Local Film, Local Photography

Support your local film photography vendor

Friday, during my lunchtime walk, I discovered a new camera store here in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I walked in, and it had the usual suspects of a camera shop: new tripods, fancy bags and straps, a bunch of new Fuji and Nikon and Canon cameras sitting on shelves. And, a wall full of film.


Because there are fewer and fewer places selling honest to goodness film these days, trying to snag a roll was random and difficult. If I didn’t want Kodak instant cameras or Fuji Superia, I was stuck using Amazon or B&H – especially for my favorites, Agfa Vista and Ilford HP5.

But CameraMall had those and more. Medium format film! Kodak Ektar! Weird Ilford film I had never heard of! My beloved Agfa! It was like a candy store. As a bonus, they also develop 35mm film.

It felt really, really good to plunk down the $10 for two rolls of film, knowing that I had a local place to shop from. They benefit (yay, camera stores!), I benefit, and somewhere down the line the photography industry benefits.

And really, the film costs the same in store as it does online, I get to geek out with the guy behind the counter, and it’s an excuse to get out of the office and go for a walk.

Find your local place, if you have one, and shop from their film selection (or memory cards, or tripods, or whatever). Order some prints. Check out their used gear section. I know ordering online is super handy, but the benefits of shopping local are numerous.

I’ll bet that after you do, like me, you’ll feel better about doing it.

Film Photography Collection

Film Photography Collection

It seems I’ve become the “Dave Will Take Your Old Film Camera” guy.

To be fair, I did pick up the Canonet at a yard sale. The film, too (all of it expired), was a flea market grab.

I’s been a fun way to stretch the photography hobby into new areas. Yes, it’s expensive, and yes, there’s a learning curve. But what else do you do with a hobby but spend money and pick up new skills?

Missing from this photo: a Yashica Mat 124 TLR camera a friend from high school gave me. My first foray into medium format.

Stay tuned.

Bringing Back the Bohm

Proud to present my debut as a documentary film maker with Bringing Back the Bohm, the story of a dedicated group of community leaders coming together to restore a closed and dilapidated theater in Albion, Michigan.

Last fall, through my job at Albion College, I had a chance to photograph students learning about the theater’s restoration process. Elizabeth Schulteiss, the executive director of the Albion Community Foundation and lead cheerleader of the Bohm project, and I talked about how several documentary offers had fallen through.

Having done video work for the college, I volunteered to complete a short documentary for the theater in time for their grand opening on December 27, 2014 – the 85th anniversary of the theater’s opening in 1929.

The project was well outside my comfort zone. A five minute video I can do, but a half hour video?

Luckily I had lots of help from the Friends of the Bohm committee, my co-worker (and producer!) Erica, and the resources at the college.

The documentary debuted at the grand opening, after a rushed few weeks to get all the interviews and editing done.

I’ll say this: it’s a heckuva thing to see something you made on a real big screen. The film has its quirks, and I see lots of stuff I’d like to make better. But the point is, it’s done and out in the world for lots of people to see.

Learn more about this great historical community theater, and catch a movie there. You can order a copy of the documentary on DVD by contacting the theater, too.