and so every year thousands of people descend on this little sleepy community. Some of the actors from the movie show up for photo ops and autographs, but the lines are hours long so I passed.

I managed to expose several rolls of film, but thought I’d start with my pinhole images.

City Hall TV cameras interviewing people in front of the big pumpkin

girl in orange tutu There is a little girl in the orange tutu and she was fascinated by the balloon animals.

pumpkin art clever use of a butternut squash

waiting people waiting in line to see the Halloweentown actors. The line wrapped around the building and went down the street. Too long for me.

tights orange and black tights

slanted Seems I can’t have the building and the pirate completely…

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My Mother’s camera

I will admit, I had a wonderful childhood. My Mother was the image maker in our family and I remember her always getting the newest camera. She didn’t have expensive cameras and developing was quite expensive in the 50’s and 60’s. When my Mom suddenly died in the early 90’s my Dad gave me her cameras. One of those was the inexpensive Kodak Brownie Hawkeye.


The Hawkeye was designed by Arthur Crapsey(yes, that’s his name) and made between 1949 and 1961. It is a Bakelite piece of art. The waist level viewer is surprisingly bright. There is a model that also takes a flash, which I also have. It was one of the most popular film cameras in its day. It takes 620 film although I recently read it will take 120. I am fortunate to be able to buy 620 film at Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon. The film is medium format so you get a wonderful large negative.

Last week I took it off the shelf, for a bit of dusting, and noticed there was film in it. So I decided to take it for a spin through my neighborhood. I didn’t know if there was color or black and white film in it and I was hoping it was 400 ISO (it was). My focus is a bit off on some, there is no way to focus, but it is what it is. I do a lot of pinhole so I don’t mind the softness . So here are the photos I made that day:

villebois_kodak Hawkeye452

villebois_kodak Hawkeye453villebois_kodak Hawkeye454villebois_kodak Hawkeye455villebois_kodak Hawkeye456villebois_kodak Hawkeye457villebois_kodak Hawkeye458villebois_kodak Hawkeye459villebois_kodak Hawkeye460villebois_kodak Hawkeye462villebois_kodak Hawkeye461

My Mom gave me my first camera at an early age. It was another Bakelite jewel, the Brownie Holiday. I loved it and many photos of me are with the camera around my neck…like here. This one takes 127 film which Blue Moon Camera also stocks. I still have this camera. I remember receiving new cameras for Christmas quite often. Over the years when college took me away and I had little money my photographing took a back seat to other things. I had no money to spend on film. I regret this now as I wish I had more photos of my life experiences. In a time when everyone has a camera in their pocket, when I grew up very few people took family photos except for celebrations and vacations. My Mom took more than most and I am the keeper of her early black and white negatives….all still perfect. You won’t be able to say that about digital in another 60 years. Slowly I am scanning her negatives…..from the 1930’s until she passed away.me_and_my_first_camera

It just shows that you don’t need an expensive camera to get started with film. Buy yourself a plastic Holga and get going or you can find one of these vintage cameras online or at Blue Moon Camera. Go for it. Shooting film slows you down. You might take 12 photos instead of 100 but out of those 12 you will have more keepers than out of those 100.

Thank you Mom.

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street walking

I don’t really have much to say about these photos. I was downtown Portland last week and took along my Leica MP and some Kodak Portra 160 film. These are some of the shots I took. I usually tweak my photos just a bit in Lightroom but decided to post these straight out of the camera after I scanned them on my Epson V850.

From Pioneer Courthouse Square:







From NW 23rd:



walking through the Pearl district:


Fullers Coffee Shop. I’ve been dining here for more than 40 years


memorial to U of O’s Steve Prefontaine


our streetcar is a great way to get around downtown


Oh Oh, someone’s in trouble


It’s a dog’s life

I noticed these patterns in an office building:


Once a month I visit the Portland Art Museum for the Photography Council’s Brown Bag lunch and presentation by an enthusiastic photographer and then I wander around downtown until it is time to catch MAX, public transport, and head home.

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Holga PAN

I haven’t used my Holga 120 panoramic camera in a long time. On a road trip to Central Oregon last week I decided to pop in a roll of Kodak Portra 400 and try this camera again. So many times I feel like if I am taking a photo then I should use a really good camera, like my Hasselblad or Leica. But then when I use one of my plastic cameras I am surprised how much I like the low fidelity images.

Hope you enjoy them:Oregon_Holga PAN341

Oregon_Holga PAN342

Oregon_Holga PAN343

This next one is a double exposure where I turned the camera upside down for the second shot:

Oregon_Holga PAN344

All these photos were right out of the camera. I did no editing in Photoshop. You only get 4 images on a roll of 120 film, but I think it’s worth the low frame count. I keep hearing people on the Lensless Podcast talk about the Holga Pinhole WPC and it is probably the only Holga I don’t own. I am wondering if I can drop a laser-cut brass pinhole into this panoramic camera? Hmmmm.

Keep using film!



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Alternative Printing

On one of my many trips to England I visited the home of Henry Fox Talbot at Lacock Abbey. Some consider him the ‘father of photography’. He invented a way to make a paper negative, in 1835,  that could be reproduced. You don’t hear as much about him as you do Daguerre and Niepce. Talbot’s mistake might have been that he didn’t introduce his idea to the world until 1839 or apply for a patent as early as he should have. he thought no one else would beat him.

I visited Lacock Abbey with my Hasselblad 500CM film camera. I walked around the abbey and made images in the same places that Talbot did. I then came home and learned how to make salt paper prints in the same way Talbot did. An improvement over his process is that I could use a UV light box for the contact print instead of putting the paper out into the sun for days.  That was his invention: salt could fix the negative. Here are two prints I made:


the entrance to the Abbey grounds


the barn door

I also learned to make platinum prints.


the famous window. It was from inside this window that he made his most famous first negative.


inside Lacock Abbey

This one is not from lack Abbey but of the Clifton bridge in Bristol. This was an engineering marvel for its time. Engineered by Brunel. There is a new Brunel museum in Bristol and really worth a visit. I was just there in May of this year.


Clifton bridge

I kind of dropped the ball on my alternative printing, but now with my UV light box made, chemicals and paper bought, and several contact frames I am ready to go. After the holidays I plan to concentrate on this process as I make a book about a series I have been working on over the past 5 years. Stay tuned.

(FYI: I learned alternative printing from master printer and teacher, Ray Bidegain, in Portland, Oregon. Check him out on the web for more information) Thanks for reading



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4×5 pinhole

I own three 4×5 pinhole cameras, but my favorite is still the Ilford Titan 4×5. I like it for its ruggedness, being made of hard plastic that does well in the wet Pacific Northwest where I live. I am surprised how sharp it is. As this year comes to a fast and furious end I plan to do much more 4×5 in 2019, both pinhole and with my Wista camera. Now that I am able to develop my black and white images at home there is nothing stopping me from using my film stash.

It may be a bit early for News Years Resolutions but I have set a goal to finally finish my gas station book of platinum prints. I thought if I put this out there then I will be held accountable to finish my many projects.

So here from the archives are a few of my favorite long exposures made with the Titan camera.

These were taken in Donald, Oregon:


no place to sit



These were taken at Trillium Lake near Mt Hood:



This is the bridge along the old highway above Donner Lake, California:


Donner Pass

The heads are part of an art installation at my local transit center:


rolling heads

This image was made at Newspace Center for Photography, now closed and missed:


me, Donna Stewart and Moni Smith: all pinhole photographers

(all these images were made on Ilford film and I developed at home using Ilfosol developer and a MOD 54 tank)

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